Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Ezekiel 43:1-5 ESV
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:25-32 ESV
There was never a baseball team quite like the New York Yankees in 1923. This team won the World Series for the first time with players who went on to become legends, such as Babe Ruth. It was the first year the team played in Yankee Stadium, which was sometimes called “The House that Ruth Built,” because Babe Ruth was such an important star on their team. But time went on, and the players became old and retired, and the glory of their days was over. But in 1948 the Yankees from 1923 came back to Yankee Stadium to play an “old timers’ game.” They played two innings against the 1948 Yankees, and they won! Thousands of fans crowded into the stadium to see the glory of old times return for a little while.
In Ezekiel’s vision, God showed him a new Jerusalem and an amazing, beautiful new temple in great detail. Then Ezekiel saw the most wonderful thing of all. He had once seen a vision of the glory of the Lord leaving the temple in Jerusalem, but now he saw the glory of the Lord returning. The glory made the earth shine, and sounded like the rushing waters of ocean waves or of a mighty river. God’s glory came from the east, through the eastern gates, and filled the temple, and in his vision the Lord brought Ezekiel into the inner court of the new temple to see this wonderful thing. There was hope for the future. God hadn’t abandoned his people forever, but would come to be among them again as their God.
When God kept his promise and came to be among his people, he didn’t come in a rush of shining glory, but instead he came in a little baby. Jesus was brought to the temple when he was 40 days old to be presented according to the Law. When Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple, the Holy Spirit told an old man named Simeon that the promised Savior he had been waiting for had finally come. Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said that Jesus was the salvation of all people–a light to all the nations of the world, and the glory of God’s people Israel. Jesus came to give his life to bring us back to our Heavenly Father, and he is the true glory of God for everyone who believes in him.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our glory and our salvation. Amen.