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.
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")...