May 26, 2017
Ezekiel 9:1, 2, 4
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
We have been examining Ezekiel chapter 8 in the last four blogs, looking at the four incidents of Judah’s idolatry in Ezekiel’s first Jerusalem vision. In the next chapter, the LORD calls for His warrior angels to bring judgment upon the idolatrous nation. Here is what is written in Ezekiel 9:1, 2, and 4:
He [the LORD] called out…“Let those who have charge over the city
draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” And suddenly
six men came…each with a battle-ax in his hand. One man among
them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side…
and the LORD said to him, “Go through…the midst of Jerusalem,
and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over
all the abominations that are done in it.
When we hear about The Mark, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the mark of the anitchrist in Revelation 13:16 and 17:
And he [the antichrist] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor,
free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand, or on their fore-
heads, and that no one may buy or sell, except one who has the mark….
But The Mark goes back long before the antichrist – and the originator is God, not the devil!
• In Genesis 4 is the record of the first murder – when Cain killed his brother Abel. Unrepentant Cain was driven out from the LORD’s presence to wander the earth. He complained, “My punishment is greater than I can bear….anyone who finds me will kill me.” (Genesis 4:13 and 14). God responded in verse 15, “‘…whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.”
• Revelation 7 is a pause between the sixth and seventh seal judgments (see Revelation 6:1-17; 9:1). The opening verses of Revelation 7 introduce us to “…four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea….” (Revelation 7:2) in coming judgments. But in the next verse, these angels are told, “Do not harm the earth, the sea or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (See also Revelation 9:4).
Let us here make the point that Satan is not an originator, but a duplicator! What he sees God do (or what God has done) the devil will copy it, twist it, and pass it off as truth – as with The Mark! For example…
• …Jesus as the light of the world (John 1:7-9; 8:12; 9:5) is impersonated by the devil who “…transforms himself into an angel of light.” (II Corinthians 11:14).
• …the resurrection of Christ is imitated by the anitchrist in Revelation 13:3.
• …and perhaps the most egregious example is in II Thessalonians 2:4, when the evil one, as the antichrist, “…opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
What is The Mark given in Ezekiel 9:4, and who are the ones so marked?
• It is probably a mark that is invisible to unspiritual eyes! For it was administered by an angel equipped with writing equipment (see Ezekiel 9:3). According to Hebrews 1:14, angels “…are…all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation.” Being spirits, they cannot usually be beheld by unspiritual people! (See II Kings 6:15-17; I Corinthians 2:14). But God would recognize the mark because it came from Him! It sets the LORD’s faithful people apart as belonging to Him!
• The ones so marked were those “…who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done in…” their city, Jerusalem! (Ezekiel 9:4). Just as Jesus “…beheld the city [of Jerusalem] and wept over it…” (Luke 19:41) because of the inhabitants rejection of God’s ways; and just as Jeremiah wept because of the sins of Israel (see Jeremiah 9:1-26); just as Ezra cried over the iniquities of the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity (see Ezra 9:1-10:1); just as Paul had “…great sorrow and continued grief in…[his] heart…” over his fellow Jews who rejected Christ (see Romans 10:1-5); so these Israelites in Ezra 9:4 were heart-broken because those around them continued in sin, and so were headed for destruction!
Are you so marked by God? Are you crying with a broken heart over those lost ones who reject God’s love and salvation through Jesus Christ (see John 14:6), and continue in their sinful ways? Do you plead with God to save them (see I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9) – to open their blind eyes so they can see the light of the truth? (See II Corinthians 4:4).
If not, why not?
By the way, at the end of the age those who are not marked by God will be marked by the antichrist! Think about it!