Summary: 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?
OT prophets took their life in their hands to speak to the people; NT preachers also take their “life” in their
hands, because hearers who are uncomfortable with the Word are uncomfortable with them!
Ezekiel 8:7-12 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. 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. 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. 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.
1. The Circumstances of Ezekiel’s Vision (v. 1-4)
· The elders of Judah have come to visit Ezekiel in his Babylonian captivity to “hear from God”
· But they are faking; they only came hoping to hear the message they wanted to hear, that God would
reverse the captivities of 605 BC and 597 BC (first two of three deportations to Babylon)
· God gives Ezekiel a vision of what is really happening back home inside the Jewish Temple
· These supposedly God-fearing men have let the worst kind of idolatry creep into their lives
· Wherever the fire of God’s glory appears, secrets are revealed and sin is exposed and judged
2. Worship of Asherah by the People (v. 5-6)
· God simply calls this image at the gate of the altar of sacrifice “the image of jealousy”
· It was probably an image of Asherah, the mother-goddess of all the Canaanite gods
· Manasseh had erected it in the Temple (2 Kings 21:7), Josiah had removed it in his reformation 30
years before (2 Kings 23:6), Jeremiah denounced worship of the Queen of Heaven (Jer. 7:18)
· In giving the ten commandments, God told Israel that He was a jealous God (Exodus 20:1-6)
Exodus 20:1-6 And God spake all these words, saying,
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee
out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the
earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve
them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the
third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me,
and keep my commandments.
· SKIP AHEAD TO VERSE 13
3. Worship of Tammuz by the Women (v. 13-14)
· Instead of weeping for national sins, women were weeping before an idol named Tammuz
· Tammuz was the Syrian name for the god Adonis, the lover of Venus, who died every fall and
resurrected every spring, bringing fertility to the land; they were wailing for his revival
· His death was marked by weeping, tearing the hair, and women giving themselves in prostitution, then
donating the proceeds to Venus; a similar feast of rejoicing was held when he revived
4. Worship of the Sun by the Priests (v. 15-16)
· Last, Ezekiel sees 25 men with their backs to the Temple in the inner court, worshipping the sun
· Sun worship came from the Persians, who made the sun the eye of their god Ormuzd
· Only priests were permitted here (2 Chronicles 4:9); the number 25 signifies one representative from
each of the 24 courses of the priests (1 Chronicles 23) plus the High Priest himself!
· They were facing east to worship the rising sun, strictly forbidden by the law (Deuteronomy 4:19)
· Josiah had removed this heathen practice once (2 Kings 23:5), now the priests were doing it!
· You couldn’t worship the rising sun without turning your back on the Temple!
5. The Abominations of Judah before God (v. 17-18)
· The house of Judah filled their own land with violence because of their abominations
· God asks, “Is it a light thing to [them]?” - literally, “They don’t see their sin as I see it!”