When I moved into my new apartment, I was concerned about space. I share the apartment with one other person, Jun-Yi, my much smarter and more faith-filled roommate. He seems to get life, and we agree on how we would like to maximize our space.
We believe our living room should have lots of room for people to sit. We like people and we don’t seem to value television or video games so our living room will have an extra chair where a TV would be. We also want the living room to house our guitars and be a place where we can worship and read. This is also idealistic because we both are not home very often.
In Ezekiel 40 a Measuring Man lays out the plan for the New Temple. Verses 5-16 contain measurements for the Eastern Gate, 17-19 measures the Outer Court, 20-27 measures the North and South Gate, 28-43 measures the Inner Court, 44-47 measures the Chambers for the priests, 48-49 measures the Vestibule, chapter 41 measures the Inner Temple, and chapter 42 measures the Temple’s Chambers. I spared you 2 1/2 chapters of measurements; you’re welcome.
God felt that a detailed plan for the Temple was important enough to convey to Ezekiel in a vision. Ezekiel gets a visionary virtual tour of the future temple and writes it down for someone else to build. This building was a holy place and inside of the Temple was a most Holy place, where a strong manifestation of the glory of God would reside. Yet, at the end of the day it was still a Temple made by human hands and brought down by human hands.
I work in construction, I don’t build things. Actually my first job was with an antique dealer, dealing with the furnishings of a house. It is why I like old furniture and am pretty good at moving things. We had to load a lot of pieces of furniture securely on trucks while fitting as much stuff on the truck as possible.
I did some landscaping for a summer; I worked with floor tiles for a month; I worked putting up siding for month; I painted some things before, but I am definitely not the guy you want to hand tools to, especially left alone. If God were to give me a vision of a building and the blue print, I’d write it down and remember the measurements.
If you needed an explanation of why something should be done a certain way, I might be able to use convincing rhetoric, but I couldn’t build it for you. I have very soft hands and a normal handshake for a guy who has spent slightly more of his adult life working in farming and construction than in ministry, writing and teaching.
It’s just another part of what makes me hard to pin down. The line between writer and wrestler, pastor and performer, master of none, creates complications for me in understanding my own identity just as much as anyone else. Combine that with my moving patterns one sees either instability or adventure.
This is why I relate to Ezekiel in his journey. He’s a man without a home, who lost his wife, who does a lot of weird prophetic things, and gets creative pictures, inspiring visions and is content to not be the one to execute things that can tangibly point to the restoration of Israel.
When God gives me a prophetic word for someone I usually see a picture, then given the words to articulate what the picture might mean. I couldn’t draw the picture or give you 5-step plan to accomplish the task, it’s not how I am wired.
It’s hard for me to follow 3 or 5-step plans because I’m conditioned to seeing them turn into 10-step plans or seeing the plan crumble before me. This isn’t an excuse; I’m also pretty undisciplined and I get sidetracked by relationships. 9 times out of 10 I will usually choose spending time with people to getting a task accomplished. Why do laundry when you can sit around and do nothing with a friend for 3 hours?
By now, I know what you might be thinking: “This blog post has turned into a weird insight into you rather than an explanation of the temple in the 3 chapters of Ezekiel. You seem to be ignoring the text.” To a degree I am but I’m not ignoring the concept of the Temple.
In the New Testament a veil was torn and the concept of the temple turned from a majestic structure in which one meets with God to the wonderfully made me and you who can meet with God any time anywhere. You and I became the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Our hearts and mind become the new blue print in which God is building and reconstructing. He’s working in and through our personalities to create a most Holy Place for His Spirit to dwell. There isn’t just one Temple where God’s glory dwells. God now dwells by His Spirit in each of us.
There are certain implications that come from this reality. The places we enter as carriers of the Spirit become holy places by living as Christ in every and any situation.
God, may I allow you to work out the intricately detailed measurements and plans you have for my life and trust you in the process.