Ezekiel

Ezekiel 1 - 3

Ezekiel was priest living in Babylon among the exiles from Judah.  Whenever God referenced Ezekiel, He called him the "son of man" or the "son of dust." 

God sent Ezekiel a vision of a whirlwind and four beasts, each with four faces, the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle.  Ezekiel also saw a moving wheel and a man.  There are several fascinating things about this vision, as follows: 

- Flashing light, brighter than the sun - Our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:29) 

- The glory of God - No man has seen God at any time.  (John 1:18) 

- Living creatures - These resembled the description of cherubim. 

- Wheels - God moves about in endless and divine activity and energy. 

- Intelligent purpose - Bodily attributes (face and eyes) are ascribed to God. 

- Appearance of a man - This is a prophecy of the incarnation of Christ. 

- Four faces - This could be a reference to the four gospels of the New Testament, where Christ is revealed in four different aspects:  His kingship, symbolized by the lion; His servitude, symbolized by the ox; His perfect humanity, symbolized by the face of a man; and, His deity, symbolized by the flying eagle. 

The Holy spirit came upon Ezekiel, and he heard God speak.  God told Ezekiel to give the people messages of warning, sorrow, and doom.  Ezekiel was to speak for God, but the people would not hear or obey.  God commanded Ezekiel to eat the scroll containing the words of God.  When Ezekiel ate the scroll, it tasted as sweet as honey in his mouth.  Under the control of the Holy Spirit of God, Ezekiel was made to be as stubborn as the people he would encounter.  God caused Ezekiel to meditate on His words and to have no fear.  If Ezekiel obeyed God by warning Israel, then God would save him.  If Ezekiel disobeyed, then he would die. 

Ezekiel 4
 
In Ezekiel 4, God used a series of symbols to express Himself.  First, God commanded Ezekiel to use a clay tablet to draw a map of the city of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel was to act out a siege on the city.  Then Ezekiel placed an iron pan between himself and the city, and then he turned his face away.  Next, he lay on his left side for 390 days, symbolically bearing the sins that the people of Israel had been committing for 390 years.  Then Ezekiel lay on his right side for 40 days, symbolically bearing the sins that the people of Judah had been committing for 40 years.  During these 430 days, Ezekiel was to eat bread which was baked using human excrement for fuel.  However, when Ezekiel rebelled against this defilement, God allowed him to bake the bread over cow manure instead.  This was a prophecy of a shortage of food and water in Jerusalem. 

Ezekiel 5

Next, God commanded Ezekiel to shave his head and divide the hair into three parts, symbolizing the three judgments of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel was to burn one-third of the map of Jerusalem that he had drawn, and this prophesied the burning of Jerusalem.  Then he cut one-third of the map, and this prophesied disease, famine, and even cannibalism.  Finally, he scattered the last third of the map, prophesying that the Jews would be scattered among the other nations of the world.  God would still have mercy upon them, but He would save only a remnant of them. 

Ezekiel 6 - 8

Ezekiel prophesied further about the sword falling upon Jerusalem; God saving only a remnant of the people; and, the final destruction of the city of Jerusalem.  Then God's vision transported Ezekiel back to Jerusalem where he saw God's glory appear in the temple of that city.  God showed Ezekiel the idolatry that the people practiced in the temple, and this is why God was going to destroy it. 

Ezekiel 9

In Ezekiel's next vision, God showed him a "man with a writer's case" who revealed idolatry among the Jews that extended even to the elders, including the worship of a god called Tammuz.  God said that the faithful people would be sealed on their foreheads and saved, but the idol worshipers would be destroyed. 

Ezekiel 10 - 11

Then God's Shekinah glory filled the temple for the last time, then departed, standing over the Mount of Olives.  God prophesied against Israel's rulers, assuring judgment for their sins, although a remnant of the people would be preserved and returned to their land. 

Ezekiel 12

Next God told Ezekiel that because the people would not listen, Ezekiel was to reenact the coming destruction of Jerusalem.  He locked himself in a house, dug through the wall, and took his possessions out through the excavation.  Then he announced the full captivity of Jerusalem. 

Ezekiel 13 - 14

Ezekiel prophesied against the false prophets who were predicting peace for Jerusalem.  Since Nebuchadnezzar had already stormed the city twice without destroying it, they assumed that he wasn't going to destroy it.  God condemned the prophets for their lying and the elders for their idolatry.  God then stated that even Noah, Daniel, and Job wouldn't have been able to spare Jerusalem with their righteousness.  This implies that these three men were the most righteous and obedient men of the Old Testament times. 

