Ezekiel was a priest, son of another priest, living as a slave under the Babylonians.
The Living Creatures and the Glory of the Lord– The hand of the Lord “was upon” Ezekiel, and he saw some scary shit:
These fucking four-faced, goat-footed things flying around with fire and lightning. And each one had a wheel that followed it around. Not sure why, they just did. And when they flew their wings sounded like God’s voice. Above them, what I think is supposed to be heaven was visible, complete with a little God high up on His throne. Heaven looks like this, apparently:
I know what you’re thinking, I just found some weird imagery from 80s rock band albums, but you’re wrong. These are the closest renderings I can find for what the book actually describes as the Cherubim and the shenanigans going on above them. And God didn’t look like some kindly, white bearded dude. No, sir. His top half looked like heated metal, and His bottom half was like fire, and there were rainbows and shit shining out of His head. If Ezekiel continued his drug usage throughout his book, this might be the best read of the Bible so far!
Ezekiel’s Call– Metal/fire God spoke to Ezekiel,calling him “son of man.” He told Ezekiel to go to the Israelites and spread His word. Then God gave Ezekiel a scroll with fun words on it like “woe,” “lament” and “mourning,” and Ezekiel ate it. He ate the scroll. Because God told him to. It tasted like honey. God told Ezekiel that the Israelites were hardheaded jack wagons who would not listen to him, but God would make Ezekiel even more hardheaded than the Israelites with a “forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint.” That is hardheaded as fuck.
God set Ezekiel down, bitter and angry, amongst the Israelites. Ez E sat around for seven days trying to figure out how to talk to the impossible buttheads surrounding him.
Warning to Israel-After seven days, God again showed Himself to Ezekiel. He told Ezekiel that He had made him a “watchman for the house of Israel.” He also told Ezekiel not to try and save anybody that God had decided were naughty sinners and had marked for death. Oh, and that God intended to let the Israelites tie Ezekiel up and say horrible things to him, but he wouldn’t be able to fight back, because God would take his tongue and “stick [it] to the roof of [his] mouth” so that he would not be able to “rebuke” them. And when the time was right, God would open Ezekiel’s mouth to speak to His people through it. Ezekiel did as he was asked, probably because Cherubim look scary as hell.
Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized– But God wasn’t done with the demands! Ez E was also to draw the city of Jerusalem on a tablet, build toy siege weapons and play out the siege of Jerusalem with the toys. Then, he was supposed to lay on his side for 390 days to symbolize that he was holding the sins of Israel on himself; 390 days symbolized the number of years that Israelis had been penalized for their sins. Then he was to turn onto the other side and do 40 more days to symbolize Judah’s sins. While doing this, God told him that he was supposed to eat barley cakes, using human excrement as fuel to make his cakes.
The only part of this that Ez E even argued about was the human excrement thing, so God agreed that he could use cow shit instead. Also, Ezekiel had to shave his head and his beard. With a sword.
A Prophecy Against the Mountains of Israel- God also wanted Ezekiel to tell His people how super dead they would be for disobeying the Lord.
The End Has Come- Today is the day, Ezekiel! Today I (God) reign havoc on my naughty children. I will kill, destroy, take and desecrate everything they hold dear! Tell them!
Idolatry in the Temple- Ez E is having a quiet day (for once) when metal/fire God picks him up by the hair and takes him on a Dickens/Christmas Carol-type trip, showing him different examples of the Israelites worshipping idols.
Idolaters Killed- At the end of the Dickens trip, God called for the guards of the city (Jerusalem) and a scribe, and they came. He told the scribe to go through the city, putting marks on the foreheads of those who disagreed with the idolatry happening in their city. God then told the guards to follow the scribe and kill all whom he did not place a mark on. “Slaughter old men, young med and maidens, women and children,” said God. So they did.
The Glory Departs From the Temple- God, His snazzy throne and His Cherubim settled into the temple in Jerusalem, talked to the scribe from above for a while and then left. Mostly, the passage is just Ez E re-descrbing Cherubim and realizing that they are called Cherubim. Horrifying image not seared into your brain? Let’s try again:
Judgment on Israeli’s Leaders- God took Ez E to see some people that He was very angry with, because they were providing people with false prophecies. So God killed one of them right then, and then He told Ezekiel that He was going to kill and/or ruin everyone (one of God’s reasons for doing this is that people were spilling innocent blood, so… hypocrisy? Possibly.) Ezekiel got upset, because that included his family and friends, but God wasn’t about to back down because of some humanoid’s loved ones.
Promised Return to Israel- Actually, God did take some pity on Ez E and his loved ones. God promised that though he would drive his people out of their land and put them in slavery, He would eventually bring them back. But when they come back, God says, He is going to “remove from them their heart of stone and give the a heart of flesh.” Meaning that His people are suddenly going to do everything that He says. Because apparently He will have direct power over them in the future but not until after He punishes them? Does this guy hold absolute power or not; this book cannot decide!
The Exile Symbolized- Then God decided to have Ezekiel play charades with his fellow Israelites; he is told to pack his things and walk off into the sunset as if he were being banished into slavery. So he did. Afterward, God was upset because the people thought that Ezekiel was prophesying about a distant future that wouldn’t include them, but God was talking about right the fuck now.
False Prophets Condemned- God totally ripped the false prophets in Israeli, saying that He would destroy them all, and then the people would realize that the words of fake prophets are also fake and follow God.
Idolators Condemned- God decides that all He really needs to do to win hearts and minds is to get rid of the people leading the Israelites astray, like those who push foreign Gods.
Judgment Inescapable- God tells Ezekiel that everyone is super screwed. Even if Noah, Daniel and Job were still around, only those three would be saved; they wouldn’t be able to save those around them. But God also makes it clear that Ezekiel will see that all of this was warranted in the end. After lots of people are dead. It will all be worth it.
Jerusalem, A Useless Vine- Ezekiel tries to change God’s mind by pointing out that wood is of little use after it has been burned, comparing that to a people who would be put through all of the crap God was describing. To which God responded basically with, yeah whatever, still gonna do it.
An Allegory of Unfaithful Jerusalem- When you were born, people of Israel, you were gross and no one wanted you. But then I (God) found you, bathed you and claimed you. I gave you boobs and hair and stuff and made you a queen (as a female, all that matters really is that Israel is beautiful, no wonder they went astray). But you took all of those things I gave you and turned them against Me! You are a prostitute! No, you’re an adulterous wife, because you give payment instead of receive payment from your lovers. You make Sodom appear righteous (God goes into some of what Sodom did wrong: they were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy; they were haughty and did detestable things. Not a word about homosexuality, yet again.) Because of all this, I will destroy and humiliate you! Then you will not be so haughty and proud in the future!
So there we go… Ezekiel is just another account of why God just had to reprimand His people. Or at least it is so far, there is a lot, lot more next time.