Ezekiel and the Exilic Prophets - Lesson 6: Ez 8:1-11:25
The Depravity of Jerusalem
8:1-18. Vision of four abominations practiced in the Temple.
It has been 14 months since Ezekiel was called by God. Transported
by an angel or the Lord to Jerusalem where once again the glory of the Lord
appears to him.
First abomination - Ezekiel 8:3 to the door of the inner
gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of
jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.
This may have been an image of Asherah, the mother-goddess
of the Canaanites, set up by Manasseh (II Kgs 21:7), and subsequently destroyed
by Josiah (II Kgs 23:6). Albright holds that the image or figured slab (Heb.,
sēmel; used only here and in Ezk 8:5; Deut 4:16; II Chr 33:7, 15), similar to
those found in Syria, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia, was placed in a niche in the
wall (see Arch. and Relig. of Israel, pp. 165, 166, 221).
The term “Asherah”
appears 40 times in the Old Testament, with 33 of these occurrences referring
to the sacred Asherah poles used in pagan and heretical Israelite worship. In
the KJV the word is translated as “grove.” Only seven instances of “Asherah”
are references to the goddess herself. Asherah (or Ashtoreth), the Canaanite
fertility goddess, was the mother of Baal—the supreme Canaanite god of
fertility, sun, and storm. She was the goddess of the sea and mother-goddess. Asherah’s
worship was widespread throughout Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan.
Second Abomination - Ezekiel 8:9-10 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. 10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
70 men ( a number probably meaning all the men, 7
completeness x 10) who seem to be workers in the Temple of God decorated their
living areas with idols like those of Samaria. The did this because, “Ezekiel
8:12 every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us
not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.”
Third Abomination - Ezekiel 8:14 Then he brought me to the
door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold,
there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
Tammuz/Osiris/Adonis was a god of agriculture. His rituals
were performed primarily by women, who mourned his death each year when the
early wheat harvest was over. In the myth Tammuz was taken to the netherworld
by demons and his sister who had been held was released. Later in the summer
Tammuz would rise again for the harvest. The women’s tears recalled the
supposed tears of Ishtar that brought Tammuz back. This is what the women in
the gate of the temple were doing in Ezekiel 8, a vile fertility god was being worshipped
in the place that Jehovah had sanctified for His house.
Fourth Abomination - Ezekiel 8:16 And he brought me into the
inner court of the LORD's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the
LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with
their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and
they worshipped the sun toward the east.
These men would have been priests and instead of worship
toward the Temple they were worshipping the rising sun. One of the most pagan
forms of worshipping that as ever existed.
God says He will deal with them in “fury” for the violence,
to men or to God and His house, that they have done.
9:1-11 Vision of inhabitants slain by divine avengers.
Six men (angels / divine executioners) are called to carry
out God’s justice upon Jerusalem, all have weapons of slaughter, shattering
weapons, not swords but clubs, hammers. One executioner is dressed in linen and
carries and ink horn. He precedes the others and marks those in the city who
mourn for the abominations that are in the Lord’s house. They will be spared,
but there is no mercy for the others, even though Ezekiel prays fervently for
The Hebrew word for mark is taw (Eng. “t”), the last letter
of the Hebrew alphabet, written in the old form as a cross, the letter t.
Vision of Jerusalem destroyed by fire. 10:1-22.
The angel dressed in linen is commanded to take fire from
the throne of God and scatter it upon the city of Jerusalem. A symbol of God’s
fiery judgment upon His city.
God’s glory, His presence depart from the temple - Ezekiel
10:18 Then the glory of the LORD
departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.
Comparison of Ezekiel and Revelation - This type of fiery judgment
vision is seen again in Revelation 8:5-6 And the angel took the censer, and filled
it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices,
and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which
had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
If the angel dressed in linen is separate from the other six,
then both judgments are carried out by 7 avenging angels.
Vision of the evil condition of the city and the Lord’s departure. 11:1-25.
Vs. 4-12 Ezekiel is told to prophesy against the city and his message of judgment lays the blame for the slaughter upon their own sin.
Ezekiel 11:12 And ye shall know that I am the LORD. The
theme of the book is repeated.
God promises a remnant will be saved and one day a new heart
to His people - Ezekiel 11:19-21 And 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: 20 That 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. 21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their
detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon
their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.
God, upon his throne and the cherubim now leave Jerusalem. Ezekiel
11:22-23 Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside
them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of
the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which
is on the east side of the city.
Ezekiel sees himself in the vision carried back to Chaldea
and the vision of God glory and throne go with him.
Ezekiel 11: 24-25 Afterwards the spirit took me up, and
brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the
captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me. Then I spake unto
them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had shewed me.
The utter destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was
barbaric and meant to remove any hope of Israel rebelling again or of regaining
their city. Though it is very harsh, God’s judgment was 100s of years in
coming. Prophet after prophet had warned Israel and Judah that God would not be
mocked. When judgment came very, very few were spared from God’s fury.
One day this world will see and even more terrible
destruction during the Tribulation, all the earth will be judged and upward of ¾
of all mankind along with much of the animals, plants and even oceans will be destroyed.
It will be harsh, but God has been warning this wicked world for 2000 years to
repent. When His angels of judgment are released at the end of this age, it
will only be the fulfillment of the warnings we have heard for so long.
Revelation 8:7-13 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth…