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by Robert Hawker
THE PROPHET EZEKIEL
STILL prosecuting the subject of prophecy, we enter now upon the inspired scripture written by Ezekiel. This Book of God very properly follows that of Jeremiah, in that, as Jeremiah predicted the captivity of the Church: Ezekiel becomes a confirmation of it, in dating his prophecy from among the captives in Babylon.
The author takes his name from an Hebrew word, of striking signification, meaning, that he was upheld, or strengthened by the Lord. The burden of Ezekiel's writings is chiefly of events to be accomplished in the Church; and his Sermons, which he delivered to the people, are many of them recorded with his prophecies. Many of the predictions he uttered, had their accomplishment after the return of the Church from captivity: and some remain to this hour to be fulfilled: and perhaps some are now fulfilling in the earth.
The time of Ezekiel's ministry is easy to be gathered, from calculating the duration of the seventy years captivity. Ezekiel began to be favoured with visions from the Lord, about the thirtieth year (which was the fifth year of the captivity) of Jehoiakim: and his prophecy continued near three and twenty years; so that it is no difficult matter to fix, the era of Ezekiel's ministry. But we do not find it so easy to unravel and explain the great scope and tendency of his prophecies. There are in it many dark, mysterious, and deep things of God. Some indeed, have been so blessedly explained, when accomplished in their corresponding events, as have called forth the admiration, love, and praise of the faithful to the Lord God of the Prophets, for giving to the Church such tokens of his favor, in watching over their interests in those periods. And these remaining to be fulfilled, will no doubt in due season lead to the same end. Every part of prophecy is discovered, when accomplished, to have been pointing to Him, of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote. And in the mean time, they serve by their obscurity, to call up the attention, and to exercise the faith of the Church, in waiting their accomplishment. And as very much of Jesus is in the writings of these holy men; yea, as the whole have no one object ultimately considered, but as holding forth Him: so it is to the unspeakable joy of the Church, when through the teaching of God the Holy Ghost, believers are led to discover, that to Him give all the Prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in Him, shall receive remission of sins.
I beg the Reader, before he enters upon this precious book of God, that he will bend the knee of the heart in prayer with me, that He, who directed the Prophet's pen, may influence the Reader's heart to a right apprehension of the great truths contained in it. And as the Holy Ghost hath taught the Church to understand, that no prophecy of the scripture was of any private interpretation; he will be always on the lookout for the divine leadings of the same Almighty Author of his Sacred Word, in the discovery of the Lord Jesus. And having such a sure word of prophecy, he may take heed unto it, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star shall arise in his heart. Amen.
the Second Week of Advent