Background to Ezekiel


I.         History

            A.        606 BC - First captivity, of which Daniel was a part

            B.        597 BC - Second captivity, of which Ezekiel was a part

            C.        586 BC - Destruction of Jerusalem

            D.        The captivity lasted 70 years from 606 to 536 BC.

            E.        The book of Ezekiel covers a 22 year period, starting 6 years before the destruction of Jerusalem to 16 years thereafter.

II.        Contemporaries

            A.        While several of the prophets overlapped, it is unlikely that they saw each other.

                        1.         Jeremiah was in Jerusalem

                        2.         Daniel was in Babylon and lived among the rulers

                        3.         Ezekiel lived in Telabib (Ezekiel 3:15) by the river Chebar among the common captives. We are uncertain as to the location of this settlement.

III.       Overall style

            A.        Apocalyptic

                        1.         Visions are painted in words of what the prophet saw

                        2.         It is the meaning of the images which give the interpretation

            B.        For Ezekiel, the prophet himself often became the sign

                        1.         He would be told to do some odd thing in the presence of others.

                        2.         It was when others asked what he was doing that Ezekiel would explain the meaning of the display

            C.        John’s book of Revelation borrows many images from Ezekiel

                        1.         The cherubim (Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4)

                        2.         Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 28 and Revelation 20)

                        3.         Eating the book (Ezekiel 3 and Revelation 10)

                        4.         The new Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48 and Revelation 21)

                        5.         The river of the water of life (Ezekiel 47 and Revelation 22).

                        6.         The conclusion is that Ezekiel and Revelation have similar themes.

IV.      Purpose

            A.        “They shall know that I am God” appears 62 times in the book

            B.        To dispel any hope among the Israelites that the captivity might be short

            C.        To prove God’s case against Israel, showing the Israelites why they were in captivity.

            D.        To cause the people to repent of their sins

            E.        To give hope

V.        Division

            A.        Chapters 1-24 - Judgments against Judah

                        1.         Year 5, month 4, day 5 - Chapters 1-7

                        2.         Year 6, month 6, day 5 - Chapters 8-19

                        3.         Year 7, month 5, day 10 - Chapters 20-23

                        4.         Year 9, month 10, day 10 - Chapter 24

            B.        Chapters 25-32 - Judgments against the nations

            C.        Chapters 33-48 - Announcement of salvation