And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house…
I. THE DESCRIPTION HERE GIVEN OF THOSE PERSONS WHOM THE MAN WITH THE WRITER'S INKHORN WAS COMMANDED IN THE DAY OF WRATH TO MARK UPON THE FOREHEAD. Idolatry, infidelity, mockery of God, appear to have been the principal part — the head and front of Israel's offending, and for this the destroyer was sent forth, and the hand of unrelenting, unsparing vengeance commanded to do its work. Are we individually and unfeignedly sighing and crying for England's abominations? Are we confessing our sins, and feeling the weight of personal transgressions, and acknowledging the power and faithfulness of God in pardoning and removing them? Are our hearts and hands uplifted for the land we dwell in? Are our voices as loud in prayer to God for mercy towards the guilty as they are to our fellow creatures in reprobation of them?
II. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THAT MARK TO WHICH THE PROPHET IN THE TEXT REFERS? We find similar language used by St. John in the Apocalypse (Revelation 7:3, 4). Of whatever nature, then, the mark may be, it is expressive of, and a security for preservation. The allusion may be to the ancient custom of branding slaves upon the forehead, by which it was known whose property they were, or probably to that signalising mark of blood seen upon the door post of Israel, in Egypt, which secured them in the hour that the destroying angel smote the first-born of her oppressors. Both ideas may be involved, and from both we shall compound our idea of the mark.
1. There will be the blood, the mark of the blood, which blood, sprinkled upon the heart, disarms just vengeance, and secures it against the wrath of God. Is the blood upon your heart? — in plain terms, do you know its character, estimate its worth; rest upon its merits, and consider it as the mark of distinguishing grace and the security for certain preservation?
2. There is the mark of servitude.
III. GOD'S COMMAND TO THE DESTROYERS. First the man with the inkhorn goes forth to secure God's chosen, and then goes forth the command unto the men with the slaughter weapons. "Begin at My sanctuary," slay, spare not. Christendom, generally, is His professed house, and England, in peculiar, is His sanctuary. The other nations have tasted a little of these judgments, and war and pestilence and forebodings of fresh evil are now among the bitter ingredients of the Continental cup of vengeance. But the time is come when judgment in her severest form must begin at the house of God — begin with us, and shake with its most appalling force, not merely those institutions which papal and schismatical revenge are bent on destroying, but the imposing fabric of evangelical profession. This sanctuary needs cleansing. This amalgamation of wheat and tares under the common aspect of wholesome grain needs sifting.
(H. J. Owen.)
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;