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Published by cpmacau
Christian Community Bible (OT) - 48th Ed (2009)
Christian Community Bible (OT) - 48th Ed (2009)

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Published by: cpmacau on Nov 27, 2009
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We usually recall this prophet as we remember Lent. He lived and prophesied duringthe Exile and while he announced a promising future to his devastated people, he did soafter having denounced, for years, the false hopes to which his companions were clinging.God himself had subjected him to lengthy fasts and trials in addition to the humiliation of his belonging to marginal groups in a city that was self-assured. While “second Isaiah”seemed to look at the group of exiles from the height inspired by his great perspectives,Ezekiel was living in a squalid suburb where every day he faced the skeptical or hostilelooks of the exiles.Ezekiel was a priest and God had called him when he was thirty-three, the legal age tobegin to serve at the Temple. Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel was both a priest and a prophet, whichinvites us not to set these two complementary functions against each other. The ministry of a priest does not end in the Temple. A priest teaches, judges and defines the application of the laws. On the other hand, a prophet is someone charismatic and able to discern the mostcurrent word of God through dreams, visions and various signs. The prophets whom Godcalled in a special way usually have their own personality. Jeremiah, for example, was a soli-tary man and other than his first preaching, he was barely perceived as a priest. Ezekiel, onthe contrary, was always very concerned about what is pure and impure; he exercised a pas-toral activity and, for him, the restoration of the Temple was an essential element of the newIsrael.Ezekiel had been among the first groups of deportees in 597 and he had spent his en-tire known life in Babylon. Some commentators thought that he had received God’s callwhen he was still in Jerusalem and that this call, that we can read in 2:9—3:9, was later com-bined with the vision of chapter 1. However, this is more a hypothesis than a well-foundedconclusion. The great vision of the New Israel (chaps. 40–48) took place in 572, that is to say,25 years later.Ezekiel’s preaching has been better kept than the preaching of other biblical prophetssince it was developed in a living community whose condition as exiles in a prosperous citydid protect the teachings of the prophet. Ezekiel was speaking to “old people,” most of whomwere among his acquaintances and his objective was to provide them with an adequate for-mation. The first people who came back from the Exile had undoubtedly taken his teachingas their rule of life and they had no reason to modify it.
 Ezekiel in our history
Both Ezekiel and Jeremiah left in the Bible one of the loftiest perspectives from whichwe can look at the history of the people of God. Being unfaithful and rebellious seemed toform part of the vocation of this people. Likewise, part of God’s action consisted in de-
stroying what had been built with him, from the moment the people wanted to settle in thisworld by following in the footsteps of other peoples.There are periods in history when everything seems to collapse and we only see deatheverywhere. However, it is in those moments that God sheds light on a new stage of his al-ways unforeseeable plan. Although there are risks in making too specific applications to thetimes in which we live, at the present time and especially in the Catholic Church, we havethe sensation of a collapse that might affect seemingly essential sectors of the Church itself and that reminds us of the time when the Kingdom of Judah disappeared. For many believ-ers, the time of the Exile has already started, whether they are referring to the Babylon of thisworld, blind to the truth, or to the Church itself changed into Babylon. As a result, manypeople are looking everywhere as they are waiting for a prophet or a ray of light.Jeremiah and Ezekiel complement each other. Jeremiah belonged to the group of Jewswho had the good fortune of escaping deportation and he knew that nothing could be ex-pected of them. This is the reason why he disregarded the following stage, that of the returnand he went directly to what was of the essence, namely, the new covenant. This covenantwould always reach beyond tomorrow and beyond institutions. On the other hand, Ezekielaccompanied the exiles who would form part of the offshoot of the new Israel. The prophetwas firmly grounded in his pastoral work and he prepared the following stage. By doing this,he may have been running the risk of thinking that those who returned from the Exile wouldbe better that their predecessors and that a people of God would be built with laws or withstones and cement. Ezra and Nehemiah are to be Ezekiel’s heirs and they will build up Ju-daism.Jeremiah became the great figure of the persecuted prophet. On the contrary, Ezekielshows no brilliance or beauty and, at times, we wish that he were a little less excessive andcrude. Yet, this cannot conceal the strength that animates him. As in the case of Elijah, theSpirit filled him with zealous love for the God who was not accepted.This book can easily be divided into six sections:1. THE VOCATION OF THE PROPHET: 1:1–3:272. PROPHETIC ACTIVITY BEFORE THE SECOND SIEGE OF JERUSALEM:4:1–24:27 – the siege and judgment (4:1–8:2) – the abominations in the Temple (8:3–11:25) – the lies of the prophets and personal responsibility (12:1–14:23) – accumulated sins in the history of Israel (15:1–24:27)3. PROPHECIES AGAINST THE NATIONS: 25:1–32:324. THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL: 33:1–37:285. GOG AND MAGOG: 38:1–39:296. THE VISION OF THE NEW ISRAEL: 40:1–48:30 – the new Temple (40:1–43:27) – the new worship (44:1–46:24) – the new Israel (47:1–48:35)
On the fifth day of the fourthmonth of the thirtieth year when Iwas with the exiles by the river Kebar, theheavens opened and I had visions fromYahweh.
