Verse 1 – Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.”
Verse 2 – And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
These were six angels of wrath. The north gate of the court of the priests is where the invading army would come from. The one who carried the inkhorn has to write in the Book of Life the names of those who shall be marked.
Verse 3 – Now the glory of the Lord God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. and He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side;
The cherubim which were on the mercy-seat of the ark in the holy of holies, the proper seat of the glory of the Lord in the midst of Israel. God is represented as rising up from between the cherubim to scatter His enemies.
Verse 4 – and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”
The man who had the writing tablet, was to put a mark on those to be sealed for deliverance like those in Revelation 7:3, 4 and 14:1. They were sorrowful over the nation’s sin. Those men would be spared when the six men began to destroy the city. In the final days, God will mark those destined for salvation (Revelation 7:3), and Satan will mark his followers (Revelation 13:16, 17), who like him are destined for destruction.
Verse 5 – To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eyes spare, nor have any pity.
Verse 6 – “Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple.
God began with the spiritual leaders of Judah because they had led the people into idolatry. Spiritual leaders are especially accountable to God because He called them to teach the Truth. When they pervert the truth, they can lead countless people away from God and even cause a nation to fall.
Look what 1 Peter 4:17 says, (17) for the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Verse 7 – Then He said to them, “Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city.
This historical event took place in 2 Chronicles 36:17-19.
Verse 8 – So it was , that while they were killing them, I was lift alone; and I fell on my face and cried out, and said, “Ah, Lord God! Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem?”
Verse 9 – Then He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see!’
Verse 10 – “And as for Me also, My eye will nether spare, nor will I have pity, but I will recompense their deeds on their own head.”
Verse 11 – Just then, the man clothed with linen who had the inkhorn at his side, reported back and said, “I have done as You commanded me.”
People have all kinds of explanations for continuing their sin: “I’m not hurting anyone!”; “Don’t judge me!”; “It doesn’t matter!” Rationalizing sin makes it easier to commit, but rationalizing doesn’t convince God to cancel the punishment.