The third of the so-called ‘major' prophets
written : possibly over
a period between 593 and 571
Against Israel warning if impending
destruction of Jerusalem
Against surrounding nations
Consoling Israel (probably after the
fall of Jerusalem
Oracles of Judgment against Israel
Ezekiel's Inaugural Vision
Symbolic Acts Portraying the Siege of Jerusalem
Oracles Explaining Divine Judgment
Vision of the Corrupted Temple
Symbolic Acts Portraying Jerusalem's Exile
Oracles Explaining Divine Judgment
of Judgment against the Nations
Against Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia
A Note of Promise for Israel
Oracles of Consolation for Israel
Jerusalem 's Fall Reported and Explained
The Lord as the Good Shepherd
Oracles against Edom
Consolations for the Mountains of Israel & Summary of Ezekiel's
Vision of National Restoration
The Final Battle
Vision of Renewed Worship
Ezekiel deported to Babylon
Receives his call to be a prophet (1:1)
Fall of Jerusalem (33:21)
last dated oracle of Ezekiel (29:17)
He was among the Jews exiled to Babylon
by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C.,
There among the exiles, as a priest, he
received his call to become a prophet (see 1:1-3).
He was married (see 24:15-18),
He lived in a house of his own (see 3:24;
8:1) and, along with his fellow exiles, had a relatively free existence.
chs. 1-3 – Vision of the Cherubim
8-11 – Vision of Glory and Godlessness
37:1-14 – Vision of Valley of Dry Bones
40-48 – Vision of the Temple being measured
12 symbolic acts:
3:22-26 – to be silent except when a ‘word'
4:1-3 – the clay tablet picture
4:4-8 – laying on his side
4:9-11 – measuring out food
4:12-14- eating defiled food
5:1-3 – shaving his head
12:1-16 – packing for exile
12:17-20 – shuddering when eating &
21:6-7 – groaning before the people
21:18-24 – marking out two roads
24:15-24 – groaning before the death of
37:15-28 – writing on sticks
Note the Departing (and returning) Glory of God
& 10:4 from above the cherubim, where it had been, and
moved to the threshold of the temple.
from over the threshold of the
temple and stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the LORD's house,
from within the city and stopped
above the mountain east of it.
coming from the east…entered the temple through the gate facing east
and filled the temple
glory fills the temple
Ezekiel exiled. 593BC – Ezekiel's first big vision of God
the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was
among the exiles by the Kebar River , the heavens were opened and I
saw visions of God. On the fifth of the month--it was the fifth year
of the exile of King Jehoiachin-- the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel
the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians.
There the hand of the LORD was upon him.
said: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious
nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been
in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending
you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, `This is what the Sovereign
LORD says.' And whether they listen or fail to listen--for they are
a rebellious house--they will know that a prophet has been among them.
And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not
be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live
among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them,
though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them,
whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.
Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness
and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon
me. I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River
. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days--overwhelmed.
At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: "Son
of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel ; so hear
the word I speak and give them warning from me.
will only speak when God gives him a word
hand of the LORD was upon me there, and he said to me, "Get up
and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you." So I got
up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the LORD was standing
there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River , and I fell facedown.
Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me
and said: "Go, shut yourself inside your house. And you, son of
man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot
go out among the people. I will make your tongue stick to the roof of
your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, though
they are a rebellious house. But when I speak to you, I will open your
mouth and you shall say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says.'
Whoever will listen let him listen, and whoever will refuse let him
refuse; for they are a rebellious house.
biggest difficulty (others may disagree) is in respect of the last nine
chapters of the book, all about the ‘future'(?) temple. Here is an expanded
section of the Outline above:
40-48 Vision of Renewed Worship
Wall around the temple
The return of God's glory
The duties of the prince
Life-giving water & Land allotment
big question is that of interpretation: when does all this refer to?
The problem is that we are really not given any clue and perhaps for
this reason various schools of thought have arisen as follows:
Literal prophetic interpretation
supposed to be a blue print for the rebuilding of the temple when the
Symbolic Christian interpretation
the vision had its fulfilment symbolically in the Christian church
literalist and futurist – refers to the last days when prophecies of
Israel 's glorious future are fulfilled
Ezekiel's pattern for the Messianic age that was to come.
simply mention these for those who wish to do their own research. Whether
any or all of these are true only time will tell. Perhaps the safest
thing to say is that when so many pages are given to a subject, even
though we may not understand it, it does signify it is important to
God. The temple and the future of Israel are important in God's economy
and it appears that His intent is that His glory will return to His
temple. (Now of course that has happened in the Christian church – we
are the temple of the Holy Spirit.)
Ezekiel is a book full of different sorts
of revelation – visions and words (spoken and acted) nd revelations
Although there was a lot of historical
narrative in Jeremiah, the things that happened to him (persecution,
imprisonment etc), the ‘actions' in Ezekiel are all about different
ways of conveying the message of the Lord, i.e. action prophecies.
While Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem,
Ezekiel was an exile carried into Babylonia by one of Nebuchadnezzar's
earlier expeditions and it was there he prophesied, mostly about Jerusalem,
in the midst of the exiles there.
Although Isaiah has a brief revelation
of heaven (Isa 6), Ezekiel has more than one revelation of the heavenly
Ezekiel is a fascinating book. The fact
that much of it arose about the critical time of change for Jerusalem
should make it particularly significant in our understanding.
As with Jeremiah, the number of warnings
about the impending doom of Jerusalem shows a God of patience and compassion
and the Lord's declaration (3 times) should always be before us: “I
take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Repent and live!” (Ezek 18:32
& 18:23 & 33:11)
The prophetic words to the surrounding
nations remind us that God holds nations accountable for the way they
treat His chosen people.
Mix these in with the many action snippets
here and we have a book that is like a rainbow of prophetic colours;
beautiful and mysterious, and definitely worth reading (and worth the
effort that will be required with it!)
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