Day 185: Book of Ezekiel, prophet with good and bad news for the Israelites.
Many times prophets have visions, and many times when they see animals, or winged creatures (angelic types, or they have more than one face, or eyes, it is not always easy to decipher the meaning. Ezekiel, a priest, is no different when he had his first vision. Here is a brief description of the being he saw.
Chapter 1, starting with verse 4, ‘…a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it…. the color of amber. Out of it came a likeness of four living creatures…they had the likeness of a man. Everyone of them had four faces, and four wings. their feet were straight and the sole of their feet was like a sole of a calf’s foot, and they sparkled the color of burnished brass. They had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides. Their wings were joined to one another, they turned not when they went, they went everyone straight forward. The four had the face of a man, the face of a lion, on the right side, and the face of an ox, and the face of an eagle on the left side. And, the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightening. It appeared they were pulling a chariot containing the Throne of God.’
It has been said that the four faces stand for the four Gospels; Matthew, the Man, Mark, the Lion, Luke, the Ox, and John, the Eagle.
God commissions Ezekiel as a prophet who is to go to the Jewish people and AGAIN give them bad news that they are going to be punished for their evil ways. Seems like they just keep falling back into unclean ways of living and many will be killed, and the rest will be taken to Babylon, including Ezekiel. Many were free to live in Babylon as they wished, but they were not allowed to go back home. As seems usual of their many years in captivity, they eventually become free again, and are allowed to return to their homeland, and rebuild. The rebuilding is usually a greater place than when they lived there in the past. Remember, these are the descendants of the ones that were punished. God is starting them over with a clean slate. You do have to wonder when they will get it, and stay faithful to God.
Ezekiel informs the Jews not just with words, but with writings what is going to happen, and why. God is not only upset with how the Jews have failed to live up to God’s laws, but “You have not even lived up to the statutes of the nations around you.” Meaning, the Jews have became even more wicked than those surrounding them.
So, living in Babylon, the Jews have no place to worship (and maybe that was even taken away because they were not really worshipping at all if they were not following God’s laws).
Eventually, Ezekiel presents a better vision. This vision some have written songs about “dry bones coming to life”. This vision means that the dead bones were rejoining the parts of their bodies, and standing up. Muscles, tendons, and all the other parts that make up flesh were beginning to form on the bodies. Then a wind comes and sweeps life into their lungs.
In chapter 37, verse 11 “…these bones are the whole house of Israel…our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off from our parts.”
Verse 12 says, “O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.” Amen.