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  • The book of the prophet Ezekiel.

  • Ezekiel was a priest

  • who had been living in Jerusalem

  • during the First Babylonian Attack on the city.

  • And they spared the city

  • but they took a first wave of Israelite prisoners

  • and hold them off into exile.

  • And Ezekiel was among them.

  • So the book begins five years after all that.

  • And Ezekiel was sitting on the bank of an irrigation canal

  • near his Israelite refugee camp.

  • And it's his 30th birthday, no less--

  • the year that he would have been installed

  • as a priest in Jerusalem.

  • And then all of a sudden Ezekiel has this vision.

  • He sees a storm cloud approaching.

  • And then inside the cloud are four strange creatures

  • that have wings outstretched and touching each other.

  • And these creatures each had each four faces.

  • And then he saw four wheels-- one by each creature.

  • And then he saw that the wings of the creatures

  • were supporting this dazzling platform.

  • And on that platform is a throne.

  • And then sitting on that throne is this human-like creature

  • glowing and shrouded in fire.

  • And then all of a sudden Ezekiel realizes what he's seeing.

  • He calls it

  • "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD."

  • It's God riding His royal throne chariot.

  • Now the word "glory."

  • In Hebrew it's "kavod."

  • It means "heavy" or "significant."

  • The biblical authors use this word

  • to describe the physical appearance and manifestation

  • of God's significance when He shows up in person.

  • These images in the vision,

  • they're very similar to what happened

  • when God appeared on Mount Sinai on the book of Exodus.

  • And is also very similar to the depictions of God's presence

  • over the Ark of the Covenant.

  • And that's actually the most shocking thing about Ezekiel's vision,

  • "What is God's glory doing in Babylon?"

  • It's supposed to be above the Ark of the Covenant

  • in the temple in Jerusalem.

  • And so the first section of the book opens to explore that question

  • as Ezekiel begins to accuse Israel of rebellion.

  • So God first speaks to Ezekiel from the throne chariot

  • and He commissions him as a prophet.

  • Ezekiel is to accuse Israel of breaking their covenant agreement with God in a couple of ways.

  • Israel has given their allegiance to other gods

  • and has been worshipping idols

  • and these has all led to

  • rampant social injustice and violence.

  • And so as a result,

  • God appoints Ezekiel to warn the people.

  • The first Babylonian attack

  • that took Ezekiel into exile

  • is going to be matched by another.

  • And Jerusalem, its temple,

  • all face imminent destruction.

  • So Ezekiel uses words and more

  • to get his message across.

  • He also performs sign acts.

  • These were a form of street theater.

  • Ezekiel would go out on public

  • and start behaving in this really bizarre ways

  • that were like parables of his prophetic message.

  • So he was supposed to build a tiny model of Jerusalem

  • and then staged an attack of it.

  • Or he was to shave off all of his hair

  • and then chop it up with a sword.

  • Or the most extreme,

  • he was to play the role of the scapegoat

  • on the Day of Atonement.

  • And he would lay on his side for over a year

  • eating food cooked over poop

  • as a sign of the nasty food that people would have to eat

  • during the siege of Jerusalem.

  • And perhaps the most disheartening thing of all

  • is the bad news God gave Ezekiel--

  • that no one was going to listen to him.

  • Israel would reject him

  • because of their rebellious and hard heart.

  • And this recalls Moses' description of the people after the wilderness rebellion

  • when he predicted that exile would one day happen.

  • And Ezekiel had the unfortunate privilege of seeing it all come to pass.

  • And so a dismayed Ezekiel, he begins to perform his task.

  • And after about a year he has another vision.

  • This one is about the temple.

  • He goes on this virtual tour of the temple

  • and he sees what's happening there in his absence.

  • And it is not good.

  • In the outer courtyard, in front of the temple,

  • he sees this large idol statue.

  • And then he sees the elders of Israel worshiping other gods,

  • both outside and inside the temple.

  • And then he sees the women of Israel,

  • they're worshiping a Babylonian god named Tammuz.

  • And the vision ends with God's glorious throne chariot

  • moving up and away from the temple.

  • It's leaving, going east headed towards Babylon.

  • And so in chapter 11 we come to see why and how

  • God's glory appeared to Ezekiel there in Babylon.

  • Israel's idolatry and their covenant violations.

  • It's become so blatant and offensive

  • that God has left His temple.

  • They've driven Him away

  • and He consigns it to destruction.

  • But God hasn't abandoned His people.

  • Rather He goes into exile with them.

  • And so at the end of this vision in chapter 11,

  • God promises that He will return a remnant of Israel back to the land.

  • And He'll transform them

  • by removing their heart of stone

  • and giving them a new soft heart of flesh.

  • So that they can love and truly follow their God after all.

  • This is a small glimmer of hope.

  • And it's quickly submerged under the reality of the imminent destruction.

  • But chapter 11, it's a key transition.

  • And it helps us understand how the rest of the book has been designed.

  • So the next three sections are all announcements of God's judgement.

  • First, on Israel.

  • Then, on the nations around Israel.

  • And then on Jerusalem itself.

  • But then after that,

  • the hopeful conclusion of chapter 11 gets developed

  • in the final 3 sections of the book.

  • First, hope for Israel.

  • Then for the nations.

  • And then for all creation.

  • Chapters 12-24 focus on God's judgment coming to Israel.

  • And this is a diverse collection of poems and essays.

  • And here Ezekiel shows his fondness for parable and allegory.

  • So he depicts Israel as a burnt useless stick,

  • or as a rebellious wife,

  • or as a dangerous raging lion that gets captured,

  • or as two promiscuous sisters.

  • These are all depictions of Israel's senseless rebellion and idolatry

  • that results in their ruin.

  • In this section, Ezekiel also acts like a lawyer.

  • He begins arguing to the case.

  • That first of all, Jerusalem's destruction is truly deserved

  • after centuries of covenant violation.

  • And that even if the most righteous people in the world

  • like Noah, or Daniel, or Job

  • were alive and praying for God to spare Israel

  • God would not accept their prayers.

  • It's far too late.

  • And so God's goodness actually demands

  • that He bring justice on this generation of Israel.

  • The exile has become inevitable.

  • They've reached the point of no return.

  • Following this, Ezekiel focuses first on the nations immediately around Israel.

  • And then on the two most powerful states in the region:

  • Egypt and then Tyre.

  • Israel has allied with these nations

  • and adopted their gods and their idols.

  • And so God accuses the kings of Tyre and Egpyt

  • for arrogantly viewing themselves as gods

  • who get to define right and wrong on their own terms.

  • And God holds these kings accountable for their pride

  • and he announces that He will use Babylon to bring them down

  • They will face God's justice along with everybody else.

  • Following these really intense sections

  • is a short story in chapter 33.

  • Ezekiel's met by a refugee

  • who's just arrived from Jerusalem

  • and he gives him the report.

  • The Babylon has attacked the city of Jerusalem.

  • That the city has fallen and the temple was destroyed.

  • Ezekiel's grim warnings have become a reality.

  • But remember the end of chapter 11,

  • that's not the end of the story.

  • And so on the next video,

  • we'll explore Ezekiel's profound vision of hope.

  • But for now, that's the first half of the book of Ezekiel.

The book of the prophet Ezekiel.

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聖書を読む。エゼキエル書1-33 (Read Scripture: Ezekiel 1-33)

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    sophia に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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