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Who Is Ezekiel In The Bible

The Prophet A Watchman

Who Was Ezekiel the Prophet?

1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: 3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people 4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. 6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. 7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Allegory Of The Vine Branch

10 Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters:she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. 11 And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her staturewas exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches. 12 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east winddried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered the fire consumed them. 13 And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground. 14 And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule.This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.

Second Temple And Rabbinic Judaism

Ezekiel’s imagery provided much of the basis for the Second Temple mystical tradition in which the visionary ascended through the Seven Heavens in order to experience the presence of God and understand His actions and intentions. The book’s literary influence can be seen in the later apocalyptic writings of Daniel and Zechariah. He is specifically mentioned by Ben Sirah and 4 Maccabees . In the 1st century CE the historian Josephus said that the prophet wrote two books: he may have had in mind the Apocryphon of Ezekiel, a 1st-century CE text that expands on the doctrine of resurrection. Ezekiel appears only briefly in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but his influence there was profound, most notably in the Temple Scroll with its temple plans, and the defence of the Zadokite priesthood in the Damascus Document. There was apparently some question concerning the inclusion of Ezekiel in the canon of scripture, since it is frequently at odds with the Torah .

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Ezekiels Role In The Bible

Ezekiel is the fourth of the Major Prophets. When God had a message for the people, He spoke to them through prophets: men moved by the Holy Spirit to speak on Gods behalf.

Ezekiel has his fair share of oracles , but this book is best known for Ezekiels visions. He sees some intense, intense things, including:

  • The Lord enthroned above the cherubim
  • The flagrant idolatry happening within Jerusalem
  • The divine executioners who will slaughter the wicked
  • A valley of dry bones reanimating
  • A new temple in Jerusalem
  • Take a spin through Ezekiel and youll find angels with four faces, wheels with eyes, and dry bones growing ligaments .

    But Ezekiel isnt the only prophet to have these kinds of visions. Daniel, Zechariah, and John have visions of a similar stock.

    But with the larger-than-life visions and watchman status comes some tremendous hardships for Ezekiel. Jeremiah may be known as the weeping prophet, but Ezekiel has his share of suffering:

    • God takes away Ezekiels voice, rendering him mute for 7 years. He can only speak when the Lord has words for him to share with the people.
    • Ezekiel is tied to the ground on one side for 390 days, and on the other for 40 days. He eats cakes cooked over cow feces for that time, too.
    • Ezekiels wife dies, but he is forbidden to mourn the loss. Her death is a sign that Jerusalem will be destroyed, and Ezekiels response will mirror the Jews.

    B Additional Considerations: A Critique Of Days Positive Evidence

    Ezekiel, the Priest

    In dealing with the positive evidence of an identification of Ezekiels Daniel with the Dnil of the Ugaritic texts, Day has some rather incisive comments to make about Dresslers views. However, in spite of the positive evidence he has amassed, I believe that there are two Achilles heels in his arguments. It is my view that his error in these two points is serious enough to invalidate the identification he is proposing.

    1. Daniels Wisdom

    First, in dealing with the last mention of Daniel in Ezekiel, Day says that the words of Ezek. xxviii 3, no secret is hidden from you, suggest that Daniels wisdom is of the type referred to by H. P. Müller as mantic or magical-mantic wisdon, a feature certainly prominent in the hero of the book of Daniel. . . . Although a number of Müllers attempts to discern magical-mantic wisdom in the Ugaritic Daniel are not particularly convincing, it does seem that certain elements of it are present . . . .10

    Now we might add two points to this discussion: the specific type of wisdom Ezekiel speaks of in 28:3 is the same specific type referred to in Daniel, namely, the ability to expose secrets , though this specific type of wisdom is not mentioned with reference to Dnil in the Ras Shamra text and Day concedes that It must be admitted that in the extant Aqhat epic Daniel is not explicitly referred to as a wise man.12 His attempt on this point is most ingenious, though it seems to fall short of logical demonstration.

    2. Daniels Righteousness

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    What Can We Learn From Ezekiel

    Apart from our lack of knowledge about his personal life we can learn a number of things from this prophet.

    First, God can call us to a particular vocation or ministry at any time. Ezekiels life was more than halfway over when God sent him prophetic visions.

    Perhaps hed felt a lack of purpose because his priestly duties were no longer needed in Babylon. Still, God uses him and delivers messages full of hope.

    Secondly, we can know that God can use even the most difficult of lives to bring glory to him.

    Ezekiel had a rough go of things. He likely didnt have many memories of King Josiah and only witnessed corruption, death, and captivity in his lifetime.

    Nevertheless, God prevails in the story. The prophet has something to hope for and look forward to for future generations of Israel.

