WAS ISRAEL LO-AMMI THROUGHOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT?: PART TWO “THE GLORY OF THE LORD DEPARTED”
In part one we discussed the Scriptural reasons for my belief that God’s Word teaches that Israel had been taken back as His people after the 70 year Babylonian captivity, and also the arguments of those who believe otherwise. (Please see Was Israel Lo-ammi Throughout The Entire New Testament? Part I.) But many believe that the Shekinah glory departed Solomon’s temple and will not return until the millennium. For many that proves that Israel was lo-ammi from the 70 year captivity and will remain so until the millennium. This study will prove from Scripture that the visions Ezekiel saw of the Shekinah glory were not the departing of the glory from Solomon’s temple, but the spreading of God’s glory in the millennial temple.
We read in Ezekiel 10:18, “Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house …..”. Then in Ezek. 43:2 we read with regard to the millennial temple, “and behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east”. And again in verse 4, “And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east”. And in verse 5, “So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold the glory of the Lord filled the house”.
Most understand these passages to say that the glory of the Lord departed from Solomon’s temple when it was destroyed by the Babylonians, and that it did not come back until it returned to the millennial temple described in Ezek. 43. This suggests to many that when the glory of the Lord departed from Solomon’s temple it signified the lo-ammi period foretold in Hosea, and that that lo-ammi period will not end until the glory of the Lord enters the millennial temple. That implies to many that Israel was lo-ammi from the time of the destruction of Solomon’s temple and will remain so until the millennium.
I do not agree with this thinking and will address several issues which will, I believe, lead us to a Scripturally based view of Israel’s lo-ammi period and what the Holy Spirit meant by “the glory of the Lord” departing.
The first thing we must do is establish how the Holy Spirit means for us to understand the Hebrew word translated “departed” in Ezek. 10:18. That Hebrew word is “yahtzah”. The meaning of any word is established by its usage, and it is the usage that we will examine in this study.
Before we get to the word “yahtzah” translated “departed” in Ezek. 10:18, let us take a quick look at some of the other Hebrew words translated “departed”. One of those words is “yahlach”, it is used approximately 1,000 times. It is translated “go”, “went”, “follow” etc. The first occurrence is in Gen. 11:31 where we read, “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law…..they went forth (“yahtzah”) with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go (“yahlach”) into the land of Canaan……”. The Hebrew word “yahlach” is translated “to go”. What is of particular interest in this verse is the fact that it also uses the Hebrew word translated “departed” in Ezekiel 10:18, i.e. “yahtzah”. In Gen. 11:31 it is translated “went forth”. So this verse tells us that Terah went forth with his family to go into the land of Canaan. It is important to note that the Holy Spirit uses a different word for “went forth” (i.e. “yahtzah”) from the word “to go” (i.e. “yahlach”). In other words, it is one thing to go forth and something else to go.
The next occurrence of “yahlach” tells us the exact same thing about these two Hebrew words. We read in Gen. 12:5, “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, …..and they went forth ( “yahtzah”) to go (“yahlach”) into the land of Canaan….”.
Numbers 12:9-10 is also very helpful in our study of the Hebrew word translated “departed” in Ezek. 10:18. We read, “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them (Miriam and Aaron because they spoke against Moses); and He departed”. The word “departed” is not the translation of the Hebrew word “yahtzah” used in Ezek. 10:18, it is the translation of the Hebrew word we looked at in Gen. 11, ( i.e. “yahlach” meaning “to go”). That tells us that, at least in this passage, “yahtzah” was not the best word to express the Lord departing. In the next verse (vs. 10) we have yet a different Hebrew word translated “departed”, i.e. “soor”. That verse reads, “And the cloud departed (“soor”) from off the tabernacle”. The word “soor” occurs approximately 400 times and is almost always translated “turned aside”, “departed”, “eschewed”, take away”, or “removed”.
In other words, the Hebrew word “soor” is certainly the word that best expresses the idea of departing. Let me explain these words this way.
“Soor” is the first step, i.e. “to depart”, or, “to leave”
“Yahtzah” is the second step and means “to go forth” from whence one departed.
And “Yahlach” is the third step and means “to go to” a specified or implied location.
Where the Holy Spirit uses different words, it behooves us to understand the shades of meaning of each one.
Let us try to pull together what we have learned about the various words used by the Holy Spirit that have been translated “departed”. (There are a few others not mentioned but they are so rarely translated “departed” that I saw no need to further complicate this study.) The basic meaning of “soor” is “to depart”, i.e. “to move away from, “to leave”. The basic meaning of “yahtzah” is “to go forth”. And the basic meaning of “yahlach” is “to go to” a location that is either given or implied. “Yahtzah” is the word used in Ezekiel 10:18. I am suggesting that if the Holy Spirit meant for us to understand that the glory of the Lord left the temple, “soor” would have expressed that much better than the word that was used, i.e. “yahtzah”.
AN EXAMINATION OF THE CONTEXT OF EZEKIEL 10:18
To remind the reader of the verse we are considering let me quote once again the verse that tells us that the glory of the Lord “departed” (according to the KJV), i.e. Ezek. 10:18, “Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims”. It is imperative that we determine from the context just which “house” this chapter concerns, i.e. is it the “house” that Solomon built, or is it the millennial “house” that Christ will build? Let’s back up to verse 4, “Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory”.
In verse 4 we learn that the glory of the Lord went up and stood over the threshold of the house. but it certainly did not depart. It filled the house and the court. The house and court were filled with the glory of the Lord as it “stood over the threshold”. The Hebrew word translated “went up” is “room”. It occurs about 250 times and is most often translated “exalted”, “lift up high”, “proud” and “haughty”. It is clear that it is not used in the sense of “depart”. I believe that the glory of the Lord was lifted up in the sense of exalting, and that it spread from the threshold to fill the house and the court. Note verse 5, “and the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaketh”. Obviously this passage concerns the millennial temple.
Let us skip for the moment to verse 19 which tells us that “every one stood at the east gate of the Lord’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above“. Again, this tells us that the glory of the Lord did not leave, it was above those who stood at the east gate. Obviously this passage also concerns the millennial temple.
Verses 6-17 describe the cherubim and the wheels that accompanied them.
Now we are ready to consider verse 18 which tells about the glory of the Lord. That the glory of the Lord departed just does not fit the context. That is to say, the passage begins with the glory of the Lord spreading from the threshold to fill the house and the court. And in verse 19 we once again read of the glory of the Lord being over those at the east gate. It makes no sense to go from that context which so obviously concerns the millennial temple to interpret verse 18 as concerning Solomon’s temple.
I believe that the passages we have studied concern the millennial temple and tells us that the glory of the Lord did not depart, that it went forth, i.e. the glory of the Lord spread throughout the whole house. I believe that the glory of the Lord spread from the threshold (vs. 4) all throughout the temple and then in going forth (“yahtzah”) the glory of the Lord spread to the east gate of the court of the millennial temple.
To be thorough in our study we should also look at Ezek. 11:23, “And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city”. The Hebrew word translated went up” is “gahlah” and it is used between 200 and 300 times. It is translated “arose”, “went up”, “ascended” etc. It is clear that in verse 11:23 the glory of the Lord did indeed leave. But, as mentioned above, the Holy Spirit chooses the words used in the Bible so that each one expresses exactly what was meant. In this case, the word “gahlah” is not the word that expresses the idea of the glory of the Lord departing. It is used to express the idea of the glory of the Lord ascending. Because the context is clear that the glory of the Lord went forth in order to spread, I think we may conclude that here too, the glory of the Lord ascended so that it would spread.
THE VISION OF THE EAST GATE IN EZEKIEL’S DAY
I have tried to show from Scripture that the glory of the Lord did not depart from Solomon’s temple, it went forth, i.e. it spread throughout the millennial temple. But Ezek. 11:1-5 speaks of Ezekiel being at the east gate and speaking to men of his time. . Because the men to whom he spoke were his contemporaries, does that mean that the east gate of his vision was the east gate of the temple of his time, i.e. Solomon’s temple? Let us consider this passage.
Ezek. 11:1-5, “Moreover, the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the Lord’s house, which looketh eastward; and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men….”. A few of these men were named and were clearly men of Ezekiel’s day for we read in the next verse, “Then said He unto me, ‘Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief and give wicked counsel in this city…..”. Again, if these men to whom Ezekiel was to prophecy were of his day, does that mean that they were at the east gate of the temple that was standing at that time, i.e. Solomon’s temple, or is this a vision of the future millennium?
We read in 11:22, “Then did the cherubim lift up their wings……”. These are the cherubim of chapter 10. That shows that the entire chapter 11 is part of the same vision that is recorded in chapter 10. May I remind the reader of 10:18-19 which tells us that the glory of the Lord went forth and stood over the cherubims. That tells us that cherubims were connected to the millennial temple.
Therefore, I believe that the vision Ezekiel saw was of a different time (the millennium) in a temple that had at that time not been built (the millennial temple) speaking to men of Jerusalem who were captive in Babylon. Let me try to put that another way. Chapter 11 of Ezekiel is the record of what Ezekiel saw in a vision. What he saw was a vision of himself at the east gate of the millennial temple speaking to leaders of Jerusalem who were actually captive in Babylon. Therefore, even though the men to whom Ezekiel spoke were his contemporaries , they were in his vision in a different place (not Jerusalem, but Babylon) and a different time (the millennium). There is a precedence for this. We know that John was at the isle of Patmos but was carried away by the spirit to a different time, i.e. “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10) and a different place, i.e. he saw visions of the events of that time in Israel and in heaven.
We read in Ezek. 10:18 of Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of the Lord. I believe that the study of the word translated “departed” in that verse will show that its basic, fundamental sense is not “to depart”, but “to go forth“. And the context, especially 10:4 tells us that the glory of the Lord spread throughout the house and the court, i.e. that the glory of the Lord did not depart, it spread. Therefore Ezek. 10:18 refers not to Solomon’s temple, but to the millennial temple.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond, please feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org