Ezekiel was a priest living with the Jewish
exiles in Babylon after the taking of Judah and Jerusalem by
Babylon, around 580-600 B.C. Ezekiel has visions of God appearing
like a Man, yet glowing and dazzling with fire; and, of angelic
beings with four faces, wings, hands, and WHEELS within WHEELS
that contained all-seeing eyes (Ezekiel 1 and 10; also 8). Like
other prophets, Ezekiel says that God is very dismayed by worship
of idols and "gods" and at "false prophets"
and hypocrites (for example, Eziekiel 7:3; 14:10). Like Jeremiah,
Ezekiel believed that the old doctrine of children being punished
for their father's sins was wrong (the old doctrine, stated in King
James' Version , Ezekiel 18:2 -- "...The fathers
have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on
edge."). So, Ezekiel was saying that "...a righteous
man who does what is just and right...he will surely live."
(Ezekiel 18:5-9). And, Ezekiel, speaking for God, said "I
will judge you, each one according to his ways (i.e., his own
actions)." (Ezekiel 18:30; and, similarly in 33:20). As seen
by Ezekiel, "If a righteous (i.e., good) man...does evil, he
will die...And if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness...,
he will live..." (Ezekiel 33:18-19). Ezekiel was told to
warn the people, so that if the people then did not repent,
Ezekiel would not be responsible. (Ezekiel 33:9). The view of God
as the Shepherd seeking lost sheep and bringing them home again
is presented (Ezekiel 34:11-16). Ezekiel taught the feeling of a
"new heart" and "new spirit" that will be
given to the people who will be cleansed of their sins (Ezekiel
36:26) and of the return of God's people to Israel (Ezekiel
36:28; 35), where God said "you will be My people, and I
will be your God." Ezekiel's most remembered story:
Valley of the Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37):
In a vision, Ezekiel was carried to a valley of old, dry bones, and Ezekiel spoke the Words of the Lord, whereby the bones came together, became covered with skin, and became alive again. This was a symbol of the Hebrews, with all hope seeming to be gone, returning once again to their own land and thriving.
As Isaiah and Jeremiah, Ezekiel warned of the "last days" -- the future around his time (or even possibly yet to come now):
- " I will bring you from the nations...I will execute judgment upon you." (Ezekiel 20:34-35).
- "...'Wail...' For... the day of the Lord is near -- a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations." (Ezekiel 30:2-3).
- "...every creature that moves...all the people on the face of the earth will tremble...The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground...I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur..." (Ezekiel 38:20-22)
Ezekiel implies that Gog (representing all forces of evil) from the land of Magog will be finished "in the latter years of history."
Ezekiel refers to the Messiah:
- "And I will set up One Shepherd over them (i.e., all God's people), and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd." (Ezekiel 34:23 from King James' Version).
- "And I will raise up for them a Plant of Renown..." (Ezekiel 34:29 from King James' Version).
Ezekiel compared the Southern Kingdom (including Jerusalem and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and the Northern Kingdom (including the other ten tribes, and called "Israel") to prostitutes because of their idol worship that led to their destruction (Ezekiel 23). However, when the Hebrews were brought back to Jerusalem, Ezekiel felt that all the twelve tribes of Israel would be united with a new Temple in Jersualem (this vision given in Ezekiel 40-48), with priests from the sons of Zadok of the tribe of Levi and with no foreigner able to enter the sanctuary of the Temple, a strict Hebrew belief, probably from Ezekiel being a priest.