The word return means “the act of coming back.” That word obviously means that whatever was coming back, had left. For example, you look out your window and your car is not in the driveway. Then a little later you look out and the car has returned as someone in the household had to run an errand and has now returned. Hopefully it was someone from your household, if not it may still be gone. The word return means it is not there and now it is. You don’t say to yourself, the car is there, when you do not see it. No matter how much you believe the car to be there, it is not there until it returns. Now that is really a very simple illustration about the word return, especially when we are going to be talking about the glory of the Lord returning to His temple. This simple illustration sadly describes the church today who looks out the window and says the car is in the driveway, when it is not. Basically, this means that most in the church actually think that the glory of God is still present, and they go through the motions as if God is dwelling among them when clearly, just by looking at the church’s lack of power and the false teachings that have permeated the church, God is not present. God has turned His face from the church and His glory has departed just as God turned His face from Israel and Judah. Deuteronomy 31:16 “And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 And in that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us?’ 18 And I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.” This has happened to the church. But because God is a compassionate God, His glory will return just as He has promised, but His people need to repent by turning from their wicked ways. 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Verse 13 has happened, so we pray, Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
Israel and Judah both knew full well what the glory of God looked like among them. They also knew what it looked like when God turned His face from them and no longer dwelt among them. Because God turned His face from them, they knew what is was like to have their enemies defeat them. Today we are going to look at the glory of God leaving and God’s glory returning. To see this, we are going to look at the book of Ezekiel. In this book we see why God turned His face from them and removed His glory and then we see God turn His face back to them and see His glory return. This is why they prayed this blessing as they knew how important it was for God’s face to shine upon them. Numbers 6:4 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ 27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” God makes it very clear that these people rebelled against Him and those who had survived were still rebellious and needed to turn from their wicked ways. The book of Ezekiel starts off with Ezekiel seeing visions of God. It is important to note that God doesn’t completely remove His glory as we see with Ezekiel, Daniel and other servants as that would be hell, which will be totally void of God. As we see, God turning His face brings devastating consequences. At the end of chapter one, Ezekiel said, Ezekiel 1:28 “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” It is important to note that Ezekiel’s message from God was to the exiles. Ezekiel 1:2 “On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin— 3 the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the Lord was on him.” Ezekiel 3:12 “Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound as the glory of the Lord rose from the place where it was standing. 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound. 14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord on me. 15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Aviv near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days—deeply distressed.” This means they had already been in exile for five years, which is five years into the reign of King Zedekiah who was warned over and over about the impending doom that was coming. Jehoiachin was the son of Jehoiakim. 2 Kings 24:1 “During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years.” 2 Chronicles 36:8 “The other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, the detestable things he did and all that was found against him, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.” He was a grandson to Josiah. Jehoiachin did not last long. 2 Chronicles 36:9 “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” 2 Kings 24:10 “At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him.” That decision saved their lives. Then Jehoiachin’s uncle Zedekiah (Mattaniah) became king who did even more evil, refused to listen to Jeremiah which cost him the lives of his family. 2 Chronicles 36:11 “Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 12 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord.” Jeremiah 52:2 “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.” Jeremiah 37:1 “Zedekiah son of Josiah was made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he reigned in place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. 2 Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.” Jerusalem fell and the temple was destroyed when He was king and because he refused to listen, Jeremiah 52:10 “there at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; he also killed all the officials of Judah. 11 Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon, where he put him in prison till the day of his death.” Jehoiachin was spared. 2 Kings 25:29 “So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.”
Everything deteriorated after King Josiah had repented and turned everything around. His sons and grandson that followed did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They turned away from God unlike their father who turned back to God. 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” Even though Manasseh was forgiven, it was too late. 2 Kings 23:26 “Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger. 27 So the Lord said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘My Name shall be there.” Disobedience and rebellion alter the promises of God and destruction will follow just as we saw with Josiah’s sons that followed who did evil in the eyes of the Lord. The good news is that God will always keep His promise to David that there will always be a remnant. 2 Chronicles 36:15 “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.” The people absolutely refused to listen. Jeremiah 6:17 “I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’”
Ezekiel was one of those watchmen. Ezekiel 2:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” He was in exile in the land of the Babylonians, as were the people he would be speaking to. These people survived the Babylonian onslaught but at this point, Jerusalem and the temple had not been destroyed. The problem was these people were still rebellious, even though they had survived. They would only be a remnant if they turned back to God. As we go through this, bear in mind this also has to do with the church, which is why we still have the Old Testament. God said to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 2:1 “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. (still true) 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
Ezekiel would then portray the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Don’t question God’s ways as Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.” Ezekiel was told to obey the word of the Lord and He did exactly as he was told, even to the point of lying on his side for a total of 430 days which portrayed the sin of God’s people. God then describes the wickedness of Jerusalem. Remember God’s ways are not our ways as the bible clearly shows us. Then God talks about wickedness and His wrath. Ezekiel 5:5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6 Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees. 7 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even conformed to the standards of the nations around you. 8 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations.” God then talks about the end and the destruction that was coming. Ezekiel 7:2 “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to the land of Israel: “‘The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land! 3 The end is now upon you, and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 4 I will not look on you with pity; I will not spare you. I will surely repay you for your conduct and for the detestable practices among you. 8 I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. “‘Then you will know that it is I the Lord who strikes you.”
