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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




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