God always starts His process of purifying in His own house. In the New Testament, Peter echoed that thought, saying that judgment must "begin first among God's own children" (1 Peter 4:17). What a sober realization that judgment begins first among God's people!
Ezekiel 9 speaks of a man dressed in linen who was carrying a writer's case. The man was instructed to walk through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of every person who had wept and sighed because of the sins they saw taking place around them (v. 4). Apparently, there were those who grieved deeply for the sins of their society.
The average person today has no concern for the gross immorality and debauchery existing in our society. Such an individual thinks homosexuality is "gay," abortion is "necessary," and drunkenness and adultery are "acceptable." For God's saints, however, these things should be repulsive and deeply grievous.
God marked Noah as righteous in his generation and spared only his family from the flood that enveloped the earth. Even now God is "marking the foreheads" of those whose lives are pure and who closely follow His commands.
Remember: This process begins in the sanctuary, so check your "mark" today.
7 The word of the Lord came to me:2 “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to the land of Israel:
3 The end is now upon you,
and I will unleash my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct
and repay you for all your detestable practices.
I will not spare you.
I will surely repay you for your conduct
and for the detestable practices among you.
5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
See, it comes!
6 The end
The end has come!
It has roused itself against you.
See, it comes!
7 Doom has come upon you,
upon you who dwell in the land.
There is panic, not joy, on the mountains.
and spend my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct
9 I will not look on you with pity;
I will repay you for your conduct
and for the detestable practices among you.
10 “‘See, the day!
See, it comes!
Doom has burst forth,
arrogance has blossomed!
a rod to punish the wicked.
None of the people will be left,
none of that crowd—
none of their wealth,
12 The time has come!
The day has arrived!
Let not the buyer
nor the seller grieve,
13 The seller will not recover
the property that was sold—
as long as both buyer and seller live.
For the vision concerning the whole crowd
will not be reversed.
Because of their sins, not one of them
will preserve their life.
14 “‘They have blown the trumpet,
they have made all things ready,
but no one will go into battle,
for my wrath
15 Outside is the sword;
inside are plague and famine.
Those in the country
will die by the sword;
those in the city
will flee to the mountains.
they will all moan,
every leg will be wet with urine.
and be clothed with terror.
Every face will be covered with shame,
19 “‘They will throw their silver into the streets,
and their gold will be treated as a thing unclean.
Their silver and gold
will not be able to deliver them
It will not satisfy
or fill their stomachs,
20 They took pride in their beautiful jewelry
and used it to make
They made it into vile images;
21 I will give their wealth as plunder
and as loot to the wicked of the earth,
who will defile it.
and robbers will desecrate the place I treasure.
They will enter it
23 “‘Prepare chains!
24 I will bring the most wicked of nations
to take possession of their houses.
I will put an end to the pride of the mighty,
25 When terror comes,
and rumor upon rumor.
They will go searching for a vision from the prophet,
priestly instruction in the law will cease,
27 The king will mourn,
and the hands of the people of the land will tremble.
and by their own standards I will judge them.
“‘Then they will know that I am the Lord.
8 In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders
6 And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable
7 Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall.8 He said to me, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there.
9 And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here.”10 So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls
12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness,
14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz.
16 He then brought me into the inner court
17 He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the people of Judah to do the detestable things
9 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.”2 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
3 Now the glory
5 As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity
7 Then he said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain.
9 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.
11 Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, “I have done as you commanded.”
7 Then this message came to me from the Lord:2 “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to Israel:
“The end is here!
Wherever you look—
east, west, north, or south—
your land is finished.
3 No hope remains,
for I will unleash my anger against you.
I will call you to account
for all your detestable sins.
4 I will turn my eyes away and show no pity.
I will repay you for all your detestable sins.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
Disaster after disaster
is coming your way!
6 The end has come.
It has finally arrived.
Your final doom is waiting!
7 O people of Israel, the day of your destruction is dawning.
The time has come; the day of trouble is near.
Shouts of anguish will be heard on the mountains,
not shouts of joy.
8 Soon I will pour out my fury on you
and unleash my anger against you.
I will call you to account
for all your detestable sins.
9 I will turn my eyes away and show no pity.
I will repay you for all your detestable sins.
Then you will know that it is I, the Lord,
who is striking the blow.
10 “The day of judgment is here;
your destruction awaits!
The people’s wickedness and pride
have blossomed to full flower.
11 Their violence has grown into a rod
that will beat them for their wickedness.
None of these proud and wicked people will survive.
All their wealth and prestige will be swept away.
12 Yes, the time has come;
the day is here!
Buyers should not rejoice over bargains,
nor sellers grieve over losses,
for all of them will fall
under my terrible anger.
13 Even if the merchants survive,
they will never return to their business.
For what God has said applies to everyone—
it will not be changed!
Not one person whose life is twisted by sin
will ever recover.
14 “The trumpet calls Israel’s army to mobilize,
but no one listens,
for my fury is against them all.
15 There is war outside the city
and disease and famine within.
Those outside the city walls
will be killed by enemy swords.
Those inside the city
will die of famine and disease.
