In these eight chapters of Ezekiel, The Lord gives Ezekiel very specific instructions, ordinances and measurements for the reestablishment of Israel, the Temple, and the land. He was restoring Israel and the covenant that she had so brashly thrown away. But Faithful God kept it even when they didn’t. These instructions were given fourteen years after Jerusalem had been taken, and in the middle of Israel’s captivity. It gave them hope, a reminder that they were still God’s people and He was still their God.
In Chapters 40-44 Jesus and as He shows Ezekiel the restored temple and its specifications, He shows us a glimpse of what the promise of New Jerusalem. Chapter 40 verses 2-4 describe Him.
“In visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel, and set me down on a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south. 3 When he brought me there, behold, there was a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway. 4 And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.”
His instructions for Ezekiel were serious and they are important for us as well. Ezekiel had to hear, see, and understand what the Lord was telling him in order to obey Him. We also must look with our eyes, hear with our ears, and set our heart upon all that Jesus shows us so that we can obey and declare it to the world. God brought Ezekiel to the mountain for a reason. He brings us to the places in our lives for a purpose as well. He wants to teach us, show us, and tell us and He wants us to testify with our words, deeds, and lives.
In chapter 43 Ezekiel sees the Glory of the Lord coming just as he had seen in Chebar when the Lord came to destroy the city, but now He came to restore it. As He came Ezekiel fell on His face in worship, awe, and fear. Verses 4-7 read,
“As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, 5 the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
6 While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, 7 and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places”
God’s presence is the most important aspect of the Temple. He is the most vital part of us as His temple as well. We can’t have a relationship with Him if He isn’t invited into it. We can’t have a relationship with Him if we have muddied it with idolatry.
The chapters continue with rules, laws, and edicts concerning the Temple, worship, feasts, and the land. Most are not new instructions but some are a bit stricter than before. Chapter 44 describes the East Gate and requires it to be kept shut. No one may enter or leave by that gate to remind Israel that that is the gate by which the Lord entered and He is there, the core of who they are and His presence is the most important aspect of the law.
In chapter 47 Ezekiel is brought back to the Temple and sees a water trickling out of the south gate of the temple. As Jesus measures the water coming out though it becomes deeper and deeper until it is no longer a trickle but a flowing river so deep Ezekiel couldn’t pass through it but He could swim in it. Verses 6-12 read,
“And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
What an amazing vision of Jesus Christ. He is our righteousness. He is the living water. He brings truth and life. The gospel which was first preached in Jerusalem at the very temple and gate where Ezekiel saw the water trickle out was then preached further and further out until the whole world benefited from the life giving liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Where Jesus is, there is life, fruit, and healing.
The remainder of chapter 47 and 48 give measurements of the land and its divisions and there is an inference to these measurements not being about the Jerusalem Ezekiel knew but some other place, more spiritual than physical. Chapter 48 ends with a description and measurements of the gates of the City. There are twelve gates, three on each side of the perfect square, just like the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation. The name of the city is not called Jerusalem any longer. Verse 35 ends with “And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.”
How awesome is that name? The Lord Is There! He is, and He is never leaving. I am a citizen of that city. Are you? Is Jesus your Lord? Does He live in your heart? Do you declare it to the world? Does the Living Water flow out from you and give life to others? Are you sealed with the Holy Spirit? Is your relationship with the Father pure? You and I, Believer are the Temple of God, the City on the Mountain. The Lord is there! God is with us!