RETURN TO SYLLABUS
EZEKIEL 34
LESSON #29
THE PROMISES OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD

v      MEMORY VERSE:   EZEKIEL 34:23

v      GOD HAD JUDGED THE NATION OF ISRAEL. THE ISRAELITES HAD LOST THE LAND, AND THEIR TEMPLE WAS IN RUINS. THE PEOPLE WHO HAD SURVIVED THE DESTRUCTION WERE CAPTIVES IN BABYLON.

      THE ISRAELITES THOUGHT GOD HAD FORSAKEN THEM. THEY THOUGHT THERE WAS NOTHING BRIGHT ABOUT THEIR FUTURE.

      GOD HAS A FUTURE PLAN FOR THEM. HOWEVER, HE MUST FIRST PREPARE THEM FOR THE FUTURE HE HAS IN MIND.

v      READ EZE 34:1-10     THE SHEPHERDS OF ISRAEL EXPLOIT AND ABUSE THE SHEEP

      WHO ARE THE SHEPHERDS?

         THE SHEPHERDS ARE THE GOVERNMENT LEADERS AND THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS INCLUDING THE PROPHETS. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR “THE FLOCK” (PSA 78:70-71  ISA 56:10-11).

        SHEPHERDS MUST SEE THAT THE FLOCK IS FED THE WORD OF GOD.

      IF THE FLOCK IS NOT FED, THEY SCATTER AND BECOME SUSCEPTIBLE TO ATTACK BY THE ENEMY.

        THERE ARE MANY SCRIPTURES THAT GIVE US THIS VIEW OF GOD’S PEOPLE AS A FLOCK OF SHEEP WHO NEED A SHEPHERD TO LEAD THEM. (PSA 100:3  PSA 77:20  PSA 78:52  PSA 80:1  NUM 27:17   JER 13:17  ZEC 10:3).

      USUALLY WE THINK OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH AS THE FLOCK OF GOD. THIS SYMBOLISM IS VALIDATED IN SCRIPTURE (ACT 20:28-29  1PET 5:2-3). HOWEVER, THE SYMBOLISM WAS FIRST USED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT TO REFER TO THE ISRAELITES.

      JESUS SAID THE ISRAELITES WERE THE LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL. (MAT 10:6  MAT 15:24)

      JESUS IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD WHO HAS COME TO LEAD HIS PEOPLE, BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES. (JOH 10:7,11)

        THE WORD “PASTOR” IS FROM A LATIN WORD THAT MEANS “SHEPHERD.”

      EZEKIEL SPOKE PREVIOUSLY ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS AND GOVERNMENT LEADERS IN ISRAEL’S IMMEDIATE PAST THAT CAUSED GOD TO JUDGE THE NATION SO SEVERELY. FOR A BETTER FUTURE, ISREAEL NEEDED BETTER LEADERS. 

         THE LEADERS OF THE PAST TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE PEOPLE TO BENEFIT THEIR OWN SELFISH DESIRES. FOR THE FUTURE, THE ISREALITES NEEDED LEADERS WHO WOULD SERVE THE PEOPLE AND MEET THEIR NEEDS.

        CHARACTERISTICS OF A BAD SHEPHERD: (2-4)

      THEY FEED THEMSELVES INSTEAD OF FEEDING THE PEOPLE MATERIALLY OR SPIRITUALLY.

      THEY DO NOT STRENGTHEN WEAK PEOPLE.

      THEY DO NOT BRING HEALING TO THE SICK.

      THEY DO NOT HELP PEOPLE WITH BROKEN LIVES.

      THEY DO NOT UNIFY THE PEOPLE.

      THEY DO NOT SEEK PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT SAVED.

      THEY RULE WITH FORCE AND CRUELTY.

v      READ EZE 34:11-22    THE RESCUE OF THE SCATTERED FLOCK BY THE CHIEF SHEPHERD

      THE FIRST FULFILLMENT:

         MOST OF GOD’S PEOPLE ARE CAPTIVE IN BABYLON. ONLY A FEW FARMERS REMAIN IN ISRAEL. A FEW ISRAELITES TRIED TO FLEE TO OTHER NATIONS BUT THEY WERE CAPTURED BY THE BABYLONIANS WHEN THESE OTHER NATIONS WERE ALSO DEFEATED. GOD’S EVALUATION OF THE SITUATION IS THAT HIS PEOPLE ARE SCATTERED LIKE A FLOCK OF SHEEP ATTACKED BY WOLVES.

