Literary Form

Ezekiel – Grace and Glory

Literary Form

– Outline

  1. Oracle
  2. Prophecy
  3. Lament
  4. Proverb
  5. Parable
  6. Allegory
  7. Symbolic Act
  8. Vision
  9. Apocalypse

The Book of Ezekiel is written in two main literary forms – Prose and Poetry – of which Prose is the dominant style. Poetical parallelism is found only in Ezek 7; 21; 27; 28:1-30:26. Ezekiel’s personality — his abruptness, unbending and firmly unflinching character, and priestly zeal – is clearly reflected in his writings. His style coloured by the Pentateuch and by Jeremiah, is simple, the conceptions definite, the details even in the enigmatical symbols minute and vivid, magnificent in imagery, but austere. His frequent repetitions give weight and force to his pictures. The obscurity lies in the subject matter, not in the form or manner of his communications. He delights to linger about the temple and to use its symbolical forms, with which his priestly sympathies were so bound up, as the imagery to express his instructions. This was divinely ordered to satisfy the spiritual want and instinctive craving felt by the people in the absence of the national temple and the sacrifices.

Ezekiel uses a variety of literary devices to bring his messages across to a hardened and obstinate people (Ezek 3:4-7). These include the Oracle, Prophecy, Lament, Proverb, Parable, Allegory, Symbolic Act, Vision and Apocalypse. The abundant use of imagery present in these literary devices was designed to stimulate the people’s dormant minds. The superficial, volatile, and wilfully unbelieving were thereby left to judicial blindness (cf. Isa 6:10; Matt 13:11-13, etc.), while the better disposed were awakened to a deeper search into the things of God by the very obscurity of the symbols.

The following section(s) will see an elaboration of each of the devices by comparing how Ezekiel and other Old Testament writers use them.

a. Oracle

Definition – An oracle is a message from God, usually in response to an inquiry by man.

Use of Oracles In Other Parts of the Bible:

In the Old and New Testaments, the word oracle is used in several ways: –

1. In the Book of Numbers, it is used to describe the prophesies of Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer (Num 23-42; Josh 13:22).

2. In 2 Sam 16:23, it is the translation of a Hebrew word that means ‘word’ or ‘utterance’. It refers to a communication from God given for man’s guidance.

3. In Jer 23:33-38, this word means ‘a thing lifted up’. It can refer to a prophetic utterance as well as a physical burden. Jeremiah plays upon this double meaning and speaks of the prophetic oracle as a burden that is difficult to bear.

4. In the New Testament sense, oracles are at times referred to as the Old Testament or some portion of it (Acts 7:38; Rom 3:2).

5. Heb 5:12 uses the term to speak of both the Old Testament revelation and the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

6. In 1 Pet 4:11, Peter warns that the teacher of Christian truths must speak as one who utters oracles of God- a message from God and not his own opinions.

Use of Oracles in Ezekiel:

In the Book of Ezekiel, oracles from the Lord God were used to prophesize against and to warn the nation Israel because of her sins of wickedness and idolatry. They were not merely responses of enquires of the Elders to Ezekiel but rather statements of judgement that was to come should they remain unrepentant and to continue to indulge in their sins.

In Ezek 14, when the elders of Israel came to Ezekiel to consult the LORD, God refused to respond as he considered them as abomination in His sight because of their idolatrous hearts. Instead, He spoke through Ezekiel warning them to repent and turn away from their idols. To those who refused to heed His command, the Lord would set His face against them and would cut them off from His people. They shall bear the judgment for their iniquities. These include famines, ravaging of wild beasts through the land, sword upon that land and pestilence into the land when the Lord decided to pour out His wrath upon Israel with blood, to cut off from it man and beasts.

Oracles In Ezekiel:

– Idolatrous nation condemned (Ezek 14)

– Righteous and unrighteous man (Ezek 18)

– Judgement on unfaithful Israel (Ezek 20)

– Turn from wicked ways and live (Ezek 33)

b. Prophecy

Definition – Prophecy is the word of God given by the Spirit to the prophet. It comprises forth-telling, a proclamation concerning the events of the past and the present, as well as fore-telling, a prediction of the future. All prophecy points towards Christ, the greatest prophet, and the embodiment of Truth.

Prophets – Earlier prophets were Seers and Speakers of God. True prophets are given the word of Yahweh and compelled to speak it because of its power, whilst false prophets merely predict by extrapolation, “out of their own hearts” (Jer 23:16, Ezek 13:2).

