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Now we move into a new section of the book that is really a conclusion of his first prophesy.
It came to pass now in the sixth year, and in the sixth month, and in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me ( Ezekiel 8:1 ).
Ezekiel was there sitting in his house, some of the ancient men of Israel, the older men, were gathered there with him and God's Spirit came upon him.
Then I beheld, and lo there was a likeness as of the appearance of fire ( Ezekiel 8:2 ):
And that is the appearance of fire. Greek Septuagint here translates this as the appearance of man. The word fire in Hebrew is esh, and the word man is ish. So the Greek translators felt that this was the ish, so the appearance of a man. And from the context it would seem that perhaps that is correct.
and from the appearance of his loins even downward, it was fiery; and from his loins even upward, it was as the appearance of a brightness, and as the color of amber. And he put forth the form of a hand, and he took me by a lock of my head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looks towards the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes the jealousy. And, behold, the glory of [God] the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I had seen in the plain ( Ezekiel 8:2-4 ).
That was the vision that he described of the cherubims there in chapter 1.
Now here is Ezekiel sitting with the elders and suddenly he sees this form of a fire or of a man, and from the loins upward it looked like fire and from downward this bright color of amber. And a hand came forth, took him by his hair, lifted him up between heaven and earth and then transported him to Jerusalem, to the inner court, the north gate of the inner court, where he saw there the horrible abominations for which God's judgment had come upon the people.
Then he said unto me, Son of man, lift up now your eyes toward the north. So I looked my eyes toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar there was this image of jealousy at the entry. And he said furthermore unto me, Son of man, do you see what they are doing? even the great abominations that the house of Israel is committing here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn yet again, and you'll see even greater abominations ( Ezekiel 8:5-6 ).
You see the things they are doing here? Right within the house, right within the sanctuary. Things that provoke Me to jealousy because of the false gods that were worshipped right there within the precincts of the temple. But He said, "Hang on, you haven't seen the worst yet."
And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall. Then he said unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, I found a door. So I went in and I saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the walls around about ( Ezekiel 8:7-8 , Ezekiel 8:10 ).
So he came into this room and he looked at all of these filthy drawings on the walls.
And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan ( Ezekiel 8:11 ),
Now, Shaphan was the scribe that when Hilkiah the priest had found the law, when Josiah had initiated these spiritual reforms you remember and they found the book of the law, and they brought it to Josiah and Shaphan read to him out of the law and he realized how far they had turned against God. And he repented even more and ordered this mass repentance of the people. Shaphan was a faithful scribe, but his son, the rat. He's an old man now. He's standing with the ancients, Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan.
with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense was going up. Then he said unto me, Son of man, have you seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the eaRuth ( Ezekiel 8:11-12 ).
Now, here is the wild part about this. This hole in the wall that Ezekiel dug, coming into a room and looking around on the walls of the room, seeing all the pornography and all, God is saying, "Ezekiel, I've allowed you to come into the minds of these people. What you have been seeing is the things that are in their imaginations. The fantasies and those things that are in their minds, the imageries that are in their minds. These are their thoughts; these are what they are thinking. All of this filthy stuff that you've seen are the things that are going on in the minds of the ancient. These men who are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of Israel, and yet their minds are polluted."
Now, that is sort of a heavy issue in realizing that God can probe right into our minds and He sees those images, those imaginations of our own minds. That, to me, is rather sobering. To think that nothing is hid from God, even my thoughts God knows. The imaginations that I have, God sees. That is why the scripture says that we are to bring every thought into captivity, unto the obedience of Jesus Christ.
Now they were saying, "The Lord doesn't see us and the Lord has forsaken the earth." They were wrong on both counts. God did see and God has not forsaken.
But He said unto me, Turn again, and you're going to see things that are even worse. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz ( Ezekiel 8:13-14 ).
Now, Tammuz was a Babylonian god. He was the god of resurrection. He was worshipped in the springtime as the trees would come into blossom. They would morn for Tammuz in the fall as the leaves were dying on the trees and the trees were going bare and all; they would weep for Tammuz. But then in the springtime when the trees would begin to bud and blossom and all again, they would have great parties and they would decorate eggs and celebrate the resurrection of Tammuz, because now we have new life. The new life of spring is around us and the egg is a symbol of perpetuated life, because it's through the egg that the little birds or chicks or whatever are hatched. And so it's a symbol of the perpetuating of life. And so, they would take the eggs and color them, draw on them, and would have these parties with the colored eggs celebrating the resurrection of Tammuz.
Any similarity is far from coincidental. The church unfortunately adopted the pagan practice of the worship of Tammuz and the resurrection of Tammuz and incorporated it into the church, calling it Easter. And having an Easter Sunday, taking the name of the Greek goddess Astarte who was supposed to be the consort of Adonis, who is the Greek equivalent to Tammuz. And we have incorporated into the church and there are churches that have Easter egg hunts and give baskets of colored eggs to the children and all at Easter time, Astarte.
In the early church we don't read of them celebrating the resurrection of Christ on any particular day, but because the pagans were all celebrating in this pagan worship of Tammuz, and they had this day which they acclaimed the resurrection and all in the springtime, the church didn't want their people to feel left out. And so, they said, "This is the day that Jesus rose, and we'll color the eggs and do the same bit, but we're celebrating now the resurrection of Jesus."
I am not certain what the Lord thinks about that. I wonder. The Lord said to Ezekiel, "Come and I'll show you something that's really disturbing. See those women, they're weeping for Tammuz." Not weeping for the desolation that was coming, not weeping because the sin that was rampant in the land, not weeping because they had come into such a moral decay, but weeping for Tammuz, the Babylonian god of resurrection.
Then he said unto me, Have you seen this, O son of man? turn again, you're going to see even greater abominations than these. And he brought me to the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east ( Ezekiel 8:15-16 ).
And so, here they were, backs towards the temple, signifying turning their backs upon God, and worshipping now the sun god, worshipping towards the east. I go over to Jerusalem and as we go up to the temple mount, and as I see there that large Dome of the Rock Mosque that occupies the center of the temple of the mount, and you hear this crazy wailing coming over the loud speakers. This musing and you see all of these people get out their little rugs and kneel and bow and face the east in prayer there on the temple mount today, it always brings to my mind that picture that Ezekiel got when he was taken there by the Lord in this vision and saw these men turning from God and worshipping towards the east.
Then he said unto me, Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they have committed here? for they have filled the land with violence, they have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch in their nose ( Ezekiel 8:17 ).
Now, this was a symbol that was, and a sign used in some of these pagan rites that are so horribly, unspeakably, vile that we could not even in a mixed congregation describe to you the rites by which they worshipped their gods. But God declared,
Therefore will I also deal in fury: my eye will not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them ( Ezekiel 8:18 ). "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13