About thirteen months after the last prophecy, Ezekiel is again visited by the Lord. This one happens while he has visitors, the elders of Judah. Ezekiel again sees the shining glory of the Lord, who takes him by the hair and lifts him up into the sky to take him to Jerusalem. This is very likely not a physical transportation, as he says the Spirit is the One who lifted him up.
At Jerusalem, Ezekiel is set down in the temple, at the entrance to the inner court. He is shown an “image of jealousy” (vv. 3,5), that is, an idol that provokes the Lord’s jealousy. We aren’t told exactly what it is, but it seems likely to be an Asherah like King Manessah set up. Asherah poles were symbols for a Caananite fertility goddess. The Lord says to Ezekiel that the house of Israel is doing abominations to drive Him out of His sanctuary. What I can’t determine is whether the people intend for this, or if it is only what the Lord decided the consequences of their idolatry would be. But as bad as this is, there are worse things for Ezekiel to see.
At the entrance to the court, there was a hole in the wall, and Ezekiel is commanded to dig into it. He finds an entrance into a room, and is told so see what is inside. There is a room filled with reliefs depicting all of the various idols that Israel worshipped at that time. Additionally he sees 70 elders of Israel burning incense in there, including Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan leading them. This man is tragically significant because his father Shaphan helped King Josiah reform the worship of Judah to the true God. Shaphan was the one to read the Book of the Law to the king that Hilkiah the priest found.
Apparently these men think their hidden room is unseen by God, or maybe that He is no longer paying attention to Israel. They don’t realize that the very acts they are committing are what bring the Lord’s wrath upon the land, the very disasters they fear are coming and are trying to prevent with their prayers to idols. They had forgotten the Lord’s promises and commandments, and have twisted things around so much that they blame God for their own problems. As bad as this is, Ezekiel will see still worse things.
Help us see our sin for what it is, and give us the remedy that will heal us from it.