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What’s in the Book: Ezekiel

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JewishTreats.org

The 48 chapters of the Book of Ezekiel are filled with wondrous visions. Ezekiel’s first vision is of a fiery chariot drawn by creatures with four faces (of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle) and four sets of wings.

God instructed Ezekiel to withdraw into his home and to remain mute from all but that which God tells him to speak. During this time, he physically acted out his prophecies (sort of like performance art): “You also, son of man, take a tile, and lay it before you, and trace upon it a city, even Jerusalem; and lay siege against it, and build forts against it…” (4:1)

The Book of Ezekiel also contains several potent parables, such as the wife who turned to harlotry (Israel as God’s unfaithful bride) and the young vine that withers (the fall of the House of David). At God’s command, he sets aside the ritual mourning for his departed wife as a warning to the people that when Jerusalem falls they too will be unable to mourn.

However, Ezekiel also spoke of a new leadership emerging, the return to Israel and a truly eternal covenant being affirmed.

The “Dry Bones” is the most famous of Ezekiel’s prophecies. Ezekiel was transported to a valley full of bones that then return to life (“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off…Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel” – 37:11-12).

Copyright © 2010 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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