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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel

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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 43: The Glory Returns & Instructions given

 

[Preliminary Comments: The description of the temple gives way as Ezekiel in his vision sees the glory of the Lord return to the temple [v.1-5] and the Lord makes clear what is happening [v.6-9] and Ezekiel is instructed to shame Israel with his descriptions of the temple [v.10-12]. The altar is described [v.13-17] together with instructions how the first sacrifices are to be brought [v.18-27].

 

v.1-5 God's glory returns to this temple

v.1  Then the man brought me to the gate facing east,

v.2  and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.

v.3  The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the River Kebar, and I fell face down.

v.The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east.

v.5  Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

 

[Note: The return of the glory of the Lord seen in this vision, is a clear indicator of the Lord's desire to return to the centre of the life of His people.]

 

v.6-9 The Lord's declarations [v.7,8] and command [v.9]

v.6  While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple.

v.7  He said: ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites for ever. The people of Israel will never again defile my holy name – neither they nor their kings – by their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings at their death.

v.8  When they placed their threshold next to my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by their detestable practices. So I destroyed them in my anger.

v.9   Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings, and I will live among them for ever.

    

[Note: The Lord conveys that it is His definite intention to come back and live with His people for ever. For those in exile in Babylon this must be a further encouragement to persevere as the people of God, even though they are not yet back in their land. The Lord obviously wants them to hold on to that idea firmly. It is also a challenge for them in exile Babylon to ensure they get rid of their idolatry as a means of preparing to one day return.]

    

v.10-12 Instruction and Consequence, Instruction and Declaration

v.10   ‘Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider its perfection,

v.11  and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple – its arrangement, its exits and entrances – its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations.

v.12  ‘This is the law of the temple: all the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple.

   

[Note: The purpose of the vision is made clear: to keep these things before God's people in exile so they will be ashamed of what they have been reduced to become, when they hear what are God's clear intentions for their future.]

    

v.13-17 The great altar restored

v.13  ‘These are the measurements of the altar in long cubits, that cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth: its gutter is a cubit deep and a cubit wide, with a kerb of one span around the edge. And this is the height of the altar:

v.14  from the gutter on the ground up to the lower ledge that goes round the altar it is two cubits high, and the ledge is a cubit wide. From this lower ledge to the upper ledge that goes round the altar it is four cubits high, and that ledge is also a cubit wide.

v.15  Above that, the altar hearth is four cubits high, and four horns project upwards from the hearth.

v.16  The altar hearth is square, twelve cubits long and twelve cubits wide.

v.17  The upper ledge also is square, fourteen cubits long and fourteen cubits wide. All round the altar is a gutter of one cubit with a kerb of half a cubit. The steps of the altar face east.'

 

[Note: Observe that, unlike the original descriptions of the furniture in the Tabernacle and later the Temple of Solomon, there is no mention of precious metals. This seems purely functional.]

 

v.18-27 Instructions for presenting the sanctification sacrifices

v.18  Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: these will be the regulations for sacrificing burnt offerings and splashing blood against the altar when it is built:

v.19  you are to give a young bull as a sin offering to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who come near to minister before me, declares the Sovereign Lord.

v.20  You are to take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the upper ledge and all round the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it.

v.21  You are to take the bull for the sin offering and burn it in the designated part of the temple area outside the sanctuary.

v.22  ‘On the second day you are to offer a male goat without defect for a sin offering, and the altar is to be purified as it was purified with the bull.

v.23  When you have finished purifying it, you are to offer a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect.

v.24  You are to offer them before the Lord, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and sacrifice them as a burnt offering to the Lord.

v.25  ‘For seven days you are to provide a male goat daily for a sin offering; you are also to provide a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect.

v.26  For seven days they are to make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; thus they will dedicate it.

v.27  At the end of these days, from the eighth day on, the priests are to present your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar. Then I will accept you, declares the Sovereign Lord.'

   

[Note: There are still sacrifices for sin, fellowship etc., everything the sinful community requires for atonement and to be at peace before God.]

   

   

Continue to Chapter 44