I have in earlier posts on Babylon shown that God holds Babylon (America) responsible for the destruction of the Tribulation Temple. This chapter in Ezekiel may hold the key to why that is. In chapter 20 God tells Israel how in spite of the fact that they were idol worshipers in Egypt, He brought them out for His name sake. Then in the wilderness, when they turned on Him again, He punished that generation in the hopes that the children would follow His statutes. They did not, but still He brought them into the promised land for His name sake. Then in the land they again turned from God. He is tired of them doing this, so He is going to punish them. Chapter 21 is a prophecy about Israel, but it tells what Babylon will do to her.
Verse 1- 2 “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel.”
Ezekiel is told to face Jerusalem and aim words directly at the holy places.
Verse 3-5 “And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north. That all flesh may know that I the Lord have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.”
God tells Israel that He is against them, and that He is bringing a sword (which He will give to a particular person) against them to destroy them. Not only the wicked, but the righteous also. Nobody is safe from this attack. It will come against everyone from the northern to the southern borders. He is doing this that everyone would know that He is doing this. And He is not putting His sword away afterward. I believe the reason He is not putting this sword away, is that after all is done, He is going to destroy the sword. I believe that this is ultimately speaking of the sword of the beast of Revelation.
Verse 6- 7 “Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes. And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? That thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord God.”
God tells Ezekiel to mourn over this prophecy in the site of the people. The result being that people would ask him why he was so upset. Then he was to tell them that he is groaning over what is about to fall upon the people. That at its coming every heart would completely fall apart both mentally and physically as it would be so horrible and frightening. And God is guaranteeing that it will come to pass. Now while the captivity of Israel by ancient Babylon probably did evoke this response, note the similarity of the response to what we read about the Day of the Lord. We are told that then every heart would melt and hands would faint. Isaiah 13:6-7 “Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt.”
Verse 8-11 “Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: it is sharpened to make a sore slaughter, it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? It contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree. And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.”
God tells Ezekiel to prophesy again, this time about the sword. This sword has been sharpened and polished so that it will be able to do a thorough job of killing. It is so polished that it glitters. It will shine as it cuts through the land. Should people then be indulging in all the frivolity of life with this on the horizon? This sword will even mock “the rod of my son” as every tree. This sword will mock Judah, from whom the rod of Jesse springs, and the wielder of this sword, the slayer into whose hand it has been given will even mock Yeshua, the Son of God and His kingdom, just as he does every other nation. We read about this mocking of the Son of God in both Daniel and Revelation. Daniel 7:25 “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. ” Revelation 13:5 “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
Verse 12-13 “Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh. Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? It shall be no more, saith the Lord God.”
Again we see the same words used as for the Day of the Lord, Isaiah 13:6 “Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.” We know that the Day of the Lord will come upon all people. It will come upon Israel as well as the rest of the world. The slayer, (beast) will kill all of God's people, both Jew and Christian alike. Why? Because it is a trial, or in other words, tribulation, in fact the tribulation. How do we know this is speaking of the beast and the tribulation? Because the sword mocks (that is the meaning of contemn) even the rod itself. We know that the rod is the rod of Jesse or Yeshua. Because it does this, the sword will be no more after it has done its dirty deed, just as pointed out in verse 5. We know from Revelation what happens to the beast when God's wrath is poured out. Daniel 7:26 “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” Revelation 18:20 “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Verse 14-15“Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers. I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! It is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.”
God tells Ezekiel to clap his hands together and pronounce that the sword will be doubled yet a third time. In the original fulfillment, there were three times that Babylon came against Judah. First King Zedekiah was taken away, then they came and burned the city and temple, and the last time they took the remnant of Jews back to Babylon. There were three waves. As for the future reference, it could just mean that the violence is so great (and we know it will be) that it is three times doubled from what they experienced the first time. Or it could mean that there will be three waves of persecution. I have not seen three times outlined in Scripture anywhere yet, but that may be because there is much Scripture to yet cover. In any event, it will be really bad. This sword even slays the great men of the land who are hiding out in their places of refuge. God has set this sword to destroy them to turn them back to Him. Their hearts will faint for fear, the country will be nothing but ruins after the sword comes through. God has prepared this sword of His for the slaughter of His people, to rid the land of the rebellious and unbelieving. We know that there will be a remnant saved from Israel. Isaiah 10:20-22 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.”
Verse 16 -17 “Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set. I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the Lord have said it.”
They can run any way they want, it won't matter. God is clapping His hands together to signal that this is a done deal. When this is accomplished, only then will His wrath against Israel be done. The Lord God has spoken.