The Visions and Oracles of the Prophet Ezekiel (1)

Biblical Research Monthly, January 1947 thru September 1950 — by Dr. David L. Cooper


      1. Some Preliminary Observations
      2. The Call and Commission of Ezekiel
      3. The Beginnings of Ezekiel's Ministry
      4. The Final Collapse of Judah Under the Babylonian Siege
      5. Jehovah's Withdrawal from the City and it's Downfall
      6. The Flight and Capture of the King Symbolically Represented and Warning Against a Wrong Attitude Concerning Prophecy
      7. Prophecy and Idolatry
      8. Israel, the Burnt Vine and the Unfaithful Wife
      9. The Riddle of the Two Great Eagles and the Messianic Reign of Christ
      10. God's Reply to the Proverb, “The Fathers have Eaten Sour Grapes, and the Children's Teeth are Set on Edge”
      11. The Young Lions and the Rods of Judah
      12. Israel's Past and Future Experiences
      13. The Sword of Jehovah
      14. Sinful Jerusalem and Her Punishment
      15. The Lewdness of Oholah and Oholibah
      16. The Boiling Caldron
      17. Oracles Concerning Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia
      18. The Oracle Concerning Tyre
      19. The Oracles Concerning Egypt
      20. The Watchman on the Wall (Chapter 33)
      21. The Untrue Shepherds of Israel
      22. The Flock of Jehovah and its Shepherd
      23. The Judgment upon Edom
      24. The Curse Removed from the Land of Israel
      25. Israel's Restoration to the Land of the Fathers and Her Conversion
      26. The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones
      27. The Scattered Nation of Israel Reunited under King Messiah
      28. The Overthrow of the Russian Forces that Invade Palestine (Chapter 38)
      29. The Overthrow of the Antichrist's Forces Invade Palestine (Chapter 39)
      30. The Millennial Jerusalem
      31. The Millennial Temple
      32. The Prince and the Glorified Millennial Temple
      33. The Land of Israel in the Millennium

Some Preliminary Observations

By certain scholars the Book of Ezekiel is considered the crown jewel of prophecy of the Old Testament; by others it is not given such a high rating, though it is recognized as a marvelous revelation from God. It is unique among the prophetic books of the Old Testament. The prophet is very vivid and graphic in his expressions. He employs every method known by the literary artist to convey his thoughts to his fellow-men. He is the first to adopt that peculiar type of prophecy known as apocalyptic, the employment of visions and symbolic acts such as we see in the Books of Daniel and Revelation. The word Ezekiel means “God strengthens” or “God will strengthen.” The Lord certainly did strengthen Ezekiel for the task, the difficult task, which he had to perform. He was indeed a present help to the prophet in time of need.

The Political Situation in Israel

Life is a chain of causes and effects, of antecedents and consequences. The environment in which one generation lives is created by its predecessors. There are however times when an individual or a generation does change or modify its environment — for better or for worse. All too frequently people settle down complacently into the environment into which they were born and drift with the tide.

Upon the death of Solomon the ten northern tribes revolted against the house of David, called for Jeroboam to return from Egypt, and made him king. In order that his subjects might not feel a loyalty to Jerusalem and the Davidic house, Jeroboam built temples in Dan and in Bethel and instituted the Egyptian bull worship. Thus a new religion was introduced into Israel, the northern kingdom. Later Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel, a Sidonian princess, who brought Baal worship from her native land into Israel. Thus the worship of Jehovah was practically rooted out from the northern kingdom and was supplanted by these pagan religions. Like a flood beating against the banks of a stream, idolatry in the northern kingdom kept beating against the frontiers of Judah in an effort to overflow into the southern kingdom.

In the days of Isaiah, who lived in the latter half of the eighth century B.C., according to the Ussher chronology, the floodtide of idolatry was threatening the nation all the time. This great statesman-prophet fought with all his might against such paganism. The greatest classics hurled against idolatry are to be found in his writings. By prophetic insight he looked out into the years ahead and saw the time when idolatry would come like a flood and would inundate Judah. Finally it did.

