The Defilement of the Sanctuary
Thirdly, the primary provocation that infuriated God was identified. Unspeakable wrath was thereby justified! And, dare we commit this provocation in its New Testament form? My reader, think of it… because judgment was compromised by Church Officers, God would do the judgment and NONE WOULD ESCAPE.
My reader, it is a fearful thing when God’s wrath “is kindled but a little” (Ps. 2:12). Indeed! …but, it is absolutely paralyzing when and if the anger of the LORD is kindled greatly against His people, the Church (Num. 11:1, 10, Deut. 32:22, Ps. 78:21, 59, Isa. 5:25, Jer. 17:4)! Reflecting upon this, the psalmist penned, “Thou, even Thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in Thy sight when once Thou art angry?” (Ps. 76:7)! Howbeit, 21st century Christians live obnoxiously ignorant of these potentials in this our day; such things are no longer possible in the New Covenant, they fancy! Objecting to such like heretical fantasies and filthy dreams among them that speak false peace to themselves and others, Paul asked: “…what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols?” (2 Cor. 6:16). The Prophet Ezekiel has an answer for us.
“Surely, because thou hast defiled My Sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall Mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.” - Ezek. 5:11
The LORD offered a solemn explanation for the greatness of His wrath and the cataclysmic vengeance which follows, saying, “Surely, because…”, and, “therefore…neither shall Mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity” (Ezek. 5:11). Think of it, my reader! Could a holy prophet catch a glimpse of God’s face at such a time, be astonished at this: he would see the Almighty’s eyes burning with pitiless anger and vengeance! He would see the Almighty moving into position to strike the stronghold of apostasy, Jerusalem! This, indeed, is “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb. 10:27)! This, indeed, is why the writer of Hebrews alarmingly declared: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Heb. 10:31)! Evidently, the inspired writer had the ancient and presently relevant God of Israel in mind in a New Testament scenario. He plainly stated, “For we know HIM that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people” (Heb. 10:30; Isa. 63:4, 10; Deut. 32:35-36). Herein these scriptures find relevance, when Ezekiel prophesied, “Surely, because thou hast defiled My Sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations” (Ezek. 5:11).
So, my reader, can you answer the apostle Paul’s question that he posed to the Christians of the Gentile Church Age? With unquestionable implications, he asked: “…what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols?” (2 Cor. 6:16). Even so, we, being fully conscious of the fearfulness of God’s vengeance upon His people in the Old Testament for the defiling crimes that they committed against the Temple and Sanctuary of God, we can give an answer. What was the primary provocation that infuriated God? The defilement of the Sanctuary! Yes. Even so, in New Testament scenarios, Paul warned: “If any man defile the Temple of God, him shall God destroy” (1 Cor. 3:17; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1)! …and should we be surprised!? No. [If you are surprised, my reader, I plead with you to take the time to study the doctrines of holiness and cleanliness associated with “” in the Old Testament and “” in the New Testament, and how these truths relate to the mandate of .]
Upon clarifying the foremost warrant for God’s pitiless wrath and unsparing eye, in Ezekiel 5:11, further clarifications were made to the people. The Evil Figs didn’t understand good and evil; thus, clarification was needed. They were no-good followers of false prophets, a people made to doubt God’s wrath, deny God’s justice, and refuse God’s mercy. God was unmistakable about His intentions, saying,
“A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it. When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.” – Ezek. 5:12-17
After scouring the City of Jerusalem with inescapable judgments, the LORD turned to the Countryside and Mountains, and said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, set thy face toward the Mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them…” (Ezek. 6:2). Speaking in reference to the “mountains”, the “hills”, the “rivers”, and the “valleys”, the LORD said: “Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy…and I will cast down your slain men before your idols” (Ezek. 6:3-4). To what end? God said, “In ALL your dwellingplaces the Cities shall be laid waste…and the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezek. 6:6-7). When God spoke of the destruction and or scattering of “the whole remnant” of the Jews in the Land of Judah (Ezek. 5:10), He meant it! So, how is it that they will know that the God of Ezekiel and Jeremiah is the LORD (Ezek. 5:13, 6:6-7, 10)?
They’ll know it to be so when the offensive and unprecedented judgment comes to pass, in that, God said: “I will make the Cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant” (Jer. 34:22). EVERY PERSON MATTERED TO GOD. A total desolation is determined upon the Land, the mainstay of the Evil Figs, but for the first time we learn that there will not be a total annihilation accomplished upon the people. Remember, though, the total desolation of the Land was a notoriously offensive prophecy to the Covenantal Idealism of the people who didn’t think they were going to be treated any different than the generations of backsliders which went before them. The prophecy was nigh-unfounded in all the happenings of Biblical Church History, thus depravity took an occasion. Ah, but the judgment was nevertheless prophesied in abundance (Jer. 2:15, 4:1-4, 4:7, 7:33, 9:11-12, 26:9, 33:10, 34:22, 44:2, Ezek. 6:14, 14:14-16, 15:8)! Let it be known, therefore, my reader: by the fulfillment of THIS JUDGMENT (which would be utterly shocking to the backsliders!) the people would know that the God of Jeremiah and Ezekiel is the LORD. Lo, and behold, their idols did not save them from the judgment! Their trust in idols was directly targeted, the placement of the slain roundabout the idolatrous shrines was a loud announcement (Ezek. 6:3-4), and the scarcely surviving remnant was made to reckon with the noisome reality.