Ezekiel was a young priest who had been exiled into Babylon possibly at the same time as Daniel or a few years later. He was probably thirty years old, the age that young priests became active in their priestly duties. However, that would not happen for Ezekiel.
In a foreign land away from the house of God, instead of assuming priestly duties, Ezekiel saw a vision. He described the vision as the likeness of four creatures with awesome characteristics surrounded by a wheel beside each one. From the brightness of that vision, he fell on his face and, “heard a voice of One speaking.”
The voice of the Spirit spoke to Ezekiel and commissioned him to go to the children of Israel. Judah was referred to as Israel because they were the remainder of the original nation of Israel. He reminded the new prophet that they were a rebellious people and whether they would hear him or not, God’s word would be proclaimed. Ezekiel was assured that even in a hostile place, he would be kept safe. God’s words of lamentations and woes were then spread before the prophet in the form of a book.
Ezekiel was ordered to eat the scroll that he had been given. Following that, he was given directions for his ministry. He was informed that the people would not listen to him because they had not listened to God before him. The final charge of Ezekiel’s commission was to speak God’s warning. If he failed to obey and warn the people, they would die in their sins and he would be held accountable. However, if he did warn them and they failed to obey, they would die in their sins, but he would be free of their blood. That same accountability rests upon us to also warn the righteous to remain faithful to God.