The vision of the restored temple is climaxed with Ezekiel's triumphal statement, “I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east!” (v. 2). Some nineteen years earlier God's glory had departed from the polluted temple and then from the city of Jerusalem itself (10:18-19). Now God's glory again filled the temple (v. 5) as it had the wilderness tabernacle (Ex 40:34-35) and later Solomon's temple (1Ki 8:11). The vision was fulfilled some fifty-five years later when God commanded Zerubbabel and the returning exiles, “Build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored” (Hag 1:8).
The new temple was to be a holy place, God's throne and footstool. Never again was it to be defiled by the harlotry and pollution of the worship of other gods. Neither was it to be secularized by connection to the royal palaces as the former temple had been. All of God's instructions concerning the temple were to be written down for the people as a lesson in holiness and so that the people might be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations (v. 11). Holiness was to be the law of the temple (v. 12) as the NT later would teach: “God's temple is holy and that temple you are” (1Co 3:17rsv).
While the next section (vv. 13-27) may be misplaced here, it still emphasizes the need for preserving the holiness of the temple and its worship. The leaders of worship, the priests, must always be spiritually qualified and ready to guide the people in this experience with God.
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