Today’s Bible reading* paints a grim picture: God’s angel marks for life those (few) who weep over sin and the desolation of God’s land.
You’ll notice that God tells an angel to mark the forehead of every person who weeps over the sin of God’s people. (Ezekiel 9:4) Everyone without the mark for life is, by default, marked for death. The angel of death fulfills his task, having killed everyone not marked for life.. (Ezekiel 9:11)
One thing I meant to point out when we began Ezekiel was that we shouldn’t get too tied up with figuring out the imagery of Biblical prophecy, such as the wheels that are presented in this prophetic book. The apocalyptic/prophetic genre lends itself to picturesque language. Be careful to not miss the big picture. In other words, don’t miss the forest for the trees.
Soon, we’ll look at Daniel’s prophecies. There’s a lot of imagery in that book, too. Later this year, we’ll read the Revelation to John. Revelation attracts perhaps the most attention of the prophetic books. When we get there, don’t forget the imagery of a mark on the forehead in today’s passage. Here, people are marked for life; in Revelation, people will be marked for death. When we read through Daniel and when we get to Revelation, remember to not miss the message behind the imagery.
The message here, as well as the message of Revelation is, don’t believe it when people say that God’s judgment won’t come for a long time. For God’s people in Ezekiel’s day, the false prophets were trying to calm their fears, lulling them into a sense of complacency.
Just as in Ezekiel’s day, God’s people should always be on the lookout for God. We don’t know when Jesus will return, but rest assured that He will. For God’s people, Jesus’ return will be a wonderful day. But for those who are not God’s people, Jesus’ return will be a horrifying day.
And our task here and now is not to try to figure out what’s next on the prophecy timeline. Our task now is to always be ready. Don’t be caught off guard. Dig into God’s Word and drink deeply of that bottomless well. Apply God’s Word to your heart and your life. Stay close. And stay clean.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: