WHY DID HE MEASURE?
(THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISOBEDIENCE—THE INHUMANE HORROR OF BOILING AND EATING ONE’S OWN CHILDREN)
EZEK 43:10-12; DEUT 28:53-57
Beloved saints, whether we like it or not, we must enter Ezekiel’s temple. We will perish if we do not enter. Today, I would like to testify on the significance of measuring Ezekiel’s temple. Many people say, “All we need to do for salvation is to believe in Jesus, so why get so complicated with measuring Ezekiel’s temple?” Today’s message is a response to such questions. Due to the Israelites’ disbelief, they faced the tragedy of eating their own children; the women boiled and ate the very children they had birthed, raised, and hugged to sleep. Such monstrous and inconceivable actions actually took place. The Bible records that after boiling the children, the wives would eat in silence without telling anyone and would glare at their husbands if the husbands wanted to eat more.
We must first know Jesus in order to understand the will of God hidden within the Scriptures. Jesus is the mystery of God (Col 2:2-3); without knowing Jesus, we cannot know the mysteries of God. God sealed the mystery so that no one can open it; He told Apostle John who was crying, “only Jesus, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, can know this mystery” (Rev 5:1-5). From Genesis 1 all the way to Revelation 22 (John 5:39, Luke 24:44-45), the Bible speaks only of Jesus. We must go through Him in order to enter heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 5:39, Luke 24:44, John 14:6, John 10:7). He is the door to heaven, the sheep gate. Even if you are upset and distressed, whether you feel good or bad, you can only find peace by bringing Jesus into your heart.
Jesus being God’s mystery means that Jesus is the Word (John 1:1). Therefore, the Word is the beginning, creation, progress, and outcome. We only qualify to enter Ezekiel’s temple when we keep Jesus in our hearts from the beginning to the end. To prevent sinners from eating from the tree of life and gaining eternal life after the fall of Adam and Eve, cherubim were placed and given a flaming sword to guard the entrance to the garden of Eden. If we try to enter without permission, our lives will not be spared. However, through Jesus, this restriction was lifted. Jesus is the tree of life. He is the root and cause of all things, the first and the last (Rev 2:8). The family that holds onto Jesus is blessed. They may not even have a cent to their name, but as long as they hold onto the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will take responsibility over them and bless them. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born into a poor family. His highest level of education was elementary school, but through his mother, he learned of the Bible and received the wisdom and blessing that surpassed those who had doctorate degrees. From God are all things (Rom 11:36). All things revolve around Him and return to Him. Nothing in this universe came into being apart from the Word (John 1:1-4). In a church that has the Word of God, in a church where the glory of God resides, the families of those church members will live in God’s glory and grace, and will receive great blessings. I hope that we all can truly believe in this.
The ways of the Lord are upright. Therefore, only the righteous, the wise, the purified, and the refined will be able to realize God’s ways and act accordingly (Hos 14:9, Jer 9:11, 23:18, Ps 107:43, Dan 12:10). “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand” (Dan 12:10). “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:47). In order to hear the Word of God, we must belong to God.
Beloved saints, chapters 40 to 48 in the book of Ezekiel are the introduction and conclusion of the New and Old Testaments. Ezekiel’s temple is a place where God pours His Holy Spirit upon His people to restore their status as God’s sons and daughters. Even today, we only say that we believe in God, but we haven’t truly believed. God is pointing out that we only think we believe in our heads, but not in our lives through our actions. Ezekiel 43:10-12 states that the temple is “most holy.” The cherubim guarded the Garden of Eden, but the walls guard Ezekiel’s temple. The swindlers, thieves, and those who believe half-heartedly are all kicked out. The walls divide between the holy and the profane (Ezek ch. 42, 43). The wall is over three meters thick and is alive. It is living. Prophet Habakkuk said, “… the stone will cry out” (Hab 2:11); Jesus also said, “…the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). If we sin in the mountains, the grass and trees will report to God by saying, “he/she committed this sinful act right here, at this exact hour, minute, and second.” Please read the second chapter of Jeremiah and you will know that I am not making this up. We think that we can sneak around and be alone when we commit sin, but the Bible clearly states that not only can the walls see us, but the heavens above and the earth below watch us as well. In the end, the ones who are guarded by the blazing wall and stronghold of fire that circles around will be sent in and told, “You are qualified to enter Ezekiel’s temple” (Zech 2:5). Do you fear upon hearing this Word? God never sleeps, He is awake and alert always. The angels also never sleep. There is no night in heaven. There is no weariness. They all overflow with energy every hour of every day. There is no need for sunshine, moonlight, or starlight because the Lamb of God is the eternal light.
