What does it say?
Today’s reading might seem a bit tame. Years following the previous prophecies, Ezekiel is given this vision of the new temple in the time of the kingdom to come. An unidentified man (angelic being?) gives Ezekiel a tour of this new temple.
The setting is said to be the land of Israel, but Ezekiel 40:2 speaks of a very high mountain and the city is said to be like a city on the south. In other words, this is clearly a vision and we should be careful about making literal application and association with what has existed in the past. This is a vision of a new day. Ezekiel’s tour guide carries a measure in his hand and gives great attention to the measurements and layout of the temple. While there is much that is impossible for us to understand at this time, it is clear that this is not simply a rebuilt replica of the previous temple. This is a completely new and different structure whose purposes and features are mostly beyond our current ability to understand, except to know that God’s promise to establish his kingdom, restore Israel to the land and place the Messiah, son of David, on the throne will be fulfilled.
What does it mean?
In essence, this is the climax of the book. The vision that Ezekiel saw initially on the plain of Babylon of God’s glory departing from Jerusalem now ends with God’s glory returning to a new temple and descendant of David on the throne in the kingdom of God.
There have been many attempts to explain the content and details of these chapters. The most probable understanding is to see both literal and symbolic applications with many spiritual lessons in a kingdom that is yet to be realized in its entirety. Some of the elements we see here will also be present in the vision that the Apostle John receives in the first century. The underlying theme is that even the lowest moments of life’s experience there is hope for those who have placed their faith in God.
How will I respond?
In today’s reading, what is the one spiritual lesson that I can most readily apply to my life today? What connection does this lesson have to God’s mission?