Ezekiel - Session One Study Plan
I. Introduction to the Book and the Series
II. Verses to Study
A. Review 1:1-24. We’re not going to study these verses. But I encourage you to read and ponder them on your own. The details and the drama are amazing.
1:1 In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, when I was in the community of exiles by the Chebar Canal, the heavens opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth day of the month---it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin---3 the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, by the Chebar Canal, in the land of the Chaldeans. And the hand of the Lord came upon him there. 4 I looked, and lo, a stormy wind came sweeping out of the north—a huge cloud and flashing fire, surrounded by a radiance; and in the center of it, in the center of the fire, a gleam as of amber. 5 In the center of it were also the figures of four creatures. And this was their appearance: They had the figures of human beings
6 However, each had four faces, and each of them had four wings; 7 the legs of each were (fused into) a single rigid leg, and the feet of each were like a single calf’s hoof’ and their sparkle was like the luster of burnished bronze. 8 They had human hands below their wings. The four of them had their faces and their wings on their four sides. 9 Each one’s wings touched those of the other. They did not turn when they moved; each could move in the direction of any of its faces.
10 Each of them had a human face ( at the front); each of the four had the face of a lion on the right; each of the four had the face of an ox on the left; and each of the four had the face of an eagle(at the back). 11 Such were their faces. As for their wings, they were separated: above, each had two touching those of the others, while the other two covered its body. 12 And each could move in the direction of any of its faces; they went wherever the spirit impelled them to go, without turning when they moved.
13 Such then was the appearance of the creatures. With them was something that looked like burning coals of fire. This fire, suggestive of torches, kept moving about among the creatures; the fire had a radiance, and lightning issued from the fire. 14 Dashing to and fro (among) the creatures was something that looked like flares.
15 As I gazed on the creatures, I saw one wheel on the ground next to each of the four-faced creatures. 16 As for the appearance and structure of the wheels, they gleamed like beryl. All four had the same form; the appearance and structure of each was as of two wheels cutting through each other. 17 And when they moved, each could move in the direction of any of its four quarters; they did not veer when they moved. 18 Their rims were tall and frightening for the rims of all four were covered all over with eyes. 19 And when the creatures moved forward the wheels moved at their sides; and when the creatures were borne above the earth, the wheels were borne too. 20 Wherever the spirit impelled them to go, they went---wherever the spirit impelled them---and the wheels were borne alongside them; for the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels. 21 When those moved, these moved; and when those stood still, these stood still; and when those were borne above the earth, the wheels were borne alongside them---for the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels.
22 Above the heads of the creatures was a form: an expanse, with an awe-inspiring gleam as of crystal, was spread out above their heads. 23 Under the expanse, each had one pair of wings extended toward those of the others; and each had another pair covering its body. 24 When they moved, I could hear the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the sound of Shaddai, a tumult like the din of an army. When they stood still, they would let their wings droop.
B. Read 1:25-28 - We’re taught in the Hebrew Bible not to objectify God, yet we get this phenomenal account of God. What could this be, and what does it teach? What’s the significance of this vision to Ezekiel at this particular time, and to us?
25 From above the expanse over their heads came a sound. When they stood still, they would let their wings droop.
26 Above the expanse over their heads was the semblance of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and on top, upon this semblance of a throne, there was a semblance of a human form. 27 From what appeared as his loins up, I saw a gleam as of amber---what looked like a fire encased in a frame; and from what appeared as his loins down, I saw what looked like fire. There was a radiance all about him. 28 Like the appearance of the bow which shines in the clouds on a day of rain, such was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. That was the appearance of the semblance of the Presence of the Lord. When I beheld it, I flung myself down on my face. And I heard the voice of someone speaking.
C. Read 2:4-7 - What’s the problem with the people? What role is Ezekiel to play?
4 for the sons are brazen of face and stubborn of heart. I send you to them and you shall say to them: ‘Thus said the Lord God’---5 whether they listen or not, for they are a rebellious breed---that they may know that there was a prophet among them.
6 “And you, mortal, do not fear them and do not fear their words, though thistles and thorns press against you, and you sit upon scorpions. Do not be afraid of their words and do not be dismayed by them, though they are a rebellious breed, 7 but speak My words to them, whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.
D. Read 2:9-3:3 - What does this mean: Ezekiel is to open his mouth and eat the scroll?
2:9 As I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me, holding a written scroll. 10 He unrolled it before me, and it was inscribed on both the front and the back; on it were written lamentations, dirges and woes.
3: 1He said to me, “Mortal, eat what is offered you; eat this scroll, and go speak to the House of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He gave me this scroll to eat, 3 as He said to me, “Mortal, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll that I give you: I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey to me.
