May 3, 2020 – Ezekiel 40 – 48

Lesson Date: May 3, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Ezekiel 40:1-4; 43:1-12; 48:31-35

AIM: To lead students to discover some of God’s plans for His people Israel, and to examine their lives to see if there is any area in which they need to repent and turn back to God.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Ezekiel 40 – 48 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write “Where is God?” on the marker board or chalkboard. Bring you Sunday School Teacher Book to class so you can show the students the “Diagram of the Millennial Temple” on page 92.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the question, “Where is God?” written on the board. Ask the students to suggest answers to that question (responses could include in heaven, in our hearts, or everywhere). Ask: “Where did the ancient Israelites think God lived?” (in the Temple: specifically in the Holy of Holies of the Temple).

Briefly remind the class of the following facts:

  1. Ezekiel was a young Jewish priest living in Jerusalem when the Babylonians began attacking and oppressing Judah.
  2. He and many other Jews were taken captive and transported to Babylon in 597 b.c. His prophetic call came five years later.
  3. Ezekiel’s message was that destruction was certain. He rebuked the false prophets who said God wouldn’t allow Jerusalem to be destroyed.
  4. Jerusalem finally fell to the Babylonians in 586 b.c. They destroyed the Temple and burned the city.

Ask: “How do you think the Jews felt when God’s Temple and God’s city were utterly destroyed by the Babylonians?” (many of them probably thought God had abandoned them; some might have felt God was not God at all, since He appeared powerless to stop the Babylonians).

Tell the class at this low point in Israel’s history God gave Ezekiel some detailed plans of good things He was going to do for them in their long-awaited Millennial Kingdom.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the students this is our last lesson from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (scattered sheep and dry bones).
  2. The Millennial Temple.
    • Read Ezekiel 40:1.
    • Tell the students Ezekiel gave us a very specific date for this prophecy: it was the 25th year of Ezekiel’s captivity, which was also the 14th year after Jerusalem fell.
    • Chapters 40 – 48 of Ezekiel were all written in 572 c.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 40:2-4.
    • Ask: “Where did God take Ezekiel in this vision?” (to Israel).
    • Ask: “What did Ezekiel see?” (a city and an angel with a measuring rod in his hand).
    • Ask: “What did the angel tell Ezekiel to do?” (tell everything he saw to the Jews).
    • Tell the students the rest of chapter 40, as well as chapters 41 and 42, tell about the angel measuring every aspect of the future Millennial Temple. Ezekiel wrote it all down.
    • Show the class the “Diagram of the Millennial Temple” found on page 92 of the Sunday School Teacher Book.
    • Tell them the Millennial Temple complex will be a perfect square and much larger than the ancient Temple.
    • Summarize: God promised the Jews in captivity (who no longer had a Temple) that one day He would give them a glorious Millennial Temple.
  3. God’s Glory Returned to The Temple.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 43:1-2.
    • Ask: “What did Ezekiel see?” (the glory of God coming from the east).
    • Ask: “How did Ezekiel describe God’s glory?” (he compared it to a very loud voice and a shining light).
    • Read Ezekiel 43:3-5.
    • Tell the students Ezekiel said the glory of the Lord appeared the same as when he first saw it by the River Chebar (chapter 1).
    • Ask: “According to verses 4-5, where did God’s glory go?” (into the “house” – the main building housing the Holy Place and Holy of Holies; locate that on the “Diagram of the Millennial Temple”).
    • Ask: “Why did God’s glory have to return? Where had it been?” (God’s glory departed from the city prior to its ultimate destruction).
    • Remind the students that previously the prophet saw a vision of the glory of God leaving the Temple (Eze. 10:18-19), and then leaving the city of Jerusalem (Eze. 11:23).
    • Tell the class the Lord’s glory will return to the future restored city and Temple.
    • Ask the students to listen for things the Israelites will no longer do in the future Millennial Kingdom, as you read the next verses.
    • Read Ezekiel 43:6-12.
    • Ask: “What will the Jews no longer do in the Millennial Kingdom?” (defile, commit harlotry, worship idols, or commit abominations).
    • Remind the class that Ezekiel was told to describe the Millennial Temple to the Jews who were still in captivity in Babylon.
    • Ask: “According to verses 10-11, how would the Jews feel when they heard about the glory of the future Temple?” (ashamed of their sin that had prevented them from experiencing such blessings).
    • Tell the class in the same way, when Isaiah saw God (Isaiah 6), he recognized his sinfulness.
    • Stress the fact that when we catch a glimpse of God’s holiness and glory, we are much more aware of our sin.
    • Summarize: God promised to restore His glory to the future Millennial Temple. The recognition of God’s glory is a powerful deterrent to sin.
  4. The Lord is There.”
    • Tell the class that chapters 44 – 48 tell about the Temple offerings, the Prince who will rule the city, the river that will flow out from the Temple, and the division of the land among the twelve tribes of Israel.
    • Read Ezekiel 48:31-34
    • Explain that the restored city of Jerusalem during the Millennium will be square with three gates on each side. The twelve gates will be named for the twelve tribes of Israel.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ezekiel 48:35.
    • Ask: “What will be the city’s new name?” (“The Lord is There” – Jehovah Shammah).
    • Tell the class that the Lord will dwell with His people (Rev. 21:3, 22).
    • Remind them that Ezekiel and the Jews to whom he spoke were still captives in Babylon, but God gave them a wonderful promise: He will live with them in the future Kingdom.
    • Tell the students the Christian enjoys the reality of that promise right now, because the Holy Spirit of God lives within us twenty-four hours a day.
    • Summarize: God promised to dwell with His people in the Millennial Kingdom.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the class’ attention once again to the question written on the board (“Where is God?”). Remind them that the ancient Jews believed that God’s presence dwelt in the Temple. Ezekiel previously saw a vision of God’s glory departing from Jerusalem before it was destroyed. In today’s lesson God showed Ezekiel a vision of His glory returning to future Millennial Temple. God even said Jerusalem’s new name will be, “The Lord is There.”

Tell the students when we are right with God, we can honestly say about our heart, “The Lord is There.” When we are right with God we can sense His presence throughout the day. On the other hand, when we’ve got unconfessed sin, rebellion, or an ungodly attitude, we’re not as aware of God’s presence.

Ask: “Does God’s Holy Spirit ever actually leave a believer?” (no, but when we’ve got unconfessed sin, it may feel like God isn’t there at all). Similar to the hurt of broken fellowship with a loved one, it hurts when we’re not right with God.

Ask: “Is there anything between your heart and God? Is there any unconfessed sin in your life hurting and hindering your fellowship with God?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask them to be completely honest with God. Tell them to confess their sins and ask for a fresh, loving, renewal of fellowship with God. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Ezekiel 48:35b – “And the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there.” Tell them to ask themselves the following question every day this week:

Is everything right between my Savior and me?

Tell the students next week we begin a four-week study of the book of Daniel. Ask them to read the “Introduction to Daniel” on page 40 of their Sunday School Member Quarterly this week, along with Daniel 1 – 3.

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