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Go to Bible: Ezekiel 9
“cried out in my ears.” This is a splendid example of audible revelation, although it is part of the larger revelation Ezekiel was having. [For more information on revelation, what it is and how it works, see commentary on Gal. 1:12].
Note that Yahweh cries into Ezekiel’s ears with a loud voice to make a strong impression on Ezekiel, right after saying that the sin of the people was so great that if they cried out to God with a loud voice He would not hear them (Ezek. 8:18).(top)
“six men.” These are not human beings, but spirit beings in the form of men, and therefore called “men.” They are never specifically said to be angels, and they may not have been. Apparently there are many different types of spirit beings, just as there are many types of people and animals on earth (see commentary on Eph. 3:15).
“upper gate.” Also called, “the upper gate of Benjamin,” this is the gate in the northern wall of the Temple, not the northern gate in the city wall. It was built by king Jotham, son of Uzziah (2 Kings 15:35).
“shattering weapon.” This is most likely a war club. It is not the word for sword. Judah will be shattered.
“they went in.” That is, into the inner courtyard of the Temple area.
“and stood beside the bronze altar.” The bronze altar was between the entrance to the Temple proper and the east gate of the Temple, so God, standing in front of the Holy Place in the threshold of the Temple, could look directly at these spirit beings.(top)
“And the glory of the God of Israel went up.” In Ezekiel’s vision, God, surrounded by His glory, that is, His glorious brightness, moves to the threshold of the Temple (when the text says “the glory of God” moved, it is assumed that the reader knows the glory is surrounding God—that He is personally present in it, so that in this context, when the glory moves, God moves. See commentary on Ezek. 1:28).
The text is not specifically clear about where God had come from when He moved to the threshold of the Temple. When Ezekiel was taken in his vision to the north gate of the Temple adjacent to the altar, God was already there (Ezek. 8:3-4). Then God led Ezekiel on a tour of the Temple and the wickedness going on there (Ezek. 8:5, 7, 14, 16). It is possible that God rode on His cherubim chariot-throne while giving that tour, and that does seems to be the natural reading of the text seeing that after the tour God moves from over the cherubim to the threshold of the Temple (Ezek. 9:3; 10:3-4).
It does not seem that God moved from inside the Holy of Holies to the threshold of the Temple, although some scholars believe that when the text says God moved from the “cherub” to the threshold that He moved from the cherubim inside the Holy of Holies to the threshold. But we learn from Ezekiel 10:3 that God had parked His chariot-throne on the south side of the Temple in the courtyard, and God’s glory had filled the inner courtyard. God apparently had come into the Temple courtyard riding on His cherubim chariot-throne and would have been “above” the cherubim on his throne (cp. Ezek. 1:26). Then He got off his throne that was above the cherubim and went to the threshold of the Temple, immediately in front of the entrance to the Holy Place.
Once at the threshold of the Temple, God issues a command to destroy Jerusalem. Most scholars agree that the threshold of the Temple is the entrance to the Temple itself, which is the entrance to the Holy Place. God did not issue His command to destroy Jerusalem from His chariot-throne even though He could have; He issued His command from the Temple itself. This is significant because He had wanted to live in His Temple among His people, but their egregious sins drove Him away, and even resulted in His command to destroy Jerusalem. God understands that people sin, but when people willfully sin against Him out of a hard and rebellious heart, He withdraws from them and their sin has terrible consequences.
What Ezekiel 9:3 says is stated again in Ezekiel 10:4, Yahweh coming off His chariot-throne and going to the threshold of the Temple. However, in Ezekiel 10 the text focuses on the glory of God—the brilliant light that surrounded God and indicated His presence—and shows how it filled both the Temple court and the Temple itself. Also, Ezekiel 10 tells us more about the “man” who will bring judgment on Israel, and that he is to scatter burning coals on Jerusalem (Ezek. 10:2, 6-7).
