Ezekiel 1-3 The Prophet’s Call
The name “Ezekiel” means “strength of God” or “God will strengthen.” Ezekiel’s ministry—from about 592 BC to 570 BC—was to raise his voice in both Jerusalem and Babylon (also called Chaldea). In Babylon he worked among the captive Jews who had been deported there, some 1,600 miles from Jerusalem, after the southern kingdom of Judah had been conquered. The book begins with a vision given to Ezekiel in Babylon:
- Ezekiel describes his experience in seeing the Lord. Read Ezekiel 1:4, 24, 26-28 and Ezekiel 3:22-23, and compare this account to Revelation 1:13-17 and D&C 110:1-3. Evidently, to see God is so far beyond human experience that prophets can only use mortal language the best they can, in attempting to describe Him.
- Read Ezekiel 2:1-7:
—What did Ezekiel feel in God’s presence?
—What things did the Lord call Ezekiel to do?
—What things did the Lord say about the children of Israel?
—Most importantly, what instruction did the Lord give Ezekiel, in verse 6? (see also 3:10).
- Read again Ezekiel 2:2. Have you ever felt this way; perhaps when reading a mission call or being given a Church calling?
- Next, read Ezekiel 3:1-3. How did Ezekiel describe the words of the Lord?
- According to Ezekiel 3:7-9, 25, what did the Lord say would happen? How was Ezekiel told to react? How did the Lord help, as recorded in verses 14, 27?
Ezekiel 3; 33-34 Watchmen and Shepherds
What is your responsibility regarding the eternal salvation of others? The Lord teaches Ezekiel (and us) about the responsibilities of those He calls to His work:
- Read Ezekiel 3:17-21 and Ezekiel 33:1-7 (see also 2 Nephi 9:44 and Jacob 1:19, in relation to priesthood holders). How would you summarize what these scriptures teach?
- In Ezekiel 34:1-5, what things did the Lord tell Ezekiel to say to the “shepherds of Israel”?
- Can you think of a wonderful priesthood leader you have had in your life? What did he do and say that stood out for you?
- What are some of the things our living prophets have warned us about in the past few years?
- What can you take from chapters 3; 33-34 that you can apply to your service in God’s latter-day kingdom?
Ezekiel 33:11-16, 30-33 It’s All About Obedience
- Read Ezekiel 33:11-16 and consider the Lord’s teachings about repentance (see also Ezekiel 18:21-24, 30-32; D&C 58:42).
- Unfortunately, in Ezekiel 33:21 the prophet receives the news of Jerusalem being smitten by the Babylonians.
- In Ezekiel 33:30-33, powerful lessons are taught about the importance of genuinely heeding and following the prophets. What do these verses say about the people of Judah, in relation to Ezekiel?
- How do you prepare to listen to general conference? What do you like to do during conference, to help you understand and accept the messages of prophets?
Ezekiel 34; 36 “I Will Be Your God”
- In Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-31, the Lord speaks of the glorious latter-day gathering of His sheep (note that in verses 23-24, “David” refers to Christ). In what ways do you see these things happening today?
- In Ezekiel 36:8-11, 24-28 this grand theme continues. Read these verses, looking for key words and phrases that describe the Lord’s work in our day.
Ezekiel 37 Coming Together
This chapter is often cited as Biblical prophecy of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (verses 15-20). But Ezekiel 37 is also about coming together:
- The body and spirit come together in the Resurrection (verses 1-10).
- Ezekiel prophesies of the coming together of the Lord and the house of Israel—through their latter-day and Millennial physical and spiritual restoration—with Jesus Christ as their King and Shepherd (verses 10-14, 21-25).
- The Book of Mormon and the Bible come together as co-witnesses of Jesus Christ (verses 16-17; see also 1 Nephi 13:38-41; 2 Nephi 29:6-13; Mormon 7:8-9).
- The Lord and His people shall also come together through His everlasting covenant; and His temple will be in their midst “for evermore” (verses 26-28).
- Also prophesied is the coming together of the tribes of Ephraim (son of Joseph) and of Judah, as they become one in the last days (verse 19; in antiquity these two tribes had been adversaries).
