In one of his scholarly works, Ellis Rasmussen noted that Ezekiel is unique among the Old Testament prophets in that there is no record "of any other Hebrew prophet called to the prophetic mission while living outside the land of Israel."
Ezekiel was a priest of the family of Zadok, and was among the captives carried away by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylonia. (The prophet Daniel had already begun his prophetic ministry by the time he was taken captive into Nebuchadnezzar's court. So while Daniel prophesied among the conquerors, Ezekiel ministered among the exiles. Meanwhile, Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem.)Ezekiel was taken into Babylon during the second stage of captivity (about 597 B.C.) some nine years after Daniel had been taken in the first wave of captivity (about 606 B.C.). Ezekiel had been in Babylon about 10 years when Jerusalem fell (about 587 B.C.).
A commentary in the John A. Dickson edition of the King James Bible states: "During these . . . years, the period of Zedekiah's reign, Jeremiah was in Jerusalem, battling the forces of evil and doing his best to keep the people from rebelling against Babylon.
"We see from these facts how the two great prophets were working during this time of crisis - one in exile, among the captives; the other in Jerusalem, which was soon to become a heap of ruins without any people left there, because they were to join their fellow countrymen in captivity. Ezekiel and Jeremiah were in close agreement in their interpretations, but their methods of instruction were entirely different. . . .
"Distinguishing characteristics of Ezekiel were his stern, inflexible energy of will and his dedicated adherence to the rites and ceremonies of his national religion. He was one of the tall men in Israel's galaxy of the good and the great."
The commentary further states that Ezekiel condemned "relentlessly the sins of his people," and was rigid and unyielding in his zeal for righteousness and his declaration of the truth. "He was divinely commissioned as a watchman, and how faithfully he discharged his duty."
The Church Educational System's Old Testament Student Manual states: "Through Ezekiel, the Lord gave wayward and backsliding Israel a message of warning and reproof, of justice and judgment, of mercy and love that left no doubt of His indignation at their unrighteousness nor of His desire for their repentance.
"He [Ezekial] taught that each individual is responsible for his own actions and will be rewarded or punished according to the way he uses the agency given him. He taught that no one can reject the Lord's counsel and escape the judgments that invariably follow justice and that are intended to purge the soul of iniquity. He taught also that no one who repents and turns from his iniquities will lose the blessings of God's mercy, love and forgiveness."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant and John Hart
Sources: The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson; Church Educational System's Old Testament Student Manual; King James Bible commentary by John A. Dickson Publishing Co.; and October 1978 general conference report.