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The book of Ezekiel, which contains 48 chapters, is the 3rd of the 'major' prophets. It was written by Ezekiel, a priest, who was taken with other Jewish captives into Babylon about 597 BC. the exiles were placed in various parts of Babylonia. Ezekiel was put near the river Chebar about 140 km north of Babylon.

Ezekiel was called by God to be a 'watchman' for Israel, acting out parables and speaking "the word of the Lord" to warn God's people of coming dangers and troubles.

By a vision of winged creatures called 'cherubim', Ezekiel was shown that God's glory would leave Jerusalem and its temple (the complete overthrow of the city had not yet happened).

God's warnings to Israel are contained in chapters 3-24. Judah's ;last king, Zedekiah, was to be removed from the throne. There would be no king in Israel "until he come whose right it is" (21:37). That King will be Jesus Christ who is the rightful "King of the Jews".

Israel's neighbours, such as Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia (ch. 25), Tyre (chs. 26-28), and Egypt (chs. 29-32), were to be punished too for their pride and godlessness, as well as for their treachery towards Israel.

Tyre would cease to be a great seaport. Its very stones would be cast into the sea. This was fulfilled many years later by Alexander the Great.

Egypt would become a lowly kingdom and never again exalt itself above the nations. History has proved the truth of this prophecy also.

One of the great themes of Ezekiel's prophecy is that Israel is to be restored and blessed by God in the "latter years". Ezekiel was shown a vision of a valley full of dry bones which formed into skeletons, then developed into human beings which later came to life. This was a prophecy of how the nation of Israel would be reborn - as it was in 1948.

Chapters 38-39 foretell an invasion of Israel yet to come and of how God will intervene to overthrow it at the return of Christ.

As a reassurance to the exiles, who had seen God's temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel is granted a vision of a future Temple to be erected in Jerusalem, a focal point of worship in the Kingdom of God when Christ returns (chs. 40-48).


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