Ezekiel's Calling & the Scroll
Christian Military Academy Lecture 7
According to Ezekiel 2:3, God referred to Israel as a “rebellious people.” The words “rebellious” and “rebelled” are both “marad” in Hebrew which means “to rebel, revolt.” This refers to political rebellion, implying that the Israelites revolted against God their king.
Secondly, God referred to Israel as “impudent” or “stubborn” children (Ezek 2:4). The word “impudent” in Hebrew is “qasheh” which means “mean, hard, cruel, and stubborn.” This word often expresses a “stiff-necked” pride (Exod 32:9; 33:3, 5; 34:9; Deut 9:6, 13; 31:27). Exodus 32:9 (NIV) says, “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people.” “Stiff-hearted” in Hebrew is “hazaq” which means “strong, hardened.” It describes a heart that is hardened like a stone and unwilling to accept the Word of God.
The attitude of preaching the Word
Preach whether they listen or not
God said to Ezekiel, “Preach My Words whether they listen or not for they are rebellious” (Ezek 2:7). In this way, the Israelites cannot justify themselves by saying, “we’ve never heard” (Ezek 3:19). Likewise, God says today we must preach Redemptive History whether people listen or not. We too must be ready to preach the Word in season and out of season (2 Tim 4:2). We have to evangelize continuously no matter how difficult it is, even if it hurts.
Preach without fear
Ezekiel 2:6 says, “And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house.” Thistles, thorns, and scorpions portray the severe persecution and tribulation that the prophet Ezekiel will face. “Neither fear” is “al-tira” in Hebrew and occurs three times emphasizing that God is firmly upholding Ezekiel through His Word.
The Scroll and Commission
Characteristics of the scroll (Ezek 2:8-3:15)
Ezekiel 2:8 says, “Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” Revelation 10:2 says, “And he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land.” Once the book is open, all the contents are visible. This implies that God will open and teach His hidden redemptive administration (Eph 3:9).
Secondly, the book was written on the front and back (Ezek 2:10; Rev 5:1). This reflects the book’s enormous content and its meticulous completion to perfection. Because God’s Word is perfect, human thoughts should never be added (Rev 22:18-19).
Thirdly, the book is written on lamentations, mourning, and woe (Ezek 2:10). “Lamentation” in Hebrew is “qina” meaning “a dirge, a funeral march.” It is thus a prophecy of the utter destruction of Judah the southern kingdom. “Mourning” is “hegeh” in Hebrew which means “mourning, growling in anguish.” This prophesies that the Israelites will be in deep anguish when God’s wrathful judgment befalls them. “Woe” is “hi” in Hebrew, referring to all misfortune that will befall the Israelites when God’s judgment comes.
Hence, the scroll contains the prophecies concerning the destruction of the southern kingdom of Judah and other nations. Furthermore, it is the end-time message that the world will be destroyed in God’s judgment Day. God’s Word is good news to those who will be saved, whereas the announcement of judgment to those who will perish (Dan 9:27; Hab 2:3).
The attitude of receiving the scroll (book)
First, we must eat the book (Ezek 2:8; Rev 10:9). Prophets must take the Word as their daily food (Matt 4:4). Job 23:12 says, “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” See also Jer 15:16. Ezekiel must open his mouth to eat the scroll (Ezek 2:8). Here, “open” is “patsa” in Hebrew, which means “parting one’s mouth wide” and implies an earnest yearning for the Word.
Secondly, we must feed the stomach and fill the body with it (Ezek 3:3). The stomach and bowels are organs in the body. But, the ancient Jewish people regarded them not as mere body parts but as the seat of one’s character. Hence, Ezekiel must eat God’s Word so that his character would gradually be conformed to the Word (Col 3:16).
Thirdly, we must preach the Word (Ezek 3:1). Ezekiel 3:4 says, “Then He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. The Israelites with a hard forehead and stubborn heart were unwilling to listen to the Word (Ezek 3:7). Nevertheless, Ezekiel did not have to fear because God made Ezekiel’s face and forehead even harder (Ezek 3:8). Ezekiel NIV 3:9 says, “Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” Here, “flint” is “tsor” in Hebrew and refers to a Flintstone (Exod 4:25). “Emery” is “Shamir” in Hebrew and refers to a diamond. No matter how hard a flint is, it is weaker than emery. Likewise, even if the Israelites were rebellious, they could not prevail Ezekiel who had the Word of God.
Conclusion: Ezekiel must become a watchman
Ezekiel 3:17 says, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.” Since God is working without rest, we must also work without rest (Psa 121:4). Isaiah 62:6-7 says, “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; 7 And give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”