1/29/10 This chapter mainly concentrates on the rooms for the priest’s use: for eating, for changing clothes, and for storage. These rooms surrounded the inner court and were for holy use. The entire temple complex measured 500 x 500 cubits.
1/28/10 The man with the measuring rod now measures the temple itself, the house of God with its two compartments. In many ways it resembles Solomon’s temple, but there are a couple of notable exceptions. There is a room at the back that extends from the outer court wall where the western gate would be all the way into the rear of the wall of the inner court behind the Most Holy. The function of that large room isn’t mentioned.
The other interesting difference is in v. 22 where the altar, which we would assume is the altar of incense, is in the same verse called the table, which otherwise we would assume is the table of showbread. There’s not really enough evidence to give a good explanation. Perhaps in the future temple these two pieces are combined?
1/27/10 Fourteen years to the day after the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel receives this vision. According to McIver’s Ezekiel Amplifier (p. 206) the date of the tenth day of the first month may be very significant. They may have been operating under the civil calendar, which on the religious calendar would be the tenth day of the seventh month. If that is true the vision as well as the fall of Jerusalem came on the Day of Atonement, judgment day. That, of course, has all sort of eschatological implications.
Ezekiel was taken in vision to a high mountain near Jerusalem and was shown a new temple are that looked like a city in itself. Jerusalem was and still is built on low hills, not high mountains. Zech 14, which has many parallels to Eze 38-39 describes how God, in conquering Gog, will change the geography of the area. So what Ezekiel is seeing is definitely in the context of the New Jerusalem.
The wall, with the approximate length of the measuring rod, was about ten feet thick, but only ten feet high. So it’s not a wall of defense. It seems to have enclosed an area 285 yards long and wide.
1/26/10 This chapter continues the prophecy against Gog and Magog, with lots of gruesome descriptions of the carnage. However, the concentration seems to be God’s hand in it all rather than the gore. God brings Gog down from the far north to attack his people, just as he did before with Nebuchadnezzar. But rather than allowing Gog success as he did with Babylon, he will use the opportunity to defend his people and wipe out the hordes of Magog by sending fire upon them (v. 6).
His purpose is to defend his reputation and make himself known to everyone. Israel then will use the weapons of their enemies for firewood, enough of it for seven years. “In that day,” says v. 11, which means that these are eschatological scenes. It will take seven months to bury the dead in the valley, which will be done with the utmost care. Much of this is symbolic rather than literal, which is clear because the destruction is by fire, which wouldn’t leave the wood of the weapons or bodies to bury.
In vs. 17-22 the imagery is apocalyptic. John’s allusions in Rev 20:17 are obvious even to casual readers. The attack of Gog is in reality a massive sacrifice but in a reversal, this time the victims are men and the feasters are animals and birds.
In OT times the times of sacrifice were times of abundant food and celebration with others. To use up all of the meat from a sacrifice in the prescribed time required eating plenty and including a group. Sacrifice involved great blessing.
At the time of this final sacrifice all will finally understand God and will know why he has acted as he has. Once God is understood he will restore all things, bring his people back into the relationship intended for them and they will forget the past things: their shame, their unfaithfulness, etc. And God will dwell with his people, as the following chapters will show.
1/25/10 There are strong parallels to this passage in Zech 14. This and the next chapter are the story of God and Magog, who are mentioned in the important post-millennial section of Revelation.
Gog is the leader of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Meshech and Tubal, as well as the others listed in the next verses are all descendants of Noah’s sons listed in the genealogy. God has plans for Gog and his armies. God will impel him to attack his people so that God may defend them and show his power and defend his name before the universe.
Interestingly, several of the nations mentioned were already mentioned as trading partners with Tyre. Slaves, bronze-work, horses, mercenaries, all were supplied by these nations.
Together, all of these nations assemble a massive army that looks like a cloud. V. 8 says, “after many days,” which is Bible code for the time at the end. It clues us in that this passage is mainly eschatological. If we want to understand God and Magog in Revelation, this is where we discover the story.
Gog will invade a land that has forgotten what war is like and are living safely, peaceably, and without protection. This is definitely the case of God’s people after the millennium. We will have spent a thousand years in heaven. But when the New Jerusalem returns to earth and the wicked dead are raised back to life, Satan will gather the earth for battle against God. All the nations around are obviously involved in the war. And it’s because God has ordered it (v. 16).
As they advance upon God’s people he is aroused to action in their defense. God puts the earth into turmoil. Then the hordes of Magog turn their swards on each other. God will send rain storms, hail, and burning sulfur on the mighty host and destroy them. Why? So that his name and his greatness and his holiness will be known to them. This is hell.
1/24/10 In days of battle and field warfare the sight of a valley filled with bones would not have been too fantastical. It was a reality of war.
God asked Ezekiel if the bones could live, and Ezekiel, not knowing God’s plans, replies that only God knew. God then proceeded to tell Ezekiel to prophesy that the bones would live, which he did. God was creating a memorable picture with this illustration. The bones rattled and moved and came together. Then tendons, flesh, and finally skin covered the bones, but they still did not have life.
Ezekiel was then told to prophesy to the breath, which he did, and the bodies became living souls. Body + breath = living soul just as it was at creation.
This was not an illustration of the resurrection at the Second Coming, it illustrated the resurrection of a nation. God would restore Israel but they wouldn’t have in them the breath of life, the Spirit of God, in and of themselves. They would be given this spirit as a gift of grace.
This is a prominent theme in Ezekiel that his people would be filled with God’s Spirit, receive a heart of flesh, obey God’s laws. God’s people would become the people he desired them to be.
This hasn’t reached its full fulfillment, but when Jesus came it began the process. The joining of the two kingdoms never happened in a literal sense, but happened after Jesus when the gospel began to include the Gentiles. It will reach its full fulfillment when the New Jerusalem arrives at the end of the millennium.
1/23/10 In vs. 1-15 God promised beautiful promises to his people; promises of restoration and glory. Now he clarifies why he will do this. And that reason is for his own reputation’s sake. His people had rejected him and the nations had seen and noticed. They knew Israel’s God was powerful and they feared him and learned of him though Israel. But Israel had not been faithful to God and were punished for it.
God had a different intention for his people. God’s design was that his people would draw the rest of the world to God and be a hand in reconciling the entire world to him. But not only was Israel not doing this, they were leaving God themselves. Therefore, the nations had no reason to better themselves. So God, for the sake of himself, which is to say, out of his great love for humanity, he punished Israel. But this was completely misunderstood by the nations, and frankly even by Israel to some degree. The nations thought that God simply wasn’t enough of a God to protect his people and that their own gods were more powerful than Israel’s God. Therefore, says God, so that everyone will understand who I am, I’m going to restore my people.
Then God makes it very clear that his people deserving this restoration is far from being the reason he is doing it. His people have absolutely no claim to any merit whatsoever. God will do what he does simply because he is God, sovereign. In his grace he would restore his people and accept them regardless of themselves. And they would be keenly aware of this grace shown to them, keenly aware of their own guilt. God also makes clear that he would transform his people also. They would not continue in their evil ways. They would have new hearts and minds. And his people would finally be obedient.
The end result of this incredible grace would be that the nations around would know and understand God in his true nature. They would acknowledge his power.
All of this demonstrates God’s great love for us. If God held us in contempt he would not care what we think of him, would not care if his name be glorified among us. He would simply annihilate us and be finished with it. Instead, his love is so great that the defense of his name, in the end, is for our sake.