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Books of the Bible: Ezekiel

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In the Old Testament, the Book of Ezekiel recounts the visions received by the prophet during his exile in Babylon. The book is preceded by Isaiah and Jeremiah. It is followed by the books of the twelve minor prophets, which include Hosea, Joel and Malachi.

The structure of the book of Ezekiel can be divided into three parts.

  1. First, Ezekiel is selected by God to be his prophet. In the first three chapters, Ezekiel witnesses God appear as a warrior riding in an incredible chariot. God calls Ezekiel to be a prophet and to share the messages offered with the Israelites.
  2. The second section of the book focuses upon God's judgment of Israel. God's prolonged judgment begins in the fourth chapter and continues through chapter 24. God explains that He no longer dwells in the Temple of Jerusalem because the people had fallen into the worship of other gods. Ezekiel's vision foreshadows the destruction of the temple and the fall of the city of Jerusalem to the Babylonian Empire.
  3. The final section of the Book of Ezekiel explains that God will punish those nations that imperiled Israel. Identified enemies include the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Moabites and the Ammonites. God promises that these nations will be destroyed because they troubled the Israelites. The final section of the book offers some hope to the Israelites, promising them that the temple and their nation will be reformed under God's glory.

Research papers on Ezekiel have noted that, while the canonicity of this book of the Bible is unquestioned, its theological interpretation has been, historically, fraught with difficulty. St. Jerome seems to have been perplexed by this book and some of the early Fathers of the Church resorted to numerological schemes in an attempt to understand its meaning. Wilson has also suggested that the book can best be approached by "bearing in mind the historical, sociological, and religious settings in which this book was produced" and that is the approach that I hope to use in the body of this paper. The focus of analysis will be, to a certain extent, on the uniqueness of Ezekiel the prophet. That is to say, prophecies of God's wrath against his sinful children abound in the prophetic literature of the Bible, but in Ezekiel we find this same material treated in a very unique and powerful way.


This section deals mainly with an explication of what is in the mind of God with respect to His bringing about the Exile, something that constitutes a rejection of the Covenant. This is the kind of thing that, given the historic situation being dealt with, would call forth from any Hebrew prophet a great deal of vehement language. But when we read the first three books of Ezekiel, those that deal with the prophets "call," we enter into a very strange and intense psychic world. More than one interpreter of this book of the Bible has offered a psychoanalytic interpretation of the prophet's statements and behaviors. Paper Masters has noted that some scholars have suggested that Ezekiel was a paranoid schizophrenic and that at least one other scholar has suggested that he was subject to cataleptic fits. Whatever the dimensions of the prophet's mental state, the first three books are strangely intense and lurid, charged with otherworldly visual images, and with a powerful sense of the numinous. This book has been compared with Revelations and for good reason. Not only is there material in Revelations that was probably drawn from Ezekiel (e.g. the "four faces" of Ezekiel (1:10) and Rev. (4:7), but the atmospherics, taken as a whole are very similar. Both present us with an intense visualization of a theosophic event. We can compare the whole of Ezekiel (1:1-27) which leads up to Ezekiel (1:28), where we are told that what we are being presented with is "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord," with the manifestation of divinity that first occurs in Jeremiah (1:4), "Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying". The later is, in literary terms, quite austere, simple, and plain; the former is overwhelmingly complex, rich, visual, and, from a literary point of view, obscure. Research papers from Paper Masters have stated, "Jeremiah, though receiving many revelations from the Lord, records no visionary sight of Him or of the heavenly beings about Him. Isaiah knew only of the six winged seraphim, giving forth adulation to the enthroned king in His heavenly palace." The pictorial and visionary intensity of the opening three chapters of Ezekiel is something out of the ordinary even for a book such as the Bible.

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Ezekiel Research Papers

In the Old Testament, the Book of Ezekiel recounts the visions received by the prophet during his exile in Babylon.

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