Ezekiel, with his fellow-prophet Daniel, delivered Yahweh’s message to the captivity in Babylon, whilst Jeremiah ministered to the people in Jerusalem before the destruction from the north came upon them. Ezekiel the priest was taken to Babylon with “king Jehoiachin’s captivity”, which was the third deportation of Jews, when 10,000 were taken from Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:12–16). He first saw “visions of Elohim” in the thirtieth year (ch 1:1) which probably refers to the prophet’s age—the age at which a priest under the Law commenced his service.

It is highly significant that the prophet is referred to by his name, Ezekiel, only twice in the whole book—chapter 1:3 and chapter 24:24; at all other times he is addressed as “Son of Man” because “…Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh” (ch 24:24). The purpose of his mission is embodied in these oft-repeated phrases, “that they may know that I am Yahweh” and “and they shall know that I am Yahweh”, etc which occur over seventy times in the book. This brings to mind the words of the Lord Jesus Christ when he prayed to the Father—“this is life eternal that they might KNOW THEE, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent”.

Ezekiel’s name means “El will strengthen”, and he was assured that Yahweh would make his face as hard as diamond (“adamant” ch 3:8,9), in order to withstand the faces of the people of Judah, which were as hard as flint. Thus we have the parable—

“EL WILL STRENGTHEN THE SON OF  MAN WITH VISIONS OF ELOHIM THAT THEY  MAY KNOW THAT I AM YAHWEH”.

We are again reminded of the Lord Jesus  Christ—”the Son of Man”, whom Yahweh made  strong for Himself (Psalm 80:17)

A most valuable and enjoyable project in  conjunction with the readings each day is to  highlight the occurrence in the book of these  recurring phrases—“Son of Man” and “they shall  know that I am Yahweh”, or similar statement—and  this can be done as a personal exercise or with the  family. The highlighting of such phrases will serve  to remind us of these important themes each time we  open the book and will help to make the prophet’s  message a motivating power in our lives now.

Ezekiel was a married man living in his own  house, as many of the exiles did, at Tel-Abib (ch 24:  16,17). His service to Yahweh placed great demands  on his personal life:

  • for a period he was dumb, except to speak Yahweh’s Word (ch 3:25–27; 24:27)
  • he was instructed not to mourn the death of his beloved wife, “the desire of thine eyes”, in order to dramatise the tragedy of Yahweh’s national  wife (ch 24:16–18,21,25)
  • he lay on his side for 430 days to enact the 430 years of retribution Yahweh would bring upon the house of Israel and the house of Judah (ch 4)
  • he shaved his head to demonstrate that the Nazarite nation had “defiled the head of its consecration”(ch 5).

The predominant theme flowing through the  whole of the book is that of the manifestation of  the GLORY, climaxing in the detailed description of  the Temple of the future Age when Yahweh’s Glory  shall fill the earth (Num 14:21; Ezek 43:5).

There are five main sections in the Book—

1 The Glory Appears

2 The Glory Departs

3 The Glory Hidden

4 The Glory Prepares

5 The Glory Returns

THE GLORY APPEARS Chapters 1 to 3

Ezekiel’s Commission

Ezekiel first saw “Visions of Elohim” by the river  of Chebar (1:3). He witnessed a wall of light and  fire rapidly approaching as a whirlwind from the north. As it neared him, he saw that it was formed  of a great luminous cloud around which swirled  long tongues of flame. Four living creatures next  appeared out of the cloud, burning as with coals  of fire whilst flashes of lightning emanated from  them. Though four, they acted as a unit—“they ran  and returned as the appearance of a flash of fire”.

Ezekiel was impressed with the wheels which  helped to give mobility to the vision so that it was  borne along as though in a chariot. The wheels were  so high they seemed to connect heaven and earth.  The living creatures supported a firmament, beneath  which were their wings making a noise like an army  on the march. When the Cherubim came to a stop,  Ezekiel saw a throne with a majestic figure thereon.  The vision was a representation of the Glory of  Yahweh in manifestation (1:28).

The appearance of the vision so overwhelmed  Ezekiel that he prostrated himself. Then the Spirit entered  him and caused him to stand upon his feet (2:2).

Having been commissioned as a watchman to the  House of Israel, the hand of the Cherubim gave him a  scroll to eat (2:9), after which he was lifted up by the  Spirit and taken away in bitterness of spirit to Tel Abib  where his commission was re-stated (3:12–17).

