Ezekiel’s Vision of the Wicked Temple (592 BC)
Ezekiel was told by God he would
be unable to speak except when God spoke through him. (3:26) While sitting in
his house one day in captivity in Babylon with
the elders waiting for him to speak he was taken back to Jerusalem in a vision. (8:1) God showed Ezekiel why the city, the temple and the people had to be destroyed. Ezekiel was to explain it to the exiles (the remnant saved from the coming disaster) already in Babylon. (11:24-25)
Ezekiel is taken through the temple
and shown four things. God says, “Son of Man, do you see what they are doing—the
utterly detestable things. . .you will
see things even more detestable. . . is it a trivial thing?. . .I will deal with them in anger. . .although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” (8:6,17,18)
In the vision Ezekiel was first shown
the “idol of jealousy” by the North gate, inside the temple courts. It would
most likely have been an idol to Asherah, the
goddess of fertility. An idol is more than an image. An idol brings meaning to a culture. It explains the people’s origins, their purpose, their ethics, and their
future. God’s purpose had been rejected and replaced by Asherah’s.
Second, Ezekiel dug through a hole
in the wall of the temple to see 70 elders of the city worshiping idols in rooms
filled with all kinds of idolatrous symbols.
The leaders of the culture had accepted the new standards of purpose and ethics to bring faulty guidance to the nation. Third, Ezekiel went back into the
courtyard towards the north gate to see women crying for Tammuz, the son of Asherah. It was the dry season and they were seeking his annual deliverance
from the underworld so he could bring rain. Even families and homes were lost and hopelessly looking for answers in idolatry.
Finally, Ezekiel is shown the priesthood,
the last line of defense for the survival of this people. Priests were to preserve
the revelation from God and teach
the people its truth. Sadly, they are found worshipping the sun rise with their backs to the temple. No hope remains for this people.
In 9:1 God calls for angelic guards to begin the judgment.