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Ezekiel 2:1-5

Outline of Ezekiel 1-3:

Ezekiel’s Inaugural Vision  (chs. 1-3)    I. The Divine Vision  (ch. 1)   II. The Call and Commission (2:1-3:15)  III. Warning to Israel (3:16-27)

Context

Ezekiel, a soon-to-be priest in Israel, was taken into captivity during the first Babylonian attack on Jerusalem in 597 B.C. (cf. 2 Kings 24:12-15). The Book of Ezekiel begins about five years after this attack. The story opens with Ezekiel sitting on the banks of the Chebar River (a tributary or canal that flows into the Euphrates). Ezekiel is apparently turning 30 years old, the age that a qualified person would enter the Levitical priesthood (Numbers 4:3). However, Ezekiel was denied this opportunity due to his exile in Babylon.[1] One can only imagine his state of mind in light of this exile from Jerusalem and the loss of the future that Ezekiel had right in front of him.

God breaks into this dull moment in Ezekiel’s life with a vision that will change his course and calling; from priest to prophet (Ezk. 1:4-28). He sees a storm cloud approaching with wind and flashes of lightning. Inside the cloud are four strange creatures, wings stretched out, wheels beneath each creature, their wings supported a platform. On the platform was a throne and on this throne was a man-like figure. This figure’s appearance was like hot metal engulfed on fire, surrounded by a brilliant rainbow. Ezekiel writes, This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord (Ezk.1:28). Ezekiel fell on his face before this creature. Chapter two and three records the initial message of this creature, revealed to be the Sovereign Lord (2:4).

It is significant to the context of this passage to note that God’s glory had for centuries been associated with the Temple in Jerusalem (c.f. 1 Kings 8:11, Psalm 26:8, 63:2, 96:6, 102:16). Now God has left His Temple to appear to Ezekiel in a place of exile.[2]

Examine the Passage – Ezekiel 2:1-5

2:1 He said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you.

The Hebrew, ben adam, translated Son of man or mortal is used 93 times in Ezekiel.[3] This phrase is God’s way of calling attention to the prophet’s humanity and mortality, which this book portrays in dramatic contrast to God’s glory. In the New Testament, Jesus frequently referred to himself as the Son of Man (Matthew 8:20, 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8, 32, 40; etc.), but never explained what he meant by that term. In the early church, Christians sometimes used the phrase “Son of Man” to designate Jesus’ humanity—alongside “Son of God” to designate his deity.[4]

2:2 And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me.