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06 June 8, 2014, Introduction To Ezekiel


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06 June 8, 2014, Introduction To Ezekiel

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL June 8, 2014 FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI USA Malachi 3:10 10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” A family consists of many generations. Generations Lunch with Young and Senior Adults and their Families following the 10:30 am worship hour on June 22. Tickets must be purchased in advance and will be available at the 2nd floor kiosk on Sundays, June 8 and June 15. Cost of Tickets: $6.00 – Adults $5.00 – Preschool - Students $20.00 – Family Maximum For information please contact Sheila Smith at (601) 949-1994 or or Patricia Jenkins at (601) 949-1941 or PLEASE REQUEST TICKETS BY JUNE 17TH AT 10AM.
  2. 2. What’s the number one thing? 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. J. Vernon McGee Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. 25: Ezekiel. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991. A Prophet for our Time: Ezekiel by Chuck Missler Adventuring Through the Bible by Ray Stedman The Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - Old Testament Events in Hebrew History 2000 B.C. Abraham and Sarah
  3. 3. 1275 B.C. Israel's Exodus from Egypt 1000 B.C. Reign of David Begins 922 B.C. Kingdom Divides into North and South
  4. 4. 722 B.C. Fall of Northern Kingdom to Assyria 694a40959b76/northern%20kingdom%20falls.jpg 605 B.C. The Babylonian conquest of Judah begins, Daniel is exiled and serves in the Babylonian king's court. 597 B.C. Ezekiel is exiled to Babylon and begins his prophetic ministry
  5. 5. 587 B.C. Fall of Southern Kingdom to Babylon The book of Ezekiel traces the causes of the captivity of the Hebrew nation and why it was in so much trouble.  This is the story of the nation, but it is the story of any individual as well.  And because it is the story of any individual, it is the story of the whole of mankind. The books of the Old Testament were written with this principle in mind.  They are, therefore, extremely valuable for us---what happens to the nation is exactly what happens to us.  Jesus is on every page of the Old Testament.
  6. 6. By looking carefully, we can see our problems and circumstances exemplified in the problems and circumstance set forth in the book of Ezekiel. God had kept His hand back from judgment for centuries, until at last in 587 BC He allowed Nebuchadnezzar to come in and sweep the people away, sacking the city and desolating the temple and taking the people into the land of Babylon. Ezekiel was a young man when he was taken captive, and he had probably heard Jeremiah, but likely had no personal acquaintance with Daniel. Ezekiel had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar when the nation of Judah was taken captive, as described by Jeremiah's great prophecy (626 B.C. - 587 B.C.) Jeremiah's sole purpose was to reveal the sins of the people and explain the reason for the impending disaster (destruction by the Babylonian army and captivity): "And when your people say, 'Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?' you shall say to them, 'As you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours (Babylon).’”
  7. 7. God's personal message to Jeremiah, "Attack you they will, overcome you they can't," was fulfilled many times in the Biblical narrative, Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers, beaten and put into the stocks by a priest and false prophet, imprisoned by the king, threatened with death, thrown into a cistern by Judah's officials, and opposed by a false prophet.  When Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem in 586 BC, he ordered that Jeremiah be freed from prison and treated well. Psalm 137 is the psalm of the remnant in Babylon: Psalm 137:1–2 1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. But at the same time Ezekiel writes: “The heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (Ezekiel 1:1). What a contrast! While these people had already put their harps on a willow tree and sat down to weep, this man Ezekiel was seeing visions of God! The message of Ezekiel is the most spiritual of all the prophets because he dealt particularly with the Person of God. It is said, “Ezekiel is the prophet of the Spirit, Isaiah is the prophet of the Son, and Jeremiah is the prophet of the Father.” For a period of about ten years, the false prophets had been saying that the Hebrew people would return to Judah and that the city of Jerusalem would not be destroyed.
  8. 8. Jeremiah had sent a message to Babylon saying the city would be destroyed, and Ezekiel confirmed his message. Ezekiel warned the people that they must turn to God before they could return to Jerusalem. When the time came, a very small remnant did turn to God, and they did return to Jerusalem but they were very discouraged.  Ezekiel began his ministry five years after he was taken captive at about the age of thirty.  In many ways, he spoke in the darkest days of the nation. He stood at the bottom of a valley in the darkest corner.
  9. 9. Ezekiel had to confront the false hope given by the false prophets and the indifference and despondency begotten in the days of sin and disaster. The people would not listen to his message. Therefore, he resorted to different methods of getting God’s message across.  Instead of speaking in parables, as the Lord Jesus did, he acted out the parables.  He actually acted out some very interesting stunts. Because God intended Ezekiel’s life to be a sign to Israel, he does all kinds of strange things. He shuts himself up in his home, he binds himself, and he is struck dumb. He was to lie on his right and his left sides for a total of 430 days, he ate bread that was prepared in an unclean manner, and he shaved his head and beard, which was considered a shame in his particular calling. We read in Ezekiel 24:24, “Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” The people would not listen to his words, so he would act them out, and he attracted a great deal of attention to God’s message that way. Ezekiel is the prophet of the glory of the Lord. There were three prophets of Israel who spoke when they were out of the land.  They are Ezekiel, Daniel, and John (who wrote from the island of Patmos).  All three of these men wrote what is called an apocalypse (un-covering).
  10. 10. They all used highly symbolic language; yet they saw the brightest light and held the highest hope of all the prophets. Ezekiel saw the Shekinah glory of the Lord leave Solomon’s temple, but he also saw the return of the glory of the Lord which was projected into the future and will come to pass during the Kingdom Age, or the Millennium.  The meaning of Ezekiel is seen in this coming of the glory during the Kingdom Age.  Ezekiel looked beyond the sufferings of Christ to the glory that followed. As Peter said of the prophets, “they saw the sufferings and they saw the glory that would follow” (1 Peter 1:11). Ezekiel saw it better than any of the other prophets. There were two prophets during the captivity---Ezekiel and Daniel. So, Ezekiel is the first prophet of the captivity.
  11. 11.,204,203,200_.jpg Ezekiel mentions Daniel three times, who had been in Babylon nine years before Ezekiel arrived. Ezekiel ministered, as did Jeremiah, to a nation experiencing judgment for their sins. If God spared not Israel, His Chosen, when they sinned, why not America? Ezekiel was born in approximately 627 B.C. and lived in a time of moral decline, distress and uprooting. His messages were not well received at first, but did ultimately result in the nation being purged of idolatrous practices. He was married and owned his own home. His wife died during his ministry. Throughout the book, his main theme was the sovereignty and glory of God.
  12. 12. This is good for us, because we can get so focused on God's grace that we tend to forget there is also a governing role of God, and that His glory requires justice. Ezekiel was very direct. He carefully vindicated God's justice throughout the book, although he deals more in symbol and allegory than any other Old Testament prophet. He is probably the greatest mystic of the OT. Ezekiel was well suited for the calling God gave him, which included a remarkable vision of God's throne in Chapter 1. This was a dramatic vision of God which never left him-it is not just introduced in the first chapter, it is referenced all the way through the book. The Temple Ezekiel describes in chapter 40 has never yet been fulfilled. Most scholars regard it as the details for the Temple to be established during the Millennium on the Planet Earth. The Opportunity You cannot really understand the caldron of the Middle East today without carefully studying this book.
  13. 13. If you were invited to a reception which would bring you into contact with a world-famous author, you would, of course, run out and quickly review his book. Well, you may soon be in the company of one of the most fascinating characters of the Old Testament, and when you are introduced to him, you will want to be able to declare, "I enjoyed your book!“ Have you ever studied this incredible book? Ezekiel was 25 years old when he was taken to Babylon and he was thirty years old at the time of his call (Ezek. 1:1), the normal age for a priest to begin ministry (Num. 4:1-3, 23). He was older than Daniel and prophesied during the first twenty or twenty-five years of that seventy-year period when Israel was held captive by Babylon.
  14. 14. It's likely that Daniel and Ezekiel knew each other before the Captivity, though there's no evidence they saw each other in Babylon. Like Jeremiah (1:2), Zechariah (1:1), and John the Baptist (Luke 1:5), Ezekiel (God strengthens) was called by God from being a priest to serving as a prophet. It would have been much easier for Ezekiel to remain a priest, for priests were highly esteemed by the Jews, and a priest could read the Law and learn everything he needed to know to do his work whereas prophets were usually despised and persecuted. They received their messages and orders from the Lord as the occasion demanded and could never be sure what would happen next.  It was dangerous to be a prophet.  Most people resent being told about their sins and prefer to hear messages of cheer, not declarations of judgment. Jeremiah had been ministering in Jerusalem for four years when Ezekiel was born in 622 B.C., but surely as he grew up, he paid attention to what Jeremiah was saying.
  15. 15. Ezekiel's prophetic ministry was greatly needed in Babylon because false prophets abounded and were giving the Jewish people false hopes of a quick deliverance (usually by Egypt) and a triumphant return to their land (Jer. 5:30-31; 27:1-11; 28:1-17). prophet.jpg
  16. 16. Jeremiah's letter told the Jews that they would be in Babylon for seventy years and therefore should settle down, raise families, and pray for their captors. But Jeremiah also announced the ultimate fall of Babylon, a message the exiles were only too eager to hear. The most difficult task of a prophet is to change people's minds. pA8Rx_I/AAAAAAAAAQc/ruSnEhnlHGk/s1600/CHANGE%2BJUNE%2B16%2B2011.JPG
  17. 17. It means pulling up the weeds of false theology and planting the good seed of the Word of God. It also means tearing down the flimsy thought structures that false prophets build and constructing in their place lasting buildings on solid foundations of truth. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. umc8v1I74u0/UA8hiPZ5CVI/AAAAAAAAAcc/cSzZ3awuI0o/s400/Pulling+Down+Strongholds.JPG
  18. 18. The kingdom of Judah had suffered greatly at the hands of victorious Babylon, and many Jewish people wondered if Jehovah was still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Psalm 74). God’s chosen people were exiles in a pagan land, their Promised Land was devastated, Jerusalem was in enemy hands, and the temple had been robbed of its precious treasures.
  19. 19. It was a dark day for Israel, and the first thing Ezekiel needed to understand was that, no matter how discouraging the circumstances, God was still on the throne accomplishing His divine purposes in the world. There are many unexplained mysteries in the vision Ezekiel had, but one message comes through with clarity and power: Our God is the sovereign Lord of Israel and of all the nations of the earth.
  20. 20. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.