How to Study Ezekiel
In order to understand the depth and magnitude of the book of Ezekiel, you need to study it again and again. However, if you do the following, you will gain a good understanding or it.
Ezekiel has many references to time. These are important and need to be marked with a clock ¹ and colored green for ease of identification. Ezekiel 1:1-2 establishes the historical setting of Ezekiel's ministry. The other references to time give you the historical timing of his visions and prophecies.
Every time you mark references to time, look at the calendar to see what month Ezekiel is referent to. (Follow the sacred calendar highlighted in black.)
Ezekiel 1:2 is a parenthesis and serves as an explanation of the timing of verse 2. Read 2 Kings 24:8-25:21 for a good overview of the historical setting. This will help you understand the timing of Ezekiel's prophecies.
As you read, look for Jehoiachin's name, mark it in a distinctive way, and watch when he goes into exile. Also note who is made king when Jehoiachin goes into exile.
In the margins of 2 Kings 24-25, record the dates of Jerusalem's first, second, and third sieges. (Jehoiachin was taken captive when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem the second time.) The first siege is recorded in 2 Kings 24:1-7 and occurred in 605 B.C. The second siege is recorded in 2 Kings 24:10-16 and occurred in 597 B.C. (Ezekiel was taken captive during the second siege.) The third and final siege is recorded in 2 Kings 25:1-21. It began in 588 B.C., and by 586 B.C. the city was captured and destroyed.
Read Ezekiel 1:1-3 and record what you learn about Ezekiel under "Author" on Structure of Ezekiel
Now read Numbers 4:3 and observe at what age a man began his priestly service. Then look at Ezekiel 1 and compare this with the way Ezekiel is described and the year he had his first visions from God. Verse 2 tells you what year it was in relationship to the second siege of Jerusalem, the year when Jehoiachin went into exile.
Now that you have the historical setting, as you read the dates of all the other visions or prophecies in Ezekiel, you can know that the dates are calculated from the time of Jehoiachin's and Ezekiel's exile in 597 B.C.
If you learn anything new about God, record your insight in the margin next to a ∆ (for God).
Key repeated words and phrases to mark throughout the book: the word of the Lord, prophesy, son of man, covenant, vision (s), the glory o God (the Lord), Spirit (spirit), know that I am the Lord, iniquity (sin, abominations), rebelled (rebellious), sword, wrath (anger, fury), mountains (s), heart, harlot (harlotries, adultery), blood, sanctuary (temple), the day of the Lord, woe. Write them on an index card, color code each in a distinctive way, and then use the card as a bookmark while you study Ezekiel. Double-underline in green all geographical locations.
Chapters 1-3: Ezekiel's Call
Read chapters 1-3 and mark the key repeated words. Also, mark listen, and if it is negative, put a slash through it like this: \
As you go through these chapters one at a time, interrogate the text with the "5 W's and an H." Ask questions such as: What does Ezekiel see? How are they described? Where are they? Where is Ezekiel? What is he told to do? Why is he told to do it? When is Ezekiel to speak?
You may want to summarize your observations in your notebook. Note what Ezekiel is called to do and how he is to do it. Also note to whom he is sent and why?
In summary from in your notebook, list everything you observe from the test about Ezekiel, the people to whom he was sent, and the glory of the Lord.
Record the theme of each chapter on Structure of Ezekiel and in your Bible
Chapters 4-24: Prophecies about Judah and Jerusalem
Read through this segment one chapter at a time. On the first reading of a chapter, mark every reference to the time of a vision. Also mark the keywords that are in your bookmark.
Watch for and mark the phrase know that I am the Lord. This is a key phrase used throughout the remainder of Ezekiel, so add this to your bookmark. Every time you see this phrase, observe who is going to know and how they will know it.
When your mark Spirit, heart, and glory of God, you may want to list what you learn about each from that chapter.
Add covenant to your list of key words. When it is used in a chapter, list what you learn about it in your notebook. Also watch for additional key repeated words.
Now read though each chapter again. Watch for every reference to the son of man. In your notebook, note God's instructions to Ezekiel, the son of man. Note to whom or to what he was to speak and how. Note whether it was by symbolic acts, messages, visions, parables, or signs. Also note why he was to speak in that way and the significance of this action. Notice, too, when Ezekiel's mouth is shut and then later opened. This is important.
Record the theme of each chapter as you have done previously.
Chapters 25-32: Prophecies about the Nations
Read through this segment one chapter at a time. On the first reading mark the key words. Watch for the phrase know that I am the Lord, and again observe who is going to know and how they will know it.
On the second reading of the chapter, identify and record in the margin the nation to whom the prophecy is given and the ruler-if he is mentioned. Also observe and note what will happen to the nation and why.
Make sure you note or mark when the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel.
Record the theme of each chapter as you have done previously.
Chapters 33-39: Prophecies about Israel's Restoration
Read each chapter and once again:
Mark the references to time, noting when the visions or prophecies were given to Ezekiel. As you look at these, you may want to consult the chart "Prophetic Points of History".
Mark every key word. In your notebook list what you learn from marking covenant and then compare it with what you observed about covenant in Ezekiel 16-17.
Continue noting the same observations from marking every occurrence of know that I am the Lord. Also list what you learn about the Spirit. heart, and the glory of God.
List God's instructions to Ezekiel ("the son of man"). Note to whom or to what he was to speak and what the message was to be. As you look at the prophecy, list what is going to happen, to whom or what it will happen, and when it will happen. Put a symbol next to any indication of timing. Also note any symbolic acts he was to perform and why.
List the theme of each chapter as before.
Chapters 40-48: Prophecies about the Temple
As you begin observing this final segment, read 40:1-5. In a distinctive way, mark when this final vision is given. Then in your notebook, record who gives it, how, where, and what Ezekiel is to do.
Read each chapter carefully and do the following:
Mark key words as before; however, add to your list temple (sanctuary, house), holy, offering, and gate (entrance). Watch for the reference to the Eastern Gate.
Watch for and record the reason for the vision of the temple and its measurements. Also note what you learn about the glory of the Lord, the Spirit, and their relationship to the temple or sanctuary. Compare this witch what you saw in Ezekiel 8-11.
Warnings: This last segment of Ezekiel may seem a little boring after the first 39 chapters. Don't get bogged down in all the temple measurements. Don't miss the last verse of Ezekiel, since it names "the city." It's Jehovah-shammah!
In your notebook, list the main points, instructions, or events of each chapter.
Record the theme of these chapters as you have done before. Then complete Structure of Ezekiel. Go back to each vision Ezekiel had, note the year when it occurred, and from your calendar record the name of the month and the day. (Follow the sacred calendar highlighted in black). Then transfer this information to the segment division portion of Structure of Ezekiel.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
|NASB key words|| NIV related words||NASB key words||KJV related words |
|-guilt, doing, wrong, evil, wicked|
-prostitute, adultery, illicit favors, promiscuity
-whore, whores, etc., fornication