In the year 622 B.C., the same year that a copy of the Scriptures were found in the temple and brought to King Josiah, a baby was born to a priest named Buzi. He named his son Ezekiel, meaning "God is mighty."

The boy grew up in the shadow of the Temple. His father was a priest and it is likely that he was expected to carry on the family tradition.



This was a time for the rise and fall of kingdoms, not only of Judah and Jerusalem, but throughout the entire ancient world.

For a number of years the Assyrian Empire had been in a state of decline. Revolts had sprung up throughout the land, most notably in Babylon and Persia. At the head of these revolts was an aggressive Chaldean prince named Nabopolassar.

Finally in 612 B.C. his coalition of Chaldeans, Medes and Scythians took the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh and burned it to the ground.

It was not long before Nabopolassar's armies, led by his son Prince Nebuchadnezzar, turned westward to the lands along the Mediterranean. Challenging his authority was Pharaoh Necho of Egypt. In the middle of these two opposing forces lay the tiny kingdom of Judah.

Against the advice of Jeremiah, King Josiah of Judah marched out to fight against Pharaoh of Necho of Egypt. They met at Megiddo and Josiah was killed in the ensuing battle (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). The death of Josiah left three sons and a grandson to succeed him.

Joahaz was initially made king of Jerusalem, but his reign was short-lived as Pharaoh Necho came into Jerusalem, deposed Joahaz and put his brother Eliakim on the throne in his stead, changing his name to Jehoiakim.

The Egyptians met the army of Nebuchadnezzar at the epic battle of Charchemish and the Egyptians were routed. Nebuchadnezzar came down into Palestine and took Jerusalem, instituting what would be the first of three successive deportations.

First Deportation

603 B.C.

Jehoiakim left in power by Nebuchadnezzar

Sons of nobility including Daniel taken hostage

Second Deportation

597 B.C.

Jehoiakim and Jeconiah both deposed and Zedekiah placed on throne

Nobility, warriors and craftsmen taken

Third Deportation

586 B.C.

Zedekiah deposed and Gedaliah left as governor

All the inhabitants of Jerusalem and surrounding areas taken

Ezekiel was a part for this second group. They were taken to Mesopotamia and relocated by the River Chebar. This was one of the many canals that crisscross southern Mesopotamia. It is here that our story opens.



There were three prophets who were all ministering the Word of God during this period.




His ministry began in the reign of Josiah

His ministry began with the Second Deportation

His ministry began with the First Deportation

The Weeping Prophet

Prophet of Hope

Prophet of the Nations

Main focus upon the land

Main focus upon the land

Main focus on the nations

Prophesied to the Jews of Jerusalem

Prophesied to the Jews by the River Chebar

Prophesied to the Chaldeans in Babylon

Writes from Jerusalem

Writes from Mesopotamia


Mentions Daniel three times

Mentions Jeremiah

Ends with the fall of Jerusalem

Ends with a vision of a future temple

Ends with a promise of future resurrection

Neither Ezekiel nor Daniel began their ministries until after they were deported from Palestine. They both write their books from Mesopotamia. But there is a great deal of difference between the two books.



Begins with a vision of the chariot-throne of God

Begins with a vision of Christ amidst the lampstands

Four living creatures

Four living creatures

Battle of Gog and Magog

Battle of Gog and Magog

Ends with a vision of the rebuilt Temple

Ends with a vision of the New Jerusalem



Ezekiel has a great deal of drama. Symbolism and drama are given of God. Ezekiel acts out the truths of God in a very vivid and symbolic way. He acts out the realities of what are happening.

We are called to do the same thing. We are called to act out the realities of the gospel in our lives.

Always witness and when necessary use words. We are living in a post-modern world. The means of communication has changed greatly in my lifetime. It is in such a world that Ezekiel communicates a great deal.

Here is the principle. In this day, more than any other time since Biblical times, what we DO is more important than what we SAY.


The Book of Ezekiel can be divided into two major parts.




