Taking on a Tough Task
Explore the Bible Series
June 5, 2005
Background Passage: Ezekiel: 1:1-3:27
Lesson Passage: Ezekiel 1:1-3; 2:3-5; 3:4-11
Introduction: The Prophecy of Ezekiel is a rich and challenging book.† It contains some of the most dramatic, striking images recorded in Scripture, and, because of this vivid imagery, the book proves difficult, in places, to interpret.† Bible students should give special attention to researching the historical background of Ezekiel, and this care with historical context will yield great fruit in understanding the prophecy.
prophetís name means ďGod will strengthen.Ē†
The prophecy only uses Ezekielís proper name a few times.† Most often (more than 90 times) God referred
to the prophet as the ďson of man.Ē† He
was the son of Buzi (otherwise unknown in Scripture), and he came from a
priestly family.† This family must have
held some prominence in
Liberal scholars have questioned the authorship of Ezekiel for some time (several suggest a post-exilic editor who complied the book), but conservatives affirm the traditional view concerning authorship.† Apparently, Ezekiel was about thirty years old (some think the reference to the ďthirtieth yearĒ in Ezekiel 1:1 refers to Ezekielís age) when he began his prophetic work.† Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel may have evidenced some reluctance about the hardship of serving as a prophet, and the Lord strengthened and encouraged him in Chapter Two of the prophecy.† The oracles of the book appear in a first-person format that lends an air of immediacy to the work.†
Historical Background: No Hebrew prophet, except Ezekiel,
carried out his entire ministry outside of the physical boundaries of
Outline of the Background Passage:
I. Ezekielís Vision of the Lordís Glory (1:10-28)
A. The prophetís call† (vv. 1-3)
1. The time and location of the prophetís call (vv.1-2)
2. The Lordís hand on Ezekiel (v. 3)
B. The four living beings (vv. 4-14)
1. A great storm from the north (v. 4)
2. The description of the four living creatures (vv. 5-14): This vision describes the striking appearance of angelic beings.† They resembled a man, but the creatures had four faces, four wings, and feet like a calf.† They also had a radiant countenance that made them very striking and glorious.
C. The wheel within a wheel (vv. 15-25): Ezekiel saw an awesome vision of a radiant wheel revolving within another wheel.† The rims of the wheels were full of eyes, and the resplendent vision glowed like burning coals and amber.
D. †Godís throne (vv. 26-28): The prophet saw the appearance of Godís throne. It is noteworthy that the prophet only saw the lower half of a man-like figure.† Above the throne, Ezekiel saw a rainbow that represented Godís glory and grace.
††††††††††††††††† Application: Daniel Block identifies seven points reflected in this vision.
1. The vision proclaims the transcendent glory of God.
2. The vision proclaims the transcendent holiness of God.
3. The vision proclaims the sovereignty of God.††††††††††
4. The vision proclaims Godís interest in his people.
5. The vision proclaims the presence of God among the exiles.
6. The vision hints at the impending judgment of God.
7. The vision serves notice that whoever would enter into divine service must have a clear vision of the one whose service he or she is called.
II. The Prophetís Commission and the Hardships He Would Encounter (2:1-10)†††††
A. The prophetís call to attention (vv. 1-2)
B. The spirit of those to whom Ezekiel would preach (vv. 3-5)
2. Stubborn: literally ďstiff facedĒ
C. Godís call to fearlessness (vv. 6-7)
D. Ezekiel told to consume the scroll of the Lord (vv. 8-10)
III. The Prophetís Message (3:1-27)
A. The hardship of the prophetís commission (vv. 1-7)
1. The sweetness of the Lordís word (vv. 1-3)
2. The hardheartedness of the Lordís people (vv. 4-7)
B. Godís promise to strengthen Ezekiel (vv. 8-11)
C. Ezekielís vision of the glory of the Lord (vv. 12-15)
D. Ezekiel made a watchman over Israel (vv. 16-27)
1. Ezekielís responsibility to preach as God commanded (vv. 16-21)
2. The prophetís first ďliving parableĒ (vv. 22-27): Ezekiel was to tie himself up in his house.† The Lord caused the prophetís tongue to cleave to the roof of his mouth until God loosened Ezekielís tongue.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Observations Concerning the Lesson Passage: