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

Scripture.

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

neglected.”

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 Jerusalem’s Judgment ch. 8-11

3. The nature of God’s Judgment ch. 12-24

Background:

A)Ezekiel was a contemporary of two other famous

prophets, Jeremiah and Daniel.

B)Ezekiel was in Babylon with Daniel. He mentions

him three times in his book.

C)Tradition says while Ezekiel was in Jerusalem he was

a student of Jeremiah.

1)Obviously, he had personal ties with both men.

Remember, 3 times Babylon invaded Judah

and took the Jews captive – in 605 BC, 597 BC,

and in 586 BC when they finally destroyed

Jerusalem.

A)In the second deportation the Babylonians

took some of Judah’s brightest and most talented

Jews –

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 Jerusalem to oversee the

nation’s collapse –

B)Daniel serves in Babylon’s court -

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

or function.

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

Babylon – 600 miles away from the beloved temple.

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

God.

But in Ezekiel’s 30th year God shifts his direction.

Rather than priest, God turns him into a prophet – a

divine spokesman.

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

for Him?

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

know?

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

the fire.

A)In chapter 1, Ezekiel recounts the spectacular sight he

sawa 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

propulsion.

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

Ark as a chariot.

C)Remember, God took Elijah to heaven in a fiery

chariot.

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 22:11 says of God, “He rode upon a

cherub, and flew; He was seen upon the wings of the

wind.”

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

chariot. –

Hebrews 12:29 we’re told, “Our God is a consuming

fire.”

I’m sure Ezekiel wondered how anything could exist

within this fireball - until he spotted some movement.

RDV 5-14

LIVING CREATURES The cherubim (1:5-14)

A)These creatures symbolize the glory and power of

God.

B)In Revelation 4, John gets a glimpse of God’s

throne, and he too sees four living creatures.

1)We learn in Ezekiel 10:15 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 (1:22-27)

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

it.

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 (1:28)

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

you up.

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.

Object Lessons

The book of Ezekiel is full of object lessons

the prophet acts out.

A)In the Gospels, Jesus spoke in parables. Ezekiel lived

in parables.

B)God sums up Ezekiel’s ministry in 24:24, “Thus

Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has

done.”

1)He was constantly acting out a skit that taught a

spiritual lesson

Examples

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,

chow down!.

The Bible is not a finger food. You’ve got to chew on its

message.

In chapter 4 God tells Ezekiel to lay on his

left side for 430 days.

A)The days represent the # of Yrs of Israel and

Judah’s iniquity.

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.

C)Uncomfortable -

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

down.

E)Guys, if you’re obedient to stay where God has

placed you, He’ll sustain you, and strengthen you.

CH. 8 HE GLORY REMOVED (8-11)

A year later, God gave Ezekiel another vision, this

time of the sins of the people back in Jerusalem.

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

people:

(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

temple, 8:6-12;

(3) the Jewish women weeping for the god Adonis, who

was supposed to die and be raised from the dead each

spring, 8:13-14; 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 10:18 the glory moved with the cherubim off the

threshold to the eastern gate of the temple (v. 19); and

finally in 11:22-23, the glory moved out of the temple to

the top of the Mount of Olives.

Ichabod—the glory has departed” (1 Sam. 4:21).

After 8˝ centuries of abiding in the midst of His people

the glory, and power, and presence of God returns to

heaven.

In chapters 8-11 you can chart his slow, reluctant exit –

from the Holy of Holies to the door of the Holy Place to

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

court.

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

stages.

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

strength.

But the day came when God’s Spirit left him

completely.

The Philistines tied him up, and Samson thought it was

business as usual.

Judges 16:20 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.

A)Jerusalem’s loss was the consequence of a

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

departed?

A)Look no further than Matthew 21, and Jesus’

triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem.

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

day

1)He rode the donkey down the Mount of Olives,

through the east gate, right into the Temple.

D)The same path by which the glory left - the glory

returned.

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 Jerusalem… the

Mount of Olives was again His launching pad.

C) But the story still doesn’t end there... One day Jesus

will return to earth to establish His throne in Jerusalem

and guess where Zechariah 14:4 tells us He’ll set His

foot?

D)You bet, the Mount of Olives. He’ll return to 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 Jerusalem ever since.

LOVE IT

Look at a few more object lessons:

A)Chapter 12 Once more Ezekiel gives his neighbors

in Babylon something to talk about.

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 Jerusalem and all the house of

Israel who are among them." ' Say, 'I am a sign to

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

Doolittle.

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. Judah took her

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

country songs.

A)You’ve probably heard the joke, “What happens when

you play a country music song backwards?” Here’s the

answer,

“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

bring Judah back to God!

CHAPTER 21

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 Judah’s reaction

to God’s judgment – the whole nation

will sigh.

Verse 7, “every spirit will faint… all

knees will be weak as water.”

CHAPTER 24 Final word of Judgment as the last

invasion begins

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

of Jerusalem.

B)The people of the city had become the scum of the

earth, and now the scum is in serious hot water.

Rd v.6-7

C)But that’s not all that happens to commemorate

the beginning of the siege.

As Neb’s army began to invade the city on this day

Ezk’s wife died – The joy of his life.

A)It was symbolic of God’s wife – the city of Jerusalem

dying

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 Jerusalem and Judea.

The first 24 chapters of Ezekiel remind us that sin will

not go unpunished –

Pick up next week 25 – Judgment on Israel’s neighbors

Israel’s future is bring