SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Ezekiel 4:1 through 24:27
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.” (Ezekiel 7:8)
Following Ezekiel’s call and commission as a prophet (described in chapters 1-3), chapters 4-24 contain the record of the prophetic messages he gave over a period of about twenty years. Most of these messages dealt with God’s soon-coming judgment on the nation of Judah, with many of them alluding to the siege and destruction of the capital city of Jerusalem.
The phrase “Behold, I am against you” appears thirteen times in Ezekiel. This revealed God’s anger, and indicated that the coming judgment would exceed anything that had occurred before. Ezekiel’s messages disclosed why such severe judgment would come. Israel had always been at the center of God’s plan and work in the world. In spite of numerous evidences of God’s favor throughout her history, the people had rejected Him in both worship and governance, and adopted their pagan neighbors’ gods and practices. They repaid God’s numerous blessings and great mercy with disloyalty and rampant idolatry. For many years, the prophets had cautioned the people of Judah regarding the consequences of their disobedience, but they had refused to heed the words of warning. Now, judgment would come.
- Throughout Ezekiel’s ministry, God instructed the prophet to present His messages in a variety of unusual ways, including parables, symbolic demonstrations, and object lessons. For example, in chapter 4 Ezekiel was commanded to publicly lie on his side for a portion of 430 consecutive days and eat starvation rations as an illustration of God’s judgment. Why do you think God chose these unique methods to communicate to the exiles in Babylon what was coming upon Jerusalem?
- Chapter 5 continues God’s instructions regarding actions Ezekiel was to take to depict three aspects of God’s coming judgment against Jerusalem: the siege of the city, the suffering and distress of its inhabitants, and the destruction of the city and its people. In Ezekiel 5:1-4, what was Ezekiel told to do, and what did his actions symbolize (see verses 11-12)?
- Time after time, God reiterated to Ezekiel how completely the people of Judah had embraced idolatry. In chapter 8, God revealed the depth of their spiritual and moral failure by showing Ezekiel the abominations that were taking place in the Temple in Jerusalem — abominations that included the worship of ceremonially unclean animals. Given this flagrant violation of God’s commands, why do you think the elders said “The Lord seeth us not” (Ezekiel 8:12)? How does this parallel the mindset of many people today?
- In Ezekiel 11:14-21, God had Ezekiel tell the exiles in Babylon that the coming judgment would not be the end of Israel. In a restatement of a promise previously made in Deuteronomy 30:3, God said He would sustain the exiles during their absence from their land and Temple, and would regather the people to their land in the future. God said that when they did return, they would no longer pursue idolatry. What does verse 19 mean, and what evidence can you give that such a complete transformation is possible?
- In chapter 14, the elders of the exiles in Babylon came to hear from Ezekiel. Some Bible scholars view Ezekiel 14:12-21 as a reply to a question in these elders’ minds: Wouldn’t God spare Jerusalem because of the righteous people who remained there? At God’s direction, Ezekiel responded by pointing to three of the most righteous men in Israel’s history: Noah, Daniel, and Job. What Biblical principle is found in God’s declaration in verse 14?
- Judah’s King Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar’s rule. Since Judah’s subjection to Babylon was God’s decreed will, Zedekiah would forfeit his sovereignty. However, God indicated that He would not let the line of David be forever destroyed. Ezekiel 17:22-24 predicts the earthly establishment of the Messiah in the end time. The “high cedar” of verse 22 is a reference to the royal house of David, and the tender twig that Lord God breaks off and plants is the Messiah — the anointed One himself, who will be from the lineage of David. In what ways does this prophecy of the Messiah impact our lives?
- In chapter 18, Ezekiel corrected a misconception regarding individual responsibility. By refuting a well-known proverbial saying of that era, he made it clear that each person would be judged for his own sins. There was neither inherited judgment nor reward. The wicked individual would die, no matter how righteous his parents and no matter if he himself had once been good. Conversely, God promised life to the righteous man, no matter how wicked his parents, and even if he himself had once been sinful. These judgments proved God’s righteous judgment, and were intended to promote sincere individual repentance. What does Ezekiel 18:24 mean, and what Bible doctrine does it support?
- In chapter 19, Ezekiel mourned for Judah’s pending ruin. Ezekiel 19:10 states that Israel had been “planted by the waters.” This is a reference to Israel’s privileged and fruitful state in the past, particularly during the reigns of David and Solomon. In what ways have you been “planted by the waters,” and what responsibility does that entail?
- In chapter 20, God likened Judah and Jerusalem to a forest ready to be burned. Ezekiel was to tell the people that the coming “fire” of judgment would be kindled by God himself. What characteristics of a forest fire make it such a vivid representation of Judah’s coming judgment?
God is longsuffering, but there is a limit to His patience. Someday, God will send divine judgment upon the world for peoples’ continued rejection of Him. We need to be sure our names are written in Heaven.