Protection for the Faithful
“Then the glory of the God of Israel rose from above the cherub where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. He called to the man clothed in linen with the writing equipment at his side. “Pass throughout the city of Jerusalem,” the Lord said to him, “and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the detestable practices committed in it.”” (Ezekiel 9:3–4, HCSB)
Here is another example of God’s protection of the faithful in the midst of His wrath against the unrepentant. While it sounds wonderful for the faithful Christian to be removed from God’s judgment, the reality is that God will protect His people from within. God will express His anger against the sin of the people and at the same time, He will protect the faithful. How does this protection work?
“While they were killing, I was left alone. And I fell facedown and cried out, “Oh, Lord God! Are You going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel when You pour out Your wrath on Jerusalem?”” (Ezekiel 9:8, HCSB)
Ezekiel asked that question. He wanted to know if God was going to kill everyone in the city. Would God destroy the remnant of Israel, even though He pours out His wrath on Jerusalem? In the same way, will God destroy His future remnant faithful, when He pours out His wrath on the whole world?
God continues to show Ezekiel the corruption of the people of Jerusalem and proceeds to send His glory away. The question is asked again:
“Now while I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell facedown and cried out with a loud voice: “Oh, Lord God! Will You bring to an end the remnant of Israel?”” (Ezekiel 11:13, HCSB)
God’s answer is surprising. He will send His remnant away from the danger.
““Therefore say: This is what the Lord God says: Though I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” (Ezekiel 11:16, HCSB)
Does this mean that He will send a future remnant away by rapture?
““Therefore say: This is what the Lord God says: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. “When they arrive there, they will remove all its detestable things and practices from it.” (Ezekiel 11:17–18, HCSB)
In this case, God predicts that He will bring His people back to Jerusalem, to the land of Israel. Of course, one could say this is only for the Jews, and this is being fulfilled today. However, the same language and imagery is used in Revelation about the remnant. One could say that God sends the faithful “up” and out of danger, and then returns them “down” at Christ’s return. It is equally possible that God will send the faithful “away” and then bring them “back” when He has finished His wrath’s work.