Session 13: Prophets & Prophecy Part 4

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Aims

By the end of this session you should be able to: 

  • decribe the themes and theology of the books of Ezekiel and Deutero Isaiah

  • describe Ezekiel's visions and their significance

  • consider the place of Isaiah in the Babylonian age

Prayer

Blessed are you Lord our God,

for you come to us and seek to make your home in us.

As we study now, let our eyes and our ears

be open to you

let our hearts find their rest and their joy in you

that we may grow in grace and live to your glory.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

Amen.

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Introduction

In this session we will explore the book of Ezekiel and the chapters of the book Isaiah known as Deutero or Second Isaiah. We are still in the exile on the timeline so again these books take us to the mid 6th Century BCE. Watch the videos below on Ezekiel and make notes in your learning journal of anything that particularly strikes you. Links to the Bibledex Overview of Ezekiel as well as the Bible Project's Video on Deutero Isaiah can be found in the Reslources section if you would like to wath them (optional).

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Ezekiel & Deutero Isaiah

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None of the prophetic witness in the OT is as dramatic or disturbing as that of Ezekiel.  Modern psychologists may diagnose him with post-traumatic stress disorder.  He uses his body in a bizzare ways in street theatre and hurls invectives at his people to shock them out of their complacency.  A powerful and creative communicator, he delivers an urgent, no holds-barred message.  He comes across as a somewhat tortured soul, trying to bring the message of Yahweh to a people in captivity where the means keeping the laws of the Covenant are restricted (addressing ritual impurity, offering sacrifices, celebrating traditional feasts and fasts, which would have included reading of the Torah). 

 

Ezekiel was among the first deportation to Babylon and in 597 and speaks from the diaspora beginning in 593.  The people have profaned the covenant and been faithless to Yahweh.  They have ignored his holiness and his mercy and the result is disaster - Ezekiel's message is scathing and powerful.  He rages at the people for their lack of faithfulness to God, even from the early days of the Covenant.  The language he uses is full of brutal, sexual imagery – this is not for the fainthearted or sensitive!

Download a summary of Ezekiel and how his message might be applied today from the Resources Section.

Exercise

 

Look up and make a note of the dates the different parts of Isaiah might have been written and the crises to which they were responding.

Spotlight on Doctrine

 

In the Nicene Creed we are reminded that God has 'spoken through the prophets'. The phrases we say at the beginning of the both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds also remind us of something the Hebrew Prophets spoke out against - worshipping other gods.  There is only one God, Jahweh. The hope of restoration and renewal is also picked up in the final phrases of the creeds, in the ultimate restoration and renewal of all things when God returns as judge as well the resurrection to eternal life.

Spotlight on Spirituality

 

As we noted in the previous sessions, the message of the prophets is at the heart of liberation theology and spiritualities that have social justice and care for the 'poor, the orphan and the widow' at their core. They also form part of the basis for spritualities that place imporatance on a 'rule of life', to help live out the prophet's exhortations to live in a godly way rather than following after wordly things or placing our hope in external things like the temple. Monastic spiritualities such as Dominican and Ingatian as well as Celtic spiritualities are good examples of this.

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Reflect

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Spend some time prayerfully thinking about what you have discovered in this session. What are the most significant things for you? How might you use what you have learned in your own faith journey? Write this down in your learning journal.

Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord our God, all things come from you:

from you come our life, this world and all that we have and are.

Teach us to love and respect your creation and give glory to you.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.  Amen

Something Practical To Do

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Listen especially to the words of the New Testament reading and the sermon this week.  Where do you hear some of the message of the prophets being echoed?

Share some of what you have found on the discussion board in the Forum.

Resources