The Glory Departs from the Temple
Take your Bibles and turn to the book of Ezekiel.
Tonight we will look at the 10th chapter.
As we look at chapter 10, there are going to be a lot of things that sound familiar.
Itís not because Iíve already preached on it.
It is because the book of Ezekiel builds on itself one chapter after another.
And what we are going to look at tonight is built upon chapter 1, 8 and 9.
So I hope you will be familiar with this.
Verse 1 in chapter 10...
Now this reminds us of chapter 1...
But verse 2 takes us back to last Sunday night.
This man in linen is not a man at all, but is an angel of God.
Many believe him to be the angel of God in the OT.
Which would make him an OT manifestation of the person of Jesus Christ.
So very likely this man dressed in linen is the person of Jesus himself.
>Now if youíve come tonight expecting me to deal with all that means...
Then youíre going to be disappointed because I did that when we were in chapter 1.
And if you donít know who these four Cherubims are and you donít know what all of these faces mean...
And the wheel in the middle of the wheel and all that stuff...
Then if youíll pick up the tape of chapter 1 it will tell you all and more than you ever wanted to know about these things.
But tonight I want to just share with you that everything that is here is based upon what we have already seen.
There are two visions, two scenes, here that I want us to look at tonight...
And they are built upon what we have already talked about.
>#1 Ė I want us to again see what the Bible says about this man of linen...
And then #2, I want us to again see what the Bible says here about the continuation of the glory of God.
So weíre going to base our message tonight and our study around those two events...
Those two scenes, in the vision that Ezekiel has been seeing now in all of chapter 8 and 9...
And now again in chapter 10.
This is a long vision that God is allowing him to see...
And it is not really happening as he sees it.
It is a vision telling that something is going to happen in the future.
Now thatís what I want us to think about tonight...
The man dressed in linen and the glory of God.
>Now look there in chapter 10 and verse 2: the Lord said to the man clothed in linen...
Now who is the speaker?
Well itís God himself...God the father.
God the father is the one who sits upon this throne and God speaks to this man dressed in linen.
And he says unto him: Go among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.
>Now you remember last Sunday night we saw in chapter 9 how this man came upon the scene.
God said to Ezekiel: "I want you to summon those who are the guardians over the city of Jerusalem."
And he was talking not about human guardians but about angels.
And I shared with you last Sunday night that the Bible teaches that God has posted angels over our individual lives.
God has posted angels over mighty nations...
And God has posted angels over every individual city on the face of the earth.
And there were six angels that had been given the assignment of watching over the city of Jerusalem.
And in chapter 9, when Ezekiel summoned these angels to come...
All of them came with a deadly weapon in their hand.
They came with a destroying weapon because they were ready to reap the vengeance of Almighty God.
But after these first six came with the deadly weapon in their hands...
The Bible says that a seventh one came, the angel of God.
He is dressed in linen.
And he does not have a deadly weapon in his hand.
But rather he has at his side a writing kit.
And the Bible tells us that God speaks to him and says, "Now I want you to go out and I want you to mark."
And the word mark is the letter "tau", the last letter of the alphabet...
And itís a plus sign or the sign of the cross.
And he said to this man dressed in linen, "I want you to go throughout the city of Jerusalem...
And everywhere you find folks that are genuinely sorry because of all the sin and abomination...
That is going on in my city, everywhere you find folks whose heart really is in tune to me...
And who really do love me, I want you to put that mark on them...
That mark of the plus or the mark of the last letter or the mark of the cross.
I want you to mark them.
And after you have marked them, these six angels with deadly weapons are going to come.
Everywhere they see a person that has the mark of the cross on them...
They will not destroy them...
But every person that does not bear this mark will be put to death."
And so now we see in chapter 9 that the ministry of that angel dressed in white linen...
Was a ministry of identifying those who really had been saved.
It is a ministry of grace in chapter 9.
>But now in chapter 10 we have the same angel dressed in the same linen...
But God this time gives him a different assignment.
In chapter 9, God sent him out with a writing kit and said...
"I want you to put the mark of the cross on all of those that really belong to me."
It was a ministry of grace.
But now in chapter 10, he says, "I am giving unto you a ministry of fire.
I want you take these coals of fire and I want you to scatter them upon the city."
And so in chapter 9 there is a ministry of grace.
In chapter 10 it is a ministry of fire.
But it is still the same angel of God, the angel of God...
I believe the person of the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
>Now the ministry of fire, what is that?
Fire is one of those emblems in the Bible that means several things.
Many emblems in the Bible only mean one thing.
For example, the dove is usually a sign of the Holy Spirit.
But fire is an emblem or a symbol that is used in many different ways.
For example, if youíll turn in your Bibles please to Hebrews 12:29...
Youíll find that fire sometimes speaks of the person of God himself.