God's Judgment on Judah

Oracles against the Nations

Oracles of Salvation

  • Ezekiel's Call (1)
  • Oracles of Judgment (3-7)
  • Visions in the Temple (8-11)
  • Oracles of Judgment (12-14)
  • Parables & Pictures (15-19)
  • Oracles of Judgment 20-23)
  • Parables & Pictures (24)
  • Ammon
  • Moab
  • Edom
  • Philistia
  • Tyre
  • Sidon
  • Egypt
  • Ezekiel commissioned as a watchman (33)
  • Oracles of Restoration (34-37)
  • Gog & Magog (38-39)
  • Glorious Temple (40-48)
  • Message of Judgment

    Message of Restoration

    The entire first part of Ezekiel deals with the subject of the judgment of God. This section is divided into two parts:

    There is a lesson here. It is that when judgment first comes, it begins with the people of God. He judges His own people first.

    Why is this? It is because His people represent Him on earth and God takes very seriously how He is represented.

    But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 20:9).

    But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, before whose sight I had brought them out. (Ezekiel 20:14).

    But I withdrew My hand and acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. (Ezekiel 20:22).

    Three times in this chapter God says that the reason He brings judgment against His people is because He will not allow his name to be profaned in the sight of the nations. He will not allow His name to be associated with sin. He will not allow pagans to look at the sins of His people and to say, "If that is what it means to be a Christian, then I want no part of it."

    This is important. When you become a Christian, you take on the official position of an ambassador of Christ. You represent the God of the universe on planet earth. He will not allow you to misrepresent Him.

    Do you see it? God disciplines and then He hugs.



    1. Son of Man.

    This phrase is found over 90 times in Ezekiel. He uses the phrase to describe himself. By so doing, he is identifying himself with the people to whom he is ministering.

    You will remember that someone else was also fond of using this title. It was Jesus. He called Himself "Son of Man" almost 90 times in the gospels. He did so for the same reason that Ezekiel did -- to identify himself with mankind.

    2. The Glory of the God of Israel.

    This phrase appears 11 times in the first 11 chapters. It tells me something about God. He is interested in His own glory.



    For the most part, the book of Ezekiel is arranged in chronological order. He gives 12 specific chronological references.

    Ezekiel's References

    Year from Deportation

    Modern Date

    Ezekiel 1:2

    Ezekiel 8:1

    Ezekiel 20:1

    Ezekiel 24:1

    Ezekiel 26:1

    Ezekiel 29:1

    Ezekiel 29:17

    Ezekiel 30:20

    Ezekiel 31:1

    Ezekiel 32:1

    Ezekiel 32:17

    Ezekiel 33:21

    Ezekiel 40:1

    The 5th year

    The 6th year

    The 7th year

    The 9th year

    The 11th year

    The 12th year

    The 27th year

    The 11th year

    The 11th year

    The 12th year

    The 12th year

    The 12th year

    The 25th year

    July 593 B.C.

    September 592 B.C.

    August 591 B.C.

    December 588 B.C.

    February 586 B.C.

    January 587 B.C.

    April 571 B.C.

    April 587 B.C.

    June 587 B.C.

    March 585 B.C.

    March 585 B.C.

    January 585 B.C.

    April 573 B.C.



    Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. (Ezekiel 1:1).

    Shortly after Ezekiel's 30th birthday, something happened to him that was to change the course of his life. What follows is the first of many visions.

    People have come up with all sorts of "space ship" theories regarding the vision of this chapter. It is thought to have served as the impetus for Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind as it portrayed creatures and burning fire and wheels within wheels. Let me set the record straight. This is NOT a U.F.O. Instead it presents the throne of God in specific temple language.

    These passages draw us to the conclusion that what we see in Ezekiel 1 is the chariot throne of God.

    And as I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. 5 And within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. 6 Each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 And their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf's hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, 9 their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. 10 As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man, all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:4-10).

    If we are at all familiar with the book of Revelation, we shall find the description of this vision to be somewhat familiar.



    A storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire (1:4)

    And from the throne proceed flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (4:5).

