Ezekiel 9:9-10   [The LORD] answered me, “The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land; the LORD does not see.’  So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”

We struggle today with some of the Biblical accounts of God pouring out his wrath on man’s sin.

Such accounts appear throughout the Old Testament, but are not confined to it.  They are also in the New Testament – in the Gospels in Jesus’ description of events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and to his Second Coming, but more especially in the book of Revelation.

When we look at all this from Man’s perspective it is easy to think that a God who is Love in his essential being could be so cruel.  But the problem is that from our perspective in a fallen world we cannot appreciate the full extent of either Man’s sin or of God’s holiness – for if we did we would understand his wrath.

In a terrifying vision Ezekiel was ‘transported’ to Jerusalem and the Temple and allowed to observe through God’s eyes the extent and depth of Israel’s and Judah’s sin and the horror of the outpouring of divine wrath upon it.  He also struggled with what he saw (8).  Sin has an uncanny way of sneaking into the life of an individual and then of a whole nation and worsening gradually so that it goes unnoticed.  Sadly, this was true of God’s Covenant people throughout their history.

I sometimes wonder how true this is of us today – but do we really see it?  John’s vision recorded in Revelation was equally terrifying – and when Jesus comes back as Judge and King it will be a reality.  The reason it is important for us to face up to all this, uncomfortable and disturbing as it is, is that we will never understand the full depth of God’s love until we see what it meant that he poured out on Jesus his Son all the wrath that is due to us.  Jesus’ death means little or nothing to someone who has no appreciation of what even the slightest human sin means to a holy God.  Perhaps we need the sort of vision God gave to Ezekiel and John to drive us more urgently and desperately to find refuge in the cross!
– Bruce Christian