Ezekiel is commonly known as the “Prophet of the Spirit.” His name means: “God strengthens or God is strong.” The activity of the Holy Spirit is all over the book of Ezekiel.
The noun that refers to the Holy Spirit occurs 52 times in this book of Ezekiel. The opening vision of Ezekiel (Chapter 1) provides us with the context for this prophet’s experience. Ezekiel was among the exiles of Israel who had been taken captive. His vision happened in his place along the river Chebar in Babylon.
First of all, the fact that God appears to him while in a foreign land highlights the fact that our God is not confined to one place; He is active wherever He pleases. By the river Chebar, the ‘heavens opened’ (this phrase appears only here in the entire Old Testament) and Ezekiel saw directly into the throne room of God where he had an intimate encounter with the great IAM. The four-faced creature Ezekiel saw in his first vision represents and expresses divine power, omnipotence and omniscience.
In Ezekiel chapter 2, we see the Spirit enter into Ezekiel and speak to him about his calling. He received important instruction concerning his work; which he could not do without the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon prophets, kings and priests as He willed. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit lives in us and gives us the direction we need concerning the call of God on our lives. I like the fact that in Ezekiel 3, the prophet was asked to “eat” the scroll and then go speak. In our lives today, we must feed on the Word of God…the bread of life by reading, meditating on it and speaking it forth. The Word of God must be responded to.
In order to bring the message, Ezekiel is then lifted or transported by the Spirit to experience what the exiles he was sent to were experiencing. (Ez. 3:12) In Ez. 3:24, the Spirit entering him and setting him on his feet indicates the empowerment to accomplish his call. What a forerunner of the New Testament infilling of the Holy Spirit! In this book, you’ll see the phrase the hand of the Lord. This indicates God’s power upon a human being. A lot of Ezekiel’s work was characterized by visions such as his temple visions that revealed what he was sent to prophesy about.
Ezekiel 36 focuses on the restoration of Israel. Ez. 36:25-28 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. NKJV
What a vision of hope for the future! But as portrayed in his vision of dry bones coming to life in Ch. 37 it was going to take the breath of the Spirit to get it to happen.
Ezekiel was dependent upon the Holy Spirit for His ministry. His life was marked by intimacy with the Spirit. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit is foundational to our lives and it is to be cultivated and treasured above all other relationships particularly in this dispensation of the Holy Spirit. This drinking in together of the Holy Spirit is supposed to grow progressively as we intimately know the Person of the Holy Spirit. In his temple vision in Ezekiel 47, healing waters were flowing out of the heart of the temple. Flowing water is symbolic of the moving of the Holy Spirit.
There’s a lot of symbolism in Ez. 47. In the New Covenant, you and I are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 2Cor. 6:16) There should be a constant flow of the water of the Spirit in and out of us. This water flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), in Ezekiel 47 this water flowed from the right side of the temple (where the altar was) and its effects are shown in verses 7-12.
Similarly, the water of the Holy Ghost flows out of the place of prayer/praise/worship/meditation on the Word…particularly praying in other tongues, for that’s how you connect to the throne of God on a continuous basis.
Brethren, be continually filled with the Spirit and go impact your world! (Eph. 5:18).