    Figures resembling four living beings

      • Face of a man
      • Face of a lion
      • Face of a bull
      • Face of an eagle (1:8-10)

    Four living creatures (4:6-7)

      • Like a lion
      • Like a calf
      • Face like a man
      • Flying eagle

    Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies (1:11)

    Four living creatures, each one of them having six wings (4:8)

    In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches darting back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire (1:13)

    And from the throne proceed flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (4:5)

    Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, like the awesome gleam of crystal, extended over their heads (1:22)

    Before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal (4:6)

    Above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man (1:26)

    A throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance (4:2-3)

    There is a very obvious correlation between the visions of Ezekiel and John. They give a mutual testimony to the holiness and the majesty of God.

    What does it all mean?

    When we come to Ezekiel 10:14, we again see this same sight of four distinct images. But this time, there is a difference: And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle (Ezekiel 10:14).

    This time there is a change. This time we read of a cherub in place of the calf/bull. But the point is still the same. It is that God is the sovereign of all life, whether animals or birds or angels or men.



    The vision of the glory of God was followed immediately by a commission of Ezekiel to the prophetic ministry.

    Then He said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!" 2 And as He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me. 3 Then He said to me, "Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day." (Ezekiel 2:1-3).

    Ezekiel did not have an easy commission. He was being sent to a people who were by nature a rebellious people.

    As for them, whether they listen or not-- for they are a rebellious house-- they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house. 7 But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. (Ezekiel 2:5-7).

    There is a lesson that we can learn from this passage. It is the lesson of the sovereignty of success in ministry.

    We usually think that if we do the right thing and say the right thing that we will have a successful ministry. We think that if our church has the right kind of worship music and if the pastor's sermon isn't too long and if we have a lot of programs, then people will flock to our church. That isn't necessarily so. Jesus said to His disciples, "I will build My church."

    He does. He delights in taking a man whom the world considers unqualified and doing a great work through such a man. He says to Ezekiel, "You go out and preach the words that I am going to give you and the result will be that a prophet will have gone out and spoken My words."

    It was not Ezekiel's job to build a big church or to convert the people. He is merely called to be faithful in preaching the Word of God.

    Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. 18 When I say to the wicked, "You shall surely die"; and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet if you have warned the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

    20 Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he shall die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself. (Ezekiel 3:17-21).

    The responsibility of Ezekiel was not to make people repent. His responsibility was to speak the truth -- to give the warning.

    8 "Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you."

    9 Then I looked, behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back; and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe.

    1 Then He said to me, "Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel." 2 So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. 3 And He said to me, "Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you." Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. (Ezekiel 2:8 - 3:3).

    Just as the workings of God in the book of Revelation were represented by a scroll, so also the judgments of God and its resulting lamentations and mournings and woes are represented by a scroll. Just as the scroll of Revelation was written on the inside and on the back, so this one is also written on the front and back.

    Ezekiel is given the scroll and told to eat it. What does this represent? It pictures how the word is to become part of his life. Only then will he be able to pass it on to others. There is a lesson here. If the spiritual truths that you teach to others are not a part of your own life, then you have no business trying to pass them on to others.

    Ezekiel eats the scroll. It doesn't sound very tasty. After all, it is full of lamentations, mourning and woe. Yet in spite of that, we read that it was sweet as honey in his mouth. There is a sweetness to the word of God, even when it involves those portions of the Scripture that contain the harshest judgments.



    Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2 "What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel saying, 'The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children's teeth are set on edge'? 3 As I live," declares the Lord God, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. 4 Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die." (Ezekiel 18:1-4).

    There was a truism in ancient Israel of that day that children often reap the results of the sins of their parents. The idea here was that a parent could escape the effects of sin, but they would eventually catch up with his children.

    The time for such postponements had reached an end in Ezekiel's day. The judgment that was due the nation was now soon to fall.

    This does not mean that God takes any particular pleasure or delight in punishing sin.

    "Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord God, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23).

    God does not get His kicks by judging sin. His Spirit grieves over sin. His Son wept openly over the sin of Jerusalem.

    "Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord God. "Therefore, repent and live." (Ezekiel 18:31-32).

    Ezekiel brings a message of repentance and life. This brings us to our next point. It is that Ezekiel is a book about salvation.



