Overview of the Book of Ezekiel
Christian Military Academy Lecture 2
Structure and content of the Book of Ezekiel
The book of Ezekiel can be divided into three parts. Part one is the destruction of Judah, the Southern Kingdom (Ezek 1-24). Secondly, part two is God’s judgment on the nations (Ezek 25-32). Part three is on the restoration of Israel and the new temple (Ezek 33-48). In part one, the prophet Ezekiel proclaimed the destruction of Judah, the southern Kingdom (Ezek 22:15). In part two, God’s judgment came against the nations because they rejoiced when Judah collapsed and nations lifted themselves up and became proud (Ezek 25:6-7; 28:2, 17). In part three, God restores Israel, rebuilds the temple and makes an everlasting covenant of peace with His people. Thus God makes Himself known and restores His presence with Israel (Ezek 34:23; 36:10, 27; 37:10, 26; 38:23; 43:5; 48:35).
The Book of Ezekiel prophesizes Israel’s destruction
In the book of Ezekiel, it prophesizes the certainty of Israel’s destruction, calling for final repentance. Prophet Ezekiel was deported to Babylon in 597 BC, and the southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed in 586 BC. Hence, Prophet Ezekiel called for repentance for about 12 years.
First, Israel committed all sorts of abominations and as result, there was unprecedented destruction. Ezekiel 5:9-10 says, “Because of all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again. Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind.”
Secondly, because Israel committed abominations, there was the destruction of being scattered among the nations. Ezekiel 22:15-16 says, “I will scatter you among the nations and I will disperse you through the lands, and I will consume your uncleanness from you.” Thirdly, due to Israel’s abominations, there was tragic destruction. King Zedekiah’s eyes were gouged out and he was taken away in chains (Ezekiel 12:1). According to Ezek 8:1, this message came in 592 BC. Jeremiah 52:11 says, “Then he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon and put him prison until the day of his death.”
The Causes of Destruction
Ezekiel 8:6 says, “And He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations which the house of Israel are committing here, so that I would be far from My sanctuary? But yet you will see still greater abominations.”
One of the abominations that Israel committed was the sin of “idolatry.” Ezekiel 6:9 says, “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations.” Also, Ezekiel 7:20 says, “They transformed the beauty of His ornaments into pride, and they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things with it; therefore I will make it an abhorrent thing to them.”
Secondly, Israel committed the sin of “harlotry.” Ezekiel 23:35 says, “Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, bear now the punishment of your lewdness and your harlotries.”
Thirdly, Israel committed the sin of “arrogance.” Ezekiel 7:10 says, “Behold, the day! Behold, it is coming! Your doom has gone forth; the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed.” Therefore because of arrogance and pride, God brought the worst of nations to destroy Israel and possess their houses (Ezek 7:24). Therefore God is pleased with repentance and says, “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions (Ezek 18:30). God says to “Take no pleasure in death and turn back your evil ways (Ezek 33:11).
The Book of Ezekiel delivers a message of hope
The purpose of writing the book of Ezekiel was to deliver a message of hope of being set free from Babylonian captivity and returning to Jerusalem. Ezekiel 32 thru 48 was written after the fall of Jerusalem. Hence, it focuses on the restoration of Israel (especially Ezek 37). In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month on the first of the month, the Lord came to Ezekiel with a message of hope (Ezek 32:1). This twelfth year was 585 BC; thus, a year after the southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed in 586 BC. Ezekiel 37:11-14 says, “Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’”
The Book of Ezekiel envisions the eternal, new temple
The eternal temple is the place of Jehovah-Shammah (eternal presence) for the Lord is there. Ezekiel 48:35 says, “The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The Lord is there.” Also, Revelation 21:22 says, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
Conclusion: In the eternal new temple is where the covenant of “peace” is fulfilled. Ezekiel 37:26-27 states, “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people."