YHWH as the Temporary Sanctuary in Ez.11:16 (miqdāš mĕʿaṭ): Discontinuity with Traditional Understanding of the Sacred Place-Space in the Book of Ezekiel

Vladimir LUKIN


The purpose of this paper is not only to point out a number of theological reasons that influenced changes ideas about the sacred place-space, but also in an attempt to indicate the final outlines of a new, albeit temporarily modified, ideology that identifies Yahweh with the sanctuary. A discussion of both the implicit and explicit impulses of such significant changes in the theology of the presence of Yahweh demonstrates that the architectural boundaries of His presence, the temple / /sanctuary traditionally protected by the priesthood and by God himself, become unnecessary and dysfunctional during captivity. This suggests that the immanence of God, described in Ezekiel 11:16, will be qualitatively experienced in different ways: by those who ended up in Babylon and by the captives who were expelled from Jerusalem to other lands.

The first group was influenced by the reduced form of God’s presence — the life and ministry of the prophet Ezekiel. The second group should regard the consequences associated with captivity, as a special marker of His presence with them. And the absence of two classical elements of theophany, such as the cloud and fire, playing the role of indicators of God’s presence, confirm our assumptions. Similar, significant transformations prove that such sins as the desacralization of the temple, its desecration and profanation, did not become an obstacle to the communication of God with those who seek His presence. Summarizing, it should be noted that the metaphor in Ezek.11: 16 inform us about the initiative of Yahweh aimed at reducing the metaphysical distance between Him and the captives, help them to realize that only He, and no one else, should become the center of the spiritual life of the community . In addition, it became apparent that the architectural boundaries of any type of sacred placespace can neither “grab” nor hold Yahweh.


desacralization, defilement, Yahweh, temple, space, sacred, profane.

Copyright (c) 2020 Vladimir LUKIN


ISSN 2521-179X (Online), ISSN 2415-783X (Print)