Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 7-9
Ezekiel 9:3-6 (NKJV) 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.
9:3–7. As the guards and the scribe came through the temple, the vision of God’s glory (cf. comments on 1:28) went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Similar wording in 10:4 dramatically illustrated God’s departure from Jerusalem. Because this was a vision, events could happen in an otherwise unusual sequence. Thus, one minute God was personally guiding Ezekiel through the temple while the next minute He was seated on the cherubim in the holy of holies or on His throne-chariot.
God told the scribe dressed in linen, go throughout … Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over the detestable things in the city. God knew those who had remained faithful to Him and would spare them in His judgment (cf. God’s marking of the 144,000 for preservation during the Tribulation, Rev. 7:3–4).
God then told the guards to follow the scribe through the city and kill, without showing pity. Those not receiving the mark were to be destroyed. There was to be no distinction by age or sex; the judgment would come on the old and young, on men … women, and children.
Then God ordered the guards, Begin at the sanctuary. Significantly the judgment first began in the house of God (cf. 1 Peter 4:17). Since the evil had spread from the temple throughout the land (Ezek. 8), the judgment would follow the same course. So the guards began with the elders, the priests whose backs were turned to God (8:16). Their slaughter would defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain, but the temple had already been defiled with their idolatrous practices. The historical fulfillment of this is seen in 2 Chronicles 36:17–19.
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