The Second Vision of Jehovah
Text: Ezekiel 8:1-9:11
I. This vision takes place on the fifth day of the sixth month of the sixth year - Ezekiel 8:1
A. Probably marking the same as Ezekiel 1:2 from King Jehoiachin’s exile.
B. Hence, February 23, 592 B.C. or 14 months after the previous vision.
C. The task from the previous vision would have been just completed, or nearly completed. Since there would have been setup time, some wonder if this occurred between the 390 days and the 40 days of lying on his side.
D. At the time, Ezekiel was sitting in his house with elders of Judah
1. Likely a gathering to hear the word of God - Ezekiel 33:30-31
2. Suddenly, Ezekiel is struck by a vision
II. The being in the form of a man - Ezekiel 8:2-4
A. From the waist down he appeared to be on fire
B. From the waist up he glowed like heated metal
C. Same description as of God in Ezekiel 2:26-27
1. Fire associated with God - Daniel 7:9-10; Revelation 1:14-15
D. Ezekiel is caught by his hair and lifted up in spirit and brought to Jerusalem
1. He is brought to the north gate of the inner temple court (The altar gate - Ezekiel 8:5).
2. At this entrance was an idol that provoked God to jealousy - Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24
a. Jealousy - strong desire to retain what is yours.
b. But it is also called idol of jealousy. Later (Ezekiel 8:14) it is called Tammuz.
c. Some believe that this is one of the idols Manasseh placed in the temple - II Kings 21:3, 7. However, these were destroyed by Josiah - II Kings 23:4-7. It is possible that succeeding kings restored these idols or introduced new ones - Jeremiah 7:30; 32:34
d. Warning to Christians - I Corinthians 10:21-22
3. The glory of the Lord was with him as in the earlier vision - Ezekiel 3:22-23
III. Ezekiel witnesses the corruption
A. God asks him to see the idol of jealousy - Ezekiel 8:5-6
1. Placed at the entrance to the temple
2. Ahaz had moved the altar to the north side of the temple - II Kings 16:14
3. Hence, this idol is between the temple where God’s presence is and the altar where worship is to take place. Even when worship is made to God, it would appear to be being done for the idol.
4. God declares that it is driving Him away. But notice also God’s forbearance to be still present at this time despite their idolatry.
B. The worship of beasts by the elders of Israel - Ezekiel 8:7-12
1. The worship is hidden, but not to God and Ezekiel is directed to locate it. A wall had be erected before the rooms of the priests to create privacy - John 3:19-20; Isaiah 29:15; Jeremiah 23:24
2. On the walls were images of beasts and insects, likely in imitation of the gods of Egypt - Romans 1:23
3. This was bad, but more shocking is that the worshipers were members of the Sanhedrin.
a. The ringleader is Jaazaniah who was the descendant of Josiah’s scribe who had charge of the treasury - II Kings 22:10-14; II Chronicles 34:20
b. What is ironic is that Jaazaniah means “Jehovah hears”
c. Another descendant caused Jeremiah problems - Jeremiah 36:10-13
4. They are generous with their incense to their idols
5. They think that God doesn’t notice what they are doing and besides they believe God has forsaken Israel.
a. Psalm 10:4, 11; Psalm 94:7-10
b. Mistaken silence for unknowing and uncaring - Psalm 50:21
6. Ephesian 5:12 - disgraceful things done in secret
C. The worship of Tammuz at the north gate of the temple - Ezekiel 8:13-14
1. From Adam Clarke’s commentary: This was Adonis, as we have already seen; and so the Vulgate here translates. My old MS. Bible reads, There saten women, mornynge a mawmete of lecherye that is cleped Adonydes. He is fabled to have been a beautiful youth beloved by Venus, and killed by a wild boar in Mount Lebanon, whence springs the river Adonis, which was fabled to run blood at his festival in August. The women of Phoenicia, Assyria, and Judea worshipped him as dead, with deep lamentation, wearing priapi and other obscene images all the while, and they prostituted themselves in honour of this idol. Having for some time mourned him as dead, they then supposed him revivified and broke out into the most extravagant rejoicings. Of the appearance of the river at this season, Mr. Maundrell thus speaks: "We had the good fortune to see what is the foundation of the opinion which Lucian relates, viz., that this stream at certain seasons of the year, especially about the feast of Adonis, is of a bloody colour, proceeding from a kind of sympathy, as the heathens imagined, for the death of Adonis, who was killed by a wild boar in the mountain out of which this stream issues. Something like this we saw actually come to pass, for the water was stained to a surprising redness; and, as we observed in travelling, had stained the sea a great way into a reddish hue." This was no doubt occasioned by a red ochre, over which the river ran with violence at this time of its increase. Milton works all this up in these fine lines:-
"Thammuz came next behind,
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate,
In amorous ditties all a summer's day;
While smooth Adonis, from his native rock,
Ran purple to the sea, suffused with blood
Of Thammuz, yearly wounded. The love tale
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat:
Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch
Ezekiel saw, when by the vision led,
His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
Of alienated Judah."
