“Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’ To the others He said in my hearing, ‘Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’ So they began with the elders who were before the temple” (Ezekiel 9:3-6).
The prophet Ezekiel ministers to God’s people in Babylon who have already been taken captive by the Babylonians. Jerusalem has not yet fallen to the Babylonians, but it in on the brink of destruction. The verses above speak about how God is about to bring great judgment upon Jerusalem because they had provoked Him to great anger. Why was God so angry at His people?
God had shown Ezekiel visions of what was happening back in the city of Jerusalem while Ezekiel was ministering to God’s people in Babylon (Ezekiel 8:3). In this vision, Ezekiel is shown how there is an idol, an “image” which “provokes to jealousy” (Ezekiel 8:3-5), at the gate going into the inner court of the Temple of God. Furthermore, in this vision Ezekiel sees all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed all around on the walls of the court of the Temple (Ezekiel 8:7-10). In addition, Ezekiel sees 70 men of the elders of the house of Israel engaged in idol worship in the courtyard of the House of God (Ezekiel 8:11-12). As God shows Ezekiel even greater abominations being committed by His own people, Ezekiel sees women weeping after the idol Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:13-14), and 25 men in the inner court of the Lord’s House worshipping the sun (Ezekiel 8:15-16)!
God’s people had provoked Him to jealousy and anger by engaging in such idol worship (Ezekiel 8:3, 17). They had the audacity to engage in idol worship even in the midst of the Temple where God had instructed His people to worship Him! As a result of their actions, God will bring terrible punishment upon them: “Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them" (Ezekiel 8:18). Furthermore, as God can no longer tolerate their desecration of His Temple, His glory will depart from the Temple at Jerusalem (Ezekiel 9:3).
However, not all of God’s people engaged in these horrible, brash acts of idol worship. Some had mourned and sighed over these abominations (Ezekiel 9:4). God remembers these and will spare them from the impending doom as He sends His servant to place a mark on their foreheads to note they are not to be harmed when judgment comes to Jerusalem (Ezekiel 9:4-7).
We live in an age where many are very brazen when it comes to disobeying God. Even among some professing to be Christians, there are those who have little regard for actually following God’s law. Yet, in spite of this, there is and always has been a righteous remnant who have remained faithful to God through such perilous times. I am very thankful for these faithful followers of God who serve Him with all of their hearts. Today, I will strive to be a part of the righteous remnant who remain faithful to God and His Word and who will be spared of His impending judgment upon the world.
“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5).