Ezekiel, a priest and a prophet, ministered during the darkest days of Judah’s history: the seventy years of Babylonian captivity. Carried to Babylon before the final assault on Jerusalem, Ezekiel uses prophecies, parables, object lessons, and symbols to dramatize God’s message to His exiled people. Though they are like dry bones baking in the sun, God will reassemble them and breathe life into the nation once again (37:1–14). Present judgment will be followed by future glory, so that “you shall know that I am the LORD” (6:7).
The Hebrew name for Ezekiel, Yehezkeʾl, means “God Strengthens” or “Strengthened by God.” Ezekiel is indeed strengthened by God for the prophetic ministry to which God calls him (3:8, 9). The name occurs twice in this book and nowhere else in the Old Testament.
Ezekiel’s prophecies for God’s people can be seen as the companion piece to those of Jeremiah. While Jeremiah delivered a frightening message primarily of judgment and destruction, Ezekiel’s message focuses more on restoration and reconstruction.
A large portion of Ezekiel’s book (40–48) focuses on a temple in Jerusalem that has yet to be built. Its dimensions and features are distinctly different from any Jewish temple ever constructed, leading many scholars to assume this temple has a yet future role to play in Israel’s history. In Ezekiel’s vision the Lord says of this temple, “this is 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 forever” (43:7). Even the city where the temple sits will have a new name: “and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE” (48:35).
Themes: God promises to restore His people when they repent of their sin and return to Him with their whole hearts.
Author: Ezekiel the prophet.
Time: Ezekiel’s prophecies are set during the latter part of Judah’s decline and during the Babylonian exile (approximately 592–570 B.C.)
Structure: The first part of the book (1–24) details God’s judgment against His wayward people. The second part (25–32) speaks of God’s judgment against the nations. The third part (33–48) predicts God’s renewed blessing on His repentant people.
Charles F. Stanley, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles, 2005), Eze.