Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the forty-fourth chapter. WHEN THE GATE IS SHUT! When you come to the forty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, you will find the prophet Ezekiel being brought back by the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which faced the east. This is actually a start contrast from what we read in the forty-third chapter, for within the forty-third chapter we find this particular gate open. Consider what is recorded in the opening set of verses in the forty-third chapter of the prophetic writing of Ezekiel—“Afterward He brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: and, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the Spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court, and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house” (Ezekiel 43:1-5). The forty-third chapter begins and with the eastern gate—a gate which at that point was opened before the prophet. It was through that eastern gate the glory of the Lord entered by way of in order that He might come into and enter the Temple. Within the forty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the glory of the Lord not only entering the house, but also filling the house—a reality which I actually find to quite remarkable. Pause for a moment and consider if you will the concept of the Lord entering the sanctuary, and the Lord actually filling the sanctuary. I can’t help but be completely and utterly gripped by the concept that there is a vast difference between the glory of the Lord entering the sanctuary, and the glory of the Lord actually filling the sanctuary. HOW MUCH OF GOD ARE YOU ACTUALLY EXPERIENCING? HOW MUCH OF GOD DO YOU ACTUALLY DESIRE? When you read the fortieth chapter of the book of Exodus, as well as the fifth and seventh chapters of the book of Second Chronicles, you will read of the cloud that covered both the Tabernacle and Temple in the midst of the people of God. With that being said, there is more than simply the cloud being present within the Temple and the Tabernacle, but the glory of the Lord actually filled both houses.
WHEN THE GLORY FILLS THE SANCTUARY! “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE TABERNACLE! And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation because the cloud abode thereon, AND THE GLORY FILLED THE TABERNACLE. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40;34-38). This is the description we read in the final five verses of the final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus when the work setting up the Tabernacle had been completed according to the commandment of the Lord. Within this particular set of verses we not only read how the cloud covered the Tabernacle in the midst of God’s people, but we also notice how the glory of the Lord filled the house. This concept and reality of the glory of the Lord filling the house would be mentioned and found within this particular passage of Scripture, yet this would not be the only account in Scripture concerning the glory of the Lord filling the house. If you journey to the fifth and seventh chapters of the book of Second Chronicles, you will discover two additional references to the cloud covering the sanctuary of the. Lord, and the glory of the Lord filling the house. “”It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: THAT THEN THE HOUSE WAS FILLED WITH A CLOUD, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: FOR THE GLORY OF THE LORD HAD FILLED THE HOUSE OF GOD” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). This reference is but the first reference within the book of Second Chronicles concerning the glory of the Lord filling the house, for when you come to the seventh chapter of the same Old Testament book, you will find a second reference to the glory of the Lord filling the house. “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE HOUSE. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, BECAUSE THE GLORY OF THE LORD HAD FILLED THE LORD’S HOUSE. And when all the children of israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth forever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). With these three references found within the Old Testament, we encounter a tremendous picture of the glory of the Lord filling the sanctuary of the Lord which was found in the midst of His people. Within this two passages, we not only discover the glory of the Lord filling the Tabernacle in the wilderness, but also filling the Temple which would be found within the inheritance as well. GLORY IN THE WILDERNESS, GLORY WITHIN THE INHERITANCE!
One of the greatest realities surrounding both of these references found within the Old Testament is that the glory of the Lord not only filled the sanctuary within and in the midst of the wilderness, but the glory of the Lord also filled the sanctuary within the inheritance as well. In essence, and in other words—the glory of the Lord not only filled the sanctuary in the place of wandering and journeying, but the glory of the Lord also filled the sanctuary in the place of possession. I can’t help but be absolutely and incredibly taken by the fact that not only did the children of Israel experience and encounter the glory of the Lord in the place of wandering, but they also experienced the glory of the Lord in the place of rest and possession. The glory of the Lord was found while they were embarking upon their journey toward the place of their inheritance, and the glory of the Lord would again be found in the place of their inheritance when the Temple of the Lord was established among them within the land. Pause for a moment and consider this reality and concept, for these particular passages not only reveal our need for the glory of the Lord in the midst of our wandering within and wandering throughout the wilderness, but it also reveals our need for the glory of the Lord in the midst of that place of rest and possession. It didn’t matter whether or not the children of Israel and people of God were wandering in the wilderness, or whether they were enjoying rest within the inheritance—the glory of the Lord was still desperately needed. I absolutely love that the glory of the Lord wasn’t only manifested within the wilderness upon the completion of the Tabernacle, but the glory of the Lord was also manifested within the inheritance upon the completion of the Temple. GLORY IN THE WILDERNESS, GLORY IN THE INHERITANCE! In all reality, we as the people of God should experience the glory of the Lord anywhere and everywhere we are. In fact, there is a particular passage in the Old Testament book of Exodus that helps illustrate this reality even more. In the thirty-third chapter of the book of Exodus we find an incredibly striking declaration made by the Lord unto Moses—one that invoked a very specific response from Moses. Beginning with the first verse of this chapter we find these words spoken unto Moses by the Lord of hosts.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people, which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: and I will send an angel before thee: and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiff-necked people: lest I consume thee in the way. And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of israel, Ye are a stiff-necked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb. And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle” (Exodus 33:1-11).
Within this particular set of verses we discover the Lord declaring unto Moses that instead of going up with them and leading them through the wilderness and into the land flowing with milk and honey, the Lord would send an angel before them. Pause for a moment and consider the weight and magnitude of that which the Lord declared unto Moses concerning the children of Israel, for the Lord didn’t declare that the children of Israel would not enter into the land flowing with milk and honey, but rather, that He personally would not go up with them. The Lord declared that instead of going up with them within and throughout the wilderness, the Lord would send an angel ahead of and before them in His place. What a tremendous tragedy it is when men can not be led by the Lord, nor even be accompanied by the Lord of hosts because of their own rebellion and disobedience. The Lord declared unto Moses that instead of Him personally going up in the midst of the children of israel, the Lord would send an angel before them. The Lord would still drive out the nations and peoples which were present in the midst of the land, yet the Lord would not personally go up in their midst. VICTORY WITHOUT PRESENCE! Please pay close attention to these words, for what the Lord was speaking of concerning the children of Israel was that they would still experience victory, yet any victory they experience would be absent His presence, and His glory. The Lord still promised they would enter into the inheritance, yet they would enter the inheritance without and apart from His glory and His presence. VICTORY WITHOUT PRESENCE! INHERITANCE WITHOUT PRESENCE! The more I consider this reality and concept, I can’t help but think about how many men and women among us in this generation are content with victory, yet a victory that is absent the presence and glory of the Lord. I can’t help but think about how many men and women among us in this generation may be content with inheritance, and they are content within inheritance absent the presence and glory. Tell me—what good is victory without and apart from the glory and presence of the Lord? What good is inheritance without and apart from the glory and presence of the Lord? The Lord had still promised that He would drive out their enemies and adversaries before them, but their victory would not be accompanied by the glory and presence of the Lord. I would dare say that it is possible to experience victory within our lives, yet experience that victory without, apart from and absent the glory and presence of the Lord. It is possible to experience inheritance within our lives, and yet experience it without and apart from the glory and presence of the Lord.
What I absolutely love about this particular passage of Scripture, is that Moses wasn’t content with victory absent and apart from the glory and the presence. Moses wasn’t content with inheritance absent the glory and presence of the Lord. Moses wasn’t content with being led through the wilderness without and apart from the glory and presence of the Lord. In fact, if you begin reading from the twelfth verse of this chapter, you will find Moses passionately interceding and pleading with the Lord on behalf of the people. Moses was not content to move from that place—even though the Lord promised that He would still drive out before them the nations within the land—if doing so would be absent and apart from the glory and presence of the Lord. Consider the words which Moses spoke unto the Lord of hosts from within the Tabernacle of congregation—“And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, IF THY PRESENCE GO NOT WITH ME, CARRY US NOT UP HENCE. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before the; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will show mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pas, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a Clift of the rock, and will covere thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen” (Exodus 33:12-23).
Within this passage of Scripture we find Moses being unwilling to move forward from that place if doing so would be absent the glory and presence of the Lord. I absolutely love the words which Moses spoke before and unto the Lord, for Moses wasn’t content with victory without and apart from the presence and glory of the Lord. Moses wasn’t content with inheritance without and apart from the glory and presence of the Lord. In all reality, Moses would rather remain in that place, if it was in that place the glory and the presence was found. Oh, how many of us don’t have the same passion and intensity of desire as Moses did? How many of us are content moving from place to place without and apart from the presence and glory of the Lord? One of the greatest realities surrounding the final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus is that the children of Israel could not move forward from that place in the wilderness they were stationed until and unless the cloud had lifted up from the Tabernacle and moved forth from the sanctuary among them in their midst. Consider if you will what would and could have happened if the children of israel had grown tired, and perhaps even weary of any particular place that had been within the wilderness, and had attempted to tear down the tabernacle and move forward from that place. There is not account within the Old Testament book of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus or Deuteronomy of the children of israel attempting to move forward from any place they had been stationed in the midst of the wilderness until and unless the cloud had lifted up from the sanctuary and had moved forward from that place. This is actually quite astounding, for it reveals that every one of their transitions in the wilderness was guided and directed by the Lord of hosts. All the journeying and all the traveling the children of Israel did within the wilderness was completely and totally governed by the Lord of hosts Himself. What’s more, is that their journeys were completely and totally governed by the glory and presence of the Lord among them within their midst. It would be the glory and presence of the Lord that would dictate and determine when the time had come for them to move forward from that place. The children of israel had absolutely no control over their journeys within the wilderness, for it was the glory of the Lord alone that dictated and controlled such a reality among them. There is a particular passage within the Old Testament book of Numbers I believe perfectly and accurately describes this reality, and is found in the ninth chapter of the book. Consider if you will the text that is found in the ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus—beginning with the fifteenth verse.
