Ezek 8.1-18 tells us months after Ezekiel’s call, the kivod (glory) of Yehovah appeared to him a second time. This is another Maaseh Merkavah vision where concepts are described in human terms. Ezekiel is taken to Jerusalem in the spirit to the Temple courts. He is shown the idolatry of Israel and why judgment was coming. After this vision he comes back to the Chebar River (a canal) and he announces what he has seen, The visions of Ezek 8-11 apply to Jerusalem and the remnant of Judah under Zedekiah, not the exiloes.
v 1…And it came about in the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month (about 14 months since the first vision in Ezek 1), as I was sitting (this word does not necessarily signify “sitting” because it is also used for “living, staying” in the house, or he was not lying on his side at the time) in my house (where Ezekiel had shut himself in obedience to 3.24) with the elders of Judah sitting before me (during the time of lying on his right or left side; they came to consult him), that the hand of the Lord God fell on me there.
v 2…Then I looked, and behold, a likeness as the appearance of a man (literally “fire”), from his loins and downward was the appearance of fire and from his loins upward the appearance of brightness (chasmal- the same terms as the appearance of God in Ezek 1.27).
v 3…And he stretched out the form of a hand and took me by a lock (Hebrew “tzitzit”) of my head; and the spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven (a term meaning judgment) and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate (the Shaar Ha Korban or the sacrifice gate). Idols were placed there to be worshiped going in and out), where the seat of the idol of jealousy, which provokes jealousy was (probably of Baal or Asherah. This is a picture of the Abomination of Desolation that will be placed there, in addition to the holy place, during the birth-pains. It is possible that a crucifix, which we believe is the Abomination of Desolation, will be placed there, but a smaller version of the one in the Temple. It will be placed by the sacrifice gate to show that “all sacrifices of the Temple has been done away with because of the death of “Jesus” on the cross).
v 4…And behold (take note), the glory (kivod) of the God of Israel (in contrast to the idol) was there like the appearance which I saw in the plain (3.22-23).
v 5…Then he said to me, “Son of man (when “ben adam” is used it is because Ezekiel represents the people), raise your eyes, now, toward the north.” So I raised my eyes toward the north (the Shaar Ha Korban or the sacrifice gate), and behold, to the north of the altar gate (probably the same as the sacrifice gate because the sacrificial animals were taken through this gate to the altar) was this idol of jealousy at the entrance (this idol causes the jealousy of Yehovah, and the Abomination of Desolation will do the same during the birth-pains).
v 6…And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see (taken an interest) what they are doing, the great abominations (notice this is called an abomination) which the house of Israel are committing here, that I should be far from my sanctuary (his house of kedusah to forsake it)? But yet you will see greater abominations (Israel is practicing idol worship not only in the Temple, but throughout the land, both privately and publically-8.5-7, 8.13).”
v 7…Then he brought me to the entrance of the court (the “aazarah” on the north side), and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall (in one of the chambers of the priests and Levites).
v 8…And he said to me, “Son of man (ben adam), now dig (to make the hole larger) through the wall.” So I dug through the wall, and behold, an entrance (a door by which he could go into the chamber and take a good look).
v 9…And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked abominations that they are committing here.”
v 10…So I entered and looked, and behold, every form of creeping things and beasts and detestable things (of unclean creatures), with all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around (like today’s icons and pictures where people worship).
v11…And standing in front of them were seventy elders of the house of Israel (this is not a “sanhedrin” because there was no continuous sanhedriF formed until after the Babylonian exile, about the first century BC. This number is given to represent the whole nation-Exo 24.1; Num 11.16, 24.25. These elders were appointed to guard against idolatry), with Yaazaniah (Yehovah hears), the son of Shaphan (the leader and possibly related to the Shaphan in 2 Kings 22.3; Jer 29.3, 36.10, 39.14) standing among them, each man with his censor in his hand, and the fragrance of the cloud of incense rising.
v 12…Then he said to me, “Son of man (ben adam), do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark (in secret), each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The Lord (Yehovah) does not see us; the Lord (Yehovah) has forsaken the land (withdrawn his Shekinah/presence and help; they did not believe that he was omnipresent or omniscient).’ ‘
v 13…And he said to me, “Yet you will see greater abominations which they are committing (if this is not bad enough, worse is coming)”
v 14…And he brought me to the entrance of the gate of the Lord’s house which was towards the north (that led into the northern wall of the Heichal), and behold, women were sitting there weepeing for Tammuz (only mention of Tammuz in the Tanak. This worship came from Babylon; they mourned over the god’s death and looked forward to his “resurrection”).
v 15…And he said to me, “Do you see, son of man? Yet you shall see still greater abominations than this (how could it be worse).
v 16…Then he brought me into the inner court (between the altar and the entrance to the Temple building, moving from the northern side to the east) of the Lord’s house. And behold, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, about twenty-five men with their backs to the Temple of the Lord and their faces to the east (the twenty-four leaders of the twenty-four courses, plus the high priest most likely. This number represents the priests, just like the “seventy” in v 11 represents the people) and they were prostrating themselves eastward towards the sun (Moses warned about this in Deut 4.19 and 17.3. During Sukkot, this abomination was remembered after the exile by saying in a ceremony, “Our fathers who were in this place stood with their backs towards the east, and they worshiped the sun towards the east. But as for us, our eyes are turned toward the Lord”-Mishnah, tractate Sukkot).
v 17…And he said to me, “Do you see, son of man? Is it too light a thing (no big deal) for the house of Judah commit the abominations which they have committed here, that they have filled the land with violence and provoked me repeatedly? For behold, they are putting the twig to their nose (an unknown idiom, or something that means “adding fuel to the fire”-whatever it was, it was something that irritated Yehovah).
v 18…Therefore, I indeed shall deal in wrath (being provoked). My eye will have no pity nor shall I spare; and though they cry in my ears with a loud voice (in prayer), yet I shall not listen to them.”