Dr. Couch, what is the Shekinah glory?
The Hebrew word Shekinah means the presence, as in the presence of God in His glory with His people Israel. It is described in Ezekiel as the abiding presence of God with the Jews. Chapters 10-11 described the presence of God by the Jewish Rabbis as the merkavah, or the presence of God in His "chariot." The Israelis have manufactured their own military tank and have named it "the chariot," the Merkavah.
The Shekinah, or the glory of God (His presence), is seen at the threshold of the temple in 10:4. Then, the glory of God departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the angels, the cherubim (v. 18). Then His glory hovered over the entrance of the east gate of the Lord's house (v. 19). The presence of God is seen as leaving the temple area because of the sins of the people.
As the presence of God is leaving Jerusalem, the Lord God says the Jewish people will be scattered throughout the nations, but in that scattering, God will be a sanctuary for them in that scattering, in that "dispersion" or in the Diaspora. "Though I will remove them far away among the nations, and though I will scatter them among the countries, yet I will be a sanctuary for them a little while in the countries where they have gone" (11:16). But, "I shall gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I shall give you the land of Israel" (v. 17).
How foolish of the amil guys to say that God will not restore the Jewish people back to their own land. When their King comes and restores them to the Holy Land, the New Covenant will be applied to their hearts and they will be converted. "I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh" (v. 19).
As the narration goes on in Ezekiel 11, the presence and the glory of the Lord continues to depart from the city of Jerusalem. "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood over the mountain which is east of the city" (v. 23).
The Lord's Shekinah will return to the temple in the Kingdom period. Ezekiel witnessed this. "And the glory of the Lord came into the house by way of the gate facing toward the east" (43:4), and "the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house" (v. 5). The Lord here is the Messiah who prophetically says, "This is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever. And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name …" (v. 7).
Matthew 17:1-7, and the transfiguration of Christ, is a dress rehearsal of the Lord's messianic glory and His coming to reign and rule in Jerusalem. "He was transfigured before [His disciples—Peter, James, John]; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light" (v. 2).
In his Ezekiel commentary, my old Hebrew professor, Charles Feinberg wrote, "The Jewish commentary, the Midrash reads, 'Rabbi Jonathan said, Three years and a half the Shekinah stayed upon the Mount of Olives, in the hope that Israel would do penance, but they did none.' All readers of the New Testament know this was the length of the earthly ministry of our Lord to the lost sheep of Israel. Sadly enough, they did not repent and He did depart from them (cf. Hosea 5:15 with Matt. 23:37-39). The rabbis have enumerated ten stages whereby the Shekinah withdrew. … Before He departed, however, He set forth the consoling promise of restoration for the remnant …"
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch