EZEKIEL AND REVELATION: END OF THE JEWISH AGE AND NOT THE WORLD


The book of Ezekiel opens with an account of the vision that brought Ezekiel to his prophetic calling. Ezekiel describes his vision as an elaborate and complex image that symbolizes the majesty of Yahweh and proclaims God’s sovereignty over all the nations of the earth. The prophet is so overcome by the vision that he falls on his face. A voice calls to him, saying “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. . . . And whether they listen or fail to listen — for they are a rebellious house — they will know that a prophet has been among them.” 
Ezekiel is then handed a scroll, on which is written “words of lament and mourning and woe.” Told to eat the scroll, when he does so he finds that it tastes as sweet as honey. Evidently, Ezekiel knows that the message he is to proclaim portends impending disaster, yet he thoroughly enjoys the task given to him.
The people who were left in Jerusalem after the first captivity consoled themselves with the idea that they were better off than their brethren who were taken to Babylon. They believed that God would protect them from any foreign power and that neither the city of Jerusalem nor the Judean kingdom would ever be overthrown. This is something very similar with what happened to the Jews during the revolt against the Roman empire. Ezekiel’s task was to disillusion them with reference to this hope, to make clear to them that the city would be destroyed and also the reasons why it would be overthrown. To accomplish these tasks, the prophet performed a number of symbolic acts. For example, on a piece of tile, he drew a picture of Jerusalem under siege and placed the tile in a prominent place, where it could be seen plainly by all those who walked along the street.
The books of Revelation and Ezekiel are basically the same books written with the same biblical imagery. The comparison is easy to prove by simply reading the book of Revelation along side the book of Ezekiel. This comparison quickly reveals that both these books deal with the same destruction of Jerusalem, and they both end with the same symbolic picture of the establishment of a new Jerusalem. The latter being God’s New Jerusalem (God’s Kingdom) in the earth. It is not about the end of the whole world. 
It is constructed with strict adherence to the prophecy of Ezekiel. Revelation’s dependence upon the language and imagery of Ezekiel has long been recognized by scholars. Though the Apostle John does more than merely make literary allusions to Ezekiel. Philip Barrington once commented that “The Revelation is a Christian rewriting of Ezekiel. Its fundamental structure is the same. Its interpretation depends upon Ezekiel.
The first half of both books leads up to the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem; in the second they describe a new and holy Jerusalem. There is one significant difference. Ezekiel’s lament over Tyre is transformed into a lament over Jerusalem, the reason being that St. John wishes to transfer to Jerusalem the note of irrevocable doom found in the lament over Tyre. Here lies the real difference in the messages of the two books. Jerusalem, like Tyre, is to go forever.”
Ezekiel for a rebuilt Jerusalem but Revelation for a new Jerusalem that comes from heaven to earth. They both deal with the same audience, Israel. The book of revelation gives us the Olivet discourse that we see in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 that highlights the end of Israel with its magnificent temple.
See below the parallels between the two books. Understanding this will help you understand one major truth. It is not about the end of the world but the end of the destruction of Jerusalem and the installation of new covenant.
THE VISION
EZEKIEL
REVELATION
1.  The throne vision
Chapter 1
Chapter 4
2.  The book being opened
Chapters 2-3
Chapter 5
3.  The four plagues
Chapter 5
Chapter 6:1-8
4.  Those slain under the altar
Chapter.6
Chapter 6:9-11
5.   The wrath of God
Chapter 7
Chapter 6:12-17
6.   The seal on the Saint’s foreheads
Chapter 9
Chapter 7
7.   The coals from the altar
Chapter.10
Chapter 8
8.   The 1/3 destruction
Chapter 5:1-4 &12
Chapter 8:6-12
9.   No more delay
Chapter 12
Chapter 10:1-7
10. The eating of the book
Chapter 2
Chapter 10:8-11
11.  Prophecy against the Nations
Chapters 25-32
Chapter 10:11
12.  The measuring of the Temple
Chapters 40-43
Chapter 11:1-2
13.  Comparing Jerusalem to Sodom
Chapter 16
Chapter 11:8
14.  The cup of wrath
Chapter 23
Chapter 14
15.  The vine of the land
Chapter 15
Chapter 14:18-20
16.  The great harlot
Chapters 16, 23
Chapters 17-18
17.  The lament sung over the city
Chapter 27
Chapter 18
18.  The scavenger’s feast
Chapter 39
Chapter 19
19.  The first resurrection
Chapter 37
Chapter 20:4-6
20.  The Battle of Gog and Magog
Chapter 38-39
Chapter 20:7-9
21.  The New Jerusalem
Chapters 40-48
Chapter 21
22.  The River of Life
Chapter 47
Chapter 22


Given this, it is instructive to look at the subject of Ezekiel in helping to shed light on the subject of Revelation. It should be noted that, while Revelation does indeed follow the sequence of Ezekiel, Revelation itself is not laid out in a strict linear structure. For example Revelation 6:12-17 shows the “great day” of the Lord (v. 17; cf. Matt. 24:29-31). In Revelation 12:1-5, however, we are shown Satan being cast out of heaven at Jesus’ finished work (cf. John 12:31-32).
