God's Glory Returns to the Temple


A study of Ezekiel 43- 45


The book of Ezekiel, from chapters 43 to 45, vividly describes how restoration happens when God's glory enters the Temple. Reading through these verses reminds me of the transformation that occurs at salvation, how the feeling of chaos gets replaced by the overwhelming sense of God's presence that brings peace and calm that settles you. You feel covered by a sense of safety and comfort reflective of his glory as you enter and stay in his presence. The more you prioritize the time spent with God, the more his character rubs off on you, and you get clarity on his plan and promises for your life.


But what happens when we move away from God? We lose connection to his presence and glory and fall out of his purpose, plan and promises. Ezekiel's description of the return of God's glory to the Temple is an excellent reminder to re-evaluate our stance with God and return to him. As we do this, he promises to restore his glory to our lives in three ways: 


  • The Temple, which symbolizes our heart.
  • The Priest which represents our mind.
  • The Promise, which represents his provision.


Let's look at what that means: 


The Temple

“He said: "Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The people of Israel will never again defile my holy name—neither they nor their kings—by their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings at their death.”  Ezekiel 43:7 (NIV)


The Temple symbolizes our heart, the place where God dwells. When we turn away from God, that is the first place he exits, as God cannot stay in a heart covered with sin. But when we turn our lives back to him, he restores his presence to our hearts. Our heart is the seat of his governance, where God wants to be. Like every person, God pays particular attention to the place he calls his Temple and has specific requirements for what the temple design should look like if he is to stay there. 


Taking a closer look at Ezekiel 43:7, we see instructions about how the Temple is meant to be set up and maintained, which gives us an insight into what we need to be doing with today's Temple, our heart. How do we keep our hearts aligned to God's temple design? 


Remember the Temple Design: 

The entire chapter is filled with great details of what the set-up of the Temple should look like. It describes in detail the measurement and positioning of each item, entrances and exits, what can and can't be allowed in the Temple, and the rules and principles that govern the temple practices. 


Does this sound familiar?


The entire scripture contains verses encouraging us to guard our hearts as God's Temple and watch what comes in and out. 


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 (NIV)


"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)


“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.”   Psalm 24:3 - 4 (NIV)


“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NIV)


If we are to see his presence return to our hearts, we need to check the state of our hearts. Is it habitable for the presence of God? Does it exude righteousness or evil? It's time for a deep cleansing – out with all hatred, envy, and bitterness, and allow God's Love, joy, and peace to take root in your heart. 



The Priest

“The LORD said to me, "This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it. The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way." Ezekiel 44:2 -3 (NIV)


Once we give our hearts to God, he comes into our hearts, our bodies become his Temple, and we become his Priest. As Priest of God, we embody his essence here on earth, and we have a duty to perform, which is to guard who comes into the Temple. Nothing else should come in and become a god in God's Temple, and as priests, it's our primary duty to ensure that never happens.



Remember the Priestly duties:

To do that, we need to guard our minds and watchfully scrutinize what we allow to come into it.  What guides and directs our lives – money, fame or a desire to please God? It is natural to find our attention drawn to worldly pursuits, but the bible encourages us to seek God first, and he will provide what we need for our existence here on earth.


As priests, we need to ensure God remains front and center in our lives and that we don't get sucked into the constant appeal to live according to the fleeting standards of our world. So keep all foreign gods out of your life. We have a covenant to observe, live a life of service to him, and clothe ourselves with the appropriate clothing of righteousness and godly character.


The scriptures have bible verses that show us how to stay clean and live as priests before our God. 


"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)


“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5: 16 -25 (NIV)


"Thus says the Lord God: Enough, O princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 45: 9 (NIV)



Let's strive to do our duties as priests and keep foreign gods out of God's Temple.



The Promise

“It will be the sacred portion of the land for the priests, who minister in the sanctuary and who draw near to minister before the LORD. It will be a place for their houses as well as a holy place for the sanctuary.” Ezekiel 45:4 (NIV)


The last point of restoration from our study of Ezekiel 43 -45 is the restoration of God's promises. This is embodied in the Promise he made to the Priest to provide for their needs as they take care of his Temple. When we offer our bodies as temples to God and protect the Temple as Priest, God comes and dwells in us as our God. With his presence comes his glory, and with his glory comes his provision.


Remember the Promise:


“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV)


So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)


So here's our charge today: remember your duties as Priest – protect the Temple and live according to the principles that govern the Temple – As you do, God's presence will be fully restored to his Temple and with his glory comes his provision.


Let's stay true to our priestly duties.