Panorama of the Prophets
Ezekiel Overview Chapters 1-24
There are Scriptural books, that when you turn
to them in most Bibles, you find that the pages
still stick together.
A)These are neglected books – slighted slices of
B)And of all such books, Ezekiel is probably at the
top of the list.
One commentator writes, “Of all the prophetic
books, Ezekiel is the one that has been the most
C)Let me save you from an embarrassing
moment when you get to heaven. You don’t want
to bump into Ezekiel, and have him ask,
“Yo bro, how’d you like my book?”, and then have to
admit you never even read it.
D)Overview tonight and next week – Read it
Division of the first half of the book:
Ch.1-3 The ordination of the Prophet.
Ch. 4-24 The Proclamations of the Prophet.
1. The nearness of Judgment ch.4-7
2. The need of
3. The nature of God’s Judgment ch. 12-24
A)Ezekiel was a contemporary of two other famous
prophets, Jeremiah and Daniel.
B)Ezekiel was in
him three times in his book.
C)Tradition says while Ezekiel was in
a student of Jeremiah.
1)Obviously, he had personal ties with both men.
Remember, 3 times
and took the Jews captive – in 605 BC, 597 BC,
and in 586 BC when they finally destroyed
A)In the second deportation the Babylonians
took some of
B)Ezekiel was one of them.
Jeremiah looked through sobbing eyes -
Ezekiel saw through surreal eyes.
He was a visionary – a biblical mystic
So here’s how God positions His prophets at
this strategic time in history…
Jeremiah remains in
nation’s collapse –
B)Daniel serves in
1) Ezekiel lives with the exiles in captivity.
That is often what God does – places us at different
spots in the body for a different purpose and reason
A)Each person has a different role in ministering to
God’s sheep – Pastor teacher Evangelist – Prophet
B)Here’s another way to position the book.
The theme of Isaiah is God’s salvation –
Of Jeremiah, God’s judgment.
Of Daniel, God’s Kingdom.
Of Hosea, God’s Faithfulness.
And the theme of Ezekiel is God’s glory.
Ezekiel starts with an amazing vision of
the God’s indescribable glory!
Ezekiel 1:1 tells us, “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth
year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of
the month, as I was among the captives by the River
Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw
visions of God.”
A)Ezekiel saw his vision of God in the 30th year – but
the question becomes the 30th year of what?
B)And we don’t know. But it could be his own 30th
year– which gives us a glimpse at what Ezekiel
may’ve been dealing with personally at the time.
C)Ezekiel was a priest, and priests couldn’t begin their
ministry until age 30.
He’d trained his whole life to minister in the temple.
A)Now he’s finally old enough - and he’s an exile in
B)It’s like wanting to drive a car. You’re excited!
You’re about to turn 16 years old.
1)On the Eve of your 16th birthday – they change the
driving age to 18.
C)Major Bummer - This was a bummer for Zek It all
could’ve depressed Ezekiel if he’d not had his eyes on
But in Ezekiel’s 30th year God shifts his direction.
Rather than priest, God turns him into a prophet – a
A)His ministry begins not with serving, but with seeing
God’s glory, “the heavens were opened and I saw
visions of God.”
B)This is always God’s pattern. When we come to Jesus
we immediately get excited about serving Him.
After all, look at all He’s done for me, what can I do
C)And that’s good. But we need to realize in God’s
plan, knowing always precedes doing –
seeing comes before serving –
worship comes before work.
How can we represent someone we really don’t
A)How can we serve another person until we learn of
their passion and priorities?
B)So Before Ezekiel is given a ministry for God, He’s
given a vision of God.
C)This is the pattern God replicates in every believer
– knowing always precedes doing.
1)God has a ministry for you, but be patient.
First we need to catch a vision of God and His glory!
4 Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming
out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing
itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out
of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of
A)In chapter 1, Ezekiel recounts the spectacular sight he
saw – a vision truly beyond his wildest dreams.
B)Let me sum it up for you, Ezekiel sees the throne of
God – but it’s not what we think of as a throne.
1)It’s not a ornate, plush velvet, padded chair. God’s
throne is more than a chair – it’s a chariot.
C)It’s a throne on wheels – powered by angelic
Ezekiel sees God’s throne as a chariot.
