The book of Ezekiel contains some of the most vivid and awe-inspiring visions in all of Scripture. In Ezekiel chapter 43, the prophet describes his vision of God’s glory returning to fill the temple in Jerusalem. This vision signifies the restoration of God’s presence among His people after a long period of judgment and exile.
In this blog post, we will walk through Ezekiel 43 verse-by-verse and consider its meaning and implications for God’s people both in Ezekiel’s time and today. The return of God’s glory to the temple is a powerful reminder of His faithfulness, holiness, and desire to dwell with His people. As we study this passage, may our hearts be filled with worship and may we long for the day when God’s presence will fill the earth.
Key Takeaways from Ezekiel Chapter 43:
- God’s glory fills the temple, reflecting His holiness and glory (verses 1-5)
- The temple’s design and regulations reflect God’s holiness (verses 6-12)
- The altar’s consecration signifies atonement and access to God’s presence (verses 13-27)
- God’s presence returning to the temple signifies His faithfulness and the restoration of His people (verses 1-12)
- Ezekiel serves as a prophetic “tour guide,” teaching about the temple and proper worship of God (full chapter)
- The meticulous details reflect God’s sovereignty over all aspects of His temple and worship (verses 6-17)
- The regulations and altar point to Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice and mediator (verses 13-27)
God’s Glory Returning to the Temple (Verses 1-5)
Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house. (Ezekiel 43:1-5 NKJV)
Ezekiel describes the awe-inspiring sight of God’s glory returning to fill the temple in Jerusalem. The glory comes from the east, implying its departure from Jerusalem and exile in Babylon. Now, God’s presence returns to inhabit the temple once again.
The description of God’s glory is reminiscent of Ezekiel’s earlier visions, connecting this vision to the others in the book. The thunderous “sound of many waters” and the blindingly brilliant light filling the temple reflect God’s supreme holiness and glory. This visible manifestation of God’s presence engenders an appropriate response – Ezekiel falling prostrate in reverent fear.
The return of God’s glory signifies the end of His people’s exile and His renewed presence with them. After abandoning the defiled temple (Ezekiel chapters 8-11), God now returns in glory, showing He has not abandoned His people. His desire is to dwell with them, if they follow His laws and worship Him properly.
The Temple’s Design and Regulations (Verses 6-12)
Then I heard one speaking to me from the house, while a man was standing beside me. He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever. And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their harlotry and by the corpses of their kings when they die, by setting their threshold by My threshold and their door post beside My door post, with only the wall between Me and them. And they have defiled My holy name by their abominations which they have committed. So I have consumed them in My anger. Now let them put away their harlotry and the corpses of their kings far from Me; and I will dwell among them forever.
“As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan. If they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the house, its structure, its exits, its entrances, all its designs, all its statutes, and all its laws. And write it in their sight, so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them.” (Ezekiel 43:6-11 NKJV)
God gives instructions to Ezekiel to share details about the temple’s design and regulations with the people. This reflects God’s meticulous care and sovereignty over the details of proper worship.
The temple is the place of God’s throne and feet, signifying His ruling presence with His people. Now that God has returned, the people must not defile the temple again through idolatry and disobedience. God consumed them in anger before, so they must repent and obey Him fully.
The measurements and meticulous details of the temple layout highlight the perfection of God’s plans. He is utterly sovereign over worship regulations and desires His people to follow wholeheartedly to experience blessing rather than cursing. Ezekiel acts as a “tour guide,” teaching the people about God’s holy expectations so they live accordingly.
The Altar’s Consecration (Verses 13-27)
Now these are the measurements of the altar by cubits (the cubit being one cubit and a handbreadth): the base one cubit high and one cubit wide, with a rim all around its edge of one span. This is the height of the altar: from the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits; the width of the ledge, one cubit; from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits; and the width of the ledge, one cubit. The altar hearth is four cubits high, with four horns projecting upward from the hearth. The altar hearth is twelve cubits long by twelve cubits wide, square. The ledge is fourteen cubits long by fourteen cubits wide on its four sides, with a rim of half a cubit around it. The base of the altar is a cubit high, and its width a cubit all around. Its steps face the east.”
Then he said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord God, ‘These are the statutes for the altar on the day when it is built, to offer burnt offerings on it and to sprinkle blood on it. You shall give to the Levitical priests who are from the offspring of Zadok, who draw near to Me to minister to Me,’ declares the Lord God, ‘a young bull for a sin offering. You shall take some of its blood and put it on its four horns and on the four corners of the ledge and on the rim around it; thus you shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it. Then the altar will be most holy, and whatever touches the altar will be holy.'” (Ezekiel 43:13-19, 23-27 NKJV)
Ezekiel is instructed concerning the altar’s design and consecration process. The altar facilitates atonement for sin through sacrifice, allowing God’s holy presence to dwell with an unholy people.
The altar must be consecrated through sin offerings and sprinkled blood. This foreshadows how Jesus’ sacrificial blood makes atonement for sin, granting us access to God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-22). For seven days, Ezekiel must make atonement for the altar showing that full, complete consecration is required to approach the holy God.
The regulations also establish rules for the Zadokite priests, descendants of Aaron’s son Zadok who remained faithful (1 Kings 1:32-40). God now reaffirms them as the proper mediators between Himself and the people, foreshadowing Jesus as our greater High Priest and mediator (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Ezekiel’s vision reveals key truths about God and proper worship. God’s holiness and glory fill the temple, reflecting His supreme majesty. His meticulous regulations reveal His sovereignty over worship and desire for wholehearted obedience. The altar’s consecration signifies the atonement required for sinful humans to approach the holy God. Finally, God’s return to dwell in the temple signifies His faithfulness, restored presence, and the reversal of the people’s exile due to disobedience.
For Christians today, this passage points to Jesus Christ – the true temple, sacrifice, priest, and mediator who makes God’s presence accessible to all peoples (Ephesians 2:19-22). As we study Ezekiel 43, may we marvel at God’s glory, grace, and faithfulness to restore His people to Himself. Let’s examine our own lives and repent of anything hindering full worship of the holy, gracious God who desires to dwell with us.