What God Wants Remembered (Book of Remembrance)

What God Wants Remembered
Robert Wurtz II

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:16–18 KJV)

Reading the Bible casts a tremendous amount of light upon what many people believe is Christianity. Take Malachi 3:16–18 for example. If I didn’t know better, I would think that some believers esteem it a virtue to be able to exist in this present evil world unvexed by the evil things they see happening. We should just take it quietly and never raise any kind of fuss or complain. Yet here is God ordering a book of remembrance to be made of the people who feared the LORD and spake often one to another concerning the blasphemous ways the people were acting. In the language of Peter, their righteous souls were vexed from day to day by the unlawful deeds of the wicked. God saw it in Lot; He saw it in the people in Malichi’s day; and He notices it now. 

Notice our first statement, Then they that feared the LORD…” This is the key. The fact that these Israelites feared God manifested in their speaking to one another about the craziness that was going on around them. “They strengthened themselves in their faith in Jehovah, as the holy God and just Judge who would in due time repay both the wicked and the righteous according to their deeds, and thus presented a great contrast to the great mass with their blasphemous sayings. This description of the conduct of the godly is an indirect admonition to the people, as to what their attitude towards God ought to be. What was done by those who feared Jehovah ought to be taken as a model by the whole nation which called Jehovah its God. Jehovah not only took notice of these conversations, but had them written in a book of remembrance, to reward them for them in due time.”

(Keil and Delitzsch)

Moreover, God took the whole event a step further. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. The behavior exhibited by these godly Israelites was such that God wanted them thought of as sons. That is to say, they had a zeal for God as a son would have for His own father. This is a powerful truth. The Hebrew word translated as “jewels” is translated otherwise as “treasure.” God treasures those who have a zeal for Him in this darkened, evil world.

Photo Richard Lyons courtesy South Australian Museum

In 2003 a man in Australia unearthed, cleaned up and polished what has come to be known as the Virgin Rainbow. It is the most beautiful Opal in the world. Valued at roughly $1,000,000 it will go on display in a museum for the first time ever. “That opal actually glows in the dark,” museum director Brian Oldman told ABC North and West SA. “The darker the light, the more color comes out of it. It’s unbelievable.” This gem reminds me of Malachi 3:17. Perhaps this is akin to what God sees when He finds a saint(s) with a zeal for him in this dark world. People who have to talk among themselves just to be able to cope with all the madness that goes on. 

What is more sobering is the last verse, Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”  How did they distinguish themselves? What was their character? “It was the reverse of theirs that spoke so much against God; for they feared the Lord—that is the beginning of wisdom and the root of all religion; they reverenced the majesty of God, submitted to his authority, and had a dread of his wrath in all they thought and said; they humbly complied with God, and never spoke any stout words against him. In every age there has been a remnant that feared the Lord, though sometimes but a little remnant.” (Matthew Henry)

Sometimes it is hard to know who is and who is not truly serving the Lord. At the bar of Christ, in the last judgment, it will be easy to discern between the righteous and the wicked; for then every man’s character will be both perfected and perfectly discovered, every man will then appear in his true colours, and his disguises will be taken off. Some men’s sins indeed go beforehand, and you may now tell who is wicked, but others follow after; however, in the great day, we shall see who was righteous and who wicked.” (M.H. ibid)

Someday it will be easy to determine who is who. All of our false notions and misconceptions will be done away with. Moreover, we will see God as He is — from from the mischaracterizations leveled upon Him by this present evil world. In an age when men call good evil and evil good — it can be tough to know who is truly doing right. Are the people who go on living among sin as if it’s business as usual the true saints or is it the people who are vexed bad enough to have to talk to brothers and sisters about it? Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Judgment In The Sanctuary

Judgment In The Sanctuary
Robert Wurtz II

For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners? (1 Peter 4:17–18 NET)

Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. (Ezekiel 9:6 emphasis added)

One of the most disturbing things about our times is the ever increasing rebellion against God’s word among His own people. We expect the world to trample God’s word under foot, but what are we to make of things when it happens in God’s own house? It’s like multitudes no longer believe in the inspiration of scripture. God has spoken in His word and He will not change His mind. Nevertheless, with each passing day something new is being compromised. And then we wonder why we don’t have revival. Nay verily; we may as well brace ourselves for a bloodbath. If history is any indicator, it’s only a matter of time. 


