Monday, December 04, 2017

I'm Marked in Ink with a TAV by the Man in Linen

9:11 has become a symbolic number for the United States.

It's our national emergency number for those in crises. It's the date of the worst terrorist strike on American soil. It's the number people think of when in trouble.

All of us have been in trouble of one kind or another. We've all made mistakes. Some sins are more egregious than others, but there's not one of us without fault.

I became a friend to Sean Sellers before he was executed by the State of Oklahoma. Sean had murdered his own family but had surrendered his life to Christ while on death row. I was there when he was executed.

Rachelle and I have a friendship with a woman who solicited herself on the streets of Dallas for years. She, too, has given her life to Christ. She's now leading a portion of our Celebrate Recovery ministry.

Over the years we've become close to people who've done some really awful things, ruining their lives and the lives of others by their actions.

Life is messy, and we are part of that mess.

But the gospel is Jesus loves sinners.
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst." (I Timothy 1:15)
But I must ask a difficult question. Does Jesus accept all sinners?

I propose that Jesus accepts only those sinners who dial up 9:11.

Ezekiel 9:11 is the Bible's 9:11.
"And, behold, the Man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, "I have done as You have commanded me." (Ezekiel 9:11). 
Allow me to explain why this Bible verse is so important.

Ezekiel 9 records a vision that God gave to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel had been captured by the King of Babylon and is now living in exile as a prisoner. The year is 591 B.C. and the Temple in Jerusalem is still standing.

But not for long.

Five years later (586 B.C.) God would use the wicked Babylonian army (e.g., "the Chaldeans") to destroy His Temple and the city of Jerusalem because of the wickedness and sins of the people.

The Glory was departing Jerusalem (see Ezekiel 8).

In Ezekiel's vision, he sees seven men enter the city, "and one Man was in linen with an inkhorn around His waist" (Ezekiel 9:2). An inkhorn was a container full of ink, sometimes the horn of an animal. A feather with a pointed stem would be the natural pen.

The Man in linen was sent by God to "mark with ink" the people in Jerusalem who were "grieving, weeping and in deep sorrow" over the detestable things they'd done (Ezekiel 9:4). The other six men were executioners who were to "destroy by death" those without the mark (Ezekiel 9:5).

God told the six men:
"Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark."
The Seventh Man, the Man in linen with the inkhorn around His waist, is an Old Testament type of Jesus Christ. The Man in linen had a specific mission.
"Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." (Ezekiel 9:4
The people of Jerusalem had done some abominable things. All of them. But there are some who are "grieving, weeping and in deep sorrow" over the detestable things they'd done (Ezekiel 9:4).

Ezekiel 9:11 tells us the Man in linen did as He was commanded, and all those marked with ink were saved from destruction.

God delivers sinners who grieve over sin.

The "mark" that the Man in linen puts on the foreheads of those in mourning translates the Hebrew word TAV (also spelled "taw" or "tau" when transliterated into English). In addition to meaning a "mark," this is the name of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

The TAV is an equal-armed cross + (as in the upper right corner of the diagram to the right). The Man in linen with the "cup of ink" or "inkhorn" (KJV) marked people with a sign in the shape of a cross.

The Man in linen died for those who mourn over their sin.

The only people delivered from destruction via "the mark of the cross" are those who mourn over sin.
"Blessed are they who mourn," Jesus said, "for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).
To be a Christian doesn't mean you've never done anything wrong.


To be a Christian - to be one who is saved from the coming destruction - means you've been marked by the Man in linen with the cross because you mourn over your sins.


Bob Cleveland said...

Until we realize this .. I mean REALLY realize it ... we'll never be really free in Jesus. Mainly because we likely won't realize the desperation of our sin, and our desperate need for salvation.

A little analogy to Israel and the conquering of the lands they occupied: Folks in my Sunday School class seem repelled by the fact that God instructed them to destroy everything in their path when taking a nation .. including the people. Hence the need to point out that we ALL deserve that same exact thing, excepting for the blood of Jesus. That forces us to face just how lost we really were, and what a monumental accomplishment our salvation really was.

Rex Ray said...


You quote: “Blessed are they who mourn,” Jesus said, “for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

This “mourn” is not the same context as those morning in Jerusalem.

You said: “To be a Christian…means…you mourn over your sin.”

This would be correct if we MOURNED over our sin in asking Jesus to save us.

How can Christians mourn over their sins when God said:

1. “…I will never again remember their sins.” (Hebrews 8: 12 NLT)

2. “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” (Isaiah 43:25 NLT)

3. “He has removed our sins as far from us at the east is from the west.” (Psalms 103:12 NLT)

Are you trying to remind God of our sins? :)


Do you agree with? ‘Born twice; die once.’ ‘Born once; die twice.’

What death did Adam and Eve experience when “…they hid from God…” (Genesis 3:8 NLT)

Wade Burleson said...


"How can we 'mourn over sins' when God said, "I will never again remember their sins" (Hebrews 8:12)?

Excellent question! :)

I believe He remembers no more the sins of those who mourn over them. In other words, a saved man will not "celebrate" his anger and tell the wife he abused, "Get over it! God doesn't remember it." No, a sinner marked the ink by the Man in linen will "mourn over His anger."

That's the sign Jesus actually died for Him.


Wade Burleson said...


Born twice; die once. Born once, die twice.


Adam and Eve experienced spiritual "death" - but the "second death" is not spiritual, for those who experience it are already spiritually dead.

The second death is a second physical death.

Bob Cleveland said...

Mourning over our sins: We don't mourn because God points them out to us. We DO, however, remember them (I think the word means "to call to mind"..).

We mourn because, as we are consecrated in Him, WE recall our sins, as God points out the possible repercussions of them, and cold sweat beads on our foreheads when we realize what we really did.

The same thing happens in reverse, as God occasionally lifts the veil and shows us the results of what we have done in Kingdom service. Normally followed by joy unspeakable.

Wade Burleson said...

Well said, Bob.

Tom said...

Rex, Wade

This is a very different topic, and Wade in his response to my request for scriptural references to support his position, in the last topic, provided enough information to actual answer the real question that I was asking satisfactorily for me to understand where he was coming from with his blog.

Ezekiel 18 speaks of the consequences of sinning and not repenting in that our name is blotted out of the Book of life and at the time of the GWTJ we will then "die" the Second Death, i.e. "mowt taamunt." If destined for the Second Death because of our un-repented sin(s), we are still redeemable and can gain one again life, if we have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit, if we sincerely repent of our sin(s) before we breath our last in this mortal body.

But this is not IMHO in keeping with the latest Blog topic by Wade.


Rex Ray said...


Ezekiel was written during the 6th century BC.

The Old Covenant didn’t work then, so why are you trying to substitute it for New Covenant?

You said, “To be a Christian…means…you mourn over your sin.”

HUH? I don’t remember John 3:16 saying anything about mourning.

Wade Burleson said...


As you know, I am a New Covenant person - down the line.

Never Old Covenant.

However, I tell people all the time that the mark of grace is repentance of sin (e.g. "mourning") - however, I know of which you speak. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and once you taste of the joy of His grace, sin is distasteful.

Christiane said...

" . . . and they shall look on me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son"
(from Zechariah 12:10)

this is a word that expresses the transforming repentance of looking upon Him Whom we have slain, and mourning Him with a heart broken opened to His merciful grace

Tom said...


I wonder if Revelation 7 is a reflection of Ezekiel 9?

The six men being, Christ, the four beasts and the little horn beast.

It is just a thought.

Tom said...


If Christ only referenced the Salvation Covenant which has existed since the time of Adam and Eve in His teaching as recorded in the Gospels, then why are we discussing the "Old Covenant" and the "New Covenant" both of which should be labelled as the "Old/New Covenant of a Kingdom of Priest and a Holy Nation Covenant."

This blog is about the salvation of people and then being marked by the sign of the cross upon their foreheads as a sign of protect from the other five men mentioned in Ezekiel 9.

David Merkel said...

I've been teaching a class at my congregation on Biblical Hermeneutics. The book I am using is Louis Berkhof's "Principles of Biblical Interpretation." Though written in the '50s, it is still commonly used in many of the better seminaries of the US.

When I got to the relationship between the Old Testament and New Testament, it went like this:

The Old and New Testaments Constitute a Unit

1) Doctrine of Redemption was the Same (Lev 26:40-42, Lev 20:25-26, Ps 51:6, 16-17, Wash)
2) True Israelites shared Faith not merely Blood
3) Differences of Privileges and Duties are Relative, not Absolute (Law/Grace)
4) Ordinances have the same spiritual end, but there is a difference in the signifying means (Sacraments)

Guiding Principles (OT/NT)

1) OT offers the right key to interpret the NT (How we got here, why is this needed?)
2) NT is a commentary on the OT (What is meant by the laws, ceremonies, prophecies & history? (Hebrews, Gal 4, esp 22-31))
3) Don’t minimize the OT
4) Don’t read too much into the OT

There is one Divine Author behind the Bible, and he meant the two testaments to be interpreted as complementary parts of a unit. They are mostly similar once you get to know them. There are differences in administration, but not in key things like salvation.

So, when someone asks "Should a Christian mourn over his sin?" the answer is an unqualified yes. The real question is why and how?

Paul was a Christian when he described himself in Romans 7. So was the Psalmist in Psalm 88, and David in Psalm 51. Peter was an immature believer when he denied his Lord three times, and grieved in John 21 when Christ led him through repentance.

Paul talks of "godly sorrow" in 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 "For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."

We mourn because when we sin we have disappointed our Father who adopted us. After we mourn, we rejoice, because our Father is forgiving. He does not kick us out and say, "You are no child of mine." Instead, he rebukes us, sometimes spanks us, etc. But in the end, he forgives and hugs us... after all, he does not want his children walking around in sin and misery.

So yes, mourn over your sin, but for the right reason. Anyway, that's all... apologies that this was so long.

Wade Burleson said...


Excellent comment.


Rex Ray said...


I believe Ross nailed it when he said, “This blog is about the salvation of people and them being marked by the sign of the cross upon their foreheads as a sign of protection from the other five men mentioned in Ezekiel 9.”

Are we back in the days of Ezekiel? No. We do not mourn the sins of our country…we alternate between praying and being angry. For example how many mourn over what Hillary has done or the ‘sex predators’ in Congress?

When we mourn it is usually over the death of a loved one or some tragedy that effects us.

Being sorry is like the song:

“…I’m so sorry my friend; I didn’t know the gun was loaded and I’ll never never do it again.”

David Merkel

I agree with Wade. Good job!

Rex Ray said...

David Merkel,

I told you “good job”; but I believe the NLT gives a better translation than you quoting (2 Corinthians 7:8-10) from “The New King James Version”.

See if you agree.

“I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in SPIRITUAL death.”

Rex Ray said...

David Merkel,

I will state again the NLT is a better translation of the Scripture you quoted.

I believe you quoted (2 Corinthians 7:10) of “The New Open Bible New King James Version” by Nelson” which states “For Godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

The New Living Translation states: “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”

“…produces death” is not a big deal since we all die, but “…spiritual death” is shown by “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8:36 NLT)