I’ve just finished reading through Ezekiel. By any standard, it’s a magnificent book–opening with a mind-blowing vision of God’s holy glory, clearly stating the full horror and grievousness of our sin, and then declaring our Holy God’s intention to save sinners for His own glory (Ezek 36:22ff).
Near the end of the book (chaps 40-48), the prophet is recounting the dimensions of the new temple and restored Israel. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that these chapters–with their cubits upon cubits, their east gates and their west gates, their territories bordering territories–tend to feel drier to me when I read them.
A few thoughts came to mind as I read through these chapters, which I hope prove encouraging for you (as they did for me).
- My first thought: I found incredible the level of detailed concern God had in designing this temple. The notes in the ESV Study Bible describe this as a concern to “include provision for dealing with the people’s sin so they can survive in the presence of a holy God.”
- My second thought: “I can be encouraged because this probably gives me a good idea of God’s care in building a new heavens and new earth, with a new Jerusalem in the center.” God really cares about the space in which we come to meet him.
- Then the third thought: There’s one significant difference between Ezekiel’s restored temple and land, and the new heavens and earth. There are no ongoing sacrifices in the new Jerusalem. Instead, as Revelation 5 reveals, the Lamb “standing, as though it had been slain” is our eternal sacrifice. Through him we are glorified, and because of him, we can survive in the presence of a holy God.
- And then a final thought: God’s ongoing patience with us and grace towards us is as sure and certain and eternal as the blood of the Lamb. For God to run out of patience with His people, Christ’s blood would have to fail. And it doesn’t. Praise God.
I know that’s pretty basic theology, but I was freshly encouraged by it, and thankful for the way the Holy Spirit can use even Ezekiel’s dry chapters to refresh our dry bones.
Thankful for the Lamb,