SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
PEAKS - Ezekiel 8-10, 37
8:1 In the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth of the month, as I was sitting in my house with the elders of Judah sitting in front of me, the hand of the Sovereign Lord seized me. 2 As I watched, I noticed a form that appeared to be a man. From his waist downward was something like fire, and from his waist upward something like a brightness, like an amber glow. 3 He stretched out the form of a hand and grabbed me by a lock of hair on my head. Then a wind lifted me up between the earth and sky and brought me to Jerusalem by means of divine visions, to the door of the inner gate which faces north where the statue which provokes to jealousy was located. 4 Then I perceived that the glory of the God of Israel was there, as in the vision I had seen earlier in the valley.
5 He said to me, “Son of man, look up toward the north.” So I looked up toward the north, and I noticed to the north of the altar gate was this statue of jealousy at the entrance.
6 He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing – the great abominations that the people of Israel are practicing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see greater abominations than these!”
7 He brought me to the entrance of the court, and as I watched, I noticed a hole in the wall. 8 He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and discovered a doorway.
9 He said to me, “Go in and see the evil abominations they are practicing here.” 10 So I went in and looked. I noticed every figure of creeping thing and beast – detestable images – and every idol of the house of Israel, engraved on the wall all around. 11 Seventy men from the elders of the house of Israel (with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing among them) were standing in front of them, each with a censer in his hand, and fragrant vapors from a cloud of incense were swirling upward.
12 He said to me, “Do you see, son of man, what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in the chamber of his idolatrous images? For they think, ‘The Lord does not see us! The Lord has abandoned the land!’” 13 He said to me, “You will see them practicing even greater abominations!”
14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the Lord’s house. I noticed women sitting there weeping for Tammuz. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see even greater abominations than these!”
16 Then he brought me to the inner court of the Lord’s house. Right there at the entrance to the Lord’s temple, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the Lord’s temple, facing east – they were worshiping the sun toward the east!
17 He said to me, “Do you see, son of man? Is it a trivial thing that the house of Judah commits these abominations they are practicing here? For they have filled the land with violence and provoked me to anger still further. Look, they are putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will act with fury! My eye will not pity them nor will I spare them. When they have shouted in my ears, I will not listen to them.”
9:1 Then he shouted in my ears, “Approach, you who are to visit destruction on the city, each with his destructive weapon in his hand!” 2 Next, I noticed six men coming from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his war club in his hand. Among them was a man dressed in linen with a writing kit at his side. They came and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub where it had rested to the threshold of the temple. He called to the man dressed in linen who had the writing kit at his side. 4 The Lord said to him, “Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the people who moan and groan over all the abominations practiced in it.”
5 While I listened, he said to the others, “Go through the city after him and strike people down; do not let your eye pity nor spare anyone! 6 Old men, young men, young women, little children, and women – wipe them out! But do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary!” So they began with the elders who were at the front of the temple.
7 He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went out and struck people down throughout the city. 8 While they were striking them down, I was left alone, and I threw myself face down and cried out, “Ah, Sovereign Lord! Will you destroy the entire remnant of Israel when you pour out your fury on Jerusalem?”
9 He said to me, “The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is extremely great; the land is full of murder, and the city is full of corruption, for they say, ‘The Lord has abandoned the land, and the Lord does not see!’ 10 But as for me, my eye will not pity them nor will I spare them; I hereby repay them for what they have done.”
11 Next I noticed the man dressed in linen with the writing kit at his side bringing back word: “I have done just as you commanded me.”
10:1 As I watched, I saw on the platform above the top of the cherubim something like a sapphire, resembling the shape of a throne, appearing above them. 2 The Lord said to the man dressed in linen, “Go between the wheelwork underneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” He went as I watched.
3 (The cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court.) 4 Then the glory of the Lord arose from the cherub and moved to the threshold of the temple. The temple was filled with the cloud while the court was filled with the brightness of the Lord’s glory. 5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard from the outer court, like the sound of the Sovereign God when he speaks.
6 When the Lord commanded the man dressed in linen, “Take fire from within the wheelwork, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood by one of the wheels. 7 Then one of the cherubim stretched out his hand toward the fire which was among the cherubim. He took some and put it into the hands of the man dressed in linen, who took it and left. 8 (The cherubim appeared to have the form of human hands under their wings.)
9 As I watched, I noticed four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; the wheels gleamed like jasper. 10 As for their appearance, all four of them looked the same, something like a wheel within a wheel. 11 When they moved, they would go in any of the four directions they faced without turning as they moved; in the direction the head would turn they would follow without turning as they moved, 12 along with their entire bodies, their backs, their hands, and their wings. The wheels of the four of them were full of eyes all around. 13 As for their wheels, they were called “the wheelwork” as I listened. 14 Each of the cherubim had four faces: The first was the face of a cherub, the second that of a man, the third that of a lion, and the fourth that of an eagle.
15 The cherubim rose up; these were the living beings I saw at the Kebar River. 16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels moved beside them; when the cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels did not move from their side. 17 When the cherubim stood still, the wheels stood still, and when they rose up, the wheels rose up with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.
18 Then the glory of the Lord moved away from the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 The cherubim spread their wings, and they rose up from the earth while I watched (when they went the wheels went alongside them). They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord’s temple as the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them.
20 These were the living creatures which I saw at the Kebar River underneath the God of Israel; I knew that they were cherubim. 21 Each had four faces; each had four wings and the form of human hands under the wings. 22 As for the form of their faces, they were the faces whose appearance I had seen at the Kebar River. Each one moved straight ahead.
37:1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 2 He made me walk all around among them. I realized there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, listen to the Lord’s message. 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied – I heard a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I watched, I saw tendons on them, then muscles appeared, and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath in them.
9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, – prophesy, son of man – and say to the breath: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 14 I will place my breath in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord – I have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’”
15 The Lord’s message came to me: 16 “As for you, son of man, take one branch, and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another branch and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the branch of Ephraim and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17 Join them as one stick; they will be as one in your hand. 18 When your people say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what these things mean?’ 19 tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the branch of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will place them on the stick of Judah, and make them into one stick – they will be one in my hand.’ 20 The sticks you write on will be in your hand in front of them. 21 Then tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to take the Israelites from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from round about and bring them to their land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over them all. They will never again be two nations and never again be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will not defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, and all their rebellious deeds. I will save them from all their unfaithfulness by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people and I will become their God.
24 “‘My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow my regulations and carefully observe my statutes. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, in which your fathers lived; they will live in it – they and their children and their grandchildren forever. David my servant will be prince over them forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant with them. I will establish them, increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then, when my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel.’”