Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
In testimony and example, as to his prophetic relation, the same thing happens in Ezekiel's case. God is rejected; His prophet takes this place, with the throne, to judge the whole nation, and especially Jerusalem, announcing at the same time (to faith) their re-establishment in grace. He is sent from Jehovah to a rebellious people, to say, Jehovah has spoken, whether they would hear or not. The judgment would make it known that a prophet had been among them. His first testimony is composed of lamentations, and mourning, and woe; nevertheless the communication of the word of God is always full of sweetness, looked at as a revelation from Him, and as taking place between God and man (chap. 2). Some important principles in the relations of God with Israel are developed in chapter 3.
But we have yet to notice a feature that characterises the Book of Ezekiel, comparing it with that of Jeremiah. The latter addresses himself immediately to his contemporaries (that is to say, to the people of God) in a testimony which, making its way through the bruised and wounded heart of the prophet, exhibits the marvellous patience of God, who, up to the last moment, invites His people to repentance. It is not thus with Ezekiel. He announces that which necessitates the judgment. He is sent indeed to Israel, but to Israel in a hardened condition. His mouth is shut as to the people; he is not to rebuke them. He may communicate to them certain declarations of Jehovah at a suitable time, when Jehovah opens his mouth to make them understand that there is a prophet among them; but he does not address himself directly and morally to the people, as being still the object of God's dealings. Jehovah reveals to him the iniquities that oblige Him to cast off His people, and no longer to act towards them on principles of government established by Himself, as with a people whom He acknowledged. It is, on God's part, a setting forth of Israel's conduct as the occasion of the rupture of His relations with them. At the same time certain new principles of conduct are revealed. I speak of that part of the prophecy which relates to Israel; for there are also sundry judgments upon the Gentiles, and a description of the future state of the land, as well as of the temple-a state which the prophet was to communicate to Israel in case they should repent.