Ezekiel 9:1 & 2

"Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, 'Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.' And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar." NIV translation

Because of the indictment of the actions of the Israelites that was handed down in chapter eight, we see that a judgment is coming. God calls for the executioners and we see six angels taking the form of men. They all carry weapons to execute God's judgment. The seventh "man" is another angel and we see that instead of carrying a weapon he is carrying a pen for writing.

Ezekiel 9:3 & 4

"Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, 'Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.'" NIV translation

The glory (presence) of God is seen leaving the mercy seat and heading to the door of the temple. This is a reminder that God's mercy is infinite in its ability but not infinite in time. Judgment was imminent for Israel and it is just as imminent for all of the world today. We see that prior to this judgment, the angel dressed in linen is sent to walk through Jerusalem and mark those that did not take part in the idolatry. This is very similar to what John describes in Revelation 7. The writing kit would have included a type of ink which is a picture of the coming blood of Jesus Christ. This mark would have been the letter taw which looked like an "X".

Ezekiel 9:5 & 6

"As I listened, he said to the others, 'Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.' So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple." NIV translation

We see that God instructs the angels to execute His judgment on all who do not have His mark on them. This mark and the angel who puts it on the remnant is a picture of Jesus covering those that accept Him with His blood. We see that the judgment includes all people and begins at the temple.

Ezekiel 9:7

"Then he said to them, 'Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!' So they went out and began killing throughout the city." NIV translation

Is God really telling them to "defile the temple"? The short answer is yes but we must remember that it was already defiled by the fact that it had become a place of idolatry. As we saw before, God's presence was prepared to leave the temple.

Ezekiel 9:8-10

"While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, 'Alas, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?' He answered me, 'The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, "The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see." So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their heads what they have done.'" NIV translation

A true prophet has a broken heart when he sees people being judged and Ezekiel fell down and cried out to God for the people. Their sin is described as "exceedingly great" and this is talking about the fact that, once they turned their backs on God, there was no alternative to punishing them. The people had rejected God and so they were going to be covered in their own blood.

Ezekiel 9:11

"Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, 'I have done as you commanded.'" NIV translation

In this verse we see the fact that, God will withhold His judgment until His people are sealed but, after that, it is unstoppable.

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