The Lord led me to specifically mention the prophet Ezekiel as a contemporary of and fellow captive with Daniel in Babylon during the seven weeks I spent working through Daniel chapter nine beginning January 9th this year.1 Ezekiel was taken to Babylon in 597 B.C. eight years after Daniel during the second of three waves in which the Babylonians came and took Jews along with their king, Jehoiachin, from the kingdom of Judah captive (2 Kings 24:8-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10). Ezekiel was a priest preparing to serve when his life plans were dramatically altered by the captivity. He, like Daniel, became a slave of God for His cause and glory as has been my own experience.
By Ezekiel’s own dating statements in the text, in 593 B.C. during the fifth year after the king’s captivity and most likely his thirtieth year of life, while “among the captives by the River Chebar” the spiritual realm was suddenly opened up to him and he saw “visions of God,” (Ezekiel 1:1-3, NKJV).2 Until that moment, Ezekiel had his non-distinct place among all the other captives of Babylon that were living at the pleasure of its king. As I wrote in last week’s post examining Daniel and his three friends with a cushier existence in the “big house” of the king, Ezekiel too, with all others not so well off would have experienced the trauma and demoralization of their plight (Psalm 137).3
Evidently, gathering near waterways was a permitted and popular thing to do since both Ezekiel in the opening of his book and Daniel in his are among those that gather at them. Both men also have awesome encounters with God and angels as visions in their river settings (Ezekiel 1:4-28; Daniel 10:4-12). Whatever despair Ezekiel had from being a captive in Babylon was quickly eclipsed by the sudden and overpowering opening up of the unseen spiritual realm to him. It presented an abundance of unfamiliar sights and sounds, creatures as well as images of Heaven and God so vivid, he describes them in detail as best as any mortal human language can convey.
This all happened to a man awestruck beyond words who had previously only hoped to be a priest of the Lord at His Temple! However, he did not need to speak because the “One” who had given Ezekiel this great vision garnering his rapt attention now, spoke to him of His calling to serve Him as His slave in Babylon. Ezekiel would be the Lord’s prophet to his fellow captives He describes as ‘“a rebellious house’” to speak His words to them which they would not give heed (Ezekiel 2-3:15, NKJV). Moreover, the Lord returned seven days later and added ‘“watchman’” to Ezekiel’s calling in which he was to hear ‘“a word from’” God’s ‘“mouth’” and warn the people (Ezekiel 3:16-21, NKJV).
After this, the Lord sent his watchman/prophet ‘“into the plain’” to speak with him further about his ministry that would prove to be as challenging for him in the physical as processing everything he had seen in the spiritual realm. For God through the Spirit in him would command Ezekiel to do many strange and dramatic things as well as make him ‘“mute’” at times. This was all to cause his fellow captives to question his conduct and when God directed him, give them His answers (Ezekiel 3:22-27, NKJV). Much of the content of his dramatic portrayals, prophesying and warnings consisted of God’s reasons for the captivity as judgment and calls to repentance (Ezekiel 4-24, 33-34:10).
Interspersed with reasons for His judgment and calls to repentance, God also foretells His plans to restore Israel in the future (Ezekiel 11:14-25, 20:33-44, 34:11-31, 36-48). As well, He announced judgment on the surrounding Gentile nations who gloated over them and the evil spiritual mastermind behind those nations that was once His chief cherub, but fell (Ezekiel 25-32, 35). This was the incredible prophetic ministry of Ezekiel he records in his book after any hope of serving at the Temple in Jerusalem was fully dashed when it with the city was destroyed by his captors as later confirmed by a surviving escapee and foretold by God (Ezekiel 7:20-27, 21:1-7, 24:1-2, 15-27, 33:21-29).
Exemplary of Ezekiel as a slave of God was his obedience; only once objecting to a command from God on how to cook his food in the first of his dramatic portrayals. He objected honoring God’s already written Word he had obeyed from his youth (Ezekiel 4:9-17). He also remained obedient in the most difficult of human experiences, the death of a spouse which God told him of in advance; commanding that he not grieve for her and incorporate this into yet another dramatic portrayal to his fellow captives (Ezekiel 24:15-18). His obedience was like unto Christ as God’s slave (Philippians 2:5-8)!4 Like Him and Daniel too, Ezekiel was humble and content in his own service; showing no sign of jealousy when God exalted Daniel with other righteous men (Ezekiel 14:12-20).5
God repeated His calling of Ezekiel to be His watchman/prophet in Ezekiel 33:1-9. This passage has also served as the scriptural basis for my similar ministry from Him among rebellious professed Christians and their churches beginning formally in the spring of 1986.6 While the Lord has not had me act out any messages, through Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. He has used me to write, creatively produce and declare those He has given using many media tools such as printed materials, publications, radio, television, billboards, a play and the internet to blow His trumpet of warning. With His leadership, grace and strength I have endured in His causes to this hour seeking His glory; defining success by the example of Ezekiel’s faithful obedience as a slave of God!
