43. “The Shepherds of Israel”

Ezekiel’s teachings of being a watchman and the nature of personal responsibility are unique in the Old Testament. Ezekiel also prophesied of the latter-day work, including a restoration in the land of Israel.

“The Voice of Warning,” by D. Todd Christofferson, April 2017 General Conference
In commissioning Ezekiel, Jehovah used the metaphor of a watchman. Far from being anxious to condemn, our Heavenly Father and our Savior seek our happiness and plead with us to repent. While the duty to warn is felt especially keenly by prophets, it is a duty shared by others as well.

“Ezekiel, Prophecies of,” by Keith H. Meservy, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
The prophecies of Ezekiel (593-c. 570 B.C.) interest Latter-day Saints because they contain unique insights into aspects of God’s saving work with his children, such as the responsibilities of a watchman or leader (chaps. 3, 33). In chapter 34, Ezekiel described the scattering of Israelites among the nations of the earth as a leadership failure-Israel’s “shepherds” had exploited rather than cared for the “sheep.” Consequently, the Lord will become the Shepherd to seek out lost sheep and gather “them from the countries…to their own land” (34:11, 13). Finally a latter-day David will become their leader (34:24), the sterility of the land will be overcome (36:8-11), the Dead Sea will support fishing (47:1, 7-10), and Israel, as well as the nations, will know that the Lord is with them and “They shall know that I am the Lord” (34:23-28, 30).

“Ezekiel: Watchman of Israel,” Old Testament Student Manual, Kings-Malachi
An overview of Ezekiel’s life, message, and visions, with helpful responses to questions about specific verses using unfamiliar terms.

“Ezekiel, Prophet of Hope,” Keith H. Meservy, Ensign, September 1990
As the fall of Jerusalem marked an important transition in the life of the Israelites, it also marked an important transition in Ezekiel’s prophecies. No longer did he call Jews to repentance to avoid being overthrown. He addressed instead the questions that must have been on their minds now that their nation was no more. What future did they have now that they had offended God so grievously that he had allowed them to be driven from their land? Was he still their God? Were they still his chosen people? And even if he were willing, could he gather people so widely dispersed as the Israelites were in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, and elsewhere throughout the world?

“Ezekiel’s Sticks and the Gathering of Israel,” Keith Meservy, Ensign, February 1987
Ezekiel’s ancient prophecy of the two “sticks”—or books—does more than foresee the Bible and Book of Mormon. It marks the coming of the Book of Mormon as the beginning of the great latter-day gathering.