Glory Without Government, Presence Apart From Authority















Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in verses twenty-one through thirty-three of the thirty-third chapter. When this chapter opens, it opens with a very specific description of something that had taken place within the earth. As you begin reading this particular portion of this chapter, you will find one coming unto the prophet Ezekiel—yet not one whom you would expect. When the prophetic book of Ezekiel opens, it opens with the priest turned prophet sitting among the captives by the river Chebar in the land of the Chaldeans. When we come to the twenty-first verse of this chapter we find that “it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.” When this chapter opens, it opens with one escaping from the city of Jerusalem in the twelfth year of the captivity of those who had been brought unto the land of the Chaldeans with a very specific report. It’s interesting to read how twelve years after Ezekiel and those who were carried away captive along with him were brought into Babylon the city of Jerusalem was smitten. There was one who had escaped from the midst of the inheritance and had made his way to the captives in the land of the Chaldeans with the message that the city of Jerusalem had finally been captured by the enemy and adversary. There was one escaped from the midst of the inheritance to reveal to the captives that the city of Jerusalem—that place where the throne of David and the Temple of Solomon were both found—had fallen into the hands of the enemy and adversary. Consider what a tremendous report that must have been—and not only the report, but the journey this one made to the captives in the land of the Chaldeans. Imagine making this type of journey to reveal to your brethren that the capital city of Jerusalem—the city of David—had not only been laid siege to by the adversary, but that the adversary had successfully broken through the wall(s) and gates of the city and the city itself had fallen. What a report to bring to one’s brethren—that the defenses of the people of God had been broken through and the enemy had gained access to the throne and the Temple. WHEN THE ADVERSARY GAINS ACCESS TO THE THRONE AND THE TEMPLE!

 The more I consider the seventy years the people of Judah and Jerusalem dwelt as captives within the land of Judah, the more I can’t help but be completely and utterly struck by that reality. Not only do we find the people of God removed from their inheritance and dwelling in the place of captivity, but we find the throne of God and the Temple of the Lord now exposed and made vulnerable to the enemy. WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CAPTIVE AND THE THRONE AND TEMPLE ARE EXPOSED TO THE ENEMY! One of the realities I find to be most interesting when I spend time considering this passage is that there were two successive waves of captivity within the inheritance of the people of God before the city of Jerusalem was exposed and made vulnerable to the enemy and adversary. In all reality, there were essentially three different waves of captivity that took place before the throne of David and the Temple of Solomon were exposed and made vulnerable to the adversary. I can’t help but see this as incredibly significant and worth noting, for the adversary removed the people of God from the inheritance, as well as isolated and cut off Jerusalem from the rest of the fortified cities within the land. A CAPTIVE PEOPLE AND AN ISOLATED CITY! I believe with everything inside me that there is a tremendous prophetic picture and word that is contained within this passage, for when the people are captive and the city is isolated, it is only a matter of time before the throne and the Temple become exposed to the attack and assault of the adversary. There were two firm waves of captivity that took place within the land before the third and final wave occurred—that third and final wave which would carry with it the breaching of the wall of Jerusalem, and the enemy and his army marching straight up in the midst of the city. Notice that neither the throne, nor the Temple were immediately exposed and made vulnerable to the adversary until the people were carried away captive, and a breach had been made in the wall. The final phase of the destruction of Jerusalem was the utter destruction of the Temple of Solomon in the midst of the city, the wall broken through, the gates torn down, and all the prominent houses being destroyed by the Chaldeans. There is not a doubt in my mind that when the Chaldeans had finished their destruction of the city of Jerusalem—not only did the Temple of the Lord lie in ruins and rubble, but the throne of David was no more within the land. A PEOPLE CAPTIVE, A THRONE VACATED AND A TEMPLE LYING IN RUINS!

