Exact Ezekiel; Chapters 8-9
April 1, 2017

C. R. Oliver

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April 1, 2017

Exact Ezekiel
Chapters 8-9

          Prior to entering a study of these two chapters, several considerations should take place. First, these are not mutually exclusive revelations. In other words, each encounter Ezekiel is confronted with has elements of forthcoming scenarios which will incorporate information gained from the former events. For example, Chapter Eight gives a general overview of data required to understand Chapter Forty-Four. Basically, these two chapters cover similar territory, but with a different emphasis. Chapter Eight is a shocker revelation to Ezekiel. As a priest, he must have been astounded to see the inner workings of his fellow clergy. The shock effect does not seem to appear in Chapter Forty-Four.

Next, the book of Ezekiel is similar to a large tapestry that is comprised of all the events, commandments, prophetic utterances, heavenly visions, earthly responses and rapturous transports, all woven together. The entire book is visible as a whole. As one would gaze upon historic tapestries portraying battles, landscapes, persons and coincidental events, one grasps the total picture all at once, while still able to investigate intriguing portions of interest.

Also, these two chapters begin the process of answering, "How in the world did we wind up here?" The captives could hardly fathom God abandoning Jerusalem and His chosen flock. They labored under the banner of "what did we do wrong?" Chapter Eight starts the journey toward understanding where it all started.

The first seven chapters of Ezekiel are mostly ones that involve Ezekiel and his interactions with God's revelations. He was learning the importance of hearing from God and obeying down to the letter what instructions he heard. Chapter Eight begins to reveal the "mind of the Lord." When Ezekiel ingests what God reveals, he will comprehend why God judged His people with captivity in Babylon. He will become the "watchman" for his people.


Ezekiel 8:1-2:
And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there.

Ezekiel was completing his days of lying on one side and then the other, and he is now being visited by the elders. Were these the same elders he encounters in the forthcoming vision? Are these visiting dignitaries the guilty parties? (One can only speculate.) One thing for certain, Ezekiel is the ONLY one of those religious leaders who received a message from heaven.

Ezekiel 8:1-4:
2 Then I looked, and there was a likeness, like the appearance of fire - from the appearance of His waist and downward, fire; and from His waist and upward, like the appearance of brightness, like the color of amber. 3 He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy. 4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there like the vision that I saw in the plain.

Note first, what method of transport is used by the great hand (and took me by a lock of my hair). Ouch! I am sure after a yearlong fast, he is much lighter, but still? This method definitely gets one's attention. Next, he was transported into heavenly portals and recognizes one of the facets shown in the former vision: behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the plain.

He was taken to the "door of the Temple's North gate," a very specific place and one Ezekiel was familiar with as serving priests were quartered there. At this locale was the "image of jealousy."

How important is the North gate? This is the "God gate."

Psalms 48:1-3:
A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
In His holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in elevation,
The joy of the whole earth,
Mount Zion on the sides of the north,
city of the great King.
3 God is in her palaces;
He is known as her refuge.

David understood the importance of "holiness." His specific reference to the "sides of the North" is very significant. However, it was Isaiah who spelled out the primary reason for God's jealousy.

Isaiah 14:12-14:
How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart:
'I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.'

Satan's beachhead is easily observed when the link is established. He began in the Temple and in the hearts of the clergy. Remember, all three Major Prophets put the blame for national disaster on the clergy. Jesus, when addressing the seven early churches in Revelation, said on occasion, "I know where satan's throne is" and where "satan dwells."

Revelation 2:9-10 Addressing Smyrna:
the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 2:12-13 to Pergamum write,
'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is
…Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells NKJV

(Note: These are the pastors who are being addressed about issues in their congregations. These are the very first churches. What do you think, after 2000 years, could be cited in the modern church? What of the modern clergy?)

In Chapter Nine, judgment begins at the house of God. Below is a diagram of that house and the place of the North.

Solomon's Temple as seen in Jerusalem
in Ezekiel's vision of 591 BC
in Ezekiel 8-10

With this diagram, one can easily locate the place of the image of Jealousy.

Ezekiel 8:5:
5 Then He said to me, "Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north." So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was this image of jealousy in the entrance.

What was that image? We are not told, but most commentators believe it had "shades of Egypt" in origin. The golden calf of Aaron's was an Egyptian image. Pagan deities portrayed as animals were common. After all, Ezekiel had just encountered the idolatry situated on Israel's mountains. No matter the shape or size, it was an affront to God and blasphemy and an abomination. Its position made it extremely visible, but no one complained! The congregation allowed the idol!

What images abound and go unchallenged today?

Ezekiel 8:6-8:
6 Furthermore He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary?

