Let’s read Ezekiel 9:1-6, “Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice saying, ‘Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.’ Behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen with a writing cast at his loins. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. The said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and PUT A MARK ON THE FOREHEADS OF THE MEN WHO SIGH AND GROAN OVER ALL THE ABOMINATIONS WHICH ARE BEING COMMITTED IN ITS MIDST.’ But to the others He said in my hearing, ‘Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, BUT DO NOT TOUCH ANY MAN ON WHOM IS THE MARK; and you shall start from My sanctuary” (NASB).

The meaning of this passage is both simple and solemn. Jerusalem had been given over to idolatry and God, in His holiness, had to judge all those who were involved in these abominations. We believe the “six men” with weapons in their hands were angels, for God often uses angels to execute His judgments. But there was also an angel among them who was told to “put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.” This angel was to show mercy to those who faithfully cried out against the idolatry of their fellow citizens. We can’t be sure as to what this mark actually was, but we do know that when the destroying angels went through the city executing the idolaters, the lives of all those who had received the mark were spared.

This passage reminds us of a future judgment recorded in Revelation 7. Verses 1-3 read, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till WE HAVE SEALED THE SERVANTS OF GOD IN THEIR FOREHEADS.” In Revelation we have the judgments that will fall upon this godless and Christ-rejecting world. We see here, as we did in Ezekiel, that God will use angels to execute His holy judgments, but we also see another “angel of mercy” who will mark the foreheads of a faithful remnant of believers before the judgments begin. They will, like the faithful in Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s day, cry out against the sins and rebellion of mankind and thus God will, in His mercy, preserve them when His judgments strike the earth. If we were to read on we would see that there will be exactly 144,000 sealed, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. They will live through the seven-year tribulation period and when Christ returns in power and glory they will inherit the kingdom that He will establish on earth for 1,000 years.  (200.3)  (DO)