    The 34th chapter of Ezekiel takes up a "shepherd motif." It begins with a biting indictment against the shepherds of Israel -- those who held positions of responsibility and yet who failed to lead the people in the ways of righteousness.

    Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. 4 Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. 5 And they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered."'" (Ezekiel 34:1-5).

    The problem is that the shepherds of Israel were fleecing the flock instead of feeding the flock. In this midst of this indictment there is a promise. It is a promise that the Lord Himself shall one day take on the role of a shepherd in order to care for His sheep.

    For thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in good grazing ground, and they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord God. 16 "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment." (Ezekiel 34:11-16).

    Notice that the Lord as Shepherd does not come to save the fat and the strong. Those who are self sufficient are destroyed and become partakers of judgment. It is those who recognize their own brokenness and sickness who shall be saved.

    This promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Good Shepherd who came to give His life for the sheep. In verse 15 we see the essence of His ministry:

    "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 34:15).

    Jesus said this of Himself. He is the One who said, "Come to me, all you who labor, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

    But that is not all. Ezekiel goes on to describe the eventual judgment of His flock.

    And as for you, My flock, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats." (Ezekiel 34:17).

    Jesus foretold this same judgment. But there was a difference. He said that He would be the one who judged between the sheep and the goats. A contradiction? Not at all. When we read of Jesus doing anything, we understand that this is a reference to the actions of the Lord.

    When we come to Ezekiel 36:26-27 we have a vivid description of the salvation promise of the Lord. It is a promise to save, not only on the surface, but from the inside out.

    I will sprinkle clean water

    You will be clean

    I will cleanse you

    From all of your idols

    I will give you a new heart of flesh

    Your stone heart will be removed

    I will put My Spirit in you

    Chart by Timothy Tores

    Cause you to walk in My statutes and observe My ordinance

    Is the work of salvation monergistic or synergistic? Does God initiate and accomplish the work of salvation or does He function in cooperation with unregenerate man to bring about this regenerating work?

    The answer is seen in these verses. It is GOD who is seen doing the work of salvation. He is even the Once causing us to walk in His statutes and to observe His ordinances.



    Son of man, because Tyre has said concerning Jerusalem, "Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken; it has opened to me. I shall be filled, now that she is laid waste," 3 therefore, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves." (Ezekiel 26:2-3).

    Early in January 332 B.C. Alexander the Great came to Tyre, the most powerful naval port in the Mediterranean at that time. The city of Tyre stood on rocky island about a half mile off the coast. It was surrounded by massive walls that rose to a height of 150 feet. The city was considered invincible.

    Nebuchadnezzar had attacked Tyre in Ezekiel's day and had finally destroyed the mainland city. Even after a 13 year siege he had not been able to capture the island city.

    Alexander sent envoys asking that the city come to terms with him. The envoys were murdered and their bodies thrown into the sea. Alexander settled down in what was to be the longest siege of his career.

    Alexander had no navy and so he decided to bring the island to him. He began by demolishing the ruins of the mainland city and using the rubble to construct a causeway across the water which separated the island from the coast. It was grueling work and further hampered by constant raids that the people of Tyre made in their swift warships.

    Alexander went to Sidon and Byblos and confiscated a fleet of ships which could bottle up the fleet of Tyre. The causeway was finally completed and Alexander launched a three-pronged simultaneous attack.

    The city of Tyre fell to Alexander on July 29, 332 B.C. The siege had taken 7 long months. Thousands of the inhabitants were slaughtered. The 30, 000 remaining survivors were sold into slavery while 2000 captured troops were crucified.

    Writing at some time between 592 and 570 B.C., the prophet Ezekiel gave the following predictions concerning the overthrow and eventual destruction of the city of Tyre.

    Behold, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves.

    "And they will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a hard rock.

    "She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken," declares the Lord God, "And she will become spoil for the nations." (Ezekiel 26:3-5).

    Beginning in verse 7, we are given a more detailed picture of the destruction that will come against Tyre in the person of Nebuchadnezzar. However, in verse 12, there is a change as Ezekiel turns from what "he" will do to those whom he simply refers to as "they."

    "Also they will make a spoil of your riches and a prey of your merchandise, break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses, and throw your stones and your timbers into the water.

