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General Observations of the Book of Ezekiel

2/5/10 The book of Ezekiel is important to the dispensationalist position, which states, generally speaking, that the Jews are still the true chosen people of God. They rejected Christ so now we’re in the Christian dispensation. But Christians are kind of a stop-gap measure. However, eventually all of the prophecies in Ezekiel will come true for Israel. Christians will be raptured away, Israel will accept Christ, rebuild the temple, restart sacrifices (oddly enough), and will face much resistance from the world. The millennium will take place and then finally Christians will rejoin Israel on earth or in heaven.

This view fails to take into account a number of important things, though, which I won’t go into here. A full study of the book of Revelation presents an entirely different picture of how things will come down in the end. (See my book You Can Understand the Book of Revelation, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore).

Perhaps one of the primary things to understand is that Ezekiel was in large part a conditional prophecy. It was a prophecy or a picture of what things would look like for Israel if they took on a particular course of either loyalty to God ro disloyalty to God. They chose the disloyalty course, therefore that is the part of the picture they received. God continues to offer the positive outcome, albeit with some differences, to his faithful people in the end times.

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This brings to a close this devotional study. Find devotional commentaries on other books of the Bible at www.scoggins.biz. Also find information about my book on Revelation.

 

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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 47-48

2/4/10 Ezekiel sees a river coming from under the threshold of the temple, which faces east. This, of course, is the river that flows from the throne of God in Revelation. It travels across the inner court apparently to the south side of the altar. And it seems to be very shallow.

His guide takes him out of the north gate to outside of the temple wall and leads him to the east side of the outer wall where the river exits, continuing just south of the east gate. The river is still only ankle deep, then within a thousand cubits becomes knee deep, then waist deep, then over his head. It flows to the Dead Sea and purified the water there and turns the desert into a garden.

Fruit trees grow along the river and like the tree of life in Revelation it bears fruit every month, and its leaves are for healing.

The next part of the passage sections off where the tribes will live and points out that any aliens are to be included as native-born Israelites. The tribe they belong to is determined by where they live.

Finally, Ezekiel describes the city itself, located just south of the temple. Fitting the same description of the New Jerusalem it has three gates on each side for all twelve tribes. And it will be called “The Lord is There.” It is the capital of earth.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 46

2/3/10 The prince, who must be the civil leader of the people, is the worship leader. He has a special and prominent role in leading the people in the worship of the true God.

First of all, the people have been contributing tax-type gifts to him, and out of that he is to provide the sacrifices for the people, or at least much of them. The east gate of the inner court is opened for the prince and he enters and worships and then exits through this gate, while the people enter through the north or south gate and then exit through the opposite one they used to enter.

So the prince enters by the east gate, the people use another, and then the people join the prince before the east gate to worship. Then they feast by eating the sacrifices. The priests, to protect the people from contact with holiness, eat theirs separately, using their kitchen in the inner court. The people cook and eat theirs using the four kitchens in the corners of the outer court. Worship times were obviously times of great joy and feasting.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 45

2/1/10 In the newly formed Israel things were to be done a little differently than before. God specified that some land surrounding the temple was to be set aside as holy. About seven or eight square miles was called holy and this was given as land for the Levites. The same amount was set aside as most holy and it was given for land for the priests. The city of Jerusalem received a specific portion also, and the prince as well.

Before, the priests and Levites had no land at all, and the prince, the civil ruler, took his land from the tribes as he needed it. This was no longer to be done. And beyond that God intended that weights and measures should be standardized as well so that the prince couldn’t fudge on taxing the people.

All of these intentions were created for faithful Israel on earth, but they won’t be realized until the new earth. So will all of these regulations look the same? Probably not exactly, but real life will go on. The prince would obviously have less than the kings of Israel had gotten used to taking from the people. He was to provide burn offerings and such from tax money, but that wouldn’t cover all. He had only to rely on donations from the people.

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Posted by on April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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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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Ezek. 40

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.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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