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Copy of Today's Readings: 2 KINGS 21 | Ezekiel 11 | Luke 7

Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.

Reading 1 - 2Kings 21:13

" I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down" (2Ki 21:13).

As one wipes a dish clean, turning it over so that no drop is left, so Jerusalem's destruction would be total. None would remain. Yet the dish is not destroyed, "signifying hereby the emptying of Jerusalem of its palaces and houses, wealth and riches and of all its inhabitants; and yet the empty dish being preserved, seems to denote the restoration of Jerusalem after the seventy years' captivity" (John Gill).

Or... -- an alternative: " 'I will blot out Jerusalem as tablets are wont to be blotted out' [Vulgate]. This is a metaphor taken from the ancient method of writing: they traced their letters with a stylus on boards thinly spread over with wax; for this purpose one end of the stylus was sharp, the other end blunt and smooth, with which they could rub out what they had written, and so smooth the place and spread back the wax, as to render it capable of receiving any other word. Thus the Lord had written down Jerusalem, never intending that its name or its memorial should be blotted out. It was written down The Holy City, The City of the Great King; but now God turns the stylus and blots this out; and the Holy Jerusalem, the City of the Great King, is no longer to be found! This double use of the stylus is pointed out in this ancient riddle: 'I am flat at the top, but sharp at the bottom; I turn either end, and perform a double function: One end destroys what the other end has made' " (Adam Clarke).

This may be contrasted with Rev 14:1; 3:10-12: God's name written on the foreheads of the righteous. Also a contrast with Rev 3:5: "I will never blot out his name from the book of life."

Reading 2 - Ezekiel 11:23

"The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it" (Eze 11:23).

The Cherubim of the Glory of God is seen departing from the Temple and its precincts, in several stages:

  • "Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been [that is, in the Most Holy Place], and moved to the threshold of the temple" (Eze 9:3).

  • "Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD" (Eze 10:4).

  • "Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them" (Eze 10:18,19).

  • "The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it" (Eze 11:23).

This, apparently, is the last time the Glory of God was seen in Ezekiel's day. Thus, in preparation for the judgments soon to fall on the city, Yahweh was -- by stages -- removing the Glory of His Presence from the doomed city. The stages of removal, and the intervening periods of waiting, were surely intended to offer a final witness to the people.

The final time Ezekiel sees this Glory is in his vision of the restoration: "The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple" (Eze 43:4,5).

It is remarkable that, 600 years later, when the Lord Jesus Christ (who was the Glory of Yahweh in human form: John 1:14; 17:6,22) addressed his farewell to the city of Jerusalem, he said: "Look, your house is left to you desolate" (Mat 23:38). The glory was departing from Israel, again, in anticipation of another destruction of a city and a temple which had turned its back on its God. And this it did, in reality, when Jesus took his leave from his disciples and was taken up from the Mount of Olives, on the east side of the city (Acts 1:9; cp Eze 11:23).

But, of course, as with the final vision seen by Ezekiel in Eze 43 -- the Glory embodied in Jesus Christ will also return to its city in the Last Days: "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). "Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem..." (Zec 14:3,4).

Reading 3 - Luke 7:3-6

"The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, 'This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.' So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: 'Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof' " (Luk 7:3-6).

The Jewish elders had said, "This man DESERVES to have you do this" (Luk 7:4). But of course he did not deserve it on merit, and HE knew it: "I do not deserve..."

Yet, by a strange but Biblically explainable paradox, he became worthy in the very act of declaring his "unworthiness"! The one who thinks himself worthy is NOT worthy, and the one who thinks himself unworthy IS worthy!

The Jews clearly believe that a man is justified by his works, but they are wrong. The centurion seems to understand that a man is justified only by his faith! And he is right.


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