James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.Ezekiel 8:1-11:25
VISIONS OF IDOLATRY
It is the general opinion that these chapters introduce a new stage of the prophecies, and that while those of the last lesson comprehended Judah and Israel, these refer more particularly to Jerusalem and the people of Judah under Zedekiah. The fuller story of this period was in Jeremiah.
The prophet is seen in his own house by the Chebar, and the elders of Judah are before him for instruction (Ezekiel 8:1). “Elders” we understand to mean, some who are in captivity with the prophet.
“The Visions of God to Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 8:3) concern the profanations of the temple and other wickedness of the people past and present, and because of which the partial captivity had befallen them which was speedily to be followed by a completer one.
As another puts it, the prophet was showing these things to the present generation of Jews in Babylon to justify to them the righteousness of God in their present chastening. There were some of the younger element who had been born in captivity and to whom these things presumably were unknown. The visions were so vivid to the prophet that it seems as if he were transferred back to Jerusalem at the time these things were occurring.
THE THIRD VISION OF GLORY (Ezekiel 8:1-4)
Ezekiel 8:1 compared with Ezekiel 1:2, raises the presumption that the “lying on his sides” (Ezekiel 8:5-6), had been completed. Ezekiel 8:2 refers to a further manifestation of the Messiah as the Angel of the Covenant, in whose person alone God manifests Himself (John 1:18). Ezekiel 8:3, “the image of jealousy,” was a heathen image worshiped with licentious rite and provoking God’s jealousy (Exodus 20:5). Ezekiel 8:4 refers to the Shekinah which still rested over the temple and upon the mercy seat.
THE PROFANATIONS OF THE TEMPLE (Ezekiel 8:5-18)
The idolatries named (Ezekiel 8:10) had been introduced from Egypt. “Chambers of his imagery,” (Ezekiel 8:12) means his perverse imagination. “Tammuz’ (Ezekiel 8:14) is the name of a heathen god, the Syrian form of Adonais. “The branch to the nose” (Ezekiel 8:17), refers to the sacred trees which were symbols in idol worship.
SEALING THE FAITHFUL (Ezekiel 9:1-11)
“Them that have charge over the city” (Ezekiel 9:1) are doubtless angelic executioners of God’s will as in Daniel 4:13; Daniel 4:17; Daniel 4:23, and elsewhere. The man with the ink horn (Ezekiel 9:2) is thought to symbolize the Messiah, who is here marking his elect (Ezekiel 9:4, compare with Exodus 12:7, Revelation 7:3, and other places). The departure of the “glory of the God of Israel” (Ezekiel 9:3) is significant, presaging His final departure from the nation which would be given over to its punishment. Quoting Scofield:
It is noteworthy that to Ezekiel, the priest, was given the vision of the glory departing from the cherubim to the threshold (Ezekiel 9:3): then from the threshold (10:18); then from the temple and the city to the mountain on the east of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 11:13), and finally returning again to the temple to abide permanently in the millennium (Ezekiel 43:2-5).
THE JUDGMENTS SPREADING (Ezekiel 10:1 to Ezekiel 11:13)
The wrath of God is now about to burn the city, as His sword in the hand of Babylon, had slain its inhabitants. This is the story of chapter 10, but in 11 we have a separate prophecy of the punishment of the corrupt princes. Their wicked counsel is indicated in Ezekiel 11:3, which agrees with what we saw in Jeremiah. They were ever contending against that prophet that his word was not true, and that destruction by the Babylonians was not coming. They therefore, because of their unbelief, were responsible for the slain of the city (Ezekiel 11:6-7). Their judgment was certain (Ezekiel 11:8-13).
FUTURE RESTORATION PROMISED (Ezekiel 11:14-25)
Ezekiel wonders if there shall be no salvation (Ezekiel 11:13), and he is told that those who have been carried away, and whom the remainder in the land despised and sneered at for that reason, will be watched over wherever they are (Ezekiel 11:16). This leads to that prophecy of the future repentance and restoration of the nation with which we have become familiar in other prophets. Ezekiel 11:17-21 is a picture of the millennial period.
1. To what do the prophecies of this lesson more particularly refer?
2. What are the local circumstances under which they are delivered?
3. What specifically, do “the visions of God” concern?
4. Explain the difficult expressions in Ezekiel 8:1-4.
5. What is the definition of “Tammuz”?
6. How would you identify the man with the inkhorn?
7. What four journeys of “the Glory of the Lord” are recorded in Ezekiel?
8. To what period does Ezekiel 11:17-21 apply?