The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, “The Lord is there.” – Ezekiel 48:35
The prophet Ezekiel received a vision (post-Babylonian exile) that helped him see the restored city of God, at the heart of which was a restored Temple. Yet, despite all its beauty, what made this new city so special was the simple, awesome presence of God Himself.
The walls and Temple of the earthly Jerusalem would later be rebuilt under Nehemiah and Ezra’s leadership, but God wanted His people to understand that He must be the foundation of everything they erected. Similarly, transformation of a nation, state, city, community, or local church will not come through architecture, art, legislation, or programs. It can only come through the presence of God. Unless God invades everything: brick, steel, mortar, and ministries will remain dead and ineffective. Like a well-preserved corpse, the appearance of life may exist, but not the reality.
In all we attempt, we must be able to proclaim: God is there!
One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always. – A. W. Tozer