    "So I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more.

    "And I will make you a bare rock; you will be a place for the spreading of nets. You will he built no more, for I the Lord have spoken," declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 26:12-14).

    There are a number of points to this prophecy. Let's list them:

    The fulfillment of this prophecy was not the product of blind chance. There is not another city in all of the ancient world that had the same kind of destruction which Alexander brought against Tyre. Alexander was the unwitting servant of the Lord, bringing Divine judgment against the pagan city.

    If you go to site of ancient Tyre today, you will find a place for the spreading of nets. A small fishing village occupies the site while, several miles down the coast, a modern city had taken for itself the name Tyre.


    12 Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, "Thus says the Lord God,
    'You had the seal of perfection,
    Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

    13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;

    Every precious stone was your covering:
    The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond;
    The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper;
    The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald;
    And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
    Was in you.
    On the day that you were created
    They were prepared.

    14 You were the anointed cherub who covers,
    And I placed you there.
    You were on the holy mountain of God;
    You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

    15 You were blameless in your ways
    From the day you were created,
    Until unrighteousness was found in you.

    16 By the abundance of your trade
    You were internally filled with violence,
    And you sinned;
    Therefore I have cast you as profane
    From the mountain of God.
    And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
    From the midst of the stones of fire.

    17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
    You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
    I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings,
    That they may see you.

    18 By the multitude of your iniquities,
    In the unrighteousness of your trade,
    You profaned your sanctuaries.
    Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you;
    It has consumed you,
    And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you.

    19 All who know you among the peoples
    Are appalled at you;
    You have become terrified,
    And you will be no more."'" (Ezekiel 28:12-19)

    This is part of a larger oracle against the city of Tyre. The earlier part of this chapter speaks out against the "Prince of Tyre." Now the address changes. These verses are directed against the "King" of Tyre. He is the real power behind the throne. There are some things said of this person that lead some Bible scholars to believe that this is a reference to Satan.

    This description seems to go beyond the realm of mortal man. Though some scholars would see this description as mere Semitic poetry describing an exalted monarch, it seems to me that there is meant to be a greater understanding.



    The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. (Ezekiel 37:1-2).

    A picture of deadness and decay, not merely in need of CPR. This is a picture of complete hopelessness

    3 And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord God, Thou knowest." 4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.' 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 And I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.'" (Ezekiel 37:3-4).

    This is a startling prophecy. It is the prophecy of a resurrection. This is all the more startling as there as of yet had been no clear prophecy of a future resurrection.

    11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.' 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it," declares the LORD.'" (Ezekiel 37:11-14).

    Now we see what sort of resurrection is envisioned in this passage. It is the resurrection of the nation of Israel.

    What brings about this "resurrection"? It is when the Lord puts His Spirit into them. When did this take place? It took place at Pentecost. That was the fulfillment of this prophecy.



    Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the PRINCE OF ROSH, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him (Ezekiel 38:2).

    The word rosh is simply the Hebrew word for "head" or "chief." The most natural translation would be to follow that of the King James Version: Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the CHIEF PRINCE of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him

    Trying to translate this as a proper noun and make it refer to Russia has little Scriptural merit. Such a country was unknown in Biblical times. The term "Russia" did not come into use until nearly a thousand years after Christ.

    Meshech and Tubal seem to refer to locations on the east and northeast sides of the Black Sea. Herodotus spoke of the tribes of Tibareni and Moschi, the former of which was located east of the Thermodon River which flows into the Sea of Asov on the northeast portion of the Black Sea and the latter of which lay between the sources of the Phasis and the Cyrus Rivers, located on the east side of the Black Sea.

    These were lands belonging to the people group known as the Scythians.

    Scythian invaders moved down into the Levant during the days of the collapse of Nineveh and destroyed Ashkelon and Ashdod before being bribed to depart by Pharaoh Psammetichus (663-609 B.C.).

    Ezekiel is now saying that it will happen again.

    In what ways have the prophecies of these two chapters been fulfilled? There seem to be several possibilities:

    Maccabean Revolt

    In 168 B.C. the Jews revolted against their Seleucid oppressors and saw wave after wave of expeditionary forces come against them. The Jews were ultimately victorious and won their independence.

    This interpretation has the advantage in seeing the conquest of the invaders; something that is promised in Ezekiel's prophecy.

    The Roman Conquest of Jerusalem

    In 66 A.D. the Jews rebelled against Rome and the response was a Roman invasion of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

    The problem is that Ezekiel describes the destruction of the invaders and this did not take place in the Roman War.


    This view sees this prophecy as still yet to be fulfilled at some time in the future.


    This view sees the prophecy as using the image of a past invasion to describe God's eventual victory over evil.

    A number of minor details are given that would be meaningless or ambiguous.

    Notice that these views are not necessarily mutually exclusive to one another. It is entirely possible that there was an immediate fulfillment as well as a symbolic application that can be appropriately taken for all time.



    Early during the ministry of Ezekiel (chapter 8), he is given a vision of the Temple in Jerusalem. He sees the idolatry that is taking place within the very house of God.

    Do you know which mountain is to the east of the city? It is the Mount of Olives.

    This was a sign of judgment against the Jews. The Temple was the place when you went to go and meet God. But God left the Temple.

    There is a principle here. The way God destroys His Temple is by leaving it. For a number of years the physical structure of the Temple was to remain in Jerusalem, but for all intents and purposes, it had already been destroyed. In light of this passage, it is almost anticlimactic when Ezekiel hears in chapter 33 that Jerusalem has been destroyed. The Temple is not even mentioned. Why? Because it had already ceased to function as a Temple when God left it.

    We say that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple, but we are only partially correct. God had already destroyed the Temple by leaving it. Remember the principle: The way God destroys His Temple is by leaving it.

    Do you remember the Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem? Where did He go? To the palace of Herod Antipas? To the Fortress of Antonia? No. He went to the Temple. And when the religious leaders of the Temple rejected Him, He left the Temple and went out to the Mount of Olives where he foretold the eventual destruction of the Temple.

    It is no coincidence that the last place we see Jesus before His ascension into heaven is on the Mount of Olives -- the same place where we last see the presence of God in Ezekiel's vision.

    This brings us to a question. Where is God's Temple today? It is here. It is the church. It is you guys. It is the corporate body of believers that come together to meet the Lord.

    There is a warning here. It is that God is still in the Temple-destroying business. God destroys His Temple by leaving it. And God destroys churches in the same way. He does not bring a bulldozer or a stick of dynamite. He just leaves. The building and the services and the people might all remain. But it is no longer a church.

    This is why it is so important that we have a repentant attitude when we come together to worship the Lord. We come together to meet Him. He will only be there as we have put aside the world's idols -- those things that draw our attention from Him.

    The book of Ezekiel ends with a glorious vision of a New Temple. The prophet is taken on a guided tour through the structure -- a structure that is tantalizingly familiar if we have read the book of Revelation.

    Ezekiel's Vision

    John's Revelation

    A Temple within the city (40-48)

    The New Jerusalem (21-22)

    Ezekiel is taken in this vision to a very high mountain (40:2)

    John is carried in the Spirit to a great and high mountain (21:10)

    A man uses a rod to measure the dimensions of the temple (40:5-ff)

    An angel measures the city with a rod (21:15-17)

    The entire temple area is measured as a perfect square (42:15-20)

    The entire city is measured as a perfect cube (21:16)

    The presence of the glory of the Lord enters the temple (43:3-4)

    There is no need of sun or moon because the Lord illumines His city (22:5)

    No foreigner is admitted into the temple (44:9)

    Nothing unclean and no unbeliever is allowed into the city (21:8, 27)

    A river of water flows out of the temple (47:1)

    A river of the water of life comes from the throne of God (22:1)

    There are a total of 12 gates around the city (48:30-34)

    There are 12 gates to the city (21:21)

    The name of the city shall be: "The Lord is there" (48:35).

    The throne of God shall be there (22:3)

    Just as Ezekiel had previously seen the glory of the Lord leave the Temple in Jerusalem, now he sees the glory of the Lord come into this house.

    And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. (Ezekiel 43:4-5).

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