Ezekiel 48

Vs. 35 “The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. “And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there”  YHWH (Yahweh) Shammah =  the Lord is there.   There was importance to the allotment of the land to each tribe, but more importantly, we are reminded that God is present.  There must have been much comfort to those who heard this message of hope back in Ezekiel’s time.  Unlike the allocation of land in Joshua’s time, Ezekiel outlines a very fair distribution this time around.

Regarding application…Our Future.  Question: Wouldn’t it be nice to know our future?  In some sense, we already do!  God is intentionally showing us a future hope, that despite our current struggle, we may not get too discouraged.  From the beginning, God has desired to be with His people.  Adam & Eve in Eden was a setback, but God would send Jesus, Immanuel (God with us) to reconcile the broken relationship we had.  Our future is told in the Old Testament as well as the Apostle John reminding us in Revelations.  It’s always nice to end a book on a good note!  So when life gets rough and there seems to be no hope, remember our prophet Ezekiel and the hope that God gave us!

Ezekiel 47

Vs. 6, He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”  Then he led me back to the bank of the river.”  God now gives us a picture of a river that begins under the temple and branches off to the Dead Sea and the other to the Mediterranean.  It is a river blessed by God that provides life to trees that give unending fruit and healing from them.  The Dead Sea as we know it will no longer be dead. There will be rivers of living water flowing into it, quite an amazing thought!  We also see a fulfillment of God’s promises that began with Abraham in restoring the land back to His people.  Notice how God has not forgotten about the Gentiles (vs. 22-23).

Regarding application…God is Faithful  Vs. 14, “You are to divide it equally among them. Because I swore with uplifted hand to give it to your forefathers, this land will become your inheritance.”  God’s faithfulness is not predicated upon what we have done.  God is faithful because of who He is.  Consider your own life.  Question: What have you done that would warrant God’s faithfulness?  In the depth of my soul, I realize as I get older in this life…I can’t do it.  Try as I may, I sputter along in need of grace.  Yet, I am amazed that God is so patient and faithful.  As we venture into a new week and Christmas is looming, let us remember that God is faithful.  What specific thing can we thank God today for His faithfulness?

Ezekiel 46

Vs. 3, On the Sabbaths and New Moons the people of the land are to worship in the presence of the Lord at the entrance to that gateway.”  Ezekiel continues to give us some insight regarding worship.  Question: Just who is this prince?  Some scholars believe it can’t possibly be Jesus, while others state it is Jesus.  Regardless, notice how the prince helps to set the example with the others in rightful worship.  It’s also important to see the order of worship, for many would come on these days (vs. 9).  I really appreciate the order of worship and details that God put importance with inheritance and food sacrifices.

Regarding application…God in the Details.  Vs. 24, “He said to me, “These are the kitchens where those who minister at the temple will cook the sacrifices of the people.”  It’s kind of cool to think that food is a part of the worship details!  Even in the church today, we institute communion.  I’m known to be a very detailed person, and I love how there are specific roles in the kingdom of God.  I think the challenge for many of us today is not forgetting how details can be a very underestimated part of the worship/church experience.  The location of each speaker, where the drums go, the lighting and ambience, the arrangement of the chairs are all important aspects of details that go unnoticed.  Of course, in the end…the whole purpose of all these things is the worship of our Lord!

Ezekiel 45

Vs. 1, When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to present to the Lord a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy.”  We now go from instructions of holy living to instructions on land.  Question: What’s the significance of this?  Remember, from Abram (Abraham), to the Jews in Egypt, to the captives in Babylon…there was always the hope of being in the Promised Land.  There is something about owning land that is sweet to the soul  The first time I bought my house, though my yard wasn’t too big…there was a sense of accomplishment to be able to say that I own this land!  Don’t forget that this is a vision of the 1000 year reign of Christ after the Tribulation.

Regarding application…Why Sacrifices?  Vs. 25, During the seven days of the Feast, which begins in the seventh month on the fifteenth day, he is to make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings and oil.”  Question: Didn’t Jesus do away with the Old Testament forms of sacrifice?  Though there are differing views regarding this, I feel strongly that they are instituted because it brings glory to God.  Just as we remember the significance of communion today, one day we will remember God’s faithfulness through these sacrifices.  We do these things in remembrance of Him.  Question: What are you sacrificing in your life to show God that He comes first?  Sometimes to be free in Christ, we must let go of things in our life.

Ezekiel 44

Vs. 5, The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations regarding the temple of the Lord. Give attention to the entrance of the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary.”  Ezekiel is given a further vision and instruction regarding the prince, the priests and the Levites.  The instructions of Mount Sinai (Exodus 24) were not followed in the past, so we are now actually given even more strict regulations based on how people responded in the past.  The sanctuary of God and how we enter it is not to be taken lightly.  Serving God in any capacity must always be looked at as a privilege. 

Regarding application…Impure Ways. Vs. 6, “Say to the rebellious house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough of your detestable practices, O house of Israel!”  Question: Why would this happen?  In Psalm 19, it states, “the fear of the Lord is pure…”  When God’s people entered His house in the past, they brought their impure ways with them.  Sadly, this application is something that we have continued to do to this very day.  When we bring our impure ways to God, there are consequences to this.  It’s easy to point our fingers to others: blame the Pastor, blame the elders, blame the coach, blame the CEO, blame the teacher, etc.  God does deal with the leaders in good ways and bad ways in how they live, but He also deals with each of us in how we live this life.  I urge you brothers and sisters not to underestimate our impure ways.  Ask the Lord today to convict your heart and let His word dwell richly in you.

Ezekiel 43

Vs. 4, The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east.”  Question: What is the glory of God?  In Hebrew, the glory = kabod, which is a verb used to describe the weight or worthiness of something.  We can’t help but be excited by this vision of redemption in God’s glory returning!  Because earlier in Ezekiel 10, we sadly saw the departure of God’s spirit.  Notice the direction of the glory of God comes from the east.  The sun rises in the east an sets in the west…and in Matthew 24, we are told Jesus will come from the east!  We then get to see part of the purpose of why the temple is built and how it will be used with the altar.  This ceremony depicted with blood and sacrifice does not make the altar any more holy.  It is the Lord who resides and blesses over our sacrifices.  The apostle Paul reminds us that we are living sacrifices in Romans 12.

Regarding application…We are God’s Temple.  Vs. 5, Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”  Don’t get too confused by all these visions.  For us who live today, this is a wonderful reminder that we too bring sacrifices to the temple of the Lord (Ephesians 2).  Question: What kind of offerings can we bring to God’s temple?  Fortunately for us, we do not have to be a perfect in our standing before God to be acceptable.  Jesus died so that we might become the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21).  Brothers and sisters, it is an amazing concept to know that God resides in us today.  That we do not have to travel thousands of miles to a temple in Jerusalem (not even built yet) to have communion with God.  It was his blood that makes your sins that were as red as scarlet now as white as snow (Isaiah 1).  God looks at the heart He is changing, not at our imperfect sins that we struggle with.  Turn your heart today to the Lord and let His glory shine in your life!

Ezekiel 42

Vs. 13, “Then he said to me, “The north and south rooms facing the temple courtyard are the priests’ rooms, where the priests who approach the Lord will eat the most holy offerings. There they will put the most holy offerings—the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings—for the place is holy.”  The Angel continues his grand tour as they look at more and more measurements.  This time we zero in on the rooms for the Priests.  There were two identical sides that housed the rooms for purposes of eating and changing of clothes.  Sounds boring, but there was definite purposes behind them.  This is where they would eat the certain foods of the sacrifice and it was to be a holy (set apart) function.  The changing rooms were used for the priests to change from their priestly garments back to regular clothing.

Regarding application…Being Humble.  Vs. 14, “Once the priests enter the holy precincts, they are not to go into the outer court until they leave behind the garments in which they minister, for these are holy. They are to put on other clothes before they go near the places that are for the people.”  Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Be humble, or you’ll stumble.”  In this situation, we can look none other to the example of Jesus.  As the Christmas season nears, we are reminded Jesus came as a humble baby.  Jesus could have come in his glorious transfigured self already a man, but instead, he humbled himself.  The taking off of the priestly garments and going amongst the people is a application that we too must be ready to mingle among others.  What can you do this week to be humble and share the love of Christ?  Perhaps invite a friend to church, call a loved one, give to the needy…pray that God would humble us to love others!