 I can’t escape that last statement—a people captive, a throne vacated, and a temple lying in ruins, for such a statement is incredibly tragic within the lives of the people of God. What we read concerning Jerusalem and Judah’s final days is the people of God being carried away captive into a strange and foreign land that was not the place of their inheritance. We read of the Temple of the Lord having been utterly and completely destroyed by the Chaldeans, and lying in a heap of ruin, rubble and ashes. What’s more, is that the very throne of David—that which represented the authority, the government, the dominion of the Lord within the earth—being destroyed along with everything else. A PEOPLE CAPTIVE, A GLORY DEPARTED, AN AUTHORITY REMOVED! With the people of God either cut off by the sword or carried away captive, there was none to occupy the land which was their inheritance, nor was their anyone to tend and look after that which had been promised and sworn on oath to their ancestors. Upon readying and studying these passages, one will not only see a direct connection between a captive people and the throne vacated and destroyed, but one will also see a direct connection between a people captive and the Temple destroyed. It wasn’t enough to carry the people of God captive outside of and away from their inheritance, for the adversary also sought to destroy the symbol of the authority and dominion of the Lord, as well as the symbol of the glory and presence of the Lord their God. In all reality, it was necessary—from the standpoint and mindset of the adversary—to destroy the Temple of Solomon within the land of Judah, for if the Temple of Solomon could be destroyed, then it would serve as a sign that the gods of the Chaldeans was somehow stronger and mightier than the God of the Hebrews. It was necessary for the Temple of Solomon to be destroyed, for it would be a sign that the glory of the Lord had departed from the midst of the land, and that it was now an age and era of the gods of the Gentiles. THE ERA OF THE GODS OF THE GENTILES! THE ERA OF THE DOMINION OF THE GENTILES! We dare not miss the significance and importance of this, for with the throne of David destroyed and the king cut off from sitting upon and reigning from that throne, the dominion, the government, the authority of the Gentiles could be the dominant force within and upon the earth. With the Temple of the Lord lying in a heap of ruin, rubble and ashes—and even with the Ark of the Covenant not even mentioned—there was no sign of the God of the Hebrews even being present and involved within the earth.

 There is something that I absolutely love about how the prophet book of Ezekiel opens, for it opens with the heavens being opened, and the prophet seeing visions of God in the midst of the captivity of the people of God. I absolutely love how the prophetic book of Ezekiel opens, for despite the fact that the Temple of Solomon would be destroyed, and despite the fact that the throne of David would be vacated and destroyed, the Lord of hosts was still sovereign over all. I love how the prophetic book of Ezekiel opens, for it opens with an incredibly powerful revelation of the true and living God, as Ezekiel not only saw a vision of the wheels within wheels, and the living creatures, and seraphim and cherubim, but Ezekiel also saw and encountered a vision of the throne of God. WHEN ALL EARTHLY THRONES LIE VACANT OR LIE IN RUINS THERE IS STILL ONE THRONE THAT REMAINS CONSTANT IN THE MIDST OF IT ALL. Consider if you will how the first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel opens, as the Lord of hosts appeared to Ezekiel the priest as he sat among the captives by the river Chebar—“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity. The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him” (Ezekiel 1:1-3). Within these three verses we read how Ezekiel sat among the captives by the river Chebar, and that as he sat among the captives, the heavens were opened, and he saw visions of God. Moreover, it was there as he sat among the captives by the river CHebar in the land of the Chaldeans that the word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there. Despite the fact that certain of the people of Judah and Jerusalem had been carried away captive by the Chaldeans, there was still a vision and revelation that was to be released within the earth concerning the sovereignty of the Lord of hosts. The vision which Ezekiel saw did not occur while he remained in the land of the inheritance, but while he sat among the captives by the river Chebar in the land of the Chaldeans. It was true the people of God had already begun to be carried away captive by the enemy and adversary, but the Lord was about to reveal Himself in visions unto Ezekiel, as the heavens would be opened, and the hand of the Lord would be upon Ezekiel.

 I am convinced there is a tremendous significance in the visions which Ezekiel saw as the prophetic book would unfold, for the Lord sought to reveal unto the prophet Ezekiel that despite whatever happened on earth, the throne in heaven was still occupied. Despite the fact that the Temple of Solomon would be destroyed by fire and would lie in ruins, the prophet Ezekiel had seen a vision of the glory of the Lord, and even of the throne of God in heaven, thus suggesting that despite what happened within and upon the earth, there was absolutely nothing that could touch the glory and presence that was found in heaven, nor could anything touch the dominion, the authority, the government that was found in heaven. When you come to the twenty-sixth verse of the first chapter, you will find this chapter concluding with a powerful vision of what Ezekiel described as the likeness of a throne, and upon the likeness of the throne was the appearance of a man. “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:26-28). Before the prophetic book of Ezekiel even opens up with any prophetic word released from the Lord, the prophet Ezekiel would experience the heavens being opened before him, and visions of God being released before him. The prophet Ezekiel would see the four living creatures which the apostle John would see in the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus, and the prophet would see the wheels within wheels which would move according to the spirit that was within them. What an absolutely incredible encounter this was for the prophet Ezekiel as this opens, for there he was sitting among the captives by the river Chebar, and yet from that place of captivity the heavens were opened. WHEN THE HEAVENS ARE OPENED IN THE PLACE OF CAPTIVITY!