The time in which Ezekiel lived was a turbulent period. King Manasseh of Judah had led the nation away from Jehovah and had introduced every type of idolatry into the kingdom. With these false gods and religions came immorality and a low standard of ethics and morals. Thus the nation of Israel took a nose-dive down into the very depths of sin and degradation during the fifty-five years of the reign of Manasseh. This condition continued through the reign of his son and successor, Amon, for two years. During the first eighteen years of the reign of Josiah, the successor of Amon, it seems that there was little or no improvement in the conditions. In the eighteenth year of Josiah, however, the Book of the Law was discovered in the Temple, was brought to Josiah and read to him. The king, being stirred by the impending judgments threatened in the law, began one of the most thorough reforms ever launched in Israel. Although it was the most thoroughgoing of the four great revivals in Israel, great were the difficulties. For idolatry had gripped the country for seventy-five years (from the beginning of Manasseh's reign to the eighteenth year of Josiah). By the apostasy of Manasseh Judah took a plunge which landed her beyond all possibility of being spared the overthrow of the nation. The Lord could no longer brook the sin of the nation. In the language of the writer of II Chronicles the nation had reached that point where there was no remedy (II Chronicles 36:16).

The reforms of good young King Josiah could not prevent a national catastrophe, but did postpone it a few years. Upon his death the forces of evil were again turned loose. The nation began backsliding. Men got their eyes off God and put them upon men. Israel began to rely upon the Egyptians for help and assistance.

God works in and through history. His invisible guiding hand is directing the movements of the nations. While He lets every nation and the individuals within such groups exercise their own free choices, nevertheless He overrules providentially and makes their free acts contribute to the advancement of His plans and purposes for the nations. It was all too evident to everyone who had spiritual vision that there was but one thing that could come to Judah from the hand of a holy God — punishment in the extreme, because of her disloyalty to her God and her going off into idolatry. The Lord in His wisdom had decreed to punish Judah for her sin by using the neo-Babylonian Empire. Ancient Babylon had gone down under Assyria and had lain dormant for centuries. Just about the time that Jeremiah began his ministry, God began to raise up the neo-Babylonian Empire. Providentially he brought forth Nabopolassar who raised it from out the dust of the past and caused it to become a growing and a mighty state. He reigned over it for twenty-five years and was succeeded by his son, Nebuchadnezzar, who in turn reigned forty-three years. This prince brought Babylon to the zenith of its power.

Habakkuk lived and engaged in his ministry probably in the first part of the reign of King Josiah — though we may not be absolutely dogmatic in regard to the date. He called the attention of his contemporaries to the fact that God was raising up the bitter and cruel nation of Babylon in order to punish His people Israel for their sins. To men of the world and those who had no spiritual insight into the workings of God, the rise of the neo-Babylonian Empire, its rapid growth, and its reaching the zenith of its power in a little over half a century were simply natural phenomena without any special significance. But to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, Habakkuk called attention to the fact that God was raising up this nation in order to correct His people. The language is so very graphic and important, I wish to quote this oracle:

Behold ye among the nations, and look, and wonder marvelously; for I am working a work in your days, which ye will not believe though it be told you. 6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. 7 They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. 8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves; and their horsemen press proudly on: yea, their horsemen come from far; they fly as an eagle that hasteth to devour. 9 They come all of them for violence; the set of their faces is forwards; and they gather captives as, the sand. 10 Yea, he scoffeth at kings, and princes are a derision unto him; he derideth every stronghold; for he heapeth up dust, and taketh it. 11 Then shall he sweep by as a wind, and shall pass over, and be guilty even he whose might is his god.” (Habakkuk 1:5-11)

God “... made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation” that they should seek after God who is not far from anyone of them (Acts 17:24-28). According to this statement of the inspired Apostle Paul it is God who determines when a nation shall arise to statehood, the extent of the territory to be occupied, and the strength and power to be gained. When God has raised up such a nation as the Chaldeans and has used it for a given purpose, He punishes it and frequently causes such a power to go back into oblivion (Isaiah 10:5-12).