16 The survivors who escape to the mountains
will moan like doves, weeping for their sins.
17 Their hands will hang limp,
their knees will be weak as water.
18 They will dress themselves in burlap;
horror and shame will cover them.
They will shave their heads
in sorrow and remorse.
19 “They will throw their money in the streets,
tossing it out like worthless trash.
Their silver and gold won’t save them
on that day of the Lord’s anger.
It will neither satisfy nor feed them,
for their greed can only trip them up.
20 They were proud of their beautiful jewelry
and used it to make detestable idols and vile images.
Therefore, I will make all their wealth
disgusting to them.
21 I will give it as plunder to foreigners,
to the most wicked of nations,
and they will defile it.
22 I will turn my eyes from them
as these robbers invade and defile my treasured land.
23 “Prepare chains for my people,
for the land is bloodied by terrible crimes.
Jerusalem is filled with violence.
24 I will bring the most ruthless of nations
to occupy their homes.
I will break down their proud fortresses
and defile their sanctuaries.
25 Terror and trembling will overcome my people.
They will look for peace but not find it.
26 Calamity will follow calamity;
rumor will follow rumor.
They will look in vain
for a vision from the prophets.
They will receive no teaching from the priests
and no counsel from the leaders.
27 The king and the prince will stand helpless,
weeping in despair,
and the people’s hands
will tremble with fear.
I will bring on them
the evil they have done to others,
and they will receive the punishment
they so richly deserve.
Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
8 Then on September 17,
5 Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.” So I looked, and there to the north, beside the entrance to the gate near the altar, stood the idol that had made the Lord so jealous.
6 “Son of man,” he said, “do you see what they are doing? Do you see the detestable sins the people of Israel are committing to drive me from my Temple? But come, and you will see even more detestable sins than these!”7 Then he brought me to the door of the Temple courtyard, where I could see a hole in the wall.8 He said to me, “Now, son of man, dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and found a hidden doorway.
9 “Go in,” he said, “and see the wicked and detestable sins they are committing in there!”10 So I went in and saw the walls covered with engravings of all kinds of crawling animals and detestable creatures. I also saw the various idols
12 Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see us; he has deserted our land!’”13 Then the Lord added, “Come, and I will show you even more detestable sins than these!”
14 He brought me to the north gate of the Lord’s Temple, and some women were sitting there, weeping for the god Tammuz.15 “Have you seen this?” he asked. “But I will show you even more detestable sins than these!”
16 Then he brought me into the inner courtyard of the Lord’s Temple. At the entrance to the sanctuary, between the entry room and the bronze altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the sanctuary of the Lord. They were facing east, bowing low to the ground, worshiping the sun!
17 “Have you seen this, son of man?” he asked. “Is it nothing to the people of Judah that they commit these detestable sins, leading the whole nation into violence, thumbing their noses at me, and provoking my anger?18 Therefore, I will respond in fury. I will neither pity nor spare them. And though they cry for mercy, I will not listen.”
9 Then the Lord thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!”2 Six men soon appeared from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man dressed in linen, who carried a writer’s case at his side. They all went into the Temple courtyard and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the Lord called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case.4 He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”
5 Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity!6 Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders.
7 “Defile the Temple!” the Lord commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city.
8 While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign Lord! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?”
9 Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see it! The Lord has abandoned the land!’10 So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.”
11 Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”
7 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.
3 Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.
4 And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
5 Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.
6 An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.
7 The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.
8 Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.
9 And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.
10 Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.
11 Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of any of their's: neither shall there be wailing for them.
12 The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.
13 For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they were yet alive: for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, which shall not return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life.
14 They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.
15 The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him.
16 But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.
17 All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water.
18 They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.
19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.
20 As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.
21 And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it.
22 My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.
23 Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.
24 Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.
25 Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.
26 Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.
27 The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord.
8 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell there upon me.
2 Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.
3 And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.
4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.
5 Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.
6 He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.
7 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
8 Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.
9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
11 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, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou 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 seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.
13 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
14 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.
15 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.
16 And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
17 Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.
18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.
9 He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.
2 And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar.
3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side;
4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.
7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.
8 And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?
9 Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not.
10 And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.
11 And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.
5 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God,
6 And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths
5 Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins.2 And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses.3 That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs.
4 And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was.5 That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him,
“You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.
6 And in another passage God said to him,
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.
5 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
make known among the nations what he has done.
tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face
5 Remember the wonders
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
7 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He confirmed it
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
12 When they were but few in number,
from one kingdom to another.
14 He allowed no one to oppress
do my prophets
1 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
2 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
3 Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
4 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
5 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
6 you children of his servant Abraham,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.
7 He is the Lord our God.
His justice is seen throughout the land.
8 He always stands by his covenant—
the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
9 This is the covenant he made with Abraham
and the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant:
11 “I will give you the land of Canaan
as your special possession.”
12 He said this when they were few in number,
a tiny group of strangers in Canaan.
13 They wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
14 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them.
He warned kings on their behalf:
15 “Do not touch my chosen people,
and do not hurt my prophets.”
105 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.
7 He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
9 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;
10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:
12 When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.
13 When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;
14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.