Ezekiel: Effective Ministry To The Spiritually Rebellious

Part VII: Visions Of God's Judgment And Departure From His Temple, Ezekiel 9:1-10:22

B. The Vision Of God's Judging And Preparing To Leave The Temple And City

(Ezekiel 10:1-22)


I.                 Introduction

A.    Ministering to a spiritually hardened, rebellious people is a humanly overwhelming task, but God at times directs some of His servants to function such a ministry.

B.     In view of His hardened, rebellious people's commitment to sin, God's servant must realize that the Lord will eventually stop fellowshiping with and severely punish His people as seen in the Ezekiel 10:1-22 vision.

C.     We view this passage for insight and application in ministering in our era (as follows):

II.              The Vision Of God's Judging And Preparing To Leave The Temple And City, Ezekiel 10:1-22 ESV.

A.    The first vision of God as seen riding on an angelic chariot in Ezekiel's call in Ezekiel 1 is presented again in Ezekiel 10:1, but this time the chariot is parked on the "right" (KJV; "south" ESV) side of the temple, Ezek. 10:1, 3.  The presence of idols especially on the north side of the temple (Ezekiel 8:3-5, 14) was so repulsive to Him that God parked His holy angelic chariot south of the temple in separation from the false idols!

B.     God was about to leave the temple in His angelic chariot, so He is presented as preparing to mount His chariot as he waits at the door of the Holy Place, ready to leave the temple building because of all its idolatry there, Ezekiel 10:4.  God would not share His glory with any idol, and now that even the temple complex itself was inhabited by false idols and idolatrous practices as seen in Ezekiel 8, He would no longer stay in His temple!

C.     The Lord called to the angelic scribe dressed in linen to go in among the wheels of His angelic chariot and take some burning coals from there to spread over the city of Jerusalem, signifying divine, purifying judgment on the city, Ezekiel 10:2.  The 2 Kings 25:8-9 record reports that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem by fire, and this symbol of the angel may also predict that event, Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1246.

D.    The man in linen, an angel of the Lord, obeyed God's directive (Ezek. 10:6) and one of the cherubs handed him some of the burning coals that were between the cherubs, and, though we are not told what the man in linen did with them, we presume he scattered them over the city in obedience to the Lord, Ezekiel 10:7-8; Ibid.

E.     Throughout this passage, Ezekiel extensively described the angelic chariot of the Lord, obviously moved by the grandeur, beauty and glory of the Lord and His angelic beings, contrasting Him in His great glory with the lifeless, unglorified idols Judah had set up in the temple precinct or contrasting Him with the sun that the 25 men in the temple area worshiped, Ezekiel 10:4b-5, 9-17, 20-22.  The utter foolishness of departing from the worship of such an infinitely great, magnificent God to bow before unglorified, hapless idols or the created sun was startling to Ezekiel, so he described the glory of the majestic Lord in contrast to these vain idols!

F.      The glory of the Lord then left the doorway of the Holy Place and stood over the cherubim, signifying God was mounting His glorious angelic-chariot, preparing to leave the temple site, Ezekiel 10:18.

G.    The chariot them moved from the south side of the temple east to the eastern gate of the temple courts where it paused before leaving the temple and hence also before leaving the city itself, Ezekiel 10:19; Ibid., p. 1247.  God was briefly delaying His complete departure, for such an event meant that "Ichabod," that is, "the glory has departed," was about to be true of the magnificent temple Solomon had once built much as the Lord's glory had left the tabernacle at Shiloh, leading to the destruction of Shiloh, Ibid.; 1 Sam. 4:21-22; Jer. 7:14.

H.    However, "(a)s if to delay this final movement in the departure of God's glory, Ezekiel inserted the story of 25 wicked rulers" in Ezekiel 11:1-21, Ibid.  The Lord [in the next vision] would clarify why He was taking the dramatic step of departing from His temple and city, causing both to fall in destruction in divine judgment.


Lesson: Ezekiel beheld in a vision the glorious God preparing to leave His temple and city in His angelic chariot since the people of Judah had chosen to desecrate His temple with lifeless, unglorified idols and to worship them and the sun in place of the true God.  The Lord left the door to the Holy Place, mounted his angelic chariot south of the temple building that was separate from the idols to the north and the chariot then moved east, preparing to leave the temple and the city before it stopped at the east gate for God again to clarify why He was about to leave.


Application: (1) We must realize that continued rebellion against God will lead to a loss of opportunity to fellowship with Him, what results in great judgment, that we repent immediately.  (2) Though we do not see God now, may we recall that He is infinitely glorious, worthy of our worship, that we not turn to idols, 1 John 5:21.