Scripture reading – Ezekiel 9-12
Our study of the visions and prophecies of Ezekiel continues with our Scripture reading from Ezekiel 9-12. Remember the prophet is in Babylon and he was ministering to the people of Judah whom King Nebuchadnezzar had taken captive. Ezekiel warned that God’s great judgment would soon fall on Jerusalem and that city would be utterly destroyed.
Ezekiel found himself contending with false prophets who gave the people a false security by declaring the prophecies of God’s judgment against Jerusalem were still a great way off. God’s prophet, however, would not be silenced and with boldness Ezekiel declared the final desolation of Judah and the imminent destruction of Jerusalem
Ezekiel 9 – A Tragic Vision in the Temple Courtyard
In a vision, the LORD had brought Ezekiel into the courtyard of the Temple in Jerusalem where the prophet witnessed the great wickedness of the people. Lest the prophet doubt the justice of God, the LORD asked, “Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here?” (Ezekiel 8:17-18)
The vision in chapter 9 continues in the courtyard of the Temple where God commanded “six men” (probably angelic beings) to take their “destroying weapon” and go up to the Temple (9:1-2). The six guards were accompanied by “one man among them [Who] was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar” (9:2). Although not identified, I believe the man “clothed with linen” was Jesus Christ in a preincarnate appearance.
The man “clothed in linen” was commanded to place a mark on the foreheads of those “men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations” that the people had committed in Jerusalem (9:4). The men who received the mark were the few who sorrowed over the sins of the people.
With the righteous identified by the mark on their forehead, the six guards were commanded to go through the city, killing the wicked and sparing none, beginning in the Temple (9:5-6) and leaving the bodies of the slain where they fell (9:7).
The sight of the slaughter and the bodies of the dead so overwhelmed Ezekiel that he cried out, “Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” (9:8)
I close this devotional reminding you of the spiritual lesson God taught Ezekiel. Israel and Judah had sinned greatly against God and had foolishly reassured one another saying, “the LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not” (9:9). God, however, answered their prideful boasts declaring, “mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head” (9:10).
Like the mark on the forehead of the righteous (9:4), the cross is the believer’s testimony that his sins have been atoned by the shedding of Christ’s blood on the Cross, His death and bodily resurrection.
Lesson – The LORD is longsuffering and willing to forgive (2 Peter 3:9); however, He is holy and just, and the wicked will not be spared His judgment.
Revelation 20:12-15 – “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith