Chapter 43:1-12 (ESV) - Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places, by setting their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them. They have defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their whoring and the dead bodies of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.
“As for you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and they shall measure the plan. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, that is, its whole design; and make known to them as well all its statutes and its whole design and all its laws, and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe all its laws and all its statutes and carry them out. This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.
Question to consider: When did Ezekiel last have a vision of the glory of God by the east gate of the temple?
Those who profess to have visions of God today seem to deal with Him as a peer rather than as the creator and ruler of the universe. I understand that we have a relationship with the Father as His dear children because of Christ, but even a child should not address his earthly father as a peer. This was not Ezekiel’s first encounter with the glory of the God of Israel. In each encounter, Ezekiel fell on his face as though dead, and each time, he had to be revived by the Spirit. Even John, son of Zebedee, who was a beloved apostle of Christ, had the same experience when he witnessed Jesus in glory— first at the Transfiguration and then in the final apocalyptic vision.
When Ezekiel had a vision of the earthly temple which was going to be destroyed, the glory of the Lord left by way of the east gate so it was significant that He would come into the temple not built by hands in the same manner. I believe this scene was also experienced by Daniel in a similar vision, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
When Jesus ascended into heaven the week before the birth of the church at Pentecost, I believe that He took His place within this temple on the heavenly mount Zion. We can get hung up on where this temple and land exists spatially, but it’s okay that there are things we cannot fully wrap our brains around. For all we know, the heavenly kingdom exists alongside our earthly one but is beyond our ability to see and experience. We should remember that Christ has a physical body that was perfected in His resurrection so it’s not an insane concept to think of the kingdom and temple in physical terms but beyond our realm of existence.
People seem open to the idea of a quantum realm or a multiverse, but they balk at the idea that Christ could transcend our current plane of existence while still being near. Personally, I think the idea makes more sense than a future earthly temple where animal sacrifices are done as a “memorial”. That idea does not appear to understand just how bloody the covenant of Moses really was.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for hearing our prayers and working in the world in such a way that Your kingdom will one day be filled with people who revere Your holy name and desire to have You dwell among us forever. Amen.