Then, Ezekiel was told to observe greater affronts:

Now turn again, you will see greater abominations." 7 So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall. 8 Then He said to me, "Son of man, dig into the wall"; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door.

Ezekiel was told to dig a hole in the wall of the priest's apartments and he would find a door. (This is a spiritual "virtual door." It led to the heart of the participants.)

"Exact Ezekiel" did what he was told, but he was unprepared for what he observed. The curtain was pulled back and he could see what God could saw and it answered a thousand questions and established a visual image that would flavor his thinking regarding the sanctity of the religious community forever. Some scenes are so graphic they etch the mind.

Ezekiel 8:9-11:
9 And He said to me, "Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there." 10 So I went in and saw, and there - every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls.

Again, we are not told what these images represented, only some of the categories. (Recently, archeologists uncovered an Egyptian papyrus scroll [3000 yrs. old] which depicted Egyptian animal gods having sexual relations with Egyptian queens and consorts.) The practice of painting scenes on walls of dwellings was common in Egypt and other emerging cultures. Archeologists have uncovered many tombs and found graphic depictions portrayed on their walls.

Most always these were images that brought to mind other items of religious import. The iconoclastic movements in Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals are examples as well.

Ezekiel 8:11-12:
11 And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up. 12 Then He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, "the LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.'"

Remember who is sitting in the living room of Ezekiel's house, while this vision is transpiring. His guests are, "The elders of the house of Israel."

Some of them might have been participants in this vision. Nevertheless, these elders had "spiritual fallout" from their cohorts no doubt. Bleed-over from such gross infidelity has a way of saturating the spiritual environment. In Luke it is called, "leaven."

Now, the prophet has a duty to reveal the content of his vision and call for repentance.
Allow the scene to form from the Scripture. What is "done in the dark" will be shouted from the rooftops the Scriptures say.

Luke 12:1-3:
"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

What was the elders' assumption? "God doesn't see us. He has forsaken the land." Tainted religion works from wrong assumptions!

Many of men's hearts have "idol" rooms. Those are the places of deep devotion, where the incense of their essence mingles with their worship. O' Church, it is time to search the heart. It is time to step through the prophetic doors and open for review the content displayed through the Spirit. It is high time for those with prophetic insight to withhold no more, lest the light within become darkness!

Ezekiel 8:13-14:
13 And He said to me, "Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing." 14 So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD's house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.

Clearly, Ezekiel experienced consternation, "my dismay," when he saw what women were doing. The following excerpt is an apt description:

Ezekiel 8:14:

Tammuz - [perhaps contracted for Tamªzuwz, from a Hebrew root, 'to melt down;' taamaaz the same as maacac (OT:4549), referring to the river Adonis, fed by, the melted snows of Lebanon, as also to the sun's decreasing heat in winter, and to the melting lamentations of Venus for Adonis]. Instead of weeping for the national sins, they wept for the idol. Tammuz (the Syriac for Adonis, according to Jerome), the paramour of Venus- and of the same name as the river flowing from Lebanon--killed by a wild boar, and, according to the fable, permitted to spend half the year on earth, and obliged to spend the other half in the lower world. An annual feast was celebrated to him in June (hence called Tammuz in the Jewish calendar) at Byblos, when the Syrian women, in wild grief, tore off their hair, and yielded their persons to prostitution, consecrating the hire of their infamy to Venus; next followed days of rejoicing for his return to the earth--the former feast being called 'the disappearance of Adonis,' the latter, 'the finding of Adonis.' This Phoenician feast answered to the similar Egyptian one in honor of Osiris. The idea thus fabled was that of the waters of the river and the beauties of spring destroyed by the summer heat; or else the earth being clothed with beauty during the half year when the sun is in the upper hemisphere, and losing it when he departs to the lower. The name Adonis is not here used, as Adon is the appropriated title of Yahweh
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

If this were the end of the vision, it would have been enough to indict the religious world of Israel.

But, it is not the end-there is more.

Ezekiel 8:15-16:
15 Then He said to me, "Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these." 16 So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.

Refer back to the Temple diagram. Locate the place between the highlighted square (the Altar) and the porch (just above and to the right of the bold highlighted circle).

Are these Levites? Are they priests? Are they congregates? All three groups would have access to the altar of sacrifice. These twenty-five men were capstones of abomination-the open defiance of God and His Sacred Temple. No hidden dark rooms for them. No private quarters for hypocritical activity for them. No reverence for the sacred grounds of the Temple for them. Blatant activity was carried out in clear shot of every gate. Egyptian in origin and pagan in design is this worship of the created in defiance of the Creator. Egypt worshipped the sun as did Japan centuries later. Both societies fell by force.

