God calls the prophet Ezekiel to deliver a message of both judgment and future restoration to the Jews in exile in Babylon. It was essential that they understand God’s commitment to follow through on His promise to hold Judah and Jerusalem accountable for their idolatry and spiritual harlotry. At the same time God did not want the surrounding nations to view this discipline as undermining His legitimacy and sovereignty. He will keep His covenants with Abraham and with David and will institute a New Covenant relationship with His people. Despite the temporary departure of His Shekinah glory, He will return in glorious fashion in the Millennial Kingdom and permanently dwell with His people in a newly constructed temple. Ultimately the entire world will know that He is the Lord and He accomplishes His purposes.
Judgments on Jerusalem and the surrounding nations accomplish God’s revelatory purpose as He fulfils His promise to ultimately dwell with His people in a new temple in the Millennial Kingdom.
Ezekiel 11:12 “Thus you will know that I am the Lord; for you have not walked in My statutes nor have you executed My ordinances,
but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations around you.”
Ezekiel 24:24 “Thus Ezekiel will be a sign to you; according to all that he has done you will do;
when it comes, then you will know that I am the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 37:27-28 “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the Lord who
sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”
(Chaps. 1-3 ) CALL AND COMMISSION OF EZEKIEL THE PROPHET
I. (Chaps. 4-24) JUDGMENTS ON JUDAH — THE PEOPLE OF GOD
II. (Chaps. 25-32) FUTURE DESTINIES OF THE ENEMIES OF JUDAH
III. (Chaps. 33-48) RESTORATION OF GOD’S PEOPLE AND FINAL CONSUMMATION
(Download the full pdf commentary file to view the detailed outline of the book)
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
Because Ezekiel is one of the most neglected books of the Old Testament. Due to its strange visions, its eschatological flavor and its general weirdness, many people have skipped over this inspired revelation from God or they have just studied some of the more famous sections.
To catch a glimpse of the future hope of God restoring the nation of Israel to a place of prominence and glory as He glorifies His own name before the nations.
To take seriously the warnings of God that He will punish persistent rebellious sin. Amazing grace is available, but first you must detest your sin.
To stress the need for both individual and corporate accountability before God.
To fully know God in terms of His sovereignty and glory as He reveals His overall kingdom agenda for the nation of Israel.
J. Sidlow Baxter: We do not have to look deeply to find the key idea and the focal message of Ezekiel. They confront us on almost every page. With slight variations, that expression, “They shall know that I am Jehovah,” occurs no less than seventy times. It is used twenty-nine times in connection with Jehovah’s punishment of Jerusalem; twenty-four times in connection with Jehovah’s governmental judgments on the Gentile nations; and seventeen times in connection with the coming restoration and final blessing of the elect nation. To see this is to see the heart of the book unveiled. The elect people, and all other peoples, are to know by indubitable demonstration that Jehovah is the one true God, the sovereign Ruler of nations and history and they are to know it be three revelations of His sovereign power –
– first, by the punishment of Jerusalem and the captivity of the chosen people, which came true exactly as foretold;
– second, by the judgments prophesied on the Gentile nations of Ezekiel’s day, which also have come true exactly as foretold; and
– third, by the preservation and ultimate restoration of the covenant people, which had a partial fulfilment in the return of the “Remnant” under Ezra and Nehemiah, and which is still being fulfilled in the marvellous preservation of Israel, and which is even now hastening to its millennial consummation.
This, then, is Ezekiel – “THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM JEHOVAH.”
Gleason Archer: The Hebrew name means God strengthens. The theme of Ezekiel’s prophecy is that the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity are necessary measures for the God of grace to employ if He is to correct His disobedient people and draw them back from complete and permanent apostasy. But the day is coming when Jehovah will restore a repentant remnant of His chastened people and establish them in a glorious latter-day theocracy with a new temple.
Charles Lee Feinberg: From the first to the last chapter of Ezekiel one supreme thought runs throughout, that of the sovereignty and glory of the Lord God. He is sovereign in Israel and in the affairs of the nations of the world, though the loud and boisterous claims of men seem to have drowned out this truth. In His sovereign will God has purposed that we should glorify Him in life and witness to the ends of the earth.
Iain Duguid: To sum up, then, the message of the prophets in general, and Ezekiel in particular, is not simply instruction addressed to their own day and age. Still less is it a manual to help you interpret current events in the Middle East and work out the countdown to Armageddon. The message of the prophets is Jesus, and specifically “the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” Thus, when you interpret Ezekiel correctly, without allegory, you will find that his message is not primarily morality, or social action, or eschatology. His central message is Jesus.
GotQuestions.org: Ezekiel ministered to his generation who were both exceedingly sinful and thoroughly hopeless. By means of his prophetic ministry he attempted to bring them to immediate repentance and to confidence in the distant future. He taught that:
(1) God works through human messengers;
(2) Even in defeat and despair God’s people need to affirm God’s sovereignty;
(3) God’s Word never fails;
(4) God is present and can be worshiped anywhere;
(5) People must obey God if they expect to receive blessings; and
(6) God’s Kingdom will come.
Elisha Coles: (A Discourse of God’s Sovereignty) — That there is such a power (i.e. the Divine sovereignty), and that this power belongs to God, no other reason needs be assigned but that “He is God, and there is none beside Him.” There can be no more, because:
(1) There can be but one Infinite; for such a being fills heaven and earth; and so no place or room for another.
(2) There can be but one Omnipotent; for He that is such hath all others under His feet; besides, where one can do all, more would be impertinent.
(3) There can be but one Supreme; supreme power may reside in many (as in mixed monarchies and commonwealths), but as lawmakers and supreme they are but one.
(4) There can be but one First Cause, from which all beings else derive their original; and that is this blessed One we are speaking of: “Of whom and for whom are all things” (1 Cor. viii. 6). And if He be the Author of all, He needs must have a sovereign right and power to determine all, both as to their being, order, efficacy, and end.
Lamar Cooper: The interpretation of the Book of Ezekiel must involve more than exegesis and text-critical analysis. It must involve relating the message of the book to biblical theology as a whole. Since Ezekiel’s message is largely an eschatological one, this means relating Ezekiel to the Bible’s teaching on eschatology. The major questions in this regard are:
– Who are to be the recipients of the redemptive promises of Ezekiel?
– What is to be the nature of the fulfillment of those promises?
. . . this commentary will follow the dispensational premillennial framework as that which best fits the exegesis of the text and which correlates with the theology of the rest of Scripture.