SIGN IN THE FOREHEAD
By Rabbi Michael Short
This teaching was taken from the archives of Beth El Messianic Fellowship in Glendale, Az and is presented in much the same format as was given at the time. Mike L Short
I am not sure where this teaching is going to go. I saw something in (Ezekiel 9:4
And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.)
that excited me so I started looking into it. You know the L_rd will just simply bless you with things when you listen. Before I go on let me give you little background in how this all started; Frances (my wife) and I were talking about some of the things we should never lose sight of and of course, one of those things is the cross or as some writers say; Bullinger for one; the execution
stake. The Messianic's use this term to avoid using the word cross.
At any rate we were looking into the Shechinah of G_d leaving the Temple before it was to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; but before it left the L_rd had the Man or Angel (I believe it was a representation of the Messiah) put a Mark in the forehead of all of the ones that were crying out and lamenting over the abominations committed in the city. The Mark is Strong's #8420 and in Hebrew it is the Tav, the last character of the alphabet. But most interesting thing is in the old Hebrew script the Tav is a CROSS. So G_d put a cross in the forehead of all that were to be saved from destruction!
#8420 tav (tawv); from #8427; a mark; by implication, a signature: a desire, a mark; a mark (as a sign of exemption from judgment)
You might ask, how do you know that the Tav was written as a cross, it doesn't look like that now. My answer is this. When the children of Israel came back from Babylon, Ezra the scribe translated the Hebrew script letters into the Aramaic block letters we see today. So guess who was one of the people that had the Mark, none other than Daniel and of course his buddies, the three Hebrew children.
Now the L-rd has my mind going wild!!, the Saints in Rev 7:3 have a mark in their foreheads and of course the question is WHAT IS THAT MARK?
From here folks this thing just explodes to the point that even tonight I don't know where it's going because there are interwoven at least three separate themes. But they are so interwoven that I feel we should cover them all, so here goes!
In Ezekiel 10:4 the prophet sees the glory of G_d departing from the between the Cherubim and standing over the threshold of the Temple door. It shows how reluctantly the holy and gracious G_d was leaving the place of his abode.
Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD's glory. (KJV)
It was as though he was pleading with the people and asking if they would not yet give his holiness a place amongst them. But there was no response so he leaves the threshold and takes his place outside the Temple Ezekiel 10:18-19
Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim's. And the cherubim's lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD's house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
He lingers and still no response, so he leaves the Temple hill and goes to the Mount of Olives Ezekiel 11:22-23
Then did the cherubim's lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.
At last he departs leaving them alone; Israel was then taken into captivity and the Temple lay in ruins. Now lets turn to the last chapter of Ezekiel where it shows the remnant of the people restored. But keep in mind that it was due alone to the faithfulness of their gracious G_d. In Ezekiel 48:35 it says that the city will be called 'Yehovah Shammah', which means "Yehovah is There".
After seventy years the remnant returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple, but when the people saw it they cried and mourned because it was not of the splendor of the previous Temple.
But in Haggai 2:9 it says;
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.) and the main reason for this is that the Sar Shalom (Prince of Peace) will walk there.
Let's look at one of the interwoven themes; the leaving of G_d's grace and love from the Temple in the New Testament and see how that runs parallel to Ezekiel
We have just seen from Haggai that the presence of the G_d was in the Temple in the form of Yeshua. For three and a half years the Shechinah (or really the divine visible presence) abode on the Mount of Olives, waiting for Israel to see if would repent and He was calling upon them "seek ye the L_rd while he may be found, call upon him while he is near".
We again see how G_d anguished over Jerusalem for their unbelief and how Yeshua pleaded just as the Shechinah did in the first Temple. And when all was in vain the Shechinah returned to its place.
Let's look at a few verses:
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Finally he was crucified and of course he ascended into Heaven just like the Shechinah, we find in Acts 1:9-12
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
And just like when the Shechinah left the Temple was destroyed, when Yeshua left the Temple was once again destroyed. We can find that in Matt 24:2; Luke 19:42 -44 and Mark 13:2
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Maybe now with this little background we can better understand the parable of the vineyard as found in Matt 21:33-41
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Israel rejected the Shechinah and the Messiah so now the door is open to the other husbandman, the gentile. I'm not sure why this part was necessary but I don't question the Boss when he says put this in, it goes in. He will deal with it as he sees fit.
