Ezekiel Study Continues
This is a continuation of the study, “Ezekiel: Creation of a Man as a Symbol.”
If you’d like to “catch up,” scroll down to where the study begins several weeks ago on the blog.
Second Movement: the Recumbent Sin Bearer
In this symbol, Ezekiel is told to lie immobile on one side for 390 days, looking toward the city to signify the implacable judgment on the house of Israel which in all its days of history had been rebellious and idolatrous. Then he was to lie on his right side for 40 days (a biblical symbol of the years of captivity of Judah””a shorter period because of their comparatively lesser idolatry than Israel.) In addition, he was to be tied up by the Lord in this immobility, and would stretch out his bared arm toward the city. During all this, he was to be bearing the sins of the two rebellious houses.
“¢ Many times one who is to serve as a symbol may have to be confined in movement by the Lord””either by direct command or by physical restraints (Ezekiel experienced both.)
“¢ Sometimes such a symbol may be asked to suffer the consequences of the sin of others and must know that he or she is doing so. In this Ezekiel is a type of Christ, who was confined for the sake of others and who bore our sins as did Ezekiel.
“¢ We are to see in this the “great inconvenience” that sin causes God. It may sound trivial to say that lying on one side for over a year was inconvenient, but it didn”‘t ultimately harm Ezekiel. Our sin in the same way causes God to have to work around us sometimes””as Mordecai told Esther: you can help out with the salvation of the Jews or not, but salvation will come. No one thwarts the Lord”‘s ultimate purposes, but He wants us to know that our sin costs Him something.
“¢ The outstretched arm of the Lord was used throughout Biblical writings to indicate the strong and mighty guidance of the Lord. Here, however, that same bared arm will be used against the nations who have rebelled against Him. We might generalize that a symbol must never equivocate about the fact that the arm of the Lord can save, or it can destroy. The ultimate result is determined by the way the people who hear the message respond, either by obedience, faith and repentance; or by rebellion and destruction.
“¢ The imagery of restraint reappears in this symbol. Perhaps Ezekiel was reminded, as we must be, that when God hems us in, He has great purposes that go far beyond our personal convenience. Souls are at stake when a symbol is held up before their eyes.