Tanak Foundations- Concepts in Ezekiel-Chapter 44

Ezek 44.1-31 tells us about the eastern gate of the outer sanctuary, and its use by the “prince.”

v 1…Then he brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary (so Ezekiel could see it from the court and it was where his tour began in 40.6), which faces east and it was shut.

v 2…And the Lord (Yehovah) said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it for the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah) of Israel has entered by it (Ezek 43.2), therefore it shall be shut (signifying that he would never leave the Temple again).

v 3…As for the prince (Hebrew “nasi” and many commentators believe this refers to the Messiah-1 Chr 11.2; Ezek 37.24-26; Acts 3.15, 5.30-31; but others believe he is a leader of the nation under the authority of the Messiah. He may be a biological descendant of David, fully human, has descendants in Ezek 46, and has a plot of land and a unique relationship with the Temple-Jer 33.22), the prince shall sit in it to eat bread before the Lord (his portion of the korbanot in a meal consecrated to God, or a “Lord’s Supper”); he shall enter by way of the porch of the gate, and shall go out the same way (the shutting of the east gate was the rule, but there seems to be exceptions which will not be explained till Ezek 46. This gate will not be used by the people to go in and out of the Temple. They will use the northern and southern gates).”

v 4…Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the house; and I looked, and behold, the glory (kivod) of the Lord filled the house of the Lord, and I fell on my face (he could see it from his position).

v 5…And the Lord said to me, “Son of man (mortal human being), mark well (be attentive), see with your own eyes, and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the statutes of the house of the Lord and concerning all its laws (to be revealed hereafter); and mark well the entrance of the house with all exits of the sanctuary (so he will be able to give the most accurate information to Israel to keep the Temple from being profaned again).

v 6…And you shall say to the rebellious ones, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Enough of all your abominations, O house of Israel (let it stop right now, the time for it is over),

