After the blatant (nearly unimaginable) sins of Judah enumerated in Ezekiel chapter 8 (see the last Lesson in this series) … what could occur but judgment? Or a stark warning of soon coming judgment?
And that is precisely what occurs in Ezekiel chapter 9, today’s Bible Text.
And, apparently, the Lord Himself continues to be the Main Speaker!
Verse 1 introduces us to six “men,” whom I take to be angels. “Death angels,” if you will allow me that term. “He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand.”
Angels of God, having “oversight” (“pequddah” in Hebrew, translated “have charge” in our verse) over a city, over Jerusalem! God’s angelic world is, indeed, organized! (I believe He even has an “angel” watching over every single Christian, based on Hebrews 1:14.)
“Six” in Bible numerology is the number of “man,” who was created on the sixth day. And “seven” the number of “God, completion, perfection.” Six is (thus) one number short of anything that pleases God! Six destroying angels may “hint” at that fact. Man living in sin is about to be judged of God, punished.
But Ezekiel then informs us of a seventh entity, “angel.” Verse 2: “And one (additional) man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar.”
A “recorder,” I thought at first. But no, more than that! An angel sent to “mark” a certain (small) group of people! That’s why he is equipped with a writing instrument! (By the way, his being clothed in “linen” suggests he is dressed as a “priest!”)
Now we have “seven” angels, God has a “perfect” plan in place!
Remember, Ezekiel has been (in vision) “transported” to Jerusalem, hundreds of miles away from Babylon, his actual location. In reality the Prophet of God is being held in captivity, a slave to the Babylonian empire!
A bloody scene, with a few notable exceptions.
Ezekiel, an eye-witness, reports:
“And the LORD said unto him (the angel with the pen), Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and SET A MARK upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others (the six) he said in mine (Ezekiel’s) hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark.” Ezekiel 9:4-6, astounding!
Multitudes will die!
All except those “marked” by the recording angel!
By the way, the word “mark,” is translated from a Hebrew noun spelled “tav.” In Hebrew it was (in Ezekiel’s day) written in the design of a “cross!” A leaning “tee,” sort of like!
The implication is clear! A “Cross” here delivers from death, judgment, the very wrath of Almighty God!
To this day, pictorially, that last letter of the Hebrew alphabet suggests a “cross.”
But only a few are so marked?
Verse 4: “And the LORD said unto him (that recording angel), Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark (tav) upon the foreheads of the men that SIGH and that CRY for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”
Who are broken-hearted over the sin (abominable acts) of the people! That’s the “fruit” for which God is searching! A “Cross marked” man will have a broken heart! Will grieve over sin!
By the way, the verb “go through” is “abar” in Hebrew, hundreds of times translated “pass over!” Remember the exodus! The Lord slaying all the firstborn! “Passover” night! And the “blood of the innocent little lamb,” typifying the Cross, no doubt!
“Sigh” is a verb that means “to groan, to mourn!” It’s spelled “anach.”
“Cry” is “anaq,” meaning “to lament,” to express deep sorrow! These two words are synonyms.
Jesus later will teach: “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4!
And Jesus modeled this proper behavior too. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” Luke 13:34, tears of sorrow, weeping! Grieving over sin!
And so these angels did exactly what God commanded. “And they went forth, and slew in the city.” Verse 7, the last half.
God judges sin!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
By the way, know where the slaughter began?
God commanded: “Begin at my sanctuary.” Verse 6, in the middle.
Simon Peter, years later, picked up on this idea. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1st Peter 4:17
Clearly God is (here) not judging the multitudes of heathen in the nation of Babylon, not yet! His disciplining Hand first comes upon His Own people!
And only a “remnant” will survive!
So few that Ezekiel worries!
His testimony: “And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the RESIDUE of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” Verse 8
Interceding, as did Moses!
As did Abraham!
As did Paul!
The noun translated “residue” (Hebrew “sheeriyth”) above is 44 times in the Old Testament also translated “remnant.”
What a Lesson this morning!
What Ezekiel first penned as “prophecy” is now, folks, “history!”
God keeps His Word.