76 Sermons On The Old Testament Given By Jesus
Sermon 57 - Ezekiel’s prophetic call.
April 15th, 1963
Received by Dr Samuels
I am here, Jesus.
It took Ezekiel many years to recover from the displacement to the new land and to fit into the pattern of living as it affected the exiled Hebrews. First of all, in order to accept the totally new conditions and carry on, Ezekiel had to persuade himself that the great misfortune suffered by the Hebrews had been really deserved and brought about by God, and in studying the old prophets of Israel and Judah, he became thoroughly convinced of its truth - so much so, that in his sermons which followed when he became a prophet, he elaborated vehemently on all the misdeeds and the erring conduct which his people had been accused of by his predecessors, and he strove to persuade his hearers that such indeed were the facts.
It occurred to Ezekiel, to be sure, that he had to find a way to bring Jehovah from His Temple in Jerusalem (which before 586 B.C. was still standing) to Babylonia, but since he was a priest and knew thoroughly the Hebrew scrolls, he was very much aware that Jehovah had led the people from the Sinai Peninsula to the Promised Land of Israel as a pillar of fire and cloud. And so he knew that Jehovah could leave His Sanctuary and come to Babylonia. From the prophet Isaiah, Ezekiel, in the sixth chapter of his book, was able to obtain the elements for his first vision of God - not really a vision, as many writers of Ezekiel suppose, but an adaptation from the writings of the preceding prophet. And just as Jeremiah had found inspiration in this chapter, converting the Seraph’s live coal into the hand of God, so Ezekiel used the phrase “The hand of the Lord” to be upon him whenever he felt impelled to voice a prophecy. Ezekiel went beyond Isaiah in elaborating his so-called vision, complete with opulent and oriental descriptions, but he was not a mystic or a visionary in the sense that he has been generally considered.
Ezekiel felt that God wanted a prophet through whom to instruct His children in Babylonia, as Jeremiah had been His prophet in Jerusalem, and, as the Lord, “Put forth His Hand, and touched Jeremiah’s mouth, saying; Behold, I put words into thy mouth,” (Jeremiah 1: 9) so did the Lord give Ezekiel a book to eat, a scroll on both sides, and Ezekiel wrote:
“So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll. And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, cause thy belly to eat and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.’”
(Ezekiel 3: 2 - 3)
As Jeremiah had said previously:
“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.”
(Jeremiah 15: 16)
Ezekiel wrote other things that Jeremiah had said first, such as not being afraid, and not being listened to by the people. With this opening “vision,” however, Ezekiel now felt he could voice God’s wishes in Babylonia, and even considered that God had come to this land to preside over the spiritual fortunes of His people. Where in Babylonia? Ezekiel did not say, but it wasn’t necessary. To the prophet, God was the King of the Universe and could abide wherever He wished.
A word about the term “Son of Man” which I have just quoted. This was applied to me in various places in the New Testament as having a special meaning connected with my Messiahship. Actually, the term, as Ezekiel conceived it to be, meant Son of Adam, but not merely man as a living being, but as man having a soul, man the created creature of God, and therefore, Son of Man, God’s created being, with whom God could communicate concerning His Affairs. The term also meant that only those “Sons” who walked in His Ways and who were close to Him could hear Him to receive His Instructions; hence, “Son of Man” also meant a prophet of God who could communicate with Him and be His spokesman. When I came to earth to deliver my message proclaiming the availability of God’s Love to mankind, I considered myself the “Son of Man” as the prophet of God at the time, and in fact, so I was, for God - His Divine Love - was in my soul to a considerable degree and I knew what God wanted, and I strove to carry out His Wishes.
From 593 B.C. when Ezekiel first received his prophetic call, to 586 B.C. was a matter of seven years, in which the affaIrs of the exiles were becoming stabilized, but during this time the situation in Jerusalem deteriorated until the final destruction by Nebuchadrezzar took place. The same abuses, idolatries and political intrigues continued to flourish around the weak king, Zedekiah, who eventually succumbed to the pro-Egyptian party and made war upon Babylon. Ezekiel, according to some commentators, is supposed to have gone back to Jerusalem to observe the conditions that existed in the crumbling city, but actually he did not, for travelers and letters from Jerusalem were able to give the Hebrews in Babylonia a fairly accurate picture of conditions in Jerusalem, and Ezekiel remained in his adopted town, a place called Tel-abib on the Chebar, to bewail the evils of the Holy City and predict its eventual disaster. He constructed a relief map of Jerusalem, making use of kneading clay on tile to predict the coming siege, and restricted himself to a very unpleasant diet to indicate forcefully what the besieged people would be obliged to eat. He also cut off his hair and beard, which he divided into three parts - for burning, further cutting and scattering in the wind, to symbolize the complete destruction of Jerusalem. His descriptions of the coming fall, such as the parable of the boiling pot (Ezekiel 24: 3 - 13) which he devised from a passage in Jeremiah, are vivid, and show great intensity of feeling. This was not only to show Jehovah’s wrath at Hebrew transgressions but to admonish the exiles that such transgressions must not make their appearances amongst them. The exiles had been saved from destruction by the Grace of God, although at the time of their march to Babylonia it had seemed like a great catastrophe. Yet here, in Israel’s abject defeat to a foreign power, shone God’s Love for His people.
Jesus of the Bible
Master of the Celestial Heavens