He was born into the priestly family of Zadok in 622 BC, and would have reached his Bar Mitzvah
(13 yrs) around the time king Josiah was killed. He was deported with the first captivity into
Babylon at age 25, along with Daniel and most of the nobles of Israel. Once they were deported
they were allowed to live in their own settlements with relative freedom. Ezekiel settled with his
family at a place now called Tel Aviv (currently one of the largest cities in Israel), by one of the
canals that joined the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.
In ch 2 and 3 Ezekiel receives his calling from God, or rather a vision of the purpose of God for his
life. He is to be a prophet and a watchman to Israel, during the time of the Southern kingdom’s
captivity in Babylon, and the destruction of Jerusalem.
This calling starts with a revelation of the glory of God and of A MAN above the throne. This can
only be a reference to God the Son. He stands above the living creatures and the manifest
presence of God’s glory in the creatures and the wheels of chapters 1 and 2. His brightness and
his glory has the appearance of fire, and the brightness of a rainbow of colours. This vision of the
glory of THAT MAN causes Ezekiel to fall on his face and hear His words. We sometimes forget
who this Christ is, who’s name we bear, who’s songs we sing, and who’s words we like to quote.
He is “high and lifted up, and his train (glory) fills the temple” (ISA 6:1). He is a consuming fire!
(HEB12:29). He dwells in light that no man can approach unto, and all things are open to the eyes
of Him to whom we shall give an account. We should tremble at His word, and humble ourselves
under His mighty hand, for we will all appear before the judgement seat of Christ one day.
It is the Holy Spirit that enters Ezekiel (2:2) to stand and receive the words coming from the Man.
The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth” who teaches us all things concerning Christ. He opens up
the scriptures for us, to hear the voice of our Great Shepherd and Lord.
Yet shall (they) know that there hath been a prophet
Ch 2:3-4 God says Ezekiel will be sent to a rebellious nation who are stiffhearted. Whether they
will hear and obey or whether they will refuse, will not change Ezekiel’s calling to speak God’s
words to them. We learn a few aspects of a prophet’s ministry, and we can take personal lessons
Firstly, ch 2:6 he is told not to be afraid of them, or their words. We are not to have a fear of man,
but rather a fear of God. We have not received a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7), and we are not
respecters of any man’s person (his status in this life through his wealth or power). In Gal 1:10
Paul says we cannot please men, and if we live to please men, we will never be the servants of
God. Isn’t it strange how easy it is to share the gospel with a poor man, who begs at our window,
or who wants a job from us, or who drives our Uber – but how reserved and quiet we become
concerning the gospel, when faced with wealthy, important and powerful people. May we receive
great boldness through the Spirit’s filling to kneel before God, and stand before men. Today’s
gospel preaching is often so Internet-driven. The preacher can preach from the comfort of his own
home, without fear of scorn or correction of others. His ministry is judged by his popularity
through his views, likes, followers and subscribers – who also become the source of his income.
The more they like what they hear, and view what the preacher posts, the more his popularity (and
income) grows. There is an obvious danger in this for the man of God, who is to speak and teach
God’s word regardless of whether folk like it or receive it. Almost without exception God’s
prophets were rejected and persecuted by the nation. Ezekiel is warned by God that “briers and
thorns” will be with him, and he will dwell among “scorpions” – a description of his audience and
their reaction to his ministry. Jesus was also “despised and rejected by men”, and if they did it to
Him, they will do it to us also. God is going to demonstrate HIs word through the living example of
Ezekiel’s life and actions. Is the preacher today only a talker of the bible, or is he a walker of it?
God wants to DEMONSTRATE the life of Christ through us, not just in the use of words. Words
can come very cheap, but how costly and precious is a living testimony forged through the fires of
life, through all our afflictions and troubles. Ezekiel’s message will be portrayed through 6
- He was told to take a slab of clay and paint a picture of Jerusalem on it, and then demonstrate
the siege of the city and using a model of a battering ram to ram the gates. He had to act this
demonstration before the people in total silence. The crowds must have shook their heads
and mocked this mad prophet.
- God told Ezekiel to demonstrate the rebellion of the house of Israel by lying on his left side for
390 days and then on his right side for another 40 days for Judah’s rebellion – a day on his
side represents a year of the nations disobedience. He would even be tied by a rope while
- He was also told to go on a meagre diet, to symbolise the shortage of food and water during
Jerusalem’s siege. He was only allowed 200g of bread and 600ml of water per day, and his
bread was to be cooked, using his own excrement as fuel for the fire! After pleading with God,
he was permitted to use cow’s dung instead – God is gracious!
- God told Ezekiel to shave his head and his beard with a sharp sword and put the hair in three
piles. The first pile was to be burned when the siege of Jerusalem was come to an end. The
second pile was to be struck with a sword all around the model of the city, depicting the
slaughter of its survivors. The third piled was to be thrown into the air and blown away by the
wind, depicting the scattering of the Jews into the nations.
- Next he had to place all his clothes in a bag and dig a hole in a wall and crawl through it by
night. Here he demonstrated how king Zedekiah and some others would try to escape
Jerusalem. They were eventually caught down the road, his sons slaughtered in front of him,
whereafter he had his eyes gauged out, then chained, and kept in prison. The enemy is always
after our children, and desires to take away our spiritual eyesight and steal our vision. Lastly
he wants to chain us and keep us useless and in prison.
- Ezekiel was told while living in captivity in Babylon, that his wife would die on the exact same
day as when the city of Jerusalem falls to the sword. He was commanded not to mourn on the
day of her death, since the Jews would be so stunned by the fall of Jerusalem that they
wouldn’t even be able to cry in utter disbelief of what has taken place.
Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go
speak unto the house of Israel
Ezekiel is told not to be rebellious but eat the word of God that God will give him, and then to go
and speak it to the people. There is no other way or some short cut, or a little bible course that
will equip the man of God. It is by our daily, diligent study of the word of God, that we have our
own hearts filled and our feet directed in God’s ways. If we are not reading the Bible ourselves,
the Holy Spirit is very limited to teach us. Reading the Word, is like drinking mother’s milk to a
(1 Peter 2:2) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
(2 Timothy 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect,
throughly furnished (equipped) unto all good works.
The words of Christ is Spirit, and they give life to the spirit of a man (John 6:63). We need to “eat
the roll”, to fill our hearts with God’s word, that we may have words of life to share with people.
The spiritual contribution that we make in our meetings and in the lives of the people we meet,
can be directly related to our study of God’s word. If we have received nothing, we also have
nothing to give…
I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel
In ch 3:15 Ezekiel comes to captives at Telabib in Babylon, by the river of Chebar, and he sits
among them for seven days before speaking a word. It serves us well to “sit in” with the people
we want to preach to and experience their grief and their suffering, before we start preaching at
them from some disconnected place. Ezekiel was to be a watchman who gives the Jews
warnings from God to repent and return to Him. A watchman is one who identifies himself with
the people he is watching for on God’s behalf. He doesn’t just come to tell them stuff, but he
becomes one with them, he shares with their suffering, he feels their pain. Jesus became a man,
took on Himself flesh and blood, lived amongst us, and was tempted in all points as we are
tempted. He was made the perfect High Priest for us, through going through our sufferings.
(Heb2:9-18). Although He has the right to demand our obedience, he also pleads our case before
the Father. He was the Lamb slain for us, and has become our Advocate. The reality is that we
need and advocate, and a very good one, before God. Only death and judgement are certain
things to come to every man. So much preparation goes into our health and education and our
provision for retirement, but how much planning goes into our eternal destiny. Daniel says in
chapter 12 “and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even
to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found
written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to
everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine
as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever
Jesus wants to be your Advocate before God the Father. He paid the price for your pardon on the
cross with His own life. He is ready to plead the merits of His blood to accomplish your
forgiveness. He as the power to make everything new in your life. He watches over your soul and
would have you turn from your sins to the living God, to call on the name of Jesus and be saved
from the wrath to come. Furthermore he wants to raise you up as you daily “eat the roll”, to give
you His words to speak to others and to turn many others to Him. When he speaks to you today,
don’t harden your heart and be rebellious any longer, but yield yourself entirely to Him. Allow Him
to have his perfect way with you – He will do the work!
1 Francois Visser 3 May 2021