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As you approach God today, imagine what it will be like to be with him for ever.


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Bible passage: Ezekiel 43:1–12


Ezekiel 43

The Glory Returns to the Temple
 1 Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

 6 While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. 7 He said: "Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel will never again defile my holy name—neither they nor their kings—by their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings at their high places. 8 When they placed their threshold next to my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by their detestable practices. So I destroyed them in my anger. 9 Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings, and I will live among them forever.

 10 "Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, 11 and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple—its arrangement, its exits and entrances—its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations.

 12 "This is the law of the temple: All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Conditions for return
God cannot dwell alongside sin and he will never give his glory to another. So he had departed from the Temple and the city. But now he has created all the conditions for his return.

God among his people
Whatever historical ‘partial fulfilments’ might have happened, this vision points to an even more glorious ‘full fulfilment’ – the day that John saw in his vision in Revelation 21 and 22. All of sin and its impact will have finally gone. All God’s beautifully righteous people will become (not be in – read Revelation 21:2 carefully) the new Jerusalem. God will say, ‘Now the dwelling of God will be with people.’ The gulf between holy heaven and sinful earth will be abolished. Jerusalem’s Temple, ground-zero for God’s terrifying holiness, in the end will not be a building but God among his people. The garden decorations in Ezekiel’s vision of the temple (41:15–26) will be the reality of a new Eden, the new-created place for an international new people to be with God.

Eternal blessings
It’s a breath-taking moment in Ezekiel, when God’s glory returns. For the people there and then it pictured forgiveness, restored fellowship with God, new hope. In God’s grand scheme these blessings become eternal.

Dominic Smart

Respond


Central within Ezekiel’s envisioned temple was an altar. Praise God for the future that is yours through Christ, the Lamb who is the King. Delight in the amazing wonder of God’s vast plan.


Deeper Bible study


The previous three chapters describe the rebuilding of the Temple, including details of room sizes, design, content and purpose. Ezekiel had been transported to a high mountain near Jerusalem, where he was met by an angelic figure who conducted him around the Temple area, measuring everything with a builder’s rod. Today’s reading is the pinnacle of that experience. It is 19 years since Ezekiel witnessed the glory of the Lord leaving the Temple (Ezek 10:18–22; 11:22–24). Now, with awesome sound and brilliant radiance, the fullness of his glory returns. No wonder Ezekiel fell flat on his face! 

As God drew near, the angelic figure was replaced by the Spirit, who lifted Ezekiel to a vantage point that provided an aerial view of the glorious event. ‘The dark days of divine abandonment are over. The King has come home.’1 Then God spoke directly to Ezekiel from within the Temple (vs 6–27). His words started with a declaration of his permanent return (vs 7–9) and continued with instructions to Ezekiel concerning what he was to tell the exiles and why (vs 10,11).

The first announcement begins and ends with the commitment that God himself will live among the Israelites for ever. This points to the coming of Jesus as Immanuel, followed by the Holy Spirit inhabiting believers, the heart of the new community of the church and the ultimate vision of the new creation (Matt 1:23; 2 Cor 1:21,22; 1 Cor 12:7–13; Rev 21:22 – 22:3). However, then as now, if God were to dwell with his people permanently there needed to be changes in their behaviour (vs 7–9), a seriousness of intent in being his people in practice and not just in name. Finally, the exiles are offered yet another opportunity to repent (vs 9–11), God again taking the initiative to draw his people back to himself.

1 Wright, 2001, p334 

Fran Beckett

Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Numbers 36

Deuteronomy 1

Psalm 32
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Into the light


Ezekiel was so awed by the vision described in today’s passage that he fell face down in worship – how would you have responded? Read the passage again, imagining what the sight before his eyes must have looked like and felt like, and responding in prayer.

Artist’s impression by Andrew Gray.

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Audio


In Christ alone
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com



Be the centre
Michael Frye
Copyright© 1999 Vineyard records (UK/Eire)
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.vineyardrecords.co.uk




Comments
  • Ray Skinner | Friday, 15 March 2019

    I stand in awe, at the way Ezekiel's vision must have worked on the mind of Jesus the boy, taught by the amazing Nazareth synagogue leader or leaders, and then working as a carpenter, probably in the building of the nearby Roman town of Sepphoris, with memories of his annual visits to Herod's mighty rebuilt Jerusalem temple, and mulling over the words of the prophecies read out from ancient scrolls as he attended synagogue worship Saturday by Saturday. Foreseeing how that second temple would be reduced to rubble, and then during his public ministry, still attending synagogue worship in Capernaum, gently moving his disciples on from the building of stone and wood, to one of flesh and blood made up of the nations of the world. And then standing in resurrected, Holy Spirit power, beside old John as he wrote his Revelations.... The Dome of the Rock mosque has beautiful purple pillars inside supporting the dome - Bishop Kenneth Cragg wondered if they had been pulled from the rubble of Herod's temple and re-used. Oh, to be a pillar in this final and everlasting temple of God.

  • Ray Skinner | Friday, 15 March 2019

    ...by "this final" I mean of course the one foreseen in Revelations.

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 15 March 2019

    The awesome light from the Lord God causes Ezekiel and Paul to collapse onto the earth in its presence “Paul fell to the ground.” (Acts 9:4) In the presence of Almighty God we are humbled and overcome. When God is present all things change forever and His voice can be heard above the cultural behaviour all around. By amazing grace we are saved to help others see God’s presence in us. What a miracle salvation is; a transformation that is forever evolving.....

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 15 March 2019

    Thank you gracious Lord that you never give up on us.

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 15 March 2019

    I think that I would find myself on the ground face down and my first view of the Beautiful Jesus will be His reflection in the pool of my tears.

  • Gill Glass | Friday, 15 March 2019

    One day we will see God’s glory. Every glimpse he gives us now is wonderful. What amazing visions Ezekiel received, which lift our eyes to our holy, glorious God and Saviour. This song, with words from an old, loved hymn, has been a blessing to me. https://youtu.be/LGAdaGbmfFs

  • Jack Russell | Friday, 15 March 2019

    Prostitution, lifeless idiols and being ashamed of sin. In the light of no one being without sin and God having destroyed people in his anger at their sin, I imagine it being terrifying to be in Gods presence and this only going away in his grace. And if being humble in his presence being lifted up, empowered, loved. All bending the knee in Christ's presence implies that it will either be don voluntarily or by force.

  • Joanna Craigie | Friday, 15 March 2019

    Praying today for those affected by the atrocity in Christchuch may God be with them and the first responders.

  • Jean MacKenzie | Friday, 15 March 2019

    Amen, Joanna.

  • Ann Boldock | Friday, 15 March 2019

    I couldn't agree with you more Joanna, Please everyone on this page pray for those who have lost loved ones. Also pray that it does not have any further consequences and escalate. Peace be with you and all that today are mourning.

  • Helen Stevenson | Friday, 15 March 2019

    It's hard to understand such senseless killing and what causes someone to do such a thing. Yes we must uphold all those who have lost loved ones in prayer.

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