HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The prophet did have a comparatively small personal audience in Babylon of fellow captives from Judah (Ezekiel 3:11). But the real import of his message was not primarily for these deported, displaced prisoners who could do little about their circumstance.
It’s important to understand that the kingdoms of Israel and Judah had separated after King Solomon’s death and that the people of the kingdom of Israel had already gone into captivity at the hands of the Assyrians during the latter part of the eighth century B.C. — well over a century before Ezekiel prophesied.
And by the time his prophecies began, some of the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah were likewise already in captivity, first by the Assyrians and then the Babylonians, with most of the rest soon to follow as a result of later Babylonian invasions.
A careful reading of Ezekiel’s prophetic message will reveal that it was aimed mainly at the distant future, primarily directed to the end-time descendants of Israel. Much of JEHOVAH’s revelation to him revolved around crucial, end-time events — both positive and negative — that would take place centuries in the future.
In the prophecy Yeshua the Messiah gave on the Mount of Olives the week he died, he plainly stated regarding the end-time, “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written [in the Old Testament prophets, including Ezekiel] may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22). But cataclysmic occurrences at the close of man’s age are just one aspect of this overall prophetic scenario.
Notice the apostle Peter’s words to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost seven weeks after the Messiah’s death and resurrection: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the LORD, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets [again including Ezekiel] since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
This insightful passage depicts a future golden age brought to suffering humanity by the return of JEHOVAH God and His Messiah, lasting 1,000 years (look at Revelation 20:1-6). Israel’s prophets aptly describe this long period of peace, prosperity and well-being. One of JEHOVAH God’s annual festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles, corresponds directly to JEHOVAH’s coming millennial reign.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW …