Simple Bible Reading Guide
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"The revelation of Your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple." —Psalms 119:130
God's word is intended for all people. For thousands of years God has communicated to millions of simple people through His word. In fact, many things are hidden from the learned and clever but revealed to the merest children (Lk 10:21). Of course, God's word is sometimes so difficult to interpret that we need the Church to teach us. Therefore, highly academic Bible study has its place, but it is not the principal approach to God's word. The word is not primarily for an educated elite but for everyday people praying and reading by the power of the Spirit.
Nevertheless, not many books about the Bible are written to help the average person. What most people need is something short, simple, and practical that encourages, motivates and guides. We need something that will help us read the Biblical texts and not just about the text. This is the purpose of this simple Bible reading guide. "We have aimed to please those who prefer simple reading, as well as to make it easy for the studious who wish to commit things to memory, and to be helpful to all (2 Mc 2:25).
Note: The breakdown of the Bible into chapters (although not always adequate) has served God's people for centuries. So in general we will use a chapter-by-chapter structure for our comments.
Be sure to read each chapter of the Bible along with the introductory comments.
P.S. We have prayed before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament about our choice of the verses in this reading guide. We hope the Scriptures will have a prophetic, life-changing power for you.
Ez 1 — AFTER SEEING GOD
"While I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens opened, and I saw divine visions." Ezekiel 1:1
This may be the most important chapter of the book of Ezekiel. It may help to understand why the prophet, Ezekiel, was called by God to do some very strange things. After having such a "vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" (1:28), anything could happen. Ezekiel's experience of God's glory shows that God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Is 55:8-9).
Prayer: Father, may I be awed by You.
Promise: "Above the firmament over their heads something like a throne could be seen, looking like sapphire. Upon it was seated, up above, One Who had the appearance of a man. Upward from what resembled His waist I saw what gleamed like electrum; downward from what resembled His waist I saw what looked like fire." 1:26-27
Ez 2 — EAT HIS WORDS
"Obey Me when I speak to you: be not rebellious like this house of rebellion, but open your mouth and eat what I give you. It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me, in which was a written scroll." Ezekiel 2:8-9
A prophet consumes his prophecy and it consumes him. The prophecy becomes part of the prophet. It becomes his life.
Prayer: Father, You are a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). Consume me.
Promise: "Whether they heed or resist for they are a rebellious house they shall know that a prophet has been among them." 2:5
Ez 3 — WATCHMAN AND DUMB MAN
"Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, you shall warn them for Me." Ezekiel 3:17
The prophet is a watchman who warns both the wicked and the virtuous. If he does not warn them, he is responsible for their deaths if they sin.
Sometimes, the prophet even is punished in place of the people. Ezekiel was struck dumb for a time when the people refused to listen.
Prayer: Father, use my words, silence, or suffering to proclaim Your word.
Promise: "I will make your face as hard as theirs, and your brow as stubborn as theirs, like diamond, harder than flint. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house." 3:8-9
Ez 4 — LAYING DOWN ON THE JOB
"Eat it for as many days as you lie upon your side, three hundred and ninety." Ezekiel 4:9
God called Ezekiel to do some really weird things. After Chapter one, don't put anything past God. In obedience to God, Ezekiel laid on his left side for 390 days and played with his war toys. Then he laid on his right side for forty days. That's over a year of laying down on the job.
Prayer: Father, may I be willing to be a prophet and fool for You (1 Cor 4:10).
Ez 5 — SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT TWO BITS
"As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it like a barber's razor, passing it over your head and beard. Then take a set of scales and divide the hair you have cut." Ezekiel 5:1
If you would have gone into Ezekiel's barber shop, you would be in for a wild experience. God called Ezekiel to burn a third of the hair, attack a third with a sword, and throw a third in the air. He tied a few of the hairs into the hem of his garment.
Prayer: Father, shock me into reality, into repentance.
Ez 6 — CHEERLEADING WITHOUT A GAME
"Clap your hands, stamp your feet, and cry 'Alas!' because of all the abominations of the house of Israel, for which they fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence." Ezekiel 6:11
Ezekiel was called to yell at the mountains, clap his hands, and stamp his feet. He looked and sounded like a cheerleader, but there was no game going on.
Prayer: Father, may I talk to myself if it will help people to repent.