The Hand of Yahweh came upon him again  and commanded him to go forth “into the plain”  where he witnessed the same Cherubic vision as  he had seen by the River Chebar (3:22–23). After  again being prostrated and caused to stand up by  the Spirit, he received a final instruction advising  him that he would be dumb except when he spoke  the Words of Yahweh (3:26,27).

THE GLORY DEPARTS Chapters 4 to 24

Judgments on Jerusalem

A little over a year later, the vision re-appeared to  Ezekiel whilst he was sitting in his house (8:1).  A hand of the Cherubim took him by a lock of  his head and the Spirit lifted him up between the  earth and heaven and brought him in the “Visions  of Elohim” to Jerusalem, where he was shown the  “image of jealousy” in the Temple (8:3). As he  watched, he saw a symbolic enactment of judgment  being carried out on the city (9:1,2); and at the  same time the Glory of the Elohim of Israel went  up from the Cherub in the Most Holy Place to the  threshold of the House (9:3). During this time  judgment was being dispensed by the man with the  writer’s inkhorn.

In chapter 10 the Cherubic vision of chapter 1  re-appeared on the right side of the House and the  man clothed in linen, having obtained coals of fire  from between the wheels (10:6), scattered them  over the city (10:2). The Glory of Yahweh which  had been standing by the threshold of the House  now moved and stood over the Cherubim and the  whole vision mounted up and stood at the door of  the east gate of the House (10:18–19).

The Spirit again lifted Ezekiel up and brought  him unto the east gate of Yahweh’s House where he  witnessed the outpouring of further judgments upon  the nation (11:1). Then he saw the whole Cherubic  vision, together with the Glory of Yahweh above  it, depart to the Mount of Olives on the east side of  the city (11:22,23).

After this the Spirit took Ezekiel up and brought  him in a vision by the Spirit of Elohim into Chaldea,  to those of the captivity and then the vision went  up from him (11:24).

The anti-type was dramatically fulfilled 600  years later when the veil of the Temple was rent  from top to bottom and some time later the Glory  of Yahweh, in the person of His Son, went up from  the Mount of Olives with the Divine assurance  that this Glory-bearer would return again at the  appointed time.

THE GLORY HIDDEN Chapters 25 to 32

Judgment on the nations.

During this period there was no open manifestation  of the Glory or the Cherubic vision, as Israel is  subjected to seven Gentile powers.

This period corresponds to the “times of the  Gentiles” which are fast approaching their end.

THE GLORY PREPARES—Chapters 33 to 39

Prophecies of the Restoration.

Although there is still no open manifestation of  the Cherubic vision, Israel begins to throw off the  Gentile yoke of oppression and prepares for the  return of the Glory.

This is the section containing chapters so wellknown  to us, describing the national resurrection  of Israel (ch 37—the valley of dry bones) and the  Russian invasion (chs 38 and 39). How compelling  these passages are, and how convincing as we  witness their fulfilment in our day. There is no  doubt that we live a mere step away from the  manifestation of Yahweh’s Glory for judgment  amongst the nations.

THE GLORY RETURNS Chapters 40 to 48

The Glorious Consummation

The “Visions of Elohim” returned to Ezekiel  in Chapter 40:2 and he was brought in vision  to the land of Israel and set upon a very high  mountain by which was as “the frame of a city  on the south”.

Ezekiel was given a conducted tour of the  mighty Temple. The climax was when he saw  the Glory of the Elohim of Israel come from the  way of the east in company with the Cherubim  which he originally saw by the River Chebar (43:  2,3). Having been prostrated, he saw the Glory of  Yahweh come into the House by way of the east  gate and the Spirit took him up and brought him  into the inner court where he beheld the Glory of  Yahweh fill the House (43:5).

The work of the Cherubim was completed, for  now “YAHWEH IS THERE” (48:35).

There is a wealth of exhortation and  encouragement in this powerful book, words of  instruction and admonition to the shepherds and  watchmen in the Ecclesia—“visions of Elohim” to  strengthen us in these last days.

For those who wish to make a more intense  study of the prophecy there is some excellent  material, together with a detailed breakdown, in  the little book Prophecies of the Restoration by  Brother H P Mansfield.

May it be that when indeed the Glory has  returned, we shall be amongst that company who  will be the “One Yahweh” with the “Son of Man”,  when His Purpose is complete and all the earth shall  know at last that “YAHWEH IS THERE”.