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Religious Freedom

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

In this age of "religious freedom" and free speech, the absolutes of the Ten Commandments have been stuffed in the far corners of the building, out of sight and out of mind. Yet, these plays an important role in Ezekiel's vision. 

Exodus 20:2-6
2 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

God is God and He does not share His glory with anyone else. So, Ezekiel first records a mixed vision.  At the North Gate the prophet finds the glory of God, but also discovers the spirit of jealousy (8:3-5). This "image" would be the image of Baal.  Manasseh had set up this false image, and although Josiah had destroyed it, succeeding kings had again set it up. God here calls it the image of jealousy because it was such an affront to God by His covenant people.

Baal was the most significant male deity of the Canaanites. His consort was Asherah. They are the most alluring deities confronting Israel in the promised land following the conquest and they play a strong and attractive influence on the Israelites.  During the time of Ahab and Jezebel, Baal was the official national deity.

So, the entrance of the Temple has before it an idol to a false God. As great an affront as this may be, God immediately points out to Ezekiel that greater abominations are to be found. 




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February 20, 2024

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