A)Scripture tells us the Ark of the Covenant - was a
small scale replica of God’s throne in heaven.
B)It’s interesting that 1Chronicles 28:18 refers to the
C)Remember, God took Elijah to heaven in a fiery
D)We think of it as an angelic limo, but I don’t think so.
I believe God fired up his throne to fetch Elijah.
Deuteronomy 33:26, “There is no one like… God…
Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His
excellency on the clouds.”
2 Samuel says of God, “He rode upon a
cherub, and flew; He was seen upon the wings of the
E)It’s cool (and biblical) to imagine God ripping across
the heavens in a souped-up chariot.
1)Ezekiel sees God in a fullthrottle, whirlwind fiery
Hebrews we’re told, “Our God is a consuming
I’m sure Ezekiel wondered how anything could exist
within this fireball - until he spotted some movement.
LIVING CREATURES The cherubim (1:5-14)
A)These creatures symbolize the glory and power of
B)In Revelation 4, John gets a glimpse of God’s
throne, and he too sees four living creatures.
1)We learn in Ezekiel that these supernatural
creatures are also called “cherubim” – which we know
is a type of angel.
B)They could see in all directions and move in all
directions without turning.
1)The four faces speak of their characteristics: the
intelligence of man; the strength and boldness of the
lion; the faithfulness and service of the ox; and the
heavenliness of the eagle.
C) Some see in these faces the four Gospels: Matthew
(lion—king); Mark (ox—servant); Luke (man—Son of
Man); John (eagle—Son of God from heaven).
D)The creatures could move quickly to accomplish
the will of God.
Each creature was associated with a set of wheels, two
wheels in each set. RDV.15-21
The wheels in each set were not parallel to each other,
like the rim and the hub of a bicycle wheel; rather, they
were at right angles to each other, like a gyroscope top.
The wheels were constantly turning and, since they
faced in all four directions, they could move in any way
without changing motion, just like the cherubim.
A)They were “full of eyes” (v. 18), picturing the
omniscience of God as He rules His creation.
2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us “the eyes of the Lord run to
and fro throughoutthe whole earth.”
The firmament (-27)
A)This was a beautiful “platform” above the wheels and
the cherubim, containing the throne of God.
B)God is still on the throne, and His will is being
accomplished in this world even if we do not always see
C)The complex movements of the cherubim and the
wheels reveal how intricate is God’s providence in the
universe; only He can understand it, only He can control
it. But there is perfect harmony and order.
The rainbow ()
A)There was a rainbow in the storm. Certainly this told
Ezekiel that God’s mercy and God’s covenant would not
fail His people.
B) Gen. 9:11-17, where the rainbow was appointed as a
sign of mercy and also Rev 4:3 / 10:1
C)Noah saw the rainbow after the storm, the Apostle
John saw it before the storm, but Ezekiel saw it
within the storm.
D)Great reminder of God’s presence and mercy in
each aspect of the storms we encounter in this life.
Ezekiel’s Response to the Glorious Vision:
A)In response to the glorious vision, Ezekiel hits the
deck. He falls on his face in humility.
B)Now that Ezekiel has seen the Lord, he’s ready to
serve the Lord.
C)And in 2:1 God comes to commission him, “And He
said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will
speak to you."
D)Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and
set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me.”
It’s ironic, when you compare Ezekiel’s experience
with what happens in a charismatic service today.
A)In a Benny Hinn meeting supposedly it’s the Holy
Spirit who knocks you down - while it’s man who helps
B)But that’s not what happens to Ezekiel. The Spirit
doesn’t knock him down – the Spirit picks him up
1)Ezekiel humbles himself and falls on his face, then the
Spirit lifts him up!
C)Guys, don’t be mistaken, the Holy Spirit doesn’t
slay us - He stands us up again,
1)after we’ve humbled ourselves.
The book of Ezekiel is full of object lessons
the prophet acts out.
A)In the Gospels, Jesus spoke in parables. Ezekiel lived
B)God sums up Ezekiel’s ministry in 24:24, “Thus
Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has
1)He was constantly acting out a skit that taught a
C)At the end of chapter 2 God hands Ezekiel a scroll,
which he’s told to eat.
In 3:3 Ezekiel says, “So I ate, and it was in my mouth
like honey in sweetness.”
