Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 8

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Read Ezekiel 15-16

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage. Does it seem like any time elapsed between the end of chapter 14 and the beginning of chapter 15? Why or why not?

2. Read chapter 15.

Have you ever seen grape vine “wood”? Take a look at some of these photos. How does God describe this kind of wood in chapter 15? Think about the things people would have used wood for. Why was vine wood useless for these things? We might say that vine wood looks like wood, but doesn’t “act” like wood, and is therefore good for nothing. Explain why this is an appropriate comparison to the people of Jerusalem.

Compare these “good for nothing” Israelites who look like God’s people but don’t act like God’s people to Paul’s description of people in the last days. Focus especially on the phrase in verse 5: “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”

What did it mean for the Israelites to “act faithlessly”? (8) What does it mean for God’s people today to act faithlessly?

3. Read chapter 16.

In chapter 16, God tells a metaphorical story of Israel’s history with Him. Take a moment to think back through the timeline of Israel’s history, recalling the major events along the way, or examine the Old Testament timeline in your Bible (or Google “Old Testament timeline” and find a good one online). And don’t forget to use your cross-references!

16:1-5- When was “the day of [Israel’s] birth”? What historical event or time period is God talking about here? How does God describe Israel at her “birth”? Does Israel really have anything going for her at this point?

16:6-7- How did God care for Israel when she was a newly established people? How does this demonstrate God’s compassion, care, and provision for His people? Explain how the blood represents both birth and death in this passage.

How does 16:1-7 point ahead to sinners today being being “born again“? Or to “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,“? Or to “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ”?

16:8-14- What historical time period is God referring to here? What kind of relationship does “spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you” (16:8) signify? Which covenant is verse 8 referring to, and what did that covenant basically say? Who is performing all of the action in this section? What is Israel doing for God here? What effect did God’s blessing and care have on Israel’s reputation to the rest of the world? (16:14) Why?

Explain how the marriage-like covenant in 16:8-14 points ahead to the covenant of grace God makes with sinners when He saves us. How does it foreshadow Christ as the bridegroom and the church as the bride? What do, “I bathed you with water” and “anointed you” (16:9) point to?

16:15-22- If the previous passage centered around a marriage covenant motif, what is the motif of this section? What sin does God consider spiritual “adultery”? In what ways did Israel forsake and betray the Lord? If Israel had remembered “the days of [her] youth” (16:22) and how God had graciously rescued and blessed her, how might her idolatrous behavior have been different?

Following the motif of this passage, describe the kind of sin Christians can fall into when we “forget the days of [our] youth” (16:22) when Christ first saved us.  In what ways might we – as individual Christians, or as a local church – “trust in our beauty” (16:15)? How might we sacrifice “baby Christians” to be devoured or slaughter those weaker in the faith and deliver them up as an offering to idols? (16:20-21)

16:23-29- Describe the depths of evil and idolatry to which Israel sank. Why does God mention pagan nations like Egypt, Assyria, and the Philistines in this passage? What did it say about Israel (God’s people) that the daughters of the Philistines (a pagan nation) were “were ashamed of [their] lewd behavior” (16:27)? What did God mean that Israel was “not satisfied” with her evil and idolatry? (16:28-29)

Have you ever seen a professing Christian sink to a level of evil so debasing it made heathens blush? Was that person ever genuinely saved?

16:30-34- Explain how Israel’s whoring after idols was so abominable that they couldn’t even rightly be compared to a prostitute. Going back to the marriage covenant motif, describe the level of hatred and contempt a wife (Israel) would have to have for her husband (God) in order to treat him in such a way.

Are there any ways in which you see evangelical “churches” whoring themselves out to idols?

16:35-43- Some people are uncomfortable thinking of God as wrathful, but considering this passage and all the previous passages we’ve read about Israel’s sin, did God have a right to be “enraged” (16:43)? Did Israel deserve God’s wrath after all He had done for her and the blackness of the evil she had committed against Him? How was God eventually going to execute judgement on Israel?

16:44-52- Review this passage through the lens of 16:23-29. How did Israel’s sin affect her reputation in the eyes of the pagan nations around her?

