Commemorated on July 21
The Holy Prophet
Ezekiel lived in the VI Century before the Birth of Christ. He was born in
the city of Sarir, and descended from the Levite tribe; he was a priest and the
son of the priest Buzi. In the second invasion against Jerusalem by the
Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnessar, at age 25 Ezekiel was led off to Babylon
together with the king Jechoniah II and many other Jews.
In captivity the
Prophet Ezekiel lived by the River Chobar. There, in his 30th year of life, in
a vision there was revealed to him the future of the Hebrew nation and of all
mankind. The prophet beheld a shining cloud, in the midst of which was a flame,
and in it ‑- a mysterious likeness of a chariot moving by the spirit and
four-winged beasts, each having four faces: of a man, a lion, an ox and an
eagle. Under their faces was situated a wheel, bestrewn with eyes. Over the
chariot towered as it were a crystalline firmament, and over the firmament –
the likeness of a throne as though of glittering sapphire. And upon this throne
a radiant "likeness of Man", and about Him a rainbow (Ez. 1: 4-28).
According to the
explanation of the fathers of the Church, the most-bright "likeness of
Man" radiant upon the sapphire throne, was a prefigurament of the
Incarnation of the Son of God from the MostHoly Virgin Mary, manifest as the
Throne of God. The four creatures prefigured the four evangelists, the wheel
with a multitude of eyes – the sharing of light with all the nations of the
earth. During this vision the holy prophet out of fear fell down upon the
ground, but the voice of God commanded him to get up and then explained, that
the Lord was sending him to preach to the nation of Israel. From this time
began the prophetic service of Ezekiel. The Prophet Ezekiel announces to the
nation of Israel, situated in Baylonian Captivity, about its coming
tribulations for straying in the faith and forsaking the True God. The prophet
proclaimed also a better time for his captive fellow-countrymen, and he predicted
their return from Babylon and the restoration of the Jerusalem Temple.
important are two significant elements in the vision of the prophet – the one
about the vision of the temple of the Lord, full of glory, – the second about
the bones upon the field, to which the Spirit of God gave new life. The vision
about the temple was a mysterious prefigurament of the freeing of the race of
man from the working of the enemy and the building up of the Church of Christ
through the redemptive deed of the Son of God, incarnated of the MostHoly
Virgin Mary, – called by the prophet "the shut gates", through which
would be entered the One only Lord God (Ez. 44: 2). The vision about the dry
bones upon the field – prefigured the universal resurrection of the dead and
the new eternal life of the redeemed by the death on the Cross of the Lord
Jesus Christ (Ez. 37: 1-14).
The holy Prophet
Ezekiel had from the Lord a gift of wonderworking. He, like the Prophet Moses,
by prayer to God divided the waters of the river Chobar, and the Hebrews
crossed to the opposite shore, escaping the pursuing Chaldeans. During a time
of famine the prophet besought of God an increase of food for the hungry.
For his denunciation
of the idol-worship of a certain Hebrew prince, Saint Ezekiel was given over to
execution: bound to wild horses, he was torn to pieces. Pious Hebrews gathered
up the torn body of the prophet and buried it upon Maur Field, in the tomb of
Sim and Arthaxad, fore-fathers of Abraham, not far from Baghdad. The prophecy
of Ezekiel was written down in a book, mentioning him by name, and is included
in the Bible.
Sainted Dimitrii of
Rostov drew attention for believers to the following concept in the book of the
Prophet Ezekiel: if a righteous man, hoping on his own righteousness, were to
venture to sin and in sin would die – he would answer for the sin and be subject
to judgement; but a sinner, if he repenteth, and in repentance would die – his
former sin would not be remembered before God (Ez. 3: 20; 18: 21-24).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.