Ezekiel 43-44, Psalm 73
As we approach the end of Ezekiel, let’s recall how God’s glorious presence left Judah’s temple in the early chapters of the book. God’s Holiness wasn’t respected, and the temple had become a place characterized by idolatry. The Lord would not tolerate this evil, so God abandons the temple built by Solomon. As Ezekiel sees a vision of a temple where only the prince (the Davidic messiah of Ezekiel 34:23-24 and Ezekiel 37:24-25) can enter through its front gates, we learn that God’s presence will forever reign in this new temple. There, Israel will throw off all of its evil practices and goodness will reign. One must ask the question, however, what will have changed in that new temple to make such a difference. Though God with us is the hope of all the scriptures, God’s presence had already been manifest in Solomon’s temple. Yet Israel rebelled. So it is reasonable to wonder why anything would be different the next time God’s presence abounds in the temple Ezekiel envisions. Of course a big part of the answer to the difference revolves around the work of this prince, the one that will lead Israel and will be part of God’s purposes to give Israel a new heart. Without this transformation, Israel will bring their sins and evil to the new temple that Ezekiel envisions. As we learn in the New Testament, we will truly dwell with God in a place where a temple is unnecessary because God will be our temple, and we will be people that have been temples for God’s Holy Spirit. We see as scripture unfolds the centrality of God in our salvation, in every respect. Praise be to our glorious Lord.