Good Are They?"
"And the more fruit you bear, the more the Father is glorified"
Have you ever seen a grape vine when it was loaded with luscious grapes? Have you ever picked up a piece of the vine-wood that has broken off and felt it? If you have, the following allegory of the worthless vine-wood will make even more sense to you than it will to those who have never been to a vineyard.
We have just completed chapter 14 and we learned that the time will come [even now is] when the remnant, the sons and daughters spoken of by Joel the prophet who Peter quoted on Pentecost day in Acts chapter 2, will come forth and be a comfort, meaning they will produce fruit, at the time of the end when God sends His judgment upon the earth. But the majority of people, especially Christians who should be attached to the true Vine and producing fruit for Him, will be deceived [even now are] and steeped in a system of religious worship and church going that appears to be Christianity. However, though most do it in ignorance, they have nevertheless removed themselves far from the true Vine and do "trespass a trespass", meaning they commit great abominations in the sight of the Lord. Our Father is about to tell us that He looks upon them as useless vine-wood.
We could therefore title this short chapter 15,
"What Good Are They?"
"Son of man, what use is the wood of the vine compared with wood from any tree in the forest?" (Moffat)Ezekiel 15:1
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?
You see, the sole excellency of the branch from a vine is that it bears fruit! If it does not bear fruit, then unlike other types of trees whose wood is useful, the vine-wood is just about worthless because it is spindly, soft, brittle, and crooked. At least an oak tree can be used to make beautiful furniture, or used as a support beam for a house, or even burned as firewood. Not so with vine-wood!
Can you make anything worthwhile from vine-wood? No, you can't even make a coat rack from the soft, crooked stuff. Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?
Vine-wood doesn't even burn well. It burns on the ends and just smolders in the middle and consequently it doesn't even make good fuel for the fire, i.e. it is lousy firewood. Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?
The dead vine-wood wasn't much good before it was burned, and it will worth even less afterwards.Ezekiel 15:5
Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?
So what's the point of all this? The point is: If a vine branch is cut off from the main vine, it is worthless, even MORE WORTHLESS than other branches from the other types of trees in the forest.
God is going to remove them and "burn them" so to speak! Just as our Father does not consider the dead vine-wood to be worth very much, He does not consider the spiritually dead inhabitants of Jerusalem (think most 21st century so-called Christian churches) to be worth very much either. Again, at least with other trees you could take the lumber and build a house, but there's not much you can do with detached vine-wood except get rid of it! Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
When God sets His face against someone, they are in big trouble, and they will experience one calamity after another, which is what the expression means, "they shall go from one fire, and another fire shall devour them". It is a analogous to the expressions we use like, "they are going to go from the frying pan into fire" or "they are going to get burned wherever they go". And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.
Perhaps it is also fitting that an expression with "fire" is used here, because as Hebrews 12:29 declares, "... our God is a consuming fire", and when it is He who gets after someone, things can get real hot! And if ultimately they do not repent, that "fire" will consume them and they will perish, gone for evermore.
In our last study we learned about the figure of speech Polyptoton, in the expression "trespassing grievously", which means, "to trespass a trespass", or "to cover-up with idolatry". It is used here again in the phrase "committed a trespass". So the reason the Lord GOD, Adonai Yahveh, is going to make the land "desolate" is because of their false religion, their "abominations" which hide the saving truth of God's Word. Remember also in our last study that our Father said He will deal with each one individually AND according their own idols, their own false religion, i.e. the abominations they harbor in their own mind? And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD.
So how is the Lord GOD going to make the land desolate? We have already read how numerous times so far in our study of Ezekiel. He makes the land desolate by sending the king of Babylon, Satan, who is the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by Daniel the prophet! He sends the spurious messiah, the desolator, "the abomination who makes desolate" (Dan. 9:27 & 12:11). He sends the king of Babylon spoken of in the Book of Revelation. In other words, He sends Satan himself who is shortly to be cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:7-9) to this earth to make desolate the souls of those who have cut themselves off and are as useless as dead vine-wood.
