Study Guide

Book of Ezekiel Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. (NRSV 34:23-24)

And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. (KJV 34:23-24)

God says he'll grant his people their dream of perfect rulership: David as king again. But, in this case, it probably refers to a righteous descendant of David or, at least, to someone as good as David. David's always held up as the ideal monarch, even though he had his share of lapses, like killing off Bathsheba's husband so he could marry her. But he was repentant and anyway, he wrote those amazing Psalms.

I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely. I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them. (NRSV 34:25-27)

And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. (KJV 34:25-27)

God promises a perfectly domesticated land to his people: most of the attributes of wildness will be weeded out. The country will be more perfectly adjusted to human needs. What a turnaround from the previous 34 chapters, right? It's things like this that made The Onion wonder about God's state of mind.

Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the towns to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. The land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined towns are now inhabited and fortified. Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places, and replanted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it. (NRSV 36:33-36)

Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it. (KJV 36:33-36)

God promises to make the land like Eden—which makes sense, in a way, because the people will (supposedly) have overcome the same tendencies towards disobedience that got humanity expelled from Eden in the first place. The House of Israel does this a lot. There's an ongoing cycle of disobedience and reconciliation.

Then he said to me, Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely. Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord. (NRSV 37:11-14)

Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. (KJV 37:11-14)

God's saying that he'll resurrect Israel as a kingdom and a nation. Since part of the plan all along has been to make the descendants of Abraham as numerous as the stars, grains of sand, etc. etc. , he can't very well count on just the returned exiles and exhausted survivors to replenish the nation. One new idea in Ezekiel is that both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern (Judah) will be restored. Since the northern Kingdom had already been gone for 150 years, this was a pretty amazing idea.

I will summon the sword against Gog in all my mountains, says the Lord God; the swords of all will be against their comrades. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him; and I will pour down torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur, upon him and his troops and the many peoples that are with him. So I will display my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord. (NRSV 38:21-23)

And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord. (KJV 38:21-23)

Gog is a representation of evil human power at its absolute worst—a kind of forerunner of the Anti-Christ who would appear in the Book of Revelation (although Gog appears in Revelation too). The way this confrontation is described, it's clear that God has this all planned out from the get-go, and Gog was just a puppet in the plan.

Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for my holy name. They shall forget their shame, and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they live securely in their land with no one to make them afraid, when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands, and through them have displayed my holiness in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will leave none of them behind; and I will never again hide my face from them, when I pour out my spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord God. (NRSV 39:25-29)

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; after that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. (KJV 39:25-29)

God promises that he won't abandon his people or turn his face from them, again. This passages poses certain problems, since disasters continue to befall the House of Israel (the Greeks conquer and persecute them, and the Romans later destroy the Temple a second time). Maybe God means this conditionally ("I won't turn my face from you again, if you behave well"). Anyway it sounds like an eternal plan.

In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was struck down, on that very day, the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me there. He brought me, in visions of God, to the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south. When he brought me there, a man was there, whose appearance shone like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway. The man said to me, Mortal, look closely and listen attentively, and set your mind upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you; declare all that you see to the house of Israel. (NRSV 40:1-4)

In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me thither. In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel. (KJV 40:1-4)

The rebuilding of the Temple is a hugely important part of God's plans for the future. The Temple actually was rebuilt after the Persian King, Cyrus the Great, allowed the Hebrew exiles to leave Babylon. And talk about plans—bronze guy has some very detailed instructions for the building of this Temple. The completion of the Temple, and God's presence returning to Jerusalem, is the culminating event of the grand plan God's been laying out to Ezekiel.

While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me out of the temple. He said to me: Mortal, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet, where I will reside among the people of Israel forever. The house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their whoring, and by the corpses of their kings at their death. (NRSV 43:6-7)

And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places. (KJV 43:6-7)

Throughout Ezekiel God's been withdrawing his presence from his people, until they reach the ultimate low and are trapped in exile. Here, he promises to restore his presence and even grants Ezekiel a vision of his return to the Temple.

People will stand fishing beside the sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing. (NRSV 47:10-12)

And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. (KJV 47:10-12)

Part of the restoration plan is that there will be plenty to eat and drink, plus some of those herbal remedies if you get sick. But again, this vision has a symbolic meaning as well, of spiritual plenty and health.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...