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An Argument of the Book of Ezekiel

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MESSAGE STATEMENT:1

Necessary judgment for sin upon Jerusalem and the nations becomes the means through which God will bring about a new life and a new order for both Judah and Israel when in the future he will dwell in their midst

I. Prophecies Concerning Judgment on the Nation and the Nations: Ezekiel was prepared by the Lord to proclaim to the Israel in captivity that the Lord was going to bring catastrophic judgment upon Jerusalem because of their sinful idolatry, that he had left the temple so that this judgment could occur, and that He will bring judgment through Babylon upon the nations who laughed at Jerusalem’s fall and afflicted Jerusalem so that they will know that Yahweh is God 1:1--32:32

A. Ezekiel’s Preparation--General Prophecies of Judgment on Judah: Through a mighty vision of the glory of God, Ezekiel is told to go to Israel in captivity and to faithfully tell them God’s word of judgment as a watchman even though they will not listen because God has made them hard in their hearts Eze 1:1--3:27

1. Introduction: Eze 1:1-3

2. The Vision (of Four Living Beings) for the Work: Eze 1:4-14

3. Ezekiel’s Call to the Work: Eze 2:1--3:27

a. Ezekiel’s Commission--General: Eze 2:1-7

b. Ezekiel’s Commission--Specific: Eze 2:8--3:27

1) Internalize God’s Word: Eze 2:8--3:3b

2) Speak to the House of Israel: Eze 3:4-11

3) Transported among the Exiles to Tel-abib: Eze 3:12-15

4) Made a “Watchman” by the Lord: Eze 3:16-21

5) Final Words of the Commission--Speak What God Says When He Says to Speak: Eze 3:22-27

B. Specific Prophecies of Judgment on Judah: Through varied and various means the Lord had Ezekiel communicate to the nation of Judah that catastrophic destruction was coming upon them because of their sinful idolatry and the protective presence of the Lord was gone so that this might occur Eze 4:1--24:27

1. Prophecies Predicting the Fall of Jerusalem: Through particular images and messages Jeremiah proclaimed to the Israel that Jerusalem would undergo catastrophic destruction because of the people’s idolatry Eze 4:1--7:27

a. Four Signs Concerning the Judgment on Jerusalem: Eze 4:1--5:17

1) The Sign of the Brick--Israel under Siege: Eze 4:1-3

2) The Sign of Laying on His Left and Right Sides--390 years of Iniquity/ 40 Years of Punishment: Eze 4:4-8

3) The Sign of Unclean Food--Scarce, Unclean Bread in Captivity (40 Years above): Eze 4:9-17

4) The Sign of the Shaved Head and Divided Hair--Catastrophic Destruction on Jerusalem: Eze 5:1-17

b. Two Messages Concerning Judgment on the Land of Israel: Eze 6:1--7:27

1) Message One--Judgment because of Idolatry in Israel: Eze 6:1-14

2) Message Two--Judgment against the People (Land) of Israel Will Be Comprehensive: Eze 7:1-27

2. Prophecies Concerning the Temple and Worship--The Exodus of God’s Glory:2 After demonstrating that the temple is full of idols and idol worshippers, and that there are not many righteous to save in the city, The Lord leaves the temple and the city because of the sin of the leaders Eze 8:1--11:25

a. Idolatrous Abominations in the Temple: Eze 8:1-18

1) The idol of Jealousy (Asherah); cf. 2 Ki 21:7) Eze 8:1-6

2) Paintings of Idols and Animals on the Walls: Eze 8:7-13

3) Weeping for Tammuz: Eze 8:14-15

4) Worship of the Sun: Eze 8:16-18

b. The Man with a Writing Kit Is to Mark the Righteous & Executioners are to Kill the Sinners:3 Eze 9:1-11

c. The Departure of the Glory of the Lord: Eze 10:1--11:25

1) The Glory of the Lord Departs from the Temple: Eze 10:1-22

2) The Glory of the Lord Departs from Jerusalem Because of the Sin of the Leaders: Eze 11:1-25

3. Prophecies of Judgment through Five Signs, Six Sermons, and Seven Parables: Through an interchange of signs, sermons, and parables, the Lord has Ezekiel proclaim the varied nature of the coming judgment upon Jerusalem from Babylon because of the nation’s sin Eze 12:1--24:27

a. Sign One--Luggage through the hole in the Wall to Symbolize the Coming Exile: Eze 12:1-6

b. Sign Two--Trembling While Eating to Show Impending Judgment: Eze 12:17-18

c. Message One--The Lord Promises to Judge False Prophets for Their Lies: Eze 13:1-23

d. Message Two--The Lord Will Judge the Elders for Their Idolatry: Eze 14:1-11

e. Parable One--Israel the Vine is Useless: Eze 15:1-8

f. Parable Two--Israel the Adulterous Wife: Eze 16:1-63

g. Parable Three--Two Eagles (Nebuchadnezzar & Pharaoh), the Rise of the First and the Fall of the Second: 17:1-24

