This is the law of the temple: All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple. Ezekiel 43:12
One of the things the Israelites had been guilty of was not allowing enough space between the graves of the kings and the temple. They didn’t create “sacred space” (verses 7-8). This wasn’t just a physical placement of graves, but rather the attitude that they wanted to bury their kings close to the temple, close to God’s presence. Yet they gave no thought to God’s desires.
Today in Jerusalem the Mount of Olives has rows and rows of graves. This is the prime location to be buried since this is the place where the Messiah will announce his arrival. “A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem … Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem” (Zechariah 14:1-4).
It’s interesting that people wanted to be physically close to spiritual realities, even in death. However, this is completely unnecessary. God is more interested in our heart attitude than our physical location—in life or death.
In these verses from Ezekiel God is concerned about people’s lack of reverence. We can get too cosy with God and forget his awesomeness. On the one hand, God does want a close, personal relationship with his people, even calling us friends (John 15:14-15), yet he is also a holy God and therefore separate from us.
The question of “sacred space” is something to consider. How do we incorporate “sacred space” into our lives? A place for rest, set apart to hear from God.