Prophet of Hope & A Receiver of Visions
Where in the Bible?
The Book of Ezekiel
Did You Know
Ezekiel used all his powers of creativity and persuasion to capture people’s attention and so pass God’s message on to those in exile.
Bio – Ezekiel
c. 7th–6th century BC
While Ezekiel grew up in Jerusalem and served as a priest in the holy temple, when the city fell to Babylonian forces he was among the second group of captives taken into exile.
It was in Babylon that he had his first vision—he saw God’s throne, four strange living creatures, and wheels within wheels. God spoke to him and told him that he was sending Ezekiel as a messenger to his rebellious people, though he did not promise that they would listen to him. Ezekiel saw more visions in his lifetime, including that of a restored Jerusalem and the land in which God’s people will reside.
An educated and intelligent man, Ezekiel used both words and actions to convey God’s message to the people. Once he staged a miniature military siege on top of a clay brick; another time he cut off his hair, divided it and scattered it. His methods were unusual, but his intention was to explain things in a way that all might choose to understand, should they only listen. He also tried to explain to them why God had allowed this to happen and what the future held for them.
One day, God took him to an abandoned valley full of dry bones. There he told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, and when Ezekiel spoke the words as instructed he saw the bones rise and come together, making a vast living army. The bones represented the people of Israel, who had lost all hope. God then told Ezekiel to prophesy to his people, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.” (Ezekiel 37:14)
After the final fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel preached a message of hope—he told people that God did not want to kill his people but wanted them to repent and come back to him. He prophesied that the exiles from both Judah and Israel would return to their homeland, but he understood that for this to happen, his people must use this time in exile to understand where they had gone wrong and to renew their covenant with God. Then, when they once again called out to God, he would gather them to him, cleanse them of their sins, and they would return to the holy city.
Ezekiel used all his powers of creativity and persuasion to capture people’s attention and so pass God’s message on to those in exile, to explain where they had gone wrong, to show them what would happen to Jerusalem after they left, and to advise them of what they needed to do to earn God’s forgiveness and the hope that he offered them in his infinite mercy. The name Ezekiel means “God strengthens”. In sad and trying times, Ezekiel reminded his people that God was still with them, and that he would make them strong again.
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Bible Verses About Ezekiel
Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
“I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.”
“I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
“I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.”
The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.
“‘I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,’ says the Lord.”
“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
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