Ezekiel continues to give us details on the Millennial Temple. The reasoning is twofold. First of all, the Jews needed the encouragement about their future freedoms and Temple in time, while they were in bondage in Babylon. Secondly, the Jews will need the encouragement about the future – during the Tribulation Period. They need to know, we win. The enemy may have destroyed the Temple past, and many will find themselves in the middle of Great Tribulation, but there is a certain certainty about the future that is glorious – yes, God’s people are saved and we will fellowship with Him – forever! Jesus said in:
John 16:33 (NKJV) “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Although the entirety of the law is not reinstated, some of it is, including the way the priests eat the holy things in holy chambers (Ezekiel 42:13). This meal was special, for it was if they were sitting down and having an intimate meal with God Himself. For that reason they were required to change their clothes before entering anywhere near the common grounds (Ezekiel 42:14), it would be vivid reminders of the holiness of God, and the fearful privilege it is to serve the LORD as priests.
Leviticus 10:3a (NKJV) “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.’’”
In Ezekiel 43 we have the revelation of the return of the glory of the LORD. Earlier we read that the glory of the LORD departed from Israel (Ezekiel 8:4; 9:3; 10:19; 11:23) but now we see the glory return. Some commentators believe that Israel has been, and will continue to be under certain aspects of God’s discipline, until this moment, when the glory of God returns in the Person of Jesus Christ Himself.
Pastor Chuck Smith, “When Jesus return He will descend on the Mount of Olives on the east side of Jerusalem, and His glory will fill the Temple.”
The vision here is similar to Ezekiel’s inaugural vision (Ezekiel 1:4-28; 43:3). Finally, the complete restoration, and even glorification of a nation!
The word to Ezekiel at this point was comforting…promising:
Ezekiel 43:7 (NKJV) “And 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 in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places.”
The word to Ezkiel was also instructive; all these detail had been given to him to give to the people for their Temple one day in the Millennium, when they’ve completely repented and come to that place of receiving their promised Messiah.
Ezekiel 43:10–11 (NKJV) “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them.”
Ezekiel goes on to hone in on the altar, where the sacrifices would be offered, an altar that needed to be sanctified. Some wonder why sacrifices are being offered at all? John F. Walvoord explains, “The answer lies in the fact that the Millennial sacrifices will constitute a memorial of Jesus death, much as observing the Lord’s supper is a reminder of His death. Also, just as the Old Testament sacrifices looked forward symbolically to Christ’s death, so the sacrifices of the Millennial Kingdom will look back in remembrance to his sacrifice on the cross.”
Once again James warns the unrighteous rich that the day is coming when they will be judged for the way they exploited the poor (see also James 1:10-11; 2:6). The temporal days of living in air-conditioned luxury would give way to the eternal judgment Jesus describes as being cast into a fire that shall never be quenched. God sees all that they do, how they condemn and murder the just, how they reject the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, who elaborated on this Himself, in Luke 16:19-31.
Beware of the temptation to pursue riches, to focus on finances. Warren Wiersbe said, “To live only to get wealth is to rob yourself of true riches (1 Timothy 6:6–10, 17–19). It is to worry instead of worship (Matthew 6:19–34). God knows you have needs, and He will meet them if you practice Matthew 6:33.”
James knows that between now and the coming of the Lord, there will be many, many trials, injustices, and persecutions. He repeatedly encourages us to be patient, establish or settle our hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Whenever we complain, we’re actually complaining about the way God is overseeing our lives, we shouldn’t do that. Job should be an inspiration to us – for even though he lost all his wealth, his health, and worst of all, all his children, he never lost his faith. He was honest with God, he poured out his heart, he asked some tough questions, but he didn’t waver in his commitment to God. We read his amazing words in:
Job 13:15a, (NKJV) “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
God help us to do the same, for there is a plan and a pupose in the pain, God really does have good intentions.
James reminds us that we shouldn’t need to swear so that others would believe us. I thought it was interesting that he prefaces his prohibition with the words “above all.” How important it is that our words carry weight, that our yes means yes, and our no, means no, and people know it – they know we’re true to our words, without having to promise, or swear to God, or on our mother’s grave, or anywhere else. Jesus, the half-brother of James, also dealt with this in Matthew 5:33-37.
James tells us what to do if we’re suffering, cheerful, or sick. Very detailed yet basic instructions. After that, James points to the power of prayer – through any person. Allow me to pass on two helpful quotes.
Warren Wiersbe said, “Many kinds of prayer are named here: prayer for the sick, prayer for forgiveness, prayer for the nation, even prayer about the weather. There is no need that prayer cannot meet and no problem that prayer cannot solve.”
Sandy Adams comments, “When we get sick, the first person we usually turn to is the doctor. Do not stop going to the doctor. God uses modern medicine to heal but remember, the healing itself is always God’s work. Doctors are called practicing physicians. Jesus does not need to practice. He is an expert. Perhaps we do not see more miraculous healing because we had rather spend thirty dollars to sit in the doctor’s office than spend an extra thirty minutes seeking out the elders for prayer. The precise, passionate prayer of a pardoned person is powerful.”
The last two verses of James are a warning to wanderers, and an urgent revelation for us to go get ‘em, to search for them and lovingly bring them back (see Luke 15:1-7).
The focus of Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible) is the Word of God.
“Every verse except 5 (84, 90, 121, 122, 132) refer to the Word, what it is and what it can do in your life if you let it.” – Warren Wiersbe
(It’s an Acrostic of sorts) “The arrangement is also unique. There are 22 sections of 8 lines each, and the lines in each individual section begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The first 8 lines begin with Aleph, the next 8 with Beth, and so on through all 22 letters. This may have been a device to help people memorize the Psalm. The writer had a great love for the Word of God and was persecuted because he obeyed God and opposed sin. Most of the verses are either prayers for God’s help or affirmation of the writer’s faith in God’s truth despite his difficulties. Meditating on this Psalm ought to make you love and treasure the Word of God more and obey it more willingly.” – Warren Wiersbe
In Psalm 119 the Bible is called:
1. Word (s) (43 times) (communication from our Creator)
2. Law (25 times) (legal)
3. Statutes (22 times) (solid truth)
4. Way (s) (17 times) (when I’m lost)
5. Commandment (s) (22 times) (to do and not to do)
6. Testimonies (y) (23 times) (done; what God has done)
7. Precepts (21 times) (detailed; beyond principles)
8. Judgment(s) (19 times) (condemnation; commendation)
As we go through the Psalm you’ll notice with the exception of the first three verses – it’s all primarily a prayer. May God use His Word in our lives, as we pray these prayers.
A few verses that stood out to me in this section:
Psalm 119:9 (NKJV) “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.”
Notice the capacity of the word to tame even the toughest of people, young men who are usually rambunctious.
Psalm 119:10 (NKJV) “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!”
It breaks my heart as a pastor, to see so many wander from God’s Word; let’s seek God with a heart to find Him, let’s pray this prayer for the rest of our lives! (Proverbs 21:16; Proverbs 27:8; James 5:19)
Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
This is a passage encouraging us to internalize, to memorize the Word of God, not just that we’d have something to boast about, but something to be about – that I would not sin. Even Jesus memorized and quoted Scripture when He was tempted by the devil – and the devil fled (Matthew 4:1-11).
Proverbs 26:6 (NKJV) “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”
Almost identical to Proverbs 19:1.
Derek Kidner, “Ways, here…is in the dual number, intensifying the idea of double-dealing…”
It is possible to be rich and righteous – but it’s also hard, Jesus said…but it is possible (Matthew 19:23-26).
But we shouldn’t go reaching for riches hastily or disobediently, because it’s better to be poor and right with God, than it is to be rich and wrong. It’s okay that you take the bus, you rent an apartment, your closet is small, your diet is simple, you don’t have the latest and greatest. It’s okay, that person is way better off, than the wicked man, even if he has mansions and a Maserati…doesn’t matter, it’s only temporary, and without the convictions of Christ, it’s 100% empty.
True and lasting riches are always spiritual. To the church in Smyrna we read Jesus’ words in:
Revelation 2:9a (NKJV) “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)…”
“Many will wish that they had lived and died in obscure poverty rather than having been entrusted with riches, which only made them boldly sin with a high hand against God and their own souls.” – Charles Bridges
Proverbs 29:7 (NKJV) “Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.”
I tend to see these Proverbs as extra “family” incentives. It’s not simply a statement about a certain sort of son; it’s a word for sons to be obedient and dads to do all that we can to help our children spiritually.
“A son who obeys the Law (cf. v. 4) is wise; he has insight. The Hebrew word for discerning is translated “understanding” in verse 2. Associating with gluttons is foolish and shows lack of insight, for it can start a person on the path of drunkenness, laziness, and, ironically, even poverty (cf. 23:20–21). Furthermore, a gluttonous son brings disgrace to his father. This implies that a discerning son (28:7a) brings joy to his father.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
(See also Proverbs 23:19-25)
“One does not have to be given over to ruinous appetites themselves to be a shame to their family; simply being a companion of such can embarrass the family.” – David Guzik
“By identifying himself with those who squander all that is precious – life, food and instruction—the foolish puts to public shame (see Proverbs 25:8) his father.” – Waltke