For an introduction to this series, click here.
Sept. 26, 2006
I really picked a poor time to start this. It would have been easy to start in the Gospels or in Psalms, but I am afraid I am in way over my head here.
So let's get started. Ezekiel's first prophetic vision occurs in Babylon, where he is in exile with most of the Jewish nation. He appears before the throne of God in a vision very similar to John's description of the throne of God in Revelation. There is a song about Ezekiel and his wheels, but I really think Ezekiel is just focusing on different details of his vision than John does- they are basically the same thing.
Next, God commissions Ezekiel and give him this not-so-encouraging word: "And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 2:7, ESV)
God tells this to Ezekiel over and over. Then he tells him that he is a watchman over the house of Israel, and that if he does not warn the people, even though they will not listen, God will hold Ezekiel responsible for their sins.
A lot of preachers use this passage to say that God holds us responsible when people go to hell, but this teaching is found nowhere in the New Testament, and is exclusively given to Ezekiel in the Old Testament (it is repeated almost word for word later in the book). I see this is a problem of faulty theology. This is not the right forum to delve into an extended discussion of the doctrines of salvation, but God says very plainly in John 3:18 that the lost are already condemned. It is not our faulty witness that condemns them, it is their sin. All who reject Christ will stand before God with no excuse. We are certainly commanded to spread the Gospel and make disciples, but this guilt-trip style of preaching is misleading to the flock of God and does nothing to promote true obedience.