12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
13 Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.
Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.
15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the Lord have spoken it.
16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:
17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it.
Pestilence, Famine and Sword
Judgment of God that was to come was determined not because of the sin of Israel but for man’s disobedience. We shall understand it from the four horsemen of Apocalypse, which is a misconception bandied about in popular culture. While the Lamb breaks the seven seals in the Book of the Revelation it is the four beasts seated before the throne of heaven who explain one after the other and who are these horsemen?
They are proceeding from heaven signifying all the calamities that were to descend on the earth have been foreknown but the horse in white and the rider on the bow indicate God is totally in control. “And he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer (Re.6:2)” Having understood the living creatures mentioned in the first chapter of Ezekiel let us refresh our minds. They represent the angel of his presence and the hand of man each creature had signifies their authority came from the Son. The Spirit of Christ in the Vision of John is shown as a rider on the white horse and what is the bow? “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord”(Ez.1:28).
The fourth horse carries Death.”And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth(Re.6:8). The number Four establishes these riders are sent to the earth. So all pestilence (beasts of the earth), famine (hunger) and war (indicated by the sword) set out. By law of Gradation judgment of God are graded and set under appropriate horses color coded. But the vital point is that the Angel of his presence with the bow representing the glory of God shall restrain these from going rogue. In short the Lord God executes judgment only according to what they deserve.
As a sign Ezekiel had to shave his head indicating the glory of the Lord has deserted them. Exiles under Assyria and Babylon came in waves culminating in the Roman occupation of Palestine. Jerusalem was depopulated and their temple was razed to the ground in AD 70. On the day of Pentecost the outpouring of the Holy Spirit St Peter explained the significance of it,”And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:(Ac.2:17). When the risen Christ sends his angels to collect the saints it is for New Jerusalem and the law shall go out of Zion from the new.”And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem(Is.2:3)”.