June 12, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Ezekiel 1-6
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Author: Ezekiel, Prophet of the Lord
Date: Ezekiel's ministry takes place during the lowest point of Jerusalem's history. His ministry begins in 593 BC and lasts until at least 571 BC.
Context: Chapter 1 begins with Ezekiel's call through a great vision. If the chapter seems familiar, it may be because it is very similar to Revelations 4-5. There are many interpretations of the four faces. One is that each represents a Gospel and quality of Christ: the Lion representing kingship is Matthew, the ox representing servanthood is Mark, the man representing humanity is Luke, and the flying eagle representing deity is John. Chapter 2 is quite clearly God's call and commission of Ezekiel. Don't you wish your instructions from God are that clear? Chapter 3 has Ezekiel eating the scroll of God which tastes like honey even though it is filled with words of doom. While we do not physically eat the Word of God, we use it to nourish us in our everyday lives. Ezekiel was quite overwhelmed by all that he experienced. Wouldn't you be? Ezekiel is assigned as a watchman, to warn the people of Israel against the false prophets. They will not be saved. They will remain in captivity for 70 years. Ezekiel was responsible for delivering God's message - he was not responsible for the people's reaction to the message. Chapters 4 and 5 have Ezekiel acting out parables. He does this quite a bit throughout his ministry. In different ways, these parables depict the coming destruction of the Jerusalem. Chapter 6 is a prophecy against all of Israel (both Judah and Israel). Both nations will fall to Babylon, but some will be spared. They will be scattered, but they are to be witnesses for the Lord. Just as God proved He was Lord to the Israelites in Egypt, He will again prove to His people that He is Lord.
World History: The Hebrews believed that Jerusalem would not fall to the enemy. They insisted upon listening to false prophets, even when those prophets had been proven wrong. Ezekiel was a priest, although he did not actually serve until after being taken into captivity. Jeremiah was an old man at this point and had been taken to Egypt by the remnant of Jews. Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel, however, Daniel was in Babylon at this time while Ezekiel was several miles outside of Babylon with other Jews at the Euphrates River. It is unlikely that Daniel and Ezekiel ever met. As a young man, Ezekiel may have heard Jeremiah speak.