Ezekiel, Bridge Between The Testaments -- By: C. Hassell Bullock

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 25:1 (Mar 1982)
Article: Ezekiel, Bridge Between The Testaments
Author: C. Hassell Bullock

Ezekiel, Bridge Between The Testaments

C. Hassell Bullock*

Ezekiel, prophet in exile, is perhaps destined in Biblical scholarship to remain in a foreign land. From time to time he has been transported by a venturesome scholar from dismal Babylonia to the scholastic elevations of Jerusalem. There he has glimpsed the world of scholarly scrutiny that Isaiah and Jeremiah have known so well. But he always seems to end up again in Babylonia. One may wonder if those three hundred barrels of oil were well spent by Chananiah ben Hezekiah when he composed his commentary on Ezekiel to prevent the book from sinking into canonical obscurity (b. Sabb. 13b). In fact, the prophecy of Ezekiel has largely been viewed as an apocalyptic resource. And we may admit the truth of that without disparaging the book in the least. In that respect the influence of Ezekiel on the NT has most readily been detected in the Apocalypse of John. Swete, in a list that he admits is not exhaustive, cites 29 instances of John’s verbal dependence on Ezekiel in comparison to 27 on the Psalms, 46 on Isaiah and 31 on Daniel.1 This verbal dependence is only minimally measured in direct quotations. Vanhoye lists three (Rev 1:15/Ezek 43:2; Rev 10:10/Ezek 3:3; Rev 18:1/Ezek 43:2)2 but on this point there is no unanimity of agreement. The range of influence is largely in the area of imagery and phraseology. Yet there is ample consideration given to this matter in the commentaries and Vanhoye’s study. Our interest runs in another direction.

An area that has had little attention is that of the gospels and the mind of Jesus or the messianic consciousness. Again we should observe that dependence is not quotational. Nestle has listed 16 different NT verses outside the Apocalypse that evidence Ezekiel’s influence. Only two of those have an asterisk to indicate direct verbal dependence (2 Cor 6:16–17). Out of the sixteen instances only five (excluding parallels) are in the gospels, two in Matthew/Mark (9:36/6:34; 13:32/4:32), one in Mark only (8:18) and three in Luke (1:52; 13:19;

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