Something new happens in Ezekiel’s vision. The Lord in His glory again appears before Ezekiel’s eyes, just as He had at the Chebar canal, when He commissioned Ezekiel to be His prophet, and when He showed Ezekiel the abominations happening in the temple and the city before He left it to its destruction. This time, the Lord returns from the east to fill the temple with His glory again. The God of Israel passes through the eastern gate, which is something of significance that will be explained in a little while. Ezekiel either hides his face in the ground so that he will not see the Lord with his unworthy eyes, or he faints from the sheer awesomeness. When he says, “the Spirit lifted me up” (v. 5), he is saying that he is made to stand on his feet again, not that he was picked up and moved around.
Then the Lord speaks from within the temple to Ezekiel, declaring that this house is His dwelling place on the earth. Though the Lord is present everywhere, all the time, this place gets the special designation of being where God is said to live. Though He created every family on earth, He has chosen Israel’s family to be His special people to dwell in their midst. This was not a choice made based on any merit they had, or any distinguishing characteristic, but simply because He chose them. We who follow Christ do well to remember that we were chosen in the same way for the same reasons: simply because God decided to show His mercy and grace to us in this way. We wouldn’t even be considering what God would want us to do without that.
Because God is holy, His neighbors, as it were, will be holy too. In the past Israel sinned grievously, just as we all have, but in the future, when God’s glory fills the temple, there will be no more abominations or defiling practices. It looks like there is some ambiguity around what was meant by the “dead bodies of their kings” as that may refer to monuments set up for them. Whatever had happened, it won’t happen any more because only the Lord will be worshipped when all is said and done.
Ezekiel is given instructions to make known to Israel the plans and laws for this new temple. In all of Scripture, this is the only place where anyone besides Moses was given ritual laws for Israel to uphold, The purpose of the temple’s blueprints and operations manual were to bring shame on the readers for the things they have committed against the Lord. If their hearts are pricked with shame, they will be moved to construct a proper dwelling for the Lord.
Your holiness is infinite, and we can only approach it because of Your power and goodness to us.