May 22, 2017
Ezekiel 8:13, 14
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The third part of Ezekiel’s Jerusalem vision has to do with Tammuz Idolatry, recorded in Ezekiel 8:13 and 14:
And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations
that they are doing.” So He brought me to the door of the north gate of
the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping
Who or what is Tammuz? According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Tammuz was…
…The name of a Phoenician deity, the Adonis of the Greeks. He was orig-
inally a Sumerian or Babylonian sun-god, called Dumuzu, the husband of
Ishtar, who corresponds to Aphrodite of the Greeks….The Babylonian myth
represents Dumuzu, or Tammuz, as a beautiful shepherd slain by a wild
boar, the symbol of winter. Ishtar long mourned for him and descended in-
to the underworld to deliver him from the embrace of death….This mourn-
ing for Tammuz was celebrated in Babylonia by women on the 2nd day of
the 4th month [mid-June into July].
The cult became widespread, even into Israel, and was celebrated with not only weeping and mourning, but with obscene and licentious rites. That the women were sitting there in the courtyard of Jehovah’s temple weeping for Tammuz, was a great abomination to God, and caused Ezekiel much dismay! How is it that God’s people, called by His very name, can descend into such blatant idolatry?
How were they called by God’s name?
• The Jews were called by God’s name because the very name ‘Jew’ is derived from Jacob’s fourth son, Judah. The name came to designate all Israelites, for the rulership of Israel was given to the tribe of Judah (see Genesis 49:10; Revelation 5:5). Judah means “praise”.
Another etemological word for Jew is Yahudi. The first person to be called such in the Bible was Mordecai in the book of Esther. Pronounced Yahu-di, it refers to “The prophetic and scripture name of the COVENANT PEOPLE those who loyal follow and obey YAH….YAHU-DI means in Hebrew ‘YAHWEH’S PRAISER’ ” (http://www.eliyah.com/forum 2/Forum1/HTML/000250.html).
• The nation was known as Israel, and the Jews as the Israelites! The name Israel comes from Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestled with God’s angel (probably the pre-incarnate Christ). Before the angel left the struggle with the patriarch, there was this interchange in verses 27 and 28:
…He said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” And
He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for
you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
The name could mean one of several phrases: He who struggles with God; the prince of God; God rules; or God judges. All the possibilities have to do with Jehovah God! As we Christians carry the name of Christ, so the Jews were carrying (called by) His name!
As said above, this Tammuz Idolatry was taking place in the temple complex. God told Solomon in I Kings 9:3, “I have sanctified this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there forever.” In that very place, the women were weeping for Tammuz and (apparently) practicing obscene sexual conduct associated with such worship! Of course, we would never do that!
But the most common form of idolatry of which man is capable is that which introduced sin into human nature in the first place! Genesis 3:5 (International Standard Version) tells us, “…on the day you eat from it [the tree of knowledge of good and evil – see Genesis 2:16, 17], your eyes will be opened and you’ll become like God, knowing good and evil.” Becoming like God – we put ourselves in His place! We then make the decisions that affect our lives and the lives of those around us, not Him! Our hearts (minds) apart from God are deceitful and desperately wicked (see Jeremiah 17:9) because Satan has control (see John 8:44; I John 3:8-10). We find ourselves in the dilemma of Romans 1:21, 24, and 28 through 30:
…they…became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was dark-
ened….Therefore God…gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their
hearts, to dishonor their bodies between themselves….God gave them over
to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled
with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness,
maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife deceit, evil-mindedness; they
are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inven-
tors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy,
unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful….
This Romans Scripture certainly presents a picture of us that is not pretty. Can you imagine how terrible we then would look to our holy and righteous God? Now not everyone will manifest all this Romans description. But mankind, taken together, does! No wonder we are called sinners! (See Romans 3:10, 23).
The point is this: love and serve God through the Lord Jesus Christ! Consistently put Him first, and you will not fall into any form of Tammuz Idolatry!