I wasn’t really sure what to write today. I feel like this has come around so fast since my last internlog and I put all my thinking into that. So I decided to open my Bible at random and write a reflection on the passage that came up, which was Ezekiel 43 and Ezekiel’s vision of the new temple, but I’ll do my best.
In fairness, this definitely has some relevance to the current situation we find ourselves in. We had a sermon series on Ezekiel and exile last summer focussing on Israel’s exile in Babylon and its parallels for us, a theme being continued in the current sermon series in our evening services on the minor prophets. We are now, of course, in a very different situation to last summer; to use Mark Bonnington’s metaphors, we’re either climbing up the basement stairs or coming to the end of the viaduct, and this passage speaks to that situation.
Despite the sermon series I am far from an expert on Ezekiel (the only thing I really remember was a lego model of Jerusalem), but I do remember that there’s a lot of condemnation from him, warnings of the Lord’s judgement and the destruction of the holy city. In chapter 43, as we approach the end of the book, the message has changed; we are now seeing glorious visions of the new temple. In our own way, we’re hopefully approaching our own new temple.
Now to actually talk about the passage. A lot of this passage seems quite obscure, with lots of talks of sacrificing bulls and goats. There’s good stuff in there but I’ll focus on verses 10-12:
As for you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and they shall measure the plan. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, that is, its whole design; and make known to them as well all its statutes and its whole design and all its laws, and write it down in their sight so that they may observe all its laws and all its statutes and carry them out. This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all round shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple. (ESV)
The new temple is filled with God’s glory. The place we are headed to will be filled with God’s glory. We can’t let it make itself and run itself. We have to know it inside out, as Ezekiel shows us. That’s my challenge and encouragement for today: we need to take responsibility for the shape of Church after lockdown, but God’s glory will fill it in the face of our insufficiencies.