How does it affect the reputation of Christ and the church when a high profile Christian is publicly exposed in his sin?

16:53-58- How is God using shame as a tool in this passage? Explain “how the mighty have fallen!” in 16:56-57.

16:59-63- What is God’s overall goal for all this wrath, shame, and punishment? List and explain each of His objectives in this overall goal:

60a-

60b-

61a-

62a-

62b-

63a-

63b-

63c-

 What is the “everlasting covenant” God makes with those who, by faith, are truly His children?


Homework

• Add 15:7, 16:62 to your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list. Write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• Take a moment to “remember the days of your youth,” when Christ first saved you. How did Christ bring you from death to life, cleanse you, and bless you “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”? For the next week, take a few minutes every day to reflect on the gospel and what God has done for you in Christ. (Some people call this “preaching the gospel to yourself”.) How might “remembering the days of your youth” in this way help you to walk in humility and gratitude to God instead of straying off into sin and idolatry?


Suggested Memory Verse

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 7

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Read Ezekiel 13-14

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage. What was going on in chapters 11-12, and how does that connect to chapter 13?

2. Read chapter 13.

What’s another term for “the prophets of Israel…who prophesy from their own hearts” (13:2)? Are these prophets similar to Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. in that they are truly hearing from the Lord and conveying His message to the people?

What was the message the false prophets were delivering to the people? (13:10,16) How did this differ from the message Ezekiel delivered to them in last week’s lesson (link above)?

Make a list of all the words and phrases in chapter 13 that tell you (you’ll probably need more space than this):

Where the false prophets’ message came from:

How God describes the false prophets’ message (ex: truthful/false, helpful/unhelpful):

God’s posture, or attitude, toward the false prophets:

The consequences/punishment for prophesying falsely:

Examine 13:9 carefully. Put yourself in the average Israelite’s shoes. Why – theologically, culturally, familially, inheritance-wise, legacy-wise, etc. – would being cut off from one’s people have been such a dire punishment? Compare 13:9 to these passages. Is there a similar principle playing out in both?

Explain the “whitewash” metaphor in 13:10-16.

What sub-group of false prophets is 13:17-23 dealing with? What are the magic bands mentioned in 13:18, 20? Knowing what the magic bands were, what can you infer about the veils in 13:18, 21? Does God give these false prophets a pass just because they’re women? Describe the influence these women had on God’s people, and the unique influence female false teachers/prophets have on God’s people today. Compare 13:19 with these passages. What is the underlying motivation of the false prophecy/teaching “industry”?

Think about false teachers in evangelicalism today through the lens of chapter 13, applying all of the same categories above (where their message comes from, how God describes them, etc.). From God’s perspective, why is false prophecy/false teaching such a big deal? Based on this passage, how do you think God feels about false teaching in the church today? How does this passage apply to extra-biblical revelation (“God told me…”)? How do false teachers today “hunt down souls” (13:18) and “encourage the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life” (13:22)?

Read these common objections many Christians today raise when someone warns against a false teacher. If the God of Ezekiel 13 sent Ezekiel to speak to them today, what do you think He would have Ezekiel say to these objections?

2. Read chapter 14.

Explain in your own words what God is saying in 14:1-5. Is God OK with His people harboring idols in their hearts yet still trying to approach Him in prayer, worship, or seeking His favor? How does this concept apply to Christians today? Note in verse 1 – who specifically is harboring idols in their hearts as they approach God, and how is this impacting the people (14:5)? Explain again why it is so important for those in leadership to lead those under them in a godly direction and to set a good example for them.

Look at 14:6, 11- Does God want to punish His people? What does He want for His people?

Is the prophet God mentions in 14:7, 10 a true prophet of God, like Ezekiel, or a false prophet? What does “the punishment of the [false] prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike” (14:10) mean? Examine this pronouncement in light of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and Genesis 3:6, and explain why this punishment is appropriate. Are people who seek out false prophets/teachers innocent victims of those false prophets/teachers? Why does the Bible say people seek out false teachers? What is already in their hearts when they do? How can false teachers be like the fruit that tempted Eve? What was already in Eve’s heart that caused her to reach out for the fruit? How do false teachers tempt women in those ways today?