Ezekiel’s temple cannot be seen with the eyes of man who is full of sin, but looking at the precise measurements, we know Ezekiel’s temple clearly exists. This is not fake. God detailed how many meters to build with and how thick each part must be. He specified the directions of north, south, east and west, and that there should be three levels. Did Apostle Paul not also see the three levels in heaven? The things of the earth that would take hundreds or thousands of years to accomplish are fulfilled instantly through God, for God has no age or date. He is always unchanging. Though the world has a time of morning, afternoon, and night, His world has no rest. The sun rays harm people and the heat putrefies all lifeforms, but the “sun of righteousness” in heaven will not harm us, despite being 30 times stronger. There is no morning, afternoon, or evening (Rev 7), and we must enter it. Those who earnestly desire and know the Word can enter, but anyone who regards it as irrelevant cannot enter.
Although the temple where God’s glory dwelt was a huge source of pride for the Israelites, they only believed with their heads. They did not truly have God in their lives (Ezek 8:6; 10:18-19; 11:22-23). They had separated from the Word and God said that they were a perverse nation. The glory of God that dwelt in the temple had left, seeing as there was no sense in dwelling there. But the book of Ezekiel records that the Israelites were ashamed of themselves and repented of their rebellion. At last, God’s glory returned (Ezek 40-43:1-5). The worship to recover the relationship with God will begin once again in the new temple. My heart is overwhelmed when I read chapters 44, 46, 47, and 48 in the book of Ezekiel. I’d be shedding tears as I sit at my desk, then before I even realize what I’m doing, I’m dancing in joy. The living water flows out from Ezekiel’s temple and forms a river, reviving everything it touches wherever it flows. The trees that grow from the temple’s living water are not seasonal. They bear a variety of fruit year-round. If you drink this living water, you will never grow old.
New Jerusalem is measured with a gold rod (Rev 21:15-17). Gold remains the same in all four seasons. Likewise, the Bible says that the measurements of angels and humans are the same. God’s thoughts and heart are aligned with those of the angel and people. There is no change. The measurements in Ezekiel’s temple are accurate in every part. The word “measurement” is unique and not heard of within the history of the former tabernacle and temple. Through this one word, God shows us how firm and strict Ezekiel’s temple is. By saying, “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan,” God tells us that the Word is taught only to those who are ashamed and will repent. He forbids teaching His Word to those who know God only with their heads while not having Him in their lives (Ezek 43:10-11). The New International Version translates, “Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple…. Write these down before them…”
But if the people of Israel do not repent and believe in the Word, then the horrifying sin of eating their own children will come upon the nation of Israel. How terrifying is this? We may think, how can one boil the very children they bore, breastfed, put to sleep, and cherished? Yet, 800 years later, this very prophecy (Deut 28:53-57; Jer 26:28-29) by Moses indeed became a reality (2 Kgs 6:28-29; Lam 4:10). This is truly horrifying.
“And the king said to her, ‘What is the matter with you?’ And she answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” So we boiled my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day, “Give your son, that we may eat him”; but she has hidden her son’” (2 Kgs 6:28-29)
This records the final scene of the northern kingdom of Israel. The parents had a discussion and then ate the child. If the husbands were to eat more, the wives would glare with anger. The husbands would be startled and drop what they were eating, and the wives would take it away and finish it. Friends would beat their friends to death to steal their meat. God’s Word is infallible. The prophecies of the prophet Jeremiah were also all fulfilled.
