Ezekiel Chapter 2: God preparing Ezekiel for his mission

Nov 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Ezekiel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ezekiel Chapter 2: God preparing Ezekiel for his mission

Ezek. 2:1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.

Ezek. 2:2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.

Why did God address Ezekiel as “Son of man,” and why did God speak to him only after he had stood up on his feet? “Son of man” was a term of humility to remind Ezekiel of his position and to keep him from being exalted as a result of seeing the glorious vision. It was a privilege to see the vision, but he was not selected because he was better than anyone else. As a result of the awesome vision, Ezekiel fell prostrate on his face and retained no strength (Ezek. 1:28). He was almost in a state of shock and needed strengthening. Although he heard the words, they were meaningless. Not until God strengthened him to stand on his feet did the message make sense and penetrate. At that point, the Holy Spirit entered him.

Jesus and Daniel were also addressed as “Son of man,” although Jesus was “the Son of [the] man [Adam].” The title was used repeatedly for Ezekiel, and he was honored more than any of his contemporaries, even Daniel, in being given a vision of the glory of God. However, Ezekiel did not compare to Daniel, for Daniel, Job, and Noah were especially singled out, and Daniel was called “beloved” (Dan. 9:23; 10:11,19; Ezek. 14:14,20). Nevertheless, Ezekiel was the fittest man among the group that was to be addressed. (He dwelled among the captives, or more common Israelites, whereas Daniel was in the king’s court in Babylon.)

“The spirit entered into me when he [God] spake unto me, and set me upon my feet.” The influx of the Holy Spirit strengthened Ezekiel, and he associated the strength with the talking. What is the lesson for the Lord’s people now? The Bible is the Word of God. If its precepts are received into a good and honest heart, the individual is strengthened for God’s purpose. The Holy Spirit also enabled Ezekiel to hear (understand). Even the communication itself was a miracle.

Ezek. 2:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.

Ezekiel was being sent on a special authorized mission to the children of Israel. A strong message was necessary because of their rebelliousness.

The term “rebellious nation” is in the plural in the Hebrew: nations, goyim (a derogatory term used in Israel for the Gentiles). The plural includes the two houses of Israel (the ten tribes and the two tribes). Although Ezekiel was taken captive to Babylon with King Jehoiachin and some from Judah, the word “nation” is plural because some of both tribes were in captivity at this time, and later still others of Judah would also hear his message. To address the Israelites as goyim meant God was rebuking them. He was addressing them as Gentiles because they were in a measure alienated from Him through rebellion and transgression.

Ezek. 2:4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.

The Israelites were impudent (“hard of face” in the Hebrew) and stiff-hearted. In other words, they would resist Ezekiel both in countenance and in their hearts.

Ezek. 2:5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

Whether the Israelites accepted or rejected Ezekiel’s message, they would know (ultimately) that there had been a prophet of God among them. Ezekiel would be vindicated when his prophecies came true, and shame would befall his previous detractors.

Ezek. 2:6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

God told Ezekiel not to fear the leaders and influential personages or their words. Ezekiel dwelled among briars and thorns (the common people) and scorpions (those who were more influential). Briars and thorns are discomforting, but they are not poisonous and deadly like scorpions. God was informing Ezekiel that his message would be very unpopular; that is, his daily life would be continually criticized by those of no value. He would feel the hurt in proportion to the influence and prestige of the attackers.

God was telling Ezekiel in advance, “Though I give you this message, it will not be accepted. In fact, the populace as a whole will reject it, but preach the message nevertheless, and do not be afraid of their looks.” Because of his strong denunciations, Ezekiel was called “the Moses of the captivity.” Christians who utter uncompromising proclamations of truth also have the experience of dwelling among briars, thorns, and scorpions, as it were. The feet members will have a parallel experience at the end of the age.

Ezek. 2:7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.

Ezek. 2:8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.

“Thou shalt speak my words [to the rebellious house of Israel]…. hear what I say.” In other words, “Listen again; I am repeating.” As in verse 4, God was telling Ezekiel to speak His words unto the rebellious Israelites, to speak with a “thus saith the Lord GOD.” Moreover, Ezekiel was told to open his mouth and “eat that I give thee,” meaning he was to assimilate God’s message. The opening of the mouth indicates a lack of prejudice, a receiving of the Word with all readiness of mind. For example, the Bereans of old “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”; they “ate,” or analyzed, the Word (Acts 17:11).

Ezek. 2:9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;

Ezekiel was instructed to “eat” the “roll of a book”; that is, he was to absorb the message of the scroll God gave him. The “hand” came from one of the living creatures (a hand was under each wing—Ezek. 1:8). Ezekiel represents the Lord’s people. In Ezekiel 40:3,4, a “brass” man (brass or copper shows human nature) gave a message and instruction to Ezekiel (to the Lord’s people) to declare to the nation of Israel.

In Isaiah 6:1–8, the prophet saw the Lord and seraphim in vision. In witnessing the vision, Isaiah felt he was not worthy. Not only did he feel undone, but he dwelled in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Then a seraph flew to Isaiah with a live coal from the altar, laid it on the prophet’s mouth and lips, and said, “Thy sin is purged.” Instead of being badly burned, Isaiah found the coal had a cleansing effect—a purging and strengthening effect. The coal (or message) helped prepare Isaiah for his ministry.

The previous chapter (Isaiah 5) contains some pertinent warnings. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20). “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own [not the Lord’s] sight!” (Isa. 5:21). “Woe unto them that … justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” (Isa. 5:22,23). Now we can see why Isaiah said (in Chapter 6) that he dwelled in the midst of people with unclean lips. There are similarities in Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s getting the commission of a message from the Lord.

Ezek. 2:10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.

The hand spread out the scroll before Ezekiel. Writing was on both the front and the back: “lamentations, and mourning, and woe.” (In Revelation 5:1, Jesus was given a similar scroll with writing on the outside and the inside.) Perhaps Ezekiel saw just a title on the outside. At any rate, the scroll contained a STRONG message of lamentation, mourning, and woe for others—and also for himself in meeting opposition when he delivered the unpopular message.

The message was like a two-edged sword (Rev. 1:16). When Ezekiel read the scroll, he saw mostly problems and trouble, although the last nine chapters of the Book of Ezekiel are very comforting in regard to the restoration of Israel.

1987–1989 and 1973–1976 Studies

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