Ezekiel 9:1–11 (NKJV)
9:1 Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” 2 And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; 4 and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”
5 To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. 6 Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple. 7 Then He said to them, “Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city.
8 So it was, that while they were killing them, I was left alone; and I fell on my face and cried out, and said, “Ah, Lord God! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem?”
9 Then He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see!’ 10 And as for Me also, My eye will neither spare, nor will I have pity, but I will recompense their deeds on their own head.”
11 Just then, the man clothed with linen, who had the inkhorn at his side, reported back and said, “I have done as You commanded me.”
The Lord initiated the process of identifying the faithful in Israel by seeking out those who cry and have sorrow over the sinful activities and lifestyle in Jerusalem. These God would spare, for they would rebuild the city with integrity once the Lord began to restore. God told the man in linen with the inkhorn among the six men who appeared (presumably angels) to go and mark the faithful. After that, the rest of the men with battle axes would join him and they would destroy the rest of the city inhabitants who did not have the mark.
The Lord was sending His judgment on the city for their idolatry and sin. The faithful were marked for salvation. The rest were to be destroyed. Our world today is full of sin, and judgment will come. How can you be saved? By repentance, by contrition and sorrow you will be saved. By submission and obedience you will live saved. By love and compassion and witnessing, you will share saved. How can I be saved from an adulterous and perverse and idolatrous generation? Because you care….