Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

The Visions of Ezekiel

Category Bible, God, Theology
Essay type Research
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God choses whomever He wants to give His messages to His people. In the Old Testament, God chose very specific people to give His message to Israel. Ezekiel, was a great man of God and very faithful to Him. The messages he received from God were intense and different than other prophets of Israel. The Lord allowed Ezekiel to have visions of which he traveled through, and heard the voice of the Lord. Ezekiel was obedient to the visions and listened to God’s voice and what He instructed him to do, no matter what the consequence was or how strange, terrifying, weird the message may have been for Israel.

These visions can even be applied today in the modern day church and show how much God loves His people despite repetitive sin. The book of Ezekiel opens up with a vision that is quite startling in itself. The first major vision can be found in Ezekiel 1:4-28. A long passage with much detail, Ezekiel describes his first word from the Lord. After the vision, the Lord speaks directly to Ezekiel and gives him instruction. “And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that speak unto me. (2:1-2) We find that the prophet was so penetrated with awe at the sight of the glory of God in the mystical chariot, that “he fell upon his face;” and, while he was in this posture of adoration, he heard the voice mentioned here…. he who is sent by the God of all grace to the convert sinners must be influenced by the Holy Ghost; otherwise he can neither be saved himself, nor become the instrument of salvation to others. “and set me on my feet”--that he might stand as a servant before his master, to receive orders. [1] This was Ezekiel’s reaction of the vision God imparted to him.

He was a humble servant, he stood before his Master ready to do whatever He had for him. When he heard from the Lord that he was going to be going to a rebellious nation, the Lord instructed him to speak that the nation was going to fall if they did not change their ways. They had become such a defiled nation, the Lord was determined to show them just how awful they had become. Throughout the book of Ezekiel, he writes of the symbolic actions the Lord asks of him. Some of these consist of Ezekiel eating the scroll that God gave him to eat (3:1-3), sleeping on his side symbolizing the sin of the ouse of Israel (4:4) , shaving, burning and scattering his hair (5:1-17) packing his belongings and leaving for exile as a sign to the prince of Jerusalem (12:1-16). Ezekiel was a faithful servant that loved his Master. It did not matter if the request was too ludicrous, he trusted that whatever the Lord asked of him, it was for a reason. Not only did these actions give signs to Israel, but they also revealed to Ezekiel the heart of the Lord. His desires for a holy nation. Important Vision #2: Ezekiel 8-11. In chapter 8 Ezekiel’s vision starts out and talks about false values.

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What is amiss with the nation is that it is corrupt at this center, that as repudiated the God who made it a people and has replaced him by the gods of the surrounding countries. A false religion perverts its life and threatens catastrophe. [2] This issue of idolatry is not just a new problem for Israel. This has been a consistent problem throughout history. God made these people His and they are turning from Him. God always displays His glory to Israel, yet they fail to obey Him. Ezekiel goes through many different types of idolatry and images that the Israelites use to take the place of Father God.

In this passage, Ezekiel also finds evidence of the worship of the Babylonian deity Tammus (8:14) and of the sun god (8:16). Because of these and other impure practices, Ezekiel declares that Yahweh will destroy the city. His words are so power that one of the Judean idolaters, a man named Pelatiah, falls down dead (11:13)[3] Ezekiel must not have been too pleased with that event, but he knew he needed to listen to the voice of the Lord speaking unto him. Important Vision #3 Ezekiel 37:1-14. This is perhaps the most well known passage in Ezekiel. “The Dry Bones. In this vision the Lord is as a teacher and instructs Ezekiel. Ezekiel is brought to a valley of dry bones and the Lord asks him to prophesy of the dry bones. When he did that, the flesh reappear on these bodies. The Lord explains the meaning of he vision in verses 11-14. The bones symbolize the “whole house of Israel,” which had given up any hope of being revived as a nation. They had been buried, as it were, in the foreign lands to which they had been exiled. But the Lord would open their graves and bring them back to the land. His Spirit would infuse the nation, and it would once again life. 4] “I will put my ruach within you. : What does the word mean this time? What can it mean, but Holy Spirit? Israel’s restoration lies beyond human power, but not beyond the power of God. Notice the sequence of promised event. First, “you shall live. ” Before the physical restoration can take place, there must be a renewal of faith. Second, “I will place you in your own land. ” The physical restoration will take place. And third, “you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done it. ” In 36:31 Ezekiel shows the turned exiles in bitter repentance as they think upon the past.

