Rev. Michael F Blume
After reading the above event, the text continues to read about a cherub who was commanded to remove a coal of fire from between the cherubims on the chariot. Then we read of the cherub doing so, followed by the next information.
After this we read about the words of rebuke regarding men who devise mischief in the City, followed by:
A similar picture is seen in the 43rd chapter.
And finally, the 44th chapter of Ezekiel:
In this study we will see how that all these references to the glory of God entering and exiting through the Eastern Gate shed forth much insight into the overall plan of God which involves mankind. That glory which entered into, and left out through, the eastern gate was seen in the first part of Ezekiel on a chariot which had four cherubims at each of the four corners of the chariot. In the course of reading Ezekiel, we see a picture of the glory lifted from the chariot after which it entered the temple through its east gate, and returned to the chariot after leaving the temple.
The eastern gate, to say the least, definitely plays an important role in this writing of Ezekiel. Also, in two separate instances, the cherubim actually stood at the eastern gate threshold.
These creatures called cherubims were first mentioned in the Garden of Eden after Adam's expulsion from paradise.
In Genesis, as in Ezekiel, we read of an EAST GATE, as it were, where the cherubim stood, just as they stood at the east gate of the temple when God's glory left the temple. From this correlation of pictures we can begin to see a message from the Lord regarding man and salvation. To fully understand the picture, we must realize that salvation is required by man due to the great transgression of Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God in the Garden. For this reason they were cast out of the Garden, and were exiled to live outside of paradise where the tree of eternal life stood. All Adam's children were born outside the Garden and were not allowed to enter there again, either. Since Adam sinned, and his children did not, many would think that the children should not be punished for their father's sake. However, we see that God did indeed bar them, too, from entering the Garden.
And we later read that Cain slew his brother Abel in jealousy after Abel's offering was accepted when Cain's was not. Why did Cain have that kind of hatred within him? Why did he sin? Where did such a nature come from? Adam did not portray any traits of self-centredness until after he ate of the forbidden fruit, when confronted by God. The answer to this involves the same reason Cain and Abel could not enter the Garden. They must have been born in sin.
The only explanation for the barring out of Cain and Abel, and the reason for Cain's sinful jealousy and murder, is that Adam's children were born with sin in their flesh which they inherited from their father, and which, as Paul points out, is also within all of us. We are born in a state of being banned from the Garden due to sin within the flesh of each of us.
Now, the element of the scenario that really makes the picture exciting is to notice that, just as God's glory left the Temple of Ezekiel's vision through the eastern gate, man left the Garden through the east gate. And man is referred to as the image and the glory of God!!
Paul said that man is the image and GLORY OF GOD. In other words, the GLORY OF GOD left the temple/Garden through the east gate, as Cherubim stood at the threshold of the gate, when Adam left the Garden. This was exactly the manner in which God's glory left the east gate of the temple when Cherubim stood there, too!
(Notice the idea of COVERING in 1 Cor. 11 when we read about man and woman and the glory of God, and think about how the CHERUBIMS were covering creatures, or KEEPING creatures, denoting guardianship and vigils of protection. See Ezekiel 28:16 and Genesis 3:24. Please refer to my study _Covering Cherubs of the Covenant_.)
When man left the Garden, we see a picture of God's glory leaving the Garden. And since the garden had a single entrance in the east, and God's glory left Ezekiel's temple through the east, we see another parallel thought. And, in noticing this, we also realize that God's glory must return to the Garden by way of having mankind return there in order to reinstate the perfect will of God for man.
The picture of God's glory leaving the Garden is again repeated in another story of the Bible, giving us indication that the message He is trying to get across to us about this issue is a very vital one indeed. He repeated the picture! After all, what could be more important than seeing man return to that place in which God first intended man to dwell in?
After entering Canaan, the people set up the tabernacle of God in Shiloh. In that tabernacle would sit the ark of the covenant, where GOD'S GLORY dwelt as first commanded in Exodus.