“I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them” (Jer 19:9)
“The hands of compassionate women boiled their own children; They became food for them because of the destruction of the daughter of my people” (Lam 4:10)
Prophet Isaiah also prophesied that this would happen to those who only believed with their heads while they did not truly have God in their lives.
“They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, And they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; Each of them eats the flesh of his own arm” (Isa 9:20)
Ezekiel prophesied that a father would eat his own child, then his other sons, in turn, will beat the father to death to eat him. This wretched truth became a reality.
“Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind” (Ezek 5:10)
1. The prophecy was fulfilled during the time of Jehoram, the ninth king of the northern kingdom of Israel.
During the reign of Ahab’s son, Jehoram, from 851 BC to 840 BC, the army of Ben-hadad king of Aram came and besieged the city of Samaria. The people were starving so much that they boiled and ate their own sons and daughters (2 Kgs 6:24-29). Friends would go out but never return because they were eaten up. Do we not witness the same horrors of famine that is ongoing in North Korea today?
2. The prophecy was fulfilled when the southern kingdom of Judah was invaded by Babylon.
The city of Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar’s army for thirty months from the tenth day of the tenth month in 588 BC to the ninth day of the fourth month in 586 BC. The people began eating their sons and daughters as they ran out of food. This happened five years after Ezekiel had prophesied (Ezek 1:1-2; Jer 19:9; Lam 2:29; 4:10; Ezek 5:10).
3. The prophecy was fulfilled when General Titus besieged Jerusalem for over a year in AD 70.
Jesus wept, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I wanted to gather you together, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings!” He wept, pounding the ground because He foresaw this woeful tragedy. Jeremiah 19:9 is not a fictional tale. This horrible history is recorded in chapter six of The Wars of the Jews, written by the great Jewish historian, Josephus. As many as 1.1 million people died. The words which the Jewish religious leaders spoke to Pilate in crucifying Jesus had come true: “Don’t worry. The sins of shedding Jesus’ blood shall be on us and our children!” (Matt 27:25). How truly frightening this was.
All of these terrible, unthinkable things happened as a result of disobeying God’s Word, the Bible. How could someone even think about boiling one’s child? This is the result of only having God in your mind but living your everyday life without Him. Moses clearly saw what would happen and foretold of Jesus’ coming, along with the horrible events that would unfold. But the Israelites refused to believe it (Lev 26:28-29; Deut 18:15, 28:57-58).
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (Deut 18:15)
“And toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly” (Deut 28:57)
“Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat” (Lev 26:29)
The word “secretly” in Deuteronomy 28:57 means “secretly, covertly.” They ate secretly in fear lest someone would come and snatch it away. This is how hungry they were. They were eating their own fruit — the children raised by their own hands. How awful is this?
“See, O LORD, and look! With whom have You dealt thus? Should women eat their offspring, The little ones who were born healthy? Should priest and prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?” (Lam 2:20)
The child, the very embodiment of the parents’ deep affections and sacrifices, is no longer seen as a son or a daughter, but as mere flesh to eat. All feelings and affection had departed from the hearts of the parents.
It was a tragedy of the entire nation committing an act of merciless brutality that was worse than murder or robbery. All this just to fill up their hunger. Israel did not eat from the gracious Word of the Lord. They were hostile to the Scriptures and did not read it. They didn’t eat the Word, which resulted in eating the very flesh of their sons and daughters. In place of the Word of God, they were filled with idolatry, greed, lewdness, and lust. All their hearts were evil and unrighteous. Their emptiness and hunger could only be filled by God’s grace, but instead, both the men and women attempted to fill it with flesh by committing lustful sins.
