And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house…
In the text we have two things.
1. A party distinguishing themselves from others in a sinning time. And this they do by their exercise, not by any particular name of sect or party, but by their practice.
(1) The heavy exercise they have on their spirits at such a time. It is expressed by two words, both passive, importing that there is a load and a weight of grief and sorrow on them: which makes them sigh when others laugh; oppresses their spirits while others go lightly: and makes them cry. The word rather signifies to groan, as a deadly wounded man, who is hardly able to cry (Jeremiah 51:52).
(2) The ground of this their heavy exercise, the abominations done in the midst thereof.
2. Here is God's distinguishing that party from others in a suffering time, seeing to their safety when the men with the slaughter weapons were to go through.
(1) Who gives the orders concerning them: The Lord said.
(2) Who gets the orders about them: He that was clothed with linen, having a writer's inkhorn by his side. This is Jesus Christ, the Angel of the covenant. He appears here in all His offices: He is among the destroying angels as a king; He is clothed in linen as a priest; He has a writer's inkhorn by His side as a prophet.
(3) The charge given concerning them.
(i) To go through the midst of Jerusalem, the high streets. The mourners would be found there, by their carriage among others, testifying their dislike of the God-provoking abominations abounding among them.(ii) To set a mark upon them. This is to be done before the destroying angels get the word to fall on, to show the special care that God has of His own in the time of the greatest confusion.(iii) To set it in their foreheads. In the Egyptian destruction the mark was set on their door posts, because their whole families were to be saved; but here it was to be set on their foreheads, because it was only designed for particular persons.
I. TIMES OF ABOUNDING SIN ARE HEAVY TIMES, TIMES OF SIGHING AND GROANING TO THE SERIOUS GODLY, ZION'S MOURNERS. I am to give the import of this exercise, and therein the character of Zion's mourners, to whom times of abounding sin are heavy times, times of sighing and groaning.
1. Zion's mourners are godly persons, who in respect of their state have come out from the world lying in wicked. ness, and joined themselves to Jesus Christ (1 John 5:19).
2. Waking godly persons, not sleeping with the foolish virgins.
3. Mourners for their own sins (Ezekiel 7:16).
4. Public spirited persons, who are concerned to know how matters go in the generation wherein they live: how the interest of the Gospel thrives, what regard is had to the law and honour of God, what case religion is in, — whether Satan's kingdom is gaining or losing ground.
5. Tender persons, careful to keep their own garments clean in a defiling time, and dare not go along with the course of the times (Revelation 3:4).
6. Zealous persons, opposing themselves to the current of abominations, as they have access (Psalm 69:9).
7. Persons affected at the heart for the sins of the generation, to the making of them sigh and groan on that account before the Lord, when no eye sees but the all-seeing One (Jeremiah 13:17).
(1) The abominations done lie cross to the grain and disposition of their souls: otherwise they would not make them sigh and groan.
(2) They are a burden to their spirits, as vile and filthy things are to the senses.
(3) They are wounds to their hearts, they groan like wounded men (Jeremiah 15:18).
(4) Their grief vents itself in sighs and groans, as native indications of the affections of their hearts (2 Corinthians 5:4).
II. WHY SUCH TIMES ARE HEAVY TIMES, TIMES OF SIGHING AND GROANING TO ZION'S MOURNERS.
1. Because of the dishonour they see done to God by these abominations (Psalm 69:9).
2. Because of the wounds they see given to religion and the interest of Christ by these abominations, and the advantage they see accruing to the interest of the devil and his kingdom thereby (Romans 2:24).
(1) An arrow of grief for the loss on Christ's side.
(2) An arrow of grief for the gain on the devil's side.
3. Because of the fearful risk they see the sinners themselves run by these their abominations (Psalm 119:53).
4. Because of the contagion to others they see ready to spread from these abominations (Matthew 18:7; Ecclesiastes 9:1).
5. Because of the judgments of God which they see may be brought upon those yet unborn, by reason of these abominations. Hence says the prophet (Hosea 9:13, 14).
6. Because of the Lord's displeasure with the generation for these abominations (Jeremiah 15:1).
7. Because of the common calamity in which they see these abounding abominations may involve themselves and the whole land.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side;