God shows Ezekiel the bad things that men are doing in his temple
1 I was sitting in my house. The leaders of Judah sat in front of me. It was the sixth year and the fifth day of the sixth month. While I sat there, the Lord God showed me a picture in my mind. 2 I saw something that looked like a man. The top half of his body looked as bright as burning metal. The half of his body that was below looked like fire. 3 He put out something like a hand. Then he held me by my hair. The Spirit lifted me up in a dream, high in the sky. And, in my dream, God took me to Jerusalem. He took me to the north gate of the temple's inside yard. Enemies had put an idol there that had made God angry. 4 And in front of me I saw the bright light of the God of Israel. It was like the light that I had seen by the River Kebar.
8:4Ezekiel records the exact date. It was during September in the year 592 BC.
8:4This ‘picture in his mind’ continues from chapter 8 to chapter 11.
5 Then the Lord spoke to me. ‘Son of man,’ he said, ‘Look towards the north.’
When I looked, I saw the idol. It made God angry. It stood near the altar by the north door.
6 ‘Son of man, you see what they are doing,’ he said to me. ‘Israel's people are doing very bad things here. They are keeping me a long way away from my holy temple. But I will show you worse things than these.’
7 Then he took me to the gate of the inside yard. There he showed me a hole in the wall. 8 ‘Son of man, make a hole in the wall here,’ he said. So I dug into the wall and I found a door. 9 ‘Go in. And see the very bad things that they are doing there,’ he said. 10 So I went in and I saw pictures on the walls. They were pictures of snakes and other animals. They were all animals that God did not let us touch or eat. And there were other pictures there. Israel's people were worshipping them. 11 Seventy (70) leaders were there. Jaazaniah, son of Shaphan, was among them. Each man held a pot with burning sweet-smelling oil in it.
8:11The name Jaazaniah means ‘the Lord hears.’
12 The Lord said, ‘Son of man, look at what these leaders are doing! Each man is burning oil to offer worship to his own idol. It is their secret. They say, “The Lord does not see us. He has gone away from us.” ’
13 ‘You will see even worse things than that,’ the Lord said to me. 14 Then he took me to the north gate of the temple. Women there were crying because the god Tammuz was dead.
8:14Tammuz was a false god that the people had brought, long before this time, from Babylon.
8:14Tammuz became the name of a month in the year. This is about our months of June and July. In that month, the people who worship Tammuz weep for his death. They weep as people weep after the death of their only son. This is what the women were doing at the north gate of the temple.
15 ‘You saw that,’ he said. ‘But I will show you more things that are even worse.’ 16 He took me to the inside yard, between the altar and the gate. About twenty-five (25) men were standing there. Their backs were turned away from the Lord. And their faces were looking to the east. Then they bent their heads down to worship the sun when it rose.
8:16The inner area of the temple was a holy place for the worship of God. Here there were about 25 men. These men would have been priests who served in the temple. But, they had turned their backs to the temple. They had turned away from the real God. They worshipped the sun as it rose in the east. They were worshipping the sun god of Babylon.
17 ‘Son of man, you saw that,’ the Lord said to me. ‘This is not a small thing. The people in Judah are doing the wrong things that you have seen here. And they are fighting and killing in all the country. They are making me angry all the time. They are worshipping other gods in my holy temple. They are taking away the honour of my name. 18 So I will show them how angry I am. I will not be kind to them or save them. They may shout to me, but I will not listen to them.’