Ezekiel — Lesson 1 Handout

Lesson One – Ezekiel – Handout

1) Ezekiel: the Man.

2) Ezekiel: the Ministry.

3) Ezekiel: the Message.

a) To many the book of Ezekiel is difficult and hard to understand.

b) In its structure, however, if not in its thought and language, the book has a basic simplicity, and its orderly framework makes it easy to analyze.

c) Religious issues addressed by Ezekiel.

i) Debates over the meaning of the first deportation.

ii) Debates about the length of the exile and the possibility of return to the land.

iii) Debates about the status of the exiles in Babylon after the first deportation.

iv) Debates among prophets reflecting differing point of view.

v) Debates about the relationship of God to Jerusalem.

d) Despite the complexity of the book, the message is relatively simple and can be easily summarized.

i) The city of Jerusalem and the people of Judah would inevitably be punished because of their sins, which were both religious and social.

ii) No only was the current generation sinful and deserving of punishment, but the entire history of Israel had been a history of disobedience and rebellion against God. (ch. 20.)

iii) Repentance might still save individuals who lead a righteous life (ch. 18), but the righteous few, if they existed at all, could not save the rest of the nation.

iv) This message applied both to the deportees of 597 BC and to the people who remained in the land.

v) Yet in spite of this unequivocal message of doom, Ezekiel also prophesied that after the city had been destroyed and the people punished, God would bring the exiles back to the land, and the Temple would be restored according to a divine plan (chs. 40-48).

vi) God will bring the people back in order not to profane the divine name (ch. 26:16-32).

e) In addressing these issues, Ezekiel presents five recurrent themes (others could be discussed, but these are the highlights around which his message is built).

i) The otherness of God.

ii) The sinfulness of Israel.

iii) The fact of judgment.

iv) Individual responsibility.

v) The promise of restoration.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)