Lesson 1 of5
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Summary of Ezekiel

SUMMARY

The book covers the prophecies, visions, and symbolic actions of Ezekiel, a prophet among the Jews during the exile in Babylon. This book is one of the major prophets, filled with deeply symbolic visions and extreme actions from a man of zealous faith and profound spiritual vision. It includes an awesome vision of the throne-chariot of God as the “glory of the Lord”; prophecies of the judgment of God on Judah and Jerusalem (including the future and final fall of the city); prophecies against the nations surrounding Israel; and many highly symbolic actions and visions. The book concludes with visions of the future restoration of the land and the temple, and the return of the glory of the Lord (God’s presence) to Israel forever.

SO WHAT?

Ezekiel is a difficult but rewarding book, full of symbols and allegories. It contains a powerful vision of God, the Lord of history and judge of the nations. The awesome majesty of God and the honor and glory of the Lord in judgment and mercy are constant themes of the prophecies and visions of this book.

WHERE DO I FIND IT?

Ezekiel is the twenty-sixth book in the Old Testament; it comes between Lamentations and Daniel.

WHO WROTE IT?

The book is ascribed to Ezekiel, son of Buzi, priest and prophet. He was raised in Jerusalem in a priestly family and lived with the Jews in Babylon during the exile. Ezekiel probably did not write the whole book, but it represents his visions, prophecies, and symbolic acts.

WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?

The prophecies within the book date from about 591-571 B.C.E. It may have been some years until the book as we have it was compiled and edited by Ezekiel’s followers after the exile.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

The book contains the prophecies, visions, and symbolic acts of Ezekiel during the exile, concerning the temple, Jerusalem, Judah, and the nations.

HOW DO I READ IT?

The book of Ezekiel is full of symbols and allegories. For many passages a literal interpretation will only confuse and mislead the reader. Ezekiel borrows symbols from earlier Old Testament books. Pay attention to the prophet’s symbolic actions, which often accompany his words as powerful enacted parables. Always keep in mind the historical and political context of the prophet in exile. His symbolic visions and allegories often have historical meaning, even while they are drawn in colors from beyond history.