Examine 14:12-23- Why did God bring Noah, Daniel, and Job into this passage? Compare this passage to Abraham’s intercession for Sodom. What differences and similarities do you see?

What are God’s “four disastrous acts of judgment,” and what will be the result of each for any country to whom God sends them?

14:12-14-

14:15-16-

14:17-18-

14:19-20-

What does God mean by “How much more when I send upon Jerusalem” these acts of judgment? (14:21). Explain in your own words what God is telling Ezekiel in 14:22-23. How should Ezekiel be comforted by this?

Does God ever do anything, especially exercising His wrath and judgment, “without cause”? (14:23) How can this expression of His justice be a comfort to us?


Homework

• Add 13:9, 14, 21, 23, 14: 8 to your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list. Write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• Is there any way you’re harboring an idol or cherishing iniquity in your heart (14:1-5) while still trying to approach God in prayer, worship, or seeking His favor? Prayerfully examine your heart against Scripture and repent if you’re sinning in this way.


Suggested Memory Verse

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 6

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Read Ezekiel 11-12

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage. How does chapter 11 connect back to chapters 8-10? Recall and describe Israel’s sin from chapter 8-9, and carry that into chapter 11.

2. Read chapter 11.

Who were the people Ezekiel saw in 11:1, and what were they guilty of (11:2-3)? What did God tell Ezekiel to do? (11:4)

How did God execute these princes (11:1) differently than He executed the elders of the temple and the people of the city? (11:6-12) Why was their judgment and execution different? (11:12) Explain the biblical principle that those in positions of authority and power over God’s people bear a greater responsibility before God to know Him, follow Him, and lead His people in His ways. Read 2 Samuel 24:10-14 and compare the elders and the people falling into the hand of God versus the princes falling into the hand of man. Which did David say was better, and why? How does that concept apply to the different executions we see here in Ezekiel?

You may want to go back to Lesson 1 (link above) and refresh your memory about Ezekiel’s situation and residence at this time. Remember, Ezekiel has already been taken captive, and is writing, during and after the second wave of the exile, and prior to the third and final wave. He looks back from exile in Babylon to all of the people still in Jerusalem whom God is putting to death (or soon will) and who does Ezekiel think is the “remnant” of God’s people in 11:13? How does God answer Ezekiel’s question in 11:13, correcting him and reassuring him? (11:14-21) Who does God say is really the remnant of His people? Is there any comparison here to the “exiled” or “scattered” (11:16-17) church – genuinely regenerated Christians, not just people who call themselves Christians and places that call themselves churches – today? When will God finally gather the remnant of His people back together?

How does 11:14-21 illustrate both the human action of repentance and God’s actions in our repentance?

In what ways do 11:19-20 sound similar to our new birth in Christ? Can you think of any “likeminded” New Testament verses? Any verses similar to 11:21 in the New Testament?

Compare the movement of the glory of the Lord in 11:22-23 to its movement in previous chapters. Why does God’s glory keep moving around? Is it getting closer to or farther from the people in Jerusalem?

3. Read chapter 12.

Describe the little drama God has Ezekiel play out for his fellow exiles in 12:1-7. What was the message God was trying to get across to the people? (12:8-16) Why did God again have Ezekiel act out this scenario for the people instead of telling them in words? Did they get it? (12:9)

Describe the little drama God has Ezekiel play out for his fellow exiles in 12:17-20. What was the message God was trying to get across to the people? (12:19-20)

Explain in your own words what God is saying in 12:21-28. Compare 12:22 to 2 Peter 3:4. What did the people mean when they repeated this cliche or proverb? Why was it important to God that these Israelites, already in exile, know that He was about to virtually destroy Jerusalem, and soon?

