Survey of the Bible: Ezekiel
Text: Ezekiel 18:20-32
I. Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel were all prophets during the same period of time.
A. Jeremiah stayed Judah and witnessed the collapse.
B. Ezekiel was taken into captivity and lived among the captive Israelites
C. Daniel was taken as a boy to Babylon and became a part of the government there
D. Ezekiel was a priest of God - Ezekiel 1:3
1. His name means “God strengthens.”
II. Historical context
A. Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah in three phases
1. When Jehoiakim rebelled against him, he carried off the ruling class, which included Daniel, in 605 BC.
2. Jehoiachin thought he could rebel, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to haul off 10,000 of the middle class in 597 BC. Ezekiel was among those lead into captivity.
3. A third rebellion was more than Nebuchadnezzar could take and he returned to level the city and carried off all but the poorest into exile in 586 BC.
B. The book of Ezekiel covers a 22 year period from six years before the destruction of Jerusalem to 16 years after its destruction.
A. Ezekiel was given the task of explaining to the Jews that this captivity of theirs was not going to be short.
B. Like Jeremiah, God warns that the people would not listen to him - Ezekiel 3:4-9
C. 62 times in the book, the statement “They shall know that I am God” appears.
1. A key purpose of the book is to prove to the Israelites that God is sovereign
D. It proves God’s case against Israel. It proved to them that what happened was their fault and not happen chance.
1. Thus, it was also a book to get Israel to repent of her sins
2. And to give hope of a restoration.
E. The book uses a variety of styles to bring the message across, more than other books
1. Visions - Visions are painted in words where the meaning of the message is understood by interpreting the elements of the picture.
2. Signs - Ezekiel preforms some unusual act and when asked about it explains the meaning of the demonstration.
3. Parables - Stories told which tell a parallel story
4. Reasoned arguments
5. Songs of lamentation
F. Each prophecy is carefully dated. The presentation is not always in chronological order.
IV. The contents
A. Commission of Ezekiel - Ezekiel 1-3
1. The vision of God - Ezekiel 1
2. Ezekiel is called to be a prophet - Ezekiel 2
a. Ezekiel 2:8-10 - An unpleasant message
3. Ezekiel’s duties - Ezekiel 3
a. Ezekiel 3:17-21 - A watchman
B. Condemnation of Judah - Ezekiel 4-24
1. Signs of Judgment - Ezekiel 4-5
a. Sign of the brick - Ezekiel 4:1-3
(1) Imagine a grown man playing “army” on the ground with a brick representing a city
b. Sign of lying on his side - Ezekiel 4:4-8
(1) Imagine a grown man laying down for over a year, 390 days on one side and 40 days on the other side.
c. Sign of the defiled bread - Ezekiel 4:9-17
(1) Cooking a poor man’s bread over a fire of dung to be eaten while he is laying down
d. Sign of the hair cut - Ezekiel 5:1-4
(1) Using a sword as a razor, Ezekiel shaves his head and beard, dividing his hair into three parts to be disposed of.
e. Explanation of the signs - Ezekiel 5:5-17
2. Judgment against the mountains of Israel - Ezekiel 6
a. Reason for judgment is Israel’s idolatry - Ezekiel 6:8-10
3. Judgment against the land of Israel - Ezekiel 7
a. It was time - Ezekiel 7:10-13
4. Ezekiel is shown exactly what is going on - Ezekiel 8-11
a. Vision of the idolatry in Jerusalem - Ezekiel 8
b. Vision of the slaughter - Ezekiel 9
c. Vision of God’s glory departing - Ezekiel 10
d. Vision of the punishment for the evil rulers - Ezekiel 11:1-13
e. Promise of restoration - Ezekiel 11:14-25
5. Zedekiah’s Captivity - Ezekiel 12-13
a. Sign of moving out - Ezekiel 12:1-16
b. Sign of fear - Ezekiel 12:17-28
c. Prophecy against the false prophets - Ezekiel 13
6. Prophecy to the elders in exile - Ezekiel 14
a. They were just as guilty - Ezekiel 14:1-5
7. Parable of the Vine - Ezekiel 15
a. No escape - Ezekiel 15:7-8
8. Parable of God’s marriage to unfaithful Judah - Ezekiel 16
9. Parable of the two eagles - Ezekiel 17
a. A message to Zedekiah - Ezekiel 17:11-21
10. Explanation of God’s fairness - Ezekiel 18
11. Lament for Israel’s leaders - Ezekiel 19
12. The Elder’s inquiry of God and Ezekiel is asked to judge - Ezekiel 20-23
a. Review of Israel’s past from Egypt to the present time and its future restoration - Ezekiel 20:1-44
b. Parable of the forest fire - Ezekiel 20:45-49
c. Parable of the sword - Ezekiel 21:1-17
d. Second parable of the sword - Ezekiel 21:18-32
e. Review of Israel’s sins - Ezekiel 22
f. Parable of the two sisters - Ezekiel 23
(1) The depths of Israel’s sins - Ezekiel 23:36-39
13. The siege of Jerusalem - Ezekiel 24
a. Parable of the boiling pot - Ezekiel 24:1-14
(1) God won’t relent - Ezekiel 24:14
b. Sign from the death of Ezekiel’s wife - Ezekiel 24:15-27
(1) Unable to talk until word of the prophecy’s fulfillment - Ezekiel 24:25-27
C. Condemnation of the Nations - Ezekiel 25-32
1. Ammon - Ezekiel 25:1-7
2. Moab - Ezekiel 25:8-11
3. Edom - Ezekiel 25:12-14
4. Philistia - Ezekiel 25:15-17
5. Tyre - Ezekiel 26:1-28:19
6. Sidon - Ezekiel 28:20-26
7. Egypt - Ezekiel 29-32
D. Restoration of Israel - Ezekiel 33-48
1. Ezekiel to be a watchman - Ezekiel 33
2. Prophecy of the shepherds of Israel - Ezekiel 34
a. The leaders of Israel were doing a bad job, so God will take over
3. Judgment on Edom - Ezekiel 35
4. Prophecy to the mountains of Israel - Ezekiel 36
5. Vision of the valley of dry bones - Ezekiel 37:1-14
a. Israel died, but would be restored
6. Sign of the two sticks - Ezekiel 37:15-28
a. Israel was divided but would be reunited
7. Prophecy of Gog and Magog - Ezekiel 38-39
8. Vision of the restored Israel - Ezekiel 40-48
a. The new temple - Ezekiel 40-43
(1) Includes a vision of God’s glory returning to the temple - Ezekiel 43:1-12
b. The new priests - Ezekiel 44-46
c. The new land - Ezekiel 47-48
V. Throughout the book, the theme is God’s justice and fairness in destroying Judah for its sins, and God’s coming mercy in restoring Jerusalem to His favor.
A. We also see the nature of people. Though steep in sin, they refuse to see their situation or do anything to change
B. The dating of the prophecies are proof that God was behind Ezekiel’s visions.