The Glory Returns

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Matthew 19; 21:18-22; Ezekiel 10; 11; 37; 47
Why is Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem so significant?
Jesus is the prophetic Glory of God returning to the land of Israel and Jerusalem
No longer does God reject the people and withhold His presense. The beginning of a new people and nation is symbolized. The One exiled returns to purify and cleans the land and His people by His ultimate sacrifice, resurrection and ascension. The ‘bones’ (Israel) which lay dry and open, waiting for resurrection, life, are infused and brought back to life by the preaching (prophecying) of the Word of God and giving of the Spirit of God; His breath.
Israel does not recognize Jesus as the ‘Living water’ prophesied in Ezekiel 47, that gives life everywhere it goes (v.9).
Ezekiel 47:1 HCSB
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple and there was water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the temple faced east. The water was coming down from under the south side of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.
The ‘Living water’ has no countanence, stature or position that would draw one to put Him in power or authority (Isaiah 53:2). He was turned away from and despised as having no value (v.3), afflicted by God, pierced and crushed for our iniquities (v.4, 5). He rides in on a donkey, an animal of burden of the poor, insignificant and humble. He weeps over Jerusalem as He knows what they will do to Him. He knows that they are blind to His divinity, His true identity. He is the man of peace they have been looking for; the One of peace whom they will put to death.
Luke 19:41–42 HCSB
As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “If you knew this day what would bring peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Israel does not recognize the time of the Glory of God’s visitation (Luke 19:44c). Would we? Do we? He was born in Bethlehem, but would be known as a Nazarene. Can anything good come from Nazareth, the people would say with mockage and disdain. Does anything good come out of Millet, Calmar or Devon? He is a carpenter, a pipefitter, a bluecollar rigghand driving a Lada or beat up Dodge with the need of a fragrant bath or shower. Why would you take notice of one like Him? You would avoid one like him if at all possible. But the smile in His eyes would be infectious, enticing. The roar of His laughter would echo from the bars as He pulls a fast one with the one given to dropse, deafness and blindness. The healing balm of His words and authority would be irresistible. He would attract a crowd to the street corner and be questioned by authority and accused as a huckster, scammer or mere street performer. He would attract the common, but the civilized? Not so sure. But the life in His words and actions, would flow causing ripples in our little towns and city.
He would come from the Mount of Olives, where He taught the Word about the glories of the Kingdom of God (Mt. 5-7). The same mountain where the Glory of God came to rest in the days of God’s prophet Ezekiel, who condemned the residents of Israel and the city of Jerusalem for self-centeredness, pride and desiring to be like the Gentile nations around them (Ezekiel 10-11). It is the time when God’s Glory departed the Temple and the Sanctuary. The time when God’s throne-chariot would devestate the land and city with fire delievered by Yahweh’s Cherubim, His protectors, highest angels and guardians of the throne (Ezekiel 10). Where Cherubim are, there God is, was the understanding (Ps. 18:10; 80:1; 99:1). “The LORD reigns! Let the peoples tremble. He is enthroned above the cherubim. Let the earth quake.” (Ps. 99:1). Once protectors of the city and land, Yahweh’s Cherubim become it’s devestators, by order of God. Yahweh is going to clean the land, city, temple and sacturary; just as Jesus filled the Temple courts with His teaching and presence; He cleans it out on His triumphant return (Mt. 21:12-17). “My Father’s house will be a house of prayer, not of thieves”, Jesus proclaims (Matthew 21:13). Has the Church become a house of thievery? Is it a house of prayer? Is it a place where the Glory of God can reside?
Ezekiel 10:18 HCSB
Then the glory of the Lord moved away from the threshold of the temple and stood above the cherubim.
Ezekiel 10:19 HCSB
The cherubim lifted their wings and ascended from the earth right before my eyes; the wheels were beside them as they went. The glory of the God of Israel was above them, and it stood at the entrance to the eastern gate of the Lord’s house.
