(18 verses, 3:00 to read)
What I am about to READ
God shows to the prophet a vision of four abominations, acts which the people of Israel will do to provoke God’s anger.
MARK and LEARN
- God manifested himself in splendor and glory (vs. 2-4). The verbiage which Ezekiel uses to describe God’s appearance indicates that an encounter with God is nearly indescribable. For Ezekiel God does however manifest himself by his Word and even by the image of a hand.
- Abomination One: “The gate of the inner court, leading from the outer to the inner court (the court of the priests), is called 8:5 “the gate of the altar,” because it was from this side that the priests approached the brass altar. The prophet is on the “outside” of this gate, so that the “image of jealousy” was set up in the outer or people’s court over against the northern entrance to the priest’s court.” (Barnes Notes)
- The “image of jealousy” was not an idol of that name, but an image which provoked the Lord to jealousy. It is not known exactly what this is, however it could have been a statue or image of a false god.
- Abomination Two: God tells Ezekiel to dig through a hole in the wall to see the second abomination. When he does so he sees 70 of the elders of Israel offering incense to graven images on the other side of the wall. The elders are in a dark room, because they believe that the Lord does not see what they are doing. Ezekiel must dig to see what they are doing in secret.
- Abomination Three: God brings Ezekiel to the north gate where women are weeping for the god Tammuz. This god was believed to die every year with the last of the rains and was reborn every year through the tears which people would weep.
- Abomination Four: The worst of the abominations. Whereas the other three abominations co opted God’s temple for sycretistic worship of other gods, this abomination shows utter contempt for God’s temple. Twenty five men are worshiping the rising sun with their backs to the altar of God. They have literally turned their back to the God of their fathers and the sacrificial system which he gave to them.
- God promises to visit the people with his wrath. In order to turn the hearts of his people he must punish them and show them that he alone is God.
God still uses the preaching of the law to cause to lament our sins and receive the gospel promises. What false gods do we secretly worship? What are those things that we rely on for our security and safety? Do we cherish our comfort above duties which God has placed on us? God would have us turn from these and receive the forgiveness won for us by Jesus Christ. From that alone can we have a good conscience and bear good fruit.
Pr. Brandon Ross
Faith Ev. Lutheran Church