Ezekiel, through a series of amazing visions, communicates God’s displeasure and coming judgment, but then also brings consolation and news of future restoration of the nation and temple.
Explanation of Main Idea
Whether a glorious vision of heaven in chapter one, or the famous valley of dry bones in chapter 37, Ezekiel is truly a prophet that brings an important message illustrated in unique ways. God told Ezekiel to speak against the people of Israel because they had committed idolatry (Ezek. 6:4). Destruction was sure to come, but there was also certainly hope for a remnant (Ezek. 6:8). The leaders of Israel had committed vile sins (Ezek. 8:6). Because of this, death would come (Ezek. 9). Sadly, God’s glory would leave the temple (Ezek. 10:18). The people would be taken into exile as judgment for their sin. All is not lost, however, as Israel will one day be restored (Ezek. 37). They will become a nation again, and God will restore to them His glory and be worshipped in a new temple (Ezek. 43).
The purpose of the book of Ezekiel is to demonstrate how seriously God takes sin and will eventually bring judgment if repentance does not occur. This is seen throughout the book as God gives Ezekiel very vivid pictures of how Israel has forsaken Him. Ezekiel also displays God’s ultimate plan for His people through the prophesies of Israel regathered and temple worship reinstituted.
- Bad Leadership
Ezekiel 11:1-4, Ezekiel 13 and Ezekiel 34 fault the leaders of Israel for the downfall of the nation. The leaders are said to “plot evil and give wicked advice” (Ezek. 11:2)
2. The Temple
The Temple plays a dominant role in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 40-48 document the instructions for new temple construction and worship. This new temple will be the center of worship in the Millennial Kingdom.
3. Restoration of Israel
Ezekiel 37 teaches that Israel will come alive again and be an autonomous nation. This took place in May of 1948, but will be more completely fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom.
4. Judgment on Sin
God is very angry with His backsliding people. They have committed vile adultery in response to His faithful love. Over and over God speaks of how they will be punished.
How Does This Relate To Us?
For those of us who are leaders, Ezekiel makes us take pause and think about the power of our influence over others and tremble at the thought of being held accountable for leading people astray. It is not a light hearted matter!
As Christians, the Temple is not central to our worship experience. However in the coming kingdom, it will be. We need to think about this as we evaluate our thoughts about heaven.
God takes sin seriously, and so should we. Are we setting up any idols in our lives? Are we guilty of committing adultery against the Lord? If so, we need to repent.
1. Read Ezekiel’s vision of heaven in 1:4-28. How do you think this image really looked?
2. Read Ezekiel 16. It is a very graphic illustration of God’s relationship with His people. Why do you think God led Ezekiel to use such drastic word pictures?
3. Read Ezekiel 34. Do you think there are any of these type of shepherds around today?
Life Application Questions
- The last eight chapters of Ezekiel detail sacrifices in the new temple as a means of worship. Do you think you could worship the Lord in this way? Why or why not?
2. Ezekiel was asked to minister to some obstinate people (Ezek. 2:1-5). Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? How does God’s encouragement to Ezekiel in 2:6-10 encourage you in your ministry?
3. Ezekiel 37 is an amazing look at the future of Israel. How does this strengthen your faith?