Ezekiel Chapter 40
VERSE 4 “And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you; for you were brought here so that I might show them to you. Declare to the house of Israel everything you see.”
How important is this vision? How is it to be received? And to whom exactly is it to be declared?
This vision is very important to the Church depicted here by Ezekiel and referred to as the “Son of man” (the Elijah class), “It depicts much of the joy and glory set before them. Like their Lord, the joy set before them enables them faithfully to endure the cross and to despise the shame.” (Heb 12:2; T52 par. 3; Compare Acts 7:54-60).
“It will be received by the true Church with avidity, great eagerness: should they choose to set their hearts (minds) upon all that the Laodicean Messenger shows them here, “for you were brought here so that I might show them to you.” You were brought here for this purpose, so that after having “seen with your eyes”, (the eyes of your understanding), having studied and examined the details, and taken note of all the various parts you might be able to tell it to others clearly. Likewise “listen with your ears”, listen carefully to every word so as to repeat it correctly and understandingly, for “blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I tell you that many prophets (men of great learning) and kings (likewise many great and honorable men) have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it (no matter how much they’ve looked into it), and to hear what you hear (what you are able to perceive), and have not heard it (comprehend it, for “the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”) Luke 10:23, 24; 1 Cor 2:4
Nevertheless what you see is to be declared to the house of Israel (antitypically, the household of faith), to the professing Church with the hope “that they may be ashamed of the former beliefs and practices and in complete consecration seek to conform themselves to all the Divine standards herein shown.”
“Though the vision was for Ezekiel’s eyes alone, it was not just for his personal information. He was commissioned to show all he had seen to the house of Israel. And though Ezekiel is writing from Babylon, he does not confine his message to Judea but includes all twelve tribes. This is evident also from the land promises of the final chapter.
However, though he was to communicate all he saw to the entire Hebrew populace, it was not to be done in one message, nor was both parts given to all of the exiles. There are further details to this commission found in Ezek 43:10, 11.
“As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan. If they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the house, its structure, its exits, its entrances, all its designs, all its statutes, and all its laws. And write it in their sight, so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them.”
The vision was to be shared in two parts. First, he was to give an overall description of the temple for the purpose of producing repentance (to the household of faith, believers in general), then, and only to those in whom repentance was found (the fully consecrated), was he to give the further details of the services.
The overall vision can be subdivided into five sections: (1) the structure itself (40:4-43:9), (2) the servants of the temple (Chapter 44), (3) the services of the temple (Chapters 44, 45), (4) the river from the temple (Chapter 47), and (5) the land division of restored Israel (Chapter 48). The reiteration of Ezekiel’s commission comes at the transition point between the first two sections. (There is one notable exception: the description of the altar is in section two.)
The question might be asked how the description of a physical structure, with precise and intricate measures, could be expected to lead to the emotion of repentance. One merely needs to put himself in the position of a sincere Jewish exile. After the initial shock of deportation, the Israeli community adapted well to life in Babylon. Many became prosperous. Business enterprises were permitted and encouraged. Some, notably Daniel and his three friends, had risen to high positions in government. In fact it was so comfortable that when permitted to return by Cyrus, only a small percent accepted the invitation. Life was not all that bad; in fact it was more comfortable than suffering the rigors of a pioneer and returning.
But one thing was absent. To the sincere Israelite, this one thing meant everything. There was no temple of Jehovah in Babylon. Thus Daniel prayed three times a day with his face toward Jerusalem. To them, true faith involved regular visits to the place where God had put his name (1 Kings 9:3; 11:36). The vision of Ezekiel, with a restored temple even greater than that of Solomon, was designed to awaken this renewed desire to serve God in his place and in his ways.
Those who were not so moved were not deemed worthy of hearing the details of the temple worship. Those who did show repentance were to be given both the details of temple service and the promises of restoration to their land, and identification with the river of blessing that would eventually reach all the families of the earth.
The same is true today with telling others of God’s plan. We should freely give forth the general outline of that plan with its core message of redemption and restitution for all people. But the deeper truths of personal worship and responsibility, the message of consecration and what it entails, is only for those who show this repentance.”
(Excerpt taken from, “The Vision of Ezekiel’s Temple”, by Carl Hagensick)
Continued with next post.