h. Message Three--Each Person Will Be Judged on the Basis of His Own Life, Not for the Sins of their Fathers:4 18:1-32

i. Parable Four--Two Lions Who Thought Themselves Strong (Jehoahaz & Jehoiakim): 19:1-9

j. Parable Five--The Withered Vine (Zedekiah): 19:10-14

k. Message Four--A Review of Israel’s Sinful History From Egypt to the Present: 20:1-44

l. Sign Three--Coming Judgment Is Pictured through Ezekiel’s Sword and Groaning: 21:1-7

m. Message Five--A Sharpened Sword Will Certainly Come to the Nation: 21:8-17

n. Sign Four--A Signpost Which Shows Babylon the Way to Judah: 21:18-32

o. Message Six--Because of the Sin of the People in the City, Refining Judgment Will Come: 22:1-31

p. Parable Six--As Two Sisters Lusted (Samaria & Jerusalem), So Will God Give the Second over to Babylon as He Did the First to Assyria: 23:1-49

q. Parable Seven--The City Is in Turmoil like a Boiling Pot: 24:1-14

r. Sign Five--Ezekiel Is to Be Silent with the Death of His Wife to Foreshadow the Loss of the People in the City with the Coming Judgment: 24:15-27

C. Prophecies of Judgment on the Nations:5 In order that the nations will know that the Lord is God he will use Babylon to judge those nations who laughed at Jerusalem’s fall and afflicted Jerusalem, and He will restore His people 25:1--32:32

1. Ammon: Because Ammon rejoiced when Jerusalem fell, they will be judged so that they will know that Yahweh is God 25:1-7

2. Moab: Because Moab thought that Israel was like all of the other nations God is going to judge them so that they will know that Yahweh is God 25:8-11

3. Edom: Because Edom took vengeance against Judah God will Judge them through Israel 25:12-14

4. Philistia: Because the Philistines acted in revenge, God will judge them so that they will know that Yahweh is God 25:15-17

5. Tyre: Because the city of Tyre rejoiced over the destruction of Jerusalem, the Lord will judge it through Babylon causing people to lament over her great loss, and her rulers (physical and spiritual) to be overthrown 26:1--28:19

a. The Destruction of the City: Because the city through that Jerusalem’s destruction would lead to their prosperity, the Lord will judge Tyre through Babylon 26:1-21

b. The Lament Over Tyre for Its Beauty, Might, and Trade: 27:1-26

c. The Overthrow of the Prince of Tyre and the King of Tyre: 28:1-19

1) Overthrow of the Prince of Tyre: 28:1-10

2) Overthrow of the King of Tyre (a representative of Satan) 28:11-19

6. Sidon: The Lord will bring judgment upon Sidon so that she will never again be a thorn for Israel who will be restored, and so that she will know that Yahweh is God 28:20-26

7. Egypt: So that all will know that Yahweh is God he will cut down Egypt through Babylon as He Cut Down Assyria 29:1--32:32

a. Judged and Taken to Babylon: 29:1--30:26

b. Cut Down Like a Tree: 31:1-18

c. A Lamentation over Egypt: 32:1-32

II. Prophecies Concerning Blessing on Israel: As the watchman for the city, Ezekiel proclaims that Israel will have a new life as the Lord brings her shepherds her, restores her, and protects her and she will have a new order as he provides a new temple, new forms of worship, and a new city where He will be present 33:1--48:35

A. Prophecies Which Lead Up to the Kingdom--A New Life for Israel as She Is Brought Together, Restored & Protected: Ezekiel, the watchman, declares for the Lord that He will bring about a new life for Israel as He comes to shepherd His people and judge the false shepherds, as He destroys Israel’s enemy, Edom, as He brings Israel and Judah together in the land to prosper under the New Covenant, and as He defeats the armies of Gog so that all will know that Yahweh is God 33:1--39:29

1. Ezekiel Reappointed As a Watchman: Ezekiel is exhorted by the Lord to be a Watchman who speaks for God’s message for the nation to repent 33:1-33

a. The Duty of Ezekiel--To Be God’s Watchman Who Gives God’s Message: 33:1-9

b. The Message of Ezekiel--the Nation Should Repent:6 33:10-20

c. Exhortation for Ezekiel to Speak the Message: 33:21-33

2. Present False Shepherds/Future True Shepherd: Although the leaders of the nation are now like false shepherds who consume the sheep, the Lord will judge them and come himself to be Shepherd of the sheep to care for them, judge among them, set up His servant David over them, and make a covenant of peace with them 34:1-31

a. Exhortations to False Shepherds: The False Shepherds (leaders of the nation) feed on the sheep so the Lord will demand the sheep from them and they will no longer be allowed to do this 34:1-10

b. Lord as True Shepherd: A time is coming when the Lord will shepherd His sheep in a caring way,7 judge among His sheep,8 and set His servant David over the sheep, and make a covenant of peace with the sheep9