         GOD WILL RESCUE THEM AND RETURN THEM TO THEIR OWN LAND IN ISRAEL.

        THIS WAS FULFILLED AT THE END OF THE 70-YEAR BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY. THE PEOPLE RETURNED TO ISRAEL AND REBUILT THE TEMPLE AND THE CITIES.

      THE SECOND FULFILLMENT:

         HOW DO WE KNOW THERE IS A SECOND FULFILLMENT?

        EZE 34:12 AND 13 MENTION “MANY NATIONS” NOT JUST BABYLON.

         SINCE 70 AD WHEN THE ROMANS DESTROYED THE TEMPLE AND THE NATION OF ISRAEL, THE JEWISH PEOPLE HAVE EXISTED IN A SCATTERED CONDITION IN MANY COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD.

        TODAY THERE ARE MORE JEWISH PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES THAN THERE ARE IN ISRAEL.

         GOD BEGAN TO RE-GATHER THE JEWS WHEN ISRAEL BECAME A NATION IN 1948. HOWEVER, ALL THE JEWS ARE STILL NOT BACK IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL.

        THIS RE-GATHERING WILL OCCUR IN STAGES. THE ANTI-CHRIST WILL INSURE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD. MANY JEWS WILL RETURN TO ISRAEL AT THAT TIME.

        FINALLY AT THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST TO THIS EARTH, HE WILL RE-GATHER ALL THE JEWS IN EVERY NATION OF THE WORLD BACK TO ISRAEL. HE WILL BE THEIR SHEPHERD IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM. (MAT 24:31)

      JESUS WILL FULFILL HIS ROLE AS THE  SHEPHERD.

      JESUS CHRIST, THE GOOD SHEPHERD -- JOH 10:11

      JESUS CHRIST, THE GREAT SHEPHERD -- HEB 13:20

      JESUS CHRIST, THE CHIEF SHEPHERD – 1PET  5:4

         THE JUDGMENT OF NATIONS:  (17, 20, 22) THE SEPARATION OF THE SHEEP AND GOAT NATIONS:

        THE JUDGMENT OF NATIONS WILL OCCUR IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. (MAT 35:31-41)

      THE CRITERIA FOR JUDGMENT OF GENTILE NATIONS IS THEIR TREATMENT OF JEWS, THE NATION OF ISRAEL, AND CHRISTIANS DURING THE TRIBULATION PERIOD.

         153 GENTILE NATIONS AND ISRAEL WILL EXIST IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM OF CHRIST. (JOH 21:8-14)

v      THE RE-GATHERING OF ISRAEL WAS PROPHESIED BY MOSES BEFORE THE ISRAELITES ENTERED THE PROMISED LAND UNDER JOSHUA.

      READ DEU 30:1-10  THE PALESTINIAN COVENANT

         WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS OF THIS COVENANT?

        GOD PROMISES THAT HE WILL HAVE MERCY ON HIS REBELLIOUS PEOPLE.

        GOD PROMISES THAT HE WILL RE-GATHER THE JEWS FROM EVERY NATION.

        GOD PROMISES THAT HE WILL RESTORE HIS PEOPLE TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL.

        GOD PROMISES THAT HE WILL BLESS HIS PEOPLE WITH ABUNDANCE IN THE LAND.

        GOD PROMISES THAT HE WILL CAUSE HIS PEOPLE TO KNOW HIM AND HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

        GOD PROMISES THAT HE WILL CURSE ISRAEL’S ENEMIES.

        GOD PROMISES THAT ONE FUTURE DAY HIS PEOPLE WILL BE OBEDIENT SERVANTS OF GOD.

      EZEKIEL’S PROPHECIES ABOUT THE RE-GATHERING OF ISRAEL ARE FURTHER DETAILS BASED ON THE PALESTINIAN COVENANT GIVEN TO MOSES. THE PROMISES THAT GOD MAKES IN EZEKIEL ARE A RE-STATEMENT OF THE PROMISES HE GAVE TO ABRAHAM AND THEN TO MOSES.

v      READ EZE 34:23-31    THE PROTECTION OF THE FLOCK

      IT WILL NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH SIMPLY TO RE-GATHER THE FLOCK OF GOD’S PEOPLE. IF THE JEWS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT LEADERS TO SHEPHERD THEM, THEY WILL BE EASILY SCATTERED AGAIN.

         THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE ISRAELITES RETURNED TO THE LAND AFTER THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY. THEY ENDURED HARDSHIP AND PERSECUTION FROM OTHER PEOPLE LIVING IN THE LAND. GOD GAVE THEM A FEW STRONG LEADERS (GOOD SHEPHERDS) LIKE EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. HOWEVER, THE PEOPLE DID NOT REMAIN FAITHFUL TO GOD. ONCE AGAIN BAD SHEPHERDS CONTROLLED ISRAEL (MAL 2) FOR OVER 400 YEARS UNTIL THE TIME OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WHEN JESUS REBUKED THE PHARISEES FOR NOT BEING GOOD SHEPHERDS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD.

      GOD SAYS THAT WHEN JESUS CHRIST RETURNS AND ESTABLISHES HIS MILLENNIAL KINGDOM, CHRIST WILL PROTECT THE FLOCK. THEN THEY WILL NEVER BE SCATTERED AGAIN. THEY WILL DWELL IN THE PROMISED LAND IN SAFETY FROM ALL THEIR ENEMIES.

      THE ROLE OF DAVID IN THE MILLENNIUM (23-24)

         IT IS INTERESTING THAT EZEKIEL MENTIONS THE ROLE OF DAVID IN THE MILLENNIUM.

        HE WILL BE A LEADER, PRINCE, A VICE-REGENT UNDER JESUS CHRIST.

      THERE ARE OTHER SCRIPTURES THAT ALSO MENTION THIS ROLE OF DAVID IN THE MILLENNIUM. (JER 30:9  HOS 3:5) EZEKIEL WILL REFER TO DAVID AGAIN LATER IN THE BOOK WHEN WE TALK MORE ABOUT THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM OF CHRIST ON EARTH. (EZE 37:25  EZE 45:22  EZE 46:4)

      A NEW COVENANT OF PEACE WITH ISRAEL

         AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD, THE ANTI-CHRIST WILL PROMISE PEACE TO ISRAEL. HE WILL CONFIRM A COVENANT (A PEACE TREATY) THAT WILL NOT BRING PEACE BUT WAR TO THIS EARTH. HOWEVER, THE ANTII-CHRIST’S DECEPTION WILL TRAP THE JEWS. THEY WILL FALSELY BELIEVE THAT THE ANTI-CHRIST IS THEIR MESSIAH.

         WHEN JESUS CHRIST, THE TRUE MESSIAH, COMES BACK TO EARTH, HE WILL BRING TRUE PEACE TO ISRAEL.

v      APPLICATION:

      AS BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST GATHERED TOGETHER IN A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH, GOD’S MESSAGE TO LEADERS THEN IS THE SAME MESSAGE TO LEADERS TODAY.

         PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERS:

        MUST PUT THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE ABOVE THEIR OWN INTERESTS. (2-3)

        MUST NOT RULE HARSHLY BUT MUST BE SERVANTS.

        MUST NOT NEGLECT THE PEOPLE CAUSING THEM TO SCATTER.

        MUST FEED THE FLOCK OF GOD WITH THE WORD OF GOD.

HOMEWORK

EZEKIEL 35 AND 36
THIS IS A SELF-STUDY. PLEASE DO NOT SEND HOMEWORK ANSWERS TO THE TEACHER FOR CORRECTION.

v      APPLICATION OF EZE 34

      IF YOU ARE A LEADER OF THE FLOCK, RE-READ THE PARAGRAPH UNDER “APPLICATION” ABOVE.

         WHICH AREAS OF LEADERSHIP MUST YOU IMPROVE TO BE A GOOD SHEPHERD OF GOD’S PEOPLE?

         WHAT SPECIFIC ACTIONS WILL YOU DO TO BE A BETTER SHEPHERD?

v      PREPARATION FOR EZE 35 AND 36

      READ EZE 35:1-15

         READ MAT 24:16-21  REV 12:6

      READ EZE 36:1-38

         WHAT IS GOD’S PURPOSE FOR JUDGMENT ON ISRAEL’S ENEMIES AND THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL? (22-23)

         WHAT NEW THINGS DOES GOD PROMISE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?

v      MEMORY VERSE:    PSALMS 17:7