About a month ago, in the early morning hours I was reading the Scriptures when my jaw just about dropped. I had opened the Bible to Ezekiel chapters 8 and 9. My eyes were guided to Chapter 8 verse 16 and 17.
It reads , “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 worshiped 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.”
My mind immediately recalled just a few weeks before how the leaders of our church had went up before the people during Sabbath service and had proudly announced that our church would be renting out the Lord’s sanctuary to Sunday keepers on Sunday. Wow! I knew I had to look into this with prayerful submission to the Lord.
It appears that the predicted happenings are already happening right now and are now apparent to us all. The renting out the Lord’s sanctuary is something that is fairly recent I believe. Yet the Lord’s future vision through Ezekiel clearly saw it all. As diligent seekers of God’s word we are promised that we can discover “precious rays of light yet to shine”. Does this mean we are prophets? Of course not.
Brother Houteff clearly says, “ Since the promised Elijah is to be the last prophet to the church today, as John the Baptist was the last prophet to the church in his day, and since the last work on earth is the Judgment for the Living, the truth stands forth like the light of day that Elijah’s message is the Judgment for the Living, the last, which in the very nature of the gospel is of far more importance and consequence that any other message ever borne to a people” (1950 General Conference Special, p.23-24)
As Bible students we are to search the Scriptures often and are promised revealed truths.
“Those who will devote their powers to the study of God’s Word, and especially the prophecies referring to these last days, will be rewarded by the discovery of important truths.” (Ms 75, 1899, pp. 4,5. [Untitled Manuscript, May 11, 1899]
“Every day you should learn something new from the Scriptures. Search them as for hid treasures, for they contain the words of eternal life. Pray for wisdom and understanding to comprehend these holy writings. If you would do this you would find new glories in the word of God; you would feel that you had received new and precious light on subjects connected with the truth, and the Scriptures would be constantly receiving a new value in your estimation.” (5T p. 266).
“After diligently searching the word, hidden treasures are found, and the lover of truth breaks out in triumph.”(Special Testimonies on Education, 1897, p.147, para. 2)
“Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths.” (Test. for the Church, p.706)
“The diligent seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the Word of God . . . Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God.” (Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p.34)
What we want to now discuss is the “precious rays of light” and “hidden treasures” of truth from God’s word that our Lord has shown would happen through Ezekiel, and it appears that this abomination inside the church (before Ezekiel 9) is happening before our very eyes.
Allow us to delve deeper into the above verses of Ezekiel 8:16-17. Before we go further let us keep in mind Ellen White’s prophetic statement. “Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us.”(Selected Messages, vol. 3, p.338).
The first thing noticed is that Ezekiel is brought “into the inner court of the LORD’S house.” Obviously the first point we must clear, is what does this LORD’S “house” describe? In researching this from ESword (Online free site that has all the Hebrew and Greek translations of the Bible) we discovered that the word house is “Bayith”. Although this word has several applications of the general term – “house”, it is often used to describe the Lord’s temple or sanctuary here on earth. The examples of this can be found in (2 Kings 11:3, 24:13) (1 Chronicle 6:10) and ( Neh.6:10) among others. So Ezekiel was brought into the inner part of God’s house, or in our current application– His church.
Next we see that twenty-five men stood inside the house between the altar and porch. The porch obviously would indicate the entrance. We notice that their “backs are toward the temple” and their “faces toward the east”. In (Joel 2:17) we find more information on the porch and the altar. “Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar…” Here we see that this place is a dedicated place where they are ministering to the LORD.
We find an additional Scriptural description of their “back” to Him. “And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face; though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction. But they set their abomination in the house which is called by My name, to defile it.” (Jeremiah 32:33-34).
“For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face.” (Jer 2:27)
So we see that this description certainly shows disrespect for the Lord in His house and in the dedicated place where there should be rightful ministers. And that these “25 men” have come into His house and dishonored Him. It would be like someone comes to see the king in his house then shows him his back instead of his front (face). Very insulting and disrespectful!
Then we see the purpose that these men have in assembling into God’s house– worshiping the sun toward the east! This provokes the Lord, and in astonishment He inquires of Ezekiel, “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?” Here we see that what they are doing is not a light thing to the Lord in His house. Though obviously they don’t realize their own abominations. And we should ask–who let them in? Would it not be the supposed guardians and leaders of His people(His flock), the shepherds? As we’ll see in the next Scripture, the Lord will act because there is “no shepherd” at the helm.
“Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” (Ezek. 34: 7-10)
The last sentence in our study verses says, “ 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.” As Bible students we know that sins done in the land are often referred to as “violence”. Sin is truly an affront to God and thus appears violent to Him.
In researching on this “violence” word we came across this excellent Biblical definition, “In the present world, violence is usually thought of as brutal acts that injure or kill. The Bible definition of violence includes that, but the Word of God uses the literal and full meaning of the word. Violence actually means to violate God’s Law, as summed up in the Ten Commandments. In God’s eyes, any violation of His Law is violence i.e. while murder is physical violence, it is also violence to worship false gods, have idols, misuse God’s Name, violate the Sabbath, dishonor parents, commit adultery, theft, dishonesty or coveting.”
But perhaps the most striking part of both verses is, “have returned to provoke me to anger, and ,lo, they put the branch to their nose.” When I read this it appeared so clear that this was clearly describing how we as SDA members come back ( “return”) to His sanctuary every Sabbath as if nothing has happened! Our noses to the branch so to speak. We have just committed an abomination by letting Sunday keepers inside God’s house and yet it’s no big deal.
Now to be fair, not all SDA churches are participating in this act. But there is many around the US taking part in this. We are not sure about the other regions of the world, but it wouldn’t surprise us to see it there as well.
So it appears that we are committing a terrible offense to our Lord by inviting people (“men”) into His house to worship “the sun towards the east”. Is it trivial to Him? No indeed. Because this abomination is the last one described before Ezekiel 9, could the Lord have shown us that this one is to appear as the “last” one He tolerates? We aren’t sure, but one thing is sure, that regardless, we should not be mixing the holy with the unholy, inviting “Sunday worshiping” within His holy temple.
“..Mark well who may enter the house (Bayith) and all who go out from the sanctuary. Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, “Thus says the LORD GOD: “O house of Israel, let US have no more of all your abominations. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it–My house..” (Ezekiel 44:6-7)
“Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. (Ezek.22:26)
“And you have not kept charge of My holy things yourselves, but you have set foreigners to keep charge of My sanctuary.”(Ezek. 44:8). Is not Sunday keepers in “charge” of His sanctuary on Sunday? The application of this verse is beyond obvious.
As Seventh Day Adventists and Davidian SDA, we are very aware that the people who come to bow down to the Lord on Sunday, are really in fact bowing down to the deceiver and his false Sabbath. This very act will become the end time challenge to mankind– the mark of the beast system. So this system has begun to come into His very own house now!
Let us not forget our old standards. In 1844 we began our church upon two foundational truths–Sabbath keeping and Sanctuary truth. Unlike the protestant churches, we protested against Sunday keeping. In this regard brother Houteff explains, “As the Sabbath (daily) was taken away, and the “abomination set up” then that which took the place of the Holy Sabbath, and the Sanctuary truth, is called ‘the abomination” can be applied, for the seventh -day was supplanted by the first day of the week, Sunday–”the abomination that maketh desolate.” (Shep. Rod, vol. 2, p. 132)
So with this latest abomination, and the many others, we can see why the Lord’s prophetess spoke these words, “ Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning….. it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.” (Test. to Ministers, p.300).
The “taking the reins into His own hands” and the “simple means He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness” is none other than the beginning work of the judgment for the living–Ezekiel 9. This abomination is something we must sigh and cry about!
“Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; 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.” (Ezekiel 5:11)
In closing, it is with true sadness that we must declare these things going on in His house, among ourselves as God’s remnant people. If we stay silent on this matter and do not sound the trumpet of alarm, in protest , we may stand guilty of agreeing with it. Remember the masses that fell in the desert because they stayed silent and did not step forward to back Joshua and Caleb? May we prayerfully come before the Lord in humility and ask for His forgiveness before it is too late. The Lord’s kingdom is at hand and He will not allow these abominations much longer. Will you or I be a part of those who “escape” from the Lord’s anger because of these things?
“For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire…And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 66:15, 19)
“We are ashamed because we have heard reproach. Shame has covered our faces. For strangers have come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’S house.”(Jer.51:51)
“‘Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the LORD your God And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the LORD.”(Jeremiah 3:13)