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Our study of prophets has led us to Ezekiel, whose name means “strengthened by God.” He grew up in Jerusalem and trained to be a priest in the Temple. He was among the second group of captives taken to Babylon about 597 BC. Ezekiel’s ministry was similar to most other prophets. He began by condemning the nation of Judah and then helping them understand God’s judgment upon them. Ezekiel’s prophecies are filled with hope for the future. His objectives were to help his people understand their failures, so they move on to restore their relationship with God. One of his most notable visions was of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37).

(Ezekiel 37:1-6)1NIV New International Version Translations – “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ezekiel delivered God’s messages with a straightforward style that everyone could understand.  “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:7). God warned him that, if he did not faithfully warn of the punishment for not following God, he would be held accountable for the blood of those who died in their sins (Ezekiel 33:8–9). Now that is a heavy set of objectives to carry! Ezekiel also pronounced the impending judgment upon the nations that surrounded Judah. His prophecies would be fulfilled in the Incarnation of our God as Christ on earth. This is still an important message for all of us today. As we share our faith, it serves no purpose if it is complex or not understood. Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones testifies to the destruction of their nation. He gives his people a lasting vision of the only power that can bring life back to those dead bones, God Himself.

(Ezekiel 18:30–32) – “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”

The prophet Ezekiel was commissioned to be a watchman sounding the warning for the early waves of exiles in Babylon (Ezekiel 3:17). However, the people didn’t want to hear his warning (Ezekiel 2:4–7). Few people have an accurate understanding of themselves and their relationship with God. Ezekiel repeatedly holds up a mirror to Israel, so that they can see their idolatry (Ezekiel 8, 14, 16), their pride (Ezekiel 19), misplaced hope (Ezekiel 17), their self-righteousness (Ezekiel 18), and their unfaithfulness (Ezekiel 23). Ezekiel would not let them ignore or minimize their sins. He refused to accept their excuses. Ezekiel’s mirror shows the people of Israel the truth about the condition of their relationship with their God. He was even forced to act out his message as “street theater” because the people didn’t want to listen. But even after all of Ezekiel’s efforts, the people still refused to see their depravity and sinfulness. While Ezekiel’s message included hope for the future, the people had to first accept the idea that repentance, knowing, and following God’s Truth were also necessary for their restoration and future freedom.

Ezekiel followed God’s instructions. He was passionate about explaining the judgment that God was giving his nation. His message always reflected God’s sorrow over the people’s sins. Ezekiel’s visions were far into the future. A time when Israel would face an invasion by a coalition of nations led by a country from the north. Ezekiel’s message to the people was that the nations threatening Israel would be defeated by God (Ezekiel 38—39). This picture of Israel’s future gave the people in captivity three things to hope for.

  • Their nation would be restored;
  • Once fully restored, no enemy will ever successfully invade the Holy Land again; and
  • God would return to the Temple (Ezekiel 43)—The glory of God had departed in Ezekiel 10.

The prophet Ezekiel experienced considerable opposition during his lifetime. He would periodically become speechless during his early years. However, God stepped in and empowered Ezekiel to speak.  When this happened, Ezekiel would give us the longest passages of sustained hope in the Bible (Ezekiel 5, Ezekiel 11:16–21). The “weeping prophet,” however, was told by God not to weep for the death of his wife (Ezekiel 24).  God used the death of Ezekiel’s wife as a sign to the people of Judah. Just as Ezekiel lost his wife, the people of Judah would lose their Temple. Just as Ezekiel did not show his mourning, Judah would be overwhelmed, driven to silence, by the sorrow they felt.

Throughout Ezekiel’s life, God communicated with him through visions. Here are some of them. You might want to scroll through the list and see if you can spot God’s points He wanted to make with the people:

  • A vision of God Himself (Ezekiel 1:4-28)
  • A vision of the Scroll (Ezekiel 2:9-3:3)
  • A vision of the Plain (Ezekiel 3:22-23)
  • Visions of:
    • Wickedness in the Temple (Ezekiel 8:1-18)
    • Inhabitants of the city were killed (Ezekiel 9:1-11)
    • Burning of the city (Ezekiel 10:1-22)
    • The wicked and the departure of God (Ezekiel 11:1-25)
  • His vision of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-10)
  • The vision of a New Temple, New Worship, and a Restored Land (Ezekiel 40:1-48)

Ezekiel shows us that all Christians are to be obedient to God’s call. Judgment was coming to Israel! History’s truth tells us this! Any Christian nation, like Ezekiel, is called to warn others. We must share the good news of the Gospel’s message. Our question today is whether the judgment is coming to our nation. Ezekiel’s prophecies covered the time both before and after the fall of Jerusalem. The people saw the chaos but did not understand what was happening. Ezekiel kept his message simple. God will judge all nations, just as he had judged Israel (Ezekiel 25–32). God’s justice shows no partiality. God would also display his faithfulness by restoring Israel (Ezekiel 37). A new covenant would be made with His people that could not be broken, and God would put His own Spirit in them (Ezekiel 36).

For nations like Israel and our nation, some people wonder if God has a plan. It should be ALL PEOPLE who search for God’s plan! Visions from our prophets are obscure in their details, but all make the same point. God is not going to give us a blueprint. God is not going to give us a calendar.  God is assuring us that through the power of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the New Covenant, fulfilled in the finished work of Jesus Christ, God will certainly accomplish what we neither deserve nor can do on our own (Ezekiel 36). Our New Covenant will be unbreakable. We will have peace under a new Shepherd (Ezekiel 34). The restoration of this promised land (Ezekiel 40-46) will provide the new Temple from which God will never depart.

(Ezekiel 43:7) – “He said: ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The people of Israel will never again defile my holy name—neither they nor their kings—by their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings at their death.’”

God’s plan was accomplished on the cross of Jesus Christ. The Temple is Jesus Christ Himself.

(Revelations 21:22) – “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”


  • Why is it so hard for people to accept that they may be sinners?
    • Ideas to Explore: Family history without God. World teaching anything goes. Poor leadership in business and government. The entertainment industry and media. Perverted educational systems. Please add your favorites.
  • Can humanity survive God’s judgment without accepting God’s Truth?
    • Ideas to Explore: Does anyone know God’s Truth anymore? Where do you personally find it? If living by example is a way to share the Gospel’s message, what does living by sin share with others?
  • Ezekiel shares that a remnant will immerge from the exiles. While all suffered, some retained their faith in God. Why do you think they could do that while surrounded by sin?
    • Ideas to Explore: What sustains faith in a corrupt world? Family, church, personal faith, etc.
  • Both Ezekiel and Jesus wept at the pending destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. Do you think that people will weep at the destruction of nations, maybe even our own? Or does it take personal pain to get people involved?
    • Ideas to Explore: There are four signs to always look for. They are the sharing of Time, Talent, Treasure, and Testimony. That is a key part of God’s plan. How do we get better at the four T’s?
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    NIV New International Version Translations