Week #111; Wed, Feb 12: Ezekiel 43-48

Week #111, Wed, Feb 12: Ezekiel 43:1–48:35

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

Ezekiel 43, The Glory of the Lord Fills the Temple

I. KEY TEXT: “Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” (43:1-5)

A. INFERENCE: “While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places, by setting their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them. They have defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their whoring and the dead bodies of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.'” (43:6-9)

1. FINDINGS: The glory of the Lord filled the temple. (43:7-8)

2. CRITERIA: The temple of the Lord will be the dwelling place for the Lord’s throne; he will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. (43:7-8)

3. CONDITION: The Lord God expects Ezekiel to write down the whole design of the temple, its arrangement, and the statutes, to make known to them so that they may observe all its laws and all its statutes and carry them out.

4. CAUSE: The people of Israel defiled the holy name of the Lord.

5. EFFECT: The Lord expects the people of Israel to put away their iniquities and be ashamed of them.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Observe the law of the temple.

B. INFERENCE: “As for you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and they shall measure the plan. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, that is, its whole design; and make known to them as well all its statutes  and its whole design and all its laws, and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe all its laws and all its statutes and carry them out. This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.” (43:10-12)

1. FINDINGS: This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy.” (43:12)

2. CRITERIA: The people of Israel are expected to carry out the law of the temple that is delivered to them by Ezekiel.

3. CONDITION: The plan for the temple and the laws of the temple are to be written down and delivered to the people of Israel still in exile by Ezekiel.

4. CAUSE: Following the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the exile of the people of Israel, the Lord is planning to bring them back and restore their lands.

5. EFFECT: The Lord God tasks Ezekiel to take the plans for the temple and the laws to the exiled people of Israel.

6. RECOMMENDATION: The Lord God expects the people of Israel to adhere to his plans and his laws as a precondition for them to return out of exile.

C. INFERENCE: “Detailed measurements for the altar were also given to Ezekiel to deliver with the plans for the temple and the laws. Details for sacrifices were included in the instructions given to Ezekiel to dispatch to the people of Israel.”

1. FINDINGS: Ordinances for sacrifices were spelled out for Ezekiel to deliver to the people of Israel.

2. CRITERIA: Sacrifices were to be made by the Levites on the day the altar was erected; all sacrifices were to be without blemish.

3. CONDITION: The altar’s purification process was also made clear to Ezekiel and he was to make it clear to the people of Israel.

4. CAUSE: Need for atonement of the people of Israel for past abominations to the Lord.

5. EFFECT: The Lord God tasks Ezekiel to take the plans for the temple, the laws, and the altar to the exiled people of Israel.

6. RECOMMENDATION: The Lord God expects the people of Israel to adhere to his plans and his laws as a precondition for them to return out of exile.

Ezekiel 44, The Gate for the Prince

I. KEY TEXT: “Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east. And it was shut. And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it. Therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord. He shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way. Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple, and I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord. And I fell on my face. And the Lord said to me, ‘Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with you ears all that I shall tell you concerning all the statutes of the temple of the Lord and all its laws. And mark well the entrance to the temple and all the exits from the sanctuary. And say to the rebellious house, to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O house of Israel, enough of all your abominations, in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple, when you offer to me my food, the fat and blood. You have broken my covenant, in addition to all your abominations. And you have not kept charge of my holy things, but you have set others to keep my charge for you in my sanctuary.” (44:1-8)

A. INFERENCE: “Thus says the Lord God: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before the people, to minister to them.” (44:9)

1. FINDINGS: “Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn concerning them, declares the Lord God and they shall bear their punishment.” (44:12)

2. CRITERIA: They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my holy things and the things that are most holy, but they shall bear their shame and the abominations that they have committed. (44:13)

3. CONDITION: Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its service and all that is to be done in it. (44:14)

4. CAUSE: Abominations by the Levites who became a stumbling block to the people of Israel.

5. EFFECT: Yet they will be appointed to keep charge of the temple. (44:14)

6. RECOMMENDATION: Serve as priests in the temple. (44:14)

B. INFERENCE: “But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near me to minister to me. And they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord God.” (44:15)

1. FINDINGS: “This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession.” (44:28)

2. CRITERIA: The priests shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my Sabbaths holy. (44:23-24

3. CONDITION: Rules are being established for the Levitical Priests by the Lord God.

4. CAUSE: Only Zadok’s sons kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from the Lord God.

5. EFFECT: Zadok’s sons shall have an inheritance; the Lord God himself.

6. RECOMMENDATION: The priests shall have no possession in Israel, every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs.

