Ezekiel's Calling and Mission (1)
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Shiloh Sunday Service (February 3rd 2019)
Speaker: Pastor James Park
Sermon: "Ezekiel's Calling and Mission (1)"
Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 1:1-3
The “Eternal” Temple
The sixty-six books of the Bible end with the conclusion “God is with us.” Therefore, the conclusion of the Bible is Jehovah-Shammah, meaning “the Lord is there.” God wants to dwell with His people forever and through Ezekiel’s temple, God is showing His desire to dwell with His people eternally. Ezekiel’s temple was not an actual physical temple that was constructed in history but it is an eternal temple and the last temple we need to go into. Thus Ezekiel’s Temple is a “blueprint” of the New Jerusalem and through Ezekiel’s temple we will come to understand what the New Jerusalem and heaven will be like.
The Name “Ezekiel”
The name “Ezekiel” in Hebrew is Yehezkel (יְחֶזְקֵאל), meaning “God strengthens.” Ezekiel was the son of Buzi who was a high priest. “Buzi” in the original Hebrew language is boo-zee (בּוּזִי), meaning “contempt" or "looked down upon.” Through these names, God is teaching us that the people were in captivity and they were looked down upon and hated. However, in this situation, God will strengthen and make it possible for us to overcome trials and tribulations. The Bible declares, “Blessed are those who dwell in the house of God, for they go from strength to strength” (Psa 84:4-7). Therefore, in our lives of faith we have to rely on God’s strength and He will empower us to live a Christian life, be full of the Holy Spirit, and witness for Him (Acts 1:8-9). Only when we are filled with the Holy Spirit can we enlarge our borders and proclaim the Word of Redemptive History with boldness and give life to others.
The Background of Ezekiel
Ezekiel was taken captive in the second deportation to Babylon in 597 BC. The Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel in the fifth year of his captivity in 593 BC. This was the first time that the “heavens were opened” and Ezekiel received his calling at thirty years of age (Ezekiel 1:1-3). Ezekiel prophesied for a total of twenty-two years up until 571 BC at the age of fifty-two. Counting the twenty-two years of his ministry including five years of captivity, it totals up to twenty-seven years since the time of the second deportation to Babylon.
Birth Year of Ezekiel
Ezekiel’s birth year is 623 BC and Daniel’s birth year is 622 BC. Thus, both Ezekiel and Daniel were contemporaries living in the same era but had different missions. Daniel was called to go into the royal palace to work under the government while Ezekiel was taken captive with the people (the exiles), which illustrate how Jesus would come to this earth to be amongst us. The year 622 BC is also the year of the last reformation by King Josiah in which a great spiritual revival took place and during this time God equipped both Ezekiel and Daniel with the Word of God and raised them up to help with those in captivity and their return.
The Vision of Ezekiel’s Temple
In Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48, God gives Ezekiel visions of the temple in 573 BC at the age of 50. Here, God is using Ezekiel for the purpose of sending a message to the people. That message was about restoration, the return of the people, and redemption. God’s people were in Babylonian captivity; however, God promised “restoration.” God promised that in 70 years, His people would return and they would be restored and God would redeem them (Jer 25:11-12). God is very exact; the History of Redemption does not flow aimlessly but it flows accordingly to God’s exact timetable in which He has ordained for all “time” for “all things” (Ecc 3:1-7). We need to understand God’s exact time so that we don’t counter or go against God’s will, for it was God’s will for His people to go into captivity. When we understand God’s will, we can be co-workers with God. Not understanding God’s time makes us ignorant and we can become stumbling blocks to God’s work (Eph 5:13-18). God’s calendar is very exact and is centered on worship, thus the way to live in God’s time is to participate in the worship that God has set. This includes especially the Lord’s Day and public worship which are the feast and festivals that God has outlined (Exod 12:2). Therefore, we must live a Bible-centered and worship-centered life so that we may be pleasing to God and be His co-workers in the end-time.
When Ezekiel was called, the “heavens were opened” and three things occurred. First, the Word of the Lord came expressively to Ezekiel. When we tithe, the windows of heaven are open; when Jesus went into ministry, the heavens were opened. Thus, when the heavens are open this is a special time and the Word of God comes to us. Secondly, the hand of God was upon Ezekiel. This is important because it is God who delivered the Israelites from Egypt with His powerful hand (Exod 13:16). Likewise, God is putting into the minds of the people that God’s hand will deliver them from Babylon as well. Thirdly, Ezekiel saw visions when the “heavens were opened” and God is showing that there is a message of hope. Also, God’s message is not always soft words but for change and repentance; without repenting, judgment will come upon us.
Conclusion: The 50th year is the Year of Jubilee in the Bible (Lev 25). In the Year of Jubilee, everyone returns back to their own land and all debts are canceled and slaves are set free to return to their original place. When Ezekiel was 50 years old, he saw Ezekiel’s Temple in a vision. Through this vision, God is pointing to the Year of Jubilee and showing us the eternal Jubilee in which we are to go into heaven, the New Jerusalem, where God will dwell with His people. This is Jehovah-Shammah, the eternal Jubilee. This is the hope that we have—the hope of our transfiguration. May we become spiritual Ezekiels with the living water flowing out of our mouths through evangelism by sharing the Word of God and Redemptive History (John 7:38-39).