The Temple Will Rise Again: Like A Phoenix Rising From the Ashes

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel the son of Buzi, which began to be revealed to him in the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters forty through forty-two of this Old Testament prophetic book. 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 LINE 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 HOUES OF ISRAEL!

[AND BEHOLD A WALL]. (IN VISIONS OF GOD—THE GLORY BY THE RIVER!) (IN VISIONS OF GOD—THE POLLUTION IN THE TEMPLE!) (IN VISIONS OF GOD—THE PATTERN OF THE TEMPLE!) [THE GLORY BY THE RIVER—EZEKIEL 1] [THE GLORY AT THE TEMPLE—EZEKIEL 10] [THE GLORY AT THE TEMPLE [EZEKIEL 43] BEHOLD A HOLE IN THE WALL (EZEKIEL 8) BEHOLD A WALL (EZEKIEL 40)! THE CONTRAST BETWEEN TWO TEMPLES! (EZEKIEL 1, EZEKIEL 8, EZEKIEL 10, EZEKIEL 11, EZEKIEL 40, EZEKIEL 43)

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!

THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TEMPLE! ANOTHER TEMPLE RISE! THE TEMPLE WILL RISE AGAIN! THE SANCTUARY WILL RISE FROM THE ASHES!

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 UTTER 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 HOUES 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 HOUES! AND I HEARD HIM SPEAKING UNTO ME OUT OF THE HOUES; 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 DWEL IN THE MIDST OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FOR EVER, AND MY HOLY NAME, SHALL THE HOUES OF ISRAE 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 THRESHHOLD BY MY THRESHOLDS, AND THEIR POSTS 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 HOUES 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 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; UON 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 OF MAN, 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, A YOUNG BULLOCK FOR A SIN OFFERING!

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 THE 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 HOUES OF THE LORD, AND ALL THE LAWS THEREOF; AND MARK WELL THE ENTERING IN OF THE HOUES, 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!

BUT THE PRIESTS AND THE LEVITES, THE SONS 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!

AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT WHEN THEY ENTER IN AT THE GATES OF THE INNER COURT, THEY SHALL BE CLOTHED WITH LINEN GARMENTS; AND NO WOOL SHALL COME UPON THEM, WHILES THEY MINISTER IN THE GATES OF THE INNER COURT, AND WITHIN!

AND THEY SHALL TEACH MY PEOPLE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE HOLY AND PROFANE, AND CAUSE THEM TO DISCERN BETWEEN THE UNCLEAN AND THE CLEAN! AND IN CONTORVERSY THEY SHALL STAND IN JUDGMENT; AND THEY SHALL JUDGE IT ACCORDING TO MY JUDGMENTS: AND THEY SHALL KEEP MY LAWS AND MY STATUTES IN ALL MINE ASSEMBLIES; AND THEY SHALL HALLOW MY SABBATHS!

BEHOLD THE TEMPLE! BEHOLD THE SANCTUARY! AN INITIAL VISION OF GLORY! A POLLUTED TEMPLE AND THE GLORY DEPARTED! A REBUILT TEMPLE AND THE GLORY RETURNED! VISIONS OF GOD TO SEE THE GLORY OF THE LORD BY THE RIVER! VISIONS OF GOD TO SEE THE POLLUTION OF THE TEMPLE! VISIONS OF GOD TO SEE A NEW TEMPLE RISING! A THREE-FOLD VISION OF THE GLORY! GLORY BY THE RIVER, GLORY DEPARTING FROM THE TEMPLE, GLORY ENTERING INTO THE TEMPLE! THE TEMPLE WILL RISE AND THE GLORY WILL RETURN! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the prophetic narrative found in the book of Ezekiel transitioning from the restoration of the people of God in to the land which was sworn on oath unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to the rise of the Temple of the LORD. In order to truly understand the words which are written and recorded within these chapters it is absolutely necessary to consider how chapter forty begins, for it is the words which are found in these opening verses that helps set the stage and foundation for the rest of the chapters which follow. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the fortieth chapter you will find and encounter the timing of this vision and revelation which Ezekiel the son of Buzi received from the LORD. In the opening verses of the fortieth chapter you will find the prophet Ezekiel revealing that in the five and twentieth year of the captivity of the people of God, and in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, in that very same day the hand of the LORD was upon him, and brought him forth. There are two distinct declarations within this particular verse, for on the one hand we find Ezekiel writing concerning the twenty-fifth year of the captivity of the people of God, while on the other hand Ezekiel writes of the fourteenth year after the city of Jerusalem was smitten. This is incredibly important for us to understand, for it not only speaks of the captivity of the people of God, but it also speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem. We dare not miss and lose sight of this awesome and wonderful reality, for the year Ezekiel received this vision of the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD was not only directly connected to the captivity of the people of God, but also the destruction of the city—and not only the destruction of the city, but also the destruction of the Temple.

