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The Glory of the Lord Went Up From Their Midst

Ezekiel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:47
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Today we are going to talk about two main ideas. The Kingdom of God and the glory of God.
In talking about the Kingdom of God it is important to realize that the Scriptures talk about two aspects of the Kingdom of God. First there is the Universal Kingdom of God. The Universal Kingdom is the dominion of God that embraces all objects, persons, and events, all doings of individuals and nations, all operations and changes of nature and history, absolutely and without exception. God is on His heavenly throne ruling sovereignly over all creation. King David said it this way,
1 Chronicles 29:11–12 KJV 1900
11 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
Secondly there is an Earthly Kingdom, or as McClain puts it a Mediatorial Kingdom.
“The Mediatorial Kingdom may be defined tentatively as: (a) the rule of God through a divinely chosen representative who not only speaks and acts for God but also represents the people before God; (b) a rule which has especial reference to the earth; and (c) having as its mediatorial ruler one who is always a member of the human race.”[1] It is primarily this Mediatorial Kingdom that takes center stage in the unfolding revelation of the Kingdom of God.
It is this Earthly Kingdom that we will be focusing on today. And in order to examine God’s Earthly Kingdom we must fist examine the Glory of God.
There are three aspects of the Glory of God that I want you to take home with you today.

I. The Significance of the Glory of God

A. Its Description

The glory of God, the glory of Jehovah, sometimes called the “Shekinah” glory of God was in the OT a sign and a manifestation of God’s very presence. It was the form in which God revealed Himself to His chosen people.
And we see amazing events in the OT where God’s glory is manifested. The burning Bush, the Pillar of Cloud and Fire, but one of the most striking occurences of the glory of God in the OT is the event at Mt. Sinai. There on Sinai God covenanted together with His people.
Exodus 19:18 KJV 1900
And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
Exodus 24:15–16 KJV 1900
And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
I believe that God did something very important at Mt. Sinai. He established His earthly kingdom. And this is verified with an awesome display of His glory. In fact the very first time the word Kingdom is used (in this sense) is found here is Ex 19.
Exodus 19:4–6 KJV 1900
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
In the nation of Israel and through Moses God would rule in His Kingdom on earth. This kingdom was then given a constitution in the Mosaic Law. God said if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you will continue to be a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.
This kingdom grew and expanded for 8 centuries. It reached its height in the earthly Kings of Israel, the greatest of which was King Solomon. And again, I think it is significant, that when Solomon complete the work on the temple we read this:
2 Chronicles 7:1–3 KJV 1900
1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. 3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Again in order to validate to the rest of the world that this was God’s program, God came down and filled the temple with His Glory.

B. Its Purpose

So, the significance or the purpose of the Glory of God, in this sense, is that the glory of God was the visible evidence of Jehovah’s personal presence and rule in the earthly kingdom of Israel throughout its history. It had a regal significance. These are my people, and this is my earthly kingdom. The presence of God’s glory leaves little to doubt. If something as grand as the Kingdom of God were to come to earth, you would expect something equal as grand to make that evident- and that is exactly what you have in the visible presence of the Glory of God.

II. The Removal of the Glory of God

That is all background, but you have to understand it if you are going to get the meaning of our text this morning. In Ezekiel 8-11 you have a record of the removal of the glory of God from the nation of Israel. The Kingdom has flourished for eight centuries, but because of the people’s disobedience to the covenant, they were totally unable to keep the Law, God finally had had enough. As a consequence for Israel’s disobedience God removed His Glory and thus ended His kingdom on earth through Israel (for a time).

A. The Reason for the Removal

In Ezekiel 8 we read of a vision given to the prophet during the captivity of Jehoiachin. Ezekiel and many other Jews had been carried away to Babylon leaving only the “poorest sort of people of the land”
2 Kings 24:11–16 KJV 1900
11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. 12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. 13 And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. 14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. 15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
The people left behind in Jerusalem, instead of repenting and seeking after the Lord, went further away from the Lord in their idolatry and sin. False prophets arouse contradiction the word of Jeremiah, the people also sought help from pagan nations to overthrow Babylon. And it is in this situation that God shows Ezekiel a vision of the horrible sins of the people.
Ezekiel 8:1–4 KJV 1900
1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell there upon me. 2 Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber. 3 And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. 4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.
Take notice of what Ezekiel saw in v. 4. He beheld, the glory of the God of Israel. The same glory that was present at Mt. Sinai, the same glory that was present at Solomon’s temple dedication. God is still present in Jerusalem, His regal presence still remains so His earthly kingdom still remains.
Ezekiel 8:5–6 KJV 1900
5 Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. 6 He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.
The implication is clear: In the face of the intolerable situation of sin which is provoking God to Jealousy, God is still in His sanctuary at Jerusalem. However, He is about to depart.
Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary?
Now, Ezekiel is given the evidence against Jerusalem for their great sins against God.
Ezekiel 8:7–10 KJV 1900
7 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. 8 Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. 9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. 10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
Seventy of the elders of Israel stood in the attitude of worship before the creature-idols, even “creeping things and abominable beasts,” which had been painted on the wall of the Lord’s temple.
Ezekiel 8:11–13 KJV 1900
11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. 12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth. 13 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
Romans 1:21–23 KJV 1900
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
That is not all… thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
Ezekiel 8:14 KJV 1900
14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
Tammuz is a heathen god corresponding to the Greek Adonis whose worship was attended by such licentious orgies that the cult was destroyed by Constantine the Great. That the women at the gate to the Lord’s house were weeping for this false god meant there hearts and there worship were stolen away.
And it gets worse...
Ezekiel 8:15 KJV 1900
15 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.
Ezekiel in snot brought in the “inner court,” that is the court of the priests...
Ezekiel 8:16 KJV 1900
16 And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
“And who were these men? They were the priesthood of the nation, represented here by the presidents of the twenty-four courses with the high priests at their head!” (McClain, 122)
The spiritual leaders of the nation and even the high priests himself, stood with their backs to the temple of the Lord (they had turned their back on God), and they had turned their faces toward the east, where they worshipped the sun. This is a total betrayal on the part of the people of God. They had broken the covenant that they had made with God, and now they had even rejected their King. And notice God’s response.
Ezekiel 8:18 KJV 1900
18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