Here’s God’s point - His Word needs to be digested
and consumed. Don’t just nibble – scarf it up, pig out,
The Bible is not a finger food. You’ve got to chew on its
In chapter 4 God tells Ezekiel to lay on his
left side for 430 days.
A)The days represent the # of Yrs of
B)What are you doing Zek – God told me to lay here
390 days left side 40 days right side –
1)The yrs of our sin.
Sometimes obedience to God can hurt.
Uncomfortable - It produces sore spots.
A)When God restrains you, and tells you not to move
from the place where He’s positioned you it
can hurt and be painful –
B)maybe it’s a tough marriage, or an unbearable job, or
a friendship that’s being tested.
C)Hey, it’s not always easy to lie down when
you feel like walking off.
D)Everybody else screams for you to take a stand, but
God is saying stay on your side.
1)There are times to stand up, and there are times to stay
E)Guys, if you’re obedient to stay where God has
placed you, He’ll sustain you, and strengthen you.
A year later, God gave Ezekiel another vision, this
time of the sins of the people back in
A)The glory appeared again (8:2), and God took the
prophet in vision to the holy city.
B)There he saw a four-fold view of the sins of the
(1) an image set up at the north gate of the temple,
possibly of As-tarte, the foul Babylonian goddess, 8:5;
(2) secret heathen worship in the hidden precincts of the
(3) the Jewish women weeping for the god Adonis, who
was supposed to die and be raised from the dead each
spring, -14; and
(4) the high priest and the twenty-four courses of priests
worshiping the sun, 8:15-16.
Is it any wonder God planned to destroy the city?
A)Of course, the glory of the Lord could not remain in
such a wicked place.
B)The glory had come to the temple, 8:4; but in 9:3 the
glory moved to the threshold of the temple.
The throne of glory was now empty. It would become a
throne of judgment.
In chapter 9 we see God’s servant putting a mark of
protection on the faithful remnant of believers, lest they
be slain in the judgment to come.
Then, in 10:4, the glory of God moved above the
threshold of the house, hovering there before judgment
was going to fall.
In the glory moved with the cherubim off the
threshold to the eastern gate of the temple (v. 19); and
finally in -23, the glory moved out of the temple to
the top of the
“Ichabod—the glory has departed” (1 Sam. ).
After 8˝ centuries of abiding in the midst of His people
the glory, and power, and presence of God returns to
In chapters 8-11 you can chart his slow, reluctant exit –
from the Holy of Holies to the door of the
the east gate to the mountain top.
It was as if He didn’t want to leave.
The rabbis even claimed the Shekinnah stayed on top
of the mountain for 3˝ years. From the Hebrew text
they discerned 10 stages in God’s departure.
But here’s a simplified way to look at it – the temple had
two courts - the inner and outer court.
God’s glory left the inner court, before He left the outer
It’s also possible for the glory of God to depart a person.
Here’s an important application. You too are a
temple with an inner and outer court.
You have an inner, spiritual life.
You also have an outward ministry.
1) A person once filled with the Holy Spirit can lose that
special empowerment – but it also happens in two
The inner life is effected first, then the outward ministry.
Public ministry may still be going strong, after the
private devotion has dried up.
You lose intimacy with God, long before you
lose influence for God.
Samson is the classic example.
Privately, in his heart he harbored lust and sexual sin –
while publicly, he continued to exude supernatural
But the day came when God’s Spirit left him
The Philistines tied him up, and Samson thought it was
business as usual.
Judges tells us what he said, “I will go out as
before, at other times, and shake myself free! But the
Scripture adds… “he did not know that the LORD had
departed from him.”
His compromise caused God to depart from him.
Let’s beware that doesn’t happen to us.
perpetual stubbornness. She refused to repent.
B)Make sure Jesus remains on the throne in the inner
court of your life.
1) Make sure He’s at home in your heart.
And if you wonder… can the glory return once it has
A)Look no further than Matthew 21, and Jesus’
triumphant entry into the city of
B)Remember, according to Hebrews 1:3 and Ezekiel
10:4 Jesus was the
Shekinnah glory – the brightness of the Lord’s glory.
C)And remember the path He took into the city that
1)He rode the donkey down the
through the east gate, right into the
D)The same path by which the glory left - the glory
E)And how long did Jesus linger on earth? 3˝ years –
the same amount of time the rabbis said the Shekinnah
lingered on the mountain before it ascended.