If and when we speak of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem we must recognize that its destruction is and was intrinsically linked to the destruction of the Temple, for with the fall and devastation of the city of Jerusalem would also come the destruction and devastation of the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. We know from the words which are found in the Old Testament books of Second Kings, Second Chronicles, and Jeremiah that it was Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard of Babylon who entered into the city of Jerusalem and cast fire into the sanctuary of the living God which stood in the midst of Jerusalem. We know from the final chapters of these Old Testament books that it was this captain of the guard of the Babylonian army which not only entered into the city of Jerusalem and carried away captive many of those which remained within the city, but also destroyed the Temple of the LORD with fire. What we find in the fortieth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah is a revelation that twenty-five years after the captivity of the people of God, and fourteen years after the destruction of the Temple Ezekiel the son of Buzi would receive a revelation from the LORD concerning a Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—a Temple which would stand in the very same place the Temple of Solomon had built once stood. What makes this revelation so incredibly unique and powerful is when you think about the fact that at the time this vision and revelation was released and given unto Ezekiel the actual physical Temple and sanctuary of the living God had been destroyed by the Babylonians. At this time the wall of the city had been broken through and broken down, the gates had been burned with fire, and the Temple of the living God had been completely and utterly destroyed by the enemy and adversary. Although the prophet Ezekiel would have undoubtedly heard of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, as well as the destruction of the Temple of the LORD, he would not actually see that destruction and that devastation. One thing we must realize and recognize concerning Ezekiel was that he was most likely one of the very first ones that was carried away captive out of the land of Judah in that first wave of captivity at the hands of the Babylonians. Undoubtedly Ezekiel was one of the first of those who lived and dwelt in the land of Judah who were carried away captive out of the land of Judah, and at that time the wall of Jerusalem would still be standing, the gates would still be in their place, and the Temple of the LORD would still be standing in the midst of the city of Jerusalem.

When we come to this particular passage of Scripture we encounter the reality of twenty-five years into the captivity of the house of Judah, which indicates and speaks to the reality that there would still be forty-five more years of captivity and exile in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans. Stop and consider the fact that as this vision and this revelation was given unto the prophet Ezekiel the house of Judah had already been living as captives and exiles in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, and still had forty-five years left in the time that was decreed, ordained and appointed by the LORD their God concerning that captivity. What’s more, is that the opening verse of this passage of Scripture seems to clearly indicate that it was in the eleventh year of their captivity in the land of the Chaldeans when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and fully and completely given into the hands of the enemies and adversaries. It would be during this eleventh year of the captivity of the people of God that the siege which was raised up against the city—a siege which lasted almost two full years—would ultimately create a breach in the wall of Jerusalem, and would allow the enemy and adversary to march straight up in the midst of the city. In addition to this, we know from Scripture that with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem came the breaking through and breaking down of the wall of Jerusalem, came the destruction and burning of the gates of the city, and even came the destruction of the Temple of the LORD which would stand in the midst of the city. The final sign of judgment and wrath upon the land of Judah and upon the city of Jerusalem would be the giving of the city into the hands of the enemy and adversary when they were allowed to breach the city, break down the wall of the city, destroy the gates with fire, and destroy the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. The final and ultimate sign of the judgment and wrath of the living and eternal God in the midst of the land of Judah, as well as upon the city of Jerusalem would be the sheer and utter destruction of the Temple which would stand in the midst of the city from the days and time of Solomon king of Judah. Oh stop and consider what that sight must have looked like as where the Temple once stood upon the Temple Mount on the mountain of Moriah where Abraham would place his son Isaac upon the altar, and where David would build an altar before the LORD and offer a sacrifice unto him there would now be nothing but smoldering ruin, rubble, dirt, dust and ash.

In order to truly understand just how significant and important this vision and revelation given unto Ezekiel truly was it is necessary to consider from Scripture the words which speak to and reveal the sheer and utter devastation of the Temple and sanctuary of the living and eternal God. I am convinced that it is necessary to examine two key passages found within the Old Testament book of the Psalms, as well as the final chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah. The final chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah—together with the final chapters of the Old Testament books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles—paint a powerful picture of the devastation and destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem would also come the destruction of the Temple of the LORD. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly awesome and powerful reality, for to do so would be to miss out on just how interconnected the city of Jerusalem and the Temple truly were. When the city of Jerusalem fell and was completely given into the hands of the enemy and adversary, so also was the Temple of the LORD given into the hands of the enemy and adversary. The fall and collapse of Jerusalem would be a sign and portent that the Temple of the living God would ultimately be given into the hands of the enemy and adversary, for the enemy and adversary would cast fire into the midst of the sanctuary, and thus cause it to not only be consumed with fire, but also to be burned to the ground and reduced to a pile of rubble and ash. The destruction and fall of Jerusalem would be synonymous with the destruction of the Temple, for it would be the destruction of the city that would ultimately pave the way and open the door for the Temple of the LORD to be reduced to a pile of ruin, rubble and ash. Think about the fact that although the LORD allowed the city of Jerusalem to be given into the hands of the Chaldeans, and although the LORD allowed the wall of the city to be broken down and broken through, and although the LORD allowed the gates of the city to be burned and consumed with fire, He could have allowed the Temple and sanctuary which had stood in the midst of the city to remain. The LORD could have allowed the destruction of the city of Jerusalem while allowing the Temple to remain standing and in tact during the time of the captivity of the house of Israel, and the LORD could have brought the house of Israel back into the land to broken down walls, and gates destroyed by fire, and yet the Temple of the LORD still standing in the midst of the city. The LORD could have allowed that generation which returned unto the land of Judah to return to the Temple and sanctuary which Solomon had built. The LORD could have preserved and watched over His sanctuary and Temple during those years of captivity and exile, and yet the truth of the matter is that with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem would also come the destruction of the Temple of the LORD which would stand in the midst of the city.

I am absolutely and completely convinced that it is necessary for us to consider the words which are found in the seventy-fourth and seventy-eighth chapters of the poetic book of the Psalms, as well as the words which are found in the final chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, for these chapters not only speak to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, but it would be the destruction of the city of Jerusalem that would ultimately pave the way and open the door for the destruction of the Temple of the LORD which stood in the midst of the land. This is important for us to recognize and consider, for at the time Ezekiel the son of Buzi received this vision of the Temple of the LORD that Temple which had once stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem had been completely and utterly destroyed by fire and was no more. When this vision and revelation was given unto Ezekiel the son of Buzi the Temple of the LORD had most likely been reduced to ruin and rubble for at least a decade now. Stop and think about the fact that a decade or more after the city of Jerusalem was broken through, the wall broken down, the gates consumed with fire, and the Temple itself destroyed with fire, the prophet Ezekiel would be shown and revealed in visions of God a different Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Twenty-five years after the captivity of the house of Judah initially began, and more than a decade after the city of Jerusalem had been smitten by the enemy and adversary the LORD would show and reveal unto the prophet Ezekiel a new and different Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Before we consider that reality, let us first consider the following words which are found in these passages located in the Old Testament books of the Psalms and Jeremiah:

“O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? Remember thy congregation, which thou purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs. A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees. But now they break down the carved works thereof at once with axes and hammers. They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs: There is no more any prophet: Neither is there among us any that knoweth how long. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? Pluck it out of thy bosom. For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth” (Psalm 74:1-12).

“O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; Thy holy Temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them. We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. How long, LORD? Wilt thou be angry for ever? Shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place. O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed. Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die; and render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O LORD. So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations” (Psalm 79:1-13).

“Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till He had cast them out from His presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people in the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about) and they went by the way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death. Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth ear of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire: and all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about. Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude” (Jeremiah 52:1-15).

