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Ezekiel: Chapter 35

Setting

Despite the shortness of this chapter and its subject, it begs the question, why this chapter is placed here in the section of Ezekiel that is concerned with her restoration as a nation and with her God.  Tucked neatly in scripture, this judgment against the people who rejoiced at Israel's calamity and judgment of God by the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar has set the stage for a future event that will involve the remnant of Israel during the last half of the seven years of tribulation; her preservation during that most horrible time in mankind's history, and when her relationship will be permanent.

The overarching concept of God's judgement is found in Isiah 26:9-11, where the Lord shows His method of reaching out to the world to reveal His truth, grace and judgment where:

  • His judgments come upon the earth and people of the world learn righteousness
  • In contrast, though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness
  • Even when the Lordís hand is lifted in judgments, the world does not see it, or recognize the Lord is behind them

In addition:

  • The Lordís grace was shown to Israel during her exodus to the Promised Land and while in the land
  • The surrounding nations to Israel and the world did not recognize nor follow the ways of the Lord
  • The Lord also uses judgment as a means by which God would reach those not in Christ to reveal His truth

The context for Ezekiel 35 is that Mount Seir was part of Edom, as well as:

  • Edom was from the descendants of Esau, Jacobís brother, and the land was given to Esau, Deuteronomy 2:1-6
  • Ezekiel records the word of the Lord against Moab and Seir, Ezekiel 25:8-14
  • If Mount Seir was already spoken against by the Lord, why is it repeated here?
  • Ezekiel 34 was about the Lordís judgment against the shepherds of Israel and the Lord being the good shepherd
  • Ezekiel 36 is about the Lord blessing the land of Israel like the Garden of Eden

So why does the judgment of Mount Seir appear between these other two chapters?  It is likely that as the Lord meets with his people during the second half of the tribulation, Revelation 12, the place the Lord prepared for this meeting is Petra, in Mount Seir.  Thereafter, during the millennial reign of Christ, the Lord will heal the land of Israel and the world, and return the land of Israel like the Garden of Eden.  Even during the exodus of Israel from Egypt to their promised land, they were instructed not to interfere the descendants of Esau as they passed through their land, Deuteronomy 2:1-6.  As will be seen later on this webpage, the Edomites still held a hatred for Israel for which they were judged, Ezekiel 25:8-14.

Outline of this chapter

Verses Topic
1-4 Prophesy against Mount Seir (Edom)
5-9 Their ancient hostility
10-11 Edom coveted the land
12-15 Boasting against the Lord

Prophesy against Mount Seir (Edom)    Chapter Outline     Top

As presented in this web site, on the page discussing Ezekiel chapter 34, Godís purpose is being fulfilled through the reestablishment of Israel in her land during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.  In Ezekiel 35, the scene shifts to the judgment of Mount Seir, or Edom.  This region is located to the south of the Dead Sea.  In Ezekiel 35:1-4, Ezekiel was instructed by the Lord to set his face against Mount Seir and prophesy

  • The Lord is against them
  • He stretched out His hand against them
  • He made them desolate
  • He turned their towns into ruins

Since they choose not know the Lord when Israel was in her land, they would know the Lord in His judgment against them; there is no reconciliation for themGod had remembered the sins of Edom against the children of Israel, Ezekiel 35:3-9.  

Their ancient hostility    Chapter Outline     Top

Ezekiel 35:5-9, one of the primary reasons for Edom's judgment was that Edom also lusted for the land of Israel as the Jews were being forced from their land when King Nebuchadnezzar sent them to Babylon in captivity, Psalm 137:7.

The Lord swears by Himself that:

  • They were given over to bloodshed
  • God will pursue them
  • Bloodshed will pursue them
  • Mount Seir will be a desolate waste and cut off
  • The mountains are to be filled with the slain by the sword
  • They will be desolate forever
  • Their towns will not be inhabited

However, in judgment they will know the Lord

Edom coveted the land    Chapter Outline     Top

Ezekiel 35:10-11, the countries sourrounding Israel thought to possess the land with the exile of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel

  • They did not regard that the Lord was in the land
  • The Lord will treat them according to their anger and jealousy against Israel

The Lord will make Himself known to them when He judges them because they chose to neglect the promise of the land made to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac, Genesis 15:18-21.  

