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Introduction to the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible
Ezekiel 3:17-19 - Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Ezekiel 28:6-10 - Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of [them that are] slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I [am] God? but thou [shalt be] a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 43:1-4- Afterward he brought me to the gate, [even] the gate that looketh toward the east: And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice [was] like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. And [it was] according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, [even] according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions [were] like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect [is] toward the east.
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Ezekiel
Hebrew Name - Yehezqel "God is strength"
Greek Name - Iezekiel (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Ezekiel (According to Tradition)
Date - 595 BC Approximately
Theme - The final restoration of Israel
Types and Shadows - In Ezekiel Jesus is the son of man
Summary of The Book of Ezekiel
Quick Overview of Ezekiel. – –1-3 – – the call of Ezekiel as a prophet – –4-24 – – Ezekiel's prophecies against Jerusalem – – 25-32– –Ezekiel's prophecies against the nations– – 33-48 – – Ezekiel's prophecies of the future restoration of Israel.
Ezekiel prophesied to the the Jewish captives in Babylon. The Babylonians had invaded Judah three times and each time they took prisoners back to Babylon. The first invasion was in 607 BC and Daniel was taken as a captive to Babylon. The second invasion was in 597 BC and Ezekiel was taken as a captive to Babylon, and in 586 BC Jerusalem was destroyed and all the survivors were taken as captives to Babylon. Ezekiel was married to a beautiful woman who was "the desire of his eyes" and God told him but his beloved wife was going to die on the very same day that Jerusalem was to be destroyed. As a sign to the Jews is a cure was commanded not to mourn his wife's death. He was to prepare himself as God had prepared himself for the death of his beloved city (Ezekiel 24:15-22). God spoke many prophecies through Ezekiel using words, parables, visions, and similitudes (strange things to point to something greater). Ezekiel also prophesied about the false shepherds in Jerusalem and God said that he will be the true Shepherd Messiah and there will be a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a re-gathering of Israel in the land. Ezekiel also predicted the downfall of those nations that were hostile to Judah. Ezekiel 16 is probably the most remarkable chapter concerning the love of God for his people in spite of their continuing idolatry.
"Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you," says the Lord GOD. "But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it." Ezekiel 16:14-15
The prophet Ezekiel taken captive during the time when the Babylonians began their captivity of Judah during the time of the reign of king Jehoichin, which was about 11 years before Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. Ezekiel was one of the Jewish captives who was brought to the land of Babylon and settled on the banks of the river Chebar. While he was by this river and the "land of the Chaldeans" he had a prophetic vision and received his call to be a prophet to the people in exile. This all happened in the fourth month of the "fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (595 BC). There is one interesting note that Ezekiel makes when he mentions that he married a woman in the land of Babylon and had a house, and that he lost his wife on the very day that the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem took place. Something else that is interesting is that the prophecies of Ezekiel address the Jews in Jerusalem and the events taking place over there, as though he was in Jerusalem, but he was actually in Babylon.
According to Jewish tradition Ezekiel was murdered in Babylon by a Jewish prince whom Ezekiel accused of idolatry, Ezekiel was supposedly buried on the banks of the Euphrates River.
The major divisions within the book of Ezekiel reveal the purpose of this ministry. In the first half of the book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1-33) Judah is accused of breaking all of God's commandments, and they are warned by God that they will be destroyed if they persist in their sins. After Ezekiel's announcement of Jerusalem's destruction the book of Ezekiel focuses on an entirely different subject, which is one of comfort and encouragement to the heartbroken Jews.
The contents of the book may be analyzed further as follows :
Outline of the Book of Ezekiel
I. Israel's sin and impending judgment, uttered before the final captivity (Ezekiel 1-24).
1) Biographical information concerning Ezekiel, including a note as to his personal situation and a description of his call to the prophetic ministry (Ezekiel 1-3 ).
2 ) The siege of Jerusalem portrayed in four symbolical acts (Ezekiel 4-7 ). In the first of these, Ezekiel evidently drew a picture of a city under siege, indicating that this was soon to be the condition of Jerusalem. After this, Ezekiel lay on his side for a great number of days, announcing that the nation was to be punished for its sins. By eating an inferior type of food which had been cooked on animal dung, Ezekiel predicted the famine which would accompany the siege. In the final act, Ezekiel shaved his head, burning his hair, striking it with a sword and scattering it to the winds, indicating the fate of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 6 and 7 contain additional oracles concerning Israel's sin and imminent doom.
3 ) Visions of idolatry in Jerusalem and the resultant judgment and destruction of that city (Ezekiel 8-11).
4 ) Further prophecies against Jerusalem (Ezekiel 12-24). This section contains a rebuke of false prophets and hypocrites (Ezekiel 12-14), a repeated emphasis on the certainty and necessity of punishment (Ezekiel 15-17), a discussion of retribution and responsibility and a reassertion of God's love toward sinners (Ezekiel 18), a lamentation or dirge over the rulers of Judah (Ezekiel 19) and final warnings before the complete destruction of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 20-24).
II. Prophecies against the nations of Am-mon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon and Egypt (Ezekiel 25-32).
III. Prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel, uttered after the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
1 ) A discussion of the responsibility of the people to respond to the call of the prophet (Ezekiel 33: 1-20).
2 ) The announcement of the fall of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 33:21-33).
3 ) A contrast between the leadership of the faithless shepherds ( kings) of Judah and Israel and the true shepherd who was to come (Ezekiel 34).
4 ) The doom of Edom (Ezekiel 35).
5 ) The vision of the valley of dry bones, symbolizing the resurrection of the remnant of Israel (Ezekiel 36-37).
6 ) The prophecy of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39 ).
7 ) The rebuilt Temple (Ezekiel 40-48).
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The Story of the Bible - Part One - The Old Testament