Then God talked about the temple and the detestable acts taking place in the temple and Ezekiel was once again in the presence of God. Ezekiel 8:3 “The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. 4 And there before me was the glory of the God of Israel, as in the vision I had seen in the plain.” Ezekiel 8:6 “And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable. 12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’” 13 Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.” Then Ezekiel saw the destruction that was coming. 8 While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?” 9 He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’ 10 So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”
Ezekiel then saw the glory of the Lord depart from the temple. Destruction follows God’s departure. Ezekiel 10:18 “Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.” God continued to show Ezekiel the destruction of His people and again Ezekiel cried out “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Will you completely destroy the remnant of Israel?” But it is here that God gives this amazing promise to the exiles. This is because of God’s promise to David. Ezekiel 11:17 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ 18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.” A refusal to repent brings eternal damnation.
God shows Ezekiel these are wicked and rebellious people. He then condemns the false prophets. Ezekiel 13:2 “Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?” Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Then the idolators are condemned. 6 “Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!” He then says they are like an adulterous wife. Ezekiel 16:32 “‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband!” Jeremiah said Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 9 “I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. 20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord.”
Even though these people have survived, everything that God said would happen and yet they were still a rebellious people. They would even find out that more destruction was coming. When Jeremiah prophesied about the destruction that was coming, false prophets said it wouldn’t happen. Jeremiah 37:19 “Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land’?” Even though this people did not deserve God’s compassion, God said Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” They were given hope, but God continued to talk about the destruction that was coming and how Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed. He then talks about Babylon, the sword God would use against His people. Be very careful when people talk about God only as God of love, He is also a jealous God and a God of wrath. Don’t believe those who say God would never do that. Ezekiel 21:2 “Son of man, set your face against Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuary. Prophesy against the land of Israel 3 and say to her: ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. 4 Because I am going to cut off the righteous and the wicked, my sword will be unsheathed against everyone from south to north. 5 Then all people will know that I the Lord have drawn my sword from its sheath; it will not return again.’” The last king was King Zedekiah who was king when the fall of Jerusalem and destruction the temple took place. Ezekiel then prophesies about Jesus, the next and final King. Ezekiel 21:25 “‘You profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, 26 this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. 27 A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! The crown will not be restored until he to whom it rightfully belongs shall come; to him I will give it.’” There would not be another king until Jesus and the Jews missed their King and Messiah even though they were told He was coming. As we have talked about, many Gentiles have also missed their king. As one writer said, “This was wonderfully and obviously fulfilled in Jesus Christ and still waits for its ultimate fulfillment.” No, we are not waiting! They teach Jesus’ kingdom is in the future Millennium like the Jews. This thinking like the Jews means that Jesus will return to earth to sit on David’s throne. Another writer said, “The Lord Jesus is the only One who will. Right now He is sitting at God’s right hand, waiting until His enemies are made His footstool when He comes to this earth to rule.” “The Messiah will restore access to God in high-priestly ministry and righteous rule in royal ministry.” This is not true as Jesus is already King, even though the Jews and the church have rejected His kingdom as He established it. We talked about that the last couple of weeks. These are false teaching /doctrines and other gospels. Israel and Judah were destroyed because the people refused to follow God’s word. The church has been decimated by the abomination that causes desolation because it also refuses to obey.
There is much destruction talked about in Ezekiel which is all due to the rebellion of God’s people. The Assyrians and the Babylonians defeated Israel and Judah because the people refused to obey God’s word. 2 Kings 17:7 “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods 8 and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.” Jeremiah said Jeremiah 25:3 “For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. 4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” 7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” 8 Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”
But there is good news. In this same passage God said Jeremiah 25:12 “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever. 13 I will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. 14 They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.” This describes God turning His face back. Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Isaiah 10:12 “When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. 13 For he says: “‘By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.” Jeremiah 50:18 “Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria.” Jeremiah 51:24 “Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:3 “The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord. 10 “‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. 11 I am with you and will save you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’” Jeremiah 31:17 “So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the Lord. “Your children will return to their own land. 28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 33:11 “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.”
These exiles would be given hope just as this gives hope to the church today, but they would have to listen as does the church. Earlier we saw the people did not feel the way of the Lord was right. God explains that the one who sins is the one who will die. The wicked who repent will be saved and the righteous who turn wicked will die. Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? 25 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28 Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29 Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”
So, if the people would listen, there would be hope but unfortunately, they did listen but listened to the wrong people, which is why they are in exile. As we saw earlier Ezekiel said, Ezekiel 13:2 “Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?” Jeremiah said Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” All this is still happening today; both Jew and Gentile. God then condemns and gives hope. Ezekiel 34:2 “Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. 11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” Again, this is talking about Jesus but also returning to the land of promise. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Then we have this amazing picture of dry bones coming to life by being filled with the Spirit of God. God starts with this promise. Ezekiel 36:24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 33 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” 36 Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’” That is an amazing promise.
The good news for the church is that even though this desolation to the church was prophesied in Daniel, we were also told that this abomination that causes desolation would come to an end. Like the other two temples, this temple has also been infiltrated by the enemy and the body of Christ has been taken captive due to rebellion. This is why the church looks nothing like the gospels. What the church does look like are the descriptions of rebellion. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Even though this happened this onslaught by the enemy would be cut short. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive.” Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. 26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’”