Hebrews 12:29: For our God (our God, himself, his person, our God) is a consuming fire.
Our God is a consuming fire.
Here fire is symbolic of the very person of God himself.
Now do we take that literally?
Why of course not.
We know that God is not literally fire.
God is a person.
But when the Bible speaks of God being a consuming fire it speaks of the brilliance...
The brightness, the holiness of his person.
God is a consuming fire.
But now look over to the book of Acts chapter 1.
In Acts chapter 1 we find that the Bible not only uses fire to speak of the person of God...
But fire speaks of the power of God.
Look in Acts 1:8: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
You shall receive power.
>Now look over to chapter 2:1: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them.
Now here is what the Bible says.
Jesus said, "You shall receive power when the HS is come...
And then when the HS of God came on that wonderful day of Pentecost...
Tongues of fire sat upon the heads of each of them."
And so in Hebrews 12, fire speaks of the person of God...
But in Acts 2, fire speaks of the power of God.
>Now go back to the OT book of Isaiah chapter 6.
We see here that not only does fire speak of the person of God and the power of God...
But fire speaks of the purging of God.
In Isaiah 6:1: In the year that Uzziah died, I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly.
And they were calling to one another, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty: the whole earth is full of his glory".
At the sound of their voices the door post and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
Then said I, "Woe is me! I am ruined; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD almighty.
Then one of the seraphims flew to me, with a live coal (a coal of fire) in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from off the altar: with it he touched my mouth, and said, "See this has touched your lips, and your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for."
Fire in the Bible sometimes speaks of the person of God...
Sometimes of the power of God...
And sometimes of the purging of God.
>But now when you go back to the book of Ezekiel 10, fire does not speak of the person of God.
It does not speak of the power of God.
It does not even speak of the purging of God.
But it speaks of the punishment of God.
When the angel who is dressed in linen is given a ministry of fire...
God says to him, "I want you to take this fire and go and scatter it over the city."
Now this is the same city that the six angels with their deadly weapons...
Were going to go through destroying everyone who did not have the mark of the cross on his forehead.
This is not God manifesting his person or his power.
God is not even purging at this point.
God is punishing the wicked.
God is pouring out his wrath upon those whoíve turned their backs on him...
Those who have committed these detestable practices of chapter 8.
God is punishing them with fire.
And so we find that this angel of God dressed in linen has been given not this time a ministry of grace...
As in chapter 9, but now he has been given a ministry of judgment.
The same one who ministered grace is the same one who ministered judgment.
>Now the second thing I want us to think about.
Not only do we see here the vision of this man in linen...
But in chapter 10 I want you to see secondly the vision of the glory of God.
Now what are we to think about all of these scenes that we see?
These cherubims and each one has four faces and each one of them as all of these wheels...
And thereís a firmament and above the firmament is this sapphire colored stone.
Friends, we have seen that in chapter 1.
>Go back to chapter 1 if you would.
Ezekiel 1:4: I looked and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north, an immense cloud, with flashing lightening, and surrounded by brilliant light.
The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures.
In appearance there was that of a man. But each one of them had four faces and four wings.
>Now look down in verse 20: Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in wheels when the creature moved, they also moved.
When the creature stood still, they stood still, when the creature rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
You see thatís exactly what we find over in verse 10.
>Look in verse 26: above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire.
Thatís exactly what verse 1 of chapter 10 says.
>Now look in verse 28: Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around them.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell face down.
>Now what is he talking about?
Heís talking about the glory of the Lord.
Every time you see this vision with these four cherubims with each one having four faces...
And all of these wheels in the middle of a wheel and the firmament and the sapphire colored throne above it...
Friends, this is always in the book of Ezekiel, every time you see it, it is the glory of God.
>Do you know what it is that makes Godís people different...
Unique, set apart from all other people on the face of the earth?
It is not the way we dress...
Itís not the way we sing...
Itís not the way we sit and listen to preachers...
The thing that makes us unique and different is the presence of the glory of God.
Friends, we could sing without the glory of God.
We could preach without the glory of God.
We could sit and listen without the glory of God.
But what sets us apart and makes us different and unique from all the other people on the face of the earth...
Is the manifested presence of the glory of God.
>Now I want you to go back to the book of Exodus...
And see something about the glory of God on the nation of Israel.
In Exodus 13:21 and 22: By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night a pillar of fire light...
So that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
God is leading the children of Israel away from Pharaoh.
All of these plagues had come upon Pharaoh and his people, and finally Pharaoh said:
"Take all the people, take all you want and just get out."
And so here the children of Israel are.
They are leaving the bondage of Egypt.
Theyíre going away from the horrible, cruel Pharaoh that had so abused them and tortured them.
Theyíre going away, going out of Egypt, and here is the presence of God...
In this pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day.
It is the manifested glory of God.
They are being led by the glory of God.
>Now later on Pharaoh changes his mind.
And he says, "Man, I have done a stupid thing. I canít believe I let all that cheap labor get away."
And so he says to his army: "Get on your horses...get your chariots.
Letís go after them and bring them back."
And so here he tears out after them, and look over in Exodus 14:19-20: Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israelís army, withdrew and went behind them.
The pillar of the cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel.
Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side, so neither went near the other all night long.
>What does that mean?
That means that the Egyptians caught up with them.
Here were the Israelites walking on foot away from Pharaoh.
Here comes Pharaoh and his army after them.
They are all on horses or chariots, and they catch them and they are close to the border of the Red Sea.
Whatís going to happen?
Well this same glory of God that has been leading them now comes up above them...
Over and down behind them.
And so the glory of God that led them now becomes the glory of God that protects them.
It was dark on the Egyptians, but it was light on the Israelites.
The seas part and the children of Israel go through.
Once they are through the cloud is lifted and the Egyptians try to go through those parted waters of the Red Sea.
When they are all out there in the middle God closes the Red Sea and they are all drowned.
Thatís pretty good protection, amen?
>Now turn over to the book of Exodus chapter 40, and I want you to see something else.
In Exodus 40, God had given to Moses the instructions on how to build the tabernacle.
Now the tabernacle was a tent, and it was a temporary worship center...
Where God was going to manifest his presence to the people.
And look in verse 34: Then a cloud covered the tent of meeting.
It had been completed.
Just like God said to build it, thatís the way they built it.
Then a cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
And Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
That same glory that had led them away from Pharaoh, that same glory that had protected them from Pharaoh...
Is now the glory of God that comes and fills the tabernacle.
Well the tabernacle was never intended to be permanent.
It was intended to be a temporary waiting place because one day the temple was going to be built.
The tabernacle was a shadow but the temple was going to be a real building.
And they build the temple.
>And look over in the book of I Kings 8:10: When the priests withdrew from the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord.
And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
I mean the glory of God led them away from Pharaoh.
The glory of God protected them from the Egyptian army.
The glory of God filled that tablernacle...
And now the glory of God filled the temple itself.
>But now go back to Ezekiel.
This same glory is going to become the judgment of God upon them.
If I were to ask you, "What is the greatest measure of Godís judgment," what would you say?
There are some who would say, "Well Bro. Joe, thereís no doubt about it...
The greatest measure, the greatest demonstration, the greatest expression of judgment of God...
Is the flood that came in Noahís day.
Why my soul, the flood came and covered the earth, and all boys and girls and men and women....
And teenagers, every living creature on the face of the earth that wasnít inside the ark drowned in the judgment waters of God.
I tell you that was a terrible, terrible manifestation of the judgment of God."
But itís not the worst.
You say, "Well then, Bro. Joe, fire must surely be the greatest manifestation of the punishment of God."
No. Not even fire.
I tell you, friend, the sorest, most severe, most horrible form of the judgment of God...
Is when God leaves a sinner alone to face the consequences of his own sin.
It is when God says, "I am through", and he exits.
Now thatís what we find happening in the book of Ezekiel.
>Look back in chapter 9:3.
We saw it beginning last Sunday night.
Now the glory of the God went up from above the cherub.
Where did the glory of God manifest itself in the temple?
It was in the holy of holies over the ark of the covenant.
Thatís where the glory of God manifests itself in the temple, in the holy of holies.
But now in Ezekiel 9:3, this glory of God has moved from the holy of holies and look there in 9:3:
Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherub, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple.
In other words, the glory of God had moved from the holy of holies...
And had now moved to the door of the temple.
>But I want you to see something in chapter 10.
He moves again.
Look in 10:4: Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherub, and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple and the court was filled with the radiance of the glory of the Lord.
The glory of the Lord was in the holy of holies.
He moves to the threshold, the door.
Now he rises up above the threshold in the temple area.
>But now I want you to see he moves again.
Look down in 10:18: then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple, and stopped above the cherubims. While I watched, the cherubims spread their wings and rose from the ground.
And as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lordís house and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
Here was the glory of God over in the holy of holies.
But now the glory of God moves and he comes to the door of the temple...
And now the glory of God moves again, and heís lifted up over the door of the temple.
And now the glory of God moves again.
He comes away from the temple and hovers over the eastern gate of the city of Jerusalem.
>But friends, it doesnít stop there.
Look over in chapter 11:23: And the glory of the LORD went up from within the city, and stopped above the mountain east of it.
The glory of God just absolutely abandons the city.
Now do you see the stages here, friends?
It wasnít something God did swiftly.
It wasnít something God did suddenly.
It was no a spur of the moment thing.
It was not just some fleeting act of passion.
It was breaking the heart of hearts.