“And on the day that the Tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, t here the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed. And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses” (Numbers 9:15-23).
Notice if you will that within this passage we not only find the glory of the Lord upon and within the Tabernacle, but we also find the commandment of the Lord. Within this particular passage of Scripture we notice that it was not only by the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses the children of Israel moved forth from that place where they had been pitched, but it was also according to and by way of the glory of the Lord moving forth from that place. THE CLOUD AND THE COMMANDMENT! As I am sitting here right now I can’t help but examine my own life and wonder if I allow myself to be governed by the cloud and the commandment. Moses specifically records within this passage that the cloud could remain upon the Tabernacle for a single day, but that it could also abide upon the tabernacle for a week, a month, or even a year. What’s more, is that when reading this passage, we also discover the fact that the children of Israel not only needed to be prepared to remain pitched where they were, but they also needed to be prepared to move—even with little notice and no prior warning. I would dare say that the Lord gave no prior warning unto the children of Israel that the cloud was going to lift from the tabernacle, thus indicating that the children of israel had to continually look toward and look upon the Tabernacle. THE CLOUD, THE COMMANDMENT AND THE CHARGE! I absolutely love this passage of Scripture, for within this passage we notice and encounter that the journeys of the children of Israel were governed by the cloud and the commandment, but also how the children of Israel were responsible for keeping the charge of the Lord so long as they remained pitched in a specific place within the wilderness. I can’t help but wonder how many of us actually minister so long as the cloud and the commandment of the Lord remain in a specific place. It’s worth noting that not only could the children of Israel not move forth from that place if the cloud and the commandment did not permit them to do so, but they also could not cease or halt their ministry and service before the Lord unless they were released to do so. How many of us not only attempt to move forth from a specific place absent the cloud and the commandment, but we also attempt to cease our ministry and service before the Lord as well? Within this passage we come face to face with the fact that not only was the ministry of the Tabernacle and the worship of the people of God governed by the cloud and the commandment, but so also were their journeys. It’s absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand this, for there are a number of us who would dare move from a particular place before the cloud has lifted, and before the commandment has released us. There are a number of us who would dare cease our ministry and service before the Lord before the cloud has lifted, and before the commandment has released us.
What I find to be incredibly challenging concerning and surrounding this passage is that the children of Israel needed to be in a place when they were ready to move at a moment’s notice. The children of Israel needed to be prepared to remain in a specific location for as long as the Lord had required of them, and they needed to move forth from a place when the Lord instructed them to do so by way of the cloud and commandment of the Lord. Within the wilderness, the children of Israel needed to constantly remain in a place where they were ready and wiling to make whatever transition was necessary and required of them—even regardless and despite the time of day. How many of us need advanced notice and warning if the Lord is calling us to move forth from any specific place we have found ourselves within the course of our lives? This particular passage presents us with a tremendous challenge, for the children of israel needed to be prepared to transition from any place they had been camped—even if that required them to do so in the middle of the night. Consider what it would be like to be woken up in the middle of the night by an announcement that the cloud had lifted up from the tabernacle, and had begin moving forth within the wilderness. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—are you ready, willing and able to move forth from any place you have been pitched at a moments notice? Are you able to move forth from a particular place you have been in—even if you have spent very little time there? If you were truthfully honest with yourself and with the Lord, how capable are you being led by the cloud and the commandment of the Lord? How much are you willing to allow yourself to be completely governed by the glory of the Lord, and to allow yourself to be led from place to place by the glory and commandment of the Lord? The children of israel could not move forth from any place they had been camped if the cloud had not lifted from the Tabernacle. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if there weren’t times when they wished the cloud would and the cloud had lifted from a particular place, and had moved forth to a different place within the wilderness. Is it possible that they found the cloud remaining in the place of bitter waters for a length of time that was much longer than they anticipated and expected? What happens when the cloud and commandment of the Lord requires you to remain and abide in a place you would much rather not remain in? What’s more, is what happens, and how do you respond and react when the cloud and the commandment of the Lord calls you to move forth from a place that you have perhaps grown comfortable in? Are you able to allow yourself to move forth from a place—even if you weren’t permitted to remain in that place as long as you may have liked. ALWAYS BE READY TO MOVE! DON’T GROW ATTACHED TO ANY SPECIFIC PLACE WITHIN THE EARTH! If there is one word I can’t help but hear the Spirit of the Lord speaking to us within this generation, it’s that we need to continually live in that place where we are always ready to move forth according to the cloud and commandment of the Lord—despite and regardless of how attached we have grown to that specific place.
