Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ezek 43-44 God's Glory Returns to Temple

Ezek 43:1-7 Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 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. 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. The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. 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 glory of God will return to dwell permanently in the Millennium Temple: "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" (43:7). In earlier vision, Ezekiel saw the glory of God departed from Israel. It will return again when Christ comes. However, when the new Millennium Temple is rebuilt, the glory will become visible to all who come to worship in Jerusaelem -- the believers and non-believers alike--from which Christ will rule the nations with an iron rod for a thousand years: "They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection" (Rev. 20:4-6).

But until Christ's return, the glory of God is invisible and experienced only in the assembly of God's people wherever the Spirit's anointing is manifested in power: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you" (John 14:16-17).

The conditions of God's glory are stated quite clearly in Ezek 43-44:
  • A Cleansed People: "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" (Ezek 43:7). Only the pure shall see God's glory. When Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Mt 5:8), the Greek word he uses for "pure" is katharos, which means "pure, as cleansed" (Vine's). Not sinless but purified by the blood of Christ. This is also the same word used in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will purify (katharizo) from all unrighteousness." If we put these two passages together, it would mean that the church that wants to experience the glory of God must be a church cleansed from sin - not just positionally in Christ but also personally through confession of our sin whenever we have fouled up. The position makes the personal possible: when we confess our sins, we experience forgiveness at a personal level. It's like drawing money from the bank to spent. As long as the money sits in the bank, we will have no personal experience of our riches.
  • A Holy People: "They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges and decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed feasts, and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy." It seems that with the establishment of the Temple, the Law of Moses will be the kept during the Millennium reign of Christ. Since Christ will reign through Israel with a "rod of iron" over nations that are not believers, the need for Law remains. It will supersede all other religious and civil legal systems currently practised around the world. 
The same principle applies to the church today too. A church that continually experiences God's manifest presence (Holy Spirit) is the one that takes holiness seriously. Holiness has two sides: the negative side involves the putting off of the old self (cleansing) and the positive side involves the putting on of righteousness (obedience): "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph 4:22-32),

Father, thank You that You are the Holy One and through repentance and obedience, we will become carriers of Your glory. Amen.

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