Merchants of Souls

Scripture Passage: 
Ezekiel 13:17-23
Attached audio files: 

Introduction: Interpretation of the women that sew pillows to armholes and hunt for the souls of men – soothsayers; fortune tellers, sorcerers (Revelation 18:11-13, 23). The ones Ezekiel is called to pronounce judgment against are hunting the souls of God’s people (verse 18) and polluting God among His people (verse 19). This points to a broader application. This message focuses on those who make merchandise of God’s people in order to pollute God among His people (2 Peter 2:3).

  • Sorcery/Witchcraft (Ezekiel 13:23 – “divine divinations”)
  • Pornography
  • False Doctrine
  • Meditation/Eastern Religious Practices
  • Fantasy/Computer Games & Fantasy Worlds
  • Pleasure (2 Timothy 3:4 – “lovers of pleasure”)
  1. THEY PROPHESY OUT OF THEIR OWN HEART (Ezekiel 13:17)
    1. They Follow their own Spirit (Ezekiel 13:2-3)
    2.  They Find Those Willing to Listen (2 Timothy 4:3; Romans 16:17-18)
  2. THEY HUNT THE SOULS OF GOD’S PEOPLE (Ezekiel 13:18, 20)
    1. They Claim to have the Keys to Salvation (Ezekiel 13:18)
    2. They Promise Liberty and Bring Bondage (2 Peter 2:18-19)   Satan Rages Against the Godly – “The devil, both a serpent for craft and a lion for cruelty, doth, out of his hatred to God, make it his constant business by his power and policy to hinder godliness… While Satan reigneth in a creature, all may be quiet and calm; but if he be once cast out, he will rage and roar to purpose. While Israel serveth the Egyptians, carrying their crosses, bearing their burdens, doing their drudgery, all is well; but when once they shake off Pharaoh’s yoke, turn, their backs upon Egypt, and set out for Canaan, with what force and fury are they pursued to be brought back to their former bondage! Christ was no sooner baptized than buffeted; he went, as it were, out of the water of baptism into the fire of temptation.” –from The Works of George Swinnock: Volume 1 (pages 62-63).
  3. THEY POLLUTE GOD AMONG HIS PEOPLE (Ezekiel 13:19)
    1. They Defile God among the People (Ezekiel 20:39)
    2. They Do It for Pieces of Bread (Micah 3:11)
    3. They Do It by Lying to God’s People (Jeremiah 5:31)
  4. THEY REMOVE THE JOY OF THE RIGHTEOUS (Ezekiel 13:22)
    1. The Joy of the Lord is their Strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
    2. By Sorrow of Heart the Heart is Broken (Proverbs 15:13)
  5. THEY STRENGTHEN THE HANDS OF THE WICKED (Ezekiel 13:22)
    1. They Encourage the Wicked (Jeremiah 23:14; 29:32)
    2. They Falsely Promise him Life (Genesis 3:4-5; Jeremiah 23:17)

Conclusion:   Satan’s Basket of Beans – “Rowland Hill began his sermon one morning by saying, ‘My friends, the other day I was going down by the street, and I saw a drove of pigs following a man. This excited my curiosity so much that I determined to follow. I did so; and, to my great surprise, I saw them follow him to the slaughter-house. I was anxious to know how this was brought about; and I said to the man, “My friend, how did you manage to induce these pigs to follow you here?” “Oh! Did you not see?” said the man. “I had a basket of beans under my arm; and I dropped a few as I came along, and so they followed me.” ‘Yes,’ said the preacher; ‘and I thought, so it is the devil has his basket of beans under his arm; and he drops them as he goes along: and what multitudes he induces to follow him to an everlasting slaughter-house! Yes, friends; and all your broad and crowded thoroughfares are strewn with the beans of the devil.’ ” –from New Encyclopedia of Prose Illustrations (page 21).

David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 22:2

The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.