A Risen Temple & the Glory Returning

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, which began to be revealed and given unto him in the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters forty-five through forty-eight of this Old Testament prophetic book. THE TEMPLE WILL RISE AGAIN! THE PRIESTS WILL MINISTER AGAIN! THE SINGERS WILL SING AGAIN! THE ALTAR WILL STAND ONCE MORE! THE FIRE WILL BURN ONCE MORE! SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS WILL ONCE MORE BE OFFERED IN THE MIDST OF THE LAND! FROM THE ASHES OF RUIN AND RUBBLE THE TEMPLE WILL RISE! THE GLORY WILL ENTER THE TEMPLE ONCE MORE! THE TEMPLE WILL RISE AND THE GLORY WILL INHABIT! THE TEMPLE, THE INHERITANCE, THE BORDERS, THE PORTION!

“In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither. In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a linen of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel. And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about”

“And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; and their prospect was toward the south: one at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north. And he said unto me, This chamber, whose prospect is toward the south, is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house. And the chamber whose prospect is toward the north is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar: these are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the LORD to minister unto him”

“Then said he unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, which are before the separate place, they be holy chambers, where the priests that approach unto the LORD shall eat the most holy things: there shall they lay the most holy things, and the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; for the place is holy. When the priests enter therein, then shall they not go out of the holy place into the outer court, but there they shall lay their garments wherein they minister; for they are holy; and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people”

“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. And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever”

“Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house”

“And he said unto me, Son o fman, thus saith the LORD God; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the LORD God”

“Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same”

“Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face. And the LORD said unto me, 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 laws thereof; and makr 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 ven 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 offering 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. But the priests the Levites, the son of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the lord god: they shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge”

“Thus saith the LORD God; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the LORD God. Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath”

“Thus saith the LORD God; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary: and the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts o the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gates of the inner court. And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house”

“But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it. And the prince in the midst of them, when they go in, shall go in; and when they go forth, shall go forth”

When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the prophetic book of Ezekiel drawing to a close. In all reality it’s quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider how the prophetic book of Ezekiel comes to a close—particularly and especially when you consider how most of the book has played out with warnings of judgment and wrath. We cannot miss and lose sight of the language that is found within this prophetic book, as the language within it speaks of Israel’s defiling, polluting and corrupting the land of Israel, and the LORD’s subsequent judgment and wrath upon it. As the book begins, it does so with Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi witnessing the heavens being opened before and unto him as he sat by the captives near the river of Chebar. It would be there by the river of Chebar the heavens would be opened unto Ezekiel and he would see visions of God. What’s more, is that not only would Ezekiel see visions of God, but the hand of the LORD would be upon Ezekiel there at the river, and the Spirit of the LORD would be upon Him in that place. Within the first and opening chapter of this prophetic book you will find Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi seeing a truly wonderful and powerful revelation and vision of the glory of the living God which would come as a whirlwind out of the north and a fire infolding itself. This vision of the glory of the living God would be one where Ezekiel the priest would see the living creatures which would be mentioned in only one other place of Scripture—namely, the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It would be as the heavens were opened unto Ezekiel that he would see the living creatures which were before the throne of God, as well as the cherubim which were continually before the LORD, and even the wheels which served a tremendous and powerful purpose for the movement of the divine glory of the living God. Upon the first chapter of this prophetic book drawing to a close we find Ezekiel describing the firmament which was above the wheels and the living creatures, and how above the firmament there was a throne, and one who sat upon the throne whose appearance was both brightness and fire.