God spoke to His people from between the Cherubim on this ark.
The tabernacle abode at Shiloh for over a century! In Samuel's time, the tabernacle was still there. Generations later, two priests ministered to the Lord in Shiloh, Hophni and Phinehas, the son of the high priest there, Eli.
These two sons were lewd fellows and sinned in adultery with women who approached the tabernacle. God revealed this to Samuel, who was brought there to serve the priests in the tabernacle as a young boy. Samuel first began hearing God's voice while at Shiloh.
In the passing of time the day arrived when the Israelites battled the Philistines, and the two priests were sent to fetch the ark to the battle that they might not lose the war that began to favour the Philistines, after probably having recalled the time the ark's march around Jericho brought down the city's walls.
However, Israel lost the battle that day and the Lord would not fight for them, seemingly due to the sin of the priests. The Philistines took the ark, Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and their father Eli died when he heard the ark was taken from Israel. Phinehas' wife was pregnant at the time and near to giving birth to her baby when she heard that the ark was taken and her husband and Eli were killed.
THE GLORY IS DEPARTED. Just as the glory left the Garden and the temple of Ezekiel, it left Shiloh that day due to the people's sin.
Jeremiah made mention of this event and commented, under inspiration of God, about the sin of Israel there.
Much later, in David's time as king, the ark was returned to Jerusalem from the Philistines. Israel accepted the presence of God and David erected a temporal tabernacle for it. Later, when the temple was built in Solomon's time, the ark was transported into this new structure as God's glory filled the temple.
In time, though, Israel's sin brought God's wrath down upon them again in the form of the Babylonian captivity. The temple was smashed and the Ark was never seen since. God's glory had departed once again!
Interestingly enough, a prophecy of Christ's coming was given in Genesis, and it mentioned a note about SHILOH.
Jesus was referred to as SHILOH, the same name that was given to the first location in which the tabernacle was situated at Canaan! The word literally means "tranquil". (Could it refer to the peace in the paradise that was in the garden, of which Shiloh's tabernacle was a figure?) Over a century the Ark remained in Shiloh until the sons of Eli removed it and lost it to the Philistines, as the Garden lost man, God's glory, due to man's sin.
The thought of Jesus being SHILOH, where the glory of God was meant to dwell, is coupled with the thought of Jesus being the LAST MAN ADAM. Adam, remember, left the Garden as God's glory. And the ark left Shiloh, too. So, when we see Jesus regarded as both SHILOH and the LAST MAN ADAM we see a correlation to this great overall message!
Adam was the figure of Jesus, Who would later come long after Adam's time. Another connecting thought that seems to put the picture in even clearer view is the idea that John and Paul called Jesus the "glory" of God.
Jesus Christ is the glory of God. He is the IMAGE of God and the GLORY of God.
He is the LAST ADAM. Since Adam failed, God, Himself, became a man, and actually entered into the temple!
We read that in the temple, Jesus cast out the moneychangers and upset their tables. He cried that God's house was not to be a den of thieves, but rather a house of prayer! The religious leaders rejected Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem, and would not recognize Him as the glory of God.
They rejected the return of God's glory! And He prophesied that the temple would be destroyed without leaving one stone left upon another. It was like the Babylonian captivity all over again! 40 years later, Rome came and besieged the City and destroyed the temple, just as Jesus had predicted. And all this because they rejected the glory of God!
In one of the visions regarding the glory and the east gate, as seen above, the east gate was to be shut and only opened for the prince, who could come in and eat bread before God.
This is very similar to the picture of the Garden when the east gate was closed up by the presence of cherubim and a flaming sword. Adam could not enter the garden, due to his sin, and eat of the tree of life and live forever. According to Ezekiel, only the prince could enter.
This fully agrees with the truth about Jesus Christ. He did not sin, and could therefore, enter any holiest domain He wished to enter. He alone could enter such a domain, but He came that we, also, might return there! God's glory is meant to be in the temple/Garden! Jesus came to open the way!
