MESSAGE OF EZEKIEL
Theme: A proper understanding of Yahweh: The intended end of judgment and restoration
(1) Ezekiel is both a and a prophet (1:3).
(2) Like many priests and Levites (Num. 4:3; I Chr. 23:3), Ezekiel began his lifework at age (1:1).
(3) Ezekiel was taken captive by the Babylonians (1:1) in BC, the year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity and the second stage of the Babylonian Exile.
(4) Ezekiel did not live at Babylon but was deported to (3:15), a community near ancient Nippur and located some 50 miles south of Babylon.
(5) The River Chebar (1:1) ran near Tel Abib and was a large that originated from and flowed back into the Euphrates River.
(6) Ezekiel was for much of the first seven years of his ministry (3:26), only capable of speaking when given a specific word from Yahweh. His speechlessness was lifted just before he received the news that Jerusalem had fallen (33:21-22). Sometimes God does not want a man to say anything. God does not always have a word for those in rebellion.
I. Call of Ezekiel (chs. 1-3)
II. Impending Judgment upon Judah (chs. 4-24)
III. Judgment upon the Nations (chs. 25-32)
IV. Restoration (millennial) and blessing (chs. 33-48)
I. The Basis of His Message: Divine Authority
A. Ezekiel was God’s
Whether Israel responded favorably was immaterial (2:5, 7; 3:11, 27). Ezekiel’s job was to proclaim the words of Yahweh, as a divinely appointed Watchman.
Ezekiel is often designated as Son of Man (2:1, 3, 6, 8; 3:1, 3-4, 10, 17, 25), reminding him of his weakness.
B. Ezekiel’s message was the words of Yahweh
The message he proclaims is said to be the word of the Lord (“the word of Yahweh”; “the declaration of the Lord Yahweh”; “thus said the Lord Yahweh”) 271 times.
II. The Heart of His Message: Judgment and Restoration
A. Judgment (chs. 4-32)
1. Picture prophecies:
2. Chief sin of Judah:
Chapter 8: Idolatry in the temple
Chapter 16: Allegory of Jerusalem, the foundling child
Chapter 20: history of Israel’s rebellion
Chapter 23: Oholah and Oholibah
3. Extent of the judgment: universal—both Judah (chs. 4-24) and the nations (chs. 25-32)
B. Restoration (chs. 33-48)
1. Its basis: God’s name and character (36:22-23)
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them… (Ezek. 36:22-23).
2. Its components
a. to the land (36:24)
b. cleansing—regeneration! (11:19; 36:26; ch. 37)
c. of the two nations of Israel (37:22)
d. Re-establishment of kingship (37:24)
e. Restoration of the worship and its rituals (chs. 40-46)
f. Rejuvenating of fresh water (47:1-12)
3. Its agent: The Messiah
The Shepherd-King of Israel (34:23-24; 37:24)
C. Accompanying theme: Individual responsibility
“I will judge you every one after his ways” (33:20; cf. 3:16-21; 18:1-32).
III. The Intended End of His Message: A Proper Understanding of Yahweh
“They shall know that I am Yahweh” occurs 77 times (25:11; 28:26; 30:8, 26; 33:29; 34:27, etc.).
A unique feature of Ezekiel is the “recognition formula” that occurs seventy-seven times in the book. While retaining the standard prophetic themes of judgment and restoration, Ezekiel highlights God’s intended end in such action: to bring His people to a proper understanding of who He is.