Summary: God shows Ezekiel the abominations that are taking place. These abominations are still taking place today in the church. Even though man may not know it, or think God does not see what is taking place, God knows and can see everything that is taking place.
Remember, it was Ezekiel’s unenviable task to remind the people of their sins and their transgressions against the Holy and Mighty God. During a time where the people believed they were doing ‘just fine,’ Ezekiel had to call out their sins in a way that would almost seem like a burden that was difficult to carry. Imagine being the lone voice in a room full of people and having to tell them that their miserable situation was due to their actions and the actions of their loved ones.
Previously, we know that God called Ezekiel to be a WATCHMAN. We know Ezekiel had to ‘play in the dirt’ and draw a city to show the siege that was going to happen. We know he had to act out the sins of the people by laying on his side and eat scarcely. We know that he had to shave, which was something the Levitical priests were not supposed to do unless instructed by God.
In chapter 7, God told them that they would be repaid for their sins and for their transgressions. The end is here for them, and even though they will try to hide, they will not be able to hide from God.
23 “‘Prepare chains!
For the land is full of bloodshed,
and the city is full of violence.
24 I will bring the most wicked of nations
to take possession of their houses.
I will put an end to the pride of the mighty,
and their sanctuaries will be desecrated.
25 When terror comes,
they will seek peace in vain.
26 Calamity upon calamity will come,
and rumor upon rumor.
They will go searching for a vision from the prophet,
priestly instruction in the law will cease,
the counsel of the elders will come to an end.
27 The king will mourn,
the prince will be clothed with despair,
and the hands of the people of the land will tremble.
I will deal with them according to their conduct,
and by their own standards I will judge them.
“‘Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”
We now move into Chapter 8, where God shows Ezekiel things that God sees but man either (1) sees nothing wrong with the things or (2) believes he can hide his wicked ways from God.
God came to Ezekiel in similar ways to the way he did in Ezekiel 1:27-28 (8:4). I feel that by appearing in a similar way, Ezekiel is quick to recognize this is God. By appearing in the form of a man, he communicates to Ezekiel that he is personal and relatable. By appearing as fire, he is showing Ezekiel that he is a consuming fire and will destroy all sin and that he is light and will light the way to truth. This light will also show that “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). This description also gives the impression that God is indescribable.
God showed Ezekiel many things, but we can narrow it down to 4 abominations.
1. The image of Jealousy (8:3,5)—it is not known what this image was, but it was one that has become a rival to Jehovah. I believe we are not told what it was because it could be anything. It is one that has taken the hearts of the people and their focus and diverted it from God. It was the focus of the people’s attention before they would walk into the altar area.
God even told Ezekiel that the idols will drive Him far from His sanctuary. ANYTHING WE PUT BEFORE GOD IS AN IDOL. God is a jealous God. What ever this idol was, it provoked God to jealousy.
2. The second abomination is seen when God tells Ezekiel to dig through a hole in the wall to see what is taking place (8:7-12). What he sees is not only appalling but devastating. He sees the elders of Israel offering incense to graven images. They do not believe that God sees what they are doing, so they are offering up prayers to objects of worship. WORSHIP IS ATTRIBUTING REVERANT HONOR AND HOMAGE TO SOMETHING. Do we give reverential honor to tradition? To people? To the past?
Even though man (Ezekiel) has to dig to see what is going on, God
already knows what is going on.
3. The third abomination is seen when God brings Ezekiel to the north gate were the women are weeping for Tammuz (8:14). Tammuz was the god of fertility. They believed that if they worshipped Tammuz, he would come back to life and bring a spring that would eventually bring a bountiful harvest. In order to appease this deity, the women would often act out shameful acts of sexual immorality.