Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.
Prophecy to most people is the foretelling of the future. And, for much of the Bible, so it is.
For those interested in a short set of notes on prophecy, Ezekiel chapter 8 provides a good frame of reference. This will be presented on the next page, although it is out of the flow of this over-all study.
Like all of the Bible, prophecy is not designed to provide us with a knowledge of the future. Rather, prophecy is designed to point us to God. It is designed to encourage believers that God is truly in control. It should be used to drive unbelievers to a saving faith in Jesus. If God was in control in the Old Testament and the predictions came true, then when God speaks today through the New Testament we have the assurance that, in God’s timing, these predictions will come true as well.
Of course, there is only one prediction that really matters:
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. . . 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
Those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior sit in the comfortable knowledge that God is in control and no matter how heartbreaking this life may seem, a glorious eternity with God is just around the corner.
Around 605 B.C. Babylon invaded Judah. The Babylonians carried captives away from Jerusalem. This was the first of three such occurrences. The prophet Daniel was most likely one of those carried into captivity in this first invasion. A second invasion occurred a few years later, with more captives being taken. Ezekiel would have been carried away in one of these first two invasions, most likely the second one when Jehoiachin was taken captive. Much of the dating of Ezekiel is based on the King’s captivity (1:2; 8:1). The final Babylonian invasion results in a final exile of the Jewish nation and the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The visions given to Ezekiel occur between Ezekiel being taken captive and the final invasion.