If you will recall, the main theme of Ezekiel is a call to renewed reverence toward God from his people and Ezekiel supports this theme by explaining God’s glory, God’s holiness and God’s sovereignty all through the book. The book itself was split into two parts: the first from chapters 1-32 which talk about God’s judgement against not just Israel but other nations as well, and the second part (33-48) which describe the restoration and reunion of God’s people in the land of Israel and the rebuilding of the Kingdom.
The turning point between the two parts of the book is the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 B.C.
So far in the second half of the book God has given Ezekiel visions of the people’s return to their land, the cleansing of the nation from the abominations and idolatry that had been practiced there and the restoring of the land to productivity and security. But if Israel is to be a whole nation again, one key element is missing, the cornerstone piece really; that is the temple. If that nation of Israel is truly to be restored again, then the Temple and God’s presence in it must be renewed.
So we begin our journey through the last section of Ezekiel, which sees God once again transporting Ezekiel in a vision to Jerusalem to display to him the new Temple, in great detail, measurements and all. This may cause some of you to have flashbacks to our journey through Deuteronomy or Leviticus, but let me remind you of what I said at that point. Some things recorded in scripture were extremely relevant to the original audience, but may not be particularly relevant to us now. As we get toward the end of this section the land allotments for the tribes will be explained, something that probably has little to do with us in the practical sense.
But, there are truths and principles included in these sections that do indeed mean something to us. Take this section on the Temple. The whole point of having the Temple was as a constant reminder of God’s presence with the nation, something we can all relate to. We also need reminders of God’s presence with us. This is one of the greatest promises that God gives to us, that at the end of time he will personally dwell with us, He as our God and we as his people.
This image that Ezekiel relates to his readers is widely understood to be a vision of the Temple that will exist during Jesus’ Millennial reign, when the literal Kingdom of God will be on earth. It is the picture of the place where all peoples and nations will come to worship. A kingdom temple and kingdom worship are mention in several places in scripture (Isaiah 2:1-5, 60:7, 13; Jeremiah 33:18; Joel 3:18, Micah 4:2; Haggai 2:7-9; and Zechariah 6:12-15, 14:16, 20-21). It makes sense that God would paint an image of this Temple and the worship that will take place in it.
So as we read through these chapters, let me encourage you not to get lost in the details, but instead be willing to be transported with Ezekiel into the Temple that will serve as the centre of worship after Jesus returns.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: 42-43