Finding Jesus in Ezekiel
Have you ever tried the ‘trust experiment’ with a partner? Someone stands behind you and promises to catch you when you fall backward … while staying focused on what’s ahead of you. It’s frightening but quite effective. That’s faith. God promises to catch us, it’s inevitable, when we begin to fall. Faith and trust are action words that show our certainty in the character of God.
Ezekiel was a prophet of God, lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, and traveled the countryside pastoring to his people. He spoke the truth of God’s Word, undoubtedly counseled and prayed with people, and also had dynamic experiences with God. Through many visions and prophetic actions, which are hard to interpret, he spoke to the people of the destruction of their beloved Temple and city of Jerusalem. The Spirit filled him, transported him to various places, and allowed him to experience the glory of His presence. This is quite an action-packed book, however, the purpose is to build trust in God.
Where do we find Jesus in Ezekiel? For a Christian it seems that chapters 34-39 have special significance. Alongside his message of repentance and returning are glimpses of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. As He speaks of Himself as a shepherd in search of His sheep (34:11-31) we are reminded of Jesus describing Himself as a shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (John 10). Ezekiel speaks for the LORD in promising a new heart and new spirit (36:26-27) for those who will recognize the King from the line of David (37:24-28). We know that this refers to Jesus Himself (Matt. 1:1, Rev. 22:16) as we read in the New Testament.
Ezekiel has the spiritual ability, as we’ll see in the remaining prophetic books in this study, to see the future but also, and more importantly, the far-future: the end times. There’s a war coming, unlike no other war we’ve seen in the Middle East (chapters 38 and 39) called the war of Gog (the name of a ruler) and Magog (a land to the north of Israel). Many see this as a united Russia with her surrounding nations. Some see this as happening before Jesus returns and some believe this will happen after He appears on earth.
Whatever the timing, believers will be trusting in God to fulfill His Word; He will restore His covenant land and His covenant people. Ezekiel closes out his prophecies with the building of the third Temple in Jerusalem where Jesus will sit on the throne (43:7). Many call this time the Millennial Reign of Christ (1,000 years).
Believers, Jew and Gentile alike, have a wonderful future ahead in the Kingdom of God. It’s what gets us through the tough times, the times of tribulation and pain, and keeps our focus straight ahead. He’s there behind you, the ‘trust experiment‘ is real, fall back in His everlasting arms.