Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mt 11:28

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Aug 26, Eze 1-4

Today's readings are Eze 1-4. Tomorrow's are Eze 5-8.

Ezekiel is called to be a prophet in 593 BC, 7 years prior to the fall of Jerusalem. He was one of the early exiles taken into Babylon in 597 and spoke to his fellow exiles but also warned of the coming fall of the Great City. 

The book is divided into three sections. Eze 1-24 warn of the judgment coming upon Jerusalem and Judah. Eze 25-32 prophesy judgment on the nation surrounding Judah. Supernatural restoration and the resumption of godly worship are foretold in Eze 33-48.

Periodically, throughout the book, Ezekiel is called to act in an unusual manner, always symbolic of something going in among Gods people. Sometimes, the results are tragic, teaching solemn lessons and demonstrating God's uncompromising holiness. 

Many trees have been sacrificed in an effort to interpret Ch 1 and the vision contained therein. Most attempts fail to recognize that Ezekiel and his primary readers are living in Babylon, a pagan nation worshiping pagan gods. Even the Jews living among them would be aware of the gods the Babylonians worshiped. 

Eze 1 finds Ezekiel near the Chebar Canal, probably about 20 miles Northwest of Babylon.
 

Ezekiel receives a vision of a storm coming out of the North, a prophecy of the coming invasion. The strange vision resembles the characteristic of a number of gods in the region while pointing cryptically toward the one, true God at the same time. The descriptions are vague and subject to interpretation. What is not subject to interpretation, though, and what is primary to the vision, is that the glory of God rises above all the rest and sits enthroned over all else. Ezekiel's vision is a message conveying the truth that the God of the Hebrews has sovereign authority over all nations and all other gods (Eze 1:26-28).

In Eze 2-3, Ezekiel is called, sent to another city and told to sit in silence for a week. Ezekiel was going to be a watchman and prophet. If he was faithful to the call, proclaiming the word of God to the righteous and the wicked, they would be judged according to their behavior. If Ezekiel failed to deliver the message, he would be responsible for the lives of those he watched over. 

In Eze 4, the symbolism begins. He was to lie on left side for 390 days, one day for each of the years Israel would be in captivity. Then he would lie on his right side for 40 days, one for each of the years Judah would be in captivity.He would eat 8 oz of bread each day and drink about 10 oz of water, symbolizing the food rationing that would be necessary during the siege of Jerusalem. He had to bake the bread over dung, foreshadowing the trials of the exiles who would have to eat the food of an unclean people in an unclean land.

What we see established in the first four chapters is a man of God, sent to His people with a very specific message. If they listen to him and repent, they will be spared judgment. If they reject him and his message, the wrath of God will fall upon them.  

God is setting the template for the arrival and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.

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