1/31/10 Ezekiel’s guide leads him to the east gate of the temple court where he sees that the gate is shut. He is informed that it is to remain shut. This is the gate that God’s glory entered through, so it became particularly holy. People should enter through the gates on the north and the south.
This chapter really makes clear God’s insistence on the separation between holy and common things. The east gate would be the place where the prince would eat before the Lord. This prince seems to be a a civil ruler not Messiah, because Messiah wouldn’t offer sin offerings or have sons.
Ezekiel, since he can’t go in by the east gate, is brought around to the north and led into the temple court where he saw the glory of God filling the sanctuary. Then God spoke to him about his laws and regulations concerning the holiness of his house. Most of these are repeats of the laws in Leviticus, with the exception of the prohibition for priests against wearing wool.
One of these regulations was that foreigners were not be to taking care of the temple. Some Midianites and Gibeonites had been given to the Levites in Israel’s conquering of the land, and they had begun to serve the temple Levites and then even became active in serving in the temple itself. This was not to happen in the new temple. Then Levites were to keep charge themselves. They had not been entirely faithful to God when Israel apostatized, so they would be relegated to certain duties. Only the descendants of Zadok could serve as priests because they had remained faithful.
The rules for working with holy things became more marked the closer the Levites came to God’s presence, so the priests had even more to consider in preparing to serve near the Lord. The separation of the holy from the common was paramount, including the dress and grooming of the priests, and the situation of their marriage.
The authority of judges was given to the priests, so what the function of the prince was to be is left to speculation. Perhaps it was purely administrative. More over, one of the functions of the priesthood is to teach the people to respect the difference between the holy and the common. And they would continue to live upon the tithes of the people.