A Brief Overview of the Book of Ezekiel

Erica Wiggenhorn
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The prophecies of Ezekiel prove difficult and most of us have probably been taught little from these strange visions and prophecies. Before we begin, a brief understanding of the history of Israel helps us put Ezekiel’s messages in context. This portion of Israel’s history proves most significant because it points to a deeper need for their Messiah beyond a desire to be an independent nation. The role and work of Messiah involved spiritual restoration between God and His people. He would bring revival.

Back in 2 Samuel 7:1–17, God had promised King David that one of his descendants would remain on the throne in perpetuity. After the death of David’s son, King Solomon, in 931 BC, Israel split into two nations—the northern section, Israel, and the southern section, Judah. Israel comprised ten of the twelve tribes of the original nation, while Judah was made up of the remaining two tribes: Benjamin and Judah. David, who was from the tribe of Judah, continued to have a descendant sit on the throne in Jerusalem. God’s promise stood. In 722 BC, the northern portion, Israel, fell to the Assyrian Empire. Judah remained a nation, along with God’s promise to have a descendant of David on the throne in Jerusalem.

“Do we desire to abide with God and receive a new heart and a newly revived life?”

At the opening of the scene of Ezekiel, Nebuchadnezzar has attacked Judah and removed their king, Jehoiakim, bringing him to Babylon. His son Jehoiachin becomes king of Judah for just a few months until he himself is taken to Babylon along with thousands of other captives. The promise still remains thus far, however, because rather than instituting a foreign ruler, Nebuchadnezzar placed Zedekiah, Jehoiakim’s uncle, on the throne of Judah as vassal. So one of David’s descendants continues to reign in the city of Jerusalem, albeit as a puppet king under the rule of the king of Babylon. The prophecies of Ezekiel proved unfathomable to the exiles primarily because he spoke of a seeming break in the promise of God to David: “Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16). How could the temple and the city of Jerusalem be entirely destroyed without this promise being broken?

Those who remained within the walls of Jerusalem asserted that punishment had already been issued on the exiles. The city now purged, they remained safely inside its walls. God however, speaks to the exiles in a strange twist of plans. He would shelter the exiles in a foreign land and destroy those who remained within the city walls. He would reestablish David’s throne as promised in Ezekiel 36–37 and would rebuild their temple.

Thus, the messianic component of Ezekiel’s prophecies. For David’s throne to remain in perpetuity, it must constitute a greater throne than David’s.

An unshakable kingdom. Messiah’s kingdom. Ezekiel awakens the reader to understand Messiah’s kingdom to be something more than merely a physical kingdom, but also a spiritual one. In this kingdom, God Himself, through Messiah, yet again rules and reigns in the midst of His people, just as He originally intended back in Exodus 25:8: “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.”

As hearers of Ezekiel’s prophecies today, we must ask ourselves, Do we merely desire a physical church, with traditions and tangible practices, or do we desire to abide with God and receive a new heart and a newly revived life?

For Further Reading:

An Unexpected Revival

by Erica Wiggenhorn

Do you long to feel a closer connection to God? To discern His voice, experience His peace, and live in His joy? In this 8-week Bible study, An...

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