Fulfilment of Prophecy:

Fulfilment is an integral part of prophecy. In a sense, when prophecy is spoken by the prophet, the event takes place, although Mankind cannot perceive it because of the constraint of Time. However, prophecy is not an inevitable decree of fate, but under the sovereign control of God. For example, a conditional prophesised promise or threat may be withdrawn on repentance (Jer 18:2) or mitigated (1 Kings 21:29) or postponed depending on the people’s behaviour.

The timing of fulfilment is rarely indicated in the Bible, except in rare cases like Daniel’s seventy-week prophecy (Dan 9:24-27), as prophecy is given for all time. Prophecies sometimes appear as if they would be fulfilled successively, although in reality gaps of time separate two events e.g. Isa 61:1-2a has already been fulfilled while Isa 61:2b has not. The ambiguity of tenses in the Hebrew language also complicates our understanding of timing of events.

Further, some prophecies may have double, or even multiple fulfilments e.g. Isa 7:14 predicts a son who would be a contemporary of Isaiah and may be Isaiah’s son, Hezekiah’s son or Jesus, or both. An example of multiple fulfilments is Ezek 38 – 39, where the destruction of Gog and Magog predict both the millennium and the successive invasions of Israel from the North before the millennium.

The Purpose of Prophecy – Prophecy was not just prediction to satisfy curiosity, or even a stamp of authenticity on the prophet. Prophecy was meant to reinforce an urgent religious message to urge the people to turn to righteousness. It is a manifestation of God’s power glorifying His person, and pointing to Christ.

Forms of Prophecy:

– Prophecy can be expressed through people, events, objects and actions as well as words.

– Events and objects such as the Passover and Manna carry predictive elements towards Christ.

– Prophets not only spoke but also acted out predictions, e.g. Isaiah’s nakedness (Isa 20) foretelling exile of the Egyptians and Cushites, Hosea’s marriage symbolizing God’s patience with Israel.

– When prophets spoke, it was in different forms, ranging from the sombre reading of a father’s last will (Gen 49) to an exultant anthem sung in the temple (Ps 96)

Use of Prophecy in Other Parts of the Bible:

1. The Psalms – In the Messianic Psalms, David foretold of the coming Christ. He sings of his own unique relation to Yahweh, which has a predictive quality because the actual kings of Israel had a far more imperfect relationship with Him (2 Sam 23:4).

2. In Kings – During the time of Solomon and through the divided Kingdom, prophets began to emphasize the judgment to come – i.e. the fall of Israel and Judah , as well as the “kernel” of the kingdom who would remain intact. The restoration is also predicted.

3.In Amos – The fallen tabernacle of David will be raised up again (Amos 9:11) to undisturbed blessing.

4. In Hosea – Hosea similarly predicts how Israel will be united again under “David”, (Jesus) the King of the last times, when an unbroken covenant of love will be made (Hos 2:1).

5. In Micah – Micah predicts the judgment which comes over the temple and palace, followed by the King of Peace from Bethlehem (Mic 5:1).

Use of Prophecy in Ezekiel – In Ezekiel, the common theme that Judah must fall in order to pave the way to restoration again. In Ezek 6, judgment was pronounced upon the high places because of the idolatrous practices carried out upon it (forth-telling). Thus God would send a sword upon them; the idol-worshippers would be slain in front of the high places, and those who escaped would die by famine or pestilence (foretelling). This prophecy was fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land prior to the Fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

Prophecies in Ezekiel:

– Sword against High Places at Mountains (Ezek 6)

– The End has come! (Ezek 7)

– False Prophets and Prophetess (Ezek 13)

– Babylon the sword of God’s Judgment (Ezek 21)

– Judgment on City of Bloodshed (Ezek 22)

– Shepherd of Israel (Ezek 34)

– Restoration of the Mountains of Israel (Ezek 36)

c. Lamentation

Definition – This literary form, usually written in poetry style, is synonymous with mourning and dirge songs. It is usually composed for those who have died or for the destruction of a city, as an expression of immense sorrow and grief. Furthermore, the custom of most cultures in biblical times encouraged a vivid expression of grief, e.g. weeping, personal disfigurement, (such as rending clothes, dressing in sackcloth, covering the face/head, sprinkling ashes or dust upon the person), removal of ornaments, beating the breast or the thigh (Ezek 21:12), cutting the flesh (Jer 16:6) shaving of head and vocal lamentations. The Book of Lamentations in the Bible can then be seen as eloquently phrased manifestations of sadness and mourning for the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

Use of Laments in Other Parts of the Bible – In the Bible, David composed a lament for Saul’s death (2 Sam 1:17-27), in which he expounded on the physical qualities of Saul, such as being ‘swifter than eagles’ and ‘stronger than lions’ (v23).

Use of Laments in Ezekiel – In Ezek 19, the prophet composed a lament for the kings Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin using the imagery of a lioness whose young lions were caught in a trap and led away by noserings one after the other.

In some occasions Ezekiel uses this literary device as a satire, when the laments were composed in anticipation of the calamity that was yet to take place. For example, lamentations were written over Tyre, which is compared to a proud ship (compare Ezek 27:1 ff); over the king of Tyre, who is hurled down from the mountain of the gods (28:11-19); and over Pharaoh of Egypt, who is pictured as a crocodile in the sea (32:1 ff) even before these events came to pass.

Laments in Ezekiel:

Lion & Vine (Princes of Israel ) (Ezek 19)
Tyre (Ezek 26:17-18, 27:1-36)
King of Tyre (Ezek 28:11-19)
Egypt (Ezek 30)
Pharaoh of Egypt (Ezek 32)

d. Proverb

Definition – A proverb is a short, popular saying that communicates a familiar truth or observation in an expressive and easily remembered form. The majority of these proverbs are composed of two lines in a poetic manner that closely links the first line with the second, forming a couplet. e.g. “Like mother , like daughter” (Ezek 16:44).

Use of Proverbs in Other Parts of the Bible –The biblical proverbs are collected to provide instructions in the proper ordering of one’s life under God. These are teachings and they occur in several distinctive forms, namely:

1. On direct correspondence or association (Judg 8:21; Prov 9:10; Gal 6:7).

2. On contrast (Prov 11-13, 18:23; Jer 23:28; John 1:46).

3. On comparison (Gen 10:9; Prov 20:2; Hos 4:9).

4. On what is futile or absurd (Prov 1:17; Amos 6:12; Jer 13:23).

5. On the characterization of certain persons (the fool-Prov 1:7, 32; the adulteress-Prov 7:6-27; the lazy-Prov 6:6-11; 24:30-34; 26:15).

6. On proper priorities (1 Sam 25:22; Prov 22:1; 25:4; 27:5).

7. On the consequences of actions (Jer 31:29; Hos 8:7; Prov 26:27).

8. On the consequences of character (Prov 15:13; 30:32-33; 2 Pet 2:22).

Besides being maxims or truisms, biblical proverbs also express religious and ethical interpretations of Israelite faith (Prov 3:1-12; 27-35; 6:16-19; 14:12).

Use of Proverbs in Ezekiel – The prophet Ezekiel quoted proverbs circulating among the Israelite exiles then and subsequently refuted them as erroneous. For example, taking the proverb “the days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing” (Ezek 12:22), Ezekiel, under the instruction of God, hastily corrected it to: “The days are near, and the fulfilment of every vision.” This is to announce to the nation of Israel that the time is at hand when our Lord will rid of the false visions and flattering divinations that had been deceiving the nation and hence effectively turning them away from Him. He would no longer tolerate the ‘rebellious house’ of Israel and will perform the word that He speaks. This was a sign of the imminent judgment that would befall the nation. Thus these corrections are very instructive in nature and can be deemed as portable lessons for the times.

Proverbs in Ezekiel:

– “The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing” (12:22).

– “The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future” (12:27).

– ““Like mother, like daughter” (16:44).

– “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (18:2).

e. Parable

Definition – A parable is a short, simple story designed to communicate a spiritual, heavenly truth, religious principle, or moral lesson; a figure of speech in which truth is illustrated by a comparison or example drawn from everyday experiences.

Use of Parables in Other Parts of the Bible – Parables serve the following functions: –

1) To Reprove (2 Sam 12:1-4) – Nathan rebuked David of committing adultery with Bethsheba. David was likened to the rich man with many cattle and sheep who took the single, only little ewe lamb of a poor man to prepare a meal for his own guest. When David first heard the parable, he “burned with anger against the man” and declared a judgment of death on him, as the parable invoked a clear sense of justice of right and wrong in him. When he realized that he was like the rich man, his sense of guilt was very strong and he repented immediately. If Nathan had confronted David directly, he might not have admitted his sin or perhaps go into denial.

2) To advise (2 Sam 14:5-7) – A wise woman of Tekoa used a parable to convince King David to allow his son Absalom, whom he had banished, to return to Jerusalem.

3) To Condemn (1 Kings 20:39-42) – Ahab spared Ben-Hadad, a person whom God had sentenced to death. A prophet pronounced judgment on Ahab’s disobedience through a parable. Like a soldier who had lost a captive had to pay with his life, so would Ahab die for setting the king of Syria, Ben-Hadad, free.

4) To Teach (Jesus’ Parables) – Jesus did not use parables at the beginning of his public ministry but only introduced them later. This was in response to the Jewish religious leaders and majority of people who did not believe or accept Jesus’s claim as to who He was. Instead, they clung on to their carnal Messianic ideas and ideals that the Messiah would be someone who would deliver them from the control of the Roman Empire. Jesus’ parables thus served to both reveal and conceal the truth of his teachings. His teachings include revelations of who He was, why He had come, how to be saved and how to live in the kingdom of God.

Use of Parables in the Book of Ezekiel – God spoke to the people through Ezekiel in the form of parables. He used them to explain the reasons for the judgment that will befall the House of Israel. Firstly, the nation was likened to a useless vine (Ezek 15) that was only fit for fuel. This was because she had turned away from God and refused to repent. Thus she was deemed fit only for destruction.

In another parable, Israel’s persistent wickedness is likened to an encrusted cooking pot (Ezek 24:3-14) whose impurities cannot be cleansed. Thus the House of Israel will be destroyed by fire.

In chapter 17, Zedckiah is represented under the image of a grapevine, which the great eagle (i.e. the king of Babylon ) has planted. However, this vine later turns to another great eagle (king of Egypt ). Because of this infidelity the vine shall be rooted out until God causes a new tree to grow out of a tender branch.

Parables in Ezekiel:

– Jerusalem a Useless Vine (Ezek 15)

– 2 Eagles & a Vine (Ezek 17)

– Cauldron (Ezek 24:3-14)

f. Allegory

Definition – An allegory is a symbolic representation of a truth about human conduct or experience; an expression or explanation of one thing under the image of another.

Comparison Between Parable and Allegory – Both differ in form rather than essence. The allegory personifies directly ideas or attributes. The parable represents heavenly truths by earthly truths based on the idea that what is found in the earthly kingdom is also to be found in the heavenly kingdom. In an allegory, there is an interpenetration of the thing signifying and the thing signified, which are united together. The properties and relations of one are transferred to another. However, in a parable, the thing signifying and the thing signified is kept distinct side by side. An allegory does not need an external interpretation since it contains its interpretation within itself and as the allegory proceeds, the interpretation proceeds hand in hand with it, or at least never falls far behind it. Whereas for a parable, external interpretations are sometimes needed especially for Jesus’ later parables that like a double-edged sword, cut two ways-enlightening those who sought the truth and blinding those who were disobedient.

Use of Allegory in Other Parts of the Bible:

1) Portrayal of the pitiful state of Israel to strengthen David’s plea to God (Psalm 80:8-19) – Israel is the vine that God brought out of Egypt and planted and cared for it till it became mighty. But it was abandoned by God and left to be burned and cut down.

2) Reminder of the infirmities of man (Ecclesiastes 12:3-7) – Everyone is mortal and will eventually die and meet the Creator and be judged. Thus, the reminder is to remember our Creator before it is too late.

3) Revelation of Jesus’ Role and Purpose on earth (John 10:1-16) – Jesus claims to be the Good Shepherd who came to save sinners and protect believers who are sheep. He warns of the false teachers (under the image of thieves and robbers) who came before and will come. This allegory is based on a common occupation of the Jews that is close to their hearts. Thus the allegory has a far-reaching effect to a large number of the population and excellently explains the deity of Christ in an understandable manner.

4) Armour of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) – This allegory illustrates how Christians ought to garb themselves against the enemy in the Holy war. It teaches how a Christian ought to live by a comparison that is obvious and easy to comprehend.

Use of Allegory in the Book of Ezekiel – Both examples of allegory in the book of Ezekiel (Ezek 16, 23) use the theme of adultery. In Ezek 16, Judah is portrayed as a brazen prostitute whose lewdness and promiscuous behaviour is described in explicit terms. Likewise in the allegory of the two unfaithful sisters, Oholah and Oholibah (i.e. Samaria and Jerusalem ), their relationship to Yahweh as well as their infidelity is portrayed in a manner that is offensive to over-sensitive minds (Ezek 23). The purpose of this vivid description is to shock the nation into realizing the extent of her wickedness and how detestable her idolatrous practices were in the sight of God. It also helps the reader to understand why the severe judgment that God meted out to the nation is justified.

Allegories in Ezekiel:

– Jerusalem an Unfaithful Wife (Ezek 16)

– 2 Adulterous Sisters (Ezek 23)

g. Symbolic Act

Definition – A symbolic act refers to an action performed that represents a truth or an event.

Use of Symbolic Acts in Other Parts of the Bible – Prophets in the Old Testament sometimes performed actions to illustrate God’s truth. For example, Hosea was asked to take a harlot as his wife and have children with her. He was also instructed to take her back again and love her despite the fact that she was unfaithful. Through his symbolic actions, he demonstrated God’s love for wayward and unfaithful Israel. Besides Hosea, Isaiah and Jeremiah also performed actions to bring across God’s message to His people.

Use of Symbolic Acts in Ezekiel – We find in Ezekiel, also, a large number of symbolical acts. According to Divine command Ezekiel sketches the city of Jerusalem and its siege on a tile (Ezek 4:1 ff); or he lies bound on his left side, as an atonement, 390 days, and 40 days on his right side, according to the number of years of the guilt of Israel and Judah (4:4 ff). During the 390 days the condition of the people in exile is symbolized by a small quantity of food daily of the weight of only 20 shekels, and unclean, being baked on human or cattle dung, and a small quantity of water, which serves as food and drink of the prophet (4:9 ff). By means of his beard and the hair of his head, which he shaves off and in part burns, in part strikes with the sword, and in part scatters to the wind, and only the very smallest portion of which he ties together in the hem of his garment, he pictures how the people shall be decimated so that only a small remnant shall remain (Ezek 5:1 ff). In chapter 12, he prepares articles necessary for marching and departs in the darkness. Just so Israel will go into captivity and its king will not see the country into which he goes (compare the blinding of Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:7). In chapter 24 he was commanded not to weep for the death of his beloved wife. This is to serve as a sign that Jerusalem is to be destroyed without wailing or lamentation. In Ezek 37:15 ff, he unites two different sticks into one, with inscriptions referring to the two kingdoms, and these picture the future union of Israel and Judah.

Symbolic Acts in Ezekiel:

Eating Scroll (Ezek 3:1-3)
Bound and Tongue-tied (Ezek 3:24-27)
Erecting Siege of Jerusalem & Eating defiled Food (Ezek 4)
Shaving of Head & Division of Hair (Ezek 5)
Clapping of Hands and Stamping of Feet (Ezek 6:11)
Packing belongings and Digging a Hole in Wall (Ezek 12:1-16)
Eating and Drinking in Anxiety (Ezek 12:17)
Set Face, Groan, Strike Hand (Ezek 21: 2,6,14)
Marking out Road for King of Babylon (Ezek 21:18)
Not Weeping when wife dies (Ezek 24:15)
Ezekiel’s Mouth Opened (Ezek 33:22)
Joining of 2 Sticks ( Judah & Israel ) (Ezek 37:15)

h. Vsions

Definition – A vision is a supernatural presentation of certain scenery or circumstances to the mind of a person while he/she is still awake, or more often, under the conditions of dreaming. Supernatural insight or awareness is given by revelation to the person, who is filled with a special consciousness of God.

Characteristics of Visions – The objects of vision, diverse and strange as they are, have usually their points of contact with experiences of the daily life. In visions, the emphasis is on an object, a scene, or a sequence of events that is enacted. Accounts of visions are usually in first-person; where the visionary describes his/her experience. The setting is often given near the beginning: the date, place and time at which the vision occurred, followed by the content of the vision, usually introduced by the words, “I saw”. Sometimes, the account is concluded with remarks about how the visionary reacted to the vision or what he/she did immediately afterwards.

There are five types of ancient Jewish and Christian visions:

  1. Visions of the enthroned deity (Ezk 1:1-3, 15; Rev 4:2-11)
  2. Visions of some other heavenly reality/earthly reality: present, threatened, or to come (1 Kings 22:17, Ezk 8-11, Jer 4:23-26)
  3. Visions based on a play of words or symbols (Jer 1:11-12, Ezk 37:1-14)
  4. Allegorical visions (Zech 1:18-21)
  5. Visions that combine two or more of the above types (Dan 7)

The character of the revelation through vision has a double aspect in the Biblical narrative. In one aspect, it proposes a revelation for immediate direction; as in the case of Abram (Gen 15:2). In another aspect, it deals with the development of the Kingdom of God as conditioned by the moral ideas of the people – such are the prophetic visions of Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah, and the apocalypses of Daniel and John.

The seeing of visions is naturally associated with revivals of religion (Ezek 12:21-25; Joel 2:28 vs. Acts 2:17), and the absence of visions is associated with religious decline (Isa 29:11-12, Lam 2:9; Ezek 7:26; Mic 3:6).

Visions, especially the allegorical types, grasp the imagination and evoke feelings in ways that ordinary language cannot. Like poetry they present an interpretation of reality and invite the reader or listener to share it. They combine cognitive insight with emotional response. Although they were originally experienced and recorded to address a particular historical situation of the past, their symbolic character gives them meaning and application beyond their original contexts.

Purpose of Visions – The purpose of visions is to give guidance and direction to God’s servants, and to foretell the future. For example Ezek 1-3 describes in detail the vision of the four living creatures and the chariot throne of God. The date (fifth day of the fourth month of his thirtieth year) and place (in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar) was carefully noted. Besides being called by God to be a prophet, he was also given responsibilities regarding his newly appointed role as a watchman. He was also instructed to deliver God’s message faithfully to “a rebellious nation” (Ezek 2:3) “whether they hear or whether they refuse” (Ezek 2:7).

Visions in Ezekiel:

Glory of God & Call of Ezekiel (Ezek 1-3)
Judgement of Temple : Idolatrous Practices (Ezek 8)
Idolaters Killed (Ezek 9)
God’s Glory Departs (Ezek 10)
Judgement against Leaders (Ezek 11)

i. Apocalypse

Definition – “Apocalypse” is Greek for “Revelation”. Apocalyptic writings in Jewish and Christian texts were written in the tradition of the Prophets of Israel, and usually concerned itself with revealing the mysteries of heaven and earth, humans and God, angels and demons, life in the world today and in the world to come.

Characteristics of Apocalypse:

1. Visions are used to reveal secrets about the present and future of mankind, sent from heaven.

2. Powerful Symbolism: Terrifying creatures symbolizing evil and majestic animals representing good help to show the contrast.

3. Messages: common themes in Apocalypse are that “the end is coming soon” and “the whole universe will be involved” in the end of the world.

4. Angels and Demons: these are portrayed as being actively involved in events.

5. The Kingdom of God is usually the main theme.

6. Messiah is often the central figure.

Differences between Apocalypse and Prophecy:

1) In content:

Apocalypse Prophecy
Apocalyptic prediction the most important, sometimes no moral exhortation Predictive element to reinforce moral agenda
Longer periods predicted Shorter periods predicted
Wider grasp of world at large Typically relating to Israel
Usually written under great empires
Usually actual references to Messiah Messianic hope
Imperial outlook (e.g. Daniel) Hebrew outlook

2) In Literary Form:

Apocalypse Prophecy
Vision is vehicle by which prediction is conveyed Implied rather than described visions
Visions are symbolic Visions are more naturalistic (e.g. Valley of Dry Bones )
Pure prose, stark style Poetic high verse, verse

Use of Apocalypse in Other Parts of the Bible:

1) Old Testament: Daniel – Daniel saw visions and interpreted dreams relating to the rise and fall of empires and the final fall of human civilization. E.g. vision of 4 beasts (Dan 7)

2) New Testament: Revelation  The acme of Apocalypse is reached in Revelation with judgment and the new heaven and new earth, in which “The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of Christ” (Rev 11:15)

Use of Apocalypse In Ezekiel – Ezekiel’s famous vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezek 37) speaks of the future restoration of the people of Israel. At God’s command, Ezekiel spoke to the bones and they arose. Then God declared to the bones, “I will put My spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land” (34:14). This was a clear promise from God that His Covenant People would return to their homeland after their period of exile in Babylon. It looks even beyond this event to the final restoration of the nation Israel during the Millennium. This same theme is continued in chapters 40-48, which describe the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem and the renewal of sacrifices and authentic worship. Ezekiel points forward to the glorious kingdom of Jesus the Messiah. These chapters are similar in tone and content to the closing chapters of the Book of Revelation.

Apocalypses in Ezekiel:

– Valley of Dry Bones (Ezek 37:1-14)

– Millennial Temple:

  • Plan (Ezek 40-42)
  • God’s Glory Returns (Ezek 43)
  • Ministry Restored (Ezek 44-46)
  • New Division of Land (Ezek 47-48)