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    The Character Of Elijah

    The Bible often doesnt show us the flaws and shortcomings of prophets and doesnt tend to dive much into their dispositions and personalities. But what do we know about Ezekiel?

    Ezekiel started as a priest, which means he came from the tribe of Levi, the tribe specifically consecrated for the priesthood.

    Before the exile, he received influence from the famous lamenting prophet Jeremiah.

    Although Ezekiel does denounce a number of cities and nations as well as Israel for their sins, he also plays the role of comforter and consoler, a typical balance we see amongst many Old Testament prophets such as Daniel and Jeremiah.

    Apart from that, we dont know much specifically about his character. We know he pursued God fervently, felt despair and hope in terms of Israels situation, and knew quite a bit about priestly duties.

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    God Will Shepherd His Sheep

    11 For thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong I will feed them with judgment.

    A Consideration Of The Four Arguments

    Story of Ezekiel | Full episode | 100 Bible Stories

    1. Linguistic Considerations

    Both Day and Dressler agree that the spelling of the name Daniel is insignificant in terms of denying an identification of Ezekiels Daniel with the biblical Daniel. Part of the reason that the spelling is different might be that the yodh used in the name in the book of Daniel may indeed by a yodh compaginis, or a mere connective rather than the first person infix. Or, if the yodh was intended by the author to be a personal infix as a constant reminder of his relation to YHWH, then one could easily understand why such would be missing in Ezekiels spelling of the name. In other words, Daniels spelling reminds him of his own responsibility before God and of his own humility. Ezekiels spelling leaves the yodh out, broadening the scope of God as judge.

    2. The Middle Position of the Name as an Argument for Antiquity

    3. Non-Israelite Emphasis

    4. Chronological Difficulties

    Day does not deal with Dresslers arguments, as already noted. Thus, we can allow Dresslers arguments to stand.

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    The Law Of The Temple

    10 Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. 12 This is the law of the house Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

    The Prophet As Watchman

    17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

    18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned also thou hast delivered thy soul.

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    Boundaries Of The Land

    1 Now these are the names of the tribes. From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goeth to Hamath, Hazar-enan, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath for these are his sides east and west a portion for Dan. 2 And by the border of Dan, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Asher. 3 And by the border of Asher, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Naphtali. 4 And by the border of Naphtali, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Manasseh. 5 And by the border of Manasseh, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Ephraim. 6 And by the border of Ephraim, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Reuben. 7 And by the border of Reuben, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Judah.

    What Are Some Distinctive Features Of This Book

    Ezekiel Basic English Bible

    More than once in the book of Ezekiel we read that the Lord compared His prophet to a watchman on a tower . 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 watchmanâs 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 .

    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 Lordâs covenant people would eventually be gathered to the lands of their inheritance . The Lord also described the latter-day gathering of Israel by comparing it to the uniting of the stick of Joseph with the stick of Judah . The book of Ezekiel includes a prophecy of a great battle that will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ . Additionally, Ezekiel 40â48 contains a description of a temple that will be built in Jerusalem in the latter days.

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    When Was The Book Of Ezekiel Written

    1. The Book Was Written during the Exile in the 6th Century

    Ezekiel 1:3 tells us at the time of the writing of the book, the prophet and many of Gods people were currently in Babylon after being deported from Judah in 597 BC. He was a contemporary of the prophet Daniel and began prophesying in 593 BC. Ezekiel was involved in prophetic ministry for over two decades, with his last recorded message dated in the year 571 BC. In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet first details the reasons why judgment would come on Judah , then declares judgment on other sinful peoples surrounding Judah , then ends with an assurance that one day Gods people would return to the land and be reconciled with God .

    It seems Ezekiel wrote the book to help exiles in Babylon to understand why their exile had happened and to urge them to live with faithfulness and unity as they looked forward to their eventual restoration. While many false prophets tried to tell the people what they wanted to hear–that they would quickly return to their beloved homeland–Ezekiel prophesied the truth, that Jerusalem would in fact be destroyed and that it would take many years for the future restoration that God had indeed promised.

    2. Young Jewish men used to be forbidden from reading Ezekiel until age 30.

    B The Middle Position Of The Name As An Argument For Antiquity

    . . . it is generally agreed nowadays that the mention of Daniel between two figures from antiquity must imply that Daniel, too, cannot be a person contemporary with the prophet Ezekiel. Older commentaries present a different point of view and postulate either a climactic order or an order of elevation. However, it must be noted that the Book of Ezekiel does not attach much importance to exact patterns of enumeration. . . . Hence we must assume that the position of the name does not allow any clear-cut deductions. .

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    Symbol Of The Destruction Of The Temple

    15 Also the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 16 Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. 17 Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. 18 So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died and I did in the morning as I was commanded. 19 And the people said unto me, Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so? 20 Then I answered them, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 21 Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword. 22 And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. 23 And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another. 24 Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.


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