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Ezekiel chapters 40 and 41 in today's readings include verses where we read a lot about measurements and cubits and such! I have to admit that I sometimes zone out a bit when reading these types of details in the Old Testament. However - something that popped into my mind once when reading through these types of verses that has benefited me greatly in my appreciation of measurements and such is this - God is a God of precision. God is a God of detail. God is an organized God. Which I think is great news! I mean, look at our own human bodies and all our internal organs. We are wonderfully made by a God who is a God of precision and detail. So, remembering this when I read these types of measurements verses helps. It helps me keep my focus and interest on what I'm reading. I hope this helps you in some way as you read through detailed chapters like these in the Bible. If God showed this much organization and care for Ezekiel's Temple, do you suppose he continues to show his organization and care for our local churches today?
Ezekiel chapter 41 verse 3 stands out today: "Then he went into the inner room at the end of the Holy Place." This is interesting in that the angelic being leading Ezekiel through this vision and the temple enters the Most Holy Place - Ezekiel does not. Even though it's a vision. And even though God's presence is not in the Most Holy Place at this time (we'll see the Presence coming next chapter). Yet Ezekiel does not enter. Why? Because the law was that only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place. This shows great obedience on Ezekiel's part! Even in a vision, he's obedient. Are there areas of our life where God is calling us to be obedient? Even if we think our obedience in a specific circumstance or situation won't matter (e.g. a vision or a dream or even a small circumstance in real life) - will we still be obedient? Below is one of my all-time favorite images demonstrating obedience that I have to post up a couple of times a year! :)
Ezekiel chapter 42 continues the description of the temple in Ezekiel's vision and the dimensions. In this chapter we learn about the rooms for the priests of the temple. The interesting thing for me, as I was reading this chapter today, is that my mind wandered a bit and wondered if maybe somehow this was / is a heavenly temple that Ezekiel was describing? I'm not sure. I have so much more to learn about the temples. But, it's interesting to think if maybe somehow we might see something like this temple in heaven? An interesting thought at least for me to ponder. However - the tricky thing is that in chapter 43 there are descriptions of sacrifices for the altar in this temple. And of course Christ was the final sacrifice for our sins - so there is no need for the old covenant sacrifices. So, this could certainly dash my imagination of this being a heavenly temple we'll see some day. Though - I did read somewhere that if this is a heavenly temple, the sacrifices described in chapter 43 may be "memorials" or ceremonial - but not required, as they were in the old covenant. I don't know... fascinating stuff to ponder however! Below is an artist's rendition of "Ezekiel's Temple":
Back to how all this might apply to our lives today. Verse 20 in chapter 42 stood out to me: "So the area was 875 feet on each side with a wall all around it to separate the holy places from the common." The last part of that verse stands out - to separate the holy places from the common. I wonder about that in our lives - do we do anything that separates the holy from the common in our own lives? Do we need to? My thought here is that if we don't allow for some "holy places" to appear in our lives, might we just settle for common places throughout our lives? A Holy Place for us might be 5 minutes of prayer. Or 15 minutes of reading the Bible. Or going to a church service. Or listening to worship music. Or not scheduling anything one day a week, so we can take a Sabbath day of rest. What are you doing to create some Holy Places in your life?
Chapter 43 is incredible with God's return to the temple. I love this verse - "And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness!" Absolute holiness. Okay - so this is not something we are going to see or "achieve" this side of heaven. It's impossible for us to be absolutely holy on this earth. Only Jesus was absolutely holy and sinless. However, I think the call for our eternal lives is absolute holiness. So, know that faith in Jesus will ultimately lead you in this direction - and I do believe we can grow in holiness in this life. God's grace gives ultimate absolute holiness in heaven. Do you want absolute holiness? Are you moving toward absolute holiness in your life today? Do you also realize you won't reach absolute holiness this side of heaven? But, yet, do you still desire absolute holiness someday?
Verse 21 in this chapter is a foreshadowing of Jesus' death on the Cross at Mt. Calvary: "Then take the young bull for the sin offering and burn it at the appointed place outside the Temple area." How does this apply to Jesus' death on a hill outside of Jerusalem's city gates? This is best explained in Hebrews chapter 13 verses 11-13 as follows: "The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore." Powerful... Will you walk with Jesus outside the city gates of Jerusalem? Up to Mt. Calvary? Will you follow Jesus all the way up that hill?
Worship God: Today's readings remind me of Michael W. Smith's song "Draw Me Close:"
Have you drawn close to God? Click here and He will draw close to you!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!