The Severity of Godís Judgment
Would you take your Bibles please and turn to Ezekiel 9:1-11.
>I want you to look back in chapter 7:3.
In Ezekiel 7:3, God said: An evil is coming to Jerusalem. The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against you.
And he gives two reasons why that end is going to come.
I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.
God says, "I am going to b ring an end to Jerusalem because of her conduct and her detestable practices."
The rest of chapter 7 tells us what the conduct was.
Israel had become a nation full of pride and arrogance.
Secondly Israel had become a nation of violence and bloodshed.
And thirdly, Israel had become a nation of great moral wickedness.
Those were the three great sins that God said described her conduct.
>In chapter 8, God gives to Ezekiel a vision.
Ezekiel is in his house before some elders and God lifts him up...
Suspended between heaven and earth and gives to him a vision of the detestable practices...
That are going on over in Jerusalem.
God said, "Iím going to bring an end to the city because of their conduct", found in chapter 7...
And because of their detestable practices, revealed through a vision in chapter 8.
And there are four detestable practices listed in chapter 8.
>First we saw that in the very temple of God they had placed an idol to be worshiped alongside of Jehovah God.
It is referred to as an image of jealousy because it had provoked the jealousy and anger of God.
God wonít play second fiddle in anybodyís band.
And God was angry and jealous because of the idol.
>The second scene that we saw in chapter 8, Ezekiel was told to dig through the wall.
And he did and came to a room that was dark.
The only light inside the room was the light where the incense was being burned.
And all around the wall there were drawings and paintings of pagan idols and 70 elders...
70 men that should have been leading the people to walk with God...
70 old men, men who had known God and had lived for God...
Men who had now turned away from God and were worshiping pictures of idols.
>The third abomination we found in chapter 8 was a group of women that were weeping over the pagan God Tammuz.
Tammuz was a Babylonian god that supposedly arose every spring and died every fall...
And you worshiped him in the fall by weeping over him.
And here were Jewish women, women who had children, mamas and grandmothers who should have known better.
And then finally the thing that capped it all off were 25 priests...
Who were sitting in the place of the priests in the temple...
And they had turned their back on the house of God and the Bible says they were worshiping the sun.
They were worshiping the sun.
Chapter 8 was a vision.
Chapter 9 is a continuation of the vision that Ezekiel is seeing there as God is holding him...
Suspended between heaven and earth.
It is a vision of whatís going on in Jerusalem, Godís holy city.
With all of the conduct of chapter 7, and with all of the detestable practices of chapter 8...
Itís not a mystery that God says, "the end is near."
>Friends, there are some who believe that the longsuffering of God means there is no limit to the patience of God.
But I submit to you that the longsuffering of God is an indication that there are limits to the patience of God.
There is a difference between longsuffering and being eternally patient.
God is not an eternally patient God.
If God were eternally patient there would have been no flood.
If God were eternally patient there would have been no fall of the nation of Israel.
If God were eternally patient there would be no place called hell.
God is longsuffering.
He does not delight in bringing judgment.
But friends, the longsuffering of God tells us that there is a limit to the patience of God.
And when you read chapter 7 and chapter 8, it lets us know that the patience of God had come to an end.
And when Godís patience wears out, then judgment immediately comes.
Now what we read in chapter 9 is a continuation of this vision of chapter 8.
God has shown Ezekiel why the judgment is going to come.
Now in chapter 9, he gives him a glimpse of how the judgment is going to take place.
There are four very vivid scenes in chapter 9, and Iíll mention them briefly and then weíll have the invitation.
>#1 Ė we see a gathering of the guardians of the city.
Look in verse 1 of chapter 9:
Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, "Bring the guards of the city here, each with a weapon in hand". And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces the north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.
With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. (Now this is the seventh man Ė clothed in linen).
So here are seven who are summoned.
Now who are these seven men?
>If you are using the KJV you see the word "men".
The word "men" really means "guard" or "guardian".
And it really doesnít mean men at all because when you go on and read through the whole chapter...
There is no way that these could be just seven men.
In the Bible, oftentimes God uses the word "man" to describe angelic beings.
Not because angels are men, but because angels appear as men.
I donít know what angels will look like when we get to heaven.
I have no idea how big they are going to be, how tall, how broad...
But on earth when they make their presence manifested, they always have the appearance of men.
And these seven guards are not men at all, but they are angelic beings.
Now who were these angels?
Well it says that they were angels or men that were given guardianship over the city of Jerusalem.
Now what does that mean?
Iíll tell you what it means.
God has made three specific earthly assignments to angels.
>First of all, the book of Hebrews chapter 1, tells us that God has assigned some angels to individual believers.