- The Lord is a God of “restoration;” while Satan only seeks to destroy. Think of other ways in which the Lord brings things/people/circumstances together, including in your own life.
Ezekiel 47 The Latter-day Temple in Jerusalem
Chapters 40-47 are the account of Ezekiel’s vision of the future temple, which is to be built in Jerusalem. Read the chapter headings for chapters 40-46, and read also Ezekiel 43:1-7:
- As Ezekiel’s visionary account of the temple comes to a close, find what he saw in Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 (in verse 8, “the sea” refers to the Dead Sea, about 20 miles from Jerusalem).
- Consider the changes that will occur in and around the Dead Sea (called “dead” because it is salt water—about eight times saltier than sea water—and is almost completely devoid of life).
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed…. All this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance” (History of the Church, 5:337).
(Note: In addition to confirming Ezekiel’s vision, this quote from Joseph Smith also appears to teach that one of the great events which must occur before the Second Coming of the Savior will be the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem. Conclusive commentary on this is elusive, for questions arise for which answers have not been taught publicly (if the answers are even known). Such questions include, Is Joseph Smith actually referring to some other appearance which will take place after the Second Coming? Who will build the temple? What cooperation will there be with the Jewish people or others? Where will the temple be? Will it be an “ordinance temple” or serve other purposes? It is likely unwise to engage in speculation.)
Ezekiel Additional Helpful Scriptures
Most chapters of Ezekiel are not included in the Come, Follow Me curriculum, but note the following:
- Ezekiel 6:8-10 The Lord will preserve a remnant of the house of Israel and scatter them among many nations; eventually they shall come to know that He is the Lord.
- Ezekiel 7:19 Silver and gold (materialism and worldliness) were the stumbling blocks of the children of Israel, and Ezekiel prophesied that in the day of wrath, the people would cast away their silver and gold.
- Ezekiel 8:15-16 Ezekiel foresaw that even inside the temple of God, people would worship false gods.
- Ezekiel 11:16-20 Even though the Lord scatters Israel, He promises that He will be to them as “a little sanctuary” in their far-off locations among “the heathen.” In the last days, He will gather them and give them “one heart” and “a new spirit,” and He will be their God.
- Ezekiel 12:13-14; 17:22 It is thought by some that these verses refer to Zedekiah (the king of Judah during the time of their destruction and captivity), with the prophecy that “all that are about him” and the “tender twig” referring to Mulek, son of Zedekiah, who was led by the Lord to the Americas, where he and his people became part of the Book of Mormon narrative (see Omni 1:15-16; Mosiah 25:2; Helaman 6:10; 8:21).
- Ezekiel 12:26-28 The people of Israel believed that Ezekiel’s prophecies of their destruction would be “far off” and thus not apply to them. But the Lord assures Ezekiel otherwise. (See also Helaman 16:13-18.)
- Ezekiel 13:1-3, 6, 10-11 The false prophets who try to contradict Ezekiel are like a wall built with “untampered mortar” (which never hardens and thus provides no stability nor protection).
- Ezekiel 14:13-14, 20 Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were ministering among the Israelites of Ezekiel’s day, they would not be able to persuade any to repent.
- Ezekiel 16:1-17, 32-33, 46-50, 60 The Lord compares the people of Jerusalem to a discarded newborn child that He saved. She grows up and becomes His covenant wife, and He treats her with great love and bestows many blessings upon her. But she turns unfaithful and becomes a harlot, even worse than was Sodom. The Lord promises that in the last days, He will remember her and establish His covenant with her.
- Ezekiel 22:29-30; 23:39 The Lord identifies the people’s sins of oppression, robbery, vexing the poor, and mistreating strangers. He seeks for a righteous man who can forestall the people’s destruction, but finds none. He calls out their sacrificing of their own children to idols, while in the same day entering the temple.
- Ezekiel 38 Ezekiel prophesies events related to the last days and the Second Coming. See especially verse 18 regarding what we call Armageddon; verses 19-20 about a great, world-wide earthquake; verse 21 regarding worldwide conflict; verse 22 about colossal climatological catastrophes; and verse 23 about the Lord’s future status and standing among all nations (see also Ezekiel 39:29).