In the Beginning

Jan/Feb 2015

In the BeginningEzekiel

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Ezekiel was one of four prophets who are often referred to as “major” prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,  and Daniel (in
contrast to the 12 “minor” prophets closing the Old Testament).

Ezekiel was a priest, and therefore he was a Levite of mature years when he commenced his prophetic service that spanned more than 20 years. He was a younger contemporary of Jeremiah, and an older contemporary of Daniel.
Ezekiel is famous for his prophecy of the “Valley of Dry Bones” in chapter 37, depicted on our cover. That prophecy has been in progressive fulfillment since the return of Israel began in 1878, fully 1845 years after the nation passed under judgment at the death of Christ. Chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel then deal with the invasion of returned Israel by Gog of the north, and God’s intervention on their behalf.

These three chapters are not much discussed in this issue, deferring those well known passages in order to examine others that are equally rich, but probed less often.

We begin with an article on “Ezekiel 18,” the chapter in Ezekiel that refers to the well known proverb about the fathers eating the sour grape, and the children’s teeth set on edge, referring to the hereditary descent of punishment upon the sons of sinful fathers. God told Ezekiel that this would change. Each one would experience the consequence of his own conduct, whether for good or bad. This will find its most complete fulfillment in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, and this article explores that meaning.

“Ezekiel 44” follows with an in depth look at the various classes that will operate in the Kingdom: the Church, Great Company, Ancient Worthies, and the world in general. Many engaging details about the interplay between these classes are discussed in this penetrating article.

“Things Written for Our Admonition,” and “Digging Through the Wall,” provide serious lessons for our instruction, correction, and warning. Ezekiel’s prophecies were filled with direct charges against the practices of wayward Israelites. Are we impervious to such things? Does not the Apostle John warn us also about spiritual “idolatry” in our life and practices? Let us take to heart the probing words of exhortation in these lessons. The warnings of Ezekiel were not merely for by-gone days.

Finally, “Six Lambs” examines the offerings of Ezekiel chapter 46 that pertain to the world, the Ancient Worthies, and the nation of Israel, during the Millennium. It discusses how the differences between various offerings distinguishes these three groups. It then considers how the three fundamental kinds of offerings in the Old Testament relate to each other.

We hope our readership will give close attention to these deeply considered and thoughtfully prepared lessons from the prophet Ezekiel.

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