 

Ezekiel 41

Vs. 1, Then the man brought me to the outer sanctuary and measured the jambs; the width of the jambs was six cubits on each side.”  Now the angel gives Ezekiel the specific measurements of the Sanctuary within the Temple.  Being a detailed oriented person, it’s pretty comforting that God is in the details!  The Temple is a little bit longer than half of a football field.  It’s also interesting to note that there is no mention of the veil that would only allow high priest once a year to enter through it.  Of course, this is because when Jesus died the veil was torn in two.

Regarding application…Hope in the Future.  When I was young, my family used to have a tradition where we would go once a year on a vacation.  I would be so excited to find out where we would go as summer was approaching each year.  My wife and I have continued that tradition and love going on vacations to new places!  There is a sense of hope from rest and excitement in experiencing a new place.  For example, we have enjoyed going on cruises.  The other day we saw a documentary on one of the largest cruise ships called the Oasis of the Seas from the Royal Caribbean company.  It can hold 6000 plus guests, has all sorts of grand features (surfing simulation, mountain climbing, zip lines, indoor mall, a central park indoor garden, ice skating rink, etc…)  As grand as that ship is…the details of the new Temple should illicit an incredible hope for our future destination!  Take time to thank the Lord for a future hope in this crazy world we live in!

Ezekiel 40

Vs. 2, “In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city.”  Question: When will this vision be fulfilled?  At the time of this vision, Jerusalem and the temple Solomon had built had sadly already been destroyed.  While another temple was built about 57 years after this vision of Ezekiel, the temple that we see here is the temple that has yet to be built!  This time is referring to the temple that will be built in the Millennium (the 1000 year when Jesus will reign on earth!)  While the measurements don’t mean too much to us, they would have brought much joy to those who would hear a new glorious temple would be built!  These measurements are increased too.  Question: What about the sacrifices?  Some interpret this as more of a symbolic meaning, others look at it like the church practice of communion…but it won’t have the same purpose at the Old Testament practices.

Regarding application…Tell the World.  Vs. 4, “The man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see.”  Just as Ezekiel was to tell others what he saw and heard, we too are to tell the world!  Question: What are you waiting for?  Put yourself in Ezekiel’s place!  Imagine…You were a part of a church that had an incredible church sanctuary!  It was the pride and joy of your church.  Suddenly, we are invaded by another country who destroys all the churches and takes Christians as captives.  Wouldn’t it be exciting if God gave you a vision of a new promise and a more beautiful church?!?!  I’m sure Ezekiel would have been very excited to share this vision.  Likewise, we have God’s visions and prophecies of our future written in the Bible (God’s living Word).  Let’s be excited to tell the world of the hope we have…especially with the Christmas season soon approaching!

Ezekiel 39

Vs. 4, “On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals.”  In the spirit of the Marines…Hoo rah~~~  There’s trouble for the enemy when God starts talking smack!  Basically, God is telling the enemy…You’re going down, don’t mess with my people!  I love it!  Though Israel is a small nation, even in our present day…they are known for the military strength.  It’s sort of like David vs. Goliath!  There’s some pretty graphic scenes, but God is not in the business of sugar coating things.  We then see a transition into God’s faithfulness to His people, despite their turning away from Him.  Something that Ezekiel and those who lived in that time would be able to understand because of their captivity in Babylon.

Regarding application…When God Speaks.  Vs. 8, “It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.”  Don’t make any mistake brothers & sisters…such things will happen!  Recently, an NBA player, Ron Artest who recently changed his official name to “Metta World Peace”, guaranteed that if the NBA season came to fruition for the 2011/2012 season, the Lakers would win the championship.  Opposing teams love posting such fodder on their walls to help motivate them.  And in ways…that what the enemy does too.  God has put His guarantee of victory and the enemy is doing whatever he can to foil our faith in God.  But when God speaks…it would be wise to listen with faith!  Praise God that all of this will sooner than we realize!