It is with these passages we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful reality of the destruction of the Temple and sanctuary of the living God, as once the city was broken up, and once the wall of the city was broken through and broken down, the Temple of the LORD was exposed and made vulnerable to the enemy and adversary. The psalmist Asaph describes the enemy and adversary who had reproached the people of the living God by casting fire into the sanctuary, and the prophet Jeremiah wrote and spoke of the enemy and adversary entering into the city of Jerusalem after the wall had been broken down and burned with fire, and after its gates had also been burned with fire. Moreover, Jeremiah would also write of how Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard of Babylon would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would burn the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD to the ground by casting fire into the midst of it. We dare not miss the incredible significance of this awesome and powerful reality, for when we come to the fortieth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the prophet receiving a vision from the LORD concerning a Temple—a vision which must have caught the prophet off guard considering the Temple of the LORD which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem had been completely and utterly destroyed by fire. By this time the entire city of Jerusalem had been smitten by the enemy, the wall of the city had been broken down and burned with fire, the gates of the city had been consumed with fire, and finally and ultimately, the Temple of the LORD would be nothing more than ruin, rubble and ash. How wonderful, how powerful, how beautiful it must have been for the prophet Ezekiel to receive such a vision from the LORD concerning another Temple which would undoubtedly stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Despite the fact the former and original Temple which Solomon had built was nothing more than a pile of ruin, rubble and ash, the word of the LORD would reveal unto Ezekiel a new Temple—one that would rise from the ashes on the Temple Mount, and one that would once more stand in the midst of the people of God. There would indeed be a second Temple which would rise like a phoenix from the ashes in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and we know from the Old Testament book of Ezra the priest that the people which returned to the land of Judah, and unto the city of Jerusalem would rebuild the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. What’s more, is that the LORD specifically raised up two prophetic voices in the midst of that generation to encourage the hearts and strengthen the hands of those who would engage themselves in the process of rebuilding the Temple and sanctuary of the living God.

What makes the vision and revelation given unto Ezekiel in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity of the people of God, and in the fourteenth year after the city had been smitten so incredibly powerful is when you think about and consider the fact that in the second verse of the fortieth chapter you will find the prophet Ezekiel speaking once more of “visions of God.” In the second verse we find the prophet Ezekiel writing and speaking of how in the visions of God he was brought into the land of Israel, and was set upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. In the third verse Ezekiel writes how he was brought unto this place, and a man whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed stood in the gate of the city. This man which appeared before and unto Ezekiel would speak unto him and instruct him to behold with his eyes, and hear with his ears, and set his heart upon all that he would show him, for it was for this purpose Ezekiel had been brought unto this place. Ezekiel was brought in the visions of God unto this exceeding high mountain in the midst of the land of Israel, and was able to look upon a city which would be to the south, in order that he might receive a vision concerning the Temple and sanctuary of the living God—one I am sure he neither expected nor anticipated. There is not a doubt in my mind Ezekiel had any expectation or anticipation of receiving a vision of a Temple in the midst of the people of God—much less even have any expectation that a Temple even could stand in the midst of the city once more. I can’t help but wonder if not only Ezekiel, but also all the remnant and residue of the house of Israel which lived and dwelt as captives and exiles in the land of the Chaldeans thought they would ever return to the land—and not only return to the land, but also see a Temple standing among them in their midst. I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome and incredible fact that the people of God which were living and dwelling as captives in the land of the Chaldeans undoubtedly thought to themselves that there would never again be a Temple which would stand among them in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—much less them even returning unto the land. What’s more, is we know from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel that when the Temple of the LORD actually began to rise from the ashes and be rebuilt in the city of Jerusalem, the ancients among them wept aloud in the midst of the people, for they remembered the glory, the splendor, the majesty, and the beauty of the former Temple which stood in the midst of the city. We know from the book of Ezra, as well as the prophetic books of Haggai and Zechariah that there would indeed be another Temple which would be built in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and would even be rebuilt in the very same place as the Temple which Solomon had built once stood.