1 See the two-part post that starts January16, 2022, Arriving At These Times, under the categories Bible Prophecy and Call To Repent.
2 The expression, “the heavens were opened” with a key emphasis on “opened,” powerfully communicates the ability of mortal men granted by God to see into and experience
things in the otherwise cloaked, closed like a curtain or door unseen spiritual realm that surrounds and fully suffuses our physical universe. So, throughout the Bible mortal
men are made to “see” as did for examples, the servant of Elisha after he prayed for the Lord to “open his eyes,” John the Baptist who “saw the Spirit descending from hea-
ven” upon the Lord Jesus and the apostle John who was summoned up through “a door standing open in heaven,” (2 Kings 6:15-17; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34; Revela-
tion 4:1, NKJV). As with Ezekiel, their experiences were all amazingly real though, of the invisible spiritual realm!
3 Read the February 27, 2022 post, Daniel: Slave Of God, under the categories Biblical Worldview and Black History Month.
4 The obedience of Ezekiel (how fitting his name means “God strengthens”) perfectly seen in Jesus Christ is also to characterize the aspiring strong man of God in His image
I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, available in the Strong Man Store, at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore.
5 Unlike the biblically forbidden divisions, envy, petty jealousies and competition among many Christian leaders today (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3-4, 12-13), Ezekiel surely es-
teemed Daniel who had already become well known throughout Babylon for his righteousness and wisdom God had given to him before his arrival. These two godly men in
the same circumstances of captivity were used similarly and mightily in the prophetic ministry by God, but among different audiences (Galatians 2:1-10). Though Ezekiel
cried out and saw judgment from God upon his people, he still cared for them (Ezekiel 9:3-8). And though Daniel served kings, he did not forget where he had come from;
the stock and people from which he had been cut and identified with until the end (Daniel 9:16-19). As with Daniel’s book, Ezekiel’s will also remain relevant through the re-
turn of Christ to the very end of His millennium reign and this present age (Ezekiel 38; Revelation 20:7-10)!
6 Read the October 2, 2016, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart, under the category, Call To Repent. Also, beginning November 13, 2016, the three-part post, Without Honor In
The Churches, under the category, Glory To God! Finally, under the same category, read the April 30, 2017 post, God, His Prophets And Word.
After seven weeks in the profound book of Bible prophecy named after its penman and main personality, Daniel, you would think his dream interpretations, dreams, visions and prophecies came to him in the isolated seclusion of a desert or mountain retreat.1 But as foretold (Micah 4:9-10), Daniel was a captive and slave taken over 1,500 miles away to Babylon with others of his people from the 605 B.C. Jewish kingdom of Judah in the first of three waves and accord with the judgment of God (2 Chronicles 36:15-21; Jeremiah 25:1-11; Daniel 1:1-2)! As this was of God, Daniel is also ultimately His slave which is instruction and application for black Americans this Black History Month.
From the outset, Daniel was busy with the king of Babylon’s priorities as he was selected with others of the best and brightest “young men” among fellow slaves from Judah to serve in his “palace” after teaching them “the language and literature of the Chaldeans” in “three years of training.” During this time by royal decree, they were to eat the “daily provision of the king’s delicacies” and drink “of the wine which he drank,” (Daniel 1:3-5, NKJV). The Jewish names of these representative young men were also replaced with those of Babylonian origin given to them by “the chief of the eunuchs,” (Daniel 1:6-7, NKJV). Assignment to him may mean the young men were made eunuchs too.2
It was not just doctrinal instruction from the Lord through His Word during the seven year period beginning in 1986 I waited on Him in prayer and intense Bible study for a biblical worldview of the black American experience that caused me to throw off the yoke of and renounce victimization as a descendant of West African slaves and minority still experiencing systemic racism.3 It was also encountering godly men like Daniel and his companions in the Bible who were forcibly taken from their native land to be slaves in Babylon. For this is just as it also happened to my forefathers forcibly taken from their native land and brought over 4,000 miles in ships to be slaves in America.
