Ezekiel 9 Commentary
Does anyone need reminding that they are reading Ezekiel and not the Book of Revelation?
All along we have known the elements of destruction: sword, famine, and plague. The sword is inflicted on the nation by foreign armies – the enemy troops. At one point severe famine follows a long siege mounted against Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. But now Ezekiel unpacks the details behind the scenes.
Six men, fully armed, appear and they must carry out the instructions from the LORD – the same fiery presence of the LORD, the impossible image of Chapter 1. But not until a man dressed in linen clothes takes stock of the remnant.
The word remnant is foreign to this chapter. Instead, a select group is described. They are distressed and troubled by the idolatry described yesterday in Chapter 8.
You know you are a believer if life distresses you. Wickedness makes you constantly uncomfortable. You hate living; you cannot wait for the righteous rule of the Son or Immanuel. You feel like everything is wrong. Know you are marked for salvation when the six men swing into action.
The Book of Revelation expands on the actions of these men. Chapter 9 is a summarized version of the Book of Revelation. The reader may wish to underline the thought that though it is Nebuchadnezzar’s sword that killed thousands, there in the background was a man or an angel sent to execute judgment on the nation.
Back in Egypt, God’s people survived because of the blood of the slain lamb marked on each believer’s household. Here the marking is done by the man dressed in linen clothes.
The rest of the people, the unmarked, fall under the judgment of the LORD. Check the list. It includes the leaders of the people and leaders at the Temple. With leaders of the people comes institutionalized idolatry. Check the thoughts behind the leaders: Chapter 8 verse; “The LORD doesn’t see us! He has abandoned the country”. See what men and women do when they think God’s way isn’t profiting them! But judgment awaits!
The sex goddess Asherah in the Temple of the LORD and the women weeping for Tammuz, then you know our world isn’t at all different from Ezekiel’s world. But who is listening? Who is distressed and troubled by the world’s idolatry?
Remember Baruch and Ebed-Melek from the Book of Jeremiah? Baruch was Jeremiah’s partner and secretary. Ebed-Melek was a God-fearing official who rescued Jeremiah from the mud-pit of death. The LORD singled them out for salvation.
With Ezekiel comes an official announcement that “everyone who is in anguish over the outrageous obscenities” will be saved. Isn’t this thought beautiful at a time when saints feel ill-prepared for life in today’s wicked world? It isn’t all in vain.
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