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September 2 Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 40-41
“The Visions of God”
Beginning with chapter 40, and going to the end of his prophecy, Ezekiel gives us the “the visions of God,” in which he describes the church, the City of God, the New Jerusalem. First, Ezekiel saw the Lord Jesus as a Man with a measuring reed in his hand. — “Behold, there was a Man!” Then he tells us about the City of God.
Ezekiel introduces this portion of his prophecy by saying, “The hand of the Lord was upon me.” May the same be true of us, as we read the prophecy. Let us look up to God the Holy Spirit for understanding. None but He who gave the vision can explain it to the soul’s joy. O Holy Spirit, be our Instructor!
The place to which Ezekiel was brought by vision was Jerusalem. Nothing is said in these two chapters (Ezekiel 40-41) about a temple. Yet, it is obvious that the whole of the city is considered as a temple. The visions of the New Jerusalem given to the beloved Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos were very much like “the visions of God” given to Ezekiel. John saw that there was no temple in that heavenly Jerusalem. — “I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22).
The Man spoken of by Ezekiel is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior. This is the Man John saw, too, whose feet were like fine brass (Revelation 1:15). This is the Man who is our God, the singular Object of every believer’s faith. It is He alone who determines the measure and dimensions of the City of God. He is the Builder and Maker of his church, the New Jerusalem, His Holy Temple (Zechariah 6:13; Hebrews 11:10).
That which God’s prophet saw, he was commanded to declare to God’s people. — “Declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.” That is the responsibility and privilege of every Gospel preacher. God reveals and teaches nothing to His servants but that which is for His people.
Obviously, the imagery used by the Holy Spirit in these chapters is intended to be allegorical, pictures of spiritual things. The steps of ascent tell us how redeemed sinners, saved by the grace of God, go up to God by faith in Christ, being taught and led by the Holy Spirit. The palm trees speak of God’s saints, heaven-born souls, flourishing like palm trees in the house of God, “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord” (Psalm 92:12; Isaiah 61:3). The gates are made and opened for a specific people. They are the ones whose names are inscribed upon them, “the twelve tribes of the children of Israel,” God’s elect (Revelation 21:12-22:15). At every gate there is an angel, a messenger, calling for men to enter into the city. These messengers represent God’s preachers. The gates are pearls, one pearl, even the Pearl of Great Price, Jesus Christ. He is the Door, the only door, by whom we enter the city. The gates to the City Beautiful are never shut. Christ is an open door by whom sinners draw near to and find acceptance with the eternal God. The tables, the porch, and the place of sacrifice in which the sons of Levi minister in God’s holy things, speak of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Table of offering, the Porch of access to the throne, the Sacrifice, the Sacrificer, and Altar by whom we come to God.
The doors and gates, in their breadth, and height, and length, described in Ezekiel 41 teach us that Christ is our way of entrance before God here in grace and into God’s temple hereafter in glory. And when we read of the chambers of this house, we see our dear Lord Jesus bringing his spouse, the church, into his chambers, into the secrets of sweet and intimate communion and fellowship with him (Song of Solomon 1:4).
These visions of God, like all other portions of Holy Scripture in the Old Testament, are to be read with the eye of faith in the light of the New Testament, always looking for their spiritual meaning, always looking for Christ, His Gospel, and His salvation. We cannot sufficiently bless God for the discovery He has been pleased to make of Himself in and by the Person, work, grace, and salvation, of our Lord Jesus Christ. That which God’s prophet saw in the City we now behold in the face of our crucified, risen, exalted Redeemer. He is the goodly Mountain of Lebanon, the Foundation Stone Jehovah has laid in Zion, on whom is built that City and Temple which is the church of the living God, the New Jerusalem. On Him all rest secure and eternally blessed. Blessed Savior, hasten the glorious hour when all Your church shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. Amen!