I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order to truly understand the words which are written and recorded within the final chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel it is absolutely necessary that we recognize the words which are found in the first and opening chapters, as well as the second encounter Ezekiel would have with the visions of God in chapters eight through eleven of this Old Testament prophetic book. You cannot truly hope and expect to understand the words which are found within these chapters until and unless you first consider the visions of God which Ezekiel would experience in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans. It would be Ezekiel’s first encounter and experience with visions of God that would allow him to see the divine glory of the living God as a whirlwind coming out of the north, and a fire which was infolding upon itself. It would be this first encounter and experience with the glory of the LORD that would set the tone and stage for two other encounters and experiences Ezekiel would have with the glory of the LORD. What makes this experience with and this revelation of the glory of God so absolutely incredible is when you take the time to consider that in both times Ezekiel witnessed and experienced the divine glory of the living God it would be directly linked and connected to the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. Ezekiel’s first encounter with the divine glory of the LORD would simply be the glory itself, as Ezekiel would see the living creatures, the wheels, the firmament, as well as the throne and the One who was seated upon the throne. The second revelation, however, would be entirely and altogether different from the first one—despite the fact that there would be certain similarities. In fact, as you read the words which are found in the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh chapters of this prophetic book you will find Ezekiel speaking and describing the glory of the LORD which he would witness and behold, and how what he was witnessing and seeing was similar to what he had seen by the river of Chebar. What’s more, is that it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when you find Ezekiel seeing and receiving this second vision and revelation of the divine glory of God—even if this second vision and revelation would be directly linked and connected to the Temple of the LORD.

When the heavens were opened before and unto Ezekiel the priest there at the river of Chebar Ezekiel would see the divine glory of the living God together with the wheels, the living creatures, the firmament, the throne, the fire, and the whirlwind. Ezekiel would indeed see the divine glory of God there by the river Chebar, however, that vision and revelation would simply and solely be about the revelation of the glory of God which would be seen and witnessed by the prophet. It would the two subsequent visions of the glory of the LORD which would have two entirely different meanings, and would reveal different things unto this priest turned prophet. It’s worth noting that the visions which Ezekiel would receive in chapters eight through eleven, as well as the visions which Ezekiel received in chapters forty through forty-seven would each involve a revelation of the glory of the living God, and they would both deal specifically and exclusively with the Temple and sanctuary of the living God, however, the first would deal with that which is, while the second would deal with that which would be. It is absolutely imperative that we understand what is taking place within these two visions, as they would each speak of two different times and two different generations, as the first would deal with the Temple of the LORD in the midst of judgment and wrath, while the second would deal with the Temple in the midst of restoration. The vision(s) which Ezekiel saw in chapters eight through eleven would be one that would deal specifically and exclusively with the Temple of the LORD which was still standing in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, yet would be entirely and altogether defiled, polluted and corrupted by those who would choose to use it to worship and serve their idols, their images, their false gods, and those things which they had set up within their hearts. The vision of the Temple which Ezekiel would see in the final chapters of this prophetic book would still deal with the Temple and sanctuary, however, it would deal with a Temple which would rise once more in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and one that would be entirely and altogether cleansed of its immorality, its iniquity, and its idolatry.

As I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome and wonderful reality of these two visions, I can’t help but be drawn to the truth that when Ezekiel was taken and caught up in visions of God for the second time as reflected in chapters eight through eleven, he would be brought unto the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD which would still be standing in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Scripture records and reveals how this vision and revelation would come unto Ezekiel in the sixth year of the captivity, which is an indication that Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard of the Chaldeans had not yet entered into the city of Jerusalem and burned the king’s house, as well as the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. When this vision and revelation takes place in the sixth year of the captivity of the people of God the city of Jerusalem had not yet been sieged, the famine and the pestilence had not yet struck in the midst of the city, the wall had not been broken through and burned with fire, not the gates of the city burned with fire. There was still a remnant and residue of the house of Judah that was living and dwelling within the city of Jerusalem, and the Temple of the LORD would still be standing in the midst of the city. These visions of God which Ezekiel would experience in this sixth year would be entirely and altogether captivating, for they would bring the prophet unto the land of Israel, and unto the city of Jerusalem, and ultimately unto the Temple of the LORD. It would be there at the Temple of the LORD Ezekiel would receive and experience this progressive revelation of defilement and pollution within the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. If and as you read the words which are found in the eighth chapter of this prophetic book you will find in the eighth chapter the prophet Ezekiel being led by the Spirit of the LORD further and further within the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD beholding the wickedness, the idolatry and iniquity as he went, until he would ultimately come to the outer court of the house of the LORD between the porch and the altar. It would be there in the outer court of the LORD Ezekiel would behold and witness the final “revelation” if you will of the great and tremendous wickedness that was found in the midst of the Temple. With this being said, consider if you will the following words which are found in this chapter beginning to read with and from the opening verse:

