I’ve been eking out Ezekiel lately. Again, an exceptionally bizarre book. I remember learning in my Major Prophets class that only Jewish men 30 and older could study this book. Now I know why. It is truly unique, filled with visions (Zeke’s specialty) and physical manifestations of prophetic words from God. Like this:
On July 31 of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God…
As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber.From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, except that each had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning.
As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around.
When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too.The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:1-21)
Sometimes…words aren’t enough. Peek at the video. See?! God *is* into sci-fi!
Ta-da! Did Ezekiel eat some magic mushrooms? It’s definitely not the way most of the Biblical books start. But this is chapter one. Bam! Right out of the gate. Here’s the tone of the book, folks. Ezekiel makes no apologies for being a mystic. No. God speaks to him this way, in visions and dreams and strange acts that cause the other captives to ask questions.
But what puzzles me most about Ezekiel is the dimensions of a temple. Starting in chapter 40 (traditionally a number for government), Ezekiel downloads all the dimensions for a brand new temple covering 750,000 square feet. An angel measures all the walls and essentially guides Ezekiel. He reveals exact room dimensions, furnishings, purposes. Nothing is left out. As I read the last few chapters of this very detailed description:
Then the man led me out of the Temple courtyard by way of the north gateway. We entered the outer courtyard and came to a group of rooms against the north wall of the inner courtyard. This structure, whose entrance opened toward the north, was 175 feet long and 87 1⁄2 feet wide. One block of rooms overlooked the 35-foot width of the inner courtyard. Another block of rooms looked out onto the pavement of the outer courtyard. The two blocks were built three levels high and stood across from each other. Between the two blocks of rooms ran a walkway 17 1⁄2 feet wide. It extended the entire 175 feet of the complex, and all the doors faced north. (Ezekiel 42:1-4)
I wondered what it was all about. I’d always heard it preached that we as Christians were the new temple, and the dimensions represented perfect obedience or somesuch. Or, upon later discovery, that this temple would be rebuilt in the Millennium. It’s a term from Revelation, when Jesus returns to rule on earth for 1000 years. Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4) I don’t know if Jesus’ return will be pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or at the Rapture. So don’t ask.
I’ve read of people working at reconstructing the temple and even restoring sacrifices. I don’t know how all this works. But it’s very mysterious and interesting. I found this video today
I am reminded of the unfathomable mysteries in God. We always have more to discover and learn. God speaks and acts through myriad ways. It’s exciting!
Anyone care to weigh in on this topic? I’d love to hear from you.