Ezekiel, 2 in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

II. Significance of Ezekiel in Israel's Religious History. Under the first head we will consider the formal characteristics and significance of the book; and the examination of its contents will form the subject under the next four divisions. 1. Formal Characteristics of Ezekiel: It is not correct to regard Ezekiel merely as a writer, as it is becoming more and more customary to do. Passages like 3:10 f; 14:4 ff; 20:1 ff,27; 24:18 ff; 43:10 f show that just as the other prophets did, he too proclaimed by word of mouth the revelations of God he had received. However, he had access only to a portion of the people. It was indeed for him even more important than it had been for the earlier prophets to provide for the wider circulation and permanent influence of his message by putting it into written form. We will, at this point, examine his book first of all from its formal and its aesthetic side. To do this it is very difficult, in a short sketch, to give even a general impression of the practically inexhaustible riches of the means at his command for the expression of his thoughts. (1) Visions. Thus, a number of visions at once attract our attention. In the beginning of his work there appears to him the Divine throne-chariot, which comes from the north as a storm, as a great cloud and a fire rolled together. This chariot is borne by the four living creatures in the form of men, with the countenances of a man, of a lion, of an ox and of an eagle, representing the whole living creation. It will be remembered that these figures have passed over into the Revelation of John (Rev 4:7), and later were regarded as the symbols of the four evangelists. In Ezek 10 f this throne- chariot in the vision leaves the portal of the temple going toward the east, returning again in the prediction of deliverance in Ezek 43. Moreover, the entire last nine chapters are to be interpreted as a vision (compare 40:2). We must not forget, finally, the revivification of the Israelite nation in Ezek 37, represented in the picture of a field full of dead bones, which are again united, covered with skin, and receive new life through the ruach (word of two meanings, "wind" and "spirit")...

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