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The book of Ezekiel is the most detailed account of a prophet in the Bible. He was exiled to Babylon, and given many visions from God, which he recorded as one long vision. This book revolves around the restoration of Israel after captivity in Babylon when persecuted Jews had returned home.
The book of Ezekiel, sometimes called the “Book of Jezekiel,” is the third book of the Prophetic books, found in the Old Testament. It represents the Lord’s warning to Jerusalem because of its sinfulness and rejection of God’s law and His prophets.
What Is The Book of Ezekiel About
The book of Ezekiel contains the visions and prophecies of Ezekiel, whom the Lord called to minister to the Jewish captives in Babylon. This book shows that the Lord is mindful of His people wherever they are. As students study this book, they can learn that God calls prophets as watchmen to warn His children of danger.
Despite being set at a time when Jerusalem was being destroyed, the book of Ezekiel is full of hope. The prophet Ezekiel saw beyond the tragedies of his era to a future time of renewal when the Lord would gather His people, give them “a new heart” and “a new spirit,” and help them live His laws (see Ezekiel 36:21, 24–28). Studying Ezekiel can strengthen students’ faith in the Lord’s power to transform individuals and nations. Students can learn that all who repent of their iniquities will receive God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness.
Who wrote this book?
The prophet Ezekiel is the author of the book of Ezekiel. Writing from a first-person perspective, Ezekiel recorded the visions and revelations he received from the Lord. Ezekiel was a priest who was among the Jewish captives carried away to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in approximately 597 B.C. (see Ezekiel 1:3). According to the account in 2 Kings 24:14–16, the Babylonians took captive mostly the chief men of the land at that time. Therefore, it is possible that Ezekiel came from a prominent and influential family (see Bible Dictionary, “Ezekiel”). Ezekiel prophesied and delivered the Lord’s words to the Jewish exiles in Babylon at about the same time that Jeremiah was prophesying in Judah and Daniel was prophesying in the Babylonian court.
When and where was it written?
The book of Ezekiel was written during Ezekiel’s captivity in Babylon. He prophesied from about 592 to 570 B.C. (see Bible Dictionary, “Ezekiel”). After being taken captive, Ezekiel settled with other Jews in a place called Tel Abib on the Chebar River (see Ezekiel 1:1–3; Bible Dictionary, “Ezekiel”). It was there that Ezekiel recorded that the heavens were opened to him and he saw the visions of God (see Ezekiel 1:1).
What are some distinctive features of this book?
More than once in the book of Ezekiel we read that the Lord compared His prophet to a watchman on a tower (see Ezekiel 3:17; 33:1–9). Through this comparison, the Lord emphasized both the responsibility of prophets to warn His people of impending danger and the responsibility of the people to respond to the watchman’s alarm. Additionally, we learn that all of us are responsible for our own actions and will be punished or rewarded based on the choices we make (see Ezekiel 18; 33).
Summary of The Book of Ezekiel Chapter By Chapter
The book of Ezekiel is rich with accounts of visions and prophecies. For example, the Lord showed Ezekiel a vision of the resurrection of the house of Israel, affirming that the Lord’s covenant people would eventually be gathered to the lands of their inheritance (see Ezekiel 37:1–14). The Lord also described the latter-day gathering of Israel by comparing it to the uniting of the stick of Joseph (the Book of Mormon) with the stick of Judah (the Bible) (see Ezekiel 37:15–28). The book of Ezekiel includes a prophecy of a great battle that will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (see Ezekiel 38–39). Additionally, Ezekiel 40–48 contains a description of a temple that will be built in Jerusalem in the latter days.
Ezekiel 1–3 Ezekiel sees the Lord and His glory. He is called as a watchman to the house of Israel to warn, reprove, and call them to repentance.
Ezekiel 4–24 The Lord instructs Ezekiel to use symbols to represent the wickedness of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel prophesies of the Lord’s judgments on Jerusalem and explains why famine, desolation, war, and pestilence will sweep the land of Israel.
Ezekiel 25–32 The Lord commands Ezekiel to declare the wickedness of the nations surrounding Israel and prophesy of their destruction.
