|@October 4, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- The Glory of the LORD Fills the Temple
- The Altar
The chapter opens with Ezekiel being led to the gate facing east and seeing that the glory of the LORD of Israel was coming from the east. The return of the glory of God to the temple indicates a reversal of the tragedy described in Ezek. 10-11. The glory of the Lord returned through the east gate, the gate from which it had earlier departed (Ezek. 10:18–19; Ezek. 11:23). The roar of a huge torrent often accompanies a vision of God (Ezek. 1:24; Rev. 1:15; Rev. 14:2; Rev. 19:6). Ezekiel has a profound response to God’s return, falling on his face (Ezek. 43:3). The glory of the LORD both entered (Ezek. 43:4) and filled the temple (Ezek. 43:5).
In Ezek. 43:6-9, Ezekiel heard “one speaking to me out of the temple” (Ezek. 43:6). This recalls Ezekiel’s inaugural vision of Ezek. 1:28 and is similar to how Yahweh spoke to Moses from inside the tabernacle (see Exod. 25:22). God claimed the temple as the place of His throne and where He would dwell in the midst of His people (Ezek. 43:7). However, in His return, the people shall no longer defile His holy name with their iniquity and idolatry (Ezek. 43:7-8).
In Ezek. 43:10-12, Ezekiel is told to “describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities” (Ezek. 43:10). The description of the temple was to have the effect of shame and repentance from wickedness. If the people respond in this way for all that they have done, Ezekiel is to give them the design of the temple along with all its laws and statutes (Ezek. 43:11). The most important requirement for Israel was to maintain the most-holy status of this temple area, the “whole territory on the top of the mountain” (Ezek. 43:12).
Ezek. 43:13-17 are of the measurements of the altar to be built. It would be 24’ by 24’ wide and 15’ high. While smaller than Solomon’s temple, it had multiple tiers and was more elaborately designed.
The final section (Ezek. 43:18-27) describe the ordinances of the altar to be conducted. A detailed consecration and offering procedure is given for sin offerings and burnt offerings. The altar had to be cleansed from impurities that resulted from sin. This was done with blood, analogous to the sprinkling of blood on the priests at their ordination (Exod. 29:21), on the altar on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:18-19) and on the people to seal the covenant (Exod. 24:1-8). For seven days, the people were to carry out this cleansing and consecration to make atonement for the altar (Ezek. 43:26). From the eighth day onward, the priests were to offer the burnt and peace offerings of the people. The chapter ends on an encouraging note that not only would God accept their offerings but says, “I will accept you” (Ezek. 43:27).
The Lord now fills the temple, coming in from the east. Ezekiel’s response is awestruck wonder, falling on his face in reverent fear. God would dwell in their midst and provide for them instruction for sacrifices and atonement. It would be through this and by their earnest worship and devotion that He would accept them.
This last declaration of God in the chapter struck me to day, “I will accept you, declares the LORD God.” (Ezek. 43:27). God created us and knows we exist, but mere acknowledgement does not equal acceptance; our sin and transgression has created a rift between ourselves and Him. Nor is this granted from our end by paying tribute to God at a generic level. It is only through faith in Christ that salvation is achieved. John Calvin once said, “Apart from Christ, the saving knowledge of God does not stand.” Praise be to God that He has provided a way, that in Christ we are saved and through His work we are accepted.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)