Before Jerusalem and the temple of God were destroyed, Ezekiel recorded the departure of the glory of the LORD (Ezekiel 10:18). The glory of the LORD first entered Solomon’s temple at the time of it’s dedication (1 Kings 8:11). The departure of the glory signified a separation from God that meant he would no longer dwell among his people, but would watch from a distance as he controlled the circumstances surrounding their captivity and deportation to Babylon. The exact amount of time that transpired between the departure of the glory of the LORD (Ezekiel 10:18) and his return (Ezekiel 43:4) is unknown because as far as can be seen in scripture, the return of God’s glory has not actually happened yet.
Ezekiel said of the LORD’s return, “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory” (Ezekiel 43:2). The LORD’s return to his temple was significant in that there was no expectation that once the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians it would ever be rebuilt. Although the temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel after the Israelites’ captivity was completed, the temple did not conform to Ezekiel’s specifications (Ezekiel’s Temple). God referred to the temple specifications as “the law of the house” and he told his people to follow them exactly. He said, “And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them” (Ezekiel 43:11).
Perhaps the most obvious difference between Solomon’s temple and the one described by Ezekiel was its purpose. After the LORD’s return, the temple became his throne room. Isaiah was the first to describe this throne room and said, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1). Isaiah’s vision was supposed to be of a heavenly throne room, but it may have been the same one that Ezekiel described. Ezekiel said, “So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood beside me. And he said unto me, Son of man, this is the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever” (Ezekiel 43:5-7).