Saturday 10 January 2015

Bible Book:

“The glory of the Lord filled the temple” (v. 5b)

Ezekiel 43:1-5 Saturday 10 January 2015

Psalm: Psalm 103


The prophet Ezekiel lived as a Jewish exile in Babylon in the6th century BC and communicated in word and deed - includingthrough dramatic prophetic actions - the Word of God for that time.While much of his prophecy deals with the exile as God's judgement,echoing themes in his contemporary Jeremiah, a substantial part ofhis teaching also looks towards the future restoration of thepeople of God.

The passage today occurs in the context of chapters dealing withthe future of Israel (chapters 40-48), as part of an extendeddescription of a future temple (Isaiah40:1 - 43:27). Earlier in Ezekiel we can read of the departureof the glory of the Lord from the temple (Ezekiel 10 - 11) in response to the sins of thepeople, but here the glory of God re-enters the temple.

The manifestation of the glory of God, coming from the east andmaking the sound of "mighty waters" (v. 2), causes the prophet tofall to the ground. In the presence of such glory, no other actionis possible. The also experience recalls Ezekiel's vision "by theriver Chebar" found at the beginning of the book (Ezekiel 1). As the glory fills the temple, theSpirit then lifts up Ezekiel and transports him into the innercourt of the temple, where he sees further the glory of God (verse5).

Ezekiel is a difficult and complex book, and the extendeddescription of the new temple is perhaps hard to apply today. Wemight remember, however, that the New Testament depicts the Churchas the temple of God and - astoundingly - as the place where theSpirit dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). The wonder that Ezekielshowed at the glory of God within the temple is perhaps a reminderof the holiness and glory of God in the midst of the Church, aglory that calls us to growth in holiness as followers ofChrist.

To Ponder

  • Have you ever had a dramatic experience of the "glory of God"?What happened?
  • In what ways is it helpful to think of the Church as the'temple of God' where God's Spirit dwells? 
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