Some Tips on How To Read the Book of Ezekiel
To read Ezekiel, we need to know the background of Ezekiel and what is happening that time.
Who is Ezekiel?
Ezekiel was born in 622BC, the year which the book of the law was discovered. Since Ezekiel’s father Buzi, was a priest, Ezekiel was reared in all the traditions of the Jewish priesthood and was prepared for service to God in the Temple. But, he could no longer served as a priest in the Temple.
What was happening at that time?
In 597BC, Ezekiel’s plan is shattered when the Babylonian armies carried Ezekiel, Daniel, and estimated 10 thousand people to exile (the 1st deportation).
What is Ezekiel’s calling?
God called Ezekiel to be a prophet among the exiles. Ezekiel was to give God’s message verbally and visually. He was to explain to the exiles that Jerusalem will fall because of their sins.
Questions to ponder as you read
(Chapter 1-3) Ezekiel called to be a watchman, sent by God’s spirit
- Who is this God/Spirit that Ezekiel saw?
- What do you notice about Ezekiel and His calling?
(Chapter 4-24) Jerusalem will fall (message concerning the people of Jerusalem before the city was destroyed in 567BC)
- How will Jerusalem fall? Why will Jerusalem fall?
(Chapter 25-32) Revenge on the neighbours of Judah
- What did God judge them for?
After Jerusalem was destroyed in 587BC
(Chapter 33-39) A future for the exiles
- What were the promises of God to the people in exile?
(Chapter 40-48) The Temple that Ezekiel saw
- What is the main reason God gives Ezekiel this vision?
‘May God Strengthen’ Ezekiel to be a Watchman
Ezekiel’s name means ‘May God Strengthens’ and he was called to be a watchman to warn the people. He was sent to bring God’s message to the exiles who are rebellious and will not listen to him. Sent by the Spirit and empowered by His Spirit, he was to speak God’s words to them whether they listen or not, that the people will know that there had been a prophet among them.
Bible for Breakfast
He was asked to eat the scroll, to absorb the Word of God totally by filling His stomach with it, thoroughly digesting it. It was to become part of him, then he is ready to be a watchman. He was to speak with conviction because His message comes from God’s heart. His message was to get the exiles to face the reality that they would not be going home soon, and Jerusalem would finally be destroyed. He was to get his people to see that God’s judgement is fair because the people have broken the covenant relationship with God.
God’s own people drive Him away
Ezekiel was lifted by the Spirit to Jerusalem’s temple. He, who is familiar with the temple was shocked to see all the detestable things that is happening there. How, in all areas of the temple was filled with idolatry. These things that the people do drove God and His glory far away from His sanctuary. The people were judged accordingly, the one who sins is the one who will die. But if a wicked person turns away from His wickedness and do what is right, he will save his life’.
A New Heart & A New Spirit
God wants to give them a new heart and a new spirit. He calls them to rid themselves of all the offences they have committed. Why He wants to do that? He wants to create the opportunity for people to come back to Him and for people to relate to Him.
A Father’s heart “Then, you will know that I am the Lord”
This word was spoken many times in Ezekiel. God wants to let His people know that what He was doing or was about to do, punishing them was so that they will know that indeed He is the Lord. How easily people would have forgotten that He is the Lord and forsake Him to seek after and worship other gods. That really break God’s heart – “how I have been grieved by their adulterous heart, which have turned away from me and lusted after their idols” (Eze 6:7).