The first section of Ezekiel 43(verses 1-12), which graphically describes the return of God’s glory to the Temple, is really the climax of the book. In Ezekiel the judgment of God on a sinful Israel is vividly portrayed in the dramatic step by step departure of the glory of God’s presence from the Temple. This is described in Ezekiel 10 and 11. That departure is reversed in chapter 43 as the glory returns to the restored Temple by the east gate which was the route by which God originally left the Temple.
The rebuilt Temple, which Ezekiel has just explained in Ezekiel chapter 40-42, only becomes functional when God is present, and in Ezekiel 43 that happens. This also lays the foundation for the rest of the book which describes the rituals of the Temple and the new city and land. The climax of it all is seen in the name of the city—“God is there” (Eze. 48:35).
This message is so important that God himself speaks and calls Ezekiel to declare all of this to Israel. Then the reason for all the description of the Temple is given (verse 10). The restored Temple is to help Israel be ashamed of her past sins and repent and follow the ordinances and laws which God has given.
Contemporary lessons for us are just waiting to be mentioned. How important to us is the presence of God? We may have nice buildings and churches and organizations but is God present? Have we allowed the restoring mercy of God, the loving presence of God, to touch our hearts and lead us to be ashamed of our sins and truly worship Him?
Walla Walla University