Have you ever seen the glory of the Lord? There are passages in the Old Testament that describe how incredible that experience must be. In Exodus at the completion of the tabernacle project, the Israelites hold a dedication ceremony. The author describes the magnificent event: “The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Ex. 40:34–35).
During the Jewish exile in Babylon, Ezekiel foretold that the glory of the Lord would one day return to the temple. In his world, the temple of Solomon had been demolished. But in his vision, a “man” (v. 1)—the description points to this person being the preincarnate Christ—showed him a vision of a new temple. That temple has yet to be built—this prophecy will be fulfilled during the Millennial Kingdom.
Today’s reading is the climax of the vision. The Lord’s glory, which had earlier departed (Ezek. 11:23), now returned from the east and entered through the east gate (vv. 1–5). “The land was radiant with his glory” (v. 2). The Spirit took Ezekiel to the inner court but not inside the temple itself. No human being could enter or live in that situation. The return of God’s glory meant the return of God’s presence and blessing (vv. 6–9). He promised this would be permanent and at that future time the people would “never again defile my holy name” (v. 7). The present purpose of the vision was to make the Israelites “ashamed of their sins” (vv. 10–11; see also 2 Cor. 7:1). By describing God’s faithfulness, glory, and plans, the idea was that their hearts would be struck anew with reverence for the Lord.
>> God said He would “live among the Israelites forever” (v. 7). Jesus made us a similar promise: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). If you’re feeling abandoned by God, pray back to the Lord these verses today.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your promise, both in the Old and New Testaments, to be with your people: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb.13:5). Thank you that we can rely on your promises because they are always true!