Habakkuk realized that God was raising up in his day and time the Chaldean Empire for the correction of the Jewish nation. When he realized how ruthless and wicked the Chaldeans were, he asked how it was that God could use such a degenerate race to punish the Hebrew people who, though sinful, were living on a much higher plane than the Babylonians. God uses men for the positions for which they fit themselves by their own free choices and by their conduct and lives. But He always punishes everyone for his wickedness after he has been used of Him.

It is a source of great consolation to know that the nations of the world — even all of them combined — are no more than a drop in the bucket or a particle of fine dust upon the balances (see the majestic oration of the Prophet Isaiah found in chapter 40 of that book).

In fulfillment of the prophecy of Habakkuk God was, in the sight of all the nations, calling the neo-Babylonian Empire out of the dust of the past and was shaping its destiny in order that it might become the dominant power of the world of that day and time. When Nebuchadnezzar mounted the throne, he was pushing his boundaries toward the Mediterranean and was coming in contact with Judah. He sent his armies therefore against Jerusalem and caused Jehoiakim to swear fealty to Babylon.

Later Jehoiakim broke faith with Nebuchadnezzar. Hence in the third year of his reign Judah was invaded, some of the vessels from the Temple were taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, and exacting conditions of peace were imposed upon Jehoiakim. Worldliness and a non-religious sentiment gripped the people. Many, however, were turning to idols and were practicing all the abominable and immoral acts attending such worship. Thus there was a rapid disintegration of the nation during the reign of Jehoiakim.

His son and successor, Jehoiachin, mounted the throne upon the death of his father, but he reigned only three months and was taken to Babylon into captivity. Nebuchadnezzar took his father's brother, Mattaniah, changed his name to Zedekiah, and placed him on the throne of Judah. Zedekiah swore loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar, but soon became involved in plotting with neighboring kings against Nebuchadnezzar his overlord. An intimation of this plotting is to be found in Jeremiah 27:1-11, which speaks of ambassadors from certain nations and their being at Jerusalem. Probably Nebuchadnezzar learned of this plotting and sent for Zedekiah in the fourth year of his reign. (See Jeremiah 51:59.) As the reign of Zedekiah progressed the deterioration became more rapid; until finally, in the ninth year of Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar sent his armies to overthrow and to destroy the city.

Jewish Attitude toward The Book of Ezekiel

To note the ancient attitude of the Jewish people toward the Book of Ezekiel is very interesting. According to tradition the younger and immature minds were not allowed to study that book. In fact, it was classified with certain others that were called “the hidden” books. Among these were the Book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and the Book of Esther. Because Ezekiel was placed in this group of books and was kept from immature persons, certain rationalistic critics have twisted the facts and have said that the ancient Jews doubted the authenticity and canonicity of the book, and that they therefore put it in this class of literature. This claim is contrary to the facts. Esther was placed in this list of books and yet its authenticity and canonicity were never questioned for one moment. Neither was the genuineness of Ezekiel questioned by any of them.

The question arises. Why did the ancient synagogue place Ezekiel among these hidden books? There may have been several reasons; but chief among them doubtless are the following: To them there appeared to be contradictions between the law as delivered by Moses and the legislation found in the last nine chapters of Ezekiel. Thus the ancient rabbis feared that the younger generation, before reaching maturity when they could think things through, would hastily jump at a conclusion and form the opinion that Ezekiel contradicted Moses.

But there is no contradiction between Moses and Ezekiel, or the legislation as given by Moses and that set forth by Ezekiel. Moses gave the legislation and the ritualistic services that were to be observed during the Mosaic Age. That which is given by Ezekiel is to obtain in the great Kingdom Age as we shall learn in our exposition of the Book of Ezekiel. Certain of the ritualism will be carried over into the great Kingdom Age. Other portions of it will be omitted — doubtless for good and sufficient reasons known unto the Almighty. When therefore we see that Moses legislated for one time and Ezekiel prophecied concerning another, we see that there need not be found any contradiction at all.

