EZEKIEL 9:1-11 (Amplified Bible – AMP):
[THE SPIRIT] cried in my ears [in the vision] with a loud voice, saying, Cause those to draw near who have charge over the city [as executioners], every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.  And behold, six men came from the direction of the Upper Gate, which faces north, every man with his battle-ax in his hand; and one man among them was clothed in linen, with a writer’s ink bottle at his side. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar.  And the glory of the God of Israel [the Shekinah, cloud] had gone up from the cherubim upon which it had rested to [stand above] the threshold of the [Lord’s] house. And [the Lord] called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s ink bottle at his side.
 And the Lord said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in the midst of it.  And to the others He said in my hearing, Follow [the man with the ink bottle] through the city and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ant pity.  Slay outright the elderly, the young man and the virgin, the infant and the women; but do not touch or go near anyone on whom is the mark. Begin at My sanctuary, So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple [who did not have the Lord’s mark on their foreheads].
 And He said to [the executioners], Defile the temple and fill its courts with the slain. Go forth! And they went forth and slew in the city.  And while they were slaying them and I was left, I fell upon my face and cried. Ah, Lord God! Will You destroy all that is left of Israel in Your pouring out of Your wrath and indignation upon Jerusalem?  Then said He to me, The iniquity and guilt of the house of Israel and Judah are exceedingly great; the land is full of blood and the city full of injustice and perverseness; for they say, The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see [what we are doing].
 And as for Me, My eye will not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their wicked doings upon their own heads.  And behold, the man clothed in linen, who had the ink bottle at his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as You have commanded me.
THE UNSEEN IDOLS (Ezekiel 8:5, 10, 14, 16).
When EZEKIEL 9 begins, God is instructing His angels of destruction, to KILL! And so I must ask myself the question, WHY?
In EZEKIEL 8, it is obvious that God shows Ezekiel in a VISION the extreme idolatries that were going on in Jerusalem.
FIRST, was the image of JEALOUSY (v. 8:5)
SECONDLY, was the leadership of Israel worshipping animals” (v. 8:10)
THIRD, the women weeping for Tammuz [ a Babylonian god, who was supposed to die annually and subsequently be resurrected] at the temple.
FOURTH, finally, the leaders of Israel, were at the inner court worshipping the sun-god with their backs to God.
And then the climax, “thumbing their noses” at God, even more, they then returned to God in order to have the appearance of GENUINE RELIGION.
“IDOLATRY is worshipping anything that ought to be used or using anything that ought to be worshiped” – AUGUSTINE.
WHAT IS YOUR GOD?
“Whatever you LOVE most, SERVE most, SEEK OUT most, GIVE to the most, WORSHIP the most, and CARE about the most is your god.”
Your “god” is whatever you allow to control you, to be the ultimate guide in decision-making.
God doesn’t take IDOLATRY lightly!
Let me get personal here. Most of my “idols” are what I think, as good things. I have no intention of making idols out of them.
Mark Driscoll says, “We take good things and make them God things, and thus they become bad things.”
ALL SIN is actually worshiping issues (sex, food, appearance, attendance, smoking, internet–functional saviors). And to put any of these “things” before God Himself is IDOLATRY.
In Chapters 8 & 9, the recurring phrase is, “the Lord does not see, and has forsaken the land,” which is wrong, but fulfills Deuteronomy 31 to the letter!
So what are your IDOLS? Not do you have any, but what are they?
What do you VALUE more that Christ according to your checkbook, your date book, your friends, your clothes?
The Certainty of JUDGMENT (v. 8:18-9:2).
Just like Deuteronomy 31 promised, the anger of the Lord will be stirred up upon the COVENANT BREAKERS, and not only curses of that book come into being, but JUDGMENT & DEATH will come.
GOD PROMISES here in Ezekiel, JUDGMENT without MERCY!
These angelic messengers are instructed to carry battle axes into the city to strike down old and young men, maidens, women, and children.
And there is but one reason: God is a HOLY God that will not tolerate or ignore spiritual infidelity at any level.
And note that JUDGMENT will begin in the house of God with those who are highest in their level of accountability.
A. W. TOZER: “It was a common thing in other days, when God was the center of human worship, to kneel at an altar and shake, tremble, weep, and perspire in an agony of conviction. They expected it in that day. We don’t see it now because the God that we preach is not the everlasting, awful God, ‘mine Holy One,’ who is ‘of purer eyes’ than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.”
Old fashion thoughts? I don’t think so!
In my bible study this week I was reading the story in Scripture about UZZAH (1 Chronicles 13:6-13). You know, the story where Uzzah touched the ark, and God “smote him because he touched the ark; and there he died before God” (v. 10).
How can we explain such JUDGMENT? How can a God of LOVE bring about such things?
I’ve heard those questions asked by many believers over the years, and this is my explanation, although a bit simplified:
LOVE isn’t His only attribute. We need to get back to the HOLINESS of God in being our foundation in doing everything.
