Date: 6th century BC
Ezekiel was born in the waning days of the kingdom of Judah. He comes from a priestly family and is called by God as a prophet. In the year 597 BC he was deported to the land of Babylon, just like King Jehoiachin. He stayed there in the village town of Tel-Abib on the river Chebar. In the year 602 BC he was called by GOD as a prophet for the exiles and the Jewish people left behind in the city of Jerusalem. As a prophet, He never went to the city. After his calling, he lived at least 22 years (29:27). His message was initially ignored. Only after the news of the fall of Jerusalem had come did the people begin to hear. Ezekiel was a special man in three ways.
He had great imagination. His descriptions of Celestial Being and the New Age bear witness to this.
He possessed supernatural gifts that enabled him to see in detail events in Jerusalem. He was more than 1,600 km away from this city.
He was a person of great courage and determination. He was not discouraged by dismissive reactions. He continued to speak the truth. As a prophet of his people, Ezekiel saw himself as a
Shepherd. As a shepherd, he protected the people, as a shepherd does. He saw himself as a symbol of the Great Shepherd to come, Christ Jesus.
Watchman. As a watchman, he warned the people of the coming judgment of God. As a military watchman searches for the approaching enemy, so Ezekiel looked into the dark and cried out that the judgment of God was approaching.
Advocate of God. As God's advocate, he explained that the land did not fall because of the weakness of God, but because of the sins of the people.
The preaching of Ezekiel is dominated by the supernal magnificence of God. The first vision with its images and figures confirms it. God is far above His creation and Ezekiel can hardly put it in words. Ezekiel uses his imaginative power to explain who God is. It is important to note that he throws himself face down to worship God. Ezekiel also writes about the Spirit of God. The other prophets always use the expression The Word of the Lord to indicate the presence of God.
Ezekiel writes that the Spirit of God guides him. The purpose of this guidance is to pass on a message to the people to bring them to God. The problem of the people is that they had lost contact with God and no longer knew Him. Of course they had heard of God, but they did not know Him personally. In this context, to know God means:
Giving credit to God of the Lord over history and over their lives,
Recognize God as their personal God.
That goes for them as well as for us. Ezekiel brings the message of the judgment of God. The people of Judah had:
Breaking the laws of GOD,
The temple of GOD profaned,
Violated the Sabbath,
False prophets followed,
Engaged in fornication,
Made connections with foreign powers.
Finally, Ezekiel brings the message of restoration. The land will rise from the ashes like a dead man from the grave. These hopes are expressed in the vision of the dry bones (37). A new time is coming when GOD is the most powerful and will reign.
1. The prophecies of judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem (1:1-24:27),
2. Messages for Gentile Nations (25:1-32:32),
3. The new life and time (33:1-39:29),
4. The New Temple (40:1-48:35).