The Prophets: Ezekiel
Ezekiel, from the Hebrew name pronounced yekh-ez-kale, meaning the LORD will strengthen, was a prophet of the LORD (see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD and 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') who was taken away into Babylonian exile along with the rest of the people of The Southern Kingdom, known as "Judah." Ezekiel was a righteous man; he was not included in the removal as a punishment, but rather in order to serve as a prophet of Judah's eventual return, for the sake of the line of the Messiah, of which Ezekiel was also given to prophetically describe in magnificent detail.
Ezekiel was a contemporary of the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel, and others (see The Prophets: North and South), although each of them had circumstantial tasks attuned to specific prescribed events related to the fall, or to the return. Although they all spoke the Word of God, no two prophets were the same.
The fall of the southern kingdom of Judah was carried out progressively. Ezekiel was taken in one of the earlier captivities so that by the time of the complete devastation of the kingdom of Judah and the capital city Jerusalem in 586 BC, Ezekiel was already settled in Babylon (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), which itself seems to attest plainly that Judah was too far "gone" even by the earlier time of Ezekiel.
"1:1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
"His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory"
The prophecies given to Ezekiel are some of the most spectacular in the Holy Scriptures (some of which were also given to the apostle John, centuries later, for the writing of the book of Revelation - see the Fact Finder question below for detailed studies for each chapter of the book of Ezekiel). Included among them was the "dry bones" prophecy in which humanity, as a whole, will come to know the LORD, after His return, in a way that they could not, or would not, before.
"37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 37:2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? [see What Happens When You Die?]
"43:2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory" (Ezekiel 43:2 KJV) refers to the time after the return of Jesus Christ (see Zionism), but before God The Father comes to earth. The purpose of the Christ's coming is to prepare the Way for God's coming (see The Throne Of God, From Heaven To Earth). Ezekiel's vision in this chapter is about Christ's return.
"43:1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: 43:2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east [see Why Did They Face East?]: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. 43:3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. 43:4 And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. 43:5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.
Fact Finder: For detailed examination of each chapter of the book of Ezekiel, see the studies below from our Bible Reading Plan: