Tuesday, October 9, 2012

a temple like a city

In visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel, and set me down on a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south.
Ezekiel 40:2

The last section of the prophecies of Ezekiel form a description of the renewal of the land. The prophet tours the ideal temple and city and land. This description of a restored covenant has images of powerful physical description. This section contrasts drastically with the earlier tour of the temple, city, and land in which Ezekiel witnesses all the sinful pollution (chapters 8-11) that led to the exile. Now he is touring a holy and restored ideal for Israel.

The vision of this temple is long. It takes up the entirety of the end of the book of Ezekiel at nine chapters long. It is highly detailed and complex and can be readily blueprinted with a careful reading. The text is that specific. And you look at the size of it and you get blown away. This temple building is massive. Depending on the size standard of the cubit used, we could be looking at a complex spread out over a million square feet! This is a big deal! And it all exists for the worship of The Lord.

The point of this vision is that Israel needed a big challenge. They needed a big dream while in exile. You do not comfort a broken people with little thoughts. And this vision had to help propel them forward with redemptive hope. Envisioning a temple like a city helped to push the Jews beyond the crisis of their captivity. It gave them a hope for big freedom yet to come. It helped them know a gracious and mighty and powerful God.

God gave Israel a big dream as they held out hope for a restored nation. And that big dream kept them faithful. Lord, give us God-sized dreams! Help us see a temple like a city!

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