Ezekiel 33–48 The Lord reproves the leaders of Israel for being poor shepherds over their people. The Lord will be a true shepherd to Israel. Ezekiel records his vision of Israel’s restoration after the exile and in the latter days. The Lord promises to gather the Israelites from captivity, return them to their promised lands, renew His covenant with them, and reunite the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
Lesson 139: Ezekiel 1–3
Lesson 140: Ezekiel 4–32
Home-Study Lesson: Jeremiah 34–52; Lamentations; Ezekiel 1–32 (Unit 28)
Lesson 141: Ezekiel 33–36
Lesson 142: Ezekiel 37
Lesson 143: Ezekiel 38–48
he book of Ezekiel takes its title from the priest of the same name, son to a man named Buzi. Ezekiel’s priestly lineage shines through in his prophetic ministry; he often concerned himself with topics such as the temple, the priesthood, the glory of the Lord, and the sacrificial system.
Ezekiel 1:1 tells us that the prophecy began “in the thirtieth year.” Scholars usually consider this a reference to Ezekiel’s age, making him about the same age as Daniel, who was exiled to Babylon nearly a decade earlier. Like many priests of Israel, Ezekiel was married. But when his wife died during his prophetic ministry, God prevented Ezekiel from mourning her in public as a sign of Judah’s lack of concern for the things of God (Ezekiel 24:16–24).
Where are we?
Ezekiel lived among the Jewish exiles in Babylon at a settlement along the river Chebar called Tel-abib (Ezekiel 3:15), less than one hundred miles south of Babylon. The invading Babylonians brought about ten thousand Jews to the village in 597 BC, including Ezekiel and the last king of Judah, Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:8–14).
Ezekiel’s prophecy began a mere five years into his time at Tel-abib (Ezekiel 1:2), and he continued to prophesy among the people for at least twenty-two years (29:17). Because he spoke to a people whom God had exiled due to their continued rebellion against Him, a majority of Ezekiel’s message communicates judgment for sins committed (1:1–32:32). However, like all the prophets, he also provided his people, now without a land of their own, some hope for the future (33:1–48:35).
Why is Ezekiel so important?
The book of Ezekiel pronounces judgment on both Israel and surrounding nations, but it also provides a vision of the future millennial kingdom that complements and adds to the vision of other Old and New Testament texts. Not only does the book present a striking picture of the resurrection and restoration of God’s people (Ezekiel 37), it also offers readers a picture of the reconstructed temple in Jerusalem, complete with the return of God’s glory to His dwelling place (40:1–48:35). This latter section of Ezekiel’s prophecy looks forward to the people’s worship after Christ’s return in the end times, when He will rule Israel and the nations from His throne in Jerusalem during His thousand year reign.
What’s the big idea?
God didn’t exile the Israelites primarily to punish them. God never has been nor is He now interested in punishment for punishment’s sake. Rather, He intended the punishment or judgment in Ezekiel’s day as a means to an end—to bring His people to a state of repentance and humility before the one true God. They had lived for so long in sin and rebellion, confident in their own strength and that of the neighboring nations, that they needed God to remind them of His holy nature and their humble identity in a most dramatic way. After centuries of warnings, prophetic messages, and invasions, God decided that more significant action was required—He had to remove the people from their promised land.
How do I apply this?
Ezekiel’s entire prophetic ministry centered around the small exiled community at Tel-abib, a people uprooted from their homes and livelihoods living out their days in a foreign land. Can you imagine the feelings of disorientation and confusion that accompanied these people? Even though many of the exiles were directly engaged in the sinful behavior that led to God’s judgment, that would not prevent them from wondering why all this was happening to them.
We sometimes find ourselves in that predicament as well, asking “Why, Lord?” and waiting in silence for the answer. The exiles had to wait five years for God to send Ezekiel, and when God did, His prophet had a message that the people likely didn’t want to hear: God is the Lord of heaven and earth, and the judgment the people were experiencing was a result of their own sin.
The book of Ezekiel reminds us to seek out the Lord in those dark times when we feel lost, to examine our own lives, and to align ourselves with the one true God. Will you consider doing so today?