Another reason why the book was kept from the younger ones was that in the very first chapter appears the record of a theophany. As we shall learn in our first exposition of the Book of Ezekiel, one like unto a Son of man appeared on a portable throne supported and carried forward by cherubim. This one was none other than Jehovah. We shall discover that this was Jehovah the Son. This portion, together with that found in chapters 10 and 11, describing the same thing, was considered very holy portions of Scripture. The immature and undeveloped minds were not supposed to be able to understand and comprehend the realities and the holiness of this marvelous revelation.

Probably the Book of Ezekiel was withheld from the great masses of Israel because of the various enigmas, parables, visions, and symbolic acts which the prophet performed or experienced. These, it must be admitted, are more difficult to be understood than the straightforward statements of facts and utterances of prophecies.

We should not be surprised at the Jews for withholding this portion of the Sacred Word from the younger people. We see the same tendency among Christian people today. In fact, there are many well-taught people who avoid the study of such books as Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation. I well recall, several years ago, the practices of various churches in their Sunday schools. They had Bible classes that studied the New Testament, beginning with Matthew and continuing through to Jude. When they finished that last book, they turned back to the beginning and restudied the New Testament, stopping always with Jude. They felt that the Book of Revelation could not be understood. There was therefore no necessity or profit in even reading it. Even now, in certain quarters, there are those who do not believe that we can understand the prophetic word and are averse to the study of prophecy. If a person studies and teaches the prophetic word, he is considered by such groups as a speculator.

Anyone who marks off any portion of the Word and forbids or discourages the study of that portion is robbing those whom they influence of deep spiritual blessing. The Books of Revelation and Ezekiel were included in the Bible for us to study, the same as any other portion of the Word. Let us therefore come to the study of Ezekiel with receptive minds, praying that the Lord will open our eyes to see and behold the wonderful things in His Word.

The Modernistic Attitude toward The Book of Ezekiel

Since rationalism has entered the Christian ranks, the entire history of Israel has been reconstructed and changed utterly. This is the work of the higher critics — rather, destructive critics. These rationalists deny that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. They dissect the Books of Moses, together with Joshua, into various supposed original documents. These primary sources they designate as: Elohistic, Jehovistic, Deuteronomic, and priestly writings. These first two imaginary writers lived in the eighth or ninth century before Christ and wrote their history of the Jewish people from creation downward to their day and time.

Throughout the centuries down to the time of Josiah, according to this rationalistic theory, there was no centralized worship. But the children of Israel carried on their worship in the high places — just as the Canaanites had done before them. Finally, in the days of Josiah, a conniving priest, who wanted to centralize the worship and make Jerusalem the only shrine for the nation, wrote that which is substantially the present Book of Deuteronomy. He manipulated the affair so very cleverly that, when it was discovered in the Temple by the priest Hilkiah, his deception was not discovered. Instead, Hilkiah believed that this was a genuine work of Moses. He sent it to the king, before whom it was read. Then King Josiah instituted reforms in accordance with the teaching set forth in this document. Those who had been conducting the worship in the high places throughout Israel were invited to leave those places, come, and join the forces of the central sanctuary in Jerusalem. Thus, according to the theory, the cultus of Israel was changed by this Deuteronomic Code.

Ezekiel carried the reforms demanded by the Deuteronomic Code further and thus degraded the priests who had officiated at the high places and allowed them to engage in only the minor services of the central sanctuary at Jerusalem. These were known as the Levites. Thus, according to the rationalistic theory, a definite turn was given to the religion of Israel by Ezekiel.

Finally, around 444 or 445 B.C., the priestly writer produced his document, which recognized the changes that had been wrought by the Deuteronomic Code and also by Ezekiel's influence. Thus the religion became fixed.

The rationalistic critics depend upon Ezekiel 44:4f as the central stone in the arch of their reconstruction of Israel's history. When the facts of history prior to Ezekiel's time and those of his day together with prophecies regarding the future are taken into consideration, it is seen that there is no support for this radical reconstruction of the biblical history as set forth in the Old Testament.