Ez 7 — DEAD END
"An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land! Now the end is upon you." Ezekiel 7:2-3
"See, the day of the Lord! See, the end is coming! Lawlessness is in full bloom, insolence flourishes, violence has risen to support wickedness. It shall not be long in coming, nor shall it delay" (7:10-11). "They shall fling their silver into the streets, and their gold shall be considered refuse. Their silver and gold cannot save them on the day of the Lord's wrath. They shall not be allowed to satisfy their craving or fill their bellies, for this has been the occasion of their sin" (7:19). "There shall be disaster after disaster, rumor after rumor. Prophetic vision shall fade; instruction shall be lacking to the priest, and counsel to the elders" (7:26).
Prayer: Father, may I repent immediately while there's still time.
Ez 8 — A TOUR OF HELL
"Do you see the great abominations that the house of Israel is practicing here, so that I must depart from My sanctuary?" Ezekiel 8:6
The Spirit took Ezekiel on a tour of some of the grossest forms of idol-worship practiced by the chosen people. He first saw the statue of jealousy. Then he dug a hole through the Temple wall to witness the idolatrous practices of some of Israel's elders. Next, he saw women crying for the fertility god, Tammuz. Finally, Ezekiel saw twenty-five men with their backs to the Lord and bowing down to the sun.
Prayer: Father, I repent of idolatrous and adulterous comprises with the world.
Ez 9 — THE SIGN OF THE CROSS
"Pass through the city [through Jerusalem] and mark an X on the foreheads of those who moan and groan over all the abominations that are practiced within it." Ezekiel 9:4
Those who were to be spared the destruction of Israel were marked with an X, or more precisely a cross-shaped Hebrew letter called 'taw.' Those who are to survive the end of the world will have been imprinted with the seal of the Lamb of God, Jesus (Rv 7:3).
Prayer: Father, may my life and death be signed with the cross.
Ez 10 — GOOD-BYE, GOD
"Then the glory of the Lord left the threshold of the temple and rested upon the cherubim." Ezekiel 10:18
Ezekiel had another vision of God in heaven. At the conclusion of the vision, "the glory of the Lord rose from the city" (11:23).
The verses of this chapter are mixed up. This mirrored the chaos in Israel when God left the Temple.
Prayer: Jesus, I thank You that You will never reject me (Jn 6:37). May I never reject You.
Promise: "I looked and saw in the firmament above the cherubim what appeared to be sapphire stone; something like a throne could be seen upon it." 10:1
Ez 11 — DROP DEAD
"While I was prophesying, Pelatiah, the son of Benaiah died. I fell prone and cried out in a loud voice: "Alas, Lord God! will You utterly wipe out what remains of Israel?" Ezekiel 11:13
Ezekiel prophesied against the princes who were "planning evil and giving wicked counsel" (11:2). They gave the false impression that Jerusalem was secure against the Babylonians. While Ezekiel was prophesying, Pelatiah, one of the princes, dropped dead.
Prayer: Father, may I realize that optimism without repentance is deadly.
Promise: "I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the stony heart from their bodies, and replace it with a natural heart." 11:19
Ez 12 — FIRE DRILL
"I did as I was told. During the day I brought out my baggage as though it were that of an exile, and at evening I dug a hole through the wall with my hand and, while they looked on, set out in the darkness, shouldering my burden." Ezekiel 12:7
Ezekiel continued his bizarre actions. He pretended to go into exile by getting out all his baggage and digging a hole in the wall through which to escape. The people thought Ezekiel was a kook and did not believe his prophecy would come true, at least not for a long time.
Prayer: Father, may I not dismiss prophets who do things that seem weird to me (see 1 Thes 5:20).
Promise: "None of My words shall be delayed any longer; whatever I speak is final, and it shall be done, says the Lord God." 12:28
Ez 13 — FALSE PROPHETS
"Prophesy against the prophets of Israel, prophesy! Say to those who prophesy their own thought..." Ezekiel 13:2
Ezekiel prophesied against false prophets and prophetesses and also against those involved in the occult. Thus says the Lord God: "Because you have disheartened the upright man with lies when I did not wish him grieved, and have encouraged the wicked man not to turn from his evil conduct and save his life; therefore you shall no longer see false visions and practice divination, but I will rescue My people from your power. Thus you shall know that I am the Lord" (13:22-23).
Prayer: Father, give me the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits.
Ez 14 — DON'T MOCK GOD
"If anyone of the house of Israel, holding the memory of his idols in his heart and keeping the occasion of his sin before him, has recourse to a prophet, I, the Lord, will be his answer in person because of his many idols." Ezekiel 14:4
"Make no mistake about it, no one makes a fool of God!" (Gal 6:7) God is no one to trifle with. We must completely repent of our sins. There is no other way.
Prayer: Father, may I never put You in a position where You must answer me in person because of my sinful compromise with the world.
Promise: "They shall console you when you see their conduct and actions, for you shall then know that it was not without reason that I did to it [Jerusalem] what I did, says the Lord God." 14:23
Ez 15 — GOOD FOR NOTHING
"Why, even when it was whole it was good for nothing; how much less, when the fire has devoured and scorched it, can it be used for anything!" Ezekiel 15:5
The inhabitants of Jerusalem have broken faith with God and are like the wood of a vine good for nothing.
Prayer: Father, may I not waste my life (see 1 Pt 4:23).
Ez 16 — RATED X
"How wild your lust! says the Lord God, that you did all these things, acting like a shameless prostitute." Ezekiel 16:30
After we were born in original sin, the Lord had mercy on us. He made a covenant with us and clothed us in His righteousness. But we cheated on Him and had relations with the gods of this world. We degraded and prostituted ourselves. Nonetheless, the Lord continued to love us although we had not repented.
Prayer: Jesus, Bridegroom (Mk 2:19), I repent of adultery with the world.
Promise: "Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl, and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you." 16:60
Ez 17 — MULTI-MEDIA
"Son of man, propose a riddle, and speak this proverb to the house of Israel." Ezekiel 17:2
Ezekiel was the ultimate in prophetic revelation. He had visions and enacted shocking prophetic dramas. He communicated in prose, poetry, and song. He used parables, allegories, riddles, songs and proverbs. No one could communicate any more powerfully than Ezekiel did, yet his prophecies were not received.
Prayer: Father, may I hear and obey the greatest Prophet, Your Son, Jesus.
Promise: "I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar, from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot, and plant it on a high and lofty mountain; on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it." 17:22-23
Ez 18 — A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP
"Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit." Ezekiel 18:31
Our covenant with the Lord is not a social custom, a contractual agreement, or even a mere Sunday obligation. Our covenant with Him is a personal relationship. Each person makes an individual decision to make the covenant. The demands of this covenant entail not just obeying certain laws but being faithful till death, similar to a marriage.
Prayer: Jesus, I decide to make living a personal relationship with You the meaning of my life.
Promise: "If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him." 18:21-22
Ez 19 — CRYING YOUR HEARTS OUT
"They put him in a cage and took him away to the king of Babylon, so that his voice would not be heard on the mountains of Israel." Ezekiel 19:9
Jeremiah had his lamentations and so did Ezekiel. They both lamented over the events of the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile.
Prayer: Father, may I face the tragedies of my life and receive Your healing and victory.
Ez 20 — REPEATING HISTORY?
"Then I thought of pouring out My fury on them in the desert to put an end to them, but I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations." Ezekiel 20:13-14 (see also 20:8-9, 21-22)
The Lord refuses to be consulted by people who repeatedly rebel against Him and turn to idols (20:3, 31). We must listen to Him before we can expect Him to listen to us.
Prayer: Father, may I change the course of history by breaking out of the rut of disobedience to You.
Promise: "On My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel, says the Lord God, there the whole house of Israel without exception shall worship Me; there I will accept them, and there I will claim your tributes and the first fruits of your offerings, and all that you dedicate." 20:40
Ez 21 — SWORD FIGHT
"A sword, a sword has been sharpened, a sword, a sword has been burnished: to work slaughter has it been sharpened, to flash lightning has it been burnished." Ezekiel 1:14-15
Ezekiel gathered a series of prophecies relating how the sword of the Lord will destroy Israel (21:8, 14ff, 19ff, 25).
Prayer: Father, may I respond to the two-edged sword of Your word (Heb 4:12) instead of being slaughtered by the sword of Your wrath.
Ez 22 — JESUS, THE INTERCESSOR
"Thus I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in the breach before Me to keep Me from destroying the land; but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30
Yahweh was looking for one intercessor who would ask Him not to destroy the land in punishment for its sins. He found no one, so He poured out His fury on the land. In the last days, Yahweh has found Jesus, eternal High Priest and great Intercessor (Heb 7:24-26). Therefore, His wrath is turned away.
