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Ezekiel The Prophet

Ezekiel, meaning God will strengthen, is (is, rather than was, because much of what he wrote is set to happen in the present, and the future) one of the major Prophets of The Bible (see also Prophecy). The son of Buzi the priest (Ezekiel 1:3) (see Levites), Ezekiel lived during the Babylonian Exile, among the Jews who settled at Tel-Abib in Babylon (not to be confused with Tel-Aviv, which is in Israel). He was among those taken away captive with Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:14-16) which occurred about 597 BC., 11 years before Jerusalem was completely destroyed (Ezekiel 33:21) (see Why Babylon?)

River Scene Ezekiel lived in his own house (Ezekiel 8:1) near the Chebar River, where he held a leading position among the exiles. By his own account, here's how Ezekiel received his calling:

"In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, the word of The Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of The Lord was upon him there." (Ezekiel 1:1-3 RSV)

The Book of Ezekiel is one of the greatest prophetic works of the Bible, providing a magnificent panorama of what the future holds in store for humanity and the world. A number of Ezekiel's prophecies are reiterated in the Book of Revelation, including the cherubim (Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4), Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38, Revelation 20), eating the scroll (Ezekiel 3, Revelation 10), the River of Living Water (Ezekiel 47, Revelation 22), and the New Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48, Revelation 22).

Other major themes of Ezekiel's work:

  • Ezekiel's commission from God as a "watchman" (Ezekiel chapters 2-3)

  • The siege of Jerusalem (Ezekiel chapters 4-7)

  • The parable of the two eagles (Ezekiel chapter 17)

  • "The soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20), so repent while there is time (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

  • The apparent fall of David's throne (Ezekiel chapter 19), but which actually survived, to this day, through Zedekiah's royal daughters who were not slaughtered with the king's sons, and who later escaped with Jeremiah (Jeremiah 43:6).

  • Oholah and Oholibah, a parable of Israel and Judah's unfaithfulness (Ezekiel chapter 23)

  • Prophecies against Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia (Ezekiel chapter 25), Tyre (Ezekiel chapters 26-28), and Egypt (Ezekiel chapters 29-32)

  • The "valley of dry bones" resurrection of Israel (Ezekiel chapter 37)

  • Gog and Magog (Ezekiel chapters 38-39)

  • The New Temple (Ezekiel chapters 40-48)

Ezekiel's ministry lasted over twenty years, a time contemporary with two of the other major prophets, Daniel and Jeremiah. Daniel was among the earlier group of Jews taken into captivity, about 606 BC, while Jeremiah witnessed the actual destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

The time and manner of Ezekiel's death are not recorded. Some believe his tomb to be in Baghdad, at a place known as Keffil.

Fact Finder: Will the area of the Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea) some day become abundant in life?
Ezekiel 47:6-12

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