The return of the glory of God in Ezekiel depended on the building up of His house; the return of God’s glory today depends on the building up of the church as the dwelling place of God according to all the details in Ezekiel 40-48.
In Ezekiel we see that the glory returned from the heavens, the place where it went to after it left the temple and the people of Israel, and the glory filled the house and shined on the earth. But what we see in the New Testament is that the glory doesn’t come suddenly from outside, but it emerges from within.
When the Lord returns, He will come in glory in two ways: He will be visible in glory on the cloud, and He will also come as glory bursting forth from within our being.
On the one hand He will be on the cloud, being seen by everyone, and on the other, He will come forth from within His saints, saturating their being with His glory to the uttermost. These are the objective and subjective coming of the Lord in glory.
What we see in Ezekiel is the principle. When is God’s glory manifested among His people on earth? It is when He gains a building. When the church is built up as the dwelling place of God, the Lord will manifest His glory.
But when we have idols, that is, replacements for Christ, His glory cannot be among us. God’s glory cannot co-exist with the worship of idols. Our God is a jealous God, and He wants to be our unique Lord, our unique God, the only One whom we worship.
We need to return to Him, let Him judge our idols, be purified, worship only Him, and seek to be built up together and coordinated together to be the house of God, the dwelling place of God.
It is a sad thing to see the glory of God leave His house, but it is a joyous matter to see the glory of God return to His house.
In his earlier ministry, Ezekiel witnessed the departing of the glory of Jehovah from the temple, the city, and the people of Israel; in the latter part of his ministry, after the rebuilding of the temple, he witnessed the return of the glory of Jehovah to His house.
It is sad to see believers getting together and going through many religious motions and doing religious activities yet without the glory of the Lord being present. It is a wonderful sight, however, when the glory of the Lord is among His people who are built up together and are coordinated in His life to be His house, His dwelling place.
The Return of God’s Glory Depends on the Completion of the Building of the House of God
What was the main cause for the return of the glory of Jehovah to the house of Israel, as seen in Ezek. 43? The glory of Jehovah returned only after the building of the temple was completed.
If we want to dwell in the church and manifest God’s glory in the church, the church needs to be built up. When the church is built up according to all the features and specifications in Ezek. 40-48, being built up in every aspect, God will dwell in the church gloriously.
In his earlier ministry Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord leave the temple, but in his later ministry he saw the glory coming back to the house of the Lord – see Ezek. 9:3; 10:19; 11:23; 43:7.
We believe that the Lord wants to return in His glory to His house; we may have many decades to live until the glory returns, but if we are faithful to the Lord, allowing Him to build Himself into us, as the years go by, we will see the glory increasing in the local churches, and the glory of the Lord will return.
In Hag. 2:7, 9 we see the prophecy concerning the return of the glory of the Lord to His house, and the latter glory will be greater; this is the principle of the recovery. In order for the glorious God to return and dwell in the church, the church must be built up to become the dwelling place of God.
When God gains a dwelling place on earth, when the church is built up on earth, the Lord can return in His glory to dwell in the church. It is in the church that God dwells, and it is by being in the church that people can see God, contact God, know God, and see God manifested.
If we have the grace to be built up in the church, the God of glory will live among us. We need to realize that the highest requirement from the Lord today, and actually the unique requirement for His glory to return and dwell in the church, is that we are built up together according to the vision He has given us in the Bible, especially in Ezek. 40-48.
But who among the Christians today cares for God’s building? Many care for the building of their own church, their group, and their denomination, and what you hear being preached today is the matter of salvation, spirituality, and worshipping God.
The enemy in his subtlety has kept Christians throughout the century from knowing the building and from being built up. The Lord is not concerned with our personal spirituality; He desires to gain a house, a dwelling place, the church as the built-up Body of Christ.
God doesn’t want to gain many spiritual giants like Daniel; the glory of the Lord never came to Daniel in Babylon, but it came upon the temple built up in the holy land according to God’s instructions.
We may be a spiritual person among the believers, but unless we are built up together in the church, the glory of the Lord will not be with us. God’s concern is not merely with salvation or with spirituality but with the building (see Eph. 4:12, 16; 1 Cor. 14:4, 26).