Ezekiel 45, The Holy District

I. KEY TEXT: “When you allot the land as an inheritance, you shall set apart for the Lord a portion of the land a holy district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits broad. It shall be holy throughout its whole extent. Of this a square plot of 500 by 500 cubits shall be for the sanctuary, with fifty cubits for an open space around it. And from this measured district you shall measure off a section 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 broad, in which shall be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. It shall be the holy portion of the land. It shall be for the priests, who in the sanctuary and approach the Lord to minister to him, and it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary. Another section, 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits broad, shall be for the Levites who minister at the temple, as their possession for cities to live in. Alongside the portion set apart as the holy district you shall assign for the property of the city an area 5,000 cubits broad and 25,000 cubits long. It shall belong to the whole house of Israel. And to the prince (David) shall belong the land on both sides of the holy district and the property of the city, alongside the holy district and the property of the city, on the west and on the east, corresponding in length to one of the tribal portions, and extending from the western to the eastern boundary of the land. It is to be his property in Israel. And my princes shall no more oppress my people, but they shall let the house of Israel have the land according to their tribes.” (45:1-8)

A. INFERENCE: “The holy district was allotted to the Lord and set aside to be holy throughout its whole extent.” (45:1-2)

1. FINDINGS: The holy district contained a section for the sanctuary, the most Holy Place. It shall be the holy portion of the land. (45:3)

2. CRITERIA: The sanctuary was the center of holy activities including, justice, and righteousness. Use of just balances, just ephor, and just bath were required for measurements. The shekel was the measure for barley, oil, sheep, bulls, rams, grain, drink, and to make atonement for the people. All people were obliged to give this offering to the prince in Israel. (45:4, 9-25)

3. CONDITION: Blood from bulls, rams, and sheep without blemish were selected from the herds to purify the sanctuary and make atonement on behalf of Israel. The feasts and festivals were designated dates certain for celebration and offerings.

4. CAUSE: The Lord’s choice for the people’s path to restoration and reconciliation.

5. EFFECT: The people were given detail instruction by the Lord for return from exile and to abandon all of their former abominations.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Abandon all former abominations of foreign neighbors and practice justice and righteousness, especially in all holy activities being careful not to include the spiritually unclean foreigners.

Ezekiel 46, The Prince and the Feasts

I. KEY TEXT: “Thus says the Lord God: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. The prince (David) shall enter by the vestibule of the gate from outside, and shall take his stand by the post of the gate. The priests shall offer his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. The people of the land shall bow down at the entrance of that gate before the Lord on the Sabbaths and on the new moons. The burnt offering that the prince offers to the Lord on the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish. And the grain offering with the ram shall be an ephor, and the grain offering with the lambs shall be as much as he is able, together with a hin of oil to each ephah. On the day of the new moon he shall offer a bull from the herd without blemish, and six lambs and a ram, which shall be without blemish. As a grain offering he shall provide an ephah with the bull and an ephah with the ram, and with the lambs as much as he is able, together with a hin of oil to each ephah. When the prince enters, he shall enter by the vestibule of the gate, and he shall go out by the same way.” (46:1-8)

A. INFERENCE: “Thus says the Lord God: If the prince makes a gift to any of his sons as his inheritance, it shall belong to his sons. It is their property by their inheritance. But if he makes a gift out of his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall be his to the year of liberty. Then it shall revert to the prince; surely it is his inheritance–it shall belong to his sons. The prince shall not take any of the inheritance of the people, thrusting them out of their property. He shall give his sons their inheritance out of his own property, so that none of my people shall be scattered from his property.” (46:16-18)

1. FINDINGS: The Lord God is making way for the restoration of God’s Israel and the re-establishment  of their city and temple by foretelling to Ezekiel the things to come.

2. CRITERIA: Follow the statutes and laws of the temple.

3. CONDITION: The Lord God is documenting to Ezekiel the laws and statutes he will demand from his people when they return from exile and return to their lands.

4. CAUSE: The people of the Lord God abandoned him for the gods of neighboring countries whose practices were abominations to the Lord God.

5. EFFECT: The people of the Lord God were defeated and exiled into foreign lands.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Return to the Lord God and obey his laws and statutes.

B. INFERENCE: “Then he brought me through the entrance, which was at the side of the gate, to the north row of the holy chambers for the priests, and behold, a place was there at the extreme western end of them. And he said to me, ‘This is the place where the priests shall boil the guilt offering and the sin offering, and where they shall bake the grain offering, in order not to bring them out in the outer court and so transmit holiness to the people.'” (46:19-24)

1. FINDINGS: Ezekiel depicts the new temple in a new restored empire where the Lord God will be praised by his people Israel in a reformed setting with detailed rules for worship.

2. CRITERIA: The people will conform to the temple rules, statutes, and laws.

3. CONDITION: Ezekiel is charged with telling the exiles all about the new temple and the new statutes that they must obey when they are reconciled to their Lord God in the new restored city.

4. CAUSE: The people turned away from the Lord God for the idols of foreign nations.

5. EFFECT: Exile of the people in foreign lands.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Be resolved to comply and obey the Lord God and return to their lands from exile.

Ezekiel 47, Water Flowing from the Temple

I. KEY TEXT: “Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling on the south side.” (47:1-2)

A. INFERENCE: “The water from the temple grows deeper and deeper until it could not be safely passed where trees grew on its banks. Swarms of living creatures will live, and many fish; everything will live where the river goes. And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees and food. The water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing. The river serves to divide the land for inheritances according to the tribes of Israel.” (47:3~23)

1. FINDINGS: The water flowing from the temple can be interpreted as the grace and joy which are glory begun. These waters could signify the gospel of Christ which went forth from Jerusalem and spread itself into the surrounding countries through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew Henry Commentary).

2. CRITERIA: The River of Life will ultimately flow throughout the whole earth (Matthew Henry Commentary).

3. CONDITION: The water flowing from the temple is rising.

4. CAUSE: The grace of the Lord God for all his people.

5. EFFECT: Everything will live (for eternity) where the river goes.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Drink the waters from the river of life.

Ezekiel 48, Division of the Land

I. KEY TEXT: The allotment of each tribe now lays with the sanctuary in the middle of the tribes, with seven to the north and five to the south; all are collectively called ‘New Jerusalem’ by Ezekiel. The sanctuary is in the center of the New Jerusalem. (48:1~35)

A. INFERENCE: “All allotments of land for each tribe are equal in size and the borders are horizontal (may be interpreted spiritually).” (48:1~35)

1. FINDINGS: The gates of the new square city are three on each side; one named after each tribe.

2. CRITERIA: The name of the city shall be, ‘The Lord Is There.'” (48:35)

3. CONDITION: The tribal boundaries will be horizontal and run to the Mediterranean Sea on the west (may be interpreted spiritually).

4. CAUSE: Tribal territories will touch the matching gate of the “New Jerusalem.”

5. EFFECT: Sojourners within each tribal boundary will be counted with that tribe.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Celebrate that the Lord God has dictated to Ezekiel the lay of the land, city, and sanctuary in preparation of a restored Israel.

B. INFERENCE: These shall be the (twelve) tribal lands of the city to the vertical north of the city–Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Levi after Israel and Manasseh, Naphtali, Asher, Dan. Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun and Gad to the vertical south of the city and the sanctuary. (48:30~35)

1. FINDINGS: All tribal lands will be equal and border the Mediterranean Sea on the west.

2. CRITERIA: The divisions of land during the time of Joshua are vastly different than those stated here in Ezekiel.

3. CONDITION: Boundaries are horizontal and allotted areas are equal; sojourners are included in allotments as native-born children of Israel.

4. CAUSE: The dictate that the sanctuary will be in the midst of the tribal territories in horizontal portions, a holy portion for the priest’s allotment must be under seven portions and above five portions assigned to the tribes (See link in comments for a map diagram that appears to look like a ladder).

5. EFFECT: The prince had an allotment for himself.

6. RECOMMENDATION: The Lord God’s exiled people need to hear his plan for their restoration and reconciliation from Ezekiel and plan to return to their land.

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