The Glory of God withdraws and comes to rest on His chariot-throne. Judgment is prounounced upon the cities elders, leaders (Ezekiel 11:1-13). The Glory of God’s presense is leaving, Holy War will now come. The withdrawl of God’s presence signifies His displeasure, disfavor and disgust with His chosen people. Ezekiel preaches two messages: one of doom and one of deliverance. Doom to the leaders and the people who stay in the city. Deliverance to those carried off into exile by the Babylonians. Those ‘marked’ will survive, go into exile, and not be destroyed. They will endure suffering, purification, repentance and ultimately will become the dedicated remnant who will return to purify the land and city of Jerusalem. Those who escape exile, will think they are the favored of God, God’s chosen, because they will remain in the land, in the royal city of God. They state that “they are the meat in the pot”, the exiles the refuse, the less choice cuts (hoofs, intestines, the rear end, etc…). They would be the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’s day; whom display rich green foilage, but bear no fruit. They are the cursed fig tree; Israel today, Israel yesterday; the Christian religious today.
Matthew 21:19 HCSB
Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He went up to it and found nothing on it except leaves. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” At once the fig tree withered.
Fig trees were typically prolific in bearing their fruit. They typically would bear fruit for 10 months of the year. The only months they would not bear fruit would be April and May, but even then fruit would remain on the branches because of their plenty. The fact is Jesus expected there to be fruit on the fig tree. The leaves made an outward profession of a vigorous life, but the fig tree had nothing to offer, it was barren. It did not live upto it’s promise to provide, even though planted with living water (Ezekiel 10-11, 47). Israel, planted and favored by God, did not live upto it’s promise/covenant to be God’s people and do God’s will. They had no fruit to offer God, nor the world. Do we? Does the Church today? What fruit will Jesus find in our lives when He returns. Having nice looking foilage does not replace Jesus’ expectation of fruit bearing. Jesus is hungry for the lost. As God removed His Glory from Israel of Ezekiel’s time, Jesus condemns the fruitlessness of Israel during His time and withdraws His blessing. The return of His presense does not mean acceptance, but fulfilled expectation of provision for the sins of men and the satisfaction of His Father’s wrath. What condemns men today, as condemned Israel back then in Jesus’ time and Ezekiel’s time is a lack of faith. Jesus is expecting to find faith when He returns. The righteous bear fruit and are marked with God’s favor.
The exiles were marked with the favor of God even though they were exiles. True followers of God, of Jesus, walking in the Spirit of God are exiles in this world. Exiles will go through purification, but will not be destroyed. What father spares his son the rod when his soul is at stake? Faithful obedience is the mark of the Lord’s servants, not worldly credentials (Phil. 3:3-8).
God may indeed bring struggles and difficulties upon us as an indicator of His presense and favor upon us! Was God’s favor upon Jesus? Was Jesus’ suffering favorable or not? On who’s side was the Father? Jesus said, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34). The righteous live in exile to be saved, purified and reconciled to bring purity to a land lost to wickedness.
In order the bring dead Israel back to life what was required?
Two things the Ezekiel was commanded to do: 1) Prophecy or preach the Word (Ezekiel 37:4) and 2) the Spirit of God was to be in their bones (v.5).
Ezekiel 37:4–5 HCSB
He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live.
Living water is comprised of two things: the Word of God and the Spirit of God; both give and bring life.
Ezekiel 37:13–14 HCSB
You will know that I am Yahweh, My people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. I have spoken, and I will do it.” This is the declaration of the Lord.
What two things did the LORD Jesus command all His disciples to do? Preach the Word and receive the Spirit, His Spirit…so that one may live. Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God has come near and received the Spirit at His baptism. He gave the Spirit to His disciples in the upper room after He ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:8; John 20:22).
Acts 1:8 HCSB
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
John 20:22 HCSB
After saying this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
John 7:39 HCSB
He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been received because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Israel came back to life after Jesus arrived, died, rose and ascended to Heaven. The Apostles were the beginning and were instructed to go into the world and preach HIs Word and baptize with water and the Spirit (Mt. 28:19-20).
Do we recognize that the Triumphant Entry was the return of the Glory of God, the One who would make the dead in Israel alive once more? And He will and has done the same for you and I who believe and trust in Him. Jesus expects His people to preach the Word of God and breath His Spirit upon the Dead. We are expected to carry and bring life. Am I carry life?
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