In Old Testament times, the common understanding of gods – throughout the nations – was that certain gods were attached to a certain people group or “resided” within the borders of a certain nation. This idea may have entered Israel’s thinking as well about their own God, and might partly explain why they didn’t want to believe the things Ezekiel was saying about Jerusalem – God’s “dwelling place”. Explain how Ezekiel’s prophecies to the exiles in chapter 12 should have helped the people to remember that God is limitless, that He is God over all the universe and all people everywhere, and that His power can’t be contained by national borders, indeed, not even by the highest heaven.


Homework

• Did you make your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list from lesson 3’s homework? Add the incidences of this phrase from this week’s lesson (11:10, 12, 12:15, 16, 20), and write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.


Suggested Memory Verse

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 5

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4

Read Ezekiel 8-10

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage.

2. Read chapter 8.

Where did the Spirit take Ezekiel in his vision (what city/which building)? (8:3) In 8:4 and its cross-references, where was the glory of God resting (“there” and “valley”)?

What is the general, overall point God is making to Ezekiel in chapter 8? (8:6,9) As you make your way through chapter 8, fill in the chart below listing each of the idols that had been brought into the temple, who was worshiping it, and any thoughts on how that idol represented opposition to God, why the people would have wanted to worship it, why they brought it into the temple, how it was being worshiped, etc.

     Name/description of Idol       Worshipers       Thoughts/observations

8:3,5

8:10

8:14

8:16

What does it mean that God is a “jealous” (8:3.5) God? (Use your cross-references.) How is God’s jealousy for His name and His people an extension of and a demonstration of His holiness and His love for His people?

What is syncretism? Would you characterize what’s happening in chapter 8 as syncretism? Do you see a similar syncretism happening today in your own church or in the church at large? How is idolatry being brought into the church at large today? What are some elders (8:11- pastors, leaders, etc.) worshiping? Women (8:14)? Men (8:16)?

Sit quietly for a moment to ponder and feel the weight of the depth and blackness of the sin Israel was committing by worshiping false gods, and by doing so in God’s house where His glory rested.

3. Read chapter 9.

In your own words, give a brief “bullet point” summary of what happens in chapter 9.

What is God’s attitude and position toward Israel in this chapter? What consequence does He impose on them for their idolatry? (9:1) Compare and contrast where God’s glory is in 8:4 with 9:3. Why the change?

Why does “judgment begin at the household of God” with the elders? (9:6)

Compare chapter 9 with the Passover during the final plague in Egypt. Note the connections of idolatry, the mark, and the separation between those who received the judgment and those who did not. Now think ahead to the “final Passover,” the second coming of Christ. In the first Passover and Ezekiel 9 (9:4), who receives/displays the “mark”? Who will receive the “mark” prior to Jesus’ return? What role does idolatry play in the “final Passover”? How will Jesus separate those with the “mark” from those without it? Does anyone ever get put into the wrong group accidentally? How does this help you to feel more secure in your salvation and your eternity?

4. Read chapter 10.

What do the “burning coals” (10:2, 6-7) represent, as they are scattered across the city?

What happened to the glory of the Lord in this chapter? (10:4,18) Why was this so significant? Try to put yourself in both Ezekiel’s, and an average Israelite’s shoes at that time. What would God’s glory departing from the temple have meant to you? Could “God’s glory” depart from a church today if that church is practicing syncretism/idolatry? How?

Compare chapter 10 with your notes on the “whirling wheels” from lesson 2 (link above). Does chapter 10 help to clarify chapter 1? How? How does this demonstrate that “Scripture interprets Scripture”?

 

How would you summarize the main idea of chapters 8-10 in 2-3 sentences?

In what ways could chapters 8-10 apply to the church today? Since the Lord does not change, is He still just as wrathful over the desecration of His house and His people today as He was in Ezekiel’s time? How was that wrath for these sins expressed for regenerate believers who repent of these sins? How will God’s wrath over these sins be expressed toward the unrepentant? How does reading about God’s wrath toward idolatry in His house impact your view of the practices of your own church? Explain how this can be a spiritually healthy “fear of God”.


Homework

• Do you know what a theophany or Christophany is? Compare 8:2-3 with Daniel 10:5-6 and Revelation 1:13-15. What similarities and differences do you see?

