Prophet Ezekiel was the son of a priest. He was taken into captivity in Babylon with King Jeconiah. Ezekiel prophesied 27 years while he was in slavery. He was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. And while Jeremiah taught and prophesied in Jerusalem, Ezekiel taught and prophesied in Babylon. Babylonians knew about the prophet Jeremiah and his prophecies, as same as the people in Jerusalem knew about the prophecies of Ezekiel. Both were embittered and tortured by the unbelieving Jewish. Theirs prophesies matched. At the river Hover, he saw the heavens open, a cloud, and fire and radiance, and four animals. One animal had a human face, another a lion, a third a calf, and a fourth an eagle.
The explanation of that vision was: The face of a man signifies the Lord incarnate as a man, the lion His implies deity, the face of a calf His sacrifice, the eagle His resurrection and ascension. On another occasion, Prophet Ezekiel saw a picture of the resurrection of the dead. He saw in a valley full of dry bones when the Spirit of God descended on them, all the dead came to life and rose to their feet. The most terrible ruin of Jerusalem, when the wrath of God cut everything except those that were previously marked by the Greek sign called Tav. And that sign is like our letter T, which is again the sign of the cross.
Jewish malice does not spare this holy man either. The prophet Ezekiel died a martyr’s death. Indignant at him for rebuking them, the Jews tied his horses by the tails and tore him apart. The people picked up his torn body and buried it in the field of Moor, in the family tomb of Shem and Arphaxad, the great-grandfather of Abraham, son of Noah. Many Jews gathered at his grave and offered their prayers to God.
Prophet Ezekiel was from the tribe of Levi. At the time of the second conquest of Jerusalem, he would be taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. He was together with the king of Judah, Joachim, called Jehonia the Second. Jerusalem was conquered three times by King Nebuchadnezzar. But after a short time, Nebuchadnezzar sent Joachim to Jerusalem to reign again, but as his vassal. After three years in Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar, Jehoiakim rebelled against him and refused to pay tribute. Because of that, the Babylonian army came to Jerusalem again the holy city would be occupied. King Jehoiakim was killed and thrown to the dogs outside the city to be eaten. (As prophet Jeremiah saw in the vision).
In his place, by order of Nebuchadnezzar, his son, also called Joachim, would be appointed king, who would be called by another father’s name – Jehonia, and so he became Jehonia the Second. And he would be made a vassal of the king of Babylon, as his father was before. But since Jehoiachin also did what was evil before the Lord, then, after God’s indulgence, after a short time, Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem again. He took Jehoniah into captivity with his whole house and many noble people, brave men, all who were capable of carrying weapons, of various artists, and he took the golden vessels of the church. During the second conquest, prophet Ezekiel, Mordecai, and Josedec slaved.
While he was in the Babylonian captivity, the prophet of God Ezekiel lived on the river Hobar. He had a miraculous vision in the thirtieth year of his life, and in the fifth year after Jehoniah was taken into slavery, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of that month. He saw where the heavens opened; a strong wind was blowing from the north, and from there came a great and shining cloud; a fire rose amid the clouds, and a light shone around him. Then appeared four animals, which looked like pure copper melted in the fire; each animal had four faces: the face of a man, a lion, a calf, and an eagle.
They each had four wings and under the wings a man’s hand. Two wings were spread out for flying, and with the other two, they covered their bodies; the fire was kindled among the animals, and lightning came out of the fire. Four large dots were also visible, one next to each animal; these wheels looked like chrysolite stone, blue as the sea, with a golden gleam, evoked by the rays of the sun. All these wheels, as if alive, had life force in them, and they were full of eyes from everywhere. The four animals, it seemed, were harnessed to those wheels, like carts; and when the animals went, the wheels moved with them.
And when the animals stood, the wheels also stood. When they were moving, the sound of their wings was like the sound of great waters. However, when they held their wings were silent. They stood still, and they were silent when the voice of God came from above from Heaven. A crystal-like celestial vault was above these animals and wheels. On the vault the throne as of sapphires, and on the throne, there was the most radiant form of a human. And around him a radiance like a rainbow, when the rainbow shines in the clouds on a rainy day.
Prophet Ezekiel and dry bones
Prophet Ezekiel had a vision in the middle of a valley full of dry human bones. As Ezekiel walked through that valley, he noticed that the bones were very many and were very dry. God asked Ezekiel, what does he think, can dry bones come to life? His answer was: I don’t know, Lord, you do. Then God gave prophet Ezekiel two commandments that would gradually bring those bones back to life. He first commanded him to prophesy to these bones and tell them that they would be resurrected (Ezek. 37: 4-6). When he began to command those bouns, by the Word of God, there was a sound heard, like a thump, and the bones began to approach each other.
After that, the flesh and ligaments appeared on the bones, and then they were covered with skin. (Ezekiel 37: 7, 8) The second commandment of God was then Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind and to tell him to blow on those slain men. After prophet Ezekiel did as the Lord commanded, breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, and became an exceedingly great army. Here we have one prerequisite for these bones to come to life. Prophet Ezekiel was alive. He who prophesies must be alive. A dead bone cannot preach to dead bones. It is the same with the church today; the one who preaches needs to be reborn.
The interpretation of this vision was a mysterious prototype of our liberation from the slavery of sin. Church of Christ, which had to be done by appearing in the body of God, whom this prophet called closed doors, through which no one can pass, except God himself. The prophet Ezekiel saw the revelation and resurrection of the dead (Ezek. 37: 1 ). He saw where the hand of the Lord raised him and placed him amid a field full of dry human bones; all of them were clothed with flesh at the Word of God, and when the spirit entered into them, they came to life and stood on their feet, and there were many of them.
With this vision, God assured the exiles that he would bring them back to life, take them home, and allow them to live there. Moreover, God spoke to them again with the words: My people. Those words must have meant a great deal to those who had lost hope. About 130 years later, when the people of Judah were exiled, all the people of Israel were in bondage (Ezek. 37:11). Symbolically speaking, all the exiles were dead like bones from prophet Ezekiel’s vision. The bones that Ezekiel saw were very dry, which indicates that they were spiritually dead for a long time. Indeed, Israel and Judah were in exile for a total of more than 200 years(Jer. 50:33).
As the Lord said: He will open your graves, and bring you out of your graves (Ezek. 37:12).
Be like prophet Ezekiel
Prophesy the word of the prophets – this is what the Lord said to prophet Ezekiel, the prophet over whom was the hand of the Lord, whom God carried in spirit into a valley full of dry bones. Prophesy the prophetic word with dry bones! You who are alive go and share the Good News, share the Gospel. Tell them how they who are dead can come back to life through the Cross, and Salvation by Jesus Christ only. Go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to keep all that God has commanded you, and baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Go in the name of the Lord!