The Book of Revelation in Ezekiel 9
Alright, so if you don't already know let me be the first to tell you that there are incredible similarities between the book of Revelation and Ezekiel. If I could call the apostle John a plagiarist without getting in trouble I would. But I can't. So I won't.
But he is.
One of the most stark examples of similarities that struck me a few years back (before my capitulation to the preterist hermeneutic) occurs in Ezekiel 9,
3 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. 4 The Lord 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.” 5 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. 6 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.” So they started with the elders who were before the temple. 7 And He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” Thus they went out and struck down the people in the city. 8 As they were striking the people and I alone was left, I fell on my face and cried out saying, “Alas, Lord God! Are You destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath on Jerusalem?” - Ezekiel 9:3-8
The scene is pretty gruesome. Even as an ignorant pimple on the church I was dumbstruck at the ferocity of God in the text. I was struck by a God of judgment, death and immense holiness. In other words, I was being prepared for the Biblical God. In this passage, as in others, this very holy God is frustrated with the people of Israel and has had enough. This is reminiscent of the slaying that occurred after the golden calf (Exodus 32) except now there is a mark to save the faithful.
The whole city is to endure this judgment. In a frightening turn of event, this judgment is to start at God's sanctuary. This is due to God's anger with the perversion of His covenant community. This is almost certainly the image Peter had in mind in while writing his first epistle (1 Peter 4:17). Peter was seeing the impending judgment of the holy temple of Israel in A.D. 70 and was indicating an Ezekiel-like persecution and deliverance. The original apostles of Jesus Christ saw clearly what many miss today: apart from a mediator the "people of Israel" are awful offenders of God. So when John takes up Ezekiel's imagery it shouldn't surprise us,
1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel. - Revelation 7:1-4
This is fitting with both Ezekiel and John. John sees a vision of safety and a later vision of the temple being trampled on and persecuted (Rev 11:2). This of course is associated with the sign of the best. The temple was being defiled (Eze 9:7) at the command of God and the people without the sign were being laid in the temple to accomplish this. The book of Revelation contains all of this imagery and more. God is coming in judgment against the people of Israel and is seeking to destroy and defile their temple. Despite what many well-meaning futurist contend, all of this was fulfilled in A.D. 70.