Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Ezekiel 1-13 "Countdown to Exile" 4/5
Chapter: Ezek 8
Passage: Ezek 8:1-6
A. Find Out:
1. When & where was Ezekiel with whom? v.1
2. Who appeared to him? v.2
3. What did he do and what happened? v.3
4. What did he see when he got there? v.4
5. What was he told to do and what did he see? v.5
6. What did the Lord say about this? v.6
1. How was Ezekiel able to see Jerusalem?
2. What did he see there?
3. What did God say was happening?
We are now a little over a year after the first vision (compare v.1 with 1:1,2). Ezekiel is in his own home in the exile in Babylonia, and he sees the One he had seen before (1:26), the glorious One on the throne. He seems to reach out his hand to take hold of Ezekiel and straight away Ezekiel is taken in his spirit, by the Spirit, to see a vision of Jerusalem (v.3). There at Jerusalem was the glory of God that he had seen before (v.4). The Lord is still at Jerusalem.
Then he sees an idol set up in the temple precincts (v.5). This is what Jerusalem has come to. In the place that had been built to meet with Almighty God, there was a pagan idol set up. These foolish people had substituted worship of idols for the worship of the One True God. But that is not all. First of all the Lord tells him that the things that they are doing there in the temple precincts in Jerusalem will actually drive Him, the Lord, away from the temple (v.6). He will not share His Holy Presence with idol worship, He will simply leave. How terrible!
But even more, He will yet show Ezekiel that there are even more and worse things happening there in Jerusalem. The awfulness of this is that Israel were a covenant people, called into existence by the Lord, and Jerusalem was the meeting place of God and His people. It's like they slap Him in the face with their idols!
Chapter: Ezek 8
Passage: Ezek 8:7-13
A. Find Out:
1. Where was he taken and what did he see? v.7
2. What was he told to do and what did he find? v.8
3. What was he told to do and what did he find? v.8,10
4. Who were there and what were they doing? v.11
5. What had they said? v.12
6. What does the Lord then warn? v.13
1. What do you think Ezekiel's means of entry indicates?
2. What did he find happening there?
3. Why was it happening?
After seeing the idol out in the open, the Lord had warned Ezekiel he would see worse things. In the Spirit he sees a hole in a wall before him. He's told to dig into the wall, and then he finds a doorway in. What does this say? It says that for the prophet, the Lord will sometimes first give an indication (the hole) that here is something to be investigated (dug into). When this is dug into (seeking God for revelation about what is hidden) a way into further revelation (door) is shown. When the prophet pushes this (prays, fasts, seeks God?) the door will be opened and revelation given.
For Ezekiel, the revelation is further awful worship of creatures (idols) hidden away in secret places (do you know of any groups in our nation that do things hidden away behind closed doors with secret arts?) where the world at large cannot see. The reason they give for their abominable acts is that God has deserted them so they are left to seek out the other forces at work in the world. If the Lord has deserted them it's because of their sin. The answer is to repent, not give yourself further over to the enemy! Using occult (which means hidden) practices is strictly forbidden in Scripture. It is a sign of utter rebellion and godlessness. It brings the wrath of God. This people turned away from the Lord and then blamed the Lord in their excuse-making! How stupid!
1. If God seems far off, seek Him, don't turn to the enemy.
Chapter: Ezek 8
Passage: Ezek 8:14-18
A. Find Out:
1. Where was he next taken and what did he see? v.14
2. What did the Lord warn him? v.15
3. Where was he next taken? v.16a
4. What did he find there? v.16b
5. What did the Lord say about this? v.17
6. What did the Lord say He would do about this? v.18
1. What, do you think, is the significance of where this is happening?
2. What was actually happening there?
3. Why would that be offensive to the Lord?
From the idol outside the north gate (v.5) and the secret animal worship (v.10), Ezekiel is now shown women weeping for the Sumerian god of vegetation and fertility, Tammuz, as they participated in that cult's mourning ritual. Next he was taken into the inner court of the temple where there were a number of men worshipping the sun. Four different forms of pagan worship around and actually in the Temple , the place of the holy meeting with Almighty God!
It is no wonder that this stirred the anger of God into action. This temple had been built specifically to worship the One True God, the God of Covenant with Israel . No longer is it used for that but of worship of “gods” that were not, gods of human making, gods of fear and superstition. This was a worship of human origins that was in the control of humans. Everything about it was utterly alien.