It is sobering to consider that the accounts of Israel’s apostasy and judgment, according to Paul, “were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV) We are to learn from their experiences. In fact, the renowned Greek scholar of the late 19th century A.T. Robertson remarked that 1 Peter 4:17-18 is taken from the vision of Ezekiel 9. You will notice in Ezekiel 9:6 that the wrath of God is first revealed upon those who are called by the name of the Lord but are not obeying the truth (Romans 1:18). Beginning with those who most knew better (or should have known better), God’s judgment started with them. Why? Because they deserved the greater condemnation in that they had the greater privilege; and with privilege comes accountability.

The Ancient Men First

In Ezekiel 9:6 God told the executioners not just to begin with the sanctuary, but with the sub-group that were to be first judged within the sanctuary; i.e., the ancient men. These were not the righteous ancients, but the ancients whom were spoken of in the previous chapter who were not really loyal to God at all, but committed abominations in the darkness (in secret). The seventy elders, also known as the Sanhedrin, were the first people who came under the judgment of God (Ezekiel 8:11). This tells us that judgment begins first upon unrighteous leaders who are secretly or publicly rebelling against God. After judgment falls on the unrighteous leaders — judgment flows down through the sanctuary and out into a rebellious society. 



In modern times we can almost see a similar scenario setting up. Radical Islam, a modern and savage version of ancient Assyria and Babylon, is chomping at the bit — waiting to baptize Christians in fire and blood. Their resurgence is no accident. The ancient Assyrians were a murderous band of barbarians who were legends in fierce brutality. Nevertheless, in modern times ISIS, in its insatiable bloodthirstiness, is training up ten-year  old boys to execute who they term as “infidels” by carving them with knives or riddling their heads and bodies with bullets. If they had their way they would brutalize every Christian on earth in ways that would make Mary I (Bloody Mary) of England blush. In a figure, these brain-washed and demon-possessed people are massing on the borders of our peace and security. All the while,   a general hostility towards Christianity grows in the Western World. Could these people be the agents by which God will purge His house? Are we on the brink of a modern-day 1 Peter 4:17-18?


The Seal of Sorrow

And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. (Ezekiel 9:3b, 4)

One of the great lessons of the Old Testament is that people often fail to see God’s perspective of circumstances. They fail to feel as He feels. Nevertheless, there is always a remnant who knows the times and reacts according to the ungodliness thereof. Our passage reveals that God had set a seal upon the people who were vexed from day to day with the lawless deeds of the people around them (2 Peter 2:8 lit. tortured). While the rest of those naming the name of God were getting more and more worldly, content with the wickedness of our day as though it had no effect on them — the righteous felt as God felt about things. 

Understand that rebellion is a very subtle thing at times. Most people are able to see rebellion in others, but cannot see it in themselves. Believers justify all kinds of compromise and call it Christian liberty. However, if the behavior does not line up with the plainly revealed word of God — it is rebellion.  Some want to identify with the world and sin and not only “be saved,” but have influential ministry. We must discern the rebellion. The enemy is working overtime to get people into positions of leadership who refuse to do God’s will and obey His word. 

If the pattern of the past has any meaning today, God has already rejected many and placed them on the list for judgment. Paul said that the stories of the Old Testament were recorded, written down, reported for our example and learning. To those in Ezekiel their secret agreement with sin and iniquity, manifesting itself in silent approval and tearless eyes, was enough to level upon them the full fury of God’s wrath. They received no mark in their foreheads. 

Today the world is loaded with those who hate righteousness and love iniquity. Nevertheless, we are called to be as Christ who loved righteousness and hated iniquity (Hebrews 1:9). The Spirit of Christ wells up in those in whom He dwells as a revolting reaction to the sin and compromise that grieves His holiness. A Christian reaction to sin (especially their own) can only be described as vexation; that is, torture. When sinners have rejected Christ, trodden under foot the blood that could have sanctified them, and are sinning with a high-hand we ought to be gravely disturbed. God sent His messenger to set a seal upon the people who were vexed in Ezekiel’s day. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations. The wrath of God will someday consume those that know Him not nor obey the Gospel. The only real proof that we are not in line for this judgment is whether the Spirit of God who is in us is grieved within us — or are we as those who have no grief, but rather take pleasure in those who commit such sins (Romans 1:32)They who are born of God are vexed by rebellion and sin — just as He is. 

