This Week's Focus Passage

Ezekiel 9:2 ‘One in the midst of them clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side.’

 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord Jehovah fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and, lo, a likeness as the appearance of fire; from the appearance of his loins and downward, fire; and from his loins and upward, as the appearance of brightness, as it were glowing metal. And he put forth the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the gate of the inner court that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the appearance that I saw in the plain.—Ezekiel 8:1-4, followed by:

    Then he cried in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause ye them that have charge over the city to draw near, every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And behold, six men came from the way of the upper gate, which lieth toward the north, every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. And they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar.—Ezekiel 9:1-2.

Now Ezekiel began his book with this overarching declaration, when he said:

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.—Ezekiel 1:1.

    So ‘from the beginning’ it was clearly stated that God’s prophet, Ezekiel, was to be given a plurality of visions which were to be set down in this volume under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He was also given other forms of prophecy, as the portrayal of the coming siege of Jerusalem which he was to then set before the nation in a graphic pictorial form—in a vision—with the apparent design of horrifying the people of Israel. In order to set this before Ezekiel, God, we are told in chapter 8:1ff, brought His prophet to be able to witness things that otherwise he would not be able. We read this ‘hair-raising’ account as we follow the prophet through this ‘hole in the wall’ that was shown him as he was directed to the door;

    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 see 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, portrayed upon the wall round about.—Ezekiel 8:7-10.

    What constitutes these abominations seen through the lens of this ‘hole in the wall’? How may they be likened to abominations that we retain? How would it be if there were to be ‘digged’ a hole in the wall through which all might see what we continue to idolize? A. W. Tozer famously ‘digged’ such a hole in the wall for many of us when he wrote that, “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” The application to our hearts and minds of this grand parameter would necessarily put a hedge about much of what we think and do. To make this expression of Tozer’s to be a serious and primary consideration in the ‘essence’ of our lives and being, would surely be a means of bringing us, perhaps, to a better understanding and recognition, i.e., discovery of any retention of such and such, every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel that may be yet portrayed upon the walls of our minds or hearts.

    Through the sin-covering blood of Jesus Christ for His own, we have been redeemed and forgiven, justified in His sight. There are, in God’s infinite wisdom and great grace, much in every way that accompanies this redemption, accomplished by Christ and applied to the elect sinner by God the Holy Spirit. Christ has been made unto us, Paul has declared in 1 Corinthians 1:30, wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. The Scriptures set before us that initial sanctification, i.e. setting apart; again in the words of Paul, found in the first chapter of his epistle to the Ephesians 1:4, saying;

Even as he chose us [set us apart] in him before the foundation of the world that we should holy and without blemish [being set apart] before him.

We have been set apart to be holy and without blemish. We are being set apart to be holy and without blemish before Him. This latter is what many have referred to as progressive sanctification, while the former is often designated as definitive, or one time, sanctification. In our focus passage for the week, we have these set before us in the vision given to Ezekiel. Those definitively set apart in Christ and before the foundation of the world are defined as those upon whose foreheads a mark is set by the one man in the midst of them clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. But they are even further defined by their behavior. The man with a writer’s inkhorn by his side is able to distinguish them as the men that sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof. This seems to speak of a progressive maturation in the things of God and His Christ. These not only, in the gracious spirit of on-going sanctification, strive to abstain from and forsake all forms of idolatry and dishonor of a Holy God themselves, but they sigh and cry—they greatly lament the activity of the idolaters amongst them—for the abominations that are done in the midst thereof. This is the coordinated teaching of Paul in his second epistle to those in Corinth (as well as ourselves), to not only Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, but additionally, And touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you, And I will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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