In Ezek 8:1-18, Ezekiel sees, in the visions of God, Israel’s great abominations in Jerusalem. There are four great abominations that he sees when he gets there: the image of jealousy, idols portrayed on the wall, women weeping for Tammuz, and men worshipping the sun. When Ezekiel sees them, he describes the abominations and then tells us about God’s reaction to them.
Ezekiel’s “Trip” to Jerusalem
In Ezek 8:1-4 Ezekiel sees the appearance of the Lord, as he saw him in Ezek 1:26-27. He is seated in his house with the elders of Judah. Yet, the Lord puts forth his hand, lifts him up between the earth and heaven, and brings him to Jerusalem in the visions of God. He is transported, apparently, the same way Paul was caught up to the third heaven, 2 Cor 12:1-4. It’s like an out of body experience. When he arrives in Jerusalem, he sees the glory of God as he appeared in Ezek 1, (see The Glory of God) and he first sees the image of jealousy.
The Great Abominations
The Image of Jealousy
In Ezek 8:5-6, Ezekiel looks toward the north and sees the image of jealousy at the gate of the altar. Israel had made a graven image to worship, contrary to God’s command in Deut 4:15-19. And this image stirred up God’s jealousy, Deut 32:15-21. As a result, the Lord left his sanctuary. This image is a foreshadow of the abomination of desolation that will be raised up by the antichrist in the Tribulation, Matt 24:15. For more on the image see Rev 13:14-16 in The False Prophet.
Idols Portrayed upon the Wall
In Ezek 8:7-12, Ezekiel is brought to the door of the court where he digs through a hole in the wall and passes through a door to the inner chambers. There he sees the ancients of the house of Israel worshipping the idols of Israel with censers in their hands. The idols portrayed on the wall are creeping things and abominable beasts. God specifically warned Israel not to worship these creatures, Deut 4:17-18. Nevertheless, they worshipped calves, Ex 32, 1 Ki 12, a serpent, 2 Ki 18, and other creatures. These ancients are just like the “wise” fools of Rom 1:22-25 and the evolutionists of today. However, back then they were worshipping in the dark and today they do it openly. Either way, they don’t think God sees them.
Women Weeping for Tammuz
In Ezek 8:13-14, at the door of the gate of the Lord’s house toward the north, he saw women weeping for Tammuz. Tammuz was a god of fertility who had power to bring new life in the Spring. His worship was connected with the worship of nature.
Men Worshipping the Sun
In Ezek 8:15-16, in the inner court of the Lord’s house, at the door of the temple, between the porch and the altar, Ezekiel saw twenty five men worshipping the sun. They were supposed worship the Lord, not the sun, Deut 4:19. They turned their backs on God. Therefore, Jeremiah prophesied what God would do in return, Jer 8:1-3.
God’s Fury over these Great Abominations
In Ezek 8:17-18, Ezekiel wrote that the house of Judah filled the land with violence, provoked the Lord to anger, and put the branch to their nose. In other words, what they did in their idolatry, they did with impunity. They didn’t think God would do anything to punish them. Yet, the Lord said that he would not spare them, he would not pity them, and he wouldn’t hear when they cried out to him, Prov 1:24-33.
Conclusion to the Great Abominations in Israel
The Lord had always come through for Israel, no matter how far they had strayed from him. But when they made idols in and around the temple and when they turned their backs on him, he turned his back on them. Listen, if you have any idols in your heart, like covetousness, turn away from them now. If the Lord has reproved you over anything, obey him. You do not want to provoke the Lord to jealously and anger.