Like Daniel and his companions, too, my slave forefathers were required to learn the language and culture of their captors as well as receive new names and be happy about it. All of these painful circumstances were as initially traumatizing and demoralizing for them as they no doubt were for Daniel, his companions and all of the Jews in Babylon (Psalm 137). However, in spite of their captive circumstances, Daniel and his three companions were not crushed as victims, but thrived! How is this possible? Isn’t it because they came to Babylon in a devoted relationship with and as slaves of God; accepting that their captivity was of His permissive, foretold will (Daniel 1:8-21, 9:10-14)?4
This is not to say Daniel and his three companions escaped trouble from the raw power of their oppressors. Even so, God delivered them as they looked to Him in faith! The four of them would have been killed with all of Babylon’s wise men if God had not provided Daniel with the content of the king’s dream and its interpretation for which he praised Him and advanced them (Daniel 2). After this, Daniel’s three companions incurred the king’s “fury” because they refused out of faithfulness to God to worship his image. He threw them into a furnace that was heated “seven times” hotter than normal. But God delivered them! He was praised and they “promoted” by the king (Daniel 3, NKJV).
Early in the new royal administration of the Medo-Persian Empire, men no doubt filled with envy, jealousy and racism plotted against Daniel because the king who had already given him a high position in his government, considered elevating Daniel to the highest place under him. Their evil scheme was predicated on snaring Daniel in his well known faithfulness to the God of Heaven so he might be killed by being dropped into a den of hungry lions. But God delivered Daniel and He was praised by the king! Daniel prospered until his death (Daniel 6). This pattern of trouble, unfair and even harsh treatment attends to the Jewish experience in Babylon and Persia. However, men like Daniel and his three companions trusted in and remained faithful to God and He delivered them.5
There is one major difference in the captivity of Daniel, his companions and other faithful Jews and that of those brought from West Africa to be slaves in America: the majority of my forefathers did not come having a prior relationship with the living God. Presented the Gospel even from nefarious motives and Christianity the religion of men though, many over time came to faith in Jesus Christ.6 What trials they endured being treated with contempt as naked chattel or barely above animals by many of the guilty whites that owned them. They were denied the sanctity of marriage and intact families; violated by rape and castration in too many cases; beaten and murdered with impunity. Yet, like Daniel and his three companions the faithful cried out to and trusted in God for deliverance.
Over four hundred years of black American history is filled with innumerable personal and corporate testimonies of deliverances from God. Those like Daniel and his companions who understood themselves to be His slaves bore with their mortal bondage waiting in hope for freedom which did come! Others refused to compromise their God granted human dignity and persevered through Jim Crow segregation never believing they were less than anyone else. Still others faced just as real furnaces of affliction and lion’s dens making a stand for biblical righteousness opposing the evils of racial bigotry. Many God delivered while some He chose to bring home to glory and rest from their labors. All of His faithful have given and give this nation’s rulers their opportunity to praise God!7
1 See the posts that begin January 9 through February 20, 2022.
2 As students of the Bible note, neither Daniel nor his three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are said to have wives or children anywhere in Daniel’s book. While this or
the fact they are under the specific authority of the king’s head eunuch are not conclusive proof the young men were made eunuchs, it is truly odd no mention of wives or
children is made given the importance of family and lineage to the Jews throughout most of the Bible.
3 Read the two-part post beginning June 2, 2019, Message From A Redeemed Black Man, under the categories Biblical Worldview and Black History. O that all the guilty
would repent from seeing our experience through the confused prism of victimization! At https://fromslaverytovictory.org walk through the presentation, Does God Care
About African Americans?
4 The result of Daniel’s humble acceptance of God’s will for his life as a slave in Babylon is His loving favor so bestowed on him, that his book remains prophetically relevant
over 2,500 years later and will be to the very end and Christ’s return!
5 These men were exemplary of the aspiring strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, available in
the Strong Man Store, at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore.
6 Tragically, a great number of blacks going forward also adopted Christianity as their own religion after the manner of those who had enslaved them. God has not been
pleased with this among our people or any others. He leads me to cry out with His displeasure against the corruptions and compromises of the biblical faith in manmade
Christianity the religion among all professed Christians in a four-part post that begins February 26, 2017, God Of Restoration And Judgment, under the categories Bible
Prophecy, Biblical Worldview, Black History and The Cause. More recently, also read the two-part post starting February 21, 2021, Willful Ignorance Destroys, under the
category, Black History.
7 Truly, it is only the black American victors of faith and faithfulness that are being honored to the glory of God in this post as I do them in our national Radio Special, From
Slavery To Victory: One Man’s Journey and which I still want to more fully do in a film. The Radio Special sits waiting to be heard as a Webcast on The From Slavery
To Victory Education Project Web Site (https://fromslaverytovictory.org) needing only the funds to obtain renewed music clearances. You can make a designated gift
for this cause on the Web Site or even anonymously through the PayPal Giving Fund. If you have the human and financial resources to help realize the film vision, please
reach out to me.
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