Personal Note:† A few
people contacted me about a comment in last weekís Sunday School
outline.† I observed that Ezekiel, unlike
any other Hebrew prophet, carried out the entirety of his ministry outside of Israel
or Judah.† We have some very good Bible students who
read these outlines, and a few asked about possible exceptions to my
observation.† I should have explained my
point more carefully.†
It is true that several prophets (for instance, Daniel,
Jonah, and Nahum) apparently did all of their preaching to nations outside of Canaan;
however, only Ezekiel, so far as I can detect, actually received his call to
the prophetic office while in Babylon.† Therefore, I conclude that the entirety of
his work occurred outside of Israel.† In this regard, I believe Ezekiel is unique
among the prophets.
Thank you for your interest and concern about the material.
people of Judah
and Israel took
false confidence in their understanding of the covenant and promises of
God.† They appear to have embraced the
divine promises without acknowledging the responsibilities of the covenant with
God.† In particular, they based their
false confidence on four points.
made a covenant with Moses at Mount Sinai.† Indeed, the Lord made wonderful promises
but he also gave them great responsibility.† They had failed to observe the Lordís
commandments, and Ezekiel took great care to remind the Hebrews that they
had broken Godís covenant.
claimed the land of Canaan
for his inheritance.† The Jews
inhabited a land that belonged to Jehovah, and they believed that God
would defend them in the land regardless of their disobedience to his
commands.† The prophet claimed that
God could do with his land as he pleased, and he determined to give the
land to Babylon, for a
time.† This forfeiture of the land
was, of course, a judicial act of God toward the rebellious Jews.
chose Jerusalem as the
residence of his glorious Temple.† The Hebrews reasoned that Jerusalem
would remain inviolate because of Godís decision to establish his presence
there (in the Holy of Holies).† The
later portion of this section reveals that Jehovah was; indeed, ready to
abandon the city and Temple.
established his covenant with David. The Jews believed that Godís promises
to David would guarantee the security of the throne, regardless of the
ungodliness of Judahís
kings. Ezekiel assured the Jews that God would sovereignly depose the
royal house of Judah.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
†(See Daniel Blockís
commentary for a helpful treatment of these misconceptions).
I would add that God did not falter in his promises to Israel;
rather, he fulfilled those promises in the person and work of Christ.
Outline of the
I.The Second ďLiving ParableĒ (4:1-17): Godís
instructions to Ezekiel
a clay tablet (Hebrew word for brick) before you and draw a likeness of Jerusalem
on it (4:1).
siege to the city you have drawn (4:2).
an iron plate (perhaps a griddle or pan) as an iron wall between the prophet
and the city (4: 3).
on your left side for 390 days to represent the number of years Israel
had disobeyed God (4: 4-5).
on your right side for forty days to represent the number of years Judah
had disobeyed God (4:6).
your arm and prophecy against Judah
pledged to bind Ezekiel with ropes until the siege was completed (4: 8).
bread and water for the duration of the siege (4: 9-11).
I.Cook the bread over a fire of feces and dung (-17).
II.The Third ďLiving ParableĒ† (5:1-17): Godís instructions to Ezekiel
your head and beard with a sharpened sword (5:1)
and divide the hair into three equal portions (5: 2-3)
on third of the hair.
one third of the hair with a sword.
one third of the hair in the wind.
a small portion of the hair in the hem of your garment.
explained the meaning of this oracle (5:4-17)
III.Ezekiel Commanded to Prophecy Against Israel
would bring utter desolation on Israel
Lord promised to leave a remnant of Israelites (6: 8-10).
commanded Ezekiel to pound his fist and stamp his feet in anguish over the idolatrous
abominations of Israel
would not have pity on Israel
day of judgment was at hand (-15)
escape from judgment would prove impossible (-19)
promised to give the beautiful ornaments, tokens of †Israelís
idol worship, to the hands of strangers (-22)
was commanded to make a chain to symbolize the impending slavery of Israel
IV.Ezekielís Vision of the Temple
and the Throne of God (8:1-11:25)
took Ezekiel, in a vision, to the Temple
in Jerusalem (8:1-4).
forced Ezekiel to look on the abominations of the people (8:5-6).† The idol is called the ďimage of jealousyĒ
because it provoked the jealousy of Jehovah.
Lord commanded Ezekiel to dig a hole through a wall to observe the concealed
sins of Judahís
religious leaders (8:8-12).
instructed Ezekiel to turn to see even more abominations (-18).
carried out the sentence on the city (9:1-11).
executioners appear (9:1-2a).
scribe appears with a full ink horn and is commanded to mark the heads of all
who grieve for the abominations in Jerusalem
directed the executioners to destroy all of the city and its inhabitants
glory of the Lord departed from the Temple
righteous fires of judgment were scattered over Jerusalem
glory of the Lord filled the Temple
Lordís glory departed from the Temple
would not be final (11:1-25)
false teachers and leaders displeased the Lord (11:1-13).
planned to restore his children to the land
of Israel (-22).
spoke all of these words to the captives in Babylon
†Observations on the Lesson Passages:
7:1-3):† Very often, wicked men
acknowledge that they deserve judgment, but they see the Lordís
retribution as a distant, remote thing.†
They flatter themselves that they will repent before it is too
late.† Judgment often catches them
off guard.† The Savior compared his
generation to the era of Noah (See Matthew 24: 36-44).† Ezekiel highlighted the imminence of
7: 15-16):† Ingenious people often
believe that they can, through their own resourcefulness, escape the
judgment of God.† Surely, they
reason, the Lord will bring his justice upon someone else.† Ezekiel reminded the people that Godís
judgment would find them.† Calamity
would fall on those in the cities and in the country.† All would know the bitterness of his
wrath.† Some might believe that they
could escape to the mountains, but God would find them there.
7: 19-27):† The people of Judah
had placed their confidence in their wealth and idols, but, when the day
of the Lord came, they saw the futility of their ways.† The things they once had valued now
seemed so worthless that the people would throw their possessions in the
street.† What good would gold and
silver prove to them when disaster fell upon them?† They had fashioned beautiful idols for
themselves, but the religious ornaments would not help them in the hour of
destruction.† The people they
admired and the institutions they treasured would be brought to ruin.† The Hebrews built their lives on a value
system that eventually failed them, like the man who built his house upon
the sand (See Matthew -27).
More than twenty five centuries have passed since the life
of Ezekiel.† In some ways, we live in a
very different world than the Old Testament prophets.† Some things, however, remain constant.† The misery, corruption, and defilement of sin
trouble modern man as much as any time in history.† Technological advancement has not brought
moral progress.† Perhaps the
sophistication of contemporary idolatry blinds modern man to his desperate
spiritual condition; but, I see a great deal of relevance in this Old Testament
We have studied this week about the imminent judgment that
loomed on Judahís
horizon.† Is the judgment of God any less
imminent for sinners today?† How great is
our sin, and how foolishly does the natural man disregard the condition of his
soul.† The Lordís presence departed from Jerusalem
in Ezekielís day, but few men seem to fear the abandonment of God today.† Judicially, God has warned that he will leave
men to their sin and its consequences if they do not repent of their sins and
trust in Christ for salvation.† The
situation is desperate.†† Thankfully, God
has offered eternal life and full pardon of sins through Christ.† The Savior died for the sins of men, and he has
risen from the dead that he might be a mighty and compassionate Savior for his
people.† Get a full and accurate view of
the blackness of your sin and its consequences; then, look up from the darkness
and behold the Light of the World.