Thought to Guide Your ReadingEzekiel is showing the exiles what Jeremiah wrote them.
Summary in 100 Words or LessGod called me through visions. I saw four amazing creatures, each with four faces. Wheels inhabited with the creatures' spirits travelled alongside.
God called me, "I am sending you to a rebellious people. Do not be afraid of them or follow their example. Digest My Words to give My People."
"Ezekiel, if you hold back My Message, you will be responsible for their punishment."
"Lay siege against a model of Jerusalem and lay on your sides 430 days to bear the sins of Israel—one day for each year they have sinned. Soon they will be forced to be unclean."
How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right
Ezekiel is a prophet alongside an exiled nation.Jeremiah was given the chance to either go with the exiles or stay. He chose to stay in Jerusalem. Ezekiel was not given that choice. He became the prophet to the exiles while living with them. This may have changed his style from direct to indirect, meaning the use of visions to get the message across instead of directly pronouncing judgment as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other prophets did. A people in captivity do not have the freedom of expression those who live far away have.
The purpose of Ezekiel's prophecies is the message, not the visions.Ezekiel is a very difficult book to understand. It has a multitude of visions and insider-language. Israel would understand the words but would not care for the meaning. So God presents it in a way they might find more pleasing—using grand visions. God's purpose for visions is to present a message otherwise lost, not provide fodder for conspiracy theories for millennia to come. Whether the visions happened or not, whether they represent current events or not, or whether we should know what they were detracts from the main focus—God is setting all things right with His Chosen People and will get their attention. This is also the reason God requires Ezekiel to do outlandish tasks such as sit on one side for 490 days and the other side 40 days while laying siege against a brick with Jerusalem drawn on it.
Ezekiel is responsible for getting the message to Israel.God is up front with Ezekiel: Israel rejected God, they will most likely reject him. Then, when Ezekiel returns from his first awesome vision, he sits at home and stews for a week. God must come to Ezekiel and remind him that a watchman who fails to tell the city of threats would be held responsible for whatever happened. Therefore, Ezekiel can no longer sit by and watch as Israel's sin creates more and worse punishments for her. God's Chosen People (and His Chosen Messengers) must tell the Message God has given us or we will have blood on our hands.
Are you keeping God's Message inside?
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