Every Christian has ministering spirits or guardian angels.
Now you may not be on speaking terms with yours, and you may not have thought much about it...
But Godís word teaches that every child of God has ministering spirits or guardian angels assigned to them.
And so some angels guard individual believers.
The 10th chapter of the book of Daniel also tells us that there are some angels that God assigns...
To oversee as guardians every nation on planet earth.
There are angels that watch over the U.S.
There are angels that watch over China.
There are angels that watch over Russia.
There are angels that watch over Africa.
There are angels that watch over South America.
Every nation of the earth has angels of God assigned to watch over them...
As guardian angels of those nations.
>Now in addition to being assigned to watch individuals and nations...
Ezekiel 9 lets us know that God has also assigned angels to watch over individual cities.
I believe that every city has angels assigned by God to watch over it.
Now surely the angels of God that watch over Hot Springs must work overtime.
But God has assigned angels to watch over every city.
Now why is that?
Why are there angels assigned to watch over every Christian and over every nation and city?
Because there are demons that have been assigned by the devil to try to discourage and defeat every Christian...
To tear down every nation and try to uproot every city.
You say, "Well Bro. Joe, it looks as though the devilís angels are winning."
Folks, the game ainít over until itís over.
It might look dark but at least itís gloriously dark.
And folks, the fourth quarter has not come to an end.
Weíre on the winning side.
You donít have to pray about it or fret about it or ponder over it.
We are going to win.
But angels watch over the cities.
>What do they do?
They have two primary purposes.
#1 Ė they minister the things of God.
Whatever God wants them to do, they do it.
They take care of us.
They take care of whatever God assigns them to take care of.
But they minister to the things of God.
>The second thing that angels are doing is they are opposing demonic activity.
Friends, if you think things are bad now, you canít imagine how bad things would be if werenít for Godís angels...
Fighting against the demonic spirits of this earth.
If you think itís tough now, then you just wait until the Tribulation comes and the HS stops restraining evil...
And Godís angels stop fighting against demonic spirits and all hell breaks loose on planet earth...
Then youíll see...well I wonít.
Iím not gonna be here.
But if you are you can take note of it.
Youíll see just how bad it can be.
And so he summoned these six angels and each one of them has a battle axe...
And that is not a mother-in-law.
Each one of them has a slaughter weapon in his hand.
>But then there is a seventh one that is summoned, and he is entirely different.
He wears linen.
It is the robe of the priest.
Linen in the Bible represents importance, significance and purity.
Here is a seventh angel dressed in righteousness who comes not with a battle axe or a slaughter weapon in his hand...
But he comes with an inkhorn by his side.
An inkhorn is simply the horn of an animal that was taken by a scribe, a man who was a scribe...
Who was always writing things down.
He would fill this carved out inkhorn with ink, and then he would have a couple of writing instruments attached to it.
And so here is this seventh angel dressed in the robes of righteousness with an inkhorn by his side.
Heís not going to be slaughtering.
Heís going to be marking.
And so here we see the gathering of these seven angels.
>The second thing we see in this passage of scripture is the shifting of the glory of God.
I want you to look at verse 3 because it is one of the most important verses in all the Bible.
And the glory of the God of Israel.
Friend, this is the very glory of the Lord Jesus Himself.
This is all that is encompassed in the phrase "the glory of God."
There is not anything that man can manufacture that can compare to the glory of God.
Now in the nation of Israel where did the glory of God manifest itself?
Always in the holy of holies in the temple.
Once a year the high priest would go into the holy of holies with the blood of an animal...
And apply the blood on the mercy seat and the sins of the people would be rolled back for a year...
And the glory of God would appear in that room.
No other person could go inside that room.
Only the high priest could behold it.
They tied a sash around his waist because if he went in there and beheld the glory of God...
And it was so overwhelming that he had a heart attack and died...
No one would dare go in and retrieve him.
If he died they had this sash.
They could just drag him out because no one could behold that glory.
It always manifested itself there in the holy of holies on top of the mercy seat...
Where the golden angels were looking downward at the mercy seat with their wings extended one toward another.
>But look what verse 3 says: and the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherub.
It was always there on the mercy seat.
The angels made of gold looking down upon it.
But notice it says the glory of God had moved, had shifted.
And the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherub, where it had been and moved to the threshold of the temple.
What does that mean?
To the front door.
>Now why did the glory of God move from the holy of holies to the front door?
Well Iíll tell you why.
Because the glory of God was fixing to depart.
And when we come to chapter 10, I donít know of a sadder chapter in all the Bible...
Than seeing the glory of God depart off the temple.
