Ezekiel: Punishment is Certain

ezekiel

Ezekiel

While Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem that the city would soon fall to the Babylonians, Ezekiel was giving the same message to the captives who were already in Babylon.  Like those in Jerusalem, the captives stubbornly believed that Jerusalem would not fall and that they would soon return to their land. Ezekiel warned them that punishment was certain because of their sin, whether we believe it or not.

Ezekiel condemns the sinful actions of seven nations.  The people in these nations were saying that God was obviously too weak to defend his people and the city of Jerusalem. But God is allowing his people to be defeated in order to punish them for their sins. These pagan nations, however, would face a similar fate, and then they would know that God is all-powerful. Those who dare to mock God today will also face a terrible fate.

After the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel delivered messages of future restoration and hope for the people.  God is holy, but Jerusalem and the temple had become defiled. The nation had to be cleansed through 70 years of captivity. Ezekiel gives a vivid picture of the unchangeable holiness of God.  We too must gain a vision of the glory of God, a fresh sense of his greatness, as we face the struggles of daily life.

Writer of Ezekiel

Ezekiel is both the name of the sixth-century B.C. prophet and the title of the book that records his preaching. Ezekiel’s name (Hb. Yekhezqe’l) means “God Strengthens” or “May God Strengthen,” appropriate for a prophet called to proclaim a message of uncompromising judgment and later a message of restoration for God’s sake, not Israels.

Date Written

The book of Ezekiel is more frequently dated than those of the other Old Testament prophets. The first date of the book takes the reader to the summer of 593 B.C., five years after the first group of exiles was deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. The latest dated oracle comes 22 years after that summer, in April of 571 B.C.

To Whom Written

Ezekiel spoke to a community forced from its home, a people who had broken faith with their God. As the spokesman for the God of Israel, Ezekiel spoke oracles that vindicate the reputation of this Holy God. Thus the primary purpose of Ezekiel’s message was to restore God’s glory before the people who had spurned it in view of the watching nations.

Theological Contribution in Ezekiel

One of the greatest insights of the book of Ezekiel is its teaching of individual responsibility. The Jewish people had such a strong sense of group identity as God’s covenant people that they tended to gloss over their need as individuals to follow God and His will. He also makes a clear reference to the Messiah, a prophecy fulfilled when Jesus was born in Bethlehem more than 500 years later.

Special Consideration in Ezekiel

In his use of parables, symbolic behavior, and object lessons to drive home his messages, the prophet Ezekiel reminds us of the great prophet Jeremiah. Ezekiel portrayed God’s covenant people as a helpless newborn child (16:12), as a lioness who cared carefully for her cubs (19:1-9), as a sturdy cedar (17:1-10), and as a doomed and useless wine (chapter 15). He also carried his belongings about to show that God would allow His people to be carried into exile by the Babylonians (12:1-16).

Scripture Study Resources

ESV Study BibleStudy Bibles give you a deeper understanding of God’s Word with tools for life application like commentary, maps, charts, concordance, and study notes. Search our popular translations- NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV and more!

Believer’s Bible Commentary: Second Edition – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture.

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – The best concordance for word study! This exclusive new edition of a legendary classic puts generations of biblical research at your fingertips. A valuable tool for pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – This classic word study resource allows you to study the meaning of biblical words in the original languages without spending years learning Greek or Hebrew. A great resource for students, seasoned pastors, and anyone who enjoys biblical word studies–even if they have little to no formal training in Hebrew or Greek.

Halley’s Bible Handbook – The beloved and classic Bible companion has been thoroughly updated, while retaining its time-honored features and Dr. Halley’s highly personal style, to offer even greater clarity, insight, and usefulness.


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