Ezekiel 15 - 16

Ezekiel's next vision was of a vine, symbolizing the nation of Israel.  A vine is good neither for lumber or for fuel.  Likewise, due to her sins, Israel was of no value, and it was fit only for destruction.  Jerusalem is compared to a baby that had been abandoned, and then adopted by God.  The baby was raised by God in love, but the baby grew up and sinned, turning her back God.  God in his justice must judge and discipline her, but he hasn't forsaken her.  He will still fulfill the covenant that he made with her. 

Ezekiel 17 - 20

Then God told Ezekiel the riddle of the two eagles in order to illustrate that the king of Babylon would destroy the city of Jerusalem and the temple.  King Zedekiah and some of the people would be taken into captivity.  Although sin results in death, God in his righteousness offers life.  Although Israel had been sinning for centuries, and God must judge her, in the end times He would ultimately re-gather her from the nations of the world and restore her to her land.  She will suffer through the Great Tribulation period, and then God would judge the people to see which ones would enter His millennial earthly kingdom. 

Ezekiel 21

Ezekiel continued to prophesy about Jerusalem and Israel.  A sword would be sharpened to judge the people, and especially the leaders Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.  They are no longer kings, and there is no longer a king in Israel.  However, in the end times, the rightful King would come with His crown and scepter. 

Ezekiel 22 - 24

Ezekiel then told a story of two sisters, Oholah (symbolic of Samaria) and Oholibah (symbolic of Jerusalem) in order to prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem by Assyria as God's punishment for her sin.  Even Israel's and Judah's princes, prophets, and priests were immersed in sin, including idolatry.  Not even one righteous man could be found.  Ezekiel prophesied about a boiling pit, signifying that the city of Jerusalem would be burned.  At this time, Ezekiel's wife died, and God didn't even let Ezekiel mourn his loss.  This was a sign that Jerusalem would be destroyed and there would be no mourning for her. 

Ezekiel 25 - 27

Then Ezekiel made a series of prophecies against the other nations, including Ammon, Moab, Edom, Tyre, and the Philistines.  The prophecy of the destruction of Tyre is an excellent example of the truth of the prophecies of the Bible, even in the face of critics.  Nebuchadnezzar invaded Tyre, but he did not utterly destroy it.  The critics of God's prophetic Word were eager to point out that Tyre was not "scraped clean" as was predicted.  Also, Tyre was rebuilt on an island, although the prophecy indicated that after it was scraped clean, it would never be rebuilt again.  Then 300 years later, Alexander the Great conquered Tyre.  In order to reach the new island city, Alexander ordered his men to build a causeway to the island by picking up all the debris of the old city and throwing it into the sea.  Alexander then conquered Tyre for good, scraping it clean just as the prophecy had predicted, never to be rebuilt again. 

Ezekiel 28

The next prophecy was against the king of Tyre and Sidon, symbolic of Satan.  He was among God's greatest creations, but he sinned, and God would judge him. 

Ezekiel 29 - 32

The next prediction was that Egypt.  She had always been a powerful nation, but she would also be destroyed.  Its Pharaoh would be destroyed as well, and its great cities would become ruins. 

Ezekiel 33 - 36

When the people saw Ezekiel's prophecies fulfilled, they knew that he was indeed a prophet of God.  Ezekiel reiterates his prophecies of the end times--the re-gathering of Israel, a Great Tribulation period, and God's earthly millennial kingdom.  The nation of Israel would be fully restored in her land, which would once again be like the Garden of Eden. 

Ezekiel 37

Ezekiel then told of the Valley of Dry Bones.  This was symbolic of Israel, being scattered and apparently dead, when God would re-gather her people and give them salvation and new life.  All the tribes of Israel would eventually reunite under the rule of the Davidic Messiah ("David").  The people will obey God, and He will give them a new covenant of eternal peace. 

Ezekiel 38 - 48

Ezekiel revealed that when Israel is finally reestablished in her homeland, she will suffer attacks from all sides at once.  Her primary foe will be "Gog and Magog,” from the far north of Israel.  This mighty army would ride on horseback, and her allies will include Iran, Ethiopia, and Libya.  They will surround Israel, but just when things look the worst for her, God will intervene to save her.  A great earthquake will destroy all of her enemies--never to live again.  We are probably seeing the beginnings of this today.  The nation of Israel was re-gathered from around the world and restored to her homeland in 1948, and nations such as Iran and Libya are obviously hostile toward Israel.