And Ichabod was written over the door because the glory departed.
This is the beginning of the judgment of God.
Friends, there is not going to be an axe to fall.
There is no going to be an ounce of judgment until the glory of God has departed.
The signs of coming judgment.
>You and I are living in a day when there are more and more churches...
But less and less and less manifestation of the glory of God.
We come...we sit...we sing...and we listen to sermons.
And we give our money and we go home never beholding the glory of God.
The absence of glory is the premonition of the coming of judgment.
>The third thing I see here is the assignment that God makes to these seven angels.
He says that one angel is dressed in righteousness.
Now I want to tell you who I think this angel is.
In my mind it is the preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ Himself.
This is none other than the angel of the Lord, which is the OT manifestation of Jesus Christ.
Heís different from any other angel.
Heís dressed in linen as a priest fully righteous...
And he is about to be given the assignment to go out and mark some people.
And the Lord says unto this angel, he said, "I want you to go out and I want you to put a mark"...
And the word that is translated mark is the Hebrew letter "tah".
It is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and it was made by a line drawn from top to bottom...
And a line drawn through it from side to side.
It is nothing less than a picture of the cross.
God says to this angel dressed in linen, garments of righteousness.
"I want you to go throughout all the city of Jerusalem and those whose hearts are broken because of the conduct of the people...
And because of the detestable practices of the people, those who have not violated my commandments...
Those who have not become proud and arrogant and violent and wicked, those who have not fallen down to idol worship...
Those that are really saved by my grace, you go and you find them...
Because you know who they are, and put a cross on them.
Mark them...go up every street...go through every highway...go in every house...
Mark them that are saved. Mark them that really belong to me."
And then he said to those other six angels, "You six follow him, and everywhere he goes, when he passes by...
Men, women, boys, girls, little children, if he doesnít put the cross on their head, then you utterly destroy them."
>I realize it is popular because of the writings of a certain West Coast preacher...
It is popular today for some churches to look down their nose at child evangelism.
It is popular today for some Baptist churches to say, "We donít baptize children."
I would not give one dollar and spend one minute in a church like that.
I tell you, if a little child can experience the wrath of God, they can experience the grace of God.
God says to those six angels, "Follow him. Everywhere he goes and there is no mark...
Utterly destroy every one of them regardless of their sex, regardless of their age.
But where he puts the mark, you let them alone because they are mine."
>And then the last scene, I find the fulfillment of Godís order.
They begin the slaughter.
They begin in the temple area.
Do you know who the first ones to die were?
Those 70 elders who thought they were hidden in the dark where God couldnít see them worshiping idols.
They were the first ones to die.
God said, "Bring them out into the temple courtyard."
And then he said, "As you go out into the city and begin the slaughter, bring the carcasses back. Defile the temple."
You see, Jews looked upon a dead body as something that was unclean...
And you would never bring a dead body into the temple because it would defile the temple.
But God said, "I want you to defile it, and defile it, and defile it.
I want you to fill the place with dead bodies."
And the angels go and they kill and they bring back the carcasses of the dead.
When Ezekiel sees it, he begins to say, "Oh, Lord, is not anybody going to be left?"
And God says, "Oh, yes, there are going to be some left.
Those who have the mark of the cross, they are going to be left."
>And then the chapter ends with this angel with the inkhorn by his side, dressed in the robes of righteousness.
He comes back and he says to the father:
(Verse 11) I have done as you have commanded. Everything you told us to do has been done.
Does that not sound a lot like John 17:4, when Jesus praying that great priestly prayer to the father said:
"I have finished the work you sent me to do."
>Now that was a vision.
It was not really happening like that when Ezekiel was seeing it in the vision.
Historians say that the Babylonians came in and did all of that destruction.
God can use Babylonians.
God can use uncircumcised Philistines.
But when judgment falls it is the hand of God that does it.
>What if that seventh angel were to come inside this service?
What if God were to say to that angel, "I want you to go up and down every aisle.
I want you to move in and out of every pew.
I want you to sweep the choir loft.
I want you to go past every man and every woman and every little boy and girl.
And I want you to put a mark on those who really belong to me.
And those that donít really belong to me, donít mark Ďem because six other angels are coming...
With slaughter weapons to destroy every person at HCBC on September 26.
Everyone who is not marked is going to die."
I want to ask you, "Would you be a marked person?"
Iím glad that Iím a marked man.
I bear in my heart a mark of the cross.
I didnít just walk down an aisle...
I didnít just get baptized...
I didnít just join a church...
Jesus has marked me forever.
And there is therefore now no condemnation to them who are marked in Christ Jesus.
Do you bear the marks of the seventh angel?