Since the Heart Man Blog started back up, we have now finished our first study. Since our first study was on the Gospel of John, I thought it would be great to go to a book of the Bible that is in the Old Testament. Beginning this week we will begin to study the book of Ezekiel. This will be slightly different from the Gospel of John, as the genre of this writing is different. Ezekiel is a piece of prophetic literature, which means that we will see passages containing cosmic visions and other things that we will need God’s help to truly understand.
Prophecy is an interesting genre within the Bible. Today, we often believe that biblical prophecy is some revelation to a future event. The truth is that prophecy is simply a communication from God to humanity. In the prophets (Isaiah-Malachi), when God commands his prophets to prophesy, He is commanding them to share His message with the people. This, of course is not meant to suggest that all biblical prophecy is simple communication. There are hundreds of passages within the Hebrew Bible that are understood by Christians as prophecies of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Many of these prophecies were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born of a Virgin.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”
— Isaiah 9:6, NASB
Ezekiel was a priest before being called by God to be a prophet. He was called during the Exile to Babylon, which was a major point in the history of Judah: Jerusalem was destroyed and the best and brightest were carted off to Babylon. Ezekiel writes for twenty years to the Jews that live within Babylon. God calls him to perform many tasks and gives him visions that give him the ability to preach about the wrong that caused the Jews to face this hardship.
“I loved at the creatures. There, on wheel on the earth beside the creatures with its four faces. The wheel’s appearance and their construction: the very gleam of topaz. The form of each of the four of them: their appearance and their construction were like a wheel inside a wheel.”
— Ezekiel 1:16-17
In the second half of his book, Ezekiel switches his focus away from the people of Judah and towards the Gentile nations. He prophesies the destruction of several cities and judgments agains these nations. Yet, these judgments bring a sense of hope. These Gentile nations were quite often enemies of the people of Israel: Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt. Once we reach chapter 33, Ezekiel begins to preach restoration of the Jews back to God. This message of restoration would provide hope that one day their captivity would end, though it will be a long time coming.
I’m not going to lie, this is going to be a long and hard study. I’m not sure I have the fortitude to complete it, but I really feel lead to do it. I will be using a new translation that I will be having a book review on next month. If you would like to participate in this study, I encourage comments. Hopefully together, we can further understand this book of the Bible together. My post on chapter 1 will be posted next week.