Here he shows them lost in reverence as they acknowledge the power and unshakable moral purpose of God. [5] Now, in the book of Ezekiel, there is not much, if any, information on how Israel responded or how Ezekiel shared these prophecies. However, as mentioned above, he was a faithful servant. Everything that he said came directly from the Lord. How interesting it must have been to be a friend of Ezekiel during that time; God speaking so clearly and so specifically about Israel, His plans for the sinners, the righteous, the enemies, anyone, and how to return to the Lord God of Israel.

With Ezekiel, God did not force Israel to listen, He gave the option and they had to choose. This is a reminder that God does pursue those whom He loves, but He also wants His people to come to Him out of freedom. The Last Major Vision of Ezekiel: 40-48. This last section has extreme detail of the temple and how it should be built. Furthermore, the Lord gives instructions to Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that it is time to rebuild God’s house. This is a reminder to the Israelites. It would be extremely humbling to them for them to have to rebuild their worship place to God.

But, God did not do this for embarrassment, He did this to remind the people of Israel that He was still going to be their God and that He still desperately wanted to be loved and served by them. He chose them for a reason, and He wanted them to know His love like no other. This portion is as a reestablishment of the law and how to live according to the law. In Ezekiel 43:10-12 it says, “Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins.

Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple-its arrangement, its exit and entrances--its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations. This is the law of the temple: all the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy, such is the law of the temple. ” This passage gives an answer of how the Lord expects the Israelites to respond to His message of repentance.

The idea of building the temple will draw them to repentance and reveal their sin to them regardless. Throughout the book of Ezekiel, one sees the closeness that he has with the Lord. He takes Ezekiel by the hand and carefully explains what He says to Israel, and He reveals His very personal feelings and plans with Ezekiel. How wonderfully scary it must have been for Ezekiel to experience His strong glory and presence for so many years. “It was nineteen years since Ezekiel had seen the vision of the glory of the Lord leaving His temple (10:18-22; 11: 22-24).

Now he sees His return, to occupy and to consecrate this new building to be His holy sanctuary. His appearance was the same as it had been before by the river Chebar (yet another link which this closing vision has with Ezekiel’s earlier work) and it prompted the same response of awe and adoration. The angelic guide is still with Ezekiel and will continue to explain and instruct him in the law of the temple, but at this point there is a special word from the Lord out of the temple, which is virtually a statement of consecration. [6]”

In a couple passages above, the writer talks about the word ruach being used. This word is parallel to the Greek word in the New Testament, Pneuma, which is typically used for describing the Holy Spirit. This is an extremely fascinating word that the Lord uses. As many people assume that the Holy Spirit is not active in the Old Testament, the Lord proves every one of those people wrong. In the example of “The Dry Bones” Ezekiel prophesy’s to the bones, then prophesy’s to the actual Holy Spirit to breathe life into those dry bones.

He willed it to happen out of obedience to the Lord and what He told him to prophesy over and to these dry bones. Not only does the Holy Spirit speak to him, but He actually transports him to different spots. [7] This particular study of Ezekiel has taught me of God’s heart for His nation. Although they have all sinned greatly against Him, it is His heart to have them serving Him again. Not as slaves, but having a real relationship with Him. That is why He created human beings to begin with, God is a relational God.

