Chapter 13:8-16 (ESV) - Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God. Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out. And when the wall falls, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the coating with which you smeared it?’ Therefore thus says the Lord God: I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath, and there shall be a deluge of rain in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end. And I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you shall perish in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Thus will I spend my wrath upon the wall and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash, and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it, the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace, declares the Lord God.
Question to consider: Why were the walls smeared with whitewash?
Ezekiel as the Son of man was to call out a woe against the prophets of Jerusalem who uttered falsehoods and lied about seeing visions from God proclaiming that they would be secure from judgment, and that they would be protected and prosper in the city. After the 70 years of exile were complete, these false prophets would not be welcomed back into the land or be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel.
They had misled the people saying, “Peace,” when there was no peace. They put their faith in the strength of the walls, but God pointed out that these walls were smeared with whitewash. This was a thin veneer that was used to preserve mud-brick buildings. It covered over the cracks to keep the weather from getting into the cracks and causing them to crumble. It was also used as an expression to refer to something that disguised flaws in something.
God would expose the weaknesses in the wall with a deluge of rain and large hailstones which would cause the wall to crumble. This vision of hail could be the image of the forces of Babylon with their siege-works flinging large stones at the wall to make it crumble, and arrows coming down on Jerusalem like heavy rain showers. This same imagery is used in Revelation 16 regarding the Roman siege referring to Rome as “Babylon the Great”. It is possible that both events had supernatural hailstones of great weight, but I lean more towards the siege-works since God’s judgment was ultimately carried out by these nations. When we talk about Christ’s final return in judgment, there will not be siege-works against a city. Christ is coming to raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness.
I also think it is interesting to note that in Matthew 23, Jesus, as the “Son of man”, pronounced seven woes on the false prophets of His day for burdening people with their rules and traditions and making their disciples twice as much a son of hell as they were. Rather than speaking of the whitewash used to cover the walls of Jerusalem, Jesus spoke of the false prophets as whitewashed tombs which had a veneer of righteousness but were filled with the “dead men’s bones” of lawlessness and hypocrisy. Jesus would send them His apostles and prophets whom they would persecute and kill, and all of the judgment from Abel onward would come upon their generation as the temple was fully and finally destroyed.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for exposing all truth and giving us the promise that one day justice will come upon the world, and all things will be brought into account. Until that day comes, please stir up in us a desire to be Your instruments of mercy to the world so people will turn to Christ. Amen.