Chapter 24:1-14 (ESV) - In the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord God:
“Set on the pot, set it on;
pour in water also;
put in it the pieces of meat,
all the good pieces, the thigh and the shoulder;
fill it with choice bones.
Take the choicest one of the flock;
pile the logs under it;
boil it well;
seethe also its bones in it.
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose corrosion is in it, and whose corrosion has not gone out of it! Take out of it piece after piece, without making any choice. For the blood she has shed is in her midst; she put it on the bare rock; she did not pour it out on the ground to cover it with dust. To rouse my wrath, to take vengeance, I have set on the bare rock the blood she has shed, that it may not be covered. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city! I also will make the pile great. Heap on the logs, kindle the fire, boil the meat well, mix in the spices, and let the bones be burned up. Then set it empty upon the coals, that it may become hot, and its copper may burn, that its uncleanness may be melted in it, its corrosion consumed. She has wearied herself with toil; its abundant corrosion does not go out of it. Into the fire with its corrosion! On account of your unclean lewdness, because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed from your uncleanness, you shall not be cleansed anymore till I have satisfied my fury upon you. I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.”
Question to consider: What is represented by the copper pot in this parable?
Back in chapter 11, God compared those in Jerusalem who believed they were favored by God and protected from harm as choice pieces of meat in a cauldron. On this day, that rusty and corroded cauldron would be set on the fires of judgment. The day of the siege was in the ninth year, 586 BC, on the tenth day of the tenth month and would live in infamy (much like Pearl Harbor or 9/11) because of the horrors it contained.
Ezekiel was to utter the parable, but it’s also possible he acted it out in their midst while he did, putting the bones and meat into a rusty pot, setting the pot onto a fire, adding spices and letting it boil, and then slowing taking out pieces of meat and setting them on a rock to be exposed to the sun rather than buried in the dust, and taking out bones to let them be burned in the fire. This represented the bodies that would be denied burial during the siege, a sign they were under God’s wrath.
The pot itself, emptied of its contents, was to remain on the fire with its corrosion and scum inside until it burned up and was purified of its uncleanness. This of course represented the city itself which would be emptied of the people but burned up with the idols and images inside.
The time for judgment had come. There was no more chance to repent. No one would be spared. God would not relent from this judgment. If we compared this with the passion of Christ, this was the moment in which Jesus had fixed His resolve to do the Father’s will in the garden of Gethsemane, and Judas had brought in the guard with his kiss of betrayal. Rather than being judged by God for unrighteousness, Jesus was unjustly judged by men. Rather than being put in a cauldron, He was hung on a cross. On the cross, He was under the wrath of God, not for His own crimes but our own. Rather than being left on the rock, Jesus was buried in a tomb that was sealed by a stone, for the price of sin had been paid in full.
Today, we can either be associated with the meat in the cauldron or Christ on the cross. Each one of us will face a day of no return. God’s calls for repentance will cease. We will either face God’s unrelenting wrath or everlasting grace. We will either be judged according to our own deeds or according to the righteousness of Christ. “As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’” (Hebrews 3:15)
Dear heavenly father, help us to see that time is short, and our need for Christ is great. May we listen to these warnings given through Ezekiel and turn to Christ so that we may not be judged according to our own deeds. Amen.