There was no further that they could go, they now worshipped the creature rather than the Creator (Rom 1:22,23). These are utterly godless men who will get what they deserve. The mercy of God (for we ALL deserve death - Rom 3:23 ) is only extended to those who will turn to Him in their weakness. For those who have set their course totally against Him, there is no hope, their existence here is a challenge to His very Being, and for the sake of mankind, He will not let that continue!
1. If you don't worship Almighty God, you worship man.
Chapter: Ezek 9
Passage: Ezek 9:1-11
A. Find Out:
1. Who were brought into the temple? v.1,2
2. How did the glory of the Lord move? v.3a
3. What was the man clothed in linen to do? v.3b,4,11
4. What were the guards to do? v.5-7
5. What was Ezekiel's concern? v.8
6. What was the Lord's answer? v.9,10
1. What was the role of the man in linen?
2. What was the job of the guards?
3. What do you think is significant of the move of God's presence?
Chapter 8 showed us the awful things that were happening in Jerusalem . Chapter 9 shows us the destruction that comes within Jerusalem as a result. “Guards” (NIV) is rendered “executioners” in other versions, for so they were. A man clothed in linen indicates a person of dignity, a priest or a divine messenger, and he is to be both a recorder (with writing kit) and assessor (making a mark on people).
Thus they are given their task: first to mark out those who grieve over the idolatry of Jerusalem , for they will not be slain, but then second, to destroy all those without the mark. This is God's judgement on both those who participate in idolatry and those who happily condone it.
When he sees this, Ezekiel is concerned that there will not be anyone left at all. He is simply told it is too late. Those who have sinned will be removed. (There will no doubt be the remnant of those with the mark who grieved over what had been happening).
Note also the start of the exodus of the glorious presence of God from Jerusalem (v.3). It will continue (see 10:9, 11:23 ). God's presence will not be there when the enemy invades to destroy the temple in the immediate future. This is another terrible aspect to all this – God is moving away and leaving His people to their just deserts!
1. God knows those who are for Him and those who are not.
2. Even today there will be a separating (see Mt 25:46)
Chapter: Ezek 10
Passage: Ezek 10:1-5
A. Find Out:
1. What does Ezekiel next see? v.1
2. What did the Lord tell the man in linen to do? v.2
3. Who were standing where? v.3
4. Where did God's presence go? v.4
5. What was heard? v.5
1. Look up Gen 3:24, Exo 25:18-22
2. How does this add to what we've seen previously in Ch.1?
3. How does this passage harmonise with Ch.9?
In 9:3 Ezekiel recorded that the glory of God went up from above the cherubim and moved to the doorway of the temple. In verse 4 of this chapter this is repeated. It would seem that the activity with the man in linen is taking place while this is happening. Now the cherubim we previously mentioned were those carved ones on the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place, where the glory of God usually rested.
In this passage we now also have the creatures in the vision of the throne identified as cherubim. Although there are some references to cherubim in the Old Testament, most of them refer to the two carved figures on the ark. It is really only when we come into Ezekiel that we see these figures in action. They are those who seem to support, maintain and serve the throne of God.
Who the man in linen is, we are still not told, but he is instructed to get burning coals (?holy fire) from the midst of the cherubim and scatter it over Jerusalem , perhaps indicating the bringing of holiness to the city. The real cherubim were standing to the south side of the temple, and the glory or presence of God over the cherubim of the ark, seemed to move from the ark to the doorway. In verse 18 the glory moves from there to the cherubim outside. It as if they have brought the throne for God to leave His temple on. This is an awful moment, God leaving.
1. In the heavenly realms are things we know nothing about!
2. From the presence of God comes holiness.
Chapter: Ezek 10
Passage: Ezek 10:6-22
A. Find Out:
1. What happened with the man in linen? v.6,7
2. What are we told about the cherubim? v.8-17
3. Where did the glory of the Lord move from and to? v.18
4. Where did it then move to? v.19
5. What realisation comes to Ezekiel? v.20
1. What things are repeated from chapter 1?
2. Why must the man in linen be a supernatural being?
3. How is the glory of the Lord linked to the cherubim here?
This is a chapter of revelation and growing comprehension. First in today's passage we note the man in linen obeying God's word to Him (from v.2). There seems to be holy fire in the midst of the cherubim, beneath the throne area. The man is given the fire and he departs. The fire does not destroy him which indicates he is probably an angelic being. Next we see much of the detail of chapter 1 being repeated but this time Ezekiel clearly identifies the four living creatures as cherubim. Now as we said yesterday, the only reference to cherubim elsewhere in the Bible is that reference to the two angels at either end of the Ark of the Covenant.