Marked out by God

When God set His mark upon the people it was a single Hebrew letter “tav.” This letter, in some ancient texts, is in the shape of an X or a T. Perhaps this symbolized the fact that the righteous would be saved but scarcely (1 Peter 4:18 lit. with great difficulty). 1 Peter 4:18 tells us that judgment begins at the house of God, but if it first begins at us, and if the righteous scarcely be saved; what shall the end be of those who obey not the gospel? To those who so rightly deserve judgment — judgment will be applied first, and to each one in their own order. The Lord knows they who are His; His name is in their foreheads. 

Driving God from His Temple

It is a dangerous thing to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. It is akin to allowing the devil to run rampant in the Temple in Jerusalem. Satan is the great defiler of sanctuaries. He lures men and women to backslide away from God where He once dwelled in them. Have we not all seen it? They did run well and now they are moving in carnality and sin. What a dangerous place to be in. We have some examples of how these things play out from the Old Testament. God never leaves without some form of warning. 


Ezekiel was a priest whom God used to prophesy to Israel. 

In Chapter 1, God revealed Himself to Ezekiel. 

In Chapter 2, God anointed Him with His Spirit (Ezekiel 2:2). 

In Chapter 3, God put His words in His mouth as a scroll and warned Him to be a watchman of the people to warn them-lest their blood be upon his hands. 

In Chapter 4, Ezekiel cooked up some dung cakes to get the peoples attention (for they were sorely hardened and inattentive). 

In Chapter 5, He shaved his head, divided the hair into three equal parts, burnt the first third (for they were consumed by pestilence and famine), diced up the second third (for a third part died by the sword), and tossed the latter third into the wind (for they were scattered into the nations).

In chapter 8 God showed Ezekiel that the ancients were driving His presence from the Temple because of their lewd imaginations. In verse 8-10 we read: Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, printed (carved out) upon the wall round about. The leaders were committing abominations in their heads and they thought that God was not watching. Verse 12 reads: Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’” For this cause God was being driven from the Temple because of their sin (Ezekiel 8:6).


Getting Used to Darkness

“I stumbled into the dimly lit dungeon, fell over a chair and mumbled that I needed a flashlight to read the menu. When the food came I ate it by faith and not by sight. Gradually, however, I began to make out objects a little more distinctly. You know how it is if you sit a while in a dark room. And my friend remarked, ‘Funny, isn’t it, how you get used to the dark.’” (Vance Havner)


This “getting used to the dark” often takes place over time; that is the subtlety of it. Once the sins that were committed “in the darkness” have ran their course the enemy closes in on our borders. These are the times we are living in. Hardened hearts in congregations all throughout the nation will cry out to the righteous as they did in the days of Isaiah… Seer’s — See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits (Isaiah 30:10). Rebellion has no time for truth. It has no time to hear what the Spirit is saying. And it happens according to the true prophecy of the Apostle Paul which said… For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

A Deadly Combination
(A Hard Heart, a Soft Chisel, and a Weak Arm)


When a generation hardened itself against God throughout history, God always stepped up the power, wisdom and fortitude of His ministers to meet their highhanded backsliding head on (Isaiah 50:7, Jeremiah 1:8-10). It cost the prophets their lives, including John the Baptist. All but one of the Apostles were martyred according to tradition. Even the Lord Jesus. Anyone that communicates the life of God to this darkened world is a target of the enemy. 


What if the messengers of God were so “bound up” with sin and so ready to compromise God’s word that they couldn’t preach with authority (Ezekiel 8-9)? What if a famine of the word of the Lord existed in an hour and society that so desperately needed rebuked and called back to repentance (Amos 8:1ff)? What if the watchmen were drunk, not with wine or strong drink, but on the elixir of their own sin and rebellion — unable to sound the warning call (Ezekiel 3:1ff)? What if every end-time prophecy was being fulfilled at once — would they who name the name of Christ, who are living in rebellion within the churches of God, follow the world into their secret chambers? 

The quaker philosopher Elton Trueblood once stated that “By the year 2000 the church will be a conscious minority surrounded by an arrogant, militant paganism.” This is 2015 and we are not only surrounded by an arrogant militant paganism, but by radical Islam. The time to get serious was many years ago and yet the masses have slumbered. For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners? (1 Peter 4:17–18 NET)

Sighs and Cries that Saved their Lives

Sighs and Cries that Saved their Lives

Robert Wurtz II



And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. (Ezekiel 9:4-7)


There are two basic type of people in the world; they who are vexed by righteousness, and they who are vexed by wickedness. One group sighs and murmurs because of the overflow of sin, the other group sighs and murmurs because of holiness. 

As Paul was writing to the Corinthians he was careful to advise the people that events that took place in the Old Testament were written for our example and for our learning. Moses, who had been seeking to lead the people in the Covenant of God and righteousness was faced with a group that would not follow God. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” The people did not want to live holy and righteous before God. They wanted to go back to Egypt (a type of this present evil world). What did they do? They murmured against Moses. 

Then there was the other group of “murmurers” if you will that appear in the time of Ezekiel. Israel had backslidden and was carrying on like the rest of the pagan world. However, not everyone was pleased with the sin and evil. In fact, God told a recording angel to go through the city and mark the forehead of each one that did “sign and cry” for all of the abominations that were going on in Israel. The backsliders had so defiled the Temple of God that He was departing and there was a group that lamented for it. What the backsliders did not know is that the Temple was about to be destroyed and the people killed or led into exile in Babylon. What can we learn from these events?


First: that they are recorded for our learning. There was no reason to record it for the people that suffered these things as they were already dead. So we see then, that it is a clear warning to the living. God will not long live with sin and compromise. This is our example. People are afforded a space to repent, as was Jezebel in the Revelation. If there be no repentance then we are certain that God will act in some way, of which we only have samplings spread throughout the New Testament. For Jezebel, she was cast into a bed of great tribulation along with those that agreed with her. For those in Ezekiel, they beheld the sin and as a result of their agreement or indifference, they were judged all the same.

Second: although it is impossible to know the counsel of God in such matters, we know that the examples of the Old Testament are exemplary. That is to say, they are a revelation of God’s estimate of the behaviors. Whether one dies in the same way as Jerusalem is God’s prerogative; but it is certain that He has demonstrated for all time by this one act of judgment how He feels about this type sin. God being no respecter of persons, each that commit the same sins under the same conditions deserve equal punishment. 

Third: that there was a group that lamented for the sin. They did not walk around indifferent, but as was Lot in Sodom, they were vexed from day to day with the unlawful deeds. This means that God is taking account of how we react to sin and compromise. Do we lament for sin in such a way that had we lived in Ezekiel’s day God would have marked our foreheads? Would we have been spared from the wrath of God? This is an important question to ask in a day and age where the knowledge of God is being resisted at unprecedented levels. Sodom had no Bible. What aggravated the crimes in Jerusalem was that they had been entrusted with the oracles of God. To whom much is given, much is required. 

Fourth: none that did not have the mark of God in there forehead were shown mercy. They were slain from the oldest to the youngest. Again, God is no respecter of persons. The youth that refuse to lament are just as guilty as the elders that refuse to lament. Why? Because they have casually sided with the enemy. They did not agree with God in the matters of sin that was being committed. Had they agreed with God, they would have been offended for His sake. They would have been stirred with zeal for God and His sanctuary. They were not and were left to perish with those that committed the acts. They were passive participants. This tells us that there is no middle ground. One is either a child of God that is vexed by sin and unrighteousness, or a child of the devil and are at home in it. Do you and I hate what God hates? Do we love what God loves? Or do we have those two reversed? 

The people under Moses murmured against him and against righteousness, but the people in Ezekiel’s day murmured against sin and compromise. The one group was destroyed and the other group was spared. God heard the murmurings of both groups and He acted accordingly. 

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