As much as I knew this before, I think it is far too easy to assume that because you may not visually see God doing and working things out in your life, that He does not care or exist. In Ezekiel, you see that God uses every part of Himself to draw His people back to Him, almost in an underlying message to say, “Please come back to Me, I just love you so much and I miss you. I miss you Israel, I just want to be with you again, I want you to want Me again. I want you to see what you have done against Me, not so that I can punish you, but so that there will not be anything between us again and we can freely commune.

Look! I’ll even give you instructions of how to build the temple and the laws that I have for you to follow. Just please come back, not because I need you, but because I want you. ” As God gives this message to His people, through Ezekiel, I think that Ezekiel also senses this great love for a disobedient people. Because Ezekiel can feel the Lord’s heart towards Israel, being so fully devoted to God, it allows the Father to take control of Ezekiel’s heart and reveal incredible love to him. The OT in general and the prophets in particular presuppose and teach God’s sovereignty over all creation, over people and nations and the course of history. And nowhere in the Bible are God’s initiative and control expressed more clearly and pervasively than in the book of Ezekiel. From the first chapter, which graphically describes the overwhelming invasion of the divine presence into Ezekiel’s world, to the last phrase of Ezekiel’s vision (“the Lord is there”) the book sounds and echoes God’s sovereignty.

This sovereign God resolved that he would be known and acknowledged. Approximately 65 occurrences of the clause (or variations) “Then they will know that I am the Lord” testify to that divine desire and intention (see note on 6:7). Overall, chs. 1–24 teach that God will be revealed in the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple; chs. 25–32 teach that the nations likewise will know God through his judgments; and chs. 33–48 promise that God will be known through the restoration and spiritual renewal of Israel.

God’s total sovereignty is also evident in his mobility. He is not limited to the temple in Jerusalem. He can respond to his people’s sin by leaving his sanctuary in Israel, and he can graciously condescend to visit his exiled children in Babylon. God is free to judge, and he is equally free to be gracious. His stern judgments on Israel ultimately reflect his grace. He allows the total dismemberment of Israel’s political and religious life so that her renewed life and his presence with her will be clearly seen as a gift from the Lord of the universe.

Furthermore, as God’s spokesman, Ezekiel’s “son of man” status (see note on 2:1) testifies to the sovereign God he was commissioned to serve. [8] This last statement is incredible. God consistently refers to Ezekiel as the Son of man, it shows that God trusts him and that He had a specific plan for him to serve Him. In application to my life, I think that the biggest lesson one can learn is how to submit to the Lord and listen to His voice no matter what it is saying.

Sometimes He may make no sense and it can be very scary, but just as Jesus says in John 10:27, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” When one’s heart is devoted to God, he can be sure that the Lord will direct his steps. Another important lesson, God really, really, REALLY loves His kids. It does not matter how awful we are, how many times we walk away thinking that we can do a better job at running our life than He can, how many times we break His heart, it is His desire to be with us, even if that means us leaving Him a hundred times, His love will draw us back a hundred and one times.


  1. Adam Clarke, Clarkes Commentary: Job Malachi (Nashville: Abingdon Pr, 1977), 428
  2. Buttrick, George Arthur. The Interpreter's Bible: The Holy Scriptures in the King James and Revised Standard Versions with General Articles and Introduction, Exegesis, Exposition for Each Book of the Bible. (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1951), 105
  3. James D. Newsome and Jr, The Hebrew Prophets (Atlanta, GA: Westminster John Knox Press, 1986), 126
  4. Robert B. Chisholm and Jr, Handbook On the Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Academic, 2002), 270
  5. Andrew W. Blackwood Jr. and Ezekiel-Prophecy of Hope (Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Book House,1965), 224-225
  6. John B. Taylor, Ezekiel (tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), 1ST ed. (Downers Grove, Ill,; Intervarsity Pr, 1969), 264
  7. Leon J. Wood, Prophets of Israel, The (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 358
  8. http://www. biblica. com/niv/study-bible/ezekiel/ accessed March 8th, 2013.

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