The Latter Major Prophets – Ezekiel 8-11

In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, the hand of the Sovereign Lord came on me there.  I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man.  From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal.  He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood.  And there before me was the glory of the God of Israel, as in the vision I had seen in the plain.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.”  So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy.
And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary?  But you will see things that are even more detestable.”
Then he brought me to the entrance to the court.  I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall.  He said to me, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.”  So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there.
And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here.”  So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel.  In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them.  Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising.
He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol?  They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’”  Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.”
Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz.  He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”
He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men.  With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.
He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man?  Is it a trivial matter for the people of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here?  Must they also fill the land with violence and continually arouse my anger?  Look at them putting the branch to their nose!  Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.”

  • Ezekiel 8:1-18

Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.”  And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.  With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side.  They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.
Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple.  Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”
As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion.  Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark.  Begin at my sanctuary.”  So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.
Then he said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain.  Go!”  So they went out and began killing throughout the city.  While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, “Alas, Sovereign Lord!  Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?”
He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice.  They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’  So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”
Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, “I have done as you commanded.”

  • Ezekiel 9:1-11

Ezekiel 10:1-22 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

Ezekiel 11:1-25 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Ezekiel 8-11 ‘The Departure of God’s Glory and His Millennial Return’: “1. God’s glory in the temple views idolatrous practices in 592 B.C. (8:4).  2. God’s glory moves from a cherub to the threshold of the temple in 592 B.C. (9:3; 10:4).  3. God’s glory moves from the threshold of the temple and stands over the cherubim in 592 B.C. (10:18, 19).  4. God’s glory departs the temple and Jerusalem, moving to the east in 592 B.C. (11:22, 23); not to return until the time of Messiah’s millennial kingdom.  5. God’s glory returns to Jerusalem and the temple from the east to inaugurate the Millennium (43:2-9; 44:4).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 8:2-4 ‘took me by the hair’: “Ezekiel was moved by the hand of the Lord and it was no gentle push.  It was more like a tidal wave!
“The words used in this passage seem to indicate that Ezekiel was actually physically removed from his house and carried to Jerusalem … by his hair!  But if we look closely at a few words we see that Ezekiel never left Babylon.
“While Ezekiel’s visions were more like virtual reality, and probably did not involve actual physical movement, they definitely involved spiritual reality.  Do you think anyone could have convinced Ezekiel that he just imagined what he saw?  I don’t.  When you have an encounter with the Living God, you know that He Is.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 8:3 ‘idol that provokes jealousy’: “While idolatry abounds throughout Israel’s history only one person (Manasseh) had the audacity to pace an idol in the temple (see 2 Kings 21:7).  Second Kings 23:6, however, tells us that Josiah (who is pre-Ezekiel) destroyed the idol.  This indicates that the abominations Ezekiel sees are not necessarily current ones.  He is taken on a voyage into the past.  So serious is this that it drives God from the sanctuary.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 8:8 ‘dig into the wall … a door’: “This indicates the clandestine (cf. v. 12) secrecy of these idolaters, practicing their cult in hiding.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 8:14 ‘weeping for Tammuz’: “A greater abomination than the secret cult involved Israel’s worship of Babylonian deity Tammuz or Dumuzi (Duzu), beloved of Ishtar, the god of spring vegetation.  Vegetation burned in the summer, died in the winter, and came to life in the spring.  The women mourned over the god’s demise in July and longed for his revival.  The fourth month of the Hebrew calendar still bears the name Tammuz.  The basest immoralities were connected with the worship of this idol.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 8:16 ‘worshipping the sun’: “In the most sacred inner court, where only priests could go (Joel 2:17), there was the crowning insult to God.  Twenty-five men were worshipping the sun as an idol (cf. Deut. 4:19; 2 Kin. 23:5, 11; Job 31:26; Jer. 44:17).  These twenty-five represent the twenty-four orders of priests plus the high priest.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 9:4 ‘a mark on the foreheads’: “Since God’s departure removed all protection and gave the people over to destruction, it was necessary for the angelic scribe (Angel of the Lord) to mark for God’s preservation the righteous who had been faithful to Him, not unlike blood on the lintel to protect Israel from the Lord’s judgment in Egypt (Ex. 12:21-30).  Those left unmarked were subject to death in Babylon’s siege (v. 5).  The mark was the indication of God’s elect (cf. Ex. 12:7).  Malachi 3:16-18 indicates a similar idea.  Cf. Revelation 7:3; 9:4.  The marked ones were penitent and thus identified for protection.  Here was a respite of grace for the remnant.  The rest were to be killed (vv. 5-7).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 9:8 ‘when it becomes personal’: “Salvation never shines so brightly to any man’s eyes as when it comes to himself.  Then is divine grace illustrious, indeed, when we can see it working with divine power on ourselves.  To our apprehension our own case is always the most desperate; and therefore, mercy shown to us is the most extraordinary.  We see others perish and wonder that the same doom has not befallen us.  The horror of the ruin we dreaded and our intense delight at the certainty of safety in Christ unite with our personal sense of unworthiness to make us cry in amazement, ‘And I was left.’
Ezekiel, in a vision, saw the slaughter of men smiting right and left at the bidding of divine justice.  And as he stood unharmed among the heaps of the slain, he exclaimed with surprise, ‘I was left.’  The day may come when we, too, will cry with solemn joy, ‘And I, too, by sovereign grace, am spared while others perish.’  Special grace will cause us to marvel.  Emphatically will it be so at the last dread.
“Read the story of the gross idolatry of the people of Jerusalem as recorded in the eighth chapter of Ezekiel’s prophecy, and you will not wonder at the judgment with which the Lord at length overthrew the city.  Let us set our hearts to consider how the Lord dealt with the guilty people.  The destruction worked by these executioners was swift and terrible, and it was typical of other solemn visitations.  Throughout history the observing eye notices lines of justice, red marks on the page where the judge of all the earth has at last seen it necessary to decree a terrible visitation on a guilty people.  All these past displays of divine vengeance point at the coming judgment even more complete and overwhelming.  The past is prophetic of the future.  A day is surely coming when the Lord Jesus, who came once to save, will descend a second time to judge.  Despised mercy has always been succeeded by deserved wrath, and so must it be at the end of all things.  When sinners are smitten, who will be left?  He will lift the balances of justice and make bare the sword of execution.  When his avenging angels gather the vintage of the earth, who among us will exclaim in wondering gratitude, ‘I was left alone’?”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 8-9 ‘a sinful people’: “We have seen in Ezekiel 8 and 9 that iniquity, bloodshed, and committing abominations were the normal lifestyles of the Israelites.  Take a look at your local newspaper today and see if you think people have changed any over the years.  I expect that you will agree that the culture and societal norms today are just as bad as they were back in time.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 10:4-5 ‘losing the Majesty’: “We have lost the vision of the Majesty on high.  I have been reading in the book of Ezekiel over the last weeks, reading slowly and rereading, and I’ve just come to that terrible frightening, awful passage where the Shekinah, the shining presence of God, lifts up from between the wings of the cherubim, goes to the altar, lifts up from the altar, goes to the door, and there is the sound of the whirring of wings (Ezekiel 10_4-5).  And then the presence of God goes from the mountain into the glory.
“And it has never been back, except as it was incarnated in Jesus Christ when He walked among us.  But the Shekinah glory that had followed Israel about all those years, that shone over the camp, was gone.  God couldn’t take it any longer, so He pulled out His Majesty, His Shekinah glory, and left the temple.  And I wonder how many gospel churches, by their frivolousness, shallowness, coarseness, and worldliness have grieved the Holy Ghost until He’s withdrawn in hurt silence.  We must see God again; we must feel God again; we must know God again; we must hear God again.  Nothing less than this will save us.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God II

Ezekiel 10:9-17 ‘wheels by the cherubim’: “This whole section is similar to 1:4-21.  Four wheel’s of God’s chariot mingled with four angels (cf. 1:15-21) were coordinated with each other in precision, and each with a different one of the cherubim.  All looked so much alike that it was as if one wheel blended entirely with another (v. 10).  As their appearance was so unified, their action was in unison and instant (v. 11).  The cherubim had bodies like men and their chariot wheels were full of eyes, denoting full perception to see the sinners and their fitting judgment.  The color beryl is a sparkling yellow or gold.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 10-11 ‘summary’: “In chapters 4 through 24, Ezekiel moves through a series of prophecies dealing with the failure of the human race in general and the nation of Israel in particular.  As the vision continues, Ezekiel sees the glory of God departing from the temple in Jerusalem, leaving the inner court (chapter 10), then rising and moving out of the Mount of Olives and toward the sky (chapter 11).
“This prophecy was fulfilled when our Lord moved out of the temple, down across the Kidron Valley, up the side of the Mount of Olives, and into the Garden of Gethsemane.  And later, after the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  He ascended from the Mount of Olives and departed in glory.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Ezekiel 11:3 ‘cauldron … meat’: “Though this is obscure, it may be that the bad advice these leaders were giving was that the people should not be engaged in business as usual, ‘building houses’ or taking care of their comfort and futures, when they were about to be cooked like meat in a pot over a blazing fire.  The idea must have been that the people should get ready for battle, and be prepared to fight, not focusing on comfort, but survival.  Jeremiah had told the people to surrender to the Babylonians and save their lives, rather than fight and be killed )cf. Jer. 27:9-17).  These false leaders, like the prophets and priests whom Jeremiah confronted for telling the people not to submit, scorned Jeremiah’s words from God and would pay for it (v. 4).  Cf. 24:1-14.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 11:5 ‘The Word of the Lord’: “What power must there be where there is the Word of the King of kings who rules over all!  We are not left to conjecture as to the power of the divine Word, for we know that ‘the heavens were made by the word of the Lord, and all the stars, by the breath of his mouth’ (Ps 33:6).  Out of nothingness the glorious creation leaped at the command of the Most High; and when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, nothing was needed but that solemn voice, ‘Light be,’ and immediately light was.  God’s Word was sufficient in itself to build the temple of the universe and to finish it from its foundations to its pinnacle.  That same Word upholds by its power and rules all things by its might.
“In the Word we must find wisdom and power ‘because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength’ (1 Co 1:25).  The faintest whisper of Jehovah’s voice should fill us with solemn awe and command the deepest obedience of our souls.  How careful we should be that we do not set up in God’s temple anything in opposition in his Word, that we do not permit the teachings of a creature to usurp the honor sue to the Lord alone.  ‘Thus says antiquity.’  ‘Thus says authority.’  ‘Thus says learning.’  ‘Thus says experience.’  These are but idols that defile the temple of God.  Be it yours and mine, as bold iconoclasts, to dash them in pieces without mercy, seeing that they usurp the place of the Word of God.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 11:16 ‘the scattering’: “In the book of Deuteronomy, God threatened Israel that if they, as a nation, sinned against him, they should be scattered among the nations and cast far off among the heathens.  Many times they so sinned.  The Lord was slow to fulfill his threats but put forth his patience till there was no more room for long-suffering.  At last the threatened chastisement fell on them, and fierce nations carried them away in bonds to the far-off lands of their dread.  They were not utterly destroyed; their being scattered among the people showed that they still existed.  Though they were a people scattered and peeled, yet they were a people, even as Israel is to this day.
“But, wherever they are, they are where the Lord has put them.  The Lord’s hand was in their banishment and dispersion; Jehovah himself inflicted the chastisement for sin.  The Lord was as truly in the taking away as he was in the giving.  It is well to look beyond all second causes and instrumentalities.  Our business is with God.  See his hand, and bow before it.  Say, ‘The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.’  Come to that, for then we will be able to say, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord.’  Though our trials be peculiar, and our way be hedged up, yet the hand of the Lord is still in everything, and it behooves us to recognize it for our strengthening and consolation.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 11 ‘summary and prelude’: “We are about to look at the love and grace offered by the Lord after His truthful declaration of judgment.  Most of the book of Ezekiel declares the ‘radical honesty about truth’ and ‘the demands of disciplined maturity.’  Most of the book of Ezekiel clearly states that judgment of the Lord, but love and grace are declared as well, albeit sparingly.  It does stand out as the best news of the day!”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

My Thoughts

Rev. MacArthur and Elizabeth Ficken both assure us that Ezekiel remained in his house and did not physically go to the temple, but he went to the temple.  When listening to people who have had out-of-body experiences, their soul leaves the body, and their soul can look at what had been (and was at the time) their body.  I like Ezekiel’s way of explaining it.

Ezekiel’s physical body remained in captivity.  His soul also saw a history of the temple, from the detestable idol that Manasseh brought into the temple to the secret cult with images of animals to the worship of Tammuz to the worship of the sun.

Manasseh was one of the worst kings of Judah, but late in life he repented and returned to the Lord.  He set up the idol in the temple.  He sacrificed infants in the valley of Ben Hinnom.  Manasseh had much blood on his hands, yet even he could be redeemed.

The other three acts of false god worship in the temple show a systemic problem of turning from God and worshipping false gods.  I use the term “systemic” carefully.  There needs to be proof of the violation and repeated violations and some kind of order, control, or continuity.  The leaders of the people were members of the secret cult that worshipped all kinds of idols shaped as animals, unclean animals.  Tammuz was the god of spring vegetation for the Babylonians, but long before the exile, the women had annually lamented the loss of spring, as their neighbors had done.  And as Rev. MacArthur points out the number of people bowing down to the sun was equal to the number of priests, including the high priest.  That suggests that the priests engaged in such worship and led the people in such worship.  From the leadership to the peasant, false god worship was pervasive.