B. The Record of the Removal

The removal of the glory of God is spread through chapters 8 -11. We don’t have the time to read the full account, but we will piece them together.
First, Ezekiel say the glory of God still in the city in the temple
Ezekiel 8:4 KJV 1900
4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.
Then we read this...
Ezekiel 9:3 KJV 1900
3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side;
Then Ezekiel writes,
Ezekiel 10:4 KJV 1900
4 Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory.
For a moment, the glory of God stood over the threshold of the temple, and it illuminated the inner court with a full radiant brightness of Yahweh Himself.
And then Ezekiel records the tragic end…
Ezekiel 11:23 KJV 1900
23 And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.
In the following years the city would be destroyed by the Babylonian armies, rebuilt and the temple itself was successfully reconstructed two times, but nowhere do we read of the Glory of God returning to Jerusalem. The immediate and personal presence of Jehovah, Israel’s divine King had departed.

III. The Application of the Glory of God

Church is not Israel- OT passage and concept, yet still application to be made.

A. The Seriousness of Idolatry

Idolatry was the principle reason for the departure of the glory of God. And if God took it that seriously in the OT, I don’t think He had changed his position on it in the NT.
Guard against three dangers of idolatry
1. “Hole in the wall” Danger- I can hide it, it won’t heart
Ezekiel 8:7 KJV 1900
7 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
Ezekiel 8:12 KJV 1900
12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.
2. “Rob Your Love” Danger- When you love, that should be for God alone, is stolen away by something else
Ezekiel 8:14 KJV 1900
14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
Matthew 6:21 KJV 1900
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 22:37 KJV 1900
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
3. “Turn you Back” Danger- How does God see my idolatry?
Ezekiel 8:16 KJV 1900
16 And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
James 4:4–5 KJV 1900
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

B. The Glory of God in You

2 Corinthians 3:7–18 KJV 1900
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
There is a sense in which the glory of God now lives in you believer.
And this church, there is a sense in which the glory of God dwells in us.
Ephesians 2:21–22 KJV 1900
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
We are the spiritual temple, the spiritual habitation or dwelling place of God by the Spirit.
There is no earthly kingdom, Christ right now is our Head, not our King (in an earthly sense). One day he will come and then He will rule His kingdom, but not yet.
But it is significant that the glory of God is in you. How should that makes us feel about being idol worshipers? Thankfully God will never remove His glory from us. We have something that the nation of Isreal never had.
Hebrews 7:23–25 KJV 1900
23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
We have the blood of Jesus Christ, by which we have been redeemed, justified, purified. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit- the very glory of God.
Mosaic Covenant- conditional covenant
Salvation- eternal, Christ did everything for us.
Ephesians 4:30 KJV 1900
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 KJV 1900
19 Quench not the Spirit.

C. The Kingdom of God is Coming Again

Ezekiel was not left without hope...
Ezekiel 43:1–7 KJV 1900
1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: 2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. 3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. 4 And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. 5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house. 6 And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. 7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.
Of course this will be fulfilled when Jesus, the Son of God returns and establishes His throne on the earth.
Matthew 16:27 KJV 1900
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Jesus is the very glory of God
Hebrews 1:3 KJV 1900
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
He is the brightness / radiance of the glory of God!
Matthew 25:31 KJV 1900
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mark 13:26 KJV 1900
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
This is our hope believer. We too will take part in the coming Kingdom. We will rule and reign with Christ when He returns to set up His throne.
And then one day, when Jesus has conquered all things, the universal Kingdom and the Earthly Kingdom will become one.
Revelation 22:3 KJV 1900
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
And guess what will be present forever more in that great kingdom? The Radiant Glory of God!
Revelation 21:23 KJV 1900
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Folks that is our Hope! We are living for the return of the Kingdom of God. Live mindful of the Glory of God. That Glory is in you, believer. It is possible because of Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, and our Coming King. Don’t fall prey to the danger of idolatry. Don’t grieve the Spirit or quench the glory of God. Rather live in that glory, live for that glory, and await the coming day when we shall behold that glory in its full power, forever and ever…Amen.
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