Visions shouldn’t have too much detail in my view, so I’m not mad on this chapter. It is the start of a series of eight about god’s vision of the temple, given to Ezekiel.
It has a nerdy amount of detail. Of course various architects and historians have tried to visualise it, demonstrating that for all it’s detail, it’s still incredibly ambiguous.
It would have looked liked like this:
The last one’s my fave.
There have been two temples in Jerusalem, Solomon’s, and the second one they built upon return to Jerusalem. The return Ezekiel has been waiting for and prophesying about all though this book.
The second temple was so disappointing that the old people who remembered Solomon’s cried when it opened.
I think that is why this vision is here, personally, to make it very clear how disappointing the second temple was to God as well.
The Bible thrives on plan B’s, second best and paradigm shifts, as I have observed before.
The plan God’s gave to Ezekiel is many times larger than Solomon’s. The one they actually built was significantly smaller.
The whole tone of the end of the old testament history: Ezra, Nehemiah, and the return to Jerusalem, is of inadequacy. The O.T. ends with a whimper. And not by accident, I don’t think.
It’s saying, I think, that there must be more than these buildings and these animal sacrifices, surely. The second temple they built was manifestly NOT the temple God’s wanted. So what is the plan? It’s setting up Jesus. God in us, our bodies as God’s temple.
My beloved, generally not whacky, Enduring Word commentary takes the Millennial view: that there will be a literal 1000 year reign of Jesus on earth when he returns, and Jesus will spend his time project-manging the construction of a third temple to this literal design.
Some Christians even want to get on with it in advance. They see God’s work for us as creating conditions where the millennium can occur. That’s why some of the visualisations above are modern-ish, with 1980s shopping mall/ public-library-style materials and finishes. This dream is still alive!
I’m going to be doubting Thomas on that one: I’ll believe it when I see it.
Modern orthodox Jews have a very wise approach to the third temple, from what I can gather from Wikipedia. They reject all this scheming and say that if God wants to do it, then God will. It’s not for us to plan.
In the meantime, in practice the mosques that are there in the likely temple site are respected, and the access rules established in negotiation with Islamic leaders are enforced by the Israeli government and police.
I can live with that. It’s kind of a perfect outcome.
Today is the first day of my holidays. No more work until February!
The idea that we live in a rather broken world, of excellent intention, randomly offering glimpses of heaven, of mediocrity and disaster, seems inescapable right now.
Bushfires have skirted around the homes of a number of people I know and love, and taken many others
We get these visions of perfection, of completed patterns in our heads, but we live with a different kind of improvisational beauty that comes from bringing Grace to ordinary moments, and comfort to pain.
I think the perfection is a distraction from our work and purpose.
Jesus with his vague itinerary, his undisriminating approach to disciple recruitment, his generally by-the-seat-of-the pants approach to the specifics of his day, showed us that perfect execution of detailed planning will not necessarily set us free. Life about getting the spiritual priorities right.