Ezekiel 8-11
(Exit of the Glory of the LORD)
August 26th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ "

- Ezekiel 11:17 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

This group of chapters comprises warnings from Ezekiel to the exiles regarding the judgment of Jerusalem.

Chapters 8-11 describe what some commentators have called “The Departure of Yahweh (the LORD) from Jerusalem (1).”

Chapter 8 begins with a scene in which the elders in exile are sitting with Ezekiel – an event that presumably took place sometime after he completed his 430 day symbolic play. While Ezekiel was sitting with the elders, God came and spirited him away to Jerusalem in order to witness God’s sentence on the people. God walked him through different sections of Jerusalem and the Temple. During this tour the LORD pointed out the flagrant and abundant placement of idols for all types of false gods. They also observed various ceremonies of worship to these false deities.

In chapter 9 the LORD commands a team of seven “guards” who possibly were angels. One man was assigned to put a mark on the forehead of those “ ‘who grieve and lament over all the detestable things’ (9:4 - NIV)” - a precursor to events that we will read about in the book of Revelation. The other six guards were told to slaughter anyone without a mark – regardless of gender, age, or location – the killings even took place in the temple, thus defiling it, according to the LORD’s plan.

Chapter 10 describes the appearance of the “glory of the LORD” in the area of the temple. The glory included the same chariot-like vehicle that Ezekiel had recorded in chapter 1. In this instance, he recognized that the creatures who formed part of the chariot were cherubim, like the ones carved at the temple where he stood at that moment. The glory then left the temple symbolizing the intent of the LORD to remove his presence from that place for an extended period of time.

Next, the Spirit brought Ezekiel to the east gate of the house of the LORD, where many of the elders were standing. The LORD told Ezekiel to prophesize to those men regarding the coming judgment because they had not followed his law. As Ezekiel spoke one of the elders died.

At this point Ezekiel raised a concern with the LORD regarding the restoration of any remnant of Israel. The LORD assured him that there would be salvation. Then the glory of the LORD left the city of Jerusalem, not to return for many years.

    Then the cherubim spread their wings, with the wheels beside them and the Glory of the God of Israel hovering over them. The Glory of God ascended from within the city and rested on the mountain to the east of the city.

    - Ezekiel 11:19 (MSG)

At the end of the vision, the LORD promised that one day a remnant will return to Israel and the relationship with God would be restored. Ezekiel was returned to Babylon where he told the exiles everything that had happened.

Reflection and Application

We don’t have any first-nighter reviews of Ezekiel’s plays, which we read about in yesterday’s study, so it’s not 100% clear how it was received by the folks in exile. However, the observation that the elders were sitting with him implies that he had earned or maintained their respect, and perhaps they were waiting for further edification on the fate of Jerusalem. Perseverance and an honest heart can win an audience and gain respect.

We saw in Genesis that Abraham had earned the respect of his neighbors over the years, enabling him to win a favor. His wife Sarah had died so he asked the Hittites if they would sell him a burial plot, even though he was an alien among them:

    The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”
    - Genesis 23:5 (NIV)

We can follow the model of both of these venerated people of God by doing our best to honor God and others.

How did Ezekiel arrive immediately in Jerusalem from where he had been sitting in Babylon? We learned in our study of Ezra 1-2 that when the exiles were given permission to leave Babylon it took Ezra and his entourage six months to travel south to Judah and up Mount Zion to Jerusalem. Clearly this was not something that man could complete in a day trip using the available transportation methods of the 6th century B.C. So how did Ezekiel do it instantaneously? Did his body disappear in the presence of the elders and then re-appear at the end of the trip? Or, did his body remain, perhaps in a trance-like state while his mind and/or spirit travelled? Maybe it happened so quickly that the elders did not even know he was gone. The Bible is not clear about the mechanics of how this happened – this event was yet another mystery of the way God works.

With modern technology, we can view distant events via television or the internet and speak to people on the other side of the world on a telephone, internet site, or video-conference. Yet, we have still not mastered the concept of transporting a whole body instantaneously from one location to another. We can imagine it in science fiction stories such as the ones in the Star Trek television and movie series, but we don’t know if it’s possible for man to actually do it. What’s impossible for man is possible for God. God could have transported Ezekiel’s body or just his mind and spirit. We believe this by faith.

When Ezekiel returned he was able to give a real-time report of what just happened in Jerusalem. That would be commonplace for us 21st century folks, but was unheard of in the time before Christ. The elders had no way to immediately verify Ezekiel’s story, but once the news trickled in days or weeks later they knew that he truly was a man of God who somehow knew of these events.

God’s plan was to cleanse Jerusalem with fire and death. He would remove his presence for 70 years and then give the surviving remnant another chance. The exiled and slaughtered generations would serve as an example of what happens when we transgress against our Creator. He gives and he can take away. The worshipping of false idols is one of the worst things we can do and these people were blatant about it.

For additional analysis of chapter 9, we recommend the following essay from the website of "The Berean" Ezekiel 9:4

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

Related Questions

  1. What is one of your favorite science fiction stories or movies?
  2. How will people know that we are men and women of God? We don’t need to prophesize about current or future events. All we need to do is fulfill God’s laws by honoring him and loving one another the way he loves us. Then they will know.
  3. What do we blatantly worship that deserves some self-examination?

Recommended Prayer
Father in heaven, we know that you you can do things that we can only imagine. Helps us to focus our worship on you and not false gods of wood and stone.

Suggested Prayer Concerns
News Reporters


(1) Alexander, Ralph, Ezekiel, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1976, p.29

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow's reading: Ezekiel 12-14 (We Walk Sightless Among Miracles)

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