It seems like it’s been a long time since my last post! I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. We had a work/ministry trip to Arkansas for one week, and two days later a house full of family and friends for Mother’s Day weekend.
I love traveling, and I love having family stay with us, but it definitely throws a wrench in my regular Bible reading and study time and leaves little time for writing. I just spent time catching up on my “scheduled” reading…finishing up the book of Ezekiel. Isn’t it amazing that what could be a “dry” book of prophetic proclamations that seemingly have no connection or relevance to my day-to-day life, instead leaves me with a sense of excitement?
One thing I noticed today was how many times God told Ezekiel, Then they will know that I am the Lord God. I read chapters 24-48 today and I counted this phrase 26 times, in different contexts, including a time of judgment, a time of restoration, and a time of the promised new covenant that Jesus would initiate. I could write an entire blog on just this phrase, and I think I would title it “When Will YOU know the Lord?”
Will it be when His wrath falls in judgment on the world?
Will it be when He rescues you during the time of trouble?
Will it be when He returns in all His glory?
In his last nine chapters (40-48), Ezekiel gives us some amazing details on the Temple that will be built in the latter days. You might think he is describing the third temple, which Israel will build as part of the 7-year covenant they make with the antichrist at the beginning of the Tribulation. But it is not. God is describing the city of Jerusalem and the Temple that will be built for His people to enjoy during the thousand-year millennial reign, when Jesus Himself will rule from Jerusalem, and King David will again rule under Him as prince. The details are astounding. Every single room and wall is described and measured. Instructions are given for the sacrifices that will be made (not for sin, but as reminders of Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice on the cross), and the land allotments for the tribes of Israel are detailed.
I have to admit…as I began reading the lengthy descriptions of measurements, I found myself “checking out mentally,” until I realized what it was describing. This Temple WILL be built. The glory of God WILL literally come down on this building and God WILL dwell among His people for a thousand years, on THIS earth. Water WILL flow out from underneath the Temple and bring life to the rivers and seas. After the horrific judgment of the antichrist and all who rebel against God, the earth will be renewed back to a “Garden of Eden”-like state, where trees bear fruit in all seasons, wildlife is no longer dangerous, and we will go in and out of the new city, serving and worshipping God.
Two takeaways from this morning’s reading.
First, as God describes the coming judgment on all nations who have forgotten Him, He says, “Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” says the Lord God. “That is the day of which I have spoken.” (Ezekiel 39:8) God has warned mankind over and over what the last days will be like. He has made the way for us to escape His wrath against sin by placing our faith in Jesus alone. Whether we believe it or not, His Word will be carried out. It shall be done.
Second, the last verse of Ezekiel (48:35) brings such hope. We don’t have to suffer God’s wrath; Jesus already did that for us, but we have a choice as to whether or not we will believe in Him, repent of our sin, and turn to Him as Lord and Savior. If we do, there is a great time of rejoicing to come, as we dwell with God in a beautifully renewed earth. Ezekiel ends his prophecy with these words:
The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The LORD is there.’”
Oh, my friends! Did you catch it? The LORD is there!
Don’t you want to be there too?