3. The Enemy (Edom/Mt Seir) Destroyed: The Lord will destroy Edom (Mt Seir) so that she will know that Yahweh is God because she was arrogant against him trying to overtake Israel 35:1-15

a. Promise of Destruction: 35:1-9

b. Reason for Destruction--Arrogance against Him: 35:10-15

4. The Future of the Nation: The Lord promises a time when He will bring Israel and Judah together again in the land to prosper, be clean, and live under the New Covenant 36:1--37:28

a. People of the Land Blessed:10 The Lord promises a time when Israel will be prosperous in the land even through their enemies insult them now, and Israel will be cleansed in the Land 36:1-38

1) Prosperous in the Land: 36:1-15

2) Cleansed in the Land for the Sake of God’s Holy Name:11 36:16-18

b. Nation Restored: Although the nation is now dead, the Lord will revive it as they hear the word of God bringing Israel and Judah together to live under the New Covenant 37:1-28

1) Dry Bones Revived--The Nation will Be Revived by God as They Hear the Word of God: 37:1-14

2) Sign of Two Sticks--The Lord Will Bring Israel and Judah Together to Live under the New Covenant 37:14-28

5. The War between God and Gog--God Repressed:12 Although Gog and his allies will attack Israel with a great army, the Lord will use nature to defeat them so that all will know that Yahweh is God 38:1--39:29

a. Gog and His Allies Attack as a Great Army: 38:1-16

b. The Lord Will Judge Gog: The Lord will bring judgment upon Gog through natural disasters and fire so that it will be defeated, Israel will bury their enemies and the nations (and Israel) will know that the Yahweh is God 38:17--39:29

B. Prophecies Concerning the Future Kingdom--A New Order for Israel: In a vision Ezekiel sees that Israel is going to gain a new order in that she will have a new temple, new prescriptions for worship in the temple and a new city where God will be present 40:1--48:35

1. A New Temple for Israel: In a vision the Lord showed Ezekiel particulars about a new Temple which will be built and the Lord’s Glory returning to dwell in His house forever 40:1--43:27

a. Setting: In a vision Ezekiel is placed on a high mountain in Israel, north of a city, and is to tell the vision of the House of Israel (to encourage the people) 40:1-4

b. Specifics About the Outer Court of the House of Israel: 40:5-27

1) The Wall on the Outside of the Temple 40:5

2) The East Gate: 40:6-16

3) The Outer Chambers: 40:17-19

4) The North Gate: 40:20-23

5) The South Gate: 40:24-27

c. Specifics about the Inner Court of the House of Israel: 40:28-47

1) The South Gate: 40:28-31

2) The East Gate: 40:32-34

3) The North Gate: 40:35-37

4) The Slaughtering Tables: 40:38-43

5) The Priests Chambers: 40:44-46

6) The Measurement of the Inner Court: 40:47

d. Specifics about the Porch on the Temple: 40:48-49

e. Specifics about the Temple: 41:1-26

1) The Entrance: 41:1-2

2) The Most Holy Place: 41:3-4

3) The Side Chambers: 41:5-11

4) A Separate Building for Animals and as a Storeroom: 41:12-14

5) The Inside of the Temple: 41:15-26

f. Specifics about the Chambers Opposite the Temple--for the Priests: 42:1-14

g. The Measuring of the Wall Around the Entire Complex: 42:15-20

h. The Return of God’s Glory from the East to Dwell Forever in His House: 43:1-12

i. Specifics about the Altar of Burnt Offering: 43:13-27

2. A New Worship for Israel: In a vision the Lord showed Ezekiel particulars about how worship will be conducted in the new temple 44:1--46:24

a. Specifics about the Priests: 44:1-31

1) Their Duties: 44:1-31

2) The Land of the Temple for the Priests Who Will No Longer Oppress the People: 45:1-8

b. Specifics about the Offerings: 45:9--46:24

1) Honest Leaders: 45:9-12

2) Offerings for the Prince of Israel: 45:13-17

3) Offerings at the Feasts: 45:18-25

4) Offerings on the Sabbath: 46:1-8

5) Gates for the People to Exit Through: 46:9-10

6) Offerings by the Prince: 46:11-15

7) The Inheritance Which the Prince May Give: 46:16-18

8) Place for the Priest to Partake of the Sacrifices: 46:19-24

3. A New Land for Israel: 47:1--48:35

a. A Living River Will Flow From the Temple: 47:1-12

b. The Boundaries of the Land for the Tribes and Aliens:13 47:13-23

c. The Division of the Land:14 48:1-29

d. The Gates of the City: 48:30-34

e. The Extent of the City: 48:35a

f. The Name of the City--”The Lord Is There!”15 48:35b


1 This outline is adapted through my own study from the analyses of Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, VI:749-53; Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 377; Charles H. Dyer, Ezekiel, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old Testament, 1226-27; Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel, 14-15; Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Ezekiel, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 204-206; Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 342; John A Martin, An Outline of Ezekial, unpublished class notes in 304 preexlic and exilic prophets, (Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1983); John B. Taylor, Ezekiel: An Introduction & Commentary, 49-51.