“And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the LORD God fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from is loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour 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 I saw 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, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. 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 sent up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every 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 mine fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Ezekiel 8:1-18).

In this second vision and revelation Ezekiel the priest would see and behold he would be brought unto the Temple and sanctuary in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—the Temple which would still be standing in the midst of the city, and in the midst of those who dwelt in the city. Despite the fact the Temple still stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, it had been grossly defiled and polluted with all the horrific abominations that were not only brought in the midst of it, but also which were done within it. As Ezekiel was brought in visions of God unto the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD in the midst of the land of Judah he would see and receive this progressive vision and revelation of the abominations, the wickedness, the immorality, and the abominations that would be committed in the sanctuary of the LORD—from the inner court to the outer court. It would be within these visions of God Ezekiel would be brought unto the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD, yet the vision and revelation Ezekiel would receive and experience would be visions of defilement, corruption and pollution within the house. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for it stands in stark contrast with the vision and revelation Ezekiel would see and behold in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity, and in the fourteenth year after the city of Jerusalem had been smitten and the Temple and sanctuary destroyed. It is important for us to recognize and understand that these visions of God would deal with the Temple that was—a Temple which would be on the verge of becoming like unto the house of the LORD which was in Shiloh. The Temple and sanctuary of the LORD would still stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, however, the LORD was preparing to turn this house whereupon He had placed His great name over into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. Up to this point Nebuchadrezzar had only carried away captive a remnant of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, but the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of the LORD would still remain in tact and untouched by the enemy and adversary. Everything would change in the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, for it would be in the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah the king of Babylon together with the army of the Chaldeans would surround the city and lay siege to it—a siege which would last almost two full years. It would be as a direct result of that siege the city would be struck with and consumed by both famine and pestilence until there was no more any bread for men and women to eat. Eventually and ultimately the city would be broken up, a breach would be made in the wall of the city, and not only would the walls be burned with fire, and not only would the gates of the city be burned with fire, but ultimately the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD would be destroyed with fire.

I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the visions of God which Ezekiel would see in the sixth year of the captivity of the people of God, for it would be nineteen years later Ezekiel would see a different vision and revelation of the living God which would once more deal with the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD, yet would deal with it in an entirely different life. In the sixth year of the captivity Ezekiel would experience the hand of the LORD being upon him as he sat within his house there in the land of the Chaldeans, and would be brought in visions of God unto the city of Jerusalem and unto the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. Five years before the city of Jerusalem would be broken up and this very Temple which Ezekiel saw would be destroyed with fire, the LORD showed and revealed unto Ezekiel the Temple and sanctuary which had become defiled and polluted with all the abominable images and practices of those who would seek to defile with their own idols and images within their hearts. What’s more, is that as you read these chapters you will find that not only do they deal with a Temple which was, and a Temple which stood on the verge and cusp of judgment and wrath, but they also dealt with the glory of the LORD which would depart from the sanctuary. It’s important to recognize that in these visions of God Ezekiel wouldn’t merely see the pollution and corruption found in the midst of the Temple, but Ezekiel would also see and behold the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple. Ezekiel would indeed see the glory of the LORD over and upon the Temple and sanctuary, yet eventually and ultimately Ezekiel would see the glory departing from the Temple and standing upon a mountain to the east of the city of Jerusalem. As a direct result of the judgment and wrath upon the house of Judah and the city of Jerusalem the LORD would allow His Temple and sanctuary where He had placed His great name to be completely and utterly destroyed, and His glory departing from the sanctuary would be the ultimate sign of judgment and wrath upon the people, as well as the Temple. Oh, I am fully and completely convinced that when the glory departs from the sanctuary it is most likely the final statement of the LORD concerning judgment and wrath which is about to come upon that sanctuary. When the glory of the LORD departs from the Temple and sanctuary it is a sign and portent of judgment and wrath which is about to come upon the land, as well as upon the sanctuary itself.