Thus these four creatures who appear in four different forms, depending on which side you approach them, are in fact the angelic team that go everywhere with God, that seem to uphold the divine throne. When the glory of the Lord is to leave the temple, this angelic team arrive, almost formally, so that the glory will be transferred from ark to the mobile throne.
The glory which had moved from the ark to the doorway, now moves to the waiting cherubim and then to the east gate of the temple area. Later it will move outside the city (see 11:23). There is a strong sense of divine order and steady purpose in these verses.
A. Find Out:
1. Who did Ezekiel next see and what were they saying? v.1-3
2. What did the Lord first say to them? v.5,6
3. What did the Lord say He was doing? v.7-11
4. Why was He doing it? v.12
5. What then happened? v.13
6. What was the Lord's answer? v.14,15
In 10:19 we saw the glory of the Lord stopping over the east gate of the temple. Now the Lord shows Ezekiel Jerusalem's leaders gathered at this same gate. These appear to be the same twenty five men mentioned in 8:16 who were worshipping the sun. Now we are shown what they are saying. They believe peace is soon coming, a time for building and establishing the city, a time of prosperity. They see themselves as the good part of the nation (meat as against offal), they consider the rest of the country has been sent away but they are safe (v.3 & 15). In this they are completely deceived!
First of all the Lord has things against them: they have killed many people in Jerusalem (v.6), and they have rejected the ways of the Lord and followed the ways of other nations (v.12).
The Lord is quite clear as to what will happen: the sword will come on Jerusalem and many will die. In the vision Ezekiel sees one of the leaders fall dead. His heart cry is a fear that none will be left to carry the name of the Lord. The Lord reassures him: you are the remnant, not the people left in Jerusalem . The Lord has already put His remnant aside to preserve them. The fact that they are in exile means that they will be preserved. It is those in Jerusalem who will be destroyed. As we have noted a number of times already, the Lord works in the long-term.
A. Find Out:
1. What has the Lord done and been for some of His people? v.16
2. What will he do with them? v.17
3. What will He do in them? v.19
4. With what result? v.20
5. Where did the glory of the Lord next go? v.22,23
6. And what then happened to Ezekiel? v.24,25
1. Who is the Lord mainly speaking about and what will happen to them?
2. Yet how is there no let-out for continuing idol worshippers?
3. What further indication is there of the end of Jerusalem?
Yesterday we saw that it was the exiles who were to be saved and the people of Jerusalem to be destroyed. In today's reading we have seen the Lord continue to speak about the exiles. The Lord acknowledges that He has sent them away but now He promises that He will bring them back to the Promised Land. When they come back He will have done such a work in them (implied) that they will clear away all the false idols and purge the land. Yet even more than this, the Lord will give them a new heart and a new spirit whereby they will be completely committed to Him, and they will be able to feel and understand again spiritual realities. They will be careful to follow all God's instructions and they will enter into a new relationship with the Lord.
Yes, in case there were any who felt they could carry on worshipping idols if God is going to be lenient to them (because they wrongly understand what He has said so far), the Lord reiterates that those who hearts are set on idol worship WILL die, there will be no escape for them. The message is very clear!
Finally we see the glory of the Lord move away from the temple, leave Jerusalem and stop on a nearby mountain. It is as if the Lord is moving out to watch the outcome of Jerusalem. Terrible!
1. Those who set their hearts against God will die. Fear Him.
2. Christians have been given a new heart and a new spirit. Thank Him.
RECAP - "The Vision of Jerusalem" - Ezekiel 8-11
In this fourth group of 8 studies we have seen the Lord revealing the state of Jerusalem and what will happen to it.
Chapter 8 takes Ezekiel, in the Spirit, into the innermost parts of the temple at Jerusalem to see the idolatry that is going on there. This is the primary cause of God's anger. What follows is His action against it. As part of that we are given revelation of the Cherubim as they uphold the throne of God that departs the temple. Again go thoroughly over the analysis above and reread the chapters to catch the full import of it.
God sees everything. Do you have a need to confess? Do it.
PART 5 : "Prince & Prophets Condemned"
The final two chapters of this set of studies warn the Prince of Jerusalem and the false prophets that their time is strictly limited.