E. Read 3:14, 15, 21, 25-27; 4:4-7 - What do we learn here about the life of a prophet, specifically that of Ezekiel?
14 A spirit seized me and carried me away. I went in bitterness, in the fury of my spirit, while the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. 15 And I came to the exile community that dwelt in the Tel Abib by the Chebar Canal, and I remained where they dwelt. And for seven days I sat there stunned among them.
21 “If, however, you warn the righteous man not to sin, and he the righteous, does not sin, he shall live because he took warning, and you will have saved your own life.”
25 As for you, O mortal, cords have been placed upon you, and you have been bound with them, and you shall not go out among them. 26 And I will make your tongue cleave to your palate, and you shall be dumb; you shall not be a reprover to them, for they are a rebellious breed. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God!’ He who listens will listen and he who does not will not--- for they are a rebellious breed.”
4:4-7 Then lie on your left side, and let it bear the punishment of the House of Israel, for as many days as you lie on it you shall bear their punishment. 5 For I impose upon you three hundred and ninety days, corresponding to the number of the years of their punishment; and so, you shall bear the punishment for the House of Israel. 6 When you have completed these, you shall lie another forty days on your right side and bear the punishment of the House of Judah. I impose on you one day for each year.
7 Then, with bared arm, set your face toward besieged Jerusalem and prophesy against it.
F. Read 7:10-11, 34:1-6 - There are many accounts here of how the people stray and bring on their fate, but none may be finer than these. How do we understand these verses?
7:10 Here is the day! See, the cycle has come round; it has appeared. The rod has blossomed; arrogance has budded, 11 lawlessness has grown into a rod of wickedness. Nothing comes of them, nor of their abundance, nor of their wealth; nor is there preeminence among them.
34:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 O mortal, prophesy against the shepherds’ of Israel. Prophesy, and say to them:
To the shepherds: Thus, said the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel, who have been tending yourselves! Is it not the flock that the shepherds ought to tend? 3 You partake of the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, and you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not tend the flock. 4 You have not sustained the weak, healed the sick, or bandaged the injured; you have not brought back the strayed, or looked for the lost; but you have driven them with harsh rigor, 5 and they have been scattered for want of anyone to tend them; scattered, they have become prey for every wild beast.6 My sheep stray through all the mountains and over every lofty hill; My flock is scattered all over the face of the earth, with none to take thought of them and none to seek them.
G. In 7:17-19, 8:12 - These verses describe the consequences of sinfulness. To continue this theme, let’s look at these words in the verses.
7:17 All hands shall grow weak, and all knees shall turn to water. 18 They shall gird on sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; every face shall betray shame, and every head shall be made bald. 19 They shall throw their silver into the streets, and their gold shall be treated as something unclean. Their silver and gold shall not avail to save them in the day of the Lord’s wrath---to satisfy their hunger or to fill their stomachs. Because they made them stumble into guilt---
8:12 Again, He spoke to me, “O mortal, have you seen what the elders of the House of Israel are doing in the darkness, everyone in his image-covered chamber? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has abandoned the country.’”
(Discussion, in which I’ll also mention 8:12)
H. Read 9:4-6 - Is it sufficient that a person “sigh and groan for all the abominations that are done?” What does that require of us? Is it enough? (We’ll also look at 14:13-16; 22:30 to fill out our understanding.)
9: 4 and the Lord said to him, “Pass through the city through Jerusalem, and a put a mark on the foreheads of the men who moan and groan because of all the abominations that are committed in it.” 5 To the others He said in my hearing “follow him through the city and strike; show no pity or compassion. 6 Kill off graybeard, youth and maiden, women and children; but do not touch any person who bears the mark. Begin here at My Sanctuary,” So they began with the elders who were in front of the House.
14:13 O mortal, if a land were to sin against Me and commit a trespass, and I stretched out My hand against it and broke its staff of bread, and sent famine against it and cut off man and beast from it, 14 even if these three ---Noah, Daniel and Job---should be in it, they would by their righteousness save only themselves---declares the Lord God. 15 Or, if I were to send wild beasts to roam the land and they depopulated it, and it became a desolation with none passing through it because of the beasts, 16 as I live---declares the Lord God--- those three men in it would save neither sons nor daughters; they alone would be saved but the land would become a desolation.
22:30 And I sought a man among them to build the wall or to stand in the breach before Me in behalf of this land, that I might not destroy it; but I found none.
I. Read 12:1-3 – First, Ezekiel was silent; then he prophesied; yet, the people still sin. What does verse 3 mean?
1 The word of the Lord came to me; 2 O mortal, you dwell among the rebellious breed. They have eyes to see but see not, ears to hear but hear not; for they are a rebellious breed. 3 Therefore, mortal, get yourself gear for exile, and go into exile by day before their eyes. Go into exile from your home to another place before their very eyes; perhaps they will take note, even though they are a rebellious breed.
III. Wrap-up and Conclusion