7.12 Ezekiel -- the Holy Spirit

To a unique degree, Ezekiel was a prophet of the Spirit.

           "The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God" (Eze 11:24).

 

During his initial vision of God, the Spirit entered into Ezekiel and physically lifted him from a prone, "facedown" position to stand upright (Eze 2:2Eze 3:24).  Later, the Spirit several times lifted him up and transported him to different locations (Eze 3:12-14Eze 8:3Eze 11:1Eze 11:24Eze 37:1Eze 43:5).  The NIV Study Bible (p. 1278) observes that Ezekiel normally refers simply to "the Spirit."   Perhaps this hints at the prophet’s intimacy with the Holy Spirit, who so often moved in him.  The prophet’s experience seemed, in some ways, to be a firstfruit of one of the Lord’s key promises to all Israel through him:

            "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws" (Eze 36:27).

            "I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel" (Eze 39:29).  

           

This is dramatized in chapter 37, where, as Ezekiel spoke in the valley of dry bones, the Lord sent "Spirit" or "breath" into a multitude of corpses, granting them new life.  And finally, in his closing vision of a restored Temple, Ezekiel saw water flowing out and becoming a mighty, life-giving river.  An angelic guide led the prophet into the water, ostensibly to measure it: ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep, and then too deep to swim (Eze 47:1-5).  It is reasonable to identify this river with the Spirit of God, and to suggest that Ezekiel was quite literally immersed or baptized in the Spirit.