Read the Bible | November 11th
Restore Us to Yourself, O LORD
 Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us;
look, and see our disgrace!
 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our homes to foreigners.
 We have become orphans, fatherless;
our mothers are like widows.
 We must pay for the water we drink;
the wood we get must be bought.
 Our pursuers are at our necks;
we are weary; we are given no rest.
 We have given the hand to Egypt, and to Assyria,
to get bread enough.
 Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
and we bear their iniquities.
 Slaves rule over us;
there is none to deliver us from their hand.
 We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
because of the sword in the wilderness.
 Our skin is hot as an oven
with the burning heat of famine.
 Women are raped in Zion,
young women in the towns of Judah.
 Princes are hung up by their hands;
no respect is shown to the elders.
 Young men are compelled to grind at the mill,
and boys stagger under loads of wood.
 The old men have left the city gate,
the young men their music.
 The joy of our hearts has ceased;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.
 The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!
 For this our heart has become sick,
for these things our eyes have grown dim,
 for Mount Zion which lies desolate;
jackals prowl over it.
 But you, O LORD, reign forever;
your throne endures to all generations.
 Why do you forget us forever,
why do you forsake us for so many days?
 Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!
Renew our days as of old—
 unless you have utterly rejected us,
and you remain exceedingly angry with us. (ESV)
Ezekiel in Babylon
 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.  On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin),  the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.
The Glory of the LORD
 As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.  And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness,  but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings.  Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot. And they sparkled like burnished bronze.  Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus:  their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went.  As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle.  Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies.  And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went.  As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.  And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lightning.
 Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them.  As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel.  When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went.  And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.  And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose.  Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.  When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
 Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads.  And under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. And each creature had two wings covering its body.  And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. When they stood still, they let down their wings.  And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings.
 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.  And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him.  Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.
Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (ESV)
The Earthly Holy Place
 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.  For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place.  Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place,  having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.  Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties,  but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.  By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing  (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,  but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)  he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.  For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,  how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.  For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.  For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.  Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.  For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,  saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.”  And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship.  Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,  for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (ESV)