Old Testament Survey The Book Of Ezekiel

Introduction: Ezekiel, of all the Old Testament prophets, would be called “The Prophet of Visions.”  He often says: “The hand of the Lord was upon me;” 1:3 – 3:14, 22 – 8:1 – 33:22 – 37:1 40:1. Ezekiel was taken into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar, in 597 B.C.  Ezekiel lived at the same time as Jeremiah the Prophet.

Ezekiel – the man: Ezekiel means “God strengthens.” He was a priest – 1:3. He has a wife but no children.  Ezekiel’s time of service was from 592 B.C. until 570 B.C. His ministry could be divided into two parts:

  1. Before the fall of Jerusalem: chaps. 1-24
  2. After the fall of Jerusalem: chaps. 25-48

Central message: “they” or “ye”  “shall know that I am the Lord;” is found 51 times in the Book of Ezekiel and also 19 times more with a slight variation, for a total of 70 times.

  1. Chief Messianic passages
  2. The Lord, the sanctuary – Ezekiel 11:16-20
  3. The wonderful cedar sprig – 17:22-24
  4. The rightful king – 21:26-27
  5. The faithful shepherd – 34:11-31
  6. The great purification – 36:25-35
  7. The great resurrection – 37:1-14
  8. The great reunion – 37:21-28
  9. The overthrow of God – chaps. 38 -39
  10. The life giving stream out of the Temple – 47:1-2                                                                                                                                                      The Original Vision – Ezekiel chapters 1-3

Note: Vs 1 – 30th year – this was Ezekiel’s age. This was the age in which a priest began his          duties – Numbers 4:3.  We will look at one of the visions in more detail and cover the others briefly for sake of time.

  1. Vision One – Jehovah is the source of judgment for sin
  2. 1:4 – The whirlwind (tornado)
  3. The North – that’s where the judgment was coming from, where Babylon was.
  4. Fire was unfolding = grabbing anything in its way and destroying it
  5. Amber – out of the midst = in the eye of it.
  6. The word “Amber,” as used here, denotes an amber-colored substance was the                                    center of the laboring flame.
  7. The Hebrew word hlektron, which we translate amber, was used to signify a compound metal, very bright, made of gold and brass.
  8. Gold is deity and brass is judgment. So we can see God’s judgment here. God uses the Babylonians to bring judgment to Israel.
  9. The symbol of the cherubim 1:5-14
  10. Ezekiel also refers to them as cherubs in chapter 10

(1)  Reference to in Genesis 3:24 – Garden of Eden

(2)  Exodus 25:18-22 – on the Ark of the Covenant

(3)  Revelation chapters 4-5; they guard the Throne in Heaven – represented as beast

(4)  They are used as guardians; they have to do with the holiness of God in contrast to the sin                                   of man

(5)  Not the same as Seraphim which deal with the uncleanness in God’s people                                                              as in Isaiah 6:2-7 – Isaiah’s unclean lips

  1. The symbolism of the faces

(1)  Lion = strength at its greatest

(2)  Ox = service at its meekest

(3)  Man = intelligence at its fullest

(4)  Eagle = heavenliness or spirituality most soaring

NOTE: When God became Man in the flesh (Jesus Christ); He was pictured in these same four ways in the Gospels.

  1. Matthew – Lion      2. Mark – Ox
  2. Luke – Man              4. John – Eagle


  1. Four wings and four hands – a wing with a hand beneath each of their four sides. 1:8.  This symbolized a full capacity for service
  2. 1:12 – “And they went every one straight forward …” symbolizing the carrying out of God’s will without any deviating from it
  3. Their complete holiness – 1:13
  4. vs 14 – their swift action – instant
  5. The four wheels 1:15-24                                                                                                                                                                    Each wheel was composed of two (2) 90 degree offset wheels

(1) Both wheels were standing up vertical, one rotating north to south and the other                                                     rotating east to west

(2) God gave Ezekiel the vision and he wrote it down in – of course – earthly terms

Example – vs 10, 13 – As for the likeness Vs 16 – The appearance of the wheels

Vs 16 – “A wheel in the middle of a wheel” – a second wheel at right angles with

the first. Thus the four half circles made four faces or sides.

It is probable, the wheels were framed so as to be an exact sphere, which is

easily rolled to any side                                                                                                                                                    Vs 18 – eyes -As the wheels signify the providence of God, so the eyes imply that

He sees all the circumstances of each case, and does nothing by blind impulse.

