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Overview of the Book of Ezekiel
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Ezekiel 1: 1-3
Now it came to pass in the thirteenth year, in the fourth month [Tammuz], on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans [Babylonians] by the River Chebar, and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.
NOTE: It seems that verse 1 was written in the first person and the next two verses were written in the third person; why?
Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
NOTE: Possibly symbolic for spiritual completion or fulfillment and not necessarily a literal week of seven days.
*4: 1-2, 4a, 5a-6*
“You also, son of man, take a clay tablet and lay it before you, and portray on it a city, Jerusalem. “Lay siege against it, build a siege wall against it, and heap up a mound against it; set camps against it also, and place battering rams against it all around. “Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, three hundred and ninety days. “For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days [390 years]. “And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side, and then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year [40 years].”
NOTE: In 2 Chronicles 36: 19-21 Jeremiah the prophet mentioned that Jerusalem [Judah] would be captives in Babylon for seventy years so how does that prophesy correspond to the “years of their iniquity” as portrayed here; or does it, and when did this time start and end? Not only that, but the iniquity of the house of Israel (northern ten tribes) was to last 390 years, and so again, when [and from where] did this time start and end?
8: 1, 3, 5-6
And it came to pass in the sixth year, the sixth month [Elul], on the fifth day of the month as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the LORD fell on me there. And the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which arouses the LORD’S jealousy. Then He said to me, “Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was the image of jealousy in the entrance.
NOTE: What is this “image” that provokes the LORD to jealousy?
8: 8, 10-11a
Then He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall,” and when I dug into the wall, there was a door. So when I went in and saw, and there-every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and the idols of the house of Israel carved all around on the walls. And there stood before them seventy [7+0=7] men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan.
So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’S house, and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for [the god] Tammuz.
NOTE: According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, 2003, p. 1556, Tammuz was the Sumerian god of vegetation. The wilting of vegetation at the time of year was seen as a sign of his death.
So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and there at the temple of the house of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five [2+5=7] men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshipping the sun toward the east.
*11: 14-16, 24a, 25*
Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the LORD; this land had been given to us as a possession.’ “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a holy place [sanctuary] for them in the countries where they have gone.”’ “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh (Cp. 36: 26).” Then the Spirit took me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to those in captivity. So I spoke to those in captivity of all the things that the LORD had shown me.
NOTE: This is a recurrent theme in Ezekiel’s prophesy-the scattering of the children among the Gentile nations due to their rebellion against the LORD God, and His returning them back again into the land of Israel in the future [latter days for them].(Cp. Ezekiel 12: 15; 34: 11, 13; 36: 24-28; 39: 23-29) where God will give them a new heart and imbue them with His Spirit.
20: 1, 33-34
It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month [Av], on the tenth day of the month that certain elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. “As I live, says the LORD God, ‘surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. I will rule over you. “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.”
Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month [Tevet], on the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day-the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day.
Now it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month [Sivan], on the first day of the month that the word of the LORD came to me, saying. . .
And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month [Tevet], on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been struck down [captured].
32: 1, 17
And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month [Adar], on the first day of the month that the word of the LORD came to me, saying. . . It came to pass also in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month [Adar] that the word of the LORD came to me, saying. . .
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.”
NOTE: It is believed that Magog [Gog] represents a country or people known as the ‘Scythians’ (Bible Dictionary, Smith and Peloubet, Zondervan, 1948, p. 375) and are also mentioned in Genesis 10: 2-5 as the descendants of Noah’s son Japheth who are mentioned as the maritime nations but “Rosh” is missing in the genealogy. Meshech is identified as the ‘Moschi’ a people on the borders of the Colchis in ‘Armenia’ (p. 309). Tubal is associated with the Iberians, between the Caspian and Euxine Seas, which corresponds to the modern ‘Republic of Georgia’ (p. 715). All these nations are part of the great Northern powers.
Persia [Iran], Ethiopia [south of Egypt], and Libya [N. Africa] are with them, all of them with shield and helmet. Gomer and all of its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all is troops-many people are with you.