I continue to be captivated with and by the fact that during the days of Eli the high priest and his two sons Hophni and Phineas, as well as during the days of Samuel the prophet the children of Israel would be engaged in conflict and battle with the Philistines. It would be after suffering defeat before and at the hands of the Philistines the children of Israel would seek to carry the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD out of its place within the house at Shiloh, and bring with them into the midst of the battle. In the hearts and minds of the children of Israel they thought and believed that the presence of the Ark of the Covenant among them in the midst of battle would secure victory over their enemy and adversary, and yet what they failed to realize and recognize was that what they thought and believed to be a symbol of victory in battle, and what they thought and believed to be a symbol of the presence of God in the midst of battle was actually a sign and portent of judgment against and upon the house which was at Shiloh. The Ark of the Covenant being brought forth from its place in the house which was at Shiloh was a powerful statement concerning the house, and how the LORD was going to cause judgment and wrath to come upon that house, and how the LORD would entirely and altogether judge it. The Ark of the Covenant would be brought forth from the house which was at Shiloh, and not only would it not secure the children of Israel in battle, and not only would it be captured and carried away by the Philistines and brought into the temple of their god Dagon, but it would also never return to that house which was at Shiloh. Once the Ark of the Covenant was brought forth from the midst of the house of Shiloh—not only was it a sign of judgment and wrath against the house, but the Ark of the Covenant would never return unto that house, nor would it ever rest in the place therein. The LORD’s judgment upon the house of Shiloh would not only include the Ark of the Covenant being removed from the midst of it, and it would not only include Hophni and Phineas being killed in battle, but it would also result in the death of Eli the high priest, and the naming of his grandson “Ichabod,” which stands for “The glory of the LORD has departed.”

The prophet Jeremiah warned the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem that the LORD would do unto the Temple and sanctuary that which He had done unto His house which was at Shiloh, and those who heard these words spoken by the prophet would mock, ridicule and scorn the idea that the LORD would do anything toward and against His Temple and sanctuary. What we see and what we find within chapters eight through eleven not only bring us face to face with the abominations which were committed in the house and sanctuary of the LORD, but they also bring us face to face with the final sign and portent of judgment and wrath coming upon the city of Jerusalem, as well as upon the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. Ezekiel would indeed see the great abominations which were committed in the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD, and he would also see men going throughout the city and slaying all those who did not have the mark upon their foreheads. Moreover, Ezekiel would also see fire being cast upon and scattered over the city of Jerusalem as a direct result of the great abominations and wickedness that had been committed by the inhabitants therein. As if all this weren’t enough, Ezekiel would ultimately see the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple and sanctuary, which would in and of itself be judgment and wrath toward and against it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for once the glory of the LORD had departed from the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD in the midst of the city—not only was it a sign that the LORD had forsaken that house, but it was also a sign and portent that the enemy and adversary would be granted access to it. The glory of the LORD departing from the midst of the sanctuary which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem would be a sign and symbol that the LORD had forsaken that house, and that His glory would not return unto that house. You will not find anywhere in the prophetic book of Ezekiel, nor anywhere else in the Old Testament the glory of the LORD returning unto this Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem.