Par. Lost, b. i. 446.
2. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary: Tammuz--from a Hebrew root, "to melt down." Instead of weeping for the national sins, they wept for the idol. Tammuz (the Syrian for Adonis), the paramour of Venus, and of the same name as the river flowing from Lebanon; killed by a wild boar, and, according to the fable, permitted to spend half the year on earth, and obliged to spend the other half in the lower world. An annual feast was celebrated to him in June (hence called Tammuz in the Jewish calendar) at Byblos, when the Syrian women, in wild grief, tore off their hair and yielded their persons to prostitution, consecrating the hire of their infamy to Venus; next followed days of rejoicing for his return to the earth; the former feast being called "the disappearance of Adonis," the latter, "the finding of Adonis." This Phoenician feast answered to the similar Egyptian one in honor of Osiris. The idea thus fabled was that of the waters of the river and the beauties of spring destroyed by the summer during the half year when the sun is in the upper heat. Or else, the earth being clothed with beauty, hemisphere, and losing it when he departs to the lower.
D. Worship of the sun in the inner court at the door of the temple - Ezekiel 8:15-16
1. Josiah had fought against this form of idolatry - II Kings 23:5, 11
2. Direct warning against this - Deuteronomy 4:19
3. People named specifically in Ezekiel 11:1
4. The turning of their backs to the temple is significant - II Chronicles 29:6; Jeremiah 2:27; 32:33
5. Why 25?
a. There were 24 divisions of priests with the High Priest being the 25th. Hence, symbolizing a spread throughout the priesthood.
E. God’s charge - Ezekiel 8:17-18
1. God’s anger is not lightly directed. The corruption is severe and widespread.
2. What was happening in the temple was spreading throughout the land, sowing seeds of violence in its wake.
3. Branch to the nose
a. A common idolatrous practice in sun worship to hold a bunch of twigs in the left hand.
4. God will punish and not listen to their cries for mercy
a. Wisdom’s promise - Proverbs 1:28
b. Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 14:12; Micah 3:4
c. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown mentions that in the Septuagint, the phrase is translated as “turned up their noses”, i.e. showing scorn.
IV. Execution of punishment
A. Six men enter by the north gate - Ezekiel 9:1-2
1. Direction destruction will come - by the hands of the Chaldeans - Jeremiah 1:14
2. Officers of the city, those who have charge and the right to execute judgment
3. Some link these to the angelic watchers mentioned in Daniel - Daniel 4:13, 17, 23; 10:20-21
B. A seventh, doesn’t carry a weapon, but carries the garb and equipment of a clerk
C. They stood beside the altar, signifying where their commission is coming from.
D. God’s presence is leaving the temple. It moves to the threshold - Ezekiel 9:3
E. God’s orders - Ezekiel 9:3-6
1. Mark those who were uncomfortable with the idolatry
a. Mourning over the sins of men - Psalm 119:136; II Corinthians 12:21
b. Sealing the righteous - Revelation 7:2-3; 9:4; 14:1
2. Destroy without mercy those without the mark
a. Age, gender will make no difference
3. Notice where the judgment began - I Peter 4:17-18
a. Because they should have known better - Amos 3:2
b. Because they led and taught others - James 3:1
4. The temple was to be defiled - Psalm 79:1-3
a. Actual events - II Chronicles 36:17
F. Ezekiel pleads for a remnant - Ezekiel 9:8-10
1. Such has often happened - Numbers 14:5; 16:22, 45; Amos 7:2-5
2. God points out the sins of the people were too great to show mercy. They thought that God would not notice their sins. - Psalm 10:11; Isaiah 29:15
3. They would receive what they justly deserved - Proverbs 1:31; II Chronicles 6:23
a. We should never forget - Hebrews 10:26-31
G. The scribe returns to report that God’s will was done - Ezekiel 9:11
1. Those to be saved have been marked
2. Isaiah 46:10-11