Book traversal links for Preface & Introduction
Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., Bible Truth Depot
Neptune, New Jersey
First Edition, June 1949
Twelfth Printing, November 1980
For many years it has been on my heart to try to produce a running commentary on the book of Ezekiel, but until the present, circumstances have not permitted this. During the last few months it has brought great blessing to my own soul as I have given many hours daily to meditation upon and study of this remarkable book, of which the present work is the result.
No one can be more conscious than I of its many imperfections, and yet it is my hope that there may be enough in it of a truly spiritual character that it will prove a means of blessing and edification to those who take the time to read it thoughtfully and prayerfully.
H. A. Ironside
Of all the prophetic books Ezekiel is the one that has been neglected most. Many persons are repelled by the marvelous vision of the opening chapter and, finding it too difficult to understand, proceed no further; and so they lose the blessing they would gain otherwise by a careful study of this entire book in dependence upon the Holy Spirit as teacher, who inspired the prophet to write it (2 Peter 1:21). Yet to the reverent student the book presents no real difficulties that may not be overcome by a careful comparison of scripture with scripture. Thus one may be preserved from a private interpretation which would not harmonize with the rest of God’s revealed Word.
Dr. Andrew Bonar, one of Scotland’s illustrious Bible teachers in days gone by, in order to stir his hearers up to a careful study of every book of the Scriptures, would suggest the possibility of meeting a glorious being in the golden city who would be recognized as the prophet Ezekiel. Dr. Bonar imagined he heard the newcomer to paradise exclaim, “Ezekiel, how glad I am to meet you! This is a wonderful privilege!” To this he made the prophet reply, “I am pleased indeed to see you. I see you know my name. How did you like the book I wrote?” Then, because of never having given that portion of Holy Scripture serious consideration, the confusion of the newcomer would be dwelt upon in such a way as to create in the minds and hearts of his hearers the desire to become thoroughly acquainted with the great work in question.
Ezekiel is primarily the exponent of the divine government. Throughout his book he dwells upon the fact that God is over all, working out His plans and carrying out His own decisions, in spite of Satanic efforts to thwart His purpose. The devil may be, and is, the god and prince of this present world system, but over and above all is the throne of the Eternal Majesty, whose ways are past finding out, but who controls the destinies of Israel and the nations, “working all things according to the counsel of His own will.”
The book divides naturally into four parts. Division 1 includes chapters 1 to 24: prophecies relating to Israel, calling to repentance in view of threatened judgment, all of which were uttered before the fall of Jerusalem; division 2, chapters 25 to 32: prophecies relating to seven nations with whom Israel had close relationship or providential dealings; division 3, chapters 33 to 39: the moral condition of Israel exposed, and the promise of a future restoration to God and to their land; division 4, chapters 40 to 48: a grand apocalyptic picture of the coming glory, when once more it shall be said of Jerusalem, “The Lord is there.”
Ezekiel was of priestly ancestry, but was probably carried into captivity (in the reign of Jehoiachin) before he began to enter on his duties as priest. He was contemporary with Daniel who was carried into captivity earlier, in the reign of Jehoiakim. His ministry covers a period of some twenty-one years, from B.C. 595 to 574. We know nothing whatever as to his early life, and only such incidents of his life as a captive as are given us in his book. The account of the death of his wife is most affecting. His whole demeanor bespeaks a man subject to the will of God, and yet of resolute spirit, so that he was able to stand firmly for the truth and to witness against the iniquities of his people without flinching, no matter how great the opposition became.
There is a very definite and intimate connection between this book and that of The Revelation. The living creatures of Ezekiel’s visions and those of the Apocalypse are clearly one and the same; and the closing vision of the restored earthly city and temple corresponds to that of John’s concerning the heavenly city, in which no temple is seen, because the whole is one vast sanctuary where the redeemed will dwell in unclouded light in the presence of God and the Lamb. Many other similarities and contrasts will be observed by the careful student who reads with reverence and dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
The subject of the divine government is often lost sight of by those who fail to realize that grace does not annul or set aside government. God has not vacated His throne as the supreme Ruler over the nations, and it still remains as true of nations as of individuals that whatsoever is sown must be reaped. This is the background for a true philosophy of history, and explains much that is going on among the nations in our own times. To all this Ezekiel gives us the key.
The Bible text in this publication is from the American Standard Version of the Revised Bible, copyrighted 1929 by the International Council of Religious Education, and used by permission.