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Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 11

The Persistent Energies of God Toward His End

Let us turn to the Book of the prophecies of Ezekiel. To begin with, I am just going to give you a very broad outline of this book; however, let me say here that it is not my thought to study the whole of this book. I am just going to take out some of the great features. There is a large middle section that we shall hardly consider at all.

Now this book of Ezekiel is one of the most difficult books in the Bible to understand. I suspect that you have discovered this in reading only the first three chapters. So, I will just give you this very broad outline of the whole book; you can fill in the details.

First of all, you will want to know what the whole book is about. Can we see on the first page of the book anything that sums up the meaning of the whole book? I think we can! This is the book of the persistent purpose of God - the Divine energies in relation to Divine purpose. If you want a New Testament fragment that will explain that, you have it in Ephesians 1:11, "...according to His purpose Who works all things after the counsel of His will." Ephesians 1:11 is the key to the Book of Ezekiel. That word in Ephesians 1:11, Who works (Who worketh), is a strong word. The Greek word is "energeo", which means "energy," so that God is energizing "all things after the counsel of His will." In a special way that is what we have in this book of Ezekiel - you must read the whole book in the light of Ephesians 1:11. I think we shall see that as we go on.

Now for the broad outline of the book. We begin with the prophet himself, and his preparation for his ministry. That covers the first three chapters: the prophet himself, the prophet's vision, and the prophet's commission. These are covered in chapters one through three. The next section is from chapter four to chapter twenty-six. That section has to do with the nation of Israel. There are three things in that section about the nation: firstly, their departure from God; secondly, their denunciation by God; and thirdly, their judgment. Then the next section is from chapter twenty-five to chapter thirty-two. This section has to do with the nations. There are first of all four nations that are dealt with: Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia. And then there are two: - Tyre and Sidon. There is a very brief interval referring to the restoration of Israel in chapter twenty-eight, verses 25, 26. And then the judgment of the nations proceeds, and Egypt is judged.

Then we come to section four. This brings us back to Israel the nation. This section is from chapter thirty-three to chapter thirty-nine. This section deals with the watchman, the shepherds, the new order, the vision of dry bones, and the last enemy.

Then we come to the fifth and final section, that is, the restoration found in chapter forty to chapter forty-eight; and in that we have: the temple, the Lord, the service of the temple, the river, the land, the inheritance, and the city. Now as I have said, we are not going to study all that. That is only given to you to help you get a grasp of the whole of the book.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 12)

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