Prayer: Jesus, You are always able to save those who approach the Father through You (Heb 7:25). Save me.
Ez 23 — THE WORSE PROSTITUTE
"Though her sister Oholibah saw all this, her lust was more depraved than her sister's and she outdid her in harlotry." Ezekiel 23:11
Ezekiel once again tried shock therapy. He maintained that Jerusalem's adultery and prostitution with false gods and foreign nations was worse than that of Samaria. For Jerusalem to be considered more wicked than Samaria was unthinkable and shocking.
Prayer: Father, show me the adultery in my life. Show me where I make any compromises with the world.
Ez 24 — THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
"Thus the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, by a sudden blow I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes, but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears. Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead, bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet, do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread. That evening my wife died, and the next morning I did as I had been commanded." Ezekiel 24:15-18
Ezekiel had to lay down his life in order to prophesy. He opened his mouth in parables, but he was also struck dumb. He was not even permitted to mourn his wife's sudden death. Even this tragedy was to be used as an opportunity to prophesy.
Prayer: Father, like Jesus, may I suffer anything to serve You.
Promise: "That day your mouth shall be opened and you shall be dumb no longer. Thus you shall be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the Lord." 24:27
Ez 25 — THE PUNISHMENT OF THE NATIONS
"I will execute great acts of vengeance on them, punishing them furiously. Thus they shall know that I am the Lord, when I wreak My vengeance on them." Ezekiel 25:17
Ezekiel has eight chapters of prophecies against foreign nations. Like Isaiah and unlike Jeremiah, he puts them in the middle of his book. Ezekiel's final word is not a prophecy against nations but for restoration.
Prayer: Father, may I make disciples of the nations before they are destroyed (Mt 28:19).
Ez 26 — BREAKING THE BANK
"Thus says the Lord God to Tyre: at the noise of your fall, at the groaning of the wounded, when the sword slays in your midst, shall not the isles quake?" Ezekiel 26:15
Ezekiel spends almost three chapters prophesying against the city of Tyre. Tyre was the financial capital of the ancient world. Therefore, its destruction had profound international, economic repercussions. Tyre's downfall was a preview of the end of Rome (see Rv 18:11ff) and the end of the world.
Prayer: Father, may any economic system not under Jesus' lordship crash soon.
Ez 27 — CRASHING THE STOCK MARKET
"The Rhodanites trafficked with you; many coastlands traded with you; ivory tusks and ebony wood they gave you for payment. Edom traded with you, so many were your products." Ezekiel 27:15-16
In our day, prophesying against Tyre would be like prophesying against Wall Street, Madison Avenue, the World Bank, or some of the international corporations.
Prayer: Father, may I make my life simpler in material possessions than it was ten years ago.
Ez 28 — THE ORIGINAL SIN
"You were stamped with the seal of perfection, of complete wisdom and perfect beauty. In Eden, the Garden of God, you were, and every precious stone was your covering." Ezekiel 28:12-13
The sin of the king of Tyre was the same as the original sin of man. The Lord said of Tyre: "You became haughty of heart because of your beauty; for the sake of splendor you debased your wisdom" (28:17). "By your great wisdom applied to your trading you have heaped up your riches; your heart has grown haughty from your riches therefore thus says the Lord God: because you have thought yourself to have the mind of a god" (28:5-6), "no, you are a man, not a god, handed over to those who will slay you" (28:9).
Prayer: Father, I am nothing without You (see Jn 15:5). I adore You.
Promise: "When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, then I will manifest My holiness through them in the sight of the nations." 28:25
Ez 29 — A CRUTCH
"Because you have been a red staff for the house of Israel: when they held you in hand, you splintered, throwing every shoulder out of joint; when they leaned on you, you broke, bringing each one of them down headlong." Ezekiel 29:6-7
The last four chapters of Ezekiel's oracles against the nations were reserved for Egypt, on which Israel depended rather than trusting the Lord. The Lord said: "No longer shall they be for the house of Israel to trust in, but the living reminder of its guilt for having turned to follow after them. Thus they shall know that I am the Lord" (29:16).
Prayer: Father, show me the crutches in my life which I depend on instead of walking by faith in You.
