Summary: The Study Of Ezekiel: God's Spokesman In A Foreign Land
The Study Of Ezekiel: God's Spokesman In A Foreign Land
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Five Old Testament books of prophecy are known as “the Major Prophets.” They are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Four of them are named for the prophet who wrote them. Lamentations is included because it was written by the prophet Jeremiah. Isaiah prophesied to the nation of Judah in the eighth century before Christ. Jeremiah prophesied to Judah during the time its people were being carried into the Babylonian Captivity. Ezekiel was taken into Babylon with the second group of captives. He was called by God to prophesy to the captives in Babylon. Daniel was in the first group who were taken captive. He served God as a prophet in the courts of the king of Babylon.
Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel were contemporaries. This means that their lives overlapped. However, Isaiah lived about one hundred years earlier. Isaiah foretold the coming of the Babylonian Captivity (Isaiah 39). Jeremiah preached to the people of God and told them to accept the period of captivity as just punishment from God for their sins (Jeremiah 25). Ezekiel spoke of the return from Babylon (Ezekiel 20:39-44). Daniel foretold what would happen to the Jews after the time of the Babylonian Captivity (Daniel 8-11).
We must keep in mind there were three times the Jews were carried into Babylon. In 606 B.C. certain of the royal family including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were taken (Daniel 1:1-6; 2 Kings 24:1). In 596 B.C. many of the skilled craftsmen, priests and other leading people were taken (2 Kings 24:1-17). Ezekiel was among these. Finally, in 586 B.C. the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. The rest of the Jews were taken as slaves to Babylon (Jeremiah 39; 2 Kings 25:1-11). A small group remained in the land.
The book of Ezekiel is a unique book. It has long been regarded as one of the most difficult books, if not the most difficult book, in the Old Testament. Ezekiel is written in “apocalyptic language.” This is highly figurative speech. It contains many signs, symbols, and allegories. There are several key phrases which occur in Ezekiel. Ezekiel is called the “son of man” about one hundred times. The phrase, “The word of the Lord came to me” is found forty-nine times. Another phrase, “and you shall know I am the Lord,” is found more than sixty times.
It appears from reading the book that Ezekiel had three purposes in mind when writing:
1. The people of Judah needed to understand the reason for the captivity;
2. They needed to turn from the worship of idols and return to worshiping God;
3. They also needed to have corrected the mistaken idea they would speedily return to their homeland. Before they could return to their homeland, they had to first return to God!