Six Angels of Death, and One Redeemer (Ezekiel 9)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 9

Appearing to Ezekiel in a vision (8:1), the Spirit of the LORD took him to the Temple where he looked upon the great wickedness of Judah, for even the sanctuary was defiled by idols (8:5-6). Ezekiel found the religious leaders of Judah in a room whose walls were engraved with the likeness of false gods (8:7-11), and he heard the men boast, “The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth” (8:12).

Ezekiel also saw women worshipping Tammuz, the fertility god (8:14), and men who “worshipped the sun toward the east” (8:16). With the question, “Hast thou seen this, O son of man?”, the LORD concluded the tour of the Temple, and declared, “18Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (8:18).

Ezekiel 9 – The Vision of God’s Judgment of Jerusalem

Suddenly, Ezekiel heard the LORD cry out, “Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand” (9:1). Six men answered the summons, and a seventh [man]accompanied them” (9:2).

Who were these men? I believe they were angelic beings. Each came to Jerusalem with “a slaughter weapon in his hand” (9:2a). The seventh man, “clothed with linen,” carried the tools of a writer, for he came “with a writer’s inkhorn by his side” (9:2-3). I believe the seventh man might have been the Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14).

With the arrival of the men who were bearing weapons of death and slaughter, “the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub” (9:3). I believe it was in that moment the LORD withdrew His presence from between the cherubim on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The LORD was then removed “to the threshold” of the Temple (9:3).

The Righteous Marked for Salvation, the Wicked Doomed to Judgment (9:3-8)

The vision continued with the LORD summoning “the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side” (9:3), and commanding him to go through the city and put a mark on the forehead of everyone who grieved because of the wickedness of the city (9:4).

The six men followed, each bearing “a slaughter weapon in his hand” (9:2a), to slay all who were not marked on their forehead. No one was to be spared death, except those who were marked as grieving the wickedness of the city (9:6). God’s judgment began at the Temple, when the six men executed the “ancient men” who worshipped idols in the sanctuary (9:6; 8:11-12). The bodies of the dead were left in the Temple and its rooms, and the six executioners continued to go throughout Jerusalem (9:7).

Witnessing the deaths of so many in his vision, Ezekiel fell upon his face, and cried out, “Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” (9:8) The prophet wondered, LORD, will none be spared?

Closing thoughts (9:9-11) – The LORD answered Ezekiel’s wailful cry, and asserted the wickedness of Israel and Judah was “exceeding great” (9:9). The sins of the people demanded His judgment. They had broken their covenant with the LORD, and “the land [was] full of blood” (murder), “and the city full of perverseness” (idolatry and adultery, Exodus 20:3-16). Yet, the elders lied saying, “The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not” (9:9). The time for pity and compassion was past, and every man would bear the burden of his sin.

Our devotional concludes with a report from the “man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side” (9:11). He had faithfully discharged his work, and marked every man, woman, boy and girl that would be spared God’s judgment.

In the midst of His judgment, the LORD remembered those who were His. What a comfort to all believers, whose sins are marked, and covered by the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18–19 – “18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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