-While still in the vision of the LORD within Jerusalem, Ezekiel hears God cry out in a loud Voice, “Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand (Ezekiel 9:1).” The six men, whom scholars say were either angels or depictions of the six generals of Nebuchadnezzar’s army (the Talmud calls them: wrath, anger, fury, destruction, breach, and consumption, see http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/view.cgi?book=eze&chapter=009), came from the direction of the upper gate that faced north with each having their shattering weapon in hand. Among them a seventh individual was present in either angelic man form, or possibly a Theophany of Jesus, who was clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins (Ezekiel 9:2, Revelation 15:6). The glory of the LORD at this point went up from the cherub, where He been, to the threshold of the Temple and He called the man clothed in linen to Him. This one clothed in linen was asked to go through the city and mark the foreheads of everyone mourning, groaning, and sighing over the abominations being committed in their midst. For everyone else not marked by the man in linen, God told the avengers to go through the city and strike without pity or sparing. Old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women who did not receive the mark of salvation were obliterated starting at the LORD’s sanctuary with the elders who were worshipping idols before the Temple (Ezekiel 9:3-6, Revelation 7:3). *Application* This fulfills all Scriptural expectation which is rightly placed on spiritual leadership. Judgment always begins at the house of God (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-25, 1 Peter 4:17).
-From there, after they defiled the Temple and filled its courts with the slain, the men were commanded to “Go out!” Therefore, they went out in complete obedience to the command to strike down the people of the city without the mark of repentance and forgiveness. Ezekiel, finding himself alone in the malaise, cries out to the God of mercy on behalf of the remnant of the people of Israel. God’s response is unyielding but wise, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see (Ezekiel 9:7-9).’” The LORD goes on to say that He has definitely come to the end of His patience in putting up with their garbage. His eye will, at this point of no return, have no pity nor will He spare the idolaters for their unrepentant depravity. He will bring their evil conduct upon their own heads. The last verse of the chapter concludes with the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case (possibly a reference to the Lamb’s Book of Life, Psalm 69:28, Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27) reporting that he had done just as the Commander had ordered (Ezekiel 9:10-11).
-*Application* God’s mercy has its limits when we refuse to turn back to Him. When God is done and His patience runs out, He takes swift and decisive action that nothing can stand against. This is the attribute of God pertaining to His justice. This is why the Scripture repeatedly commands us to “fear” the LORD and give Him all the respect and awe He deserves. No-one can defy Him forever. He, not Muhammad Ali, is the GREATEST!
Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 9:9