Sunday School Bible Survey:      EZEKIEL

Theme: The theme is the divine government of the universe. The statement, "and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD" is repeated all throughout the book of Ezekiel.


Key word: Visions (cf. 1:1)


Key verses: "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me" (3:17).

"So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me" (33:7).


From the Scofield Study Bible:
Ezekiel was carried away to Babylon between the first and final deportation of Judah (II Kings 24:11-16) . Like Daniel and the Apostle John, he prophesied out of the land, and his prophecy, like theirs, follows the method of symbol and vision. Unlike the pre-exilic prophets, whose ministry was primarily to either Judah or the ten-tribe kingdom, Ezekiel is the voice of Jehovah to "the whole house of Israel."

Speaking broadly, the purpose of his ministry is to keep before the generation born in exile the national sins which had brought Israel so low (e.g. Ezekiel 14:23); to sustain the faith of the exiles by predictions of national restoration, of the execution of justice upon their oppressors, and of national glory under the Davidic monarchy.

Ezekiel is in seven great prophetic strains indicated by the expression, "The hand of the Lord was upon me." (Ezekiel 1:3; 3:14, 22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1).


The minor divisions are indicated in the text.


The events recorded in Ezekiel cover a period of 21 years (Ussher).


Introduction:

  1. Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel was a priest as well as a prophet (1:3). He was much younger than Jeremiah. Jeremiah preached before the captivity; Ezekiel during the captivity.
  2. Ezekiel was carried away to Babylon in 597 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar and his army. He had been carried away along with King Jehoiachin and the best of the nobility before the fall of Jerusalem (II Kings 24:11-20; cf. Daniel 1:4; Isaiah 39:7).
  3. Ezekiel referred to Daniel the prophet three times (14:14, 20; 28:3).
  4. Upon arriving in Babylon, he dwelt at Tel-abib (3:15), by the river Chebar (3:15; cf. 1:1, 3; 3:23; 10:15).
  5. "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Psalm 137:1-6).
  6. Ezekiel was married and lived in his own house (24:15-18; 8:1). Interestingly, his wife died the very same day King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem (cf. II Kings 25:1; Ezek. 24:1, 15-18).
  7. Ezekiel's prophecies began in the fifth year after his arrival in Babylon (1:2). He was probably thirty years old (cf. 1:1).
  8. For the first six years of his ministry Ezekiel preached to the captives in exile, and during this time Jerusalem was still standing.
  9. Ezekiel had to explain to those in captivity the reasons for their exile (2:3-8). The people complained that the LORD was "not equal" (unfair), but Ezekiel taught them that God was fair and had been very patient with them (18:25-32).
  10. Ezekiel's visions were far-reaching and some of them have yet to be fulfilled (cf. Ezek. 36-48). Like Zechariah, and the book of Revelation, his writing style is referred to as apocalyptic.
  11. Ezekiel often dramatized his messages in unusual ways that caught people's attention. John Phillips said the prophet did "things calculated to arrest attention and fire the imagination. His ministry seems to have been particularly calculated to make an impression upon the minds of children" (Exploring the Scriptures).

I. EZEKIEL'S CALL AND UNUSUAL MINISTRY

  1. Ezekiel's call to preach was accompanied by a majestic vision of the glory of God (1:3ff).
  2. Ezekiel saw the "four living creatures" (1:5), cherubim (cf. Rev. 4:6; 5:6). See Scofield Study Bible, p. 840.
  3. Ninety-three times in the book of Ezekiel, he is addressed by God as "Son of man" (cf. 2:1, 3, 6, 8, etc.).
  4. Ezekiel often acted out his prophecies in unusual ways (cf. 4:1 and Scofield's notes; 4:9; 5:1, etc.).
  5. He had to lie for a while on his left side, and then on his right (cf. 4:4ff).
  6. The captives were told by the false prophets that they would soon be going home to Jerusalem. Ezekiel warned them that the false prophets were deceiving them but the people ignored Ezekiel (2:3-7; 13:1-6).
  7. Because the people refused to listen to God's messengers (Ezekiel and Jeremiah and the other prophets), the LORD made Ezekiel dumb (3:24-27).
  8. Perhaps this is why Ezekiel is known more as a writer than as an orator.

II. EZEKIEL'S MESSAGE OF JUDGMENT

  1. Judgment was declared against Israel and Judah and their heathen neighbors (6:2; 25:2, 8, 12, 15, 26:2; 28:21; 29:2).
  2. God judged the heathen nations because they rejoiced over Israel's misfortunes (cf. 25:3, 4, 8, 12; 26:2).
  3. In these prophecies, Ezekiel looks beyond his day to the far distant future -- the tribulation, the restoration of Israel, and the millennial kingdom.
  4. In chapters 8-11, Ezekiel showed why judgment could not be averted (cf. 8:5-14). Tammuz worship was immoral. Scofield refers to it as a "phallic cult" (p. 847).
  5. Ezekiel traced the departure of the ("Shekinah") glory of the LORD, and its future return (cf. 10:4, 18; 11:23; 43:4, 5). It will return during the millennial kingdom.
  6. Ezekiel made many prophecies about the future restoration of Israel (cf. Ezekiel 36, 37).
  7. These two chapters are followed by the remarkable prophecy of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38, 39). A large confederacy from the north (probably Russia aligned with various Muslim countries) will invade Israel but be destroyed by God (38:4, 5).
  8. There is some disagreement among premillennialists as to the time of this conflict, but it will probably be during the early part of the tribulation (cf. 38:11, 14).
  9. The final nine chapters of Ezekiel describe the future millennial temple. Some commentators believe these chapters are symbolic, but they appear to be literal.
  10. Some have questioned the animal sacrifices (cf. 43:19). The Scofield Bible says, "Doubtless these offerings will be memorial, looking back to the cross, as the offerings under the old covenant were anticipatory, looking forward to the cross. In neither case have animal sacrifices power to put away sin (Hebrews 10:4; Romans 3:25)."

III. OUTLINE

  1. THE FALL OF JUDAH (1-24)
  2. THE FOES OF JUDAH (25-32)
  3. THE FUTURE OF JUDAH (33-48)



These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.



—  Pastor James J. Barker  —