Remember too, at the end of His 3˝ years of ministry
- as well as His death and resurrection –
A)Jesus ascended to heaven – and from where?
B)The mountain top east of
C) But the story still doesn’t end there... One day Jesus
will return to earth to establish His throne in
and guess where Zechariah 14:4 tells us He’ll set His
D)You bet, the
same mountain - and according to Ezekiel 44:1-3 – He’ll
enter through the very same eastern gate.
E) The same path the Shekinnah glory cut when it
departed from the temple is the same path Jesus has used
to come and go from
Look at a few more object lessons:
A)Chapter 12 Once more Ezekiel gives his neighbors
B)Each morning he packs his belongings and sets them
outside. At twilight he loads his stuff on his shoulders
and walks away.
C)I don’t know about you, but I hate to Move -
All the sorting, boxing, packing – what a hassle.
Ezekiel though is moving every day.
A)And rather than leave home through the front
door, God tells Ezekiel to dig a hole in the wall.
B)Illustration of what it is going to be like to be forced
to escape and to be carted off into captivity.
In verse 10-11 God explains his purpose.
“Thus says the LORD God: ‘This burden concerns
the prince in
you. As I have done, so shall it be done to them;
they shall be carried away into captivity.'
How many of you like Country music:
Ch.16 makings of a country music song RD v.1-14
A)In the chapter the Jews are described as an abandoned
infant – tossed out into an open field as soon as she’s born.
B)That’s when God finds her, washes her, clothes her, and
adorns her with beauty – then He takes her as His wife.
C)It’s reminiscent of the musical, “My Fair Lady”. An
English professor takes a little urchin off the streets, Eliza
D)He trains Eliza to be poised, mannered, and noble.
Through his training he turns her into a polished,
and beautiful young lady.
And to his surprise he falls in love with her and takes
Eliza as his bride.
A)But this is where the comparisons end.
B)From verse 15 onward God’s Eliza turns out to be a
flirt, rather than fair – and a whore, rather than a lady.
C)Rather than thank God for His benevolence, she uses her
beauty to play the harlot. Verse 15, "you trusted in your
own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and
poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who
would have it.”
D)Judah took the blessings of God, gold and
silver, and made them into idols.
Verse 21 shows how far she plunged.
sons and daughters – children dedicated to God – and
made child sacrifices to false gods.
Verse 25 tells us, “You offered yourself to everyone
who passed by, and multiplied your acts of harlotry.” The
NASB translates the passage, “You spread your legs to
every passer-by to multiply your harlotry.”
E)Judah was a spiritual slut. She made no attempt to be
faithful to God.
1) She cared nothing about faithfulness.
song was by Hank Williams, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”. And
that’s the title we could give to Ezekiel 16.
In fact, a cheatin’ heart is a common theme in a lot of
A)You’ve probably heard the joke, “What happens when
you play a country music song backwards?” Here’s the
“The guy sobers up, he gets rehired at the factory, his
dog stops howling, and his wife comes back home.”
B)Like many today it would take losing everything to
In verse 6 Ezekiel is told to “sigh” – or to moan
and groan. His sigh is a sign.
A)A sigh is a powerful sign…
B)If your boss begins your annual review with a sigh
you know you’re in trouble.
C)If your spouse starts a conversation with
a sigh you know here comes a complaint.
D)It takes a hard, stubborn person to ignore such a
sign and continue on in the grievous behavior.
Ezekiel’s sigh is symbolic of
to God’s judgment – the whole nation
Verse 7, “every spirit will faint… all
knees will be weak as water.”
CHAPTER 24 Final word of Judgment as the last
Ezekiel boils water, loads the pot with
cuts of meat, then cooks up a stew.
A)The oils and fats rise to the surface forming a picture
B)The people of the city had become the scum of the
earth, and now the scum is in serious hot water.
C)But that’s not all that happens to commemorate
the beginning of the siege.
Ezk’s wife died – The joy of his life.
A)It was symbolic of God’s wife – the city of
B)Ezk was forbidden by God to show any remorse.
C)His sorrow was to be eclipsed by a greater sorrow –
the sorrow over the ruin of
The first 24 chapters of Ezekiel remind us that sin will
not go unpunished –
Pick up next week 25 – Judgment on