Oh, I can’t help but see a direct connection between what we read in the first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, and what we read in the Old Testament book of the Psalms. In the one-hundred and thirty-seventh chapter of the book of the Psalms we read these words—“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sin us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land” (Psalm 137:1-4). In the one-hundred and thirty-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms we read of the captives sitting down by the rivers of Babylon and weeping when they thought about and remembered Zion. There by and before the rivers of Babylon the captive people of God hung their harps upon the willows in the midst thereof—perhaps unable to pick them up, much less actually play on them. What’s more, is that there by the rivers of Babylon the captive people of God were asked to sing a song as while they wasted away in the midst of the land, their captors required of them mirth, calling for them to sing one of the songs of Zion. I find it to be absolutely intriguing as within the one-hundred and thirty-seventh chapter of the book of the Psalms we find the people of God hanging up their harps as they wept being unable to sing the songs of Zion. Despite the fact that they had hung their harps, wept by the rivers, and could not sing the songs of Zion, the Lord appeared unto the priest Ezekiel and had opened the heavens before him, as He released unto him visions of God. While there were those who wept because they remembered Zion and could not sing the songs of Zion, the heavens were opened unto Ezekiel as he encountered a vision of the glory of the true and living God. I can’t help but wonder if Ezekiel was one such individual who sat among those who were mentioned in this particular chapter within the book of the Psalms, and yet despite the fact that many wept as they could neither play their harps, nor sing the songs of Zion, there was one among them who had experienced the glory of the Lord in the midst of the land of captivity. I can’t help but find it to be absolutely stunning and wonderful that the prophetic book of Ezekiel opened with visions of God and an encounter with the glory of the Lord, for there was coming a day when the Temple of Solomon within the earth would be destroyed, and the throne of David would lie in ruins within the earth. The prophetic book of Ezekiel opened with visions of God and an encounter with the glory of the Lord, yet there was coming a day when the symbol of the authority and dominion of the Lord upon the earth would be destroyed, as well as the symbol of the glory and presence of the Lord.

In the thirty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah we read of the city of Jerusalem being smitten and broken up before the king of Babylon whom the Lord had raised up against it—“In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up. And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even NErgal-sharezar, Samar-Nero, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharpener, Rab-mag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon. And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwist the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain. But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiahs’ eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon. And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. The Nebuzar-Adan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained. But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time” (Jeremiah 39:1-10). This particular event is recounted in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings as well, for the author records it using these words—“And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, ink the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of Zedekiah. And on the ninety day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldees were against the city round about and the king went the way toward the plain. And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon. And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-Adan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: and hour burnt the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire. And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzar-Adan the captain of the guard carry away. But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen. And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases, and the brazen sea that was in the house of the Lord, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon” (2 Kings 25:1-13).

The prophet Jeremiah, the author of the book of Second Kings, as well as the author of the book of Second Chronicles all wrote concerning the fall and destruction of the city of Jerusalem. It’s worth noting that one prophet actually saw the fall and destruction of Jerusalem with his own eyes, while another prophet would receive report of that destruction. When the twenty-first verse of this chapter opens up, it opens with one escaping out of Jerusalem and carrying with him news and a report that the city of Jerusalem had been broken up and smitten. I can’t help but wonder how long it took this particular individual to make his way to the land of the Chaldeans. Imagine making such a journey and doing so with the sole purpose of bringing report to the captives concerning the breaking up and destruction of the city of Jerusalem. Up until this point—despite the fact that there were those who sat by the rivers of Babylon as captives—the city of Jerusalem was still standing in the midst of the inheritance, as well as the Temple of Solomon and the throne of David still remaining in tact. When this particular individual made his way to the captives in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, he did so with news and a report that the city has been broken up and that the city had fallen into the hands and control of the adversary. Once the city had been broken up and the city being exposed and vulnerable to the enemy and adversary, both the Temple of Solomon, as well as the throne of David were prime targets of the adversary. Imagine bringing a report to the prophet of the Lord concerning the Temple of the Lord being destroyed, and the throne of David also being destroyed. This particular man had escaped from the midst of Jerusalem, and had managed to make his way all the way to the land of the Chaldeans where he relayed the message of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem to Ezekiel. When this particular one made their way to the land of the Chaldeans and unto the prophet, not only had the city of Jerusalem been broken up, but so also had the Temple been destroyed, and the throne of David destroyed along with it. When we come to this portion of Scripture we find the people of God cut off from the land as they had been carried away captive, as well as the walls and gates broken up and broken through. When we come to this portion of Scripture, we find the Temple of the Lord being destroyed by fire and lying in complete ruins and rubble, as well as the throne of David being destroyed in the midst of the city. What is actually quite interesting when reading this particular passage of Scripture is that when this one who escaped Jerusalem made their way unto Ezekiel, the word which was released unto the prophet Ezekiel was not one that we would expect.

As you read the second half of this particular chapter, you find the the city of Jerusalem being broken up, and you find the prophet Ezekiel being dumb and unable to speak throughout the night. Ezekiel recounts how the hand of the Lord was upon him the evening prior to the arrival of this messenger, and how his tongue was not loosed until the following morning when news and the report was brought unto him. I can’t help but wonder if Ezekiel’s being dumb and unable to speak was in and of itself a sign that something either had happened, or something would happen. Ezekiel recounts how the Lord had opened his mouth, until this one came to him in the morning, and how his. Mouth was opened, and he was no more dumb. THE PORTENT OF SILENCE! THE SIGN OF SILENCE! THE SYMBOL OF SILENCE! As I consider this particular passage of Scripture, I can’t help but think of how Ezekiels’ being dumb and unable to speak was in and of itself a sign and a portent that something was either about to happen, or something had happened. Ezekiel was unable to speak all that night until this one came unto him with the news and report of the city of Jerusalem being broken up. I can’t help but wonder if Ezekiel was aware of what had taken place and what had happened prior to the arrival of this messenger. There is a part of me that believes that Ezekiel was not made aware of the destruction and fall of Jerusalem until this messenger came unto him. What was such news and a report like in the land of the Chaldeans as those who had been carried away captive heard the report that the city of Jerusalem had been broken up, and had fallen into the hands and under the control of the Chaldeans. I am sure there were those who thought that the captivity would be short-lived, and that return to the land was imminent. Imagine their surprise when news reached the land of the Chaldeans that the city had been broken up and smitten. The city had been broken up, the enemy and adversary along with his princes had entered into the city and sat in the midst of the gate, and eventually the Temple of Solomon and the throne of David would be destroyed. Concerning the Temple of Solomon and the throne of David, it’s worth noting that before the Temple of Solomon was built within the earth, the throne of David was first established within the earth. I am utterly and completely convinced there is a powerful prophetic picture that is contained within this passage as the throne must always precede and come before the Temple. In fact, I would dare say that there can be Temple without and apart from the throne being established. The throne of David was established within the land, and only after the throne of David was established could the Temple then be built and be established among the nations.

BEFORE THE MANIFESTATION OF GLORY AND PRESENCE AUTHORITY AND GOVERNMENT MUST FIRST BE ESTABLISHED! It was David who was given the pattern for the Temple that was to be built in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and it was David who initially had the desire and passion to construct and build the Temple in the midst of the city. David, however, was prohibited from building the Temple, for David’s hands had shed must blood within and upon the earth. The Lord would not allow David to build the Temple in the midst of Jerusalem, but the Lord would establish the throne of David beginning with himself. I believe with everything inside of me that there is a powerful prophetic picture that is contained in this reality, for far too many times we seek the glory and the presence without and apart from the authority and the government. There are far too many times when we pursue the glory and presence of the Lord, while simultaneously living our lives without and apart from the glory and presence of Almighty God. We fail to recognize and understand that before the Temple of the Lord was built within the city of Jerusalem, the throne of David was first established. Please don’t lose sight of and miss the significance and importance of this reality, for we dare not, we should not, we cannot, we must not pursue the glory and presence without and apart from authority and government. Why on earth would the Lord entrust His glory and presence to those who do not know how to handle His authority, His dominion and His government? Why on earth would the Lord entrust His glory and His presence to those who neither know how to respect, nor respond to His authority and government within their lives? In all reality, I would dare say that until and unless you are ready, willing and able to respect the authority and government of the Lord of hosts within your life, you dare not and cannot expect the glory and presence of the Lord to be manifested in the midst of it. The Temple of Solomon could not be built until both the land and David had been given peace from the enemies and adversaries round about, and until the throne of David had not only been established within Judah and Jerusalem, but also within the earth and among the nations. The Temple and sanctuary of the Lord has always proceeded, come after and followed the establishment of the throne of David within the earth. Glory and presence has always and will always proceed and come after authority, dominion and government. Let us never seek the glory and the presence if we are not willing to bring ourselves under the dominion and authority of the Lord of hosts. Let us this day firmly resolve within our hearts and minds that we will first allow ourselves to submit and be brought under the dominion, the authority and the government of the Lord, and then allow the glory and presence of the Lord to be manifested and established within our lives.

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