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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Glory Reversal (Ezekiel 43:1)

 "Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east...The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing the east."

A number of reversals are recorded in Isaiah 40:4 and Psalm 107:33-35:
  • The exaltation of the valley and the diminishing of the mountains and hills
  • The straightening of the crooked places and smoothing of the rough places
  • The turning of rivers into a wilderness; watersprings into dry ground; and a fruitful land into barrenness
  • The turning of wilderness into pools of water and the dry land into watersprings
No greater reversal occurs, however, than the one promised Ezekiel in today's reading regarding the return of the glory of God into His temple.

Earlier in Ezekiel we witnessed the exodus of the glory of God from Jerusalem's temple. Jerusalem's temple was the visible symbol of God's presence among His people. The manifest Glory of God departed from the the temple prior to God's judgment upon Israel for her idolatry and her destruction. God's vision given to Ezekiel promises a restored temple during the millennium and a restored manifest presence of the glory of God.

The glory of God entered Jerusalem's temple temporarily in the person of Jesus Christ, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt [tabernacled] among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Again, the glory of God appears to an unwelcoming people and temple. John records, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). Jesus weeps over a sinful and unreceptive people, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing" (Luke 13:34).

One day, however, the glory of God will return dramatically to a fully restored temple and people. Sealed gates, cemeteries and unreceptive residents will not prevent His return. This time the temple and the people will receive and worship Him. What a day that will be!

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Ezekiel 40-43:27
  • Read Romans 11:25-27 and describe God's future plans for Israel.
  • Which gate does Ezekiel describe the most? What does this tell you about that particular gate? (See Matthew 24:27)
  • Where are tables set up and what are their purpose?
  • As Ezekiel faces the temple structure what does he describe first?
  • See Lev. 16; Hebrews 9:6-7. Why was Ezekiel only allowed to enter the outer sanctuary and not the most holy place?
  • Which gate does the man take Ezekiel to and what does he see from there? What significance does that gate have?
  • How is the glory of God described and how does his glory affect the land?
  • What was Ezekiel's response to the vision?
  • What does the voice coming from inside the temple tell Ezekiel?
  • Why does the Lord grant Ezekiel this experience?
  • How long is the consecration process to last? (This process will mark the full resumption of God's fellowship with Israel. These sacrifices will point Israelites to Christ who will have given them access to the Father.
Turning truth into prayer
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). When we are born again the glory of God is restored to man. He must be manifest in our lives and in our churches. Ask the Lord to show you/us His glory.