In summary, then, when Ezekiel arrived in the Temple in his vision, God’s cherubim chariot-throne and God were already there (Ezek. 8:3-4). Then God moved to the threshold of the Temple and gave the command to destroy Jerusalem (Ezek. 9:3-7). Then He got back on His chariot-throne and moved to the east gate of the Temple (Ezek. 10:18-19). From over the east gate, He moved to over the Mount of Olives (Ezek. 11:22-23). God and His glory will not return to a Temple in Jerusalem until the Millennial Temple (Ezek. 43:1-4). So the continual sin of Judah, and their hardheartedness, drove God away. God, surrounded by His glory, left Judah and Jerusalem, which were then destroyed by the Babylonians. [For more on Ezekiel 8-11 and what happened, see commentary on Ezek. 8:4].(top)
|Eze 9:4||- (top)|
|Eze 9:5||- (top)|
“begin at my sanctuary.” The Temple of God is where the rebellion against God and the idolatry was most apparent, and where there should have been the most reverence and attention to holiness. Cleansing of evil must start at the house of God.
“the house.” The Temple.(top)
“Defile the house.” A dead body would make the temple area unclean, but the sin was so egregious, and the timing so urgent, that God overlooked making His temple unclean so that evil and the evil ones could be dealt with. The Temple had been defiled by all the evil things the priests and leaders were doing, and now it would be defiled by their dead bodies.(top)
|Eze 9:8||- (top)|
“injustice.” The Hebrew word occurs only here in the Old Testament, and the exact meaning is uncertain. Logical suggestions include “injustice” (ESV; NIV; NLT); perverseness; perversity; perversions (KJV; NASB; NRSV), “lawlessness” (NAB); “corruption” (NET). We do know that the people were involved in egregious sin against God, and there were serious consequences for it.
“Yahweh has forsaken the land, and Yahweh does not see.” This sentence reveals how many of the ancient people thought about their gods. They usually thought their gods were local, not “everywhere,” like modern Christians think about God being everywhere. We see this in a number of places in the Bible such as 1 Kings 20:28, when the Syrian army thought they lost a battle because they fought where Yahweh lived but if they could fight it away from there then their gods would prevail and they would win the battle. Also, Jonah tried to run away from Yahweh by leaving Israel and going to Tarshish. Also, Naaman the Syrian wanted to take dirt from the land of Israel so he could worship Yahweh when he got back to Syria, thinking that the god went with the land (2 Kings 5:17). So here in Ezekiel 9:9, the people said Yahweh had left the land and did not see what they were doing.
It is reasonable to assume that part of the reason the people thought Yahweh was no longer in the land was due to the terrible things that had happened in Judah in their recent history, for example, being defeated by the Egyptians and Babylonians (2 Kings 23:31-24:20). What they were seemingly ignorant of, but certainly should not have been, was that it was their sin that caused the blessings and protection of God to be removed from Judah and brought the terrible consequences they were experiencing upon themselves.
The situation in which God can bless a land has not changed. The Devil constantly pushes society to be more and more ungodly so that he and his demons have a greater and greater influence in society, and he pushes his agenda through ungodly people. As a society increases sinfulness, including ignoring God’s commands, lawlessness, greed, sexual perversion, idolatry, etc., God’s blessings are removed from the country. Weather patterns change, disease and sickness, crime, and economic instability increases, and there are pressures and threats from enemies from within and without. The Bible makes this all very clear. It is difficult to stop evil, but it must be done for society to survive. There is no “low point” in society when the Devil is satisfied and will leave it alone—his goal is the annihilation of all godliness in society, which is why Christianity is illegal in so many countries, and godly men and women need to realize that and be willing to fight for godliness and freedom. In Judah’s case, the godly people were too few, and Judah was conquered: the Temple was burned, Judah’s cities burned, the men killed or carried away captive, the women raped and carried away captive, and what was left of the land was under ungodly governors. That is the Devil’s agenda for godly countries, and only godly people fighting against it will stop it.(top)
“what they have done.” The Hebrew is literally, “their road;” thus, “I will bring their road down upon their own heads.” This is a standard Hebrew idiom. A person’s “road” was the way they were living and what they were doing.(top)
|Eze 9:11||- (top)|