Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Sep 8, Eze 40-42

Today's readings are Eze 40-42. Tomorrow's are Eze 43-45. 

Let's step back for a moment and look at what we've seen in Ezekiel up until today's readings. 

Ezekiel was sent to the people of God to tell them to repent otherwise judgment was coming. They had become tainted by their dalliances with the nations around them. Their relationship with God had been severed and God's intention was to restore that relationship. But the process would be painful. 

Earlier in their history, God had established a presence among them by having them erect a temple. Inside the temple was the testimony of His presence (the ark of the covenant). Two major elements of the process to restore the broken relationship would be the people being taken captive and the destruction of that temple. 

All of that occurs, just as God describes it to Ezekiel. Ezekiel gets carried away during the "taken captive" phase. Then, in Eze 37, we see the vision of the dry bones, life coming out of death. 

Now, in Eze 40, we hear of a new temple, larger, more beautiful and better in every way compared to the temple that was destroyed. In the dry bones vision, in addition to the destruction of the temple, we saw judgment on those who oppose God and His people. 

The promise of redemption for God's people, a return to their homeland and the construction of a new temple follows. It is not only a stunningly beautiful place, it also is a safe place, abundant in blessing. 

It's all a picture of Jesus Christ. He is the judgment that is coming. He will be taken captive. His body will suffer torture and destruction. He will be resurrected just as the dry bones were resurrected. He will be the judgment that falls on those who oppose God and His people. He ill also be the new temple. He will be the more beautiful, safe place for God's people to dwell.

Did the Jews understand all this? No. God was still revealing Himself in Ezekiel's time. The promise was that they would return home and rebuild. All the promises were fulfilled. 

So, for us, is this and end-time prophecy? Most likely, it is. But that may miss the point.

Keep in mind the Bible is the story of God and the revelation of His glory to His creation. Ezekiel is a key part of that revelation. God will reveal His glory in the new temple, His Son, a temple that would be destroyed at the cross and then rise up to become a more perfect temple that will offer peace and safety to His people. It will be a temple that establishes His testimony on a permanent basis, a place for His glory to dwell.

If we take our eyes off the Son and begin wandering too far down rabbit trails like end-times speculation, we miss the big story here, "Jesus is the ultimate manifestation of the glory of God and we can find peace and safety in Him." 

God reveals all this, one step at a time, one event at a time, in the Old Testament. He does it this way so that His people will becomes accustomed to His character and nature, how He operates. This progressive revelation is an act of grace, God preparing our hearts for the divine and ultimate revelation of His truth in Jesus Christ, leaving no excuse for rejecting Him. It's almost as if God is saying, "I've been showing this to you for over 4,000 years. Don't miss it when it happens. All judgment and grace for all eternity will revolve around the moment I send my Son."    

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