Revelation 12 comes after Revelation 6, that does not necessarily mean the events of chapter 12 happen after the events of chapter 6. Revelation has a number of recapitulations; that is, a number of times the narrative brings one to the day of the Lord and then backs up and discusses similar themes that again bring one to the day of the Lord.
This explains why the day of the Lord is already being shown in chapter 6. Notice how chapter 7 backs up and shows the sealing of God’s servants (v. 3) just prior to the great tribulation; it then skips ahead and shows God’s people having victoriously come through the tribulation (vv. 9-14; cf. Luke 21:16, 18).
EZEKIEL 1-10
In Ezekiel 1 the prophet sees four living creatures (with faces like a man, lion, ox, and eagle) in the context of God on his throne in heaven. This is what John sees (with some variations) in Revelation 4. In Ezekiel 2, the prophet is told he is being sent “. . . to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation . . .” (v. 3). Ezekiel is given a scroll with writing on the inside and on the outside that is full of lamentations and woe for Israel (Ezek. 2:9-10). The same kind of two-sided scroll is shown in Revelation 5 (vv. 1-7). Both Ezekiel and John are instructed to eat their respective scrolls; both scrolls are said to be sweet “like honey” (Ezek. 3:1-4; Rev. 10:8-11).
In Ezekiel 4 the famine resulting from the sixth-century BC siege of Jerusalem is portrayed; it would become so bad that basic foodstuffs would be measured by weight (Ezek. 4:7-17). The same measuring of foodstuffs by weight is shown in Revelation 6:5-6; this famine would be the result of the first-century siege of Jerusalem. In Ezekiel 5 the prophet is told that four plagues would be brought on Jerusalem: “So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you . . .” (Ezek. 5:17). These plagues correspond to Revelation’s second seal (a great sword), the third seal (famine) and the fourth seal (death by “sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth”)
Revelation 6:3-8 NASB. It should be noted that the Greek word  is often better translated as “Land” in Revelation (i.e., the land of Israel) rather than “earth.” Also note that in Ezekiel 5 the manner of the destruction of Jerusalem is described: it is said that one third would be destroyed by famine and pestilence, one third by the sword and one third would go into captivity (v. 11). Compare this with the threefold division of the great city (where Jesus was crucified, Rev. 11:8) in Revelation 16:17-21.
In Ezekiel 6 God talks of how he would scatter Israel’s slain “among their idols around their altars” (v. 13). In an inversion of this, the fifth seal of Revelation shows the slain of God’s people protected under the altar in heaven. They ask how long it will be before God judges those who dwell on the Land—they are told they will not have to wait much longer (Rev. 6:9-11). In Ezekiel 7 the day of God’s “wrath” has arrived on Jerusalem and the land of Israel. This is paralleled in the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12-17) where we are told, “. . . the great day of His wrath has come . . .” (v. 17). Revelation tells us that men would hide in caves at this time and beg for the mountains to fall on them in an attempt to hide from God’s wrath (Rev. 6:15-16). This is the day of the Lord that Jesus said would come on Jerusalem and the generation that rejected him (Luke 23:29; cf. Josephus, The Jewish War 6, 7, 3).
In Ezekiel 9 a mark is put on the foreheads of the righteous in Jerusalem just before judgment goes forth on the Land. This parallels Revelation 7, where God’s people are marked on their foreheads with his seal (v. 3) right before the great tribulation occurs (v. 14). The judgments of the great tribulation would come on the whole inhabited earth known to them, cf. Rev. 10:11; 16:10), these judgments would focus on the dwellers on the Land (Rev. 3:10; cf. Dan. 11:40-12:7; Matt. 24:15-21). In Ezekiel 10 an angelic figure takes coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatters them over Jerusalem. This is paralleled in Revelation 8:3-5 where an angel takes coals from the altar and casts them to the earth.
EZEKIEL 10-20
In Ezekiel 12 (vv. 17-28) the prophet is told that the judgment on Jerusalem and the Land will not be postponed any longer. This parallels Revelation 10:1-7 where we are told that there “should be delay no longer” when the seventh trumpet sounds (vv. 6-7). The seventh trumpet is sounded in Revelation 11:15-18; it results in the kingdom of this world becoming the kingdom of God at the destruction of those who were (morally) destroying[3] the Land (Rev. 11:15-18 NASB; cf. Dan. 7:21-27; 12:7).
