The Lord said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And as I watched, he went in.
Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court.
This passage is an excerpt of the vision that the prophet Ezekiel saw while he was in his house and the elders of Judah were sitting before him.
Ezekiel was taken up into the vision where he saw many astonishing things which he recorded in the book of Ezekiel from chapter 8 through to chapter 11.
Ezekiel was first shown the dreadful things like the worshiping of demonic gods and the violence and bloodshed that was going on in the kingdom of Judah and that were driving God out of His sanctuary which was the temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel chapter 8 verse 6 says it like this;
And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.”
Ezekiel then witnessed when six men were summoned. XFive of them carried a deadly weapon but the sixth man, dressed in linen, was carrying a writing impliment at his side. Each of them carried a deadly weapon but there was a man with them, dressed in linen, who was carrying a writing implement at his side.
He was given the task of marking the forehead of every person in the city who grieved over the detestable things that were going on in their society.
The rest of the men were to follow him and kill everyone in the city who did not have the mark placed upon them.
After the marking of the people to be preserved was complete, the man in linen was then commanded to collect some burning coals from the cherubim and scatter them over the city of Jerusalem and he went into the temple.
At this time, the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim in the inner court of the temple and moved to the threshold of the temple.
The man dressed in linen then went to the cherubim and stood beside a wheel. One of the cherubim reached into the fire that was burning among them and took some coals and gave them to the man in linen who took the coals in his hands and went out of the temple.
(Although not stated in the scripture, because the man in linen is shown to follow the commands of the Lord, I infer that he then scattered the coals on the city as he was instructed.)
This event marked the time in Israel's history when the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and rose above the cherubim who spread their wings and moved to the east gate at the edge of the temple complex. The cherubim, with the glory of God above them, then left Jerusalem altogether and moved over a mountain east of the city.
This heartbreaking departure of the glory of God from the temple in Jerusalem is prophecied by the Apostle John to be reversed when the Lord wonderously returns in power.
The new Jerusalem will descend from heaven filled with the glory of God as described in the book of Revelation chapter 21 verses 10 - 11 which reads this way;
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Corrected version with revised interpretation of the 6 men with weapons and the one who was with them with a writing implement.
I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
These two passages from Ezekiel chapter 6 and Psalm chapter 3, show two scenarios in which the word of the Lord is heard.
In Ezekiel's case, the word of the Lord came to him as a prophetic declaration which he recieved with an instruction to prophecy against the kingdom of Israel.
In the case of Psalm 3, the Psalmist cried out to the Lord for help and the Lord responded and that response assured him that the Lord would sustain him so that when he went to sleep, he would rise up again.
In fact, this Psalm could be read as a record of the inner monologue of Jesus when He was dying on the cross and it reveals the immense pressure that Jesus was under because he was surrounded by a myriad of spiritual enemies who were assailing Him.
The Lord Jesus counted on the response from God and He did rise again and was exalted.
The word of the Lord is true and can be relied upon whether the word is of judgement or of assurance and blessing.
I will make you desolate forever; your towns will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
The word of the Lord came through the prophet Ezekiel to the kingdom of Edom.
Edom, Israel's neighbouring country, had undertaken to invade the kingdom of Israel at a time when Israel was suffering a great calamity.
Because the kingdom of Edom had mired themselves in the hatred of Israel and had spoken contemptible things about her and had boasted against the Lord and had chosen a course of bloodshed and violence to gain possesion of Israel, Edom would be visited with judgement which would be so severe that the whole kingdom would be left in a state of uninhabitable desolation.
The bellicose attitude of Edom towards Israel while Israel was undergoing her own tribulations earned Edom the disfavour of the Lord.
Psalm 103 verses 3 - 5 exhorts us to praise the Lord;
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
This passage reveals the extravagant love that the Lord has for His people.
He forgives our sin and heals our afflictions and redeems us from the pit and crowns us with love and compassion and satisfies our desires with good things and renews our youth.
For even though we were all lost in our sins and hostile to God, He paid the extremely high price to redeem us and heal us by giving His body to be broken for us and by giving up His life that we might live.
As well as saving us, the Lord made extraordinary provisions for those who fear Him and believe in Him by loving us with an immeasurably great love and by removing our sins far away from us. Psalm 103 verses 11 - 12 says it this way;
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by Nebuchadnezzar's army. The prophet Jeremiah warned the king of Judah to surrender to the invading forces or else their city would be destroyed, many people would be killed and the rest would be taken as captives back to Babylon.
The king of Judah refused to surrender and the city was overrun. Nebuchadnezzar had the city destroyed and took many captives back to Babylon.
Jeremiah's prophetic writings also foretold, in Jeremiah chapter 25 verse 12, that the bondage to Babylon would last 70 years.
When 70 years had passed, the prophet Daniel, who was among those held in bondage in Babylon, asked the Lord to remember His people when he realised that their time in bondage was completed.
It turns out that the Lord already had a plan in place to redeem His people and it is found in Isaiah chapter 45 verses 12 - 13 which says this;
It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens;
I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight.
He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.”
Chapter 45 of the book of Isaiah is a prophetic announcement of the coming of a man named Cyrus who would be guided by the Lord in paths of righteousness.
Even though this man Cyrus would not know God, he would do the will of God and free God's people from bondage in Babylon and rebuild the city of Jerusalem.
In 2 Chronicles chapter 36 verses 22 - 23, this prophecy was fulfilled where Cyrus, as conquerer of Babylon, gave the order to rebuild the city Jerusalem and he also released God's people to return home. The passage reads as follows;
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”
This astonishing prophecy where Cyrus was called out by name many years before he was even born, was likely shown to Cyrus by the prophet Daniel when Cyrus conquered Babylon.
The Lord had prepared a man of great military power to rise and to charge into Babylon where God's people were being held captive.
Cyrus, who himself was a fulfillment of scripture, freed the children of Israel in Babylon to return home which was a fulfillment of the scriptures written by the prophet Jeremiah.