Earlier in Ezekiel the glory of God had departed from the temple in Jerusalem as a sign of the Lord’s judgment upon His people. After the destruction of that earlier sanctuary, though, the prophet received another vision that would bring great joy to the Jewish exiles. He saw the same manifestation of the Almighty as he had seen earlier, but now “the glory of the Lord entered the temple” once again. Ezekiel heard the voice of God addressing him: “Son of man, this is the place of My throne.” As always, the Lord’s sanctuary was where God chose to abide with His people. “I will dwell in their midst forever.”
Ezekiel was instructed to “describe to the house of Israel the temple” as he had seen it in this great revelation. The purpose of God’s people receiving this oracle was startling: “… that they may be ashamed of their iniquities.” The Lord’s detailed plan for a perfect Old Testament place of worship was intended to humble them and to bring them to repentance.
The temple told a story that would find its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as our atonement before God. The “measurement of the altar” in the Old Testament house of the Lord may mean little to us. We are not interested in the ritual killing of animals or in the various detailed sacrificial gifts that were to be presented to God through an authorized priesthood in ancient days. We have instead been captivated by the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament system of worship in the death and resurrection of the Son of God.
When we hear the preaching of Jesus and learn about the coming resurrection temple of the Holy Spirit, we recognize a clear call to true repentance and continued growth in holiness. (Acts 2:38) We look far beyond this dying world to the heavenly sanctuary. We know that the blood of animals could never have purified the way for us to live at peace with Jehovah in heaven. (Hebrews 9:23-28) Christ has made it safe for us to be with our God. We are happy to fill our worship services with contemplation of Him. His death has brought us life and His resurrection has become our assurance that we are citizens of a kingdom that will never end.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious God, fill Your church with Your presence. Here below we have a taste of Your greatness. We are hungry for more of Your glory. We long to be in that place where You will dwell with Your people forever. No longer will our defiling sin give us trouble. All of our evil will be utterly put away. We are ashamed of our horrible iniquities. Even before the return of Your Son, when our bodies rest in the grave, our sin will be utterly removed from our eternal souls. Grant that our perfected spirits will one day be brought to dwell in our resurrected bodies forever. May we enjoy Your kingdom in that day with purified spirits in resurrection splendor. May we walk all around it, and contemplate the glory of it in all of its greatness. Thank You for the blood of Your Son, by which we have been granted such a glorious expectation. Surely our sin has been atoned for. Send Your Son to us. Fill the temple of Your living church even now, as we wait for the fulfillment of Your most excellent promises. We are acceptable in the Beloved. What a wonderful hope we have!