Life-Study of Ezekielby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Ezekiel has four main sections, each of which contains one crucial point. The first section, consisting of chapter one, speaks of the glorious vision of God and reveals the holy God in His glory. The second section, composed of chapters two through thirty-two, speaks of God’s judgment to deal with all things and matters that do not match His righteousness, holiness, and glory. God judges everything among Israel and among the Gentiles that is incompatible with His nature. The third section, which includes chapters thirty-three through thirty-nine, concerns God’s recovery of a remnant of His people. When God comes in to judge, He remembers His covenant of grace, and thus He preserves a group of His elect and brings them back to their own land. This indicates that the main idea in the third section of Ezekiel is the Lord’s recovery. The fourth section, consisting of chapters forty through forty-eight, speaks about God coming to build His beloved recovered people into His dwelling place. This means that the last section is devoted to the matter of God’s building.
In the book of Ezekiel, there are three chapters which may be considered great chapters in the Bible—chapter one, chapter thirty-seven, and chapter forty-seven. These chapters occupy a special position not only in Ezekiel but in the Bible as a whole. Each of these chapters may be represented by a single word: chapter one—fire; chapter thirty-seven—breath; and chapter forty-seven—water. No chapter speaks of God as fire in the way Ezekiel 1 does. John 4 and 7 and Revelation 22 speak about water, but not in the way that Ezekiel 47 does. Likewise, Ezekiel 37 is unique in the way it speaks of God’s breath. This chapter reveals how God’s Spirit comes into us in order to enliven us that we may become a corporate body, formed into an army, and also built up as God’s dwelling place. Only in this chapter do we see the result of our being enlivened by the breath of life. From this we see that Ezekiel 37 occupies a particular position in the Bible.
Chapters thirty-three through thirty-seven of Ezekiel describe God’s recovery of His people from different aspects. Chapter thirty-four emphasizes the Lord’s coming as a Shepherd to seek His lost sheep and to bring them back to their own land. In chapter thirty-six we see that the Lord recovers His people by life not only outwardly but also inwardly, by giving them a new heart and a new spirit and by putting His Spirit within them. Chapter thirty-seven reveals that the Lord comes to revive His dead and scattered people and to make them one. From this we see that God’s captured people needed to be recovered in different aspects. Because they had been driven away and scattered like sheep, they needed the Lord to search for them as their Shepherd. Because their inward condition was unclean and old, they needed a new heart and a new spirit. Because they had become dead, dry bones, they needed to be enlivened and joined together.
Before we begin to consider chapter thirty-seven, I would like to say a word about two matters—the plant of renown (34:29) and the garden of Eden (36:35). The plant of renown, a famous plant, is Christ. Christ is not only the good land, containing many trees whose fruits are good for food; Christ is also a plant of renown. Concerning the expression like the garden of Eden, we need to see that eventually the Lord’s recovery should come to the point where it is like the garden of Eden. Then wherever we may be in the Lord’s recovery, we will be in the garden of Eden. Frequently in the meetings of the local churches we have the sense that we are in the garden of Eden. In the garden of Eden we have Christ as a famous plant, the plant of renown. This means that in the church life we enjoy the riches of Christ in a special way day by day.
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