The rings – the circumference of the wheels                                                                                                             Vs 20 – The Spirit of the living creature was in the wheels -That is, the wheels

were instinct with a vital spirit; the wheels were alive, they also were animals,

or endued with animal life, as the creatures were that stood upon them. Here then

is the chariot of Jehovah. There are four wheels, on each of which, one of the

Cherubim stands; the four compound animals form the body of the chariot, their

wings spread horizontally above, forming the canopy or covering of this chariot;

on the top of  which, or upon the extended wings of the four living creatures, was

the throne, on which was the appearance of a man: Ezekiel 1:26

Summation and application: The wheels show that everything on the earth (specifically, the coming judgment of Jerusalem, foreseen by Ezekiel in verse 4 – tornado – fire, etc.) is connected with the heavenly realm. God is in control and His judgment is swift and sure. His eyes are everywhere, beholding the evil and the good all the time.

The living creatures connect with God as the wheels connect heaven and earth. They were controlled by the Spirit of God within them – Ezekiel 1:20.

The wheels connect earth with the heavenly cherubim who connect with God Himself as the creatures nearest to His Throne.                                                                                                                                                                      The height of this vision – vs 25-28

Ezekiel heard the voice of God. No one has seen God at any time. The mere presence

of God’s glory drove  Ezekiel to fall on his face before Almighty God – vs 28

(1)  This was not the full glory of God, but only what Ezekiel could bear

(2)  This also shows the majesty of God and the weakness of man                                                                                        The “bow” vs 28 – a rainbow – The symbol of Divine Covenant.                                                                                     Even thought there would be ruin of the city, temple etc. there would not be a total ruin of the                            earth as in the flood.

  1. Vision Two – The Prophet’s Vision as a Watchman – chap. 3
  2. vs 10 – receive in your heart – accept with understanding

vs 10 – hear – listen; understand, be obedient

  1. vs 11 – speak, tell – once you’ve got the message from the Lord, deliver it to the people
  2. vs 11 – tell them God’s Word whether they listen or not
  3. vs 16-21 – God holds the preacher responsible for the faithful delivery of his messages: when this is done, it is both the preacher’s duty and his privilege to leave the consequences with God

III. Vision Three – Sin And the Reason for Judgment – chaps 8-11

  1. God’s people profaned the Temple – chap. 8
  2. The people worshipped images – vs 3, 5. Image = idol. This is the court where the people made an altar to Baal
  3. The elders worshipped animals – vs 8-11
  4. Vs 13-15 – the women corrupted themselves with sexual abominations
  5. vs 14 – Tammuz is Adonis, of Greek mythology
  6. this cult practiced sexual abominations
  7. Chap. 8:16 – the 25 men were the high priests and they all worshipped the sun
  8. We see from the least to the greatest; from the common person to the priest. Ezekiel was shown that the idolatry was spread all throughout the land.
  9. Ezekiel sees the judgment of the people from God
  10. The Glory of the Lord goes from the city – 11:23
  11. This vision is no mean proof of the long-suffering of God.
  12. God did not abandon this people all at once, He departed by little and little.                                                   FIRST – God left the temple.                                                                                                                               SECOND – He stopped a little at the gate of the city.                                                                                             THIRD – He departed entirely from the city and went to the Mount of Olives, which lay on the east side of the city. Having tarried there for some time to see if they would repent and turn to him.                         FOURTH, the Lord departed to heaven.                                                                                                                                      Application for us – Numbers 32:23 – I Corinthians 4:5
  1. Vision Four – Vision Of The Valley Of Dry Bones – chap. 37
  2. This is a vision of the rebirth of Israel as a nation
  3. Vs 11-14 – the vision is explained
  4. The doubters and scoffers thought it was impossible for Israel to be a Nation again
  5. For nearly 2000 years, Israel was not a nation; the scoffers used this to prove that the Bible was wrong
  6. The devil’s greatest effort to wipe out Israel, in WW II, was used to turn the hearts of the world to bring Israel back as a Nation
  7. God took the evil and made something good come out of it Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28
  1. The King Of Tyre – Chap. 28
  2. This prophecy is against the King of Tyre – vs 2, 12
  3. God’s Word tells us who the true force is behind that king – vs 12-19
  4. This is satan working in and through an earthly king
  5. Vs 13 – Eden – there – in the splendor and beauty of God’s creation – satan tempted man and caused the fall of man into sin.
  6. Vs 14 – satan was originally an angel created by God
  7. Vs 15, 16 – God created the devil perfect – and he was – until he decided to sin
  8. Vs 17 – Isaiah 14:12-16
  9. Ezekiel 28:17 – the heart condition – of the king of Tyre:

a. self

b. sinful pride

c. rebellion