At the beginning of May CBC begins to explore the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament. The speakers and those writing house group notes recently met up to explore the book and to consider how to approach it at CBC. The theme that lies at the heart of our approach is:
God’s people, living in exile, filled with hope.
The Jewish nation was exiled, had sinned and been judged, and their homeland was ravaged. It is in this context that Ezekiel is sent to speak a message that confirms the judgement on Israel, explains why they are in exile – but points them to a promise of what’s to come.
Listen here to Matt Frost teaching and other of CBC’s speakers discussing Ezekiel.
Parallel NT Passage: 1Peter 2:9-12
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves honourably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honourable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge.
The Book of Ezekiel: A Summary
Ezekiel: son of Buzi. Priest, probably son of a priest. Taken captive in 597BC by Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army (this was the second of three deportations – 605, 597 and 587 – the last of these was the final destruction of Jerusalem and the temple: Ezekiel 33:21). His ministry began in 593BC in the plains of Babylonia (Ez.1-3) in Chebar – north-west of Basrah in Iraq.
The book is structured chronologically (unique among OT prophets). Chapters:
1-3 Ezekiel’s Call
Visions of God by the river Chebar
4-24 Prophecy against Israel & Jerusalem
4:1-5:17 Four prophetic actions
25-32 Prophecy against nations around Israel
Tyre & Egypt
33-48 Prophecy of messianic restoration
33 Responsibility of prophet & people
34-37 Restoration for Israel
38-39 Gog & Magog
40-47 The new temple, the prince and the land
Chapters that we are exploring at CBC:
- 1; 2-3 (Visions and Ezekiel’s Call)
- 8; 11:16-25; 12; 16; 18 (Temple Sin; Return; Exile is Coming; Unfaithful Israel; Soul who Sins)
- 33; 34; 36; 37; 39; 47 (Watchman; Shepherds; Heart of Stone/Flesh; Valley; Gog; River)
1. God is awesome & holy;
2. Israel is sinful;
3. Judgment is coming;
4. Each individual is responsible;
5. Restoration is promised
Interpreting Ezekiel’s Prophecies – possible approaches
a) Preterist – prophecies primarily fulfilled by Israel’s’ return from Exile in 6th century BC.
b) Historicist – prophecies primarily fulfilled in subsequent history of church and Israel
c) Futurist – prophecies fulfilled primarily in the last days and the end times
Messianic – seeing the prophecies primarily as being fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah (Jesus) – both his first coming, his work in the world through His Spirit, and His second coming. This is the suggested route for us at CBC.