Please don’t miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing and captivating truth, for it reveals something that must be recognized and understood by us as we read these words. The glory of the LORD would indeed depart from the Temple and sanctuary which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and the glory of the LORD would indeed stand upon one of the mountains east of the city of Jerusalem, and that glory would never return unto that Temple. It would be one thing for the glory of the LORD to depart from the Temple and sanctuary and return at a different time or at a later date, however, this simply would not be the case. The glory of the LORD departing from the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD would be a powerful sign and portent that the LORD had completely and utterly forsaken this house and had cast it out of His presence. Once the glory of the LORD departed from the Temple and sanctuary it would depart never to return again to that Temple. Even when we read the words and language we find in the final chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we must recognize that when Ezekiel saw the glory of the LORD filling the Temple, it would not be the same Temple Ezekiel had previously seen in the visions of God which came to him in the sixth year of the captivity. In the sixth year of the captivity Ezekiel would see in visions of God the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD, yet in the visions of God which he would see in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity Ezekiel would see the glory once more filling the Temple and sanctuary once more. Ezekiel would indeed see the glory of the LORD returning to the Temple, and Ezekiel would indeed see a Temple rising from the ashes, ruin and rubble, yet it would be one that was entirely and altogether different from the one which had previously stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the ninth, tenth and eleventh chapters concerning the glory of the LORD and its ultimate and final departure from the Temple which had stood in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon:

“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house” (Ezekiel 9:1-3).

“Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. And He speak unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight. Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’s glory. And the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaketh. And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out” (Ezekiel 10:1-7).

“Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims. Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings. And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward” (Ezekiel 10:18-22).

“Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city. Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity” (Ezekiel 11:22-24).

It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that which is found within these chapters, for the visions of God which the prophet Ezekiel would see during the sixth year of the captivity would bring him unto the city of Jerusalem, and unto the Temple of the LORD which stood in the midst therein. In these visions of God Ezekiel would see the tremendous filth, abominations, wickedness, idolatry, and iniquity which was found within the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD, and would even see great judgment and wrath which would be poured out upon the inhabitants of the city. Not only would Ezekiel see men with a slaughtering weapon in their hand going throughout the city and slaying all those who did not have the mark upon their foreheads, but Ezekiel would also see the one who was clothed in linen cast fire upon and over the city of Jerusalem. Within these chapters there is a powerful vision of the judgment and wrath of the LORD which was upon the city of Jerusalem and upon the inhabitants of the city—a vision which would also include the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple and moving to a mountain which was east of the city. It was indeed true Ezekiel would see the glory of the LORD resting upon the threshold of the sanctuary, and it was true Ezekiel would see the glory of the LORD filling the Temple and sanctuary which would still stand in the midst of the city, however, Ezekiel would ultimately see the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple and sanctuary—never to return unto that Temple. We must not miss and lose sight of the awesome truth regarding the glory of the LORD which is found in this passage of Scripture, for the vision of the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple and sanctuary would be a powerful sign and portent of judgment against the Temple and sanctuary, for that glory would never return to that house. This would indeed be the final time the glory of the LORD would touch that house, and the final time the glory would be upon and within this house, as once the glory of the LORD departed and went up from that place it would be a powerful declaration and statement that the Temple of the LORD had been forsaken by the LORD, and that it had been cast off and cast out of His presence.