“The man who is refined and very delicate among you shall be hostile toward his brother and toward the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain” (Deut 28:54)
“The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter” (Deut 28:56)
In Korean, the word “hostile” consists of two Chinese characters, “to hate” and “to see.” Thus, to be hostile means to look at someone with hatred. Whether you believe it or not, the Bible speaks of such events taking place. Ezekiel’s temple will open only when such tribulations end. Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and 21; these four chapters all record the same narrative. In the temple of the Lord, the sacrifices were to be given to God with whole-hearted efforts; however, the Israelites were just going through the movements. There was hatred in the temple, and hatred is murder (1 Jn 3:15). Those with the highest spiritual authority were sinning in God’s sanctuary.
Beloved saints! For a church and a community of faith that used to be full of righteousness, peace, and joy, it is a grave sin to serve idols and false gods. It is a grave sin to know God only with our heads, while not having fervent gratitude for the Word of God and not living according to the Word. Do you consider the Bible as a bitter enemy? Can you not even read the Bible at least once a day? We must carry the Bible with us wherever we go, even if it’s just a small pocket Bible. When we read the Bible wherever we are, the Word will protect us. Even if someone is trying to kill us or do us harm, when we read the Word, God says, “You have loved me, right? Then I too will protect you.” He will protect us with His Word. I bless you in the name of the Lord that you will live such lives.
“Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind” (Ezek 5:10)
Here, the Hebrew words abowt and banim were used for “fathers” and “sons,” respectively, both in the plural form. Such horrible, tragic, and appalling deeds had become rampant in Jerusalem. The word “eat” is akal in Hebrew. It is as though a brutal, atrocious adversary is looking at you with a sharp and terrifying gaze. This word was also used in Psalm 27:2 and Habakkuk 3:14.
“When evildoers came upon me to devour (akal) my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell” (Psa 27:2)
“You pierced with his own spears the head of his throngs. They stormed in to scatter us; Their exultation was like those who devour (akal) the oppressed in secret.” (Hab 3:14)
Beloved saints! When we in Pyungkang Cheil Church love the Word until the very end and live according to the Word, God’s Spirit of glory will rest upon us, whether we are aware of it, at our homes, in our travels, and at our workplaces (1 Pet 4:14). God will protect us with a wall of fire (Zech 2:5). For those who put their trust in Him and stand on His side, He will surround and protect them like a wall until the end. The original Hebrew Bible records, “sabib sabib,” meaning God protects us by surrounding us forever and ever (Psa 125:2). We only live once; we come and go, and that is all for us. What good is it to live on this earth for ten thousand years? It will still only be just a moment, gone in a blink of an eye. Even if you are unable to pass on a big inheritance to your children, or you cannot provide them a good education, or you don’t have the money to buy them a nice car, you can still offer the best thing in the world when you pass on the Word and have them believe in it. No gift in the world can compare to this. I tell each district to check if everyone comes out for the Lord’s Day services, Wednesday services, Thursday services, and district services. I will receive a list of those who don’t come out often, and twice a day I lift up my hands and pray, calling out their names in groups of ten. I would rather give up my sleep so that I can pray for them. I pray for the strong protection of the Holy Spirit’s wall of fire upon each household, so that by the power and authority of the Word, the devil won’t be able to seize an opportunity within that household. I believe that prayer will certainly be fulfilled. For saints who do bad things, I would pray for them to lose their energy so that they can no longer commit those acts. Even if you’re struggling financially, you will receive blessings if you fill up and plaster your lives with the Word. Pastors and evangelists must check if saints are coming out for services in every district and cell group, and pray for those who do not. I have never committed the sin of ceasing to pray. As parents, have you prayed for your own children? How can we not pray for our children if we believe in God?
God told the prophet Ezekiel to point out the Israelites’ sin of not having God in their lives, even though they claimed to believe, and to teach the Word to those who were ashamed of their sin. May all of you live God-centered, Word-centered lives, so that you can enter the kingdom of God by having in your hearts “only Jesus,” who is the mystery and glory of God, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning, the progression, and the end. I pray for this and bless you in the name of the Lord.
*This post can also be read in 'Champyungan'. (http://champyungan.com/en/)