Jesus died on the cross and a marvelous thing happened!
His death caused the veil to rip wide open in the temple! The doorway that had been blockaded by the cherubim and flaming sword, was now opened. Recall that the veil had images of cherubim sewn into it (2 Chr 3:14 And he made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.)! This was identical to the picture seen of cherubim standing at the east threshold of the temple when the glory of God left the structure.
What did this mean? Surely it had to something to do with Christ's death being reason for the glory of God to enter the temple again by way of the newly opened eastern gate! The veil blocked the single way into the Holiest of holies, and that entry faced east! Man, God's glory, was outside the garden - outside the temple - where he belonged. And Jesus did something about it!
You see, as the ark of the covenant, where God's glory dwelt, opened the barrier of the Jordan river that Israel might pass westward into Canaan (Josh 3:15-16), Jesus opened up the veil that man might enter the temple again!
However, God does not truly dwell in temples made by hands. Man would not enter the actual temple of Herod in Jerusalem. Even Solomon knew God dwells not in temples made by man when he built the temple. But God's name was to be represented by the temple, and He chose Jerusalem to bear His name, or in other words, to be the locale of the temple. We must observe the picture of the temple in Jerusalem to understand the work of the cross and what it accomplished.
Jesus Christ seemed to portray a dual role in the scene. He was indeed Adam's counterpart for the new creation, but He was also called SHILOH. Shiloh was the place where the tabernacle stood in Canaan. Canaan may be referred to as counterpart to Eden, while SHILOH was the Garden that stood eastward within Eden. Mankind is reconciled to God by, as it were, entering the Body of Christ, for that is where God dwelt.
The grammar of the following passage reveals that God was inside Christ, desirous of having man be reconciled to Himself in that "location".
It was a picture of man returning to SHILOH, as God's glory, and once again entering the holiest of holies. And this picture, in turn figures the return of man into Eden and the Garden in Eden.
JESUS actually interprets into English as "Jehovah our salvation". God became manifest in flesh and that flesh, therefore, was like a tabernacle! In fact, a reference to the tabernacle of God in revelation 21 seems to refer to the BODY in which God was manifested.
Hence, Jesus is the Adam that head sup the new creation, and also the tabernacle into which man, God's glory, must return. And that is the reason we read so much of the phrase "in Christ" throughout the New Testament. God's name, itself, was give to that Son of God, that human man in which God was manifested.
Israel later defiled the temple, which actually meant they defiled God's "name".
And, going back to Ezekiel, God showed His glory leaving the temple and spoke about how Israel had defiled HIS NAME.
These passages prove that the TEMPLE represented God's NAME.
After the Gentiles received Spirit-filling in Acts 10, and we read of that event as follows:
Later, Peter described the even as follows:
The Gentiles became representative of God's name, precisely what the temple represented!
God's people belong in the Garden - in the temple, but the temple is not a physical thing. God's People must be in Christ, the temple, there where they are truly representative of God's name. It is a place of SALVATION! When Jesus Christ died, and paid for our salvation with His blood, the way into the temple's holiest place was opened as the veil ripped in two. The veil represented His FLESH which served as our means into the Holiest, or HIS TABERNACLE entry.
And since He died for our salvation, to bring us reconciliation to God through His death (Col 1:19-21), and reconciliation with God is found WITHIN CHRIST, that experience of salvation in our lives is the entering back into the Garden. Adam left God's fellowship and, in effect, became an enemy of God. Through Christ's death on the cross, we became reconciled to Him, spiritually "through" Christ, and fit to enter the Garden!
Let us live righteously before God, and not allow ourselves to lose place in the Garden/Temple, as Adam did. And let us not sin and commit iniquity so as to cause God's glory, mankind, to leave this holiest place of all! What fellowship with God exists in the garden of our salvation! Let us remain IN CHRIST.
John wrote of our need of living a holy life in order to fellowship with God.
May we remain in fellowship with God in this paradise of true Christianity.