then I will bring you down with those who descend to the Pit, to the people of antiquity. I will make you dwell in the earth below like the ancient ruins, with those who descend to the Pit, so that you will no longer be inhabited or set in splendor in the land of the living.
I. A REMARKABLE DESIGNATION OF THE HOLY LAND. It is here called "the land of the living." Hengstenberg views "the land of the living" as standing in "contrast to Sheol, the land. of the dead, to which in the foregoing the inhabitants of Tyre are assigned." The expression seems to refer particularly to Palestine. The ' Speaker's Commentary' says, "The land of the living is the land of the true God, as opposed to the land of the dead, to which is gathered the glory of the world." And Matthew Henry, "The holy land is the land of the living; for none but holy souls are properly living souls." There was propriety in applying this designation to that land, because there:
1. The living God was known and worshipped. "In Judah is God known: his Name is great in Israel," etc. (Psalm 76:1, 2); "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God," etc. (Psalm 42:2). The people of other lands had riches, honors, power; but they were idolaters. Their gods were no gods, but dead idols. In the highest sense no land can be called living whose deity or deities are dead, unreal, mere human inventions. To the people of Judah and Jerusalem the living and true God had revealed himself through law-giver, prophet, and. poet, and through his hand in their history as a nation.
2. The living Word was possessed. The sacred writings of the Jews are far superior to those of heathen nations. They were true: "the Word of truth" (Psalm 119:43, 142, 160). They were vital and lasting: ".living oracles" (Acts 7:38); "the Word of God, which liveth and abideth" (1 Peter 1:23). They were life-giving . "Thy Word hath quickened, me" (Psalm 119:50, 93). Moreover, their Scriptures were light-giving: "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105, 130).
3. The living ordinances were observed. The pure worship of the living and true God was instituted and practiced there, and, after the return from the Captivity, without any admixture of idolatry. Worship, when it is directed to the true Object and offered in a true spirit, develops and strengthens the noblest life of the worshipper. To the pious Jews the means of grace were as "wells of salvation." In these respects, then, Palestine was appropriately called "the land of the living." And with even greater fullness and force may the designation be applied to this favored land of ours.
II. AN ENCOURAGING ASSURANCE CONCERNING THE HOLY LAND. "I shall set glory in the land of the living" Let us look at this assurance:
1. In its primary signification. By the side of the utter overthrow of Tyre, Ezekiel predicts the renewal of the Divine favor and of prosperity to Jerusalem. Brief as the clause is, it indicates the return of the people of Judah from captivity to their own land, the rebuilding of the temple of Jehovah, the re-establishment of religious ordinances, and the restoration of the sacred city. And all these things were in due season accomplished. And thus interpreted, the assurance given in the text is the more significant from the fact that, after their return home, the Jews never obscured the Divine glory by the practice of idolatry. They neither gave God's glory to another nor his praise unto graven images.
2. In its other and grander signification. The text prophetically points to the coming of the Messiah and the proclamation of the glorious gospel. In the work of redemption by Jesus Christ we have a much more illustrious display of the glory of God than in the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the temple, etc. And this glory is ever increasing amongst men as the triumphs of the gospel are multiplied. The enemies of the cause of God are being vanquished by truth and love, and his true kingdom is constantly being established more and more deeply and widely in this world. And at length "all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord."
CONCLUSION. Even in the darkest seasons of its history there is always a bright and inspiring hope for the true Church of God. By its unfaithfulness it may bring upon itself severe chastisement from its great Head; but it shall arise from the dust purified and strengthened, and go forward in its glorious course, "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with banners." - W.J.
Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall?
( M. Henry.)
PeopleEzekiel, Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadrezzar
PlacesBabylon, Edom, Jerusalem, Tyre
TopicsAgo, Ancient, Beauty, Below, Bring, Cause, Caused, Causing, Deep, Deepest, Descend, Desolate, Dwell, Glory, Inhabited, Living-place, Low, Lower, Nether, Past, Pit, Places, Primeval, Return, Ruins, Thrust, Underworld, Unpeopled, Waste, Wastes
Outline1. Tyrus, for insulting Jerusalem, is threatened with destruction
7. The power of Nebuchadnezzar against her
15. The mourning and astonishment of the sea at her fall
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 26:20
To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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