Ezekiel 43:1–12 comment (0)
July 17, 2014
By Douglas K. Wilson
Explore the Bible
Dean, School of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
HOPE OF NEW WORSHIP
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” This hymn is a declaration that we have something to live for because we have hope; namely Jesus died so that we may no longer be the enemies of God. Each one who trusts in Jesus may have confident assurance that he has an intimate relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of life.
Many people have not yet found this hope. They attempt to fill their lives with sports, politics, entertainment, relationships, education, travel, acquisitions, substance abuse or religious ritual. All of these are diversions and false foundations that offer no real hope.
Once again, we have the opportunity to glean principles from the Word of God. Ezekiel 43 is part of a larger section dealing with the vision of the temple. Bible interpreters do not agree as to a singular way to approach the text, so we will look at the principles they hold in common rather than the distinctions between them. Through the gleaning process we can learn how to live with hope.
Deserving of Worship (1–5)
God makes His presence known. While God is understood to be omnipresent, He reveals Himself in discernable ways. The glory of the LORD is one way in which He manifested Himself in numerous occasions in Scripture. During the exodus from Egypt, the glory of the LORD gave direction to the Israelites through the cloud by day and fire by night. The manifestation of God’s glory was a sign of His blessing.
Earlier in Ezekiel, the prophet wrote of the departure of the Glory of the LORD from Jerusalem (10:4, 18–19). This was a sign of God’s judgment upon the people and the city. The vision was confirmed when the great temple of Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s troops in the winter of 587–586 BC.
The present vision of this passage is part of a larger vision recorded in Ezekiel 40–48. Here God speaks of the return of His glory to the city and the return of His blessing to the people. God’s glory would bring heaviness upon the people, leading them to repentance and obedience. The Hebrew root word here for “glory” also is the root for “to be heavy.” In the end His presence would bring hope (see Luke 2:9).
Doorway of Worship (6–9)
Many of us have attended worship services in comfortable, ornately decorated auditoriums where the presence of God was not experienced. Such is the case in many of the ornate cathedrals found all over Europe or the opulent church campuses that pepper the Bible Belt.
Like the temple worship in the last days of Judah, there was plenty of ritual and religious activity, but the hearts of the people were far from God. In a similar way, churches have often become gathering places for people guilty of spiritual harlotry. Repentance from such ritual is the doorway of worship.
We have worshipped with believers in many parts of the world. Often with little material wealth, they pour out their hearts in gratitude for the transforming gospel. When a person or a group experiences the manifest presence of God, lives change. Disobedience is confessed, sin is turned away and holiness becomes the desire of God’s people. These are the results of meeting with God.
Design of Worship (10–12)
The entire purpose of the temple was for God to offer redemption to a people who had disobeyed and rejected Him. Ezekiel had the task of recording all the details of this temple vision so the people would recognize God’s purpose. What an awful thought to know that God offers redemption, atonement and forgiveness, and then to reject God and His plan. He offers redemption to those who turn from their sin and turn to Him. Only then can they live holy lives.