Sunday, February 10 2013
Ezekiel: The Work Of The Watchman
In the Holy Scriptures, "prophet" means an inspired speaker, as in an in-spirit-ed speaker - someone who preaches the Truth of God by the Holy Spirit of God (false prophets are "inspired" speakers too, but their spirit is that of the Devil; see What's The Bible Word For False Prophet? and Who Lights Your Walk?). Prophets of the LORD (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets) are found throughout the Bible, from the most-ancient times of Genesis (see A Biography Of Jacob: Blessings And Prophecies) to the yet-future time of the Book of Revelation (see The Battle Of The End-Time Prophets).
Specific prophetic books of the Bible were also written by or about prophets who were sent by the LORD. Those sent specifically to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah may be categorized further:
Ezekiel, from the Hebrew name pronounced yekh-ez-kale, meaning the LORD will strengthen, was a prophet of the LORD who was taken away into Babylonian exile along with the rest of the people of 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 for all of Israel's eventual return.
Ezekiel was among the group of exiles taken to the area of the Chebar (also rendered as Kebar and Khabur) River, the major northern tributary (a stream or river that contributes water to a larger stream or river) to the Euphrates River.
"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. 1:2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, 1:3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him." (Ezekiel 1:1-3 KJV)
Ezekiel's ministry as a prophetic "watchman" began with an experience of what at first appeared to be an approaching storm - the first of a number of appearances of cherubim to Ezekiel.
"1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. 1:5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. 1:6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 1:7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. 1:8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. 1:9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
Ezekiel was then given his commission as a prophet to "a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me."
"2:1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. 2:2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
Why was the term "watchman" used, for a prophet who was given an object lesson of an approaching storm?
"3:16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 3:16-19 KJV)
The Book of Ezekiel is both a history of Israel and Judah's fall and a warning to not let it happen again. As such, the book is filled with many familiar teachings and prophecies e.g. "the soul that sins shall die" (Ezekiel chapter 18; see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?), end-time Gog and Magog (Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39; see Gog and Magog) and the return of the Messiah to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth (Ezekiel chapter 43; see What Happens After The Messiah Returns?).
Israel and Judah were divided into two separate kingdoms after the reign of King Solomon (see 1 Kings: From Empire To Divided Kingdom). They were never united again. They will however be a united kingdom again after the return of the Messiah, including those of Israel and Judah who will be physically resurrected as described in the famous "dry bones" prophecy. Then, "ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves."
"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?
Studies For The Book Of Ezekiel
Fact Finder: Why did the people of Judah not recognize the Messiah when He came the first time?
This Day In History, February 10
48 BC: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus died. He was a leader of the Optimates (an ultra-conservative senatorial aristocracy) in the last years of the Roman Republic (see The Politics Of Rome) which was followed by Imperial Rome under the "Caesars" - the first of which is recorded in the Bible (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire). After the powerful generals Julius Caesar (see The Cleopatra Connection and A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids), Gnaeus Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus formed an unofficial ruling triumvirate in 60 BC, Ahenobarbus resisted them.
1162: Baldwin III died at age 31. He was the king of the "crusader state" of Jerusalem from 1143 to 1162 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad and Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy; listen also to out Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1258: Huegu, a Mongol leader, seized Baghdad, bringing an end to the Abbasid caliphate.
1364: A treaty was signed which guaranteed that Tyrol would be kept in the families of the Luxemburgs and Hapsburgs.
1567: Lord Darnley, the husband of Roman Catholic Queen Mary Stuart, ("Mary, Queen of Scots") was murdered by her lover (and next husband) James Hepburn.
1720: Edmund Halley was appointed the second Astronomer Royal of England.
1763: Britain gained control of Canada from France with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The treaty, signed between Britain, France and Spain, ended the Seven Years War, stripped France of all its possessions north of what became the United States, except for the tiny islands of St. Pierre-Miquelon off the east coast of Canada, which remain territories of France to this day. Spain won Louisiana and Havana.
1799: Napoleon Bonaparte departed Cairo, Egypt, for Syria, with a force of 13,000 men.
1814: Napoleon personally directed lightning strikes against enemy columns advancing toward Paris, beginning with a victory over the Russians at Champaubert.
1837: Alexander Pushkin, Russian poet and novelist, was killed in a duel. Regarded as Russia's greatest poet, his works included Boris Godunov.
1840: Queen Victoria of England and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg (Germany), both age 21, were married. The marriage was arranged by their uncle (Victoria and Albert were cousins) King Leopold of Belgium.
1846: British general Sir Hugh Gough decisively routed Tej Singh's Sikhs in the Battle of Sobraon.
1904: Russia and Japan declared war on each other.
1906: Britain's first modern battleship, HMS Dreadnought, was launched.
1918: Abdulhhamid II died at age 76. He was the Ottoman sultan 1876-1909 (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1936: Adolf Hitler's Gestapo ("ge-stat-po" is the German abbreviation of "the-state-police") were authorized to arrest and imprison without trial (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1954: President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the U.S. becoming involved in the Vietnam civil war between North and South Vietnam.
1962: In a ceremony on a bridge between West Berlin and East Germany, Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, who had been arrested in New York, was exchanged for shot-down U.S. U-2 spy-plane pilot Francis Gary Powers and a U.S. "student" who had been held in East Germany on spying charges.
1974: British coal miners began a national strike. The dispute caused energy shortages, a 3 day work week, and the collapse of Edward Heath's Conservative government.
1986: The largest Mafia trial in history, with 474 defendants, opened in Palermo, Italy.
1991: Lithuanians voted overwhelmingly for independence from the Soviet Union. Parliament had already declared independence in March 1990.
1996: An IBM computer called Deep Blue defeated world champion Garry Kasparov, the first victory of a machine under classic tournament rules.
2005: North Korea announced that it had nuclear weapons.
2009: The communication satellites Iridium 33 and Kosmos-2251 collided in Earth orbit; both were destroyed.