Promise: "On that day I will make a horn sprout for the house of Israel, and I will cause you to speak out in their midst; thus they shall know that I am the Lord." 29:21
Ez 30 — NATIONAL SECURITY
"Thus says the Lord God: Cry, Oh, the day! for near is the day, near is the day of the Lord; a day of clouds, doomsday for the nations shall it be...She shall be the most devastated of lands, and her cities shall be the most desolate of all." Ezekiel 30:2-3, 7
Relying on military technology or international diplomacy is futile. Our allies will become our enemies and our weapons will be turned against us. Our only Security is the Lord.
Prayer: Father, may this country trust in You alone instead of setting the stage for its own destruction.
Ez 31 — THE TREES OF EDEN
"Because it became lofty in stature, raising its crest among the clouds, and because it became proud in heart at its height, I have handed it over to the mightiest of the nations." Ezekiel 31:10-11
Once again, we go back to the garden of Eden (see Chapter 28). We see a tree representing Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. "No tree in the garden of God matched its beauty" (31:8). The Lord "made it beautiful, with much foliage, the envy of all Eden's trees in the garden of God" (31:9). "Which was your equal in glory or size among the trees of Eden? Yet you have been brought down with the trees of Eden to the land below" (31:18).
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for saving me by being hanged on the tree of the cross (see Acts 13:29).
Ez 32 — SINGING AT THEIR FUNERAL
"This is a dirge, and it shall be sung: the daughters of the nations shall chant it; over Egypt and all its hordes shall they chant it, says the Lord God." Ezekiel 32:16
Ezekiel ends four chapters of prophesying against Egypt by singing a dirge. What an appropriate ending!
Prayer: Father, may there be songs of praise sung at my funeral rather than dirges.
Ez 33 — LISTENING TO THE MUSIC
BUT NOT THE WORDS
"They say one to another, 'Come and hear the latest word that comes from the Lord.' My people come to you as people always do; they sit down before you and hear your words, but they will not obey them." Ezekiel 33:30-31
Ezekiel repeats that he has been "appointed watchman for the house of Israel" (33:7; 3:17). He prophesied that, unless the people lived and died in repentance, they would be doomed. However, the people had a false confidence and did not take Ezekiel seriously. God said to Ezekiel: "For them you are only a ballad singer, with a pleasant voice and a clever touch. They listen to your words, but will not obey them" (33:32).
Prayer: Father, may music convict me of sin and not merely entertain me.
Promise: "But when it comes and it is surely coming! they shall know that there was a prophet among them." 33:33
Ez 35 — KICKING PEOPLE WHEN THEY'RE DOWN
"Because you never let die your hatred for the Israelites, whom you delivered over to the power of the sword at the time of their trouble, when their crimes came to an end, therefore, as I live, says the Lord God, you have been guilty of blood, and blood, I swear, shall pursue you." Ezekiel 35:5-6
Edom held a grudge against the Israelites. They rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem and took advantage of the situation to occupy part of Judah. Therefore, the Lord said: "Just as you rejoiced over My land because it was desolate, so will I do to you" (35:14).
Prayer: Father, may I never rejoice over the tragedies of others (see 1 Cor 13:6).
Ez 36 — NEW BIRTH (1 Pt 1:3)
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put My spirit within you and make you live by My statutes, careful to observe My decrees." Ezekiel 36:25-27
The Lord promises to renew the land and give us a new heart and a new spirit. This prophecy is fulfilled when we give our lives to Jesus and are baptized into His new life.
Prayer: Jesus, "all that matters is that one is created anew" (Gal 6:15). May I live by faith as Your new creation.
Promise: "For I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land." 36:24
Ez 37 — DRY BONES
"Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!" Ezekiel 37:4
Our society has been dead for years. Pope John Paul II calls ours a "culture of death." We are dry bones. The Lord will use prophecy to rattle the bones and raise us to life. "Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: O My people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel" (37:12).
Prayer: Father, may I set my heart on the spiritual gifts but above all on prophecy (1 Cor 14:1).
Promise: "I will put My Spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord. I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord." 37:14
Ez 38 — MAD GOG
"On that day, the day when Gog invades the land of Israel, says the Lord God, My fury shall be aroused." Ezekiel 38:18
These next two chapters are shockers and may refer to the end of the world.