Lord Jesus, we give ourselves to You for the building up of Your house, the church, so that Your glory may be manifested among Your people. Grant us the grace to be built up in the church so that the God of glory may live among us. Lord, may our seeking and pursuit not be for more spirituality or doctrines but for the building up of the church! May You gain a built up church that is Your dwelling place, the place of Your throne and for the soles of Your feet. Amen, Lord, build us up in the church and gain a built-up church!
Doing Everything for God’s Glory and being Built up to be God’s Dwelling Place
The glory of the Lord returned because the building of God’s house was completed (Ezek. 43:7). The glory returned from the east – the direction of the sunrise, which signifies glory; the Lord came back from the glory (Ezek. 43:2; Num. 2:3).
The glory came from the glory; the glory of the Lord left by the way of east, and now it returned from the same way. Similarly, the Lord Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives, and He will descend to the Mount of Olives when He returns.
The glory of the Lord came into the house by the east gate, which was for the glory of the Lord (Ezek. 43:4).
The temple has three gates: one toward the east, one toward the south, and one toward the north; the east gate was not merely for the convenience of the people, but also for the glory of the Lord. Similarly, in the church life we have many gates, but the east gate should be open for the glory of the Lord.
This means that everything we do in the church life should be according to the Lord’s glory, with His glory in view. Even in such decision as where to have the meeting and what time, we should care for the Lord’s glory more than for the people’s convenience.
The first consideration we should have in the church life should be the Lord’s glory (Eph. 3:21; 1 Cor. 10:31). Whatever we do in work or in deed should be to the glory of God. The way we dress, the way we comport ourselves with others, the way we speak, everything should be to God’s glory.
To Paul, sin was to come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and to John, sin is lawlessness (1 John 3); both of these are in a direct contrast to Gen. 1:26. To fall short of the glory of God is to trespass against His image, and to be lawless is to rebel against our commission to represent Him.
We need to consider this before the Lord and do everything with the glory of God in view. In every decision we make and in every problem we want to solve, we need to firstly consider the glory of God.
The Lord desires to come back to the earth, but for His coming back He needs a dwelling place – a place for His throne and for the soles of His feet. God’s dwelling place today is the church; the church is the base of His administration and move on earth (see Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15).
If the church today corresponds to all the details of the holy building of God covered in Ezekiel, and thus the church is built up in every aspect, God will dwell in the church gloriously (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 3:21; 5:27).
We need to gradually endeavor to build up the church in every aspect, filled with the humanity of Jesus, permeated with the cross in its centrality, and having the palm trees and cherubim carved, so that, little by little, the glory of God would be manifested in the church.
In order for the glorious God to dwell in the church, the church must be built up to become the dwelling place of God.
Lord Jesus, may all our decisions, words, and actions in the church life be to the glory of God. May our first consideration be God’s glory and not our convenience. May the way we speak and comport ourselves be Your expression for Your glory. Lord, may the church be the base of Your administration and move on earth. May our concern be not merely with salvation or spirituality but with Your building. Amen, Lord, gain a built-up church so that You may manifest Your glory among Your people on earth today!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Ezekiel, msgs. 13-14, 24 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-study of Ezekiel (2), msg. 12 (week 24 in the HWMR), The Return of the Glory of God to the House of God.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Freed from self and Adam’s nature, / Lord, I would be built by Thee / With the saints into Thy temple, / Where Thy glory we shall see. (Hymns #840)
# Perfected and nourished from house to house meeting, / We speak one by one that the church may be built. / As little by little ev’ry enemy’s fleeing, / More and more surpassingly with glory we’re filled. (Song on being built together)
# Built up as the one new man, / Thus fulfilling God’s great plan of— / Mingling fully with the human race / To obtain a proper dwelling place, / ’Stablishing His kingdom’s rule and grace; / Over all the earth. (Hymns #1180)
Latest posts by aGodMan (see all)
- The Lord’s Recovery of the Church has been Gradual and Progressive throughout History - November 23, 2017
- Seeing the Degradation of the Church from God’s Original Intention for the Church - November 22, 2017
- The Original Condition of the Church and the need for the Recovery of the Church - November 21, 2017