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Author: Ron Graham


Ezekiel Chapters 2 and 3
—Outline and Notes

On this page, chapters 2 and 3 of Ezekiel are outlined and analysed. The chapters mainly describe the commission Ezekiel received from God. This lesson is the second of a series commenced 2020.

1 Context Overview

The second and third chapters of Ezekiel record God’s counsel to Ezekiel when God commissioned him to be a watchman for Israel.

Israel was "An impudent and rebellious people". God did not expect them to listen to Ezekiel, but he sent Ezekiel to them anyway. He gave them another chance.

2 Outline of Ezekiel Chapters 2 and 3

God Commissions Ezekiel

Ezekiel Eats a Scroll

Ezekiel is Transported

Ezekiel is Appointed a Watchman for Israel

3 Ezekiel’s Physical Experiences in the Vision

Ezekiel was not just an onlooker of the vision God gave him. He was physically connected in the vision.

Physical Body Experiences Spiritual Realm

When one experiences a dream, there is little participation of one’s body. But in a vision, one’s body may participate fully, and be quite involved in the spiritual realm.

For example, when Ezekiel ate the scroll, he does not say that he imagined he ate it. He does not say that he dreamed he ate it. He says, "God caused me to eat that scroll" (Ezekiel 3:1-3).

This should not surprise us. We are spiritual beings living in a tent of flesh. Spirit and flesh are connected; they interact, and both are real.

For example, when you confess Jesus Christ, you "confess with your mouth... and believe in your heart" (Romans 10:9). The fleshly tongue participates with the spiritual heart.

The philosophy of many scientists is that there is only a physical reality. They say we have no spirit and there is no God. They think that a vision is an aberration of the physical brain. Obviously, Ezekiel does not share that philosophy.

4 Ezekiel Made a Watchman (Ezekiel 3:17)

What does God mean when he says, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel..." (Ezekiel 3:17a)?

The answer is in what God goes on to say: "Therefore hear a word from me and give them a warning" (Ezekiel 3:17b)?

A watchman has certain traits:

In Ezekiel’s case, God was his authority, The Israelites (the remnant in captivity) were his charge, and the many rebellious ones among them were the foe.

Terms of the Watchman’s Contract

If Ezekiel gave both the rebels and the righteous full warning, their blood would not be on his hands, and he would deliver his soul. But if he failed to warn, then he would be held accountable along with them (Ezekiel 3:16-21).

✭ In giving the great commission, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation..." (Mark 16:15-16), did Jesus not make his disciples watchmen of the world on the same terms as Ezekiel was made a watchman for Israel?

They are useless watchers who fail to warn.

5 The Lost Ten Tribes

The tribes of the northern kingdom are often spoken of as "the ten lost tribes".

It is claimed (and certain doctrines are based upon this claim) that no remnant of these tribes ever returned to or remained in the promised land.

However, this is not so. For example, Anna the prophetess was of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36).

Not only would some members of the ten tribes have made their way to Judah before, during, and after the Assyrian attack, but some would have been already living among the people of Judah and Benjamin.

In the time of king Josiah, when Passover observance was restored, it was kept with "the priests and Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (2Chronicles 35:17-19).

So in the time of the prophet Ezekiel, the terms Israelites, children of Israel, house of Israel, etc., referred to the remnant of (as it says above) "all Judah and Israel".

6 Can People Choose and Change? (Ezekiel)

We noted that Ezekiel was to warn both the wicked and the righteous. He was to warn the wicked so that they might repent and live. He was to warn the righteous so that they might not turn to evil and die (Ezekiel 3:16-21).

That word from God is one of the clear statements in the Bible concerning a person’s ability to choose and change, either from right to wrong or from wrong to right. People are able to choose their eternal destiny —either eternal life or eternal death.

If people have no choice, then why warn them? If the righteous cannot choose to do evil, and the wicked cannot choose to be righteous, the watchman who warns them is of no effect. The watchman’s warning implies that people can change

If we ask why a person might live and not die, God says, "because he took the warning" (Ezekiel 3:21). God leaves us free to either take the watchman’s warning or reject it.


Webservant Ron Graham

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