AND GOD WILL BRING FORTH RETRIBUTION!
We must realize that if we, THE CHURCH, are truly saved, we will be spared “wrath” per se, BUT…the JUDGMENT of GOD upon our stewardship, our servanthood, is sure, and, to harbor IDOLS is sure to bring us the loss.
Where have the lessons on RIGHTEOUSNESS, on HOLINESS, and JUDGMENT of God gone?
Our GOD isn’t the mushy, emasculated god, but a God that will pour out WRATH upon ALL unrighteousness among the nations–active and passive.
The Only Remnant (v. Ezekiel 9:4):
So bad is the JUDGMENT, Ezekiel cries out, “Will you destroy ALL the Remnant?”
But God told the one angel, who is dressed like a Hebrew scribe, and who might be the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to put a MARK (Hebrew letter “taw”, written like an X) on a small group of people who will escape death.
God says to find the people who sigh, or gasp, or shutter, as well as those who mourn or weep at the abominations of the people of God.
God said to mark those to spare who are truly broken over the sins of the SAINTS. These are the ONLY REMNANT that will be left. We are never told how many if any are marked.
*[See Revelation 7:2-3, 9:4, 14:1; Daniel 9:3-5; Neh. 1:5-9; Isa. 57:15; Matt. 5:4].
To MOURN means to have a BROKEN HEART–
In the GREEK, to have a deep inner pain which occurs when something tragic happens, like a death of a loved one. It also means to have a desperate sorrow over evil and suffering. *(See Footnote [i] )
What we need today is NOT ANGER but ANGUISH. The difference being a BROKEN HEART.
It is easy to get angry, especially at somebody else’s sins; but it is not easy to look a sin, mine included, and weep over it.
The prophet had no time to PREACH a message, to WEEP, or INTERCEDE, BUT we do! I don’t mean to simply talk about how it used to back in the ‘good old days’.
REPENTANCE IS A LIFESTYLE, AND NOT AN ONE TIME EVENT!
Where are the Daniel’s and Nehemiah’s, whose regular practice was CONFESS their sins and the sins of the people?
Is there ever true sadness on our part when we see SIN in the midst of the church?
Are our HEARTS so hardened that we feel no pain to see brethren caught in the grip of SIN?
“For A Time Is Coming…” (1 Peter 4:17 – AMP):
“For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God?” (v. 4:17)
I am convinced, as Shane Edelman pointed out in an article, that ‘the majority of the churches in America are seeking to please the masses rather than preach the Gospel truth.’
“REPENTANCE is rarely sought and sin often excused. We want to build a church rather than break a heart.” *[See Footnote [ii] ]
“If the church today had as many agonizers as she has advisors, we would have revival within years” (Leonard Ravenhill).
You might ask, “What’s the big deal? We’re doing just fine!”
BUT… 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says otherwise,
 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lover of pleasure rather than lovers of God–  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
Sounds a lot like the conditions in the days of Ezekiel to me.
EZEKIEL 14:6 (AMP): Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn your faces from all your abominations.”
TRUE REPENTANCE is when by the convicting POWER of God’s Holy Spirit, the sinner finally has a sense of… and Godly sorrow for the condition of SIN in his or her heart and comes empty–un-defensive, without pretension or ceremony, in the most personal and submissive posture he’s ever taken…
from a SINCERE HEART that says, “I’m sorry”, to the only One who can truly claim offense at sin; Holiness Himself, the God of the ages…Who alone can FORGIVE and REDEEM and REGENERATE and RECONCILE?
I want to make it clear here, that the Bible clearly teaches that ALL MEN, both living and dead, SAVED and UNSAVED, must give an account to Christ. JUDGMENT isn’t saved just for the unbeliever.
The Judgment Seat of Christ.
The JUDGMENT of the believer’s works called the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the Bema Seat; where a judge sat in ancient Greece, not to punish contestants but to present awards to the victors (Romans 14:10).
2 Corinthians 5:10 makes it even plainer:
“For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body,whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].” (Amplified Bible)
The Great White Throne Judgment (Unbelievers JUDGMENT).
I don’t want to get away from Ezekiel, so, IF you want to do some “Word Detective” investigation on your own regarding the unbeliever’s judgment, I’ll list some Scripture references to help guide you in your search:
[Revelation 20:11-13; Matthew 12:36-37, 10:15, 16:27; Luke 12:47-48; Rev. 20:12-13, 22:12; Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; 2 Thess. 1:8-9; Rev. 3:4-5].
Have you made a commitment, or will you make a commitment?
**NOTE DISCLAIMER: Sourced material for this study has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to credit these sources wherever possible. [See CREDITS & FOOTNOTES.]
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:
Footnote [i]: (Strongs #3996) StudyLight.org GREEK THOUGHTS pentheo
Footnote [ii]: “JUDGMENT Will Start in the House of God” – Charisma News.
Photos: Shutterstock & Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP)