Ezekiel 42:1-43:4; James 5:1-8; Psalms 118:19-26; Proverbs 25:6-8
OT: “He led me to the gate, the one that faces east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice sounded like the roar of a huge torrent, and the earth shone with his glory. The vision I saw was like the one I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the ones I had seen by the Chebar Canal. I fell facedown. The glory of the Lord entered the temple by way of the gate that faced east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” (Ezekiel 43:1-5 CSB)
Beginning in chapter 40 of Ezekiel, we read of another prophetic vision that Ezekiel was given. In that vision, the Lord took Ezekiel back to the land of Israel where he was shown a new Jerusalem and a new temple. Throughout the following chapters, Ezekiel went into great detail as every aspect of the new temple was measured and recorded. The description given of this new temple does not match the re-built temple that was constructed when the exiles returned to Jerusalem – so the temple seen by Ezekiel in this dream must be the new temple of God and the new Jerusalem that is part of the new heaven and earth that will be established at the end of the age.
The first time God took Ezekiel to Jerusalem in a vision, Ezekiel witnessed the glory of God departing the temple and leaving the city of Jerusalem. In this vision, Ezekiel witnesses the exact opposite. Instead of witnessing the glory of God leaving the temple followed by the destruction of the city, Ezekiel witnessed the glory of God entering the new temple and filling it with His presence once again. When heaven and earth are made new and the new Jerusalem is established, God will inhabit the new city, and His people – those who were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb – will inhabit the city and dwell in the presence of the Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ forever (Revelation 21:1-8).
NT: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8 CSB)
After writing about the importance of following the will of God and not our own, James gave a warning to the rich and powerful who use their wealth, power and privilege for their own gain at the expense of others. It is not wrong to be rich or powerful. However, it is wrong to use those riches and power to take advantage of others and line your pockets. To those people, James warned that judgement would surely come – if not in this age, in the age to come.
When the Lord comes again, He will bring His righteous judgement to bear on the earth. Those who lived wickedly on the earth will receive their due. Those who lived righteously will receive their reward. All things will be made right and evil and death will be defeated forever. To those enduring in faith, waiting for the ultimate fulfillment of their hope, James said, “be patient.” The Greek word for patient in these verses means to not lose heart – to endure misfortunes and troubles, bear with the offenses and injuries of others, and be slow to anger. The Lord will return, and when He returns, He will avenge His people. We need to be patient and not sin by taking matters into our own hands. When a farmer plants a field, he does so in hopes that a harvest will come. He also knows that time must pass for the harvest to be ready… and during that passage of time, a lot of challenging things can and often will happen – yet he remains patient and trusting. The Lord will return. The day of the Lord will come. It is inevitable. We need to remain in faith and patiently endure in hope.
Psalms: “Open the gates of righteousness for me; I will enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the Lord’s gate; the righteous will enter through it. I will give thanks to you because you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord; it is wondrous in our sight. This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it. Lord, save us! Lord, please grant us success! He who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed. From the hose of the Lord we bless you.” (Psalms 118:19-26 CSB)
When the exiled Jewish people returned to the land of Israel, the temple was reconstructed under the leadership of Ezra the priest, and the walls of the city were rebuilt under the leadership of Nehemiah. It is believed that this psalm was written to celebrate the completion of Jerusalem’s restoration. When the wall around Jerusalem was finally completed, all of the Jews in the region came to Jerusalem to dedicate the wall and celebrate God’s faithfulness. Nehemiah organized two large thanksgiving choirs that stood atop the wall and sang God’s praises. Perhaps this psalm is one of the psalms that they sang.
Though the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem was a glorious occasion, this psalm looked forward to an even more glorious time. Hundreds of years later, the gates of the city were opened and Jesus of Nazareth entered through the gate sitting on a lowly donkey as the crowds shouted out in praise. The words that the people sang and shouted came from this passage of Psalm 118. The crowds shouted, “Hosanna (Lord, save us!) to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matthew 21:9)!” The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone of the Church. The cries of God’s people over the centuries for salvation would be answered within that week. That was the day that the Lord had made, and it was a truly joyful moment… so worthy of rejoicing, that if the people didn’t rejoice, the very rocks along the roadway would have cried out. Salvation had come!
Though that day was truly glorious, a day even more glorious has yet to dawn. One day, the Lord Jesus Christ will return again. He will establish His new eternal Jerusalem. God’s ultimate salvation will occur as death is swallowed up in victory, the kingdoms of this earth will become the kingdoms of our God, and He will reign forever and ever. That definitely will be the day that the Lord has made, and all who are in Christ by faith at His returning will rejoice. Though that day has not happened yet, all who walk in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can experience the joy of the not-yet in the present day. We can rejoice in the hope that we have in Christ. We can rejoice in the salvation that we live in currently and experience day to day. With everyday, we can say, “This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it!”
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your faithfulness. I thank You for Your salvation. I rejoice that salvation has come and that I get to live in the present reality of Your salvation through faith in You. But I also look forward to the day when You return… when all that is wrong will be made right… when all injustices will be reconciled justly… when evil and death are completely defeated, and I am able to live forever in the joy of Your presence. Help me to both live in the reality of the not-yet by faith and to continue patiently enduring in faith until that day. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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