NOTE: Gomer is the progenitor of the early Cimmerians and later Cimbri and other branches of the Celtic family, and of the modern Gael and Cymri (Bible Dictionary, Smith and Peloubet, Zondervan, 1948, p. 221). The ‘Cimmerians’ are an Indo-European people from Southern Russia (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 2003, p. 669). Togarmah is probably an ancient name for what is modern Gurun, 70 miles west of Malatya or an area in ‘Armenia.’
After many days you [Gog] will be visited. In the later years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and all them now dwell safely. *You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud,* you and all your troops, and many people with you.
Thus says the LORD God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan. “You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars or gates’-to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, which dwell in the midst of the land. “Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder?”
NOTE: Sheba is the greater part of “Yemen” or Arabia Felix, bordering the Red Sea and is one of the most fertile districts of Arabia (Bible Dictionary, Smith and Peloubet, Zondervan, 1948, p. 611). Dedan is brother of Sheba (Cp. Genesis 10: 7b) and an Arabian tribe centered at al-Alula, 70 miles southwest of Tema and 400 miles from Jerusalem (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 2003, p. 409). Tarshish is the Aramaic designation ‘Tartessus’ in southern Spain.
“Then you [Gog] will come out of your place in the far north [Armenia??], you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and mighty army. “*You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud,* to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog before their eyes.” Thus says the LORD God: “Are you [not] he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?”
NOTE: This is very curious because no other prophet mentions anything about Gog [Hamon-Gog or Magog] and it only appears here in the book of Ezekiel.
“And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the LORD God, “that My fury will show in My face. “For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.”
39: 1-2, 4-5, 9
“Any you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, “Thus says the LORD God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and I will turn you around and lead you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the people who are with you; I will give you to the birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured (Cp. Revelation 19: 17-18). “You shall be slain in the open field; for I have spoken,” says the LORD. “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and the spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years.
NOTE: The designation of “seven” years has more of a symbolic or spiritual meaning than a literal 7 years; one would think.
39: 11-12, 14-16
“It will come to pass in that day I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea [of Galilee??]; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and his entire multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. “Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,” says the LORD God. “They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. “The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man’s bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-Gog. The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land.”’
COMMENT: Again the symbolic or spiritual number of perfection or completion, “seven.” Also, there are many Bible scholars who interpret some End Time or Eschatological meaning here and try to tie this event in with the Book of Revelation, but it must be remembered that the Israelites here were being brought back from countries where they had been driven and of whom were their enemies, The many Jews scattered around the world today are living there mostly out of choice and not by compulsion or as a result of their sinning against the God of their fathers. In Revelation (Cp. 9: 13-16; 20: 8-9), a great army [somewhere around 200 million] is assembled to do battle, but that is not the way warfare is conducted nowadays and most probably in the future; especially with the availability of WMD’s (chemical, biological, radiological) and computer viruses.
Why assemble a large deployment of troops when you can use rockets or missiles equipped with nuclear warheads, which would be more effective and lethal to annihilate the enemy. Besides all that, there are 200-220 countries who are members of the UN (United Nations) and it is doubtful that all of them, including SUPERPOWERS like the United States, China, Russia, Australia, Germany and the UK, could amass armies of 200 million troops and overcome the logistical and language barriers to deploy them for battle in a valley in Israel. Besides all that, there is talk, at least in the United States, of significantly reducing or phasing out over the next decade the troop level or numbers of military personnel; especially in a combat role.
Now in the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning [month-Nisan??] of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and He took me there.
NOTE: The city [Jerusalem] was captured and the beginning of a new year in the month of Nisan would make it 14 years on the Jewish sacred calendar (Cp. 33: 21). However, the day that the city was captured, as reported to Ezekiel, was the tenth month [Tevet] and the fifth day. It is interesting that Ezekiel lists “nine” dates in his narrative (Cp. 1: 13; 8: 1; 20: 1; 24 1; 31: 1; 32: 1, 17; 33: 21; 40: 1) because the number “nine” in ‘Numerology’ signifies completion or to bring to an end; conclude.
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