Now let's go back to Ezekiel and find out why the Shechinah left in the first place and look at another theme that is interwoven. I had planned to get right into the mark but it didn't work out that way. The reason I wanted to get to the mark was because it was a new revelation to me and I'm really excited about it; however the L_rd has his plans and I must follow that one.
In Ezekiel chapter 8 we find all sorts of abdominal things happening, in verses 10 and 11 we find the laity of Israel practicing animal worship and just about anything else you can think of, let's read what the word says -
So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.
The seventy in Ezekiel's day represent the laity, as the twenty-five we will talk about in a couple of minutes represent the priesthood. The L_rd had appointed seventy leaders in years past, and can you guess what their chief duties were, yep, they were appointed to guard against idolatry. What a perversion of their high calling this was!!!
But as heinous as this outrage was against the holiness of the G_d of Israel, G_d told Ezekiel, paraphrased of course, in 8:15, you haven't seen anything yet!!!
Before we look at Ezekiel 8:15 lets take a little side tour, a very short one. In the study of the Ninth of Av, I mentioned the month of Tammuz and how it got it's name, well the verse for that is right here in the midst of Ezekiel 8:
Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
The worship of Tammuz came from Babylon through the Canaanites, (remember G_d told the Israelites to destroy all of the Canaanites, well they didn't and see what a pickle it brought them; by the way Tammuz is not mention anywhere else in the Bible); was for the Babylon G_d, Dumuzi, the beloved of Ishtar, he was the god of the spring vegetation, who died and was revived after the scorching summer heat. Women joined Ishtar in mourning a dead lover in the intense droughts during the months of June and July, so that vegetation might be assured. With worship to these types of gods in the ancient times was always connected to the basest immoralities.
And of course the fourth month of the Hebrew calendar still bears the name of Tammuz.
Now let us get back to the main event, look at Ezekiel 8:15
Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.
The expression "greater abominations" has not been used before in this chapter, so Ezekiel and we are alerted to lowest of idolatrous ways.
And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.
In the inner court of the L_rd's house between the porch and the altar, a most sacred place where only the priests had access, let's look at Joel 2:17
Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Ezekiel saw the crowning insult to the L_rd of Heaven and Earth. Twenty-five men meet in that hallowed place to worship the sun. In order for them to worship the sun they had to turn their backs upon the Temple to face the East. That which was intended to be the best to manifest the glory of G_d in creation, is preverted to take away from the Glory of G_d. In turning away from the Temple it was an attitude of defiance toward G_d. The twenty-five men represented the twenty-four Levitical priestly courses with the high priest at their head. The cup of iniquity had been filled to the brim, this was as complete a repudiation toward G_d as possible, turn to 2 Chr 29:6-8
For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes.
This should call for a heart-searching act on our part, we who are believers in the Messiah Yeshua. Here in the inner most secret places in the Temple we find the most gross sins being committed. We need to be careful because we are now the Temple. Our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and if we have, in our most secret inner chambers sins, then we are to be judged as harshly as Israel.
1 Cor 3:17
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
1 Cor 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Cor 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not
2 Cor 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
I Jn 5:21
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
We need to heed the word of G_d and purge out all the leaven, we may be able to fool the people around us but if you check in Ezekiel you will find that the L_rd had him look through a hole in the wall! G_d knows what is hidden in our secret places!!
In these days of grace it seems strange for the words of such incisive condemnation as it is in Ezekiel. We who are so accustomed to hearing the sweet strains of heavenly harmony that woo us to trust Messiah. But the words of Ezekiel are just as true as John 3:16 . One of the things that happened in Israel and is now happening in this Country is that they didn't believe G_d
would destroy them. They said, well G_d didn't kill old so-and-so for his idol worship, so I guess he won't do anything about what I'm doing!
I guess what I'm trying to say here, folks, let's all search our hidden places and clean it up and not to be complacent with G_d's grace and mercy. Let's try to live our lives for him in a way that it is pleasing to him.
Remember what was said in
1 Pet 4:17
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
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