- “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, and I will get glory in the midst of you” (28:22).
- “And I will show Myself great and display My holiness and make Myself known in the eyes of many nations” (38:23).
- “And it shall be a renown for them on the day I show My glory” (39:13).
- “And I will set My glory among the nations” (39:21).
God’s glorious sovereignty
When God makes the statement that He will “set” His glory among the nations, what He means is that they will see, experience, and acknowledge His glory. They will be brought face to face with the inescapable reality that Yahweh is earth’s sovereign, thus the expression Adonai Yahweh (translated “Lord GOD” in most Bibles) used 212 times in Ezekiel, far more than anywhere else in the Old Testament. Yahweh is sovereign, and Ezekiel 25-48 describes occasions in which He will put His greatness on display for all to see.
God’s glory among the nations
Even the way God observes, assesses, and punishes pagan nations, like Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt, displays His glory. Two themes stand out in the chapters addressed to various nations (chs. 25-32, 35):
- How these nations slighted God’s people (the clearest statement occurs in 28:25-26)
- How it is nothing to God to shatter the most powerful of nations and hustle them off to the realm of the dead (32:17-32)
God’s glory in restoring Israel
God also displays His glory in these chapters by reinstating Israel as a nation and recapturing their affections. Several passages in Ezekiel 34-39 outline what God has in store for Israel in future days. As you read these chapters, look for repeated elements in God’s benevolent purposes for Israel:
- gathering them from the lands to which they have been scattered (34:12; 36:24a; 37:21; 39:27)
- resettling them in their land (34:13; 36:24b; 39:28)
- reuniting the nation into one kingdom with one king (37:15-19, 22)
- providing David (meaning the “second David,” Messiah) to rule them as that king (34:23-24; 37:24)
- cleansing their sins (36:25; 37:23)
- giving them a new heart (36:26)
- putting His Spirit in them so that they will obey Him (36:27)
- causing them to dwell safely and prosperously (34:25-27a)
- setting His sanctuary in their midst (37:27-28)
Such a revival of national Israel would be a miracle and that’s exactly the point made in the Valley of Dry Bones vision in Ezekiel 37. God’s work in resurrecting the nation of Israel will be a signal demonstration of who He is: the refrain then you will know that I am Yahweh recurs three times in chapter 37 alone (vv. 6, 13-14) and is found in the surrounding chapters as well. Ezekiel 37 reechoes the covenant ideal that God’s restoration will effect: “I will be their God, and they will be My people” (v. 27). In addition, Israel’s deliverance from an attempted invasion (chs. 38-39) will convince them that Yahweh is their God, and they will be embarrassed by all their unfaithfulness to Him (39:22, 26). It is in the context of God’s overturning this invasion that the display of His glory is most referred to in Ezekiel 25-48 (38:23; 39:13, 21).
God’s glory protected
The last nine chapters of Ezekiel describe a temple situated in a sacred portion of land set apart from Israel’s tribal allotments. The recorded details for this temple—admittedly a bit bewildering—focus on the width and length measurements of the entrances and exits, porches, and courts. The reason for this focus is found in Ezekiel 43:6-12: God is designing this temple in a way that will prevent its future desecration. Multiplied feet of space separate God’s dwelling from that of His people (43:8), impressing upon Israel God’s desire for the holiness of His temple and serving as a reminder to them of how often they had dishonored His house in the past.
The God of glory is there
This temple is part of a whole city with fields and workers, surrounded by Levites and priests, with a “prince” whose lands lie to the east and west. Ezekiel ends by telling us the name of the city: “Yahweh is there” (48:35). This is the best thing about this city and reminds us of why God acted as He did throughout chapters 25-48 to avenge, protect, and display His glory: so that Yahweh could dwell once again with His people.
- What verses in Ezekiel 25-48 reveal how God is at work to display His own glory?
- What does it mean that God will “set” His glory among the nations?
- What expression or title for God occurs in Ezekiel more than anywhere else in the Old Testament? How does that fit with the theme of these chapters in Ezekiel?
- What two themes stand out in the chapters addressed to the nations?
- List some of God’s promised agenda for Israel in the future. (Has God written off national Israel or does He still have promises to fulfill for them?)
- What vision in Ezekiel 37 emphasizes how Israel’s future restoration will showcase God’s miraculous working on their behalf?
- What details does the description of Ezekiel’s Temple focus on and why?
- What is the best thing about the city described in Ezekiel 40-48?