Ezekiel was 26, married, and serving as a Priest in the temple at Jerusalem when the Babylonian raids began. His service in the temple facilatated the offering of sacrifices of sheep, bulls, goats, pigeons. It was bloody work. The ashes from the altar had to be swept, the fire maintained, the animals slaughtered, the basins cleaned and refilled, the priests’ portions of the meat cut-up and distributed. It was his service so that people could be right with God again in spite of their sin individually and corporately. The whole process prefigured the promised Savior’s death as a payment for the sins of God’s people. Ezekiel had been instructed in, and might have had access to, the scrolls containing Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, some of Psalms and Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah. His work as a Priest was a respected position. Unfortunately, many of the Priests strayed far from what the written Word of God actually said. Their lives did not measure up to the moral precepts nor did they warn the people of the consequences of ignoring the sovereignty and holiness of God.
Those consequences began with the Babylonian raids upon Judah starting in 597 BC. Ezekiel and his wife soon were living in exile near a canal flowing into the Euphrates River in Southern Iraq. (This was what God had told Habbakak would happen.years.) It was at this point that Ezekiel’s job description changed dramatically. God appeared to him, showed him a glimpse of His glory and holiness, and called him to become a Prophet. He was to listen to what God said “expressly” to him and tell it to the people whether they listened or not. (1:3;3:7). It is quite a story. Read it in Ezekiel 1-3.
Protestant Reformers defined a prophet as one who heard God’s word directly from God, and then spoke them to the people. A priest officiated in the temple worship, but a prophet actually added to the revelation from God. It was an awesome experience for Ezekiel and a big jump in his responsibility. What a task he had before him now.
Since a prophet added to God’s revelation of Himself and His plans for providing a Savior and a final judgment, the Reformers stressed that Revelation completed the revelation of God. After all, the Lord Jesus Christ had come, died, and risen just as was promised all through the Bible. So the Reformers believed that there was no vision or experience after John’s that would add to the completed revelation of who God is and His plans for salvation and justice. This is important as we look at the claims made by the Mormons, Moslems, or even some Evangelicals whose vision or experience is used to add to what we know about God.
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book,….” (Revelation 22:18).
Who are you listening to? Is it someone who claims to have “special revelation?” Or someone who follows someone who makes that claim? Know what your teachers believe.
I hope this helps you as you read Ezekiel these final days of summer.
You can always ask me questions on Facebook (Carol Cook Brandt). Just send me a message. I try to keep this blog focused on the Scriptures, but questions and comments are welcomed on Facebook.