It was a struggle for God because God knew that the nation of Israel were his chosen people.
God knew he had set his heart upon them.
God knew that they were the apple of his eye.
God loved them and God had blessed them.
But now they had so sinned that it was time for his glory to abandon them...
And the glory comes out of the holy of holies to the door of the temple...
And then up above the door of the temple, and then over above the eastern gate...
And now goodbye to glory.
Farewell to glory.
The glory of God is gone.
>Now let me close by giving you two fulfillments of all of this.
#1 Ė it was fulfilled historically.
When the Babylonians came, not long after this event took place...
And utterly destroyed the city of Jerusalem, therefore utterly destroying the nation of Israel...
When Jerusalem fell the nation ceased to exist.
And so the Babylonians became the instruments of the hand of God to bring about his holy judgment...
Against the wicked people that had turned their backs on him.
Thatís when Ezekiel 10 was fulfilled historically.
But I want to tell you friends, there is still a prophecy to be fulfilled...
Because there is going to come a day, friend, when this man dressed in white linen...
The angel of God, the Lord Jesus Himself, the same one who came meek and lowly and humbly...
The same one who touched the blind and made them see and touched the deaf and made them hear...
And touched the dumb and made them speak and touched the crippled and made them walk...
And touched the dead and made them come back to life...
This same Jesus that came and ministered the grace of God...
I tell you this same Jesus is one day going to come again...
And when he comes again he will not come to minister the grace of God.
He will come to minister the fiery judgment of God.
John 5 says that the Father judgeth no man but hath committed all judgment into the hand of the Son.
When the great white throne gathers and all the unbelievers will stand before the one who sits upon the throne...
The Bible does not identify him as some human being only...
But one who is both man and God and the one is Jesus himself.
It is Jesus Christ who sits upon the great white throne judgment...
And he examines everyoneís life on the basis of whether or not their name is in the book of life.
And those whose names are not in the book of life...
The Bible says "are cast into the lake of fire."
>If youíre here tonight and youíve never been saved, Jesus is still ministering grace.
But I want to tell you, the day will come when you will have waited too long and God will say...
"No more. No more. My son is no longer a minister of grace. Heís a minister of fire and he comes with judgment."
>But what about this glory?
That glory that filled the holy of holies.
That glory that moved out to the threshold of the temple.
That glory that moved up above the threshold of the temple.
That glory that moved over the eastern gate and that glory that abandoned the city and moved over to the mountain.
Where is that glory?
Oh, I can tell you.
Here. Great God! Right here.
And there...and there...and there...and there.
That same glory of God that filled the holy of holies...
That same glory of God that came to the threshold...
That same glory of God that was above the threshold...
That same glory of God that came to the threshold...
That same glory that was above the threshold...
That same glory that was above the eastern gate...
That same glory that ascended to the mountain...
Is the same glory of God that came into your life when you were born again by the spirit of God.
>But I want to tell you, thereís going to be another fulfillment of that glory.
Not only individually, but look over to Ezekiel 43.
Ezekiel 43:1: Then the man brought me to the gate facing the east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east.
His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.
I want to tell you, this world is under the darkness of sin.
Everywhere you look you find pornographers and abortionists...
And prostitutes and murderers and drug pushers.
We live in a world that the book of I Corinthians says is "ruled by the god of this world who is the devil himself."
The devil has marched around the globe.
Heís left a trail of bloodshed and death and misery and sin and hatred.
And everywhere you look today you find war and rumor of war and hatred....
And strife and depression and degradation.
We live in a dark, dark planet.
But I tell you, one day the glory of God is going to shine upon this earth...
And itís gonna light up around here.
(Verse 2) And I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.
The vision I saw was like the vision I had when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kabar River and I fell face down.
The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing the east. Then the spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
One day, friend, thereís going to be a kingdom of God on this earth.
It will last for 1000 years.
The temple will be the place of worship.
And the glory of God is gonna come back into that house the same way he left.
Heís gonna come back from the mountain and that glory is gonna come back over the eastern gate...
And itís gonna come back over that threshold and down on the threshold marching into the holy of holies.
Jesus will be Lord of all.
Oh, I tell you, thatís exciting, amen?
Well if youíre not saved, youíre just gonna miss all of it.
Except you wonít miss the judgment of fire...
And you wonít miss being banished into hell forever.
>Do you know what makes hell hell?
"Oh, Bro. Joe, itís a place of pain."
"Itís a place of fire."
But I tell you, the thing that makes hell hell is the total absence of the grace and mercy and the love of God.
Jesus said, "Depart from me ye that work iniquity."
Thatís what makes hell so bad is you spend eternity apart from the Son of God.
It could be a paradise.
It could have hot and cold running water.
It could have plush rooms and plush carpet.
But it would still be hell if Jesus is not there.