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to seduce the nations in all four corners of the earth, and muster for war the troops of Gog and Magog" (Rv 20:7-8). "On that day there shall be a great shaking upon the land of Israel" (38:19). "But now He has promised, 'I will once more shake not only earth but heaven!' And that 'once more' shows that shaken, created things will pass away, so that only what is unshaken may remain" (Heb 12:26-27).
Prayer: Father, send me the Spirit to teach me about the end.
Promise: "I will prove My greatness and holiness and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; thus they shall know that I am the Lord." 38:23
Ez 39 — FIRE WORKS
"I will send fire upon Magog and upon those who live securely in the coastlands; thus they shall know that I am the Lord. I will make My holy name known among My people Israel; I will no longer allow My holy name to be profaned. Thus the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Yes, it is coming and it shall be fulfilled, says the Lord God. This is the day I have decreed." Ezekiel 39:6-8
"The present heavens and earth are reserved by God's word for fire; they are kept for the day of judgment, the day when godless men will be destroyed" (2 Pt 3:7).
Prayer: Jesus, may I be ready for Your coming at any time. "When these things begin to happen," may I stand erect and hold my head high for my "deliverance is near at hand" (Lk 21:28).
Promise: "No longer will I hide My face from them, for I have poured out My Spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord God." 39:29
Ez 40-42 — RENEW
"That very day the hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me in divine visions to the land of Israel, where he set me down on a very high mountain. On it there seemed to be a city being built before me." Ezekiel 40:1-2
Ezekiel ends with nine chapters proclaiming the new Israel. Renewal begins with the Temple. Here sacrifices are offered and praises given to God. When we offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice (Rm 12:1-2), we begin renewal.
Prayer: Jesus, renew Your Church. If necessary, let it begin with me.
Promise: "Son of man, look carefully and listen intently, and pay strict attention to all that I will show you, for you have been brought here so that I might show it to you. Tell the house of Israel all that you see." 40:4
Ez 43 — BACK TO CHURCH
"The vision was like that which I had seen when He came to destroy the city, and like that which I had seen by the river Chebar. I fell prone as the glory of the Lord entered the temple by way of the gate which faces east." Ezekiel 43:3-4
Because of the people's sins, the Lord left the Temple "and took a stand on the mountain which is to the east of the city" (11:23). Now the Lord returns in glory.
Prayer: Jesus, cleanse my body, the temple of the Spirit.
Promise: "But Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court. And I saw that the temple was filled with the glory of the Lord." 43:5
Ez 44 — CLEANSING THE TEMPLE
"Son of man, pay strict attention, look carefully, and listen intently to all that I will tell you about the statutes and laws of the Lord's temple; be attentive in regard to those who are to be admitted to the Temple and all those who are to be excluded from the sanctuary." Ezekiel 44:5
The Lord wants to cleanse (cf Jn 2:14ff) the new Temple of any people, Levites, and priests, who are not committed to Him, those "uncircumcised in heart" (44:9).
Prayer: Father, may my baptismal commitment to You not be a formality but the main reality of my life.
Promise: "When I looked I saw the glory of the Lord filling the Lord's Temple, and I fell prone."44:4
Ez 45-46 — WORSHIP AND JUSTICE
"This shall be his property in Israel, so that the princes of Israel will no longer oppress My people, but will leave the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes." Ezekiel 45:8
In the middle of recounting several religious laws, the Lord breaks out in anger: "Enough, you princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and do what is right and just! Stop evicting my people!" (45:9) Temple worship must bring about social justice.
Prayer: Father, may Christians realize if they are oppressing the poor by their life-style.
Ez 47 — THE HEAVENLY RIVER
"Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh." Ezekiel 47:9
This prophecy of the wonderful stream is of such great significance that it is repeated in the last chapter of the Bible (see Rv 22:1). This is a prophecy of the new, abundant, eternal life in Christ on earth and in heaven.
Prayer: Father, take me home to be with You in heaven.
Promise: "Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine." 47:12
Ez 48 — THE NEW JERUSALEM (Rv 21:2)
"All of you shall have a like portion in this land which I swore to give to your fathers, that it might fall to you as your inheritance." Ezekiel 47:14
The new Israel will be large enough to provide a place for everyone. It will be centered on worshipping the Lord in the Temple. "The name of the City shall henceforth be 'The Lord is here' " (48:35).
Prayer: Father, may Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10).
Promise: The last words of the book of Ezekiel are: "The Lord is here." 48:35
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, April 3, 1997
Imprimatur: Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 8, 1997
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