Ezekiel 8

Image of jealousy in the temple! 1
Pagan altar at the gate 4
Through the wall to see what is done in the dark 7
Weeping for Tammuz and sun worship 13
Time for the wrath of God 17
Text Comments
In this chapter and the next, Ezekiel is shown the abominations in the temple. These chapters are part of a series of prophecies continuing through chapter 19.
 1 ¶ 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.
    I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal. (NIV)
.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.
  1 - Sixth year Of the captivity of Jehoiachin. (592/591 B.C). See ez0102.
  2 - Appearance of fire The Septuagint (translation into Greek) indicates that the "appearance" was of a man. The KJV is okay. The sound of the Greek word is very similar to the Hebrew one.
  2 - Likeness "that is, of Messiah, the Angel of the covenant, in the person of whom alone God manifests Himself (Eze 1:26; Joh 1:18). The 'fire,' from 'His loins downward,' betokens the vengeance of God kindled against the wicked Jews, while searching and purifying the remnant to be spared. The 'brightness ... upward' betokens His unapproachable majesty (1Ti 6:16)." (JFB)
  3 - Spirit lifted We may understand that the prophet was taken to Jerusalem in vision. The elders were ready to listen at the end of the vision ez1125. Also see the situation in da0802 and 2co1203.
  3 - Inner gate This would have led from the court of the people to the court of the priests. That would have been a very prominent place.
  3 - Seat of the image of jealousy Certainly an abomination in the temple of the true God. Did He say something about jealousy? ex2005. The meaning of the word translated "image" is somewhat uncertain. It also appears in v5, de0416, and 2ch3307, 15. Worship of other gods could have been all through the temple. 
.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.
   4 - Glory of the God of Israel The gods in the temple were not of Israel. The glory here may be seen to represent His readiness to punish 2th0208, re1508.
  5 - North ... altar This would have been a place for offering sacrifices. Ezekiel saw it in verse 3.
  6 - House of Israel That is, the people of God described as the family of Jacob (Israel).
  6 - Go far of from my sanctuary The people felt bold because they believed that their historic God would protect them in the temple in spite of their other gods and their behavior. He indicates that it would be destroyed.
.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.
  7 - Door of the court Apparently from the outside. Still in vision, he sees a hole in the wall which may have been a weak spot.
  8 - Dig ... door We see great secrecy reminding us of the secret societies today. They are not hidden from the God of heaven.
  10 - Every form Inspired by the prince of evil.
  10 - Pourtrayed Or "represented." The Hebrew word appears again in ez2314 relating to Chaldean images.
  11 - Upon the wall Contrast this with the holy angels represented on the walls of the tabernacle ex2601.
  11 - Seventy Perhaps the elders of Judah in verse 1 are shown as wicked here. Moses had appointed seventy elders ex2409.
  11 - Jazaniah ... Saphan We cannot be sure of the identity of these men. It's possible the Saphan was the scribe under Josiah 2ki2208,9 although here seen as wicked.
  11 - Censer Imagery from the rebellion of Korah nu1617. Korah and Abihu were once holy nu1116.
.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.

  14 - Tammuz "from a Hebrew root, 'to melt down.' Instead of weeping for the national sins, they wept for the idol [or the supposed death of the god it represented]. Tammuz (the Syrian for Adonis), the paramour of Venus. . . . An annual feast was celebrated to him in June (hence called Tammuz in the Jewish calendar) at Byblos, when the Syrian women, in wild grief, tore off their hair and yielded their persons to prostitution, consecrating the hire of their infamy to Venus; next followed days of rejoicing for his return to the earth; the former feast being called 'the disappearance of Adonis,' the latter, 'the finding of Adonis.' This Phoenician feast answered to the similar Egyptian one in honor of Osiris." (JFB) Comments continued in right column.
   "The idea thus fabled was that of the waters of the river and the beauties of spring destroyed by the summer during the half year when the sun is in the upper heat. Or else, the earth being clothed with beauty, hemisphere, and losing it when he departs to the lower. The name Adonis is not here used, as Adon is the appropriated title of Jehovah." (JFB Commentary).
  14 - Tammuz Also see note for de1231
  16 - Between the porch and ... Pretending to be the only channel of access to where God was thought to dwell. See da1145, jl0217.
  16 - Backs ... faces toward the east The entrance to the tabernacle court, and hence the temple, was to be on the east side. We may assume that this was so that the people would not bow toward the east when entering.
  16 - Worshipped the sun toward the east This was clearly an offense to the true God. Later in the time of the Christian church, the same apostasy would arise. Church father Justin Martyr in AD 150 would try to justify Sunday as a day of worship. The idea was borrowed from pagan sun worshippers, as we can see here. This is not intended as critical. Many who love the Lord follow unbiblical practices without realizing it. And God hears our prayers at any time.
   Since the Lord, in the fourth commandment, presents His relationship to us in requiring us to keep the seventh day holy, it is natural that Satan would turn people to an alternative in order to focus worship on himself, de0419. See links on the day of worship.
  We don't know why there were 25. The number may have had pagan worship significance as did 666. The Septuagint reads "twenty."
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.    Is it a light thing? The prophet is asked for an evaluation of what he has seen. Then is given the answer. In view of the punishment coming in the next chapter, we may understand Ezekiel to be in the role of judge. In the first verse of the next chapter which is a continuation of the vision, he is ordered to call six men with weapons ez0901.
   Branch to their nose The context implies that this is an arrogant gesture. The coming Messiah was called the branch that would sprout from the ancestral line of David" je2305, je3315. The worshippers' action may well have implied that they wanted the god they could see and not the one prophecy pointed to.
.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.    I will also deal in fury ... not spare The ultimate abomination brings the close of their probation. Their city is to be destroyed and, after captivity, a new Jerusalem established ne0217, re2101. It is a pattern of the close of the time of human probation re2111. Soon the image of the beast will enforce ultimate worship a counterfeit of the worship established by God and His wrath will be poured out re1409. Satan had pointed to the sun as provider of all things and established its worship. So will it be again. Here is a final call to leave the abominations. Also seen in re1804 and context.
  I will not hear God's anger (v17) or fury represent punishment of those who choose the way of evil. His anger and punishment are not the way we think of them. He doesn't want to punish ez3311. It is not revenge. It is justice.
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Study questions - Chapter 8
Sorry we don't have them for the whole commentary.

  1. What did the prophet see when he looked toward the north? (v. 5)
  2. Might this idolatry happen in the church today? Could idolatry happen without an image?
  3. What effect could tradition or long-standing practices have on how we view idolatry?
  4. Who was Tammuz?
  5. Did you notice the comments about "branch to the nose"? v. 17.
  6. Why would the Lord "spare not" (not exempt some from punishment or reduce its severity)? v. 18.