Ezekiel consumes God’s words. His mission is to speak those words. He is teleported to Tel Aviv and becomes their watchman. His public ministry begins.
VERSE 1. He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.”
HCSB translation. He said to me: “Son of man, eat what you find here. Eat this scroll, then go and speak to the house of Israel.”
Eat this scroll. This is the first step for a prophet: eat. Ezekiel is to consume the Word of God.
Authentic prophecy is rooted in the Bible.
then go and speak. After consuming the Bible, then the prophet is equipped to go speak. But not until.
In our day, some Christians claim God has called them to be a prophet. Mostly what they do is tell people off in the name of Jesus Christ. But their message is not rooted in the Bible. Instead, their message is usually rooted in personal prejudices and cultural behavioral norms.
he caused me to eat the scroll. All Ezekiel had to do was open his mouth. Essentially, he gave consent. After that, the LORD God did the heavy work.
That is like eternal salvation. We ask for it; the Lord Jesus Christ does the heavy work of earning it for us.
VERSE 3. He said to me, “Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this scroll that I give you.” Then I ate it; and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
sweet as honey in my mouth. The scroll tasted pleasant. The Bible tastes pleasant.
Though Ezekiel’s message was one of judgment, it was still the word of the LORD God. The sweetness probably came from the source of the words (the LORD God) rather than the content of the words.
speak my words. As a prophet, Ezekiel’s mission was to speak the message of the LORD God.
For us Christians, our mission is to speak the message of Jesus Christ. We are to evangelize the whole world!
VERSE 5. For you are not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel;
VERSE 6. not to many peoples of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words you can’t understand. Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you.
HCSB translation. You are not being sent to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. No doubt, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you.
unintelligible speech or difficult language. In our day, the Holy Spirit does indeed call some believers to to this. He sends them as foreign missionaries to peoples of difficult language.
VERSE 7. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they will not listen to me; for all the house of Israel are obstinate and hard-hearted.
VERSE 8. Behold, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads.
NIV translation. I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.
unyielding and hardened. A prophet needs to be stubborn. But it is not the stubbornness of a narcissistic personality disorder or a psychopath or a sociopath. Or a jerk.
Rather, a prophet has a “humble” stubbornness from God. They toil along, faithful to God, no matter whether they are “successful” or not, no what what the consequences, whether they are successful or not.
VERSE 9. I have made your forehead as a diamond, harder than flint. Don’t be afraid of them, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”
harder than flint. The Old Testament esteems flint:
Isaiah 50:7. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (NIV 1984)
VERSE 10. Moreover he said to me, “Son of man, receive in your heart and hear with your ears all my words that I speak to you.
VERSE 11. Go to them of the captivity, to the children of your people, and speak to them, and tell them, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says,’ whether they will hear, or whether they will refuse.
VERSE 12. Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great rushing, saying, “Blessed be the LORD’s glory from his place.”
the Spirit lifted me up. To an onlooker, Ezekiel was levitating.
VERSE 13. I heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, even the noise of a great rushing.
VERSE 14. So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away; and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; and the LORD’s hand was strong on me.
NLT translation. The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. I went in bitterness and turmoil, but the Lord’s hold on me was strong.
The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. The Holy Spirit teleports Ezekiel to a remote location.
the Lord’s hold on me was strong. Isn’t that wonderful? That is our security.
Our security is not from how strongly we ourselves hold onto God. Rather, its how strongly he holds onto us!
VERSE 15. Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.
NAB translation. I came to the exiles who lived at Tel-abib by the river Chebar, and for seven days sat among them distraught.
I came to … Tel Aviv. Ezekiel is taken to a remote location.
for seven days sat among them. After arriving, Ezekiel quietly dwells among the people he will minister to. He probably spends the time fasting, praying and observing.
distraught. Ezekiel feels their pain.
This is vital for a prophet. They speak, but not from a compulsion to annoy people. Rather, they speak out of love and compassion. They have empathy for their hearers.
VERSE 16. At the end of seven days, the LORD’s word came to me, saying,
VERSE 17. “Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel. Therefore hear the word from my mouth, and warn them from me.
a watchman. In ancient times, the watchman stood on a high tower and scanned the horizon for developments, especially developments in the enemy camp, or signs of danger. The king formulated his plans based on input from the watchman. In Ezekiel’s case, being a watchman meant watching and praying and speaking.
the house of Israel. Ezekiel was to be the spiritual watchman for the nation of Israel. In our day, some Christians feel called to be a spiritual watchman over society.
VERSE 18. When I tell the wicked, ‘You will surely die;’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; that wicked man will die in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at your hand.
To become a prophet is to accept a very heavy burden. If Ezekiel withholds the message from a wicked person …
that wicked man will die in his iniquity. Wicked people will die in their sins. And …
I will require his blood at your hand. Ezekiel will take the blame for the wicked people NOT repenting.
VERSE 19. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he doesn’t turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he will die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”
If Ezekiel DOES tell the message to a wicked person, and the wicked person does NOT repent:
you have delivered your soul. Ezekiel will NOT be blamed for it.
VERSE 20. “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he will die. Because you have not given him warning, he will die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered; but I will require his blood at your hand.
VERSE 21. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man, that the righteous not sin, and he does not sin, he will surely live, because he took warning; and you have delivered your soul.”
VERSE 22. the LORD’s hand was there on me; and he said to me, “Arise, go out into the plain, and I will talk with you there.”
VERSE 23. Then I arose, and went out into the plain, and behold, the LORD’s glory stood there, like the glory which I saw by the river Chebar. Then I fell on my face.
the LORD’s glory stood there. The Hebrew word is כָּבוֹד (“kabowd”). It means glorious. It is the divine presence in visible form.
Ezekiel is beholding the glory-cloud of the LORD God.
VERSE 24. Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me on my feet. He spoke with me, and said to me, “Go, shut yourself inside your house.
the Spirit entered into me. Ezekiel is given the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament era, people the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was not continuous.
set me on my feet. When you have the Holy Spirit, you can take a stand for the LORD God.
shut yourself inside your house. The LORD God calls Ezekiel to sequester himself inside his hours. This is still the case in chapter 8:
Ezekiel 8:1. In the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, the Lord GOD’s hand fell on me there.
VERSE 25. But you, son of man, behold, they will put ropes on you, and will bind you with them, and you will not go out among them.
VERSE 26. I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, that you will be mute, and will not be able to correct them; for they are a rebellious house.
you will be mute. The LORD God will restrain Ezekiel fro speaking to them.
VERSE 27. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall tell them, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.”
Prior to speaking as a prophet, you must very carefully discern whether God is actually calling you to speak. This verse gives two conditions that must be satisfied prior to speaking:
Condition 1. when I speak with you. In our day, most self proclaimed prophets equate their own thoughts and feelings with an authentic message from the LORD God. This is a grave mistake.
Condition 2. I will open your mouth. In our day, most self proclaimed prophets are confused about this as well. They equate their own compulsion to annoy people with a mandate from the LORD God. This too is a grave mistake.
Ezekiel will ONLY speak when the LORD God gives him a message. Otherwise, he will be silent.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.