We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within chapters eight through eleven, for within these chapters we see a powerful picture of the Temple that was, and a Temple that would be cast out of the presence of the living God. What we find within these chapters is a powerful prophetic picture of the Temple that was—a Temple and sanctuary which would experience the divine judgment of the living and eternal God upon it, as the glory of the LORD would fill the house one final time before ultimately departing from it as a sign of judgment and wrath. It would be in the sixth year of the captivity of the people of Judah Ezekiel would see this vision of the Temple with all the abominations and wickedness present within it, and would ultimately see the glory of the LORD departing from it. The glory departing from this Temple would be a powerful statement and declaration that the LORD had done unto this house exactly what He had done unto the house which was in Shiloh, for when the Ark of the Covenant was brought forth out of the house—not only was it a sign of judgment upon that house, but the Ark of the Covenant would never be brought into that house. That house which was at Shiloh would be completely and utterly forsaken and cast off by the LORD, as the Ark of the Covenant would be removed from the midst of it, and as the LORD would bring judgment upon the house of Eli by allowing Hophni and Phineas to be killed in battle, and Eli the high priest dying upon hearing that both his sons were dead, and that the Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the Philistines. Now here we are centuries and generations later, and the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple and sanctuary in the midst of Jerusalem would be a powerful statement and sign that He had done unto that house—not only what He had done unto His house which was at Shiloh, but also that He did exactly what the prophet Jeremiah had prophesied, spoken of and foretold. The LORD would indeed do unto the Temple and sanctuary which stood in Jerusalem exactly what He did unto His house which was at Shiloh, and the LORD would allow the enemy and adversary to not only enter into the sanctuary, but would also allow the enemy and adversary to cast fire into the sanctuary and completely and utterly destroy it with fire.

All of this background is necessary if you want to understand the words which are found in the final chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, for the words which you will find in these chapters take place in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity of the people of God, as well as fourteen years after the city of Jerusalem would be smitten by the Chaldeans. Five years after Ezekiel had been caught up in visions of God and brought unto Jerusalem where he would see the great abominations committed in the Temple of the LORD, as well as the glory of the LORD filling and then departing from that sanctuary, the city of Jerusalem would be broken up, the walls and gates would be burned and consumed with fire, and the Temple of the LORD would be destroyed by fire. Nineteen years after Ezekiel’s second encounter with the visions of God, and fourteen years after the city of Jerusalem had been smitten by the Chaldeans and the Temple was destroyed Ezekiel would again experience visions of God, and would again be brought unto the land of Israel. What we find in these final chapters, and what we find in this final encounter with the visions of God is not a revelation of what was, but rather a vision of what will be in the future. When it came to the pattern of the Tabernacle which would stand in the wilderness, and even during the days of the Joshua the son of Nun, during the days of the judges, and all the way up until the days of Solomon, it would be given unto Moses atop Horeb in the wilderness of Sinai. As it pertained to the pattern and design of the Temple of the LORD which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, the Spirit of the LORD would reveal it in writing unto David king of Israel, which he would in turn give unto his son Solomon who would actually build that Temple. The Temple we find mentioned here in the prophetic book of Ezekiel would be entirely and altogether different, as the LORD would give unto Ezekiel the pattern and design of a new Temple that would once more stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. What we find within the final chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is not only a revelation of the pattern of the Temple which was to come, but we also find the glory of the LORD filling that Temple. When Ezekiel would see the glory of the LORD filling Solomon’s Temple and then departing from it, he would now see the glory of the LORD filling this new Temple which would stand in the midst of the people of God and in the midst of the city of Jerusalem.

What I find to be so remarkable about the words located in these final chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is that although Ezekiel saw in visions of God the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple, and although Ezekiel would have heard reports of the Temple being destroyed by the Chaldeans in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, he would once more be caught and taken up in visions of God, and would see a new Temple which would stand in the midst of the people of God. I have to admit that there is a part of me that wonders if the Temple which Ezekiel saw in these visions of God was the same Temple which would be built when the remnant and residue of the house of Israel returned unto the land of Israel during the days of Cyrus king of Persia. Was the Temple which Ezekiel saw the same Temple that would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem during the days of Jesus when He walked upon the earth fort thirty-three and a half years, or would this Temple which Ezekiel saw be an entirely and altogether different Temple. I have to admit that I am inclined to believe that the Temple which Ezekiel saw in these visions of God was not the same Temple which would stand during the days of Haggai and Zechariah, nor which would stand during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, nor during the days of Joshua and Zerubbabel. I would venture to say that the Temple which Ezekiel saw, and the pattern he received was for an entirely and altogether different Temple that would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem in days to come. It’s actually quite astonishing to think about the fact that in the land of the Chaldeans—twenty-five years into the captivity of the people of God, and fourteen years after the original Temple of the LORD was destroyed—Ezekiel would be shown and given a pattern of a Temple that would once more stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Here in the twenty-fifth year of captivity Ezekiel would see in visions of God the pattern of a new Temple which would once more be place of worship, sacrifice and offering, and where the people of God could come with their gifts and sacrifices that they might worship before the LORD.

