Vision of the New Temple
Ezekiel 40:1-4
In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month…

These visions of the restored temple are a fitting close to this series of revelations. The opening visions displayed the righteous God marching forth in majestic splendor to vindicate himself. His vast army is at hand to execute his royal will. Now the will of God upon Israel is accomplished. Exile has done its gracious work. The old love of idolatry is killed. In vision at least the people have returned in loyalty to their own King. A regeneration of heart and life has occurred. Bright prospects of return to Palestine open before them. God has pledged himself to reinstate them permanently in Judea. There remains only one thought - it concerns their temple. This had been the visible symbol of their elevation and their strength. Shall their temple lift its royal domes heavenward again?

I. RIGHT ASPIRATIONS QUALIFY MEN TO RECEIVE FRESH REVELATIONS FROM GOD. The frame of thought and feeling in Ezekiel's mind was an essential condition for obtaining this vision. Natural principles prevailed then as now. Ezekiel was by birth and office a priest. Nor was he, as many had been, a priest simply by hereditary right. He was in every fiber of his nature a priest. His soul yearned to see Jehovah enthroned in his temple at Jerusalem. He yearned to take his proper place at the altars of the Most High. The visions and promises God had vouchsafed to him touching the reoccupation of the land had revived his hopes. He longed to see the gracious promise fulfilled. To Ezekiel, in this state of sanguine hopefulness, the new vision came. Earnest zeal for God's glory is a condition essential to gain further knowledge of his will. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show to them his covenant." As steel points draw off the electric fluid, so a state of childlike affection draws down communications from God.

II. FOR EVERY KIND OF ENTERPRISE GOD HAS WELL-EQUIPPED SERVANTS. As soon as Ezekiel was transported in vision to Mount Zion, lo! there was a heavenly messenger furnished with plans for the new temple. Without doubt the unfallen angels have differences of character and differences of endowment as Feat as appear among men. Very likely qualities of mind are even more varied and diverse in heaven than upon earth. Gabriel is described to us as the presence-angel - a sort of prime minister. Michael is always spoken of as engaging in battle for Jehovah - a commander-in-chief in the army of God. Some angels at least have gifts of music and of song. This visitor from the heavenly realm who met Ezekiel on the mount was endowed with architectural skill, and unfolded specifications and plans for the house of God. "His appearance was like the appearance of brass" - steadfast, durable, irresistible. His qualities were the very opposite of a weak, timid, vacillating person. The circumstances were such that severe opposition was expected, and the architect of God was well-prepared for his task. So has it always been in human history. Gideon was the man for his times. Elijah was well adapted for his age. Paul well fitted the niche he occupied.

III. TO RECEIVE REVELATIONS FROM GOD EVERY HUMAN ORGAN MUST BE ACTIVE. "Behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee." The eye and the ear are the channels through which we obtain the raw material of information, which is manufactured into wisdom by the machinery of the mind. God does degrade men by using them only as machines. He will not do for them what they can do for themselves. He will give no premium to indolence. By the diligent use of our highest faculties we rise into higher states of life and joy. It was after a season of prayer that Jesus was transfigured. While David "mused, the fire burned." He that uses well his ten talents obtains largest reward. The eunuch was diligently scanning the Scriptures when the interpreter came to him. While Daniel was speaking in prayer, Gabriel arrived to unfold the heavenly mysteries. We do not receive larger and clearer revelation from God because our minds and hearts are not open wide to receive it. The oil stayed because there was no empty vessel.

IV. DIVINE KNOWLEDGE IS GIVEN THAT IT MAY BE COMMUNICATED. "Declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel." In the kingdom of God no form of selfishness is tolerated. Every man receives in order that he may distribute. This is God's great principle of economy. He kindles the light on one point, that from this point other torches may be lighted. "Freely ye have received, freely give." The fount of knowledge is fed by what it gives out, as well as by what it receives. By virtue of St. Paul's possession of the gospel mysteries he counted himself a debtor both to the Greek and to the barbarian. Men of God are stewards of spiritual blessing, God's almoners to the world. God has enlightened us that the light may shine out upon others. God has enriched us that we may enrich the poor. God has filled us with sacred comfort that we may comfort the distressed. God has made his servants trustees for humanity. "No man liveth unto himself; no man dieth unto himself." - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.

WEB: In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth [day] of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was struck, in the same day, the hand of Yahweh was on me, and he brought me there.

Israel's Restoration a Proof of Divine Mercy
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