Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
“Ezekiel 8 Pattern”?
By an Ezekiel 8 Pattern, what I wonder is, are we in a time such as in the days of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel when a certain pattern emerged that began with a revelation of the wickedness going on within the very Temple walls, though hidden to most people, followed by the prophet’s warning to God’s people that if they did not repent of the depravities revealed therein and return to Him, the consequences of their sin would commence–attacks by the Babylonians and the destruction of Jerusalem.
It seems we are in such a pattern now, in real time, because in any era, there comes a time even for God that enough is enough of killing, stealing, and destroying (not to mention worshipping all manner of idols, both figuratively and literally speaking).
In Part 2, tomorrow, I pay particular attention to one of those heretofore “hidden places,” the very blood keeping the highest of God’s creations, made “in His image“: you and me.
After all, “life is in the blood,” and if manipulated by our real enemy, Satan (and his cohorts in the flesh, for he can only steal, kill, and destroy by proxy, meaning through our cooperation), he did and will bring death there, but only for a time, another of God’s creations.
However, the better and more powerful revelation was, and is still, that for all those who did heed God then–and now–and accept the need for repentance and returning He provides redemption for ever (see more on this in several places, below).
In the prophet’s day, it was to be both temporal and eternal by an historic return from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem, where both city and temple would be restored.
In our day, prophecy scholars suggest our redemption will take another form.
Some believe mankind with God’s help will restore our land to its former glory. Others believe we are in the time of an imminent supernatural event called the Rapture. See what you think.
However, one way or another, however, God has promised, in such a time as this, to “shorten the days for the sake of the elect”.
I often think that we are in the roil of this kind of pattern where every day, it seems, revelation upon revelation of what wickedness has been going on in all facets of human life (physical, spiritual, psychological, governmental, educational, and social), even non-believers are noting a certain “apocalyptic” tone, darkness, and danger to all of it as it converges, roaring, like the amassing of a super-cell tornado, or like Tennyson’s poem, “The Kraken,” discussed here in a timeless application.
In particular, however, and to the first point of this post: Here is what was taking place in Ezekiel’s day–inside the vast walls of the Temple itself (let alone in the secular world of that time) and what is arguably happening today in various way in both arenas.
But far, far worse, I believe a case can be made that the most hidden of all places is under seige, i.e., inside the very lifestream of our blood (don’t miss Part 2).
But to the original description:
Idolatry in the Temple
8 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. 2 I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man.[a] From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal. 3 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. 4 And there before me was the glory of the God of Israel, as in the vision I had seen in the plain.
5 Then he said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.” So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy.
6 And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.” [In today’s language: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”]
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 all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel. 11 In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising.
12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’” 13 Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.”
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. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”
16 He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.
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 they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually arouse my anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” continue reading…
From then on, Ezekiel, who had previously prepared for the priesthood, had a spiritual career change to prophet, while his contemporary, Jeremiah, wept over what he knew and was also assigned to tell God’s people the same warnings, in his own prophetic calling and style. For both of them, it was God’s impending judgement via a 70-year Babylonian captivity.
And the prophecies came true, spiritually and historically, which is the ultimate proof of the truth of God’s Word and His ways–first the warnings, then the fulfillments.
Prophecies for Today
So, I wonder if we are at the part of the prophecies concerning what happens when the so-called “Church Age” is completed?
Obviously, evil can neither hide completely nor forever, and so much evil that was previously hidden in our world for so long is being revealed just now, sometimes to an overwhelming degree, one has to wonder why.
But whether this is that time, or it is yet in the future, one thing that is constant through history, particularly spiritual history: there is One Who always watches and in the fullness of time, reveals, warns, judges, visits His own consequences (aka wrath) accrued by mankind’s flagrant contempt for God and destruction of each other, especially the innocents, until the season of reaping what has been sown by sin and idolatry is also fulfilled and redemption follows for those who so choose to trust and obey Him, as also noted above.
But–and here is the best and most encouraging news of this and all posts–whosoever will turn to Him or back to him, like the prodigal son, will be welcomed with open arms and celebration.
I urge you to be that person today, if this speaks to you.
But it may well be a difficult time of transition when we would cling to man’s ideas of how to overcome and conquer evil (and some of those may be required), yet Jesus’ Great Commission assignment is ever more important in such a times as this while believers yet occupy until He comes.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
In short, I believe that as in no time before, we are encouraged and reminded to, in all things, our daily lives, work world, school, and various callings and ministries, to “Lift Him up,” as in,
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)
Whatever else our assignments and tasks require of us, above all the fury and the fray we are to hold Him high in thought, word, and deed, so that many searching for something, anything in our treacherous times–indeed, searching for some ONE to save us from the mess we’ve made down here–will see the “Way, Truth, and Life” that is Jesus Christ, and follow it.
Let this song both remind and encourage you today, as it does me.
Time is short.
Part 2, tomorrow.