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Ezek. 44

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.

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 43

1/30/10 Ezekiel had witnessed God leaving the temple in chapters 8-10. Now he watched the reverse happen. After all the calamity that befell his people, and after God’s vengeance upon the nations around, the people of God would be restored, the temple rebuilt, and God’s presence would again fill the temple. He comes in from the east. I don’t know if the verbal parallels may be insufficient to tie this verse to Rev 16:12, which refers to the kings from the east, but they do tie in with other parts of Revelation. And thematically it does work.

When all has finally been destroyed in Babylon, Jesus returns from the east. So in Ezekiel this is ultimately an end-time scenario, although it was predicted as a possible reality for Israel as a nation. At any rate, God’s people will not resist him any longer and the relationship will be restored.

After Solomon had completed the temple he built his own palace attached to the temple. When Solomon left God his activities defiled the temple. Not only is the house of God holy, but the things associated with it are holy too. The entire idea of restoring the temple is the end result of keeping God’s law (v. 11, 12). So even in the new creation we will still be bound by the law.

In v. 13 Ezekiel describes the dedication of the altar. It was so high that stairs led up to the “hearth” on the east side so that the priest would be facing the temple sanctuary. They were to go through a specific procedure for seven days to purify the altar. What that will look like in a new creation context I’m not quite sure. Or perhaps this was only the situation if this was fulfilled for the nation of Israel, since according to Revelation, there won’t be a temple in the New Jerusalem.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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