Sometimes one has to wonder what it takes for some of us to learn that apart from God we are nothing. If we do not have Jesus Christ and therefore are not attached to that true Vine, and are not being fed by Him through His Word, and therefore are not producing any fruit, then as the message of this chapter reveals, "What Good Are We?" Let's go to John 15 where Christ explains how it is supposed to be with the branches and the Vine.
The "I AM", Jesus Christ, likens Himself to a vine, which has branches. The question is, "Why would He make this analogy"? To visually teach us, so that we may get a clear PICTURE of how He abides in us and we in Him. Jesus is the Vine and the Father is the husbandman, the vinedresser, the caretaker who goes through the vineyard and prunes the branches and cuts off the dead ones.John 15:1
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Horticultural note: A vine, like a grape vine, is the main artery, the trunk through which the life sustaining nutrients flow to feed and nourish the branches so that they can produce beautiful ripe fruit, like a whole cluster of grapes.
And there is only ONE TRUE VINE, even the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, none can come unto the Father except by Him (John 14:6)?
There are two things noted here: Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
(1) If a branch [person] does not bear fruit, it [he] is cut off and taken away.
(2) If a branch does bear fruit then the Husbandman will occasionally prune it back so that it may be even more productive, because if the branches are left to grow "wild" they will not produce near as much fruit. Amazing, isn't it? Anyone who has kept a vineyard or has a fruit tree is very familiar with trimming and pruning. So within this simple agricultural process we, the branches, can better "See" and understand our relationship to the vine, which is Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God.
"Now, you have already been pruned by my words." (Phillip's translation) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
This is so simple and basic, something we have all observed, whether it be a vine branch, cut flowers, or even a Christmas tree. If you "Cut off" a branch it will not be able to produce anything because it cannot be fed from the vine. A branch, by itself, apart from being "plugged into" the vine, cannot produce anything. Once it is cut off, it will become dry and lifeless and be destined for verse 6, which in this case is the "deep 6". Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
As long as you [a branch] stay plugged into the vine and are FED and RECEIVE the nutrients from it, then you will produce much fruit. But, without being fed from the Word of God, you can do nothing. So you may be a branch, even call yourself a Christian, but if you don't stay attached to His Word, the Vine, you will produce no fruit.John 15:5
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Here's how worthless branches that produce no fruit are handled:
Of course this is analogous to the lake of fire following the Millennium, when all the "dead wood" that has been gathered is cast into the lake of fire and is consumed away and perishes, just as John 3:16 says.John 15:6
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
That's the bad news. BUT, there is GOOD and WONDERFUL news too!
If you stay attached to the True Vine, and become engorged with its nutrients [His words] which flow from it [Him], so that they [His words] abide in you, then you absolutely can't imagine the blessings the Father will bestow upon you.
What will a person who is attached to the Vine and filled with the Holy Spirit, the words which have flowed from the Vine, even the wisdom of Almighty God, ask for in prayer? If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
A new BMW? Hardly! They will seek more wisdom and understanding and that which is necessary to bring forth MORE FRUIT! Why?
Because you see, the more nutrients you receive from the Vine, the more you become like Him and the more His will becomes your will, for He is "in you". Shall we say, "Like Father, like son", or "daughter" too!
And the more fruit you bear, the more the Father is glorified, and so the more He showers His love and blessings on you.
Do you not do the same for your children when they love you and do good things to please you? And you know how good it feels to give them a new toy or reward and watch the smile on their little faces, as they look up and put their arms around your neck and squeeze you and hug you and say "thank you mommy", or "thank you daddy". It doesn't get any better than that, does it? Our Father loves His children and He loves to bless them too!
Are you one of those sons or daughters who we learn of even in this Book of Ezekiel, even in Book of Joel, who would come forth in this final generation to be a blessing to God's children? Then stay plugged into that true Vine, His Word, and drink of the nutrients from that Vine, and behold, in due season you will produce much fruit, and you know what? That fruit will remain forever! (Jn. 15:16)
In our next study we will discover
our Father's favorite location in all the Universe, which will eventually
be His home where He will dwell with His beloved children.
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