Ezekiel 44: The
Comments: Having seen the glory of the Lord return through
the East Gate, Ezekiel is told that that gate is now to remain
closed [v.1-3]. Ezekiel is then commanded to listen carefully
to all that follows about the use of the temple [v.4,5] and the
Lord reminds Ezekiel how Israel failed in their use of the temple
previously [v.6-8] and the clear implication is that that must
now change. Only the holy covenant people may use the temple [v.9]
and the Levites who failed the Lord in the past will be limited
in what they are allowed to do [v.10-14]. There are only a limited
number of faithful ones who may act as priests [v.15,16] and He
details their general activities [v.17-22] and then their roles
with the people [v.23,24]. They must be ritually clean [v.25-27]
and their food must be provided by the people [v.28-31].
The East Gate shut
the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the
one facing east, and it was shut.
Lord said to me, ‘This gate is to remain shut. It must not be
opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because
the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it.
prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway
to eat in the presence of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the
portico of the gateway and go out the same way.'
Ezekiel given a fresh command
the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the
temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple
of the Lord, and I fell face down.
Lord said to me, ‘Son of man, look carefully, listen closely
and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the
regulations and instructions regarding the temple of the Lord.
Give attention to the entrance to the temple and all
the exits of the sanctuary.
again Ezekiel is told to convey to his people all he sees and
therefore the conclusion must be that God wants this to have impact
on His present people.]
Israel's past failures
to rebellious Israel, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
enough of your detestable practices, people of Israel!
addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners
uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating
my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke
of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put
others in charge of my sanctuary.
are these constant reminders to Israel of their past failures
and the clear indication must be that before they return to their
land, they must change their hears to ensure these things do not
Limited use of the temple
is what the Sovereign Lord says: no foreigner uncircumcised
in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners
who live among the Israelites.
Limited service of the Levites
Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered
from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their
may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple
and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and
sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve
because they served them in the presence of their idols and made
the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with
uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin,
declares the Sovereign Lord .
are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of
my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame
of their detestable practices.
I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that
is to be done in it.
The only acceptable priests and their behaviour
the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok and who guarded
my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come
near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer
sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord.
alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my
table to minister before me and serve me as guards.
they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen
clothes; they must not wear any woollen garment while ministering
at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple.
are to wear linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments
round their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them
they go out into the outer court where the people are, they are
to take off the clothes they have been ministering in and leave
them in the sacred rooms, and put on other clothes, so that the
people are not consecrated through contact with their garments.
must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but they
are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.
priest is to drink wine when he enters the inner court.
must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins
of Israelite descent or widows of priests.
past impinges on the present, past behaviour limits some and promotes
The fourfold roles of these priests
are [i] to
teach my people the difference between the holy and the common
and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.
any dispute, the priests are [ii]
to serve as judges and decide it
according to my ordinances. They are [iii] to
keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed festivals, and
they are [iv] to keep
my Sabbaths holy.
role of the priests in the midst of the people of God must be
to constantly direct them back the Lord and His requirements for
a holy and righteous people.]
Cleansing of the priests
priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person; however,
if the dead person was his father or mother, son or daughter,
brother or unmarried sister, then he may defile himself.
he is cleansed, he must wait seven days.
the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary to minister
in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering for himself, declares
the Sovereign Lord.
the priests are to remember the past Law in order to keep themselves
Provision for these priests
am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to
give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.
will eat the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt
offerings; and everything in Israel devoted to the Lord will belong
best of all the first-fruits and of all your special gifts will
belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion
of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household.
priests must not eat anything, whether bird or animal, found dead
or torn by wild animals.
the priests are to be cared for by their people. They should never
be left in need. They are there to serve the Lord.]
to Chapter 45