June 17, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I love the cohesive features of the Bible! What do I mean by that? It is the way God’s Word stays together and focused throughout when presenting a certain theme. And the major theme of the Bible is God’s redemption of mankind through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross! It is rightly said that all of the Old Testament points forward to the cross, and all of the New Testament either reveals that redemption or points back to it!
I was reading in Ezekiel the other day, and was struck again by Ezekiel 46:8 through 10:
…when the prince enters, he shall go in by way of the vestibule of that
gateway, and go out the same way. But when the people of the land come
before the LORD on the appointed feast days, whoever enters by the way
of the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate; and who-
ever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate.
He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall
go out through the opposite gate. The prince shall then be in their midst.
When they go in, he shall go in; and when they go out, he shall go out.
Of course, this refers to the leader of the Jewish people and how they and their prince – their king – should enter the temple for worship, and then exit when worship was complete. What I find interesting is that all the common people were to exit in the opposite direction from which they entered! But the prince was to go out the same way he came in! Why?
• The common person was (and is) to be radically changed by worship – by being in the presence of God! Jesus, in John 4:23 and 24 tells us:
…the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship
the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship
Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit
and in truth.
What happens when we actively and properly participate in worship? By the power of the Holy Spirit we focus on God in confession and repentance, praise and thanksgiving, and giving God the glory He deserves! And what is the result of such focus? Saint Paul wrote in II Corinthians 3:17 and 18:
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liber-
ty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the
Lord, are being transformed into the same image [the image of Jesus Christ –
see Romans 8:29] from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
So we are never to leave the same way – the same person – as when we come in to worship the Lord! As it says in verse 48 of The-Easy-To-Read Version, “People must not return the same way they entered.” We are to be changed by engaging in worship – changed more and more into being like Jesus! And only God’s Holy Spirit can do that miraculous and amazing work!
• What about the prince? The prince represents Jesus Christ – the One who is to lead us! Why does the prince need not to go out by a different way from which he came in? Because Jesus does not need to be changed! He is already perfect! Here is the testimony of Scripture
✞ John 8:29 – “…I always do those things that please…the Father….”
✞ John 14:30 – The devil “…has nothing in Me.”
✞ II Corinthians 5:21 – “…He…knew no sin….”
✞ I Peter 2:22 – He “…committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth….”
✞ I John 3:3, 5 – “…He is pure…and in Him is no sin.”
And so the prince goes out exactly the same way as he comes in!
Ezekiel 46:10, though a short verse, holds a special truth that relates to our relationship with the Lord Jesus: “The prince shall then be in their midst. When they go in, he shall go in; and when they go out, he shall go out.” Our Prince – our King, our Lord Jesus Christ – is always in our midst – always leading us! “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you….I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ ” (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20).
Also, since the prince is in their midst – in the midst of common people – he basically has the same experiences of life that they have. Jesus has experienced every trial, temptation, victory, pain, heartache and joy that we could ever experience! (See Hebrews 4:14 and 15). And so He tells us to “…therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).
Thank God for such description as is given in Ezekiel 46:8 through 10! We can learn a lot about our Lord from prophetic types!