This is my blog on the chapters of Ezekiel, and we’re up to Chapter 10 of Ezekiel. It’s the end of this three chapter trilogy so to speak.
Since it’s the big finish, not very much happens from an action standpoint – of course. Ezekiel spends lots of time on detail. He’s making sure that he, and the rest of us, are on the same page that this vision of a chariot is the exact same chariot that he encountered out on the desert plain where he received his calling to prophesy.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some crucial things going on here. Something that catches my eye is that the angel from the last chapter who was to mark every person in Jerusalem that was still keeping the faith is now given a new task. The commentaries out there really do not go into very much detail on this. And, of course, with angels there is always a large level of symbolism to interpret. This presents a problem for the rest of us because interpretation is rather subjective.
Here’s my stab at it. Since so much of Ezekiel’s vision draws him back to the original narrative of the Moses story and the Exodus, I have to wonder about the fires used in the original temple that Israel carried all over the desert. Ezekiel chapter 40 talks about setting up the tabernacle. It’s significant to me that Moses is instructed to set up the alter of burnt offerings FIRST, and then arrange the rest of the court, tabernacle, the ark, etc around this. In other words, priority is given to the place of worship and sacrifice on behalf of the people. It is specifically an annointed place when it is set up and readied for use.
God tells the angel to go to the alter of sacred fire which is part of the chariot that has been described. An angel reaches in with his bare hands to bring out sacred coals. Only that which is pure can touch the fires of heaven. It is these coals that the angel in linen is directed to spread all over Jerusalem.
To me, this is God’s way of purifying the common places of Jerusalem where the faithful are still lingering, hidden away and mourning for their faith. But more importantly, God is demonstrating that the steps of the existing temple where the current alter of sacrifice stands profaned is by no means the only place where the faithful may come to pray. God is moving that capability out among the people, they may offer their sacrifice in the place where they are found. Like Ezekiel, they can come out into the plain, out into the desert place to seek the Glory of God and present their sacrifice of a willing heart.
The Lord is then described as leaving the threshold of the Temple and moves to the chariot. From their His Glory moves to the door of the Eastern gate, preparing to leave the temple complex altogether. The Eastern gate, which looks to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, the gate through which Jesus approach Jerusalem. That places is holy only in so much as the Lord resides there, and here we are told that he had vacated as it was no longer sacred to the people.
Similarly, our hearts are temples to the Lord only in so much as the Lord resides there. Let the embers burn, let the offering burn as a freely given sacrifice. See that the Lord accepts the personal offering of faith. Let the angel place the mark on me and record it before the Lord. So let it be written, let it be done.