Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tuesday - Ezekiel 10 - The Absence of Glory

ZEKIEL 8-11 should be read as one unit. We are studying it in 4 sections because it is in 4 sections in our Bible (due to the chapter divisions). But, these 4 chapters give us 1 account of 1 vision. However, there are some distinct characteristics in each section. This section is mainly about the removal of the glory of God from His house (Ezekiel 10:18). There is so much in this chapter that is deeply mysterious. This record is precise and perfect, but what do we have to compare it to?  What experience do you or I have in our past that might give us some context? I know of nothing.

Space, brightness and something that looked like a throne... that's just verse 1. Then, the man who had been writing "MERCY" on the heads of the humble was invited to take coals of fire, and to scatter them over Jerusalem. (This would have represented divine judgment (Ezekiel 10:2). Throughout this chapter there are many references to those angelic beings known to Ezekiel as "cherubim."  These creatures have traits and characteristics that most certainly put them in a league of their own. In addition to these things, there was a cloud, loud wing flapping, the mystifying wheels (again) and many unusual movements.

What is the glory of God? God's glory is an expression of His significance, His awesome splendor, His majesty, His astounding beauty and perfection. This mysterious thing is spoken of freely and frequently in the sacred script. But, do we grasp its relevance? Do we understand even an infinitesimal fraction of the dignity that flows forth naturally (or should I say, supernaturally) from the Almighty?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Monday - Ezekiel 9 - The Death of Jewish Deists

S we continue with the strange vision of Ezekiel (which we started in chapter 8), we find that because of the idolatry (which the Jews had practiced right in the very temple of their God), severe judgment was on the slate for the people of Jerusalem. Before we get to the destruction that was on the way though, let us first consider the twisted theology that brought the Jews down.

Essentially, the Jews had become deists, and pantheists too really. Ezekiel 9:9 declares their mindset bluntly, "They say, 'The LORD has forsaken the earth, and the LORD sees not."' Is that not a deist perspective? The key thing about a deist is that he feels no responsibility to the God who made him. The deist imagines that God is not paying attention. As such, his idea is that we are left to fend for ourselves. The activities of God in this chapter bluntly refute the deist’s philosophy.

So, what did Ezekiel see in his vision anyway? Ezekiel saw 6 men with deadly weapons. He also saw a man who had writing tools. The job of that man was to mark those in the temple and in Jerusalem who had a humble and repentant spirit (Ezekiel 9:4). He was supposed to mark them on their foreheads. The mark was a good mark. It was a mark of sanctification. It was a mark of salvation and protection. It was a mark that kept the messengers of wrath from killing those few who had that mark.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday - Ezekiel 8 - A Strange Trip to God's House

ERE it is recorded that (in a vision) Ezekiel went on a from his house in Babylon all the way to God's house in Jerusalem.  And, talking about strange, he was taken there by the hair of his head. And, just as Ezekiel had seen the glory of God earlier (Ezekiel 1), here he saw it again (Ezekiel 8:2 & 4). In this instance he also saw some things that were much less glorious. Mainly, he saw the sins of the Jews as they were performed openly at the temple. In the very temple of Jehovah, Ezekiel found idolatry. He found it there because God showed it to him. He found it there because it really was there. He found it there because God had a mission for him: he was going to condemn such nonsense.

Not only did God pick Ezekiel up by the hair, He also sent him into the temple through a hole in the wall. Inside God's holy house (which was no longer holy), Ezekiel found the walls covered with images of the very creatures that the Jews had been commanded never to eat, much less paint, carve or worship (Deuteronomy 5:7-9). The vision continued though.  The 70 elders of Israel were in Ezekiel's vision. They were worshipping these images (Ezekiel 8:11). Jewish women were in Ezekiel's vision. They were weeping in some strange pantheistic ritual (Ezekiel 8:14). There were others in Ezekiel's vision who had their backs to the temple as they worshiped the sun (compare Ezekiel 8:16 to Deuteronomy 4:19).  And in all of this, there was no shame in them. If their sin was bad, their attitude about it was worse.  So, they were doomed.