And why was their false god worship more detestable than that of their neighbors?  After all they learned the practices from their neighbors!  Israel had been set apart to worship God.  It is too easy to use the often-said expression “They knew better.”  Down deep, buried very deep, all mankind “knows” better.  Sure, we may hold a pencil differently.  We may hold a spoon differently.  Right-handed Americans hold the fork with the left hand while cutting and then switch hands to eat, while Europeans will simply eat with the hand holding the fork.  Why waste extra, unnecessary motions?  But those are not moral bedrock types of differences.

But when it comes to the basic values, it is only the philosophers that argue whether possessions are important.  Down deep, we know that theft is wrong.  And what do all of us possess only one of?  We know that murder is wrong, because that is the one thing that we each possess one of, life.  Telling falsehood may have a gray area.  You do not want to tell the Gestapo that the person they are seeking is hiding in your hall closet, but to lie about something and then that false information leads to a friend becoming harmed?  We all know that is wrong.  It may be buried deep, but we know.

Yet, the Israelites were given the keys to God’s kingdom.  They knew more than what was simply imprinted on our hearts at birth.  They understood the earthly “trappings” of God’s holiness.  God’s holiness goes beyond the procedures, formulas, and ceremonies.  God’s holiness goes beyond our words to describe it.  But they knew what size to make each room in the temple.  They knew where the high priest was the only person allowed to go, because God was holy.  They had a glimpse of that holiness.  And notice the imagery of the cloud as the Spirit of God left the temple.  God had appeared as a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night.  God was with them for protection and a physical sign to them of being in His presence.  This physical sign disappeared once the Israelites entered the Promised Land, but with the making of the golden calf in the physical presence of God, we cannot state that the trouble started after God’s pillars vanished.  It started in the hearts of all humankind from the beginning.

Ezekiel spends chapter 9 talking about the destruction, the killing of the people, as a result.  Yet, some will be spared.  They will have a mark placed on their foreheads.  Rev. MacArthur speaks of the mark being similar to the blood painted on the doorframe before the Passover.  Yet, I wonder if the mark of the beast will appear as a ruse, to trick people into thinking that the mark is similar to the one in Ezekiel 9.  Satan is well versed in Scripture and could use a remote Scripture to trick people and lead them astray.

And Ezekiel was shocked that he was left alone, spared as all around him the corpses were piled higher.  This must have been a troubling vision for Ezekiel in that he was not a common worker in Israel.  Ezekiel was a priest.  He took his responsibilities seriously.  Here he sees the violations of God’s law, some of which he probably saw done personally.  And he saw the results of God’s wrath in a graphic way.

The key to Ezekiel 9 is the mark, not the mark itself, but what it represents.  God’s love is boundless, but His holiness cannot be violated.  Those who were not among the elect were condemned and those who mourned what had happened on their watch were saved.  They remained, in their hearts, true to God.  And God showed them mercy.

We will all die.  Having people die is not a cruel punishment.  Will we all suffer the second death, consigned to the lake of fire?  No.  We can repent and turn to God.  And when we do that, we get the mark.  It may not be physically seen, but it often is seen in our actions.  Don’t get the wrong idea.  The actions burst forth from God being in our hearts.  The actions do not save you, but God knows those that are His and He will never let them go.  When you accept Jesus, Jesus enters your heart, the Holy Spirit enters as well to guide you, and the Angel of the Lord pulls out a marking pen and makes an invisible mark on your forehead that says, “Property of God.”

And in the vision in Ezekiel 10, the vision is only slightly different than his vision in Ezekiel 1.  Here, Ezekiel compares the two as being the same creatures, yet in Ezekiel 1, the fourth face is an ox while here the fourth face is a cherub.  Was this a metamorphosis of the creatures or did Ezekiel understand a little better.

As an example, I took a trip to the South in the USA while working in the steel industry.  My boss at the time was a Vietnam veteran and he thought he had something happen to him there that changed his digestive system, but he was very restrictive as to the meats that he could eat.  When I returned from the business trip, my fellow group members asked what I had to eat while there.  The barbecue and the fried catfish were musts, but on this trip I had gone to a Cajun restaurant also.  I ate alligator tail.  My boss was eavesdropping.  He came from his office and asked, “What does alligator tail taste like?  And don’t say chicken, because the human brain responds with ‘chicken’ if the taste is unknown.”  I had to think for a second or two.  I said that the texture was kind of like shrimp and lobster, but the taste was very mild, taking on the flavor of the spices and sauces.  So, I would have to say that alligator tastes like a mild shrimp.  That satisfied the boss, but I have no idea if he tried alligator tail on his next trip to that area.  He got violently ill if he ate the wrong thing, but shrimp was something that he could eat.

So, when we see what we think is an ox and then when we see it again, we realize that the ox does not exactly look like an ox, but it looks more like a cherub, especially with all those cherubim moving around.  Ezekiel had a better knowledge and a better means to compare.  And the analogy that the ox symbolized service would still fit the cherub.

And I marveled at the use of lapis lazuli.  Lapis lazuli is mentioned in the NIV eleven times, three times in Exodus and three times in Ezekiel.  A different precious stone of a similar color is used in Revelation.  All the references to lapis lazuli are in the Old Testament.  I have wondered if the difference in OT and NT stones was in the language itself, Hebrew and Greek.

And then, the mouth of Ezekiel is opened in Ezekiel 11.  He speaks the Words God gave him to say, and Pelatiah, one of the leaders of Judah, falls dead upon hearing the Word of God as spoken by Ezekiel.  Ezekiel falls to the ground, but God explains that Ezekiel is living among a rebellious people.  Of the 43 times that the word “rebellious” appears in the NIV, seventeen times are in the book of Ezekiel.  God drives this point home and we should take heed, from our own lives to the running of our businesses and our governments.

God loves His chosen people, but they have sinned.  God retains a remnant, but He cannot abide the sin any longer.  The punishment is just, foretold in Deuteronomy, and carried out before Ezekiel’s eyes.  It was bad enough seeing the dead bodies pile high in a vision, but here was a leader of the people, possibly a leader that Ezekiel respected a great deal.

God made Ezekiel’s vision personal, by taking Ezekiel, a priest, to the temple.  God made the vision even more personal by having the first of many die in Ezekiel’s presence as Ezekiel speaks the words God had given him to speak.

God must be that personal in our lives.  God is not playing around and pretending.  His Word is Truth, and many will not like the result when that Truth comes knocking at the door.

Our only hope is accepting Jesus and repenting of our sin.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“1. The idol that made God jealous kept reappearing in the Temple.  What idol has a tendency to reappear in your heart?  What can you do to keep it out?
“2. The actions that Ezekiel saw were typical of Israel’s neighbors.  Which actions of the people around you do you tend to imitate if you don’t watch out?
“3. If Ezekiel were allowed to peep through ‘a hole in the wall’ of your heart and mind, what would he see there?
“4. What can you do about anything there that displeases God?
“1. If you had lived in Jerusalem, would you have been marked?  Why or why not?
“2. How do you think you are different from the people around you?  If seven of your neighbors and co-worker were interviewed, what would they say is different about you?  Would they like or dislike the difference?
“3. From John 13:35, 1 Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5:22-23, what is supposed to ‘mark’ the Christian?  What can you do to make your mark more visible?
“1. How do you reconcile the teaching of this chapter, that God is not always present with his people, with the premise of Jesus that he is always with us (see Mt. 28:20)?  What is conditional, and what is unconditional, about God’s presence?
“2. If it is conditional, what might be the conditions?  What might cause the glory of the Lord to withdraw from a person’s life?
“3. Do you sense the presence of God in your life now?  Or coals on your head?  How might your life be more welcoming of him?  How would you react if told, ‘God has left your church’?
“1. Have you ever misunderstood or mis-applied a word from God?  What happened?  Whose fault was it?
“2. What word is God giving you now that you need to listen to more carefully?”

“1. Have you had this ‘sanctuary’ experience? Where? When? What happened? Are you different?
“2. What was Christ’s role in providing ‘a substitute temple’ while you were in ‘exile’?

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There are five sets of questions, one set for each chapter, with the extra set of questions for chapter 11.

In the first question, the “idol that made God jealous” does not keep reappearing.  This chapter of Ezekiel speaks of past and present stains.  The idol had already been destroyed.  Yet, the question is a good one for us.  We may have ‘resolved’ that one sin in our life was behind us, but it really was not.

The third question 2, second part, should be rephrased as: “Can you cause the glory of God to leave you and if so, what might be the cause?”  You could disagree with the premise of the question as written, but does this rewrite of the question stimulate further discussion and why would the rephrasing of the question matter?  Either question is legitimate, as long as you are assured that once you truly have Jesus in your heart, you cannot lose your salvation, but people often do not live a Spirit-filled life.  As such, looking at it in that way, are we redefining the loss of the glory of God?

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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