Book club for November, 2018 - Ezekiel
Well, I didn't know much about Ezekiel, so have been gleaning information from various sources. One source, which was unexpected, is Ann Putcamp's Guide to Bible Teaching III. I did know about 2 of the parables: the measuring of the water, and the dry bones. Not that I fully understood them! And I wasn't exactly aware that they were in Ezekiel.
Everywhere, I read that Ezekiel was a priest, as well as a prophet – an unusual pairing. And that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah.They both called attention to the same errors* made by the people of Israel. Ezekiel's call to prophesy** came while he was exiled in Babylon, where he was one of a group of privileged persons - leaders - deported from Jerusalem (597 B.C.). -
Putcamp writes (p. 65)
"Ezekiel should not be overlooked by teacher or pupil. He lives at a time when his word should have been heeded. So do we” (my emphasis).
Graphic visions were presented to Ezekiel; all to teach lessons. For instance, he depicts various winged creatures, and creatures with wheels, e.g. Ez. 1:16.
Putcamp notes that
“Such creatures and symbols were depicted on the walls of many ancient cities of Mesopotamia (Babylon). Ezekiel was probably using what the captives were seeing to illustrate his theme...Ahead of his time in spiritual discernment, he has been both misunderstood and unappreciated, even as he was by his own people” (ibid).
I will digress here to wonder if there are any prophets in Israel to-day. I found that two 20th century men are considered by some commentators to have been modern-day prophets: Yeshayahu Leibowitz (1903-1994), philosopher and academic; and Yehoshafat Harkabi (1921-1994), former head of Israeli military intelligence, and author of "Israel's Fateful Hour" (Ed). See the Shalom Centre website.
(Ed. There are several other sites which offer insights into these two men.)
Of interest to Sunday School workers is Putcamp's reference to the Ten Commandments.
She writes (p. 66)
“In Chapter 22, Ezekiel shows that the men of Judah have broken every Commandment; he refers to all ten.”
She then invites us to
“find each commandment within Ezekiel's references, analyse each, also the breaking of each, and specific results. Would not this be helpful in today's context?" (emphasis added)
Putcamp insists that there are lessons to be learned today from this book. I haven't been able to find this reasoning in any other source. For now, I will leave you and me to work on that puzzle! I have only found five so far...
* Ez 2:4 "they are impudent children and stiffhearted" King James Version
** Putcamp says: "His call is exciting, culminating in 2:1-3, 8, 9." (p. 64)