• Why was it necessary for God to show Ezekiel all of these things in chapters 8-10 rather than just telling him in words? Has God ever demonstrated the truth of His Word to you by “showing you”? Perhaps you’ve gotten a little inkling of what it means that He is our Father as you parent your own child. Maybe He has shown you that you can trust Him as He carried you through a difficult situation. Write about your experience and the biblical truths it demonstrated to you. Think about the concepts of “seeing is believing” and “believing is seeing” and how they relate to what you learned from your experience.


Suggested Memory Verse

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 4

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3

Read Ezekiel 6-7

Reminder: I know we’re handling a lot of Scripture each week, and if you’re deep diving into the passages, it’s easy to get behind. Don’t worry! Remember, this study is self-paced. Take your time and take as long as you need. Also, I always build “catch up weeks” into my studies, so, scattered throughout the course of the study, there will be a few weeks with no new lesson which you can use for catching up.

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage.

2. Read 6:1-7.

“Who” does God have Ezekiel preaching to? (6:2,3) Did these inanimate objects need to “hear” the word of the Lord? Who did? What was God telling the people about what would happen on the mountains, hills, ravines, and valleys in 6:1-7?

What is the sin God is judging in 6:1-7? Find the words “altars,” “incense altars,” and “high places” in this passage. Were these used for worshiping God?

How would you characterize Israel’s sin of idolatry? Were most of the people faithful to the Lord, while a few briefly gave in to the temptation to worship idols, then repented and showed contrition when rebuked? Or, were most of the people rebellious, hard-hearted, and stubbornly unrepentant of their idolatry over an extended period of time? Does God respond to repentant sinners with the ferocity of wrath we have seen so far in Ezekiel, or does He reserve that wrath for unrepentant sinners?

3. Read 6:8-14

What was God’s purpose in keeping “some of you alive”? (8)

4. Read chapter 7.

Examine 7:6-7,12, and explain the difference between God’s eternal and immutable (unchanging) attribute of patience, and the exercise of His patience for a finite amount of time with particular people in certain circumstances. In Ezekiel, we are seeing the exercise of God’s patience with Israel nearing the end of its finite time. When is the next time in human history that we will see God’s exercise of patience with people come to an end?

What is the “beautiful ornament” of verse 20? What does God say will happen to it? (20-22)

5. List all of the specific ways in chapters 6-7 that God says He will kill people. Why does God repeat Himself about this? (If you have, or teach, children, think about how many times you have to repeat yourself to them, and why.)

Are there any phrases in chapters 6-7 that sound like they might refer to Israel repenting? What are they? As you look closely at these phrases and consider them within the broader context of chapters 6-7 and the theme of the book of Ezekiel, compare them to the godly grief and worldly grief over sin described in 2 Corinthians 7:10. Which type of grief, if any, over sin is Israel displaying?

How can a loving God express this kind of wrath against His own people? Explain how God’s wrath is an expression of, or complementary to, His love. How was the cross a simultaneous expression of God’s perfect wrath and perfect love?

6. Think about chapters 6-7 through the lens of 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

How is this passage profitable for us as 21st century Christians under the covenant of grace? How can God use it for teaching, reproof, etc., in your life? How does it help complete and equip you?


Homework

• Did you make your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list from last week’s homework? Add the incidences of this phrase from this week’s lesson (6:7, 10, 13, 14 and 7:4, 9, 27), and write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• Do some research on altars and high places, including an image (pictures) search. Consider the amount of work it would have taken the Israelites – with hand tools – to build multiple (note the plurals in 6:1-7) structures like this. Describe how all of this work was making provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

An idol doesn’t have to be a statue we physically bow down to, or build an altar to, and worship. We can idolize a person, money, a certain lifestyle, popularity, a favorite pastor or teacher, false teaching, our children, the perfect marriage, etc. An idol is anything you love, value, or lavish time, money, and effort on, more than the God of the Bible. Are there any idols in your life? In what ways do you “make provision for the flesh” (purposefully make room in your heart and life) for that idol? Over the next week, pray that God will reveal any sin of idolatry you are participating in and that He will help you repent and get rid of those idols.


Suggested Memory Verse