“the glory of the God of Israel was there.” The personal presence of Yahweh, surrounded by His bright glory, was now at “the entrance of the gate of the inner court [of the Temple] that looks toward the north” (Ezek. 8:3-4).
What we see in Ezekiel chapters 8-11 is God taking Ezekiel in a vision from Babylon to Jerusalem and showing Ezekiel some of what was happening there and why He must abandon His Temple and destroy Jerusalem. Then, when Ezekiel’s vision is over, he tells his vision to the elders back in Babylon (Ezek. 11:25).
When Ezekiel arrives in Jerusalem in the vision, God is already there, surrounded by His glory (Ezek. 8:4). Then God gives Ezekiel a personal tour around different places in the Temple and shows him all the idolatry and idols that are there. God had already told Ezekiel about all the sin and rebellion going on in Judah, and that He was going to go against it (Ezek. 5:8) and also that He would have to withdraw from Jerusalem and the people (Ezek. 5:11). But in Ezekiel 8 God personally shows Ezekiel some of what was happening in Judah, even in the Temple itself (Ezek. 8:5-17), and God says He will act in wrath (Ezek. 8:18).
Then, in Ezekiel 9:3, and repeated with a different emphasis in Ezekiel 10:4, God moves from His cherubim chariot-throne to the threshold of the Temple, which was the entrance to the Holy Place, the outer room of the Temple (chapters 9 and 10 can be very confusing if it is not recognized that 9:3ff and 10:4ff are speaking of the same event but with a different emphasis). At that point, the whole Temple is filled with the glory of God (Ezek. 10:4). In Ezekiel 9:1-11, the emphasis is on the spirit beings that God summons to destroy Jerusalem. In contrast, Ezekiel 10:1-17 focuses on the role of God’s personal presence and the cherubim chariot-throne in the destruction of Jerusalem.
In Ezekiel 9:1-7 God moves to the threshold of the Temple at the entrance of the Holy Place. From there He faces and speaks to the spirit beings who were standing beside the great bronze altar that was in the inner courtyard of the Temple (Ezek. 9:2). God tells the one spirit being who had an inkhorn to mark those who groan over the abominations done in Jerusalem, and He tells the other spirit beings to destroy all the inhabitants of the city who do not have a mark (Ezek. 10:3-7).
After doing that, God left the threshold of the Temple and mounted His cherubim chariot-throne, and then traveled to over the far east gate of the Temple (Ezek. 10:18-19). Then God brought Ezekiel to the east gate and showed him evil men and told him to prophesy against them and Ezekiel does so (Ezek. 11:1-13). God closes Ezekiel’s vision by speaking to him about the hope of Israel: that the people of Israel will be regathered to the very soil of Israel, all the idols and ungodly things will be removed, that the people will have a new heart and new spirit, and God will be their God and the people will be God’s people (Ezek. 11:17-20). Then God traveled on His cherubim chariot-throne to over the top of the Mount of Olives and Ezekiel was brought back in his vision to the exiles in Babylon where the vision ended (Ezek. 11:23-24). Ezekiel then told his fellow exiles the vision he had received from God (Ezek. 11:25), but the Bible never tells us about when God leaves the Mount of Olives or where He goes after that. We do know there is no record of God coming back to His Temple when it was rebuilt when the exiles returned from Babylon or when it was remodeled by King Herod. The Bible tells us God’s glory will return from the east when the Messiah builds the Millennial Temple and rules the earth in righteousness (Ezek. 43:1-4). So what we see in Ezekiel is the sad record of how the sin of God’s people eventually had existed so long, and was such great sin, that God had to leave, and He left in stages, going from inside the Temple to the threshold of the Temple, to the East Gate of the Temple to the Mount of Olives east of the Temple and then onward toward the east.