Reading these chapters, the part that struck me was the long section from chapters 40-42. I used a ‘wordcloud’ generator to produce the image above – the 60 most-used words in the text.
It’s full of numbers and bits of architecture – and above all, ‘cubits’. That’s the word that keeps jumping out as I read it, as the angel marks out the new Temple that is to be, and measures it exactly.
It’s a bit of a contrast from Ezekiel’s first vision, where the repeated phrase was ‘something like…’. There, faced with the glory of God unfiltered by the gap between heaven and earth, Ezekiel was overwhelmed and language gave up, so that all he could draw upon to say what he’d seen was comparison and image. Here, Ezekiel is shown something of God’s future plan for redemption – and God’s action on earth is anything but vague and metaphorical. When God acts on earth, then his work can be planned out and measured – in exacting detail, when it comes to something as important as the Temple.
Perhaps there’s a parallel in our participation in God’s work on earth, too – it starts best when it’s inspired by a momentary glimpse of glory, but ends best when it’s planned and worked out in advance!