Whenever the books of the Old Testament are read and are allowed to tell their story, as it appears on the sacred page, all is consistency; when, however, the books of the Scriptures are cut up into arbitrary documents, as is done by the rationalists, then there are endless contradictions and abnormalities. It is my personal conviction that the Lord will bring the curse upon those who thus alter and change His record in the Old Testament, which is mentioned in the last chapter of the Book of Revelation. A severe anathema is there pronounced upon anyone who adds to or takes from the Book of Revelation. What is true of that book is also true of the entire Book. Thus those men who have arbitrarily, in the interest of a theory, dissected, cut up, and mutilated the various books of the Old Testament, as well as the New, will come in for the punishment that is threatened in the last chapter of Revelation.

Law versus Gospel

Because of Ezekiel's great emphasis which he places upon the law, many have thought that he exalted law to the very highest pinnacle of authority. He has been misunderstood as teaching that if a man would observe the law, he would thus live by his good works. To interpret this prophet as teaching such is to misunderstand him entirely.

Men are saved in all ages and dispensations upon the simple principle of grace through faith. From the roll call of faith in Hebrews, chapter 11, we see that men have been saved by faith on the human side and by grace on the divine side. Everyone who has ever been saved, who is being saved now, or ever will be saved will be saved in no other way than that of grace through faith.

What then was the function of the law? Paul tells us in Galatians 3:19 that it was added because of transgression. In Galatians 3:25 he stated that the law was a, tutor or schoolmaster to bring us (Jews) unto Christ. In the seventh chapter of Romans he affirmed that the law was given in order that the exceeding sinfulness of sin might become known. Moreover he spoke of the law as holy, good; but man is a slave to sin which dwells in him. The Old Testament prophets magnified the law and looked at it as a divine revelation of God graciously given to Israel in order to discipline her and bring her to the point where she could receive the Messiah with His salvation.

Unfortunately many in Israel who were living on the carnal plane sought justification and eternal life by observing rites and ceremonies. By works of the law shall no flesh be justified in God's sight. It was God's plan and purpose that men should trust Him, just as Abraham did (Romans, chapter 4) and be saved, be counted righteous as Abraham was.

We might compare the law to a mirror into which a person looks in order to see whether or not there is anything on his face. If there is dirt, the mirror will not wash it away. It reveals the fact that the dirt is there, but it takes water and soap to remove it. The law showed the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Those during the Dispensation of Law who walked by the faith of Abraham came in simple faith doubting nothing, trusting God for salvation and redemption.

Because Israel sought justification and life by observing ordinances, rites, and ceremonies, the old covenant became the ministration of death (see II Corinthians, chapter 3). But when rightly interpreted and obeyed, it proved indeed a blessing to the Israelites.

At the present time we are not under law but are under grace. The fact that we are not under law does not grant license to us to do wrong in any way whatsoever. If one continues in the same way in which he lived prior to his conversion, that fact is absolute, positive proof that such a one has never been born again.

The Times of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel

Jeremiah the prophet began his ministry in the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign. He continued in his ministry during the remaining years of that king and the reign of Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. After the fall of Jerusalem Nebuzaradan, the chief officer of Nebuchadnezzar, granted the prophet freedom to go anywhere he desired. He chose to go with Gedaliah who was appointed to be the Babylonian governor over the people that were left in the land. Gedaliah was slain by Ishmael the son of Nethaniah. Finally Ishmael fled to the king of Ammon and took refuge with him. Finally Johanan the son of Kareah, together with others, came to Jeremiah pleading with him to inquire of the Lord as to what they should do. They gave him every assurance that whatever the Lord spoke to them through him they would gladly do. When the Lord did give a reply to their inquiry, they refused to obey, claiming that Jeremiah was simply speaking his own words and not giving those of the Almighty. They therefore fled to Egypt and forcibly took the prophet along with them. Thus he disappears from the sacred page. From the historical facts we see that Jeremiah's ministry covered forty-odd years, the greater portion of which was in Jerusalem, though he lived at Anathoth, about three miles northeast of the Holy City. In the beginning of his ministry Jeremiah dealt with the nation as a whole. After the deputation of the captives, along with Jehoiachin, had been taken to Babylon, Jeremiah ministered to the people who were left in the land. At the same time, however, he wrote a letter to the captives who had been taken to Babylon along with Jehoiachin. This letter constitutes chapter 29 of the Book of Jeremiah.

Ezekiel was a much younger man than Jeremiah and was of priestly descent. He began his ministry in the fifth year of the reign of the captivity of Jehoiachin. At the time he went into captivity, he probably was twenty-five years of age. Then five years later, the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity, he began his public ministry. His field of service was among the captives who went to Babylon with Jehoiachin. Thus it is clear that his ministry ran parallel with the latter part of that of Jeremiah. In order to get a clear picture of the situation one must be familiar with the closing chapters of II Kings and II Chronicles and then study the prophecies of Jeremiah along with those of Ezekiel.

Another contemporary of Ezekiel was Daniel the prophet. He was taken to Babylon in the third year of Jehoiakim, when Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem and deported certain ones of the seed royal and of the nobility to Babylon. This third year of Jehoiakim was the last year of Nabopolassar the father of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar's first year was the fourth of Jehoiakim (see Jeremiah 25:1ff.) In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar, which was the fifth year of Jehoiakim, Daniel began his prophetic ministry by interpreting the significance of the dream which the Lord presented to Nebuchadnezzar and which is found in Daniel, chapter 2. As we learn from his book, Daniel became the prime minister of the Medo-Persian Empire. The last of his ministry which is recorded for us is found in the revelations set forth in Daniel, chapters 10, 11, and 12. One should study along with Ezekiel and Jeremiah the Book of Daniel and correlate its material with theirs.

The Message of The Book of Ezekiel

A survey of the Book of Ezekiel shows that his prophecies eddy around two general ideas: first, the judgments that would come upon Judah and Jerusalem, together with the surrounding nations, because of sin and of rebellion against God. This is found in the first thirty-three chapters of the book. The central thought around which the second half of the book revolves is the final restoration of Israel and of Jehovah's reign in her midst here upon earth. The book may be divided upon different principles. Some scholars close the first division with chapter 24 and consider chapters 25-48 as the second section. Still others, dividing the book according to other principles, consider that the first twenty-four chapters constitute the first division speaking of the judgments coming upon Jerusalem and Judah. The second division consists of chapters 25-32, which give the judgments pronounced against the nation. The third and last section, beginning with thirty-three and running to the close of the book, deals with the final restoration of Israel. In our study of the book in this series of expositions, we shall consider that the book has the two-fold aspect: the judgments coming upon the sinful nation and its final restoration.

The Various Types of Oracles

The book abounds in various types of expression. The prophet received visions from God concerning various things. He performed symbolic acts signifying certain great events or epochs. Again we see him using allegories such as those appearing in chapters 16 and 23. At times he, like Jeremiah, employed lamentation because of the deplorable conditions which faced him.

The Chronological System of Ezekiel

Ezekiel dates his prophecies in the era of Jehoiachin's captivity, because he went along to Babylon with Jehoiachin and the captives deported at that time. The prophet received his call, as we see in 1:2, in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity. The second dated prophecy is found in chapter 8. This revelation was received in the sixth year of Jehoiachin's captivity. In the seventh year of this era, he received the revelation found in chapter 20. The next prophecy is found in chapter 24 and is dated in the ninth year. In this prophecy Ezekiel saw a boiling caldron which symbolized the horrors and distress that would come upon Jerusalem when it would be besieged. This was actually fulfilled a year later, to a day. The vision was in the ninth year of Jehoiachin's captivity, which synchronized with the eighth year of Zedekiah's reign. We know therefore that this vision was given exactly one year ahead of the real investment of the city by the Babylonians.

