It is good to remember Ezekiel was a young man, only 30 years old, when he was called and commissioned by the LORD to be prophet to the people of the captivity (1:1). No doubt, the young prophet’s spirit was troubled at all the LORD had shown him. In a vision recorded in Ezekiel 8, the LORD revealed the sins and wickedness of Jerusalem’s leaders who worshipped idols in secret within the Temple. The LORD avowed, “mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity” on the people (8:18).
Ezekiel was then given a vision of God’s judgment when the LORD cried aloud, and summoned six men (whom I believe were angelic beings), and “every man [came] with his destroying weapon in his hand” (9:1). The six men came bearing, “every man a slaughter weapon in his hand” (9:2). They were accompanied by a seventh man described as being “clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side” (symbolizing a man of words, or as I believe, “The Word” incarnate, Jesus Christ, John 1:14).
The prophet looked on as the man with the inkhorn went throughout Jerusalem. Beginning at the Temple, he placed a mark on the forehead of the righteous who grieved over the sins of the city (9:6). The six men followed the man marking the foreheads of the righteous, and executed all who did not bear the mark of a believer (9:6).
The scene of death and judgment recorded in Ezekiel 9, was followed by a renewed vision of heaven. A detailed study of Ezekiel 10 is not necessary, for you will find it to be nearly identical to our study of Ezekiel 1:4-28. I encourage you to read Ezekiel 10, and then review our earlier study of Ezekiel 1. There you will find an interpretation of the four cherubim, and the meaning of the wheels (10:14).
God’s warning of judgment against the leaders of Jerusalem continued in a vision in Ezekiel 11, and one the prophet would later declare to the people of the captivity (11:25). Of this vision, Ezekiel wrote, “Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the Lord’s house…and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people” (11:1).
Jaazaniah and Pelatiah were rulers of the people, but were guilty of dismissing the prophecies of God’s judgment. Rather than call on the people to repent of their sins and turn to the LORD, those leaders encouraged them to “build houses” (11:3). The LORD commanded Ezekiel, “prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man” (11:4).
In his vision, the “Spirit of the LORD” empowered and emboldened the prophet (11:5), and Ezekiel bravely proclaimed God’s imminent judgment (11:6-12). Suddenly, the leader named Pelatiah fell dead (11:13), and Ezekiel cried out to the LORD, saying, “Ah Lord God! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?” (11:13) In other words, LORD, will you not be merciful?
A Promise of Restoration (11:14-21)
Because of the sins of the people, Judah would become a desolate land, and Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed. Yet, the LORD did not leave Ezekiel or the people without hope. There were some who lived in Jerusalem and boasted they had been spared, while those in captivity were condemned.
Yet, in actuality, it would be just the opposite, because those taken captive, and scattered among the heathen, would come to humble themselves, and repent of their sins. To them the LORD promised, “I will give you the land of Israel” (11:17). Those of the captivity would return some day, and purge the land of its sins and abominations (11:18). The LORD promised, “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (11:19-20).
The Glory of the LORD is Departed (11:22-25)
Ezekiel’s vision concluded with the cherubim lifting up the heavenly throne of God, as His glory ascended from Jerusalem and lingered, almost mournfully it seemed, upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city” (11:23). After that, the Spirit of the LORD transported Ezekiel and placed him among the people “of the captivity” (11:24). Then, Ezekiel declared to them “all the things that the Lord had shewed [him] ” (11:25).
Closing thoughts – As I close today, I wonder how many of my readers are members of churches where the glory of the LORD has departed? How many churches are pastored by men whose private sins and sexual indiscretions have brought public disgrace to the Gospel and the ministry? Be sure of this, the glory of the LORD will not grace a church whose people tolerate sin in the midst.
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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