Recent archeological discovery of a statue of Ramses II (believed to be the Pharaoh of Moses' time and the potentate of sun worship) has resurrected the link between the idols of Israel and the legacy of Egyptian idolatry. Below is an excerpt from a March 10, 2017, report.

Ramses II is one of the ancient world's most famous leaders. He ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 B.C., making his 60-year-long-rule one of the longest in ancient Egypt. His military exploits expanded Egypt's reach as far east as modern Syria and as far south as modern Sudan.

The growth and prosperity seen in Egypt at the time earned him the title "Ramses the Great."

The neighborhood in which the statue was discovered is in the eastern part of the city and was built over the ancient city of Heliopolis. The city was so named because it served as the center of worship for the ancient Egyptian sun god Re.

Ramses was a chief worshiper of Re. He commissioned a number of temples in Heliopolis to be built for worshipping the sun god.

It's also believed Ramses II may have been the pharaoh from the biblical Book of Exodus from whom Moses demanded the release of his people.

In 2006, archaeologists discovered one of the largest sun temples in Cairo under a marketplace. It was found to house a number of statues of Ramses II weighing as much as five tons. One such statue depicted the pharaoh seated and wearing a leopard's skin, indicating that he might have served as a high priest of Re when the temple was built.

Ezekiel is distraught with what he has been shown. Clearly, God is sympathetic to his psychological state. The Lord draws him out with a rhetorical question.

Ezekiel 8:17-18:
17 And He said to me, "Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose. 18 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."

Of course, no answer is required. Ezekiel is astonished at the depth of depravity the religious community exhibits, so how could he respond? The evidence is clear. God's righteousness requires His action. So, Chapter Eight becomes the frontlet for Chapter Nine.


Ezekiel 9:1-4:
Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, "Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand." 2 And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer's inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.

3 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; 4 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."

Observe where those "in charge of the city" are positioned. Five have weapons of mass destruction, while one is clothed in Linen and has an inkhorn (Jesus). The "inkhorn" man "in charge of the city" went first to mark those who cried out for holiness to return to the Temple and the city. When he reports that all who are worthy are marked, the other five "men in charge" are commissioned to kill all those without the mark. They are told to pity no one. Even babies and little children, along with the decrepit elderly, are to be slain. Blood will flood the Temple floor and cleanse the Temple. Blood will run deep in the drains of Jerusalem as it is cleansed.

Satan watched as those with the mark were spared and must have sworn that next time his mark would be the defining symbol. It will be!

Notice the "glory of the Lord" departed the Temple before the bloodbath began. His special visit, to show Ezekiel, revealed His departure to the Mt. of Olives and later to Mt. Herman and finally to the heavenly Temple and His Throne. He never returned. No wonder the elderly "returnees" from Babylon wept when they saw the rebuilt Temple under Zerubbabel and Ezra. A Temple without the glory is a sad sight-so is a church without the Spirit!

Ezekiel 9:5-7:
5 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. 6 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. 7 Then He said to them, "Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" And they went out and killed in the city.

Notice please, where the destroyers began. They were instructed to begin at the house of God. This very hour there is a great searching out of those places called "houses of God." There is an awakening to truth and error like no time in church life. It is a second reformation; only there is no desire to reform the sanctuaries of man. Judgment once again is beginning in the Sanctuaries.

Notice please, with whom judgment started-with the elders. Just as those elders sitting before Ezekiel, so these elders stood naked before the Lord's eyes. It is starting. Judgment is starting and it will be shocking to see the results!

Religious leaders must remember "to whom much is given, much is required." The elected elders are answerable to God for the spiritual condition of their constituents. It happens in government from grass root suspicion, but it happens from God by excellent knowledge.

One must notice Ezekiel was careful to say that all these commands were "in my hearing." God did not work in a corner nor hide His intentions. He was telling his prophet three and a half years before it is done. He reveals what will happen and why.

Upon seeing the devastation, Ezekiel began interceding for the city. He saw no hope for heritage or remnant.

Ezekiel 9:8:
8 So it was, that while they were killing them, I was left alone; and I fell on my face and cried out, and said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem?"

God's answer was swift and the evidence of His mercy was in who He spared-those of the mark. The holiness ones would live. "And He shall come with ten thousand of His holiness Ones."

Jude 14-15:
14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

The final word comes from the Lord.

Ezekiel 9:9-11:
Then He said to me, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say,'The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!' 10 And as for Me also, My eye will neither spare, nor will I have pity, but I will recompense their deeds on their own head."

11 Just then, the man clothed with linen, who had the inkhorn at his side, reported back and said, "I have done as You commanded me."

I have done as He has commanded me!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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