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KEY VERSE—Ezekiel 1:3. “The hand of the Lord was upon me.”
KEY PHRASE—”VISIONS OF JUDGEMENT and OF THE TWO RESTORATIONS.”
Mentioned seven times in the book.
The whole of Ezekiel, or:—
Sunday—The Prophet Commissioned,—Ezekiel 2:3-10.
Monday—The Prophet a Watchman,—Ezekiel 3:10-21.
Tuesday—Israel to be converted,—Ezekiel 11:14-21.
Wednesday—The Sins of the People,—Ezekiel 22:3-31.
Thursday—Tyre a Symbol of Satan,—Ezekiel 28:11-19.
Friday—Vision of the Dry Bones,—Ezekiel 37:1-14
Saturday—Two Sticks are Israel and Judah,—Ezekiel 37:15-24.
NAME—The book is named after its author, Ezekiel, who was a priest and a major prophet. He was carried captive to Babylon, 597 B. C., about eleven years before the destruction of Jerusalem. He lived at the time of Daniel and Jeremiah, and was a disciple of the latter while in Jerusalem. He received his call at the age of 30, and prophesied for 22 years. He was a man of intense moral earnestness and of deep personal humility, and conspicuous for his fidelity to Jehovah in the trying times of the exile.
TIME OF EZEKIEL—The northern Ezekiel 4; Ezekiel 5; Ezekiel 6; Ezekiel 7; kingdom, Israel, had been in captivity, for over 100 years. Nebuchadnezzar had descended upon Jerusalem of the southern kingdom, and carried away 10,000 of its chief citizens, among whom was Ezekiel. This judgement did not sober its idol-mad and vice-intoxicated inhabitants, but only plunged them deeper into superstition and wickedness. Like their fathers, they were a rebellious nation and a stiff-hearted, people, who set up idol-groves upon the high hills, and defiled Jehovah’s sanctuary with abomination, Ezekiel 5:11. Far away from his native land, by the rivers of Babylon, Ezekiel preached against the national sins of his people in some remarkable visions, but like Isaiah, he closed his message with a description of the Messiah’s glorious reign. Events cover 21 years, 595-574 B. C.
To dispel foolish hopes of a speedy deliverance from the yoke of Babylon.
To expose the backslidings of Judah.
To call the Jews to individual, Ezekiel, who was a priest and a dual repentance.
To call out a new Israel which could inherit the promises.
Great Fact I. Rebukes and Prophecies of Judgement.
First we have the call and commission of the prophet in four visions, Ezekiel 1; Ezekiel 2; Ezekiel 3. The prophecy given six years beforehand of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 4; Ezekiel 5; Ezekiel 6; Ezekiel 7. The greatness of Judah’s iniquity shown in several visions, the results of which they must bear on their own heads, as no help will come from Egypt to save them from captivity, Ezekiel 8; Ezekiel 9; Ezekiel 10. Judah’s sins are enumerated, and Jehovah’s chastisement of the nation is justified, Ezekiel 20; Ezekiel 21; Ezekiel 22; Ezekiel 23; Ezekiel 24.
God had wonderfully favoured his people, Israel. They had been blessed with more illustrious men than other nations, mightier and more wonderful deeds had been done for them than for any other people, a clearer and brighter revelation of God had been given them, a purer and nobler worship had been instituted among them. All these privileges were given that others might be blessed through them. Psalm 67:12. But “she quarrelled with God’s judgement more wickedly than did the heathen nations,” and grew daring and defiant in her disobedience. They were therefore punished with famine, pestilence and dispersion.
LESSON—The oft-repeated mistake of Israel was to consider itself a privileged nation, sure of the favour of God in spite of its unfaithfulness. Many Christians flatter themselves with the same delusion. Yet. God never spares a sin or a sinner. In the discipline of the Christian life, God is always fighting against sin, and He will not cease until He plucks every viper from our lives, Matt. 3:12. The tears of Gethsemane were not a substitute for the Cross of Calvary. The tears of regret will not wash away God’s judgement for sin. “Could my tears forever flow, could my zeal no respite know, all for sin could not atone. Christ must save and Christ alone!”
Great Fact II. Prophecies Against Judah’s Enemies.
