Prophetic Symbolic Acts in Ezekiel

Introduction
Participatory prophetic symbolic acts reached climax in Ezekiel Some functioned like ‘object lessons’ • Told to tie up belongings, carry them on bacj, dig a hole in wall with hands, crawl through it as if setting off on a journey (Ezk 12:1-7)

Ezek. 12:11 Say, ‘I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them. They shall go into exile, into captivity.’ Ezek. 12:19 And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it.

Likewise, eat and drink with trembling and fearfulness

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Build a model city and act out attack on the city o Was also put on siege rations – eating small quantities as people in a besieged city would o Although he was safe in exile, away from danger of Jerusalem, he had to share what God’s people anywhere would suffer Ezekiel 4:4-8 - Told to lie on his left side for 390 days equal to 390 years of Israel’s punishment - Then on his right side of 40 days equal to 40 years of Judah’s punishment Questions about whether this was physically possible led people to wonder whether they were not really acts performed by rather parables o Regardless of whether it was done or not, the theological explanation is what is of importance
o Ezek. 4:4 ¶ “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment.

o Explicit language showing that interpreting the symbolic acts as prophetic participation in the suffereing of God’s people Not suggesting that the prophet is bearing the sins of the people in himself so to lift the burden from them (only God can do that, though the language being used is priestly vocab) Rather, he bears the guilt of his people alongside them - Brings the prophet to the limit of what a human being can do - So in a way a predecessor of the servant of the Lord (Is 52:13-53:12)

His mission was not only to announce judgement and not only to justify God’s treatment of them by spelling out in accurate detail all that they had done wrong, but as a man of God he must also experience the punishment with them

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Last of recorded symbolic acts of 587

participation in effects of Jerusalem’s fall

““Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down.Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.” (Ezekiel 24:16-18 ESV)

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People, as usual were troubled by this. Ezekiel prophesies that delight of their eyes (Jerusalem) was about to die as his wife died Ezekiel’s prophetic symbolic acts seem to be claiming that in the prophet the divine and the human are somehow trying to come together o God’s way,here, in approaching people was not to stand over them pronouncing judgement o Seems to be a divine move towards participation in the lives of God’s people o Although as humans all they could see were signs of what God was going to do, There are hints in the suffering of these people of God that God also intends to experience the suffering intimations of the incarnation

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