Survey of Ezekiel
Book Type: The fourth book of the Major Prophets; the twenty-sixth book of the Old Testament; the twenty-sixth book of the Bible.
Author: Ezekiel, as specifically named in Ezekiel 1:3 and Ezekiel 24:24.
Audience: Ezekiel was written for Jewish people living in exile in Babylon. Many of these people continued to live in rebellion against God, despite the judgment that took place through the destruction of Jerusalem. Others desired to see God work in power again as the stories from their past. Ezekiel was written to condemn their sinful ways and call them to holy living, emphasizing a future plan for the Jewish people as well as the city of Jerusalem and land of Israel.
Date: The last fulfilled prophecy spoken by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 29:17–21) occurred in approximately 570 BC, indicating the book was likely collected into its final form around this time. Other prophecies in the book involve the end times, and have yet to be fulfilled.
Overview: Ezekiel is one of the longest books in the Bible, consisting of 48 chapters collected thematically regarding the prophet's writings. Interpreters generally divide Ezekiel's writing into four major sections.
The first section covers the prophecies of Jerusalem's destruction (Ezekiel 1—24). Ezekiel is called as a prophet in a vision (Ezekiel 1) and given instructions from the Lord (Ezekiel 2—3). Ezekiel reveals Jerusalem's upcoming judgment (Ezekiel 4—7), including a lengthy vision of the abomination in Jerusalem and the temple (Ezekiel 8—11). Various teachings regarding this judgment follow the vision (Ezekiel 12—24).
The second major section covers prophecies to other nations (Ezekiel 25—32). The Lord speaks through Ezekiel regarding seven groups: Ammon, Moab and Seir, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt. This passage also includes an interlude regarding future restoration for Israel (Ezekiel 28:25–26).
The third section focuses on Israel's repentance (Ezekiel 33). Though only one chapter in length, these verses mark a turning point from Ezekiel's focus on judgment to Israel's future hope.
The fourth section details these future hopes for Israel (Ezekiel 34—48). Israel will be reestablished in the Promised Land (Ezekiel 34—37). Their enemies will be destroyed by the supernatural power of the Lord (Ezekiel 38—39). A new temple will be established with true worship restored in the land (Ezekiel 40—46). The land will be reapportioned to the people of the Lord, with the Lord living among them (Ezekiel 47—48).
Key Verses (ESV):
Ezekiel 2:3–6: "And he said to me, 'Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, "Thus says the LORD GOD." And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.'"
Ezekiel 18:4: "Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die."
Ezekiel 28:12–14: "Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the LORD GOD: \ `You were the signet of perfection, \ full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. \ You were in Eden, the garden of God; \ every precious stone was your covering, \ sardius, topaz, and diamond, \ beryl, onyx, and jasper, \ sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; \ and crafted in gold were your settings \ and your engravings. \ On the day that you were created \ they were prepared. \ You were an anointed guardian cherub. \ I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; \ in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.'"
Ezekiel 33:11: "Say to them, As I live, declares the LORD GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 48:35: "The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There."