On the fifth of the month (it was thefifth year of the exile of king Jehoiakin)
the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel,son of Buzi, the priest, in the land of theChal deans by the banks of the Kebar.There the hand of Yahweh was uponme.
Ezekiel sees the Glory of Yahweh
I looked: a windstorm camefrom the north bringing a greatcloud. A fiery light inside it lit up allaround it, while at the center therewas something like a glowing metal.
In the center were what appearedto be four creatures with the sameform;
but each had four faces andfour wings.
Their legs were straightand their feet were like those of acalf, shining like polished bronze.
Under their wings (on their foursides) they had human hands. Thewings of one
touched those of theother. Their faces did not turn as they
advanced, because they were able togo forward in any of the four direc-tions of their faces.
I saw they had human faces; buteach one also had the face of a lionon the right, and on the left the faceof an ox, and all four had the face of an eagle.
Their wings were spread up-wards. Each had two wings meetingthose of its neighbor and two co ver-ing its body; having four faces theycould advance in any of the four di-rections.
Wherever the spirit wouldgo, they went without turning as theyadvanced.
Between these creatures couldbe seen glowing coals like torchesmoving between them. The fireblazed and flashed from thunder-bolts.
The creatures ran to and frolike thunderbolts.
While I looked at the creatures, Isaw a wheel on the ground besideeach of them,
glittering as if madeof chrysolite. The four wheels hadthe same shape: indeed each was
1 The book begins with two differentintroductions. Nobody knows the meaning ofthe year thirty in the first verse. It may be acopyist’s mistake. The fifth year of Jehoiakinbrings us to 594 before Christ.
There the hand of Yahweh was upon me
(v. 3). This means that Ezekiel was drawn intoecstasy: as if having left his body, he mysteri-ously encountered God. He learned somethingof God’s mystery, received his mission and wastransformed into another man.4.
 A windstorm came from the north
.Ezekiel was overwhelmed by the vivid imagesaccom panying God’s words. We will find thevision of the Chariot of Yahweh again in chap-ter 10 where Yahweh is shown leaving hisTemple in Jerusalem to live in Babylon amongthe exiles.People of those days thought that their godswere confined to specific sanctuaries andplaces. Thus, the Jews exiled in Babylon, farfrom their homeland and their Temple wherethey could worship God, succumbed to de-spair. They felt that God had abandoned themand that only the people who stayed behind intheir country enjoyed God’s care.Precisely for that reason, Yahweh teachesEzekiel that though he dwells in the temple ofJerusalem he is not less present in distantBabylon. Yahweh follows his people anddwells among them.In a vision Ezekiel sees four creatures withfour faces and four wings. This suggests—inimages of those times—the greatness of God.In Chaldean palaces there were magnificentstatues of fantastic beings called “Cherubs”combining features of the strongest of beings:humans, the eagle, the lion and the bull. Here,they become impetuous living creatures sur-rounding and protecting the mystery of God.The intersecting wheels moving in every di-rection show God’s action throughout the uni-verse. They have eyes which see everythingand are in constant movement. In Revelation4, the apostle John will use images from thisvision.Above the creatures,
was a kind of plat-
3:148:3;11:24;40:2;Is 6:110:8

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