In these eight chapters the prophet has no word to speak concerning Judah and Israel, but the divine woe is pronounced against the seven neighbouring nations which had shown the most hostility to them: Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia. Tyre, Sidon and Egypt. The capture of Tyre and its ruin by Nebuchadnezzar is foretold. Egypt shall be desolate forty Years. The prince of Tyre, Ezekiel 28:11-19, is a type of the prince of this world, Satan. His unfallen state is here described, as is his fall in Isaiah Ezekiel 14:12-14. Satan is the inspirer of all pride such as ruined Tyre. God exercises His judgements over the whole earth. Seven nations are here mentioned because seven is the number of completeness. The nations around Israel regarded Jehovah as a tribal god. But Christ announced a judgement of all nations would follow that of Israel, Matthew 25:32. God visits national sin with national judgements. Not only will individuals be judged, but each nation as a whole will have to answer for its national sins, of oppression, Sabbath breaking, drunkenness, graft and corruption.
LESSON—A nation by Its collective action possesses national responsibility. If the people sin, the people suffer. Witness Germany and Russia. It a people repent and call upon God, national calamities are averted. National pride should give away to national goodness, and national power to national kindness. “The righteous Lord loveth righteousness.”
Great Fact III. Future Restorations and Glory of Israel.
These discourses were delivered after the destruction of Jerusalem, in which he pictures the happy return to Israel to their own land, henceforward to dwell in safety, and secure from former calamities. The land shall have renewed beauty and fertility. The nation, although then dry bones, should live again. Ezekiel, like John in the Book of Revelation, had a vision of a glorious temple to be rebuilt. The ever-growing river coming out of the sanctuary, speaks of the increasing prosperity and blessedness that should come to the land. Gog, of the land of Magog, which is likely Russia, heading some northern European powers, will make a great attempt to destroy this new kingdom, but will utterly fail, Ezekiel 38; Ezekiel 39. The temple shall be the centre of Israel’s life and God will dwell among them, and He will be their God and they shall be His people.
It is evident that the prophet has in view, not only the return after 70 years, but the later gathering of the Jews !torn among the Gentiles, and their final return for millennial place and glory, when Christ shall sit on the throne of his father David, and rule the earth in righteousness .
The reasons for this interpretation are as follows:—
In the first restoration only those who were so minded, came back from Babylon, Ezra 7:13., while many remained in Babylon, Egypt, and elsewhere, but in the final restoration not one will be left, Ezekiel 34:11-13 and Ezekiel 39:28-29.
At the first restoration they returned to be over thrown and driven out again. But in the final restoration they shall return to remain, and go out no more. They shall be exalted, and dwell safely and the Gentile nations shall flow unto them, Ezekiel 34:28, Ezekiel 46:11-12.
In the first restoration, because of their blindness and hard, stony hearts, they rejected and killed Jesus. But in the final restoration they shall repent of all this, and have clean hearts, and accept Christ who shall be their King, Ezekiel 36:24-28; Ezekiel 37:23-27.
Nothing has ever yet been built like the temple which Ezekiel describes in chapters 40-48 but in the final restoration the prophecy will be literally fulfilled and each tribe shall be located exactly as stated by the prophet Ezekiel, and the apostle John, Ezekiel 48:22-35, Revelation 21:11-13.
LESSON—The final restoration of Israel is one of the triumphant certainties of scripture, and it is closely connected with the Lord’s Second Coming, Psalm 102:16.
W. E. B. gives the order of events as follows:—
Christ sets up His millennial kingdom (we are now in the kingdom of grace), and all that offend are gathered out of the land.
He judges first his own people the Jews, as to their fidelity to Him, and then the nations of the earth as to their treatment of His people.
The Lord makes a new covenant with His People, Judah and Israel, forgiving their iniquity, but punishing their enemies, including Gog (Russia) and its armies which are overthrown and destroyed.
The Jews come into full possession of the full extent of their land according to promises.
The temple and city are rebuilt according to the Divine plan, and the Levitical forms of worship are re-established, with some modifications.
Nothing shall hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain, and Jerusalem is made a praise, the joy of the whole earth. The earth is full of the glory of the Lord!
The Lord will not restore Israel nor build up Zion until he has caught up true believers, Colossians 3:4. Let us therefore not be cold-hearted, world-conforming Christians, but earnest, watchful and true, ever seeking the conversion of souls, that when the king shall come we shall be ready to go out to meet Him!Matthew 25:6.
Questions on the Lesson.
Who was Ezekiel?
When was he carried to Babylon!
In the time of what other prophets did he live?
Tell about the times of Ezekiel.
What the purpose of the book?
Name the key word and key verse,
Give the great facts.
How much of Ezekiel have you read?
Show how God had favoured Israel,
What was Israel’s mistake?
Show that Christians should not imitate Israel.
Of whom is the prince of Tyre a type?
For what sins will nations be judged?
Tell of the Jew’s restoration.
Give five reasons why we believe these scriptures have not been fulfilled.
Give the order of events of the setting up of the Messianic kingdom.
With what is Israel’s restoration connected?
What sort of Christian ought we to be, and what doing?
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