Book of Ezekiel & Who Was Ezekiel?

Summary of Ezekiel

Ezekiel is a priest who is called by God to deliver His messages and the book of Ezekiel is Narrative History, Prophetic and Apocalyptic in genre and even contains Parables.

The prophet Ezekiel wrote it approximately 571 B.C. (the date is accurately precise because this book contains more defined dates than any other book in the Bible).

It was written to announce judgment upon Judah, to allow them one last chance to repent. It also foretells of the coming deliverance of God’s nation from captivity in Babylon. It mainly discusses the events during the Babylonian captivity.

Chapters 1-3, God commissions his servant Ezekiel. He receives visions, and his message is to confront God’s sinful nation:

And he said unto me, Son of man, I sent thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day (2:3).

Chapters 4-24, Ezekiel delivered the message of doom to the captives. He told several parables, one that compared Israel to an adulterous woman (16:1-63). He taught them that God was cleansing His chosen nation:

Thou has borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the the LORD (16:58).

Chapters 25-32, Ezekiel condemns judgment upon seven particular nations who mocked God because of the captivity; they too would soon see their fate. These nations are Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt.

Chapters 33-48, a message of deliverance and restoration is written. This includes not only the current nation of Israel but also the future of the coming Messiah, the Temple, and the Kingdom of God in the End age.

Chapter 37, he writes the famous vision of the valley of bones:

Hand he said unto me, Son of man can these bornes live?  And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest (37:3).

Ezekiel

Ezekiel lived about 2600 years ago, during the time that the Babylonian Empire had subdued the nation of Judah and had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. He was the son of Buzi, a Zadokite priest. Ezekiel’s name means “God strengthens.” 

Ezekiel was among the Jews in Judah who were taken as captives by the Babylonians to Babylon. He received his call as a prophet during the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin. Ezekiel’s ministry lasted about 22 years.

Ezekiel’s prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem caused friction among the Jews who were with him in Babylon. But, when his prophecies came true, people began to listen to him more intently.

Ezekiel’s wife died during the day that the Babylonians began their siege of Jerusalem. This siege began in about 586 BC, after Ezekiel and others had been taken as captives to Babylon. The siege ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple in Jerusalem.

After the destruction, Ezekiel’s prophecies more or less changed from the theme of unbending judgment to the theme of hope and comfort in the future. Ezekiel was very much a shepherd and a watchman for the nation of Israel. As a shepherd, he protected the people. And as a watchman, he warned of dangers ahead.