Despite their forced abandonment of the land, they were promised by the Lord that they would return and resettle the land after 70 years of captivity in Babylon.  The judgment against Mount Seir, as well as Edom, and the  other countries who rejoiced over Israel's peril, were judged of God, and are listed in Jeremiah 25.  These countries were compelled to drink the judgment of the Lord, and forever be removed as nations, Jeremiah 25:15-28.  In the following verses in the same chapter, the Lord states that if He had judged Israel for her transgressions, which were imported from her bordering countries, then those who delighted in her destruction were to be judged, Jeremiah 25:29-38.  In these passages is also the dual purpose of drawing a picture of the judgment of the Lord against all nations during the end of the tribulation as God's judgments are poured out in the trumpet and bowl judgments, Revelation 8 and Revelation 9, and Revelation  16.

Boasting against the Lord    Chapter Outline     Top

Ezekiel 35:12-15, Ezekiel writes that the Lord had heard all of the contemptible things that the people of Mount Seir had said against the mountains of Israel

  • They said that the land was laid waste
  • They could now devour it
  • They boasted against the Lord without restraint

At the time that the rest of the world is rejoicing, the Lord will make Mount Seir a desolation and they will come to know the Lord in His judgment

The book of Obadiah lists a number of the issues that God had against Edom.  The first of which was their pride, which deceived them.  The vision of Obadiah was about Edom, but Mount Seir is part of the country  where they lived in the clefts of the rocks and made their home on the heights, Obadiah 1-3, Genesis 36:7-9

The actions against the people of Mount Seir by God, Obadiah 10-14, were because they:

  • Took part in the violence against their brother Jacob
  • Stood aloof at the destruction of Jacob
  • Looked down on their brotherís misfortune
  • Rejoiced over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, Psalm 137:7
  • Boasted over their brother in the day of their trouble
  • Marched on the gates of Godís people in the day of their disaster
  • Looked down on them in their calamity and seized their wealth
  • Waited at the crossroads to cut down the fugitives
  • Handed over their survivors to the enemy in the day of their trouble

Petra is inferred here in that the dwellings of these peoples were hewn from rock, which still exist today, but essentially abandoned except for those passing migrating through or tourists, Obadiah 3-4.  Obadiah 10-15 pronounces the eternal judgment for the Edom, in that it will be as with Israel, but worse.  Israel returned to her land after 70 years in Babylonian captivity, and then again after almost two millennia of worldwide dispersion of the Jews, they again exist as a country.  The people of Edom no longer exist.  The list of reasons for the judgment include:

  • During King Nebuchadnezzar's campaign against Jerusalem, Edom joined in the conquest against their brother
  • They looked upon the judgment of Israel and rejoiced
  • They entered into the city afterwards and spoiled it
  • They cutoff any escape for those who attempted to run from King Nebuchadnezzar
  • They delivered those they captured to King Nebuchadnezzar

All that Edom did against Israel was to be visited upon them, Obadiah 15.

  • What they have done will be done to them
  • Just as the Edomites drank on the Lordís holy hill, so all nations will do the same (Mount Seir is a type of the future judgment of all the nations)

Mount Zion will be holy and the house of Jacob will possess his inheritance, Obadiah 17-18.  In addition, during the Lordís millennial reign, there will be deliverers from Mount Zion who will govern the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom will be the Lordís, Obadiah 21

By itself, Ezekiel 35 would seem have minor importance to the future of Israel, but it is interesting to reexamine Ezekiel 35:9.   There is an uninhabited city today to the south of the Dead Sea, called Petra.  As discussed in Ezekiel 34, during and after the middle of the tribulation period when the image of the Antichrist is erected in the Jewish temple area, the Jews are told by the Lord to flee into the wilderness. Though nowhere in scripture is the city of Petra identified as the city to where the remnant will flee, it is a convenient and likely location based on the passes cited above from Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Obadiah. The city of Petra as the future evacuation point for the fleeing Jews is only given as a possibility.  However, it is at least coincidental that this is given so much prominence within these set of chapters that have such prophetic significance for the end times and Israel.  


Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014

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