Ezekiel was a prophet of the captivity. He was carried to Babylon in 597 b.c., eleven years before Jerusalem was destroyed. He was the son of a Zadokite priest. His wife died the day the siege of Jerusalem began.
Ezekiel's prophetic ministry began in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's exile, and continued until at least April, 571 b.c. As we read the Book of Ezekiel we will notice a striking resemblance to the Book of the Revelation. While Jeremiah was in Palestine prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem, Ezekiel, his younger contemporary, was in Babylon, declaring the same fate for the apostate city.
Ezekiel's ministry was principally to the exiles, and his messages had a large note of consolation in them. He showed his suffering colleagues that the Lord was justified in sending His people into captivity. His ministry centered in showing the preventive and corrective nature of God's chastenings, that His people might "know that He is God." This expression is found many times throughout the book.
In chapters 1--3 God's glory is revealed to Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a priest in captivity, and thus unable to exercise his ministry, since he was away from the Temple and the sacred altar. But God opened the heavens to him and called him to be a prophet. He had been in captivity for five years when his call came. It was Ezekiel's task to tell the people that God was going to destroy Jerusalem, not Babylon, but that there would be a day when the glorious restoration of the people and the Temple would come to pass. The phrase, "The Word of the Lord came," is used 49 times in this book. How wonderful to know that God's Word is never far from God's people.
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