I have to admit that I absolutely love the words which are found in these final chapters, for they bring us face to face with a powerful statement and truth that the Temple of the LORD would once more rise in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Despite the fact that the original Temple would be destroyed by fire, and despite the fact that more than fifty years would pass with no Temple standing in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, the prophet Ezekiel would see in visions of God a rebuilt Jewish Temple that would not only be cleansed and purified from all its iniquities, all its immorality, and all its idolatry, but would also be a place where the priests and Levites, the sons of Zadok would minister before the LORD. Ezekiel wouldn’t merely see a Temple rising up in the midst of the people of God, but Ezekiel would see a Temple and sanctuary that would be completely and altogether purified and cleansed from the abominations and filth that was found in that original Temple which Solomon built. That original Temple which Solomon would build before and unto the LORD would be filled with the glory of the LORD, would experience the fire of God coming down from heaven upon the altar and consuming the sacrifices, would be defiled and polluted by priests and people alike, and would ultimately be destroyed by the Chaldeans in the eleventh year of the captivity of the people of God. It would be during the days of Zedekiah king of Judah the city of Jerusalem would be broken up, the walls and gates burned with fire, and that original Temple with all its abominations, all its filth, all its pollution, all its corruption, all its idolatry, and all its iniquity would be burned to the ground—essentially cleansed and purified by fire. Oh, I am absolutely and completely convinced that that first Temple needed to be burned to the ground, for it would be through fire which was cast in the midst of it the LORD would completely and utterly remove all the filth and abominations which were present within it. As surely and as much as the glory of the LORD would never return unto that Temple, neither would that Temple ever again be polluted, defiled and corrupted by the people of Israel.

If there is one thing I absolutely love about these visions of God which the prophet Ezekiel would see and witness in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity of the people of God, it’s that Ezekiel would not only see a new Temple rising up in the midst of the people of God, but Ezekiel would see a Temple that would no more and no longer be defiled and polluted by vain and corrupt priests. The Temple which Ezekiel would see would not only be a place where the sons of Zadok would minister before the LORD, but it would also be a place of sacrifice and offering once more. Moreover, this new Temple which Ezekiel would see rising from the midst of the people of God would be a Temple which the glory of the LORD would fill, inhabit and dwell. What makes these chapters so incredibly powerful is that not only would Ezekiel see a cleansed and purified Temple in the midst of the people of God, but Ezekiel would also see the glory of the LORD filling the Temple, as well as a powerful river flowing forth from the Temple—a river which would bring healing everywhere it flowed. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that the glory of the LORD would once more fill this Temple, a mighty and powerful river would flow forth from under the threshold of this Temple, and would bring life everywhere it flowed. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of these awesome and powerful truths, for although that original Temple would be defiled, polluted, and corrupted, and would ultimately be destroyed by the enemy and adversary, the prophet Ezekiel would see a new Temple that would rise up in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and one which would not only host the glory of the LORD, but would also bring healing to nations and peoples. I leave you with the following passages of Scripture which are found in these final chapters of the prophetic book concerning the glory and the river, for this Temple Ezekiel beheld would not only be a Temple of sacrifice and offering, but it would also be a Temple of glory and the river:

“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. And I heard Him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. IN their setting of their threshold by my thesholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever” (Ezekiel 43:1-9).

“Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face. And the LORD said unto me, 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 laws 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 ven 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 offering 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” (Ezekiel 44:4-14).

“Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the hoes stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; and the waters were to the ancles. Again me measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea; which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-Gedi even unto En-eglaimm; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many” (Ezekiel 47:1-10)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s