If you read each of the three accounts of the glory of the Lord filling the sanctuary, there is one thing each of them has in common. In the case of the glory of the Lord filling the Tabernacle, not even Moses—the man with whom God spoke to face to face could enter therein. If you read the account of the Temple being filled, you will notice that neither the priests nor the Levites—those who were ordained, chosen and appointed to stand before the Lord and serve Him in the ministry of the sanctuary—could enter therein. I wrote earlier concerning the glory of the Lord filling the house, and I find it rather peculiar that when the glory of the Lord filled the house, there was no man who could enter therein. When I consider the reality of the glory of the Lord filling the sanctuary, and the reality that not even the priests could enter the house, I can’t help but get a tremendous picture of how the Lord not only desires to enter into the sanctuary, but the Lord desires to fill the entire sanctuary. When we think of and consider the glory of the Lord, we tend to think of it in terms of visitation rather than doweling and occupying—not fully realizing, recognizing, or even acknowledging the fact that the house belongs to the Lord. I wrote earlier concerning how much we want of God, and the nature and intent of that question is centered upon the concept of the Lord merely entering the house, or actually filling the entire house. If you were honest with yourself, and honest with the Lord, have you ever truly experienced the glory of the Lord filling the house and sanctuary you have worshipped in? Sure you might have experienced the glory of the Lord entering the house wherein you have worshipped, but have you ever experienced the Lord completely filling the entire house and sanctuary? I am convinced that it’s not enough for the glory of the Lord to merely come upon the house, and merely make an entrance within the house. In all reality, this is the reality that surrounds the Spirit of the Lord within the Old Testament, for in the Old Testament you read of the Holy Spirit coming upon men and women. One of the fundamental differences between the Old and the New Covenants and Testaments is that whereas in the Old Testament the Spirit came upon men and women for a specific task and purpose, the same Spirit actually indwelt and resided within men and women. There are far too many men and women who are living in the manifestation of the Spirit coming upon their lives, and perhaps making some type of entrance, yet they have not allowed the Spirit to completely fill, dwell within, and occupy the Temple within their lives. I love the fact that when the glory of the Lord filled both the Tabernacle and the Temple the priests could not enter therein, for it’s almost as if the Lord wanted to occupy every square inch of the sanctuary. The fact that the glory of the Lord completely filled the sanctuary meant that only the divine nature and essence could occupy the sanctuary, and there was no flesh that could enter therein. The Lord of hosts Himself desired to fill the house, for by completely filling the entire sanctuary, the Lord could sanctify and make holy both the building and the instruments.
DO NOT ENTER: GOD AT WORK! When I consider the thought of the glory of the Lord completely filling both the Tabernacle and the Temple, and that neither Moses, nor the priests could enter therein, I can’t help but consider the reality that man was not permitted to enter because the Lord was at work. I can’t help but think that the fact that man could not enter the sanctuary seems to suggest that the Lord of hosts Himself was at work within the sanctuary, and that no flesh was permitted to enter therein. I love that before any type of ministry or service began within the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Lord of hosts Himself entered into the sanctuary and set it apart for Himself. In other words, both the sanctuary and the instruments contained therein were sanctified and made holy because the glory of the Lord had completely filled the house, thereby touching and enveloping all that was contained therein. There might very some among us who have the testimony that we have had an encounter—perhaps even multiple encounters—with the glory of the Lord, yet how many of us can truly say that we have been in an environment where the entire house was filled with the glory of the Lord? What I absolutely love about the forty-third and forty-fourth chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is that in both chapters we read of the glory of the Lord filling the house once more. In the fourth verse of the forty-third chapter we begin reading how “the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east,” and how the Spirit took Ezekiel up, and brought him into the inner court.Upon entering the inner court, Ezekiel discovered and experienced the glory of the Lord filling the entire. Immediately the Lord began speaking of the Temple and sanctuary as the place of His throne, the place of the soles of His feet as being the place where He dwelt in the midst of the children of Israel for ever. The Temple which stood in the midst of Jerusalem was indeed and was in fact the place where the very throne of the Lord was established within and upon the earth, and was the place where He would place His holy name. When you come to the forty-fourth chapter of the same prophetic book, we find the prophet being brought back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which was toward the east, and that gate was shut. The Lord declared of this gate that it would be shut and shall not be opened, nor would any man enter in by it because the Lord, the God of Israel entered in by and through that gate. The Lord would go on to speak of that gate as being set apart for the prince who would sit and eat bread before the Lord, and the prince who would enter by way of that gate, and would go out by way of the same gate. In the fourth verse of the same chapter Ezekiel recounts how the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord once more.
The more I consider the concept of the glory of the Lord filling the house, the more I can’t help but consider the fact that such a reality speaks of the Lord not merely coming upon the house, but actually dwelling therein and occupying the house. When the glory of the Lord completely filled the house, it was almost as if the Lord of hosts Himself was declaring of and declaring over the house that He Himself would occupy the house, and would dwell therein. One of the greatest tragedies that I am confronted with when reading this particular passage is that while many may very well have had experiences and encounters with the glory of the Lord, there are very few among us who have experienced the glory of the Lord completely filling the house. What I mean by this, is that by completely filling the entire house and sanctuary, there is absolutely no room for any idolatry. When the glory of the Lord completely fills the entire sanctuary and house, there is absolutely no room for any abominations, nor is there any room for wickedness, transgression and rebellion. In fact, as you continue reading this particular passage of Scripture, you will discover that the glory of the Lord filling the house demanded that nothing enter therein that would pollute or devil it. Consider if you will the words the Lord begins to speak to the prophet immediately after the prophet saw the glory of the Lord filling the house: “Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord, and all the lawas thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary. And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, in that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. Thus saith the Lord God; NO stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offerings and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them. Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord God, and they shall bear their iniquity. And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein” (Ezekiel 44:5-14).
Moses saw the glory of the Lord filling the Tabernacle, and it was His glory filling the house that prohibited Moses from entering therein. Solomon saw the glory of the Lord filling the Temple, and it was His glory within the house that prohibited the priests from entering therein. Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord filling the Temple once more, and upon seeing the glory of the Lord filling the sanctuary, Ezekiel was then given a prophetic word concerning that which cannot, that which should not, that which must not be allowed access and entrance within the house and within the sanctuary. To illustrate and reveal this reality even more, let us turn our attention to the eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, and the vision the Lord permitted the prophet to see concerning the sanctuary of the Lord: “…Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his. Lions even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the color of amber. And He put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that Is aw in the plain. Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? Even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? But turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations. And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. 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, portrayed upon the wall rounda bout. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of israel do in the dark, ever man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? IS it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ear with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Ezekiel 8:1-18).
THE HIGH COST OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLING THE HOUSE! Within the eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we notice the abominations that were committed within the courts and sanctuary of the Lord, and as you continue reading the prophetic book of Ezekiel, you will notice the glory of the Lord departing from the sanctuary, and journeying toward the mountains. When we come to the forty-third and forty-fourth chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we notice the glory of the Lord filling the sanctuary and house once more. To bring this entire discourse to a close, I feel it necessary to not only declare that we desperately need the glory of the Lord to fill the house and the sanctuary, but there is also a cost associated with the glory filling the house. I would dare say that one of the reasons—if not the greatest reason—why the glory of the Lord cannot completely fill the house and sanctuary is because there is too much garbage and junk that is found within the sanctuary. If we truly desire the glory of the Lord to fill the house, we need to be willing to allow the house and sanctuary to be completely emptied of anything within it that is an abomination and an affront unto the Lord of hosts. With that being said, I believe that what is so desperately needed in this generation is men and women to rise up in the same spirit that took and lay hold of Josiah in the days in which he reigned as king over Judah. I close this discourse with words from the thirty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles, and Josiah’s actions as the final righteous king to rule from David’s throne: “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in that welfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he break in pieces, and made dust of them, and stroked it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattock round about. And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 34:1-7). I would also set before you the account of Josiah’s life as recorded in the twenty-third chapter of the book of Second Kings: “And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the woman wove hangings for the grove” (2 Kings 23:1-7).