The predictions concerning Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia are not dated. The one pertaining to Tyre is placed in the eleventh year of this era (Ezekiel 26:1). The one concerning Egypt is dated in the tenth year of the era (29:1). In 29:17 is another one which was in the twenty-seventh year of this era. This prediction is, however, the last dated event in the Book of Ezekiel. The oracle regarding Egypt found in chapter 31 is placed in the eleventh year, and the one in the thirty-second chapter the twelfth year of this period. In 33:21,22 appears the account of Ezekiel's being told concerning the fall of the city. It took from four to five months for the travelers to go from Palestine to Mesopotamia. This is seen in such passages as Ezra 7:9. Let it be remembered that this twelfth year of 33:21 is of the era of Jehoiachin's captivity.

The last date of the book is found in 40:1, which is the twenty-fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity and which synchronized with the fourteenth year after the fall of the city of Jerusalem. Jehoiachin's captivity was in the year 597 B.C. of the Ussher dates. The fall of the city in the same system was in 586 B.C. The fourteenth year after the fall would be 573 B.C. It was at this last date that Ezekiel received the marvelous revelations concerning the glorious millennial Temple and the conditions which will exist throughout the country during the Millennium.

A Picture of The Millennial Palestine

In the last nine chapters of Ezekiel we are presented with the most glorious picture concerning the conditions that will exist in Palestine during the reign of our Lord. Great topographical changes will take place. The land will be divided into equal sections for the twelve tribes of Israel. There will be seven portions north of the “oblation” and five sections south of it. This great oblation, or mountain of Jehovah, will be 25,000 reeds from north to south and from east to west. Since five hundred reeds make a mile, the dimensions of this marvelous mountain of Jehovah's house will be fifty miles by fifty miles. It will be divided into three sections. In the northern most one will be the Temple area. That section will be for the priests. The central section will be for the Levites. In the southern section of the mountain will be the city of Jerusalem, the millennial Jerusalem.

People will flock there in a constant stream from all parts of the world to worship Jehovah of hosts in His holy Temple, which will be a house of prayer for all nations. They will listen to Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, as He teaches the Word of the Lord, which will go forth from Jerusalem. At that time Jerusalem will be called Jehovah-shammah, Jehovah is there.

Outline of The Book of Ezekiel

  • INTRODUCTION: The date and place of the prophet's call (1:1-3)
  1. The call of Ezekiel (1:4-5:11)
  2. Prophecies regarding the judgment upon Jerusalem (3:12-33:33)
    1. The opening phase of Ezekiel's ministry (3:12-21)
    2. Second phase of Ezekiel's ministry (3:22-7:27)
    3. Prophecies given in sixth year of Ezekiel's ministry (8:1-19:14)
    4. Prophecies given in the seventh year of Ezekiel's ministry (20:1-23:49)
    5. Prophecies given in the ninth year of Ezekiel's ministry (24:1-27)
    6. Prophecies concerning the nations (25:1-32:32)
    7. Ezekiel the watchman for Israel (33:1-33)
  3. Prophecies regarding Israel's glorious future restoration (34:1-39:29)
    1. Predictions relating to the end time (34:1-39:29)
      1. The true shepherd of Israel (34:1-31)
      2. The future fate of Edom (35:1-15)
      3. The lifting of the curse from the land of Palestine (36:1-15)
      4. The conversion of Israel (36:16-38)
      5. The restoration of Israel nationally (37:1-14)
      6. The union of Judah and Israel in the future Kingdom Age (37:15-28)
      7. The destruction of the forces led by Gog against the land of Israel (38:1-39:29)
    2. Predictions relating to the millennial Jerusalem (40:1-48:38)
      1. The millennial Temple (40:1-43:12)
      2. The altar and its services (43:13-46:24)
      3. The river flowing from the Temple (47:1-12)
      4. The land divided among the tribes of Israel (47:13-48:29)
      5. The holy city with its gates (48:30-35)

Next: The Call and Commission of Ezekiel