The most creative overall structure which this student observed was Heater's which build's the book around the going and coming of the Glory of God: (1) Glory Revealed 1--7, (2) Glory Removed 8--39, and (3) Glory Restored (40--48) (Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Ezekiel, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 204-205). While this structure is plausible, and certainly highlights a major theme in the book of Ezekiel, one wonders if it is the best overall structure to explain all that occurs in chapters 8-39 and especially 12--39.

Most writers emphasize a three-fold structure for the book: (1) Prophecies against Jerusalem 1--24, (2) Prophecies against the Nations 25--33, and (3) Prophecies on Future Israel 34--48 (cf. Charles H. Dyer, Ezekiel, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old Testament, 1226-27; Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 376-77; Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 342). While this may well be a good description of some of the main groupings within the book, it does not seem that it is broad enough theologically.

Therefore, this writer will adopt the broader, theological structure of John Martin who argues that the first half of the book contains prophecies concerning judgment (1--32), and that the second half of the book contains prophecies concerning blessing (33--48) (John A Martin, An Outline of Ezekiel, unpublished class notes in 304 preexlic and exilic prophets, [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1983]). Even Dyer in his class notes alludes to this larger structure in his charts on pages 3 and 5. The judgment of the nations (25--32) is like a wedge which occurs under the first section of Judgment and before Ezekiel's recommission in chapter 33 (Charles H. Dyer, Notes on the Book of Ezekiel, [Unpublished class notes in 304 Preexilic and Exilic Prophets, Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1993]). Yet, this dual structure recognizes the departure and return of the Glory of God, but does not make the divisions of the book based upon this theme, but upon the content of the chapters overall.

2 Heater writes, Chapters 4--7 are predictions of the coming siege and fall of Jerusalem. They are to show the necessity of God's judgment because of the sinfulness of the people. The argument, however, moves back to Jerusalem in 8--11. The exiles kept arguing that God would not destroy the holy city. The same obtuseness with which Jeremiah deals ('the temple of the Lord will prohibit the fall of this city' --ch. 7) is faced by Ezekiel in the exile. This unit shows the continued perverse pagan practices that deserve and will receive the judgment of God. Furthermore, these perverse practices lead to the removal of the glory of God (a symbol of the removal of God's protective blessing). Before the glory is removed, we are allowed to see it (8:4) and are reminded that it is the same glory seen in the exile. The glory begins to move in chapter 9 (v. 3) to the threshold of the temple. In chapter 10 there are four steps in the removal: (1) from the cherub to the threshold of the temple (10:4), (2) from the threshold to a place over the cherubim (10:18), and (3) accompanying the cherubim, it moves to the east gate of the temple, (4) from the east gate it goes out and stands over the mount of Olives. Thus, God is demonstrating the departure of His blessing and protection of Jerusalem (Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Ezekiel, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 205). One might add that this glory is prophesied to return in Ezekiel 40-48, but does appear in space and time in John 1:18. Nevertheless, He was rejected, left, Jerusalem was again destroyed in A.D. 70, and He will return again in the consummated kingdom!

3 The point is that there are basically no righteous people there; all the righteous are in Babylon.

4 The nation much realize that this judgment is for their own sin, and not an unjust judgment for their father's sins.

5 All of this judgment is going to occur so that the nations will know that Yahweh is God. They think that Israel's judgment is a victory over their God. He is going to affirm that it is the judgment of their God and that they (the nations) are going to also experience that judgment.

These are the nations surrounding Israel. Ezekiel describes those on the east of Israel first, from north to south. Then he describes those on the west of Judah, from south to north. He climaxes with Egypt.

6 For Jeremiah this meant that the nation should give itself up to Babylon.

7 Zechariah 10; John 10.

8 John 10; Matt 25.

9 Jeremiah 31; Deuteronomy 28.

10 This promise is given because a major aspect of the Abrahamic covenant is prosperity in the land.

11 Matthew 6--Hallowed be Thy name!

12 This will probably occur at the middle of the tribulation (Pentecost, Things to Come, 345-55).

13 Compare Numbers 34:1-13.

14 Note that Judah and Benjamin will be closest to the temple because they stayed with the Davidic line--a reward.

15 This is what History has been pointing to since the fall in the Garden!

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines