By Barnard C. Taylor
1. AUTHOR. — Ezekiel, a priest, a son of Buzi, taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar at the same time with Jehoiachin, 597 B. C. He lived by the river Chebar, was married, had a house of his own, and was highly esteemed by the Jews in captivity.
2. DATE. From the fifth year of his exile, 593, until at least the twenty — seventh, 566 B, C.
3. PLACE. — At Telabid, in Babylonia, among the captives.
4. HISTORICAL OCCASION. — The fall of Jerusalem was the central occasion of his prophecies; part were delivered before that event, and part after. While the armies of Nebuchadnezzar were conquering in Syria and Palestine, Ezekiel was prophesying to those already taken captive.
5. LEADING TOPICS. — Before Jerusalem fell: Denunciation of the Jews with threat of complete overthrow of Judah. After the city fell: Denunciation of the nations hostile to God's people; consolation to the captives -- promise of return from exile, and the pre -eminent glory of the restored worship of Jehovah.
6. CHIEF PURPOSE. — To help the Jews to understand the purpose of their punishment; to make them realize the purpose for which they were chosen; to present to them spiritual possibilities connected with their restoration; to secure in the nation as they began their new career a fuller conformity to the requirements of God.
8. POINTS OF ESPECIAL INTEREST. — Vision of the four living creatures; the siege of Jerusalem; pollution of the sanctuary; false shepherds condemned; the dry bones revived; service of the future temple.
9. SPECIAL SINS CONDEMNED. — Of Judah: Idolatry, rebelliousness, abominations in worship, violation of the Sabbath, extortion, oppression, murder. Of the Gentiles: Reviling and persecuting God's people; haughty disregard of God.
10. NATIONAL HOPES PRESENTED. — Delivered from captivity; made victorious over enemies; to receive a new spirit, and maintain a purer worship; the nation to live again.
11. MESSIANIC IDEAS. — A rightful king to be established over a kingdom of marvelous growth; holiness of the people to be secured; enemies to be subdued.
12. RELATION TO OTHER O. T. Books. — Ezekiel shows that the captivity was the fulfillment of punishments predicted by former prophets, and that the promised restoration would be from Babylon. This prophet belonged to the time expected by Moses, and looked forward to by all the former prophets — a time when the dross would be removed from the chosen people, and they would turn toward a better future. He interprets the principles of the Law, and applies the teachings of God's dealings with Israel and the lessons of the earlier prophets.
13. TOPICS FOR SPECIAL STUDY. — Condition of the Jews in captivity; significance of the expression “Day of the Lord; ” comparison of the temple described by Ezekiel with that made by Solomon.
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