Lesson 27 The Book Of Ezekiel
THE BOOK: Ezekiel, a priest and a prophet, lived in a time of despair. Ezekiel used prophecies, parables, signs and symbols to dramatize God's message to His exiled people. Though they are like dry bones in the sun, God will reassemble them and breathe life into the nation once again. Present judgment will be followed by future glory so that "ye shall know that I am the Lord" (6:7).
THE AUTHOR: The author can be none other than Ezekiel, the son of Buzi (1:3). He had a wife who died as a sign to Judah when Nebuchadnezzar began his final siege on Jerusalem (24:16-24). His prophetic ministry shows a priestly emphasis in his concern with the temple, priesthood, sacrifices, and the glory of God.
THE TIME OF EZEKIEL: Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in three stages. First, in
605 B.C. he overcame Jehoiakim and carried off key hostages including Daniel and his friends. Second, in 597 B.C. the rebellion of Jehoiakim and Jehoichin brought further punishment; and Nebuchadnezzar made Jerusalem submit a second time. He carried off ten thousand hostages, including Jehoiachin and Ezekiel. Third, in 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city after a long siege and disrupted all of Judah.
THE CHRIST IN EZEKIEL: Ezekiel 17:22-24 depicts the Messiah as a tender twig that becomes a stately cedar on a lofty mountain. The Messiah is the King who has the right to rule (21:26-27), and He is the true Shepherd who will deliver and feed His flock (34:11-31).
THE KEY: "They shall know that I am the Lord." As stated in times past, repetition emphasizes importance. This phrase occurred about seventy times in Ezekiel. This dispels the broad purpose of Ezekiel educating the generation born during the Babylonian exile.
A. The cause of Jerusalem's current destruction.
B. The coming judgment of the gentile nations.
C. The coming national restoration of Israel.
SURVEY OF EZEKIEL
The Commission of Ezekiel 1 - 3
The Judgment of Judah 4 - 24
The Judgment on the Gentiles 25 - 32
The Restoration of Israel 33 - 48
THE COMMISSION OF EZEKIEL 1 - 3
Ezekiel's commission is similar to that of other prophets. Ezekiel's call came with an overwhelming vision of God's divine Glory. Included in the call came the instruction, ability and responsibility.
THE JUDGMENT ON JUDAH 4 - 24
Ezekiel's prophecies are directed against the nation of Israel. With the signs and sermons, Judah's judgment is that of certainty. In 8-11, Judah's past sins and the coming doom are seen in a series of visions of the abomination in the Temple, the slaying of the wicked, and the departing Glory of God. The priests and princes are condemned as the glory leaves the Temple, moves to the Mount of Olives, and disappears in the east. 11:23-24
Chapters 12-24 speak of the cause and extent of Judah's coming judgment through dramatic signs, powerful sermons and parables. Judah's prophets are counterfeits and her elder are idolaters. They have become a fruitless vine and an adulterous wife. Babylon will swoop down like an eagle and pluck them up, and they will not be aided by Egypt. Judah has been unfaithful, but God promises that her judgment ultimately will be followed by restoration.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILES 25 - 32
Judah's nearest neighbors may have gloated over her destruction, but they were the next in line. They too will suffer the fate of siege and destruction by Babylon. Ezekiel shows the full circle of judgement on the nations that surround Judah by following them in a clockwise circuit: Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyrus and Sidon (25-28). Chapters 29-32 contain a series of oracles against Egypt.
THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL 33 - 48
The prophecies in these chapters were given after the overthrow of Jerusalem. Ezekiel's message no longer centers on the coming judgment, but on the positive theme of comfort and consolation. God's people will be regathered and restored. Israel and Judah will be purified and reunited.
1. Ezekiel was a prophet to what people?
2. Explain the three central messages.
3. Ezekiel used unique methods of making his message remain in the minds of
the listeners. What were these methods?
4. Is the judgment of God fair? Explain why.
5. Who was described as the evil force behind the King of Tyre?
FOR NEXT TIME: Read the Book of Daniel