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Prophecy

A Tour of the City

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
NKJV

Ezekiel's tour will be of the Temple, starting at the North Gate. The temple courts had four gates towards the four quarters of the map. Here, where the North Gate opens into the great court, Ahaz established his false altar model after one he saw in Damascus. He and future kings would establish idols near this location.

Elsewhere on this site, we have a brief consideration of an "abomination." This term is used in Scripture of anything that is adverse to, and hated by, God. It is of note here that in this chapter God calls each sinful act of the people an abomination, while referring to each subsequent part of the vision as a "greater abomination."

As we look at this chapter, there are two themes I insist you keep in the front of your mind. The first relates to this concept of abomination. When things are said and done, anything, anything at all, that is contrary to God and His nature is an abomination. Remember our choice? Either we accept Jesus for Who He is, or we go to eternal condemnation. It is an abomination not to accept Jesus. Since all sin is contrary to God and this choice, all sin is an abomination - even the little while lie you told your boss, spouse, or child this morning.

There is a second important theme, however. That is the theme of prophecy as exhortation. God is showing the vision to Ezekiel to encourage those already in captivity.  They have not been selected while the rest of sinful Israel is ignored.  Punishment is coming upon all sinners, but those who turn to God will receive special blessing. 

This point is emphasized in Ezekiel 2 and 3. Ezekiel is appointed a watchman over Israel. His task is not to change each and every individual, but to warn them of the need to change. Those who change will be blessed (3:17-22). Those who continue to sin will be punished. In the case of Israel, the punishment is in the form of death by war with Babylon, famine due to the siege of Jerusalem, or captivity. The blessing is that God is still with the righteous and the remnant will be returned to the Promised Land. This is an over-riding theme of the Old Testament, as well as parts of the New Testament.

Even though this last element is an integral part of Ezekiel, it is missing in Chapter 8. God is patient and forbearing, desiring all to come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9), but Scripture teaches that at some future point, the events of Revelation will come to past. Ezekiel's vision is a picture of the future - for Israel in its immediate context of history and for the modern world as it wallows in sin drifting farther and farther away from God.

 

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