26(Ezek 01,01-03) Out of the Ashes
Josiah brought renewed hope Judah following the abominations of Manasseh. A copy of Mosaic Law as found and Josiah was moved to obey it fully.
But among the people, this reformation was only at the surface. The idolatry of Manasseh’s long reign had so corrupted the hearts that there was little genuine repentance.
Jer 3:10 "And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense," says the LORD.
The Mosaic Law called for a curse to those who continually disobeyed. Now the curse was certain.
It was the only thing that would remove the wickedness of Israel and cause the people to return to God.
II. On the international front:
Assyria, the power for 250 years, was declining. Babylon was growing in strength. In 612 BC the Babylonians defeated the Assyrians at Ninevah, their capital and drove them to Haran. Pharaoh Neco of Egypt came to the aid of Assyria with a large force. Josiah tried to stop the advance of Neco, only to be killed at Megiddo.
Neco failed at Haran but began to consolidate Palestine and Syria. He removed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and installed another son, Jehoiakim (pro-Egyptian) as king.
In 605 BC, the new crown prince of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, attacked the combined forces of Assyria and Egypt at Carchemish on the Euphrates in one of the most important battles of history. He won decisively, and swept southward to Judah, invading and taking captive a group of young nobles from there.
Jehoiakim refused to heed the warnings of Jeremiah and aligned with Egypt. In December 598 BC during the month that Babylon attacked Judah, Jehoiakim died and his son, Jehoiachin succeeded him, only to surrender three months later.It was this period of international unrest, combined with the immorality and apostasy of Judah, that Ezekiel ministered.
III. EZEKIEL’S TIMING (1:1-3)
Ezekiel was thirty years old, the age when a priest begins his service.
This vision occurred 593 BC, five years after the capture of King Jehochin in 597 BC.
§ Age 30. "In the thirtieth year . . . the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God" (1:1).
§ Captive. "I was among the captives" (1:1).
§ Lived on a canal. "I was . . . by the river Chebar (at Tel Abib) and the hand of the Lord was there upon him". Called the Grand Canal for transportation between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Psam 137; Jeremiah 29