In Ezekiel 13 God denounces the false prophets of Israel who see visions of peace for Jerusalem “when there is no peace” (v. 16). In Ezekiel 14 God tells the elders of Israel that those who set up idols in their heart will be punished. This parallels Revelation 13, where the beast from the Land (later referred to as a “false prophet” Rev. 16:13; 19:20) sets up an idol and requires the dwellers on the Land to worship it (vv. 11-18). “The false prophet [of Rev. 13:11-18] who leads astray and encourages idolatry encompasses a number of themes found in Ezekiel 14 (e.g., Ezek 14:3-7, 9, 11). Indeed Ezekiel 14:15 speaks explicitly of God sending wild animals/ beasts through the land.”[4]
In Ezekiel 15 God says that he will burn Jerusalem just as wood from a grapevine is burned, and will make the Land desolate (vv. 6-8). This is paralleled in Revelation 14 where an angel with power over fire commands the vine of the Land to be gathered. That Revelation is not just following the sequence of Ezekiel but is also retaining its essential meaning here is shown in the distance that the blood from the resulting judgment covers. Revelation 14:20 says the blood from this judgment covers a distance of one thousand six hundred furlongs—the north to south length of the Land.[5] Thus, like Ezekiel, Revelation is speaking of the destruction of the vine of the land of Israel, not some supposed vine of the earth (See Is. 5 and Matt 21:33-45 for the vineyard motif as a picture of Israel.)
Ezekiel 16 speaks of the harlotries of Jerusalem (i.e., her going after the gods and ways of the Gentiles, vv. 15-32). God proclaims that her lovers would turn on her and burn her with fire (vv. 35-43). This is exactly what happens to harlot Babylon in Revelation 17-18; the beast she is committing whoredom with (Rome), turns on her and destroys her with fire (Rev. 17:11-18). In Ezekiel this speaks of the sixth-century BC destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. In Revelation this speaks of the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus (cf. Dan. 9:26-27).
EZEKIEL 20-28
Ezekiel 23 also speaks of the harlotries of the nation of Israel. In this chapter Jerusalem (the capital of the southern kingdom) and Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom) are pictured as harlot sisters of one mother (the nation of Israel). In Revelation 17:5 we are shown this “mother of harlots.” In Ezekiel 22 Jerusalem is referred to as “the bloody city.” This is paralleled in Revelation where harlot Babylon is said to be drunk of the blood of the saints and martyrs (Rev. 17:6), and that she is guilty of all the righteous blood shed on the Land (Rev. 18:24). This is the same bloodguilt that Jesus proclaimed against the leaders of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:29-37.

In Ezekiel 24:15-22 the sixth-century BC destruction of the Temple is likened to the death of Ezekiel’s wife. This is paralleled in Revelation 17-18 with the death of harlot Babylon. The harlot claims she is still a wife (a queen), but with the death of her Husband (covenant partner, Jesus), she became a widow (Rev. 18:7-8).
The subject of Revelation is that of two women/cities who are two wives who represent the two covenants (Gal. 4:21-31). The death of the harlot in Revelation is the death of God’s old covenant wife (cf. Ezek. 16:32); she was destroyed in the AD 70 burning of Jerusalem and the Temple.
 The death of a wife as a symbol of the destruction of the Temple is a crucial parallel between Ezekiel and Revelation. Interestingly enough, Jewish history tells us that the death of theses two wives/temples happened on the exact same day—the 9th of Av (586 BC/AD 70).
 It was the king of Tyre who helped build the first Temple—compare its merchandise (2 Chronicles 2:11-16) with that of harlot Babylon. The merchandise listed in Revelation 18:12 consists of materials used in the Temple buildings and garments of the high priest; the merchandise listed in verse 13 consists of materials used in the sacrifices and offerings. Added to all this, the only currency allowed in the Temple was that of Tyre. Thus, the mourning over the lost commerce of Tyre finds a parallel in the mourning over the lost commerce of the Temple.
The merchandise of harlot Babylon in Revelation 18 is also influenced by Ezekiel 16. In that chapter harlot Jerusalem is portrayed as being dressed in the furnishings of the tabernacle, her “food” consisting of items used in the sacrifices (vv. 10-13). This parallels the harlot Babylon being dressed in the furnishings of the Temple and garments of the High Priest (Rev. 17:4; 18:16), her “merchandise” consisting of these items as well as those used in the sacrifices (Rev. 18:12-13).

The most beautiful fact is the establishment of the new temple not built with human hands but its now tabernacle with men. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *