By Benjamin H. Liles
We're getting closer and closer to the end of Ezekiel and what it is God desires from us as His people. Throughout this book we have seen and understood God and His holiness. His take on sin is that it has no place with Him for His holiness cannot bear the presence of filth and mire. And that's the key to this part as well. As we see here a new Jerusalem and a new Temple coming from Heaven (Ezekiel 40:2-5).
The importance of what we're seeing here in Ezekiel is about the same as what we see in Revelation, considering we see Jerusalem and its new temple coming from Heaven. While this chapter in Ezekiel deals with a measuring rod that a man uses in determining the size and shape of the structure of the wall, ending up being ten and a half feet in nature (Ezekiel 40:5, I converted the cubits to feet), a gateway and threshold are also measured (Ezekiel 40:6).
Countless times within Ezekiel 40 we're told this man that goes about measuring certain things does so with accuracy and with fairness. Knowing this then I can say with confidence that God's word is a measuring tool to measure up whether or not we stand firm or fail God's measuring test. The psalmist declares, "Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD! O LORD, hear my voice; let Your ears be attentive to my plea for mercy. If You, O LORD, kept track of iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared" (Psalm 130: 1-4, Berean Study).
For you see as death and sin have no place with and before God, we all ought to measure our lives according to His standard. As we look and see that none of us can stand before a holy and just God without Him dealing with us in His righteousness and fairness we haven't truly been dealt with as we think He has. If we regard Jesus Christ as we do with God, being the express image and Son of God, we see Him upholding the Father's standard of holiness. Recall the words of Jesus here, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again" (John 2:19, Berean Study).
Context dictates that what He is saying to those around Him is He's not talking about the actual destruction of the Jewish temple, but His body which is God's temple. What we ought to see here is God's words to David through the prophet Nathan, "Go to My servant David and say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you to build a house for Me to live in? From the time I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today I have not lived in a house; instead, I have been moving around with a tent as My dwelling...He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others" (2 Samuel 7:5-14, Holman Christian Standard).
In other words God couldn't have David build His temple as David had been a man of war. If He desired to build for God a temple it would be done through a son that has come from him, and that would be Solomon. And Solomon in fact did build a temple for the Lord on high! But more than that it seems the temple God desires to dwell in with men is in our hearts (see Hebrews 10:16, uses the words God gives to Jeremiah, 31:33). What we see is that His temple isn't ever built by hands from a human but is within our hearts.
Again we have the words of Jesus: "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you" (John 14:16, 26; 16:7, Berean Study).
Therefore, we see God's desire is to dwell with and in the hearts of men. Yes, He has His temple, which He will restore at the end, but if we are His and we remain faithful to the end He is already with and in us due to His Holy Spirit taking residence within us. It is because we have allowed God to deal with u honestly and in humility. The sin which had been so prevalent within us has been removed and God can reign on the throne of our hearts. In this sense His temple is among the people, but we still must keep ourselves wholly devoted and to remain holy unto Him. I pray this helps and encourages you to remain and be a blessing today in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.