It is this concept of “visions of God,” which I feel is absolutely necessary to consider when seeking to understand this particular portion of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, for this would not be the first time Ezekiel would experience these “visions of God.” If and as you read the words which are found within and throughout this prophetic book you will find the there were two other specific instances located within this book when Ezekiel would experience these “visions of God,” and would be shown great and mighty revelations in the midst of them. You cannot read the prophetic book of Ezekiel without encountering this awesome reality of “visions of God,” and each encounter and experience with the visions of God would be directly linked and connected to something very specific. If and as you turn and direct your attention back within and throughout this prophetic book you will find the first mention and record of these “visions of God” being presented in the first and opening chapter when Ezekiel would first experience the word of the LORD, the hand of the LORD, and the Spirit of the LORD. It would be in the first and opening chapter of this prophetic book Ezekiel would see a tremendous and mighty vision of the glory of the living and eternal God which would appear before him coming out of the north as a fire infolding itself. It would be there by the river of Chebar Ezekiel would first experience and first encounter these “visions of God,” and would first encounter and experience the glory of the LORD. What’s more, is that there would be at least four specific instances within the prophetic book of Ezekiel where he would see visions of the glory of God and its direct connection and relation to the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. It’s interesting and worth noting that in the first and opening chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find a truly powerful vision of the glory of the living God which appeared unto Ezekiel the son of Buzi—although this vision would appear to have absolutely nothing to do with the Temple or sanctuary of the living God which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. In the first and opening chapter of this prophetic book you will find the prophet Ezekiel seeing a truly glorious and awesome sight before him coming out of the north, as he would see one of—if not the greatest visions of the glory of the living God outside of and apart from perhaps the vision the apostle John saw of the throne of God in heaven and the glorious worship which took place before that throne. With that in mind, consider if you will the following words which are found within this prophetic book in the first and opening chapter beginning with the first verse:

“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifty year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures” (Ezekiel 1:1-5).

“And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

As you begin the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel you will find that in the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, which was also the thirtieth year of what was perhaps the life of Ezekiel, the heavens were opened unto this ancient Hebrew prophet. It would be there by the river of Chebar Ezekiel would first see and experience the glory of the living God as the heavens were opened unto and before him, and he would see visions of God. There at the river of Chebar in the land of the Chaldeans as Ezekiel sat among the captives he would see a whirlwind coming out of the north as a great fire infolding itself, and would experience the hand of the LORD being there upon him. What’s more, is that it would be there by the river of Chebar the word of the LORD would come unto Ezekiel, as well as the Spirit of the LORD being upon him. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in the opening chapter of this prophetic book, for they help set the stage and the foundation for everything that is found in the remainder of the book—specifically the pollution, the corruption, and the defilement that was found in the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. In the first and opening chapter of this prophetic book you will find Ezekiel experiencing the heavens being opened before him—much like the heavens were opened unto the apostle John on the isle of Patmos in his own exile and captivity—and his seeing visions of God concerning the glory of God. It would be here in the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity—perhaps the fifth year of his own captivity as well—Ezekiel would first experience and first encounter the divine glory of the living and eternal God. What’s more, is I would dare say that this would be the first time Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi would see and experience the glory of the living God, and he would find himself experiencing it while he was sitting among the captives in the land of the Chaldeans. Ultimately, this manifestation, this vision, this appearance and this revelation of the glory of God would be a theme that would be woven through the fabric of this prophetic book, as we would see the glory of the LORD appearing unto Ezekiel at certain an specific times within his captivity. What’s important to realize and recognize is that these visions of the glory of God would not only be directly linked to visions of God, but they would also be linked to the hand of the LORD being upon the prophet, as well as the Spirit of the LORD being upon him.

You cannot read the prophetic book of Ezekiel and not see a clear and present contrast between the glory of the eternal God which Ezekiel would see, witness and behold, and the corruption, the pollution, and the defilement of the people of God. In all reality, the prophetic book of Ezekiel would essentially be a treatise and discourse between the glory of the living God and that which causes that glory to be removed from the midst of the people of God. This prophetic book would indeed open with a powerful picture of the glory of the living God which the prophet Ezekiel would see there by the river of Chebar, and it would be against the backdrop of the glory of the living God Ezekiel would witness and behold the tremendous filth, the tremendous wickedness, the tremendous iniquity, and the tremendous idolatry that was found within and throughout the land. What’s more, is that this vision of the glory of the living God would also be linked to the Temple and sanctuary of the living God—and not only the Temple and sanctuary of the living God, but the tremendous filth that was found within the Temple. As you progress within this prophetic book you will find Ezekiel experiencing and encountering a second manifestation of these “visions of God,” as Ezekiel would be taken by the Spirit unto the city of Jerusalem—and specifically unto the Temple of the living God which stood in the midst of the city. What’s important to realize and understand about these “visions of God,” is that they seemed to be intrinsically linked and connected to the glory of God, as well as the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD which would stand in the midst of the people. These “visions of God” would first introduce Ezekiel to the glory of the LORD, but the second time Ezekiel would experience these “visions of God” would be linked to that first Jewish Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. If we are to truly understand these “visions of God” and how they are not only linked to that which Ezekiel experienced at the river of Chebar, but also in these final chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, it is absolutely necessary that we consider those words which are found in chapters eight through eleven of this prophetic book.

When you come to chapters eight through eleven of this prophetic book you will find Ezekiel’s second encounter with these “visions of God” with the exception that this second time Ezekiel would experience these visions of God they would be directly linked to the city of Jerusalem—and not just the city of Jerusalem, but also the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. This second encounter with these “visions of God” would bring Ezekiel unto the city of Jerusalem, and unto the Temple of the living God which would still stand in the midst of the people of God and in the city of Jerusalem. These “visions of God” would once more bring Ezekiel face to face with the glory of God, however, this time around “the visions of God” and the glory of God would be linked to the Temple and sanctuary which stood in the city of Jerusalem. Moreover, these “visions of God” would bring Ezekiel unto the very Temple and sanctuary itself that Ezekiel might see and bear witness to the tremendous filth and wickedness that would be found in the midst of it. The LORD would once more allow Ezekiel to see these “visions of God,” and would once more take Ezekiel in these “visions of God” unto Jerusalem, however, this second time around it would not be solely about the glory of the LORD, but it would also be about the Temple of the LORD, and about what the people of God were doing with that Temple. The people of God had His holy sanctuary, and His holy Temple where He had placed His great name in their midst, and yet they deliberately and intentionally chose to defile and pollute it with their graven images, their idols, and all their wicked abominations which they brought into the midst of it. In fact, it would be this second experience and encounter with these “visions of God” Ezekiel would be brought unto the Temple and sanctuary which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem in order that he might see, experience and encounter the gross iniquity, idolatry and immorality the people would bring into the holy courts of the LORD. You cannot read the eighth chapter of this prophetic book without encountering and coming face to face with the awesome reality that although the Temple of the living God stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—and perhaps even still stood among them in their midst after the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah concerning the LORD’s dealing with it as He had done His house which was in Shiloh—the people would defile, pollute and corrupt the house, and thus provoke the LORD to jealousy. What’s more, is that they would not only provoke the LORD to jealousy, but they would also provoke and profane the glory of the LORD, and so much so that the glory of the LORD could no longer rest upon the Temple and sanctuary. With this in mind, consider if you will the following words which are found in this prophetic book beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the eighth chapter:

“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 his 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 yere, 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 he said 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 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, 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 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).

“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. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; and the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezekiel 9:1-4).

“Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the heard of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. And He spake 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. And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man’s hand under their wings. And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone. And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked the followed it; they turned not as they went. And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel. And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar. And when the cherubimes went, the wheels went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them. When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also: for the spirit of the living creature was in them” (Ezekiel 10:1-17).

“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 me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me. Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had shewed me” (Ezekiel 11:22-25).

This second encounter and experience with the visions of God is actually quite intriguing when you think about and consider it, for not only would Ezekiel see the pollution and filth within the house of the LORD, but Ezekiel would also see one clothed in linen with a writer’s inkhorn being instructed to go throughout the city and put a mark on the forehead of all those who groaned and sighed over the abominations and wickedness in the midst of the land. All those who did not have the mark upon their foreheads were slaughtered and slain in the midst of the city, as the others who were with this one clothed in linen were instructed to strike down all those who did not have the mark. Moreover, we also find within this passage of Scripture instruction being given to take fire from between the cherubims and between the living creatures and wheels and scatter it upon the city. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Ezekiel also saw at the east gate of the LORD’s house five and twenty men who devised mischief, and gave wicked counsel in the midst of the city. Between the abomination, the pollution and filth that was found in the midst of the Temple, as well as these men who devised mischief and gave wicked counsel in the midst of the city, the glory of the LORD which would begin by abiding at and over the threshold of the Temple of the LORD would depart from the Temple and would rest upon a mountain east of the city and east of the Temple. Essentially and ultimately Ezekiel would see the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple—the same glory which he would initially and originally see at the river of Chebar. In fact, as you read the words found within these chapters you will encounter the awesome reality that the vision of the glory of God, and the vision of the cherubim, and the vision of the living creatures would be exactly like that which he saw by the river of Chebar. You cannot read the words found in these chapters and not encounter the awesome and tremendous fact that the visions of God which Ezekiel saw in the sixth year of the captivity were not only likened unto the vision which he saw by the river of Chebar, but they were also intrinsically linked to the defilement and pollution in the Temple, as well as those who gave false and wicked counsel in the midst of the city of Jerusalem.

As I sit here today I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome reality that in the eighth chapter Ezekiel would be taken in visions of God unto the city of Jerusalem and unto the Temple of the LORD where he would not only see the seat of the image which provoked to jealousy, but he would also see a hole in the wall which he was to dig through. After digging through the hole in the wall it would open up a whole world of corruption, pollution, abominations, wickedness, iniquity and idolatry. It’s actually quite astounding to think about and consider what a single hole in the wall could lead to and produce within these visions of God, for it would be as a result of digging through that hole in the wall a door would be revealed—a door which Ezekiel would be instructed to go through. It would be that door which would lead Ezekiel into a place of corruption and wickedness that would not only provoke the LORD to jealousy, but would also provoke the LORD’s glory. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand when reading these chapters, it’s that all the defilement, all the pollution, all the filth, all the idolatry, all the iniquity, and all the abominations which Ezekiel saw in the Temple of the LORD would not only provoke the anger of the LORD, but would also provoke the glory of the LORD to depart from the Temple. In all reality, I would dare say that when the glory of the LORD is lifted from the Temple and sanctuary, and when the glory of the LORD departs from the Temple, it is a sign of judgment and wrath. This was something which was seen and witnessed by Israel during the days of Eli the priest, his two sons Hophni and Phineas, and the rise and emergence of Samuel the prophet. The children of Israel would remove the Ark of the Covenant from the house which was in Shiloh, and they would do so thinking that it would bring them victory in battle. Little did they know what they were doing was actually producing a sign and portent within the land—one of judgment and wrath upon that house which was in Shiloh—as the Ark of the Covenant being brought forth from that place would be a sign that the glory of the LORD had not only departed from that house, but would also depart from the land of Israel for a season. What they thought and believed to be a sign of victory in battle would actually be a sign and portent of the glory of the LORD departing from the LORD’s house which was in Shiloh, the LORD’s judgment and wrath upon that house, and the LORD’s judgment against the house of Eli together with his two sons. The glory of the LORD departing from the Temple of the LORD during the days of Ezekiel would be a sign that the judgment and wrath of the LORD would come upon the house, as the Temple would ultimately be destroyed.

As I bring this writing to a close it’s interesting to note that when Ezekiel first experienced these “visions of God,” the heavens would be opened to him and he would see the glory of God by the river of Chebar. The second time Ezekiel would experience these “visions of God” he would be brought by the Spirit into the city of Jerusalem, and unto the Temple of the LORD where he would see incredible abominations, idolatry, iniquity, immorality, wickedness, pollution and corruption in the midst of the house. In chapters eight through eleven these visions of God would be directly linked to the abominations in the Temple of the LORD, as well as fire being cast upon and scattered over the city, and all those who had not been marked for sighing and groaning over the abominations in the city being slain. Ultimately, Ezekiel would see the glory of the LORD which at one point rested over the threshold of the sanctuary departing from the Temple and resting upon a mountain to the east of the city. It’s important for us to recognize and understand this, for as we will see in the next chapters Ezekiel would experience a third encounter with these “visions of God,” which would once more bring him unto the land of Israel, and would set him upon a high mountain. It would be there as Ezekiel stood upon this mountain overlooking the city to the south he would see a future Temple which would once more stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and how the glory of the LORD would once more dwell in the midst of the Temple of the LORD. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that as much as Ezekiel would see the glory of the LORD departing from the Temple, he would not only see another temple standing in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, but he would also see the glory of the LORD filling the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD once more.

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