In our study of Ezekiel chapter eight, we look at the charges presented against Israel prior to her judgment at the hand of God. In our world today, this list of charges against the accused is called an indictment.
"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." NIV translation
We see the timing of the events of this chapter and are reminded that there is significance in the details of the numbers. Throughout the Bible, the number six is associated with man's works and the number five is associated with grace (God's work on our behalf). In the timing of this vision, we see that there was a battle going on between works and grace. We also see that some of those that are going to be indicted were sitting with Ezekiel in his house. That reminds us of the fact that our relationship with God is not about our physical location but about the condition of our hearts. Ezekiel saw a vision of Jesus Christ and the top part was light which comes from the very words of God (see Genesis 1:3). The bottom half was like fire which is a symbol of the holiness and presence of God. In this vision of Christ, we see that this indictment is being handed down by God Himself as the Creator of the world.
"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." NIV translation
Jesus grabbed Ezekiel by the hair and lifted him up to take him to Jerusalem. Why would Jesus lift him up by the hair? We have probably all seen a parent grab their child by the hair and it is not a good thing as it is usually done as a last resort to get their attention.
We saw that some of the people that were taking part in Israel's idolatry were sitting with Ezekiel in his house. This grabbing him by the hair to take him to see what they were doing was a last resort to get Ezekiel to see them as they were and not as they appeared to be. The first charge against Israel is presented by the fact that they had a graven image set up in the temple with the very presence of God.