Ezekiel was a younger contemporary of Jeremiah, lived through the last days of Judah and the early days of the Exile in Babylon. He was widely opposed to the political and religious environment of His day, and wished that the Israelites would return to YHWH centered spirituality.
Warning Of Ezekiel
There are many oracles throughout the Ezekiel. In chapters 1-11 we see the initial commissioning and first visions of Ezekiel. He sees a cloud like fire coming from the north. Though the vision starts off similarly to other prophets it takes a turn. Collins states “He sees something like a throne, on which there was something that seemed like human form but that was fiery and dazzling in appearance (Collins, 356).” He is to play a role of warning people against the danger to come. YHWH then departs in a very mobile chariot which symbolizes that YHWH can appear in Babylon as well as Jerusalem. He then sees visions of destruction and sees it is because of the way the people are living. They were devoid of YHWH and lived to fulfill their own needs.
Ezekiel then is given oracles of the impending judgment of YHWH. Israel is compared to a promiscuous woman and a vine that is useless. It is because of YHWH that Jerusalem has become as beautiful as it has. Collins states “YHWH pledged himself to Jerusalem and entered into a contract or covenant with her. The beauty of the young woman gives occasion for prostitution (Collins, 364). These are strong and disdainful words to describe the spiritual condition of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem had the blessing from YHWH and they were very prosperous. After the fall many countries were happy with the news. The prime culprits were Ammon, Moab, Edom, and the Philistines. Though Tyre is also said to be among those nations Ezekiel prophesizes the fall of these nations with great accuracy.
Replacement Of The Temple
There is a saying that states after the fire comes the rain. After the fall of Jerusalem YHWH is forever faithful and gives Ezekiel prophesies of restoration. This is where the famous story of the valley of dry bones appears and denotes a resurrection. Collins states “the restored dynasty would last forever, and YHWH would dwell in the midst of them (Collins, 371).” Lastly, Ezekiel has visions about a temple that would replace the one that had been destroyed. He also lays out guidelines that would prevent the fall of Jerusalem again.
Some Key Verses From Ezekiel
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. -Ezekiel 36:26
The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. -Ezekiel 37:1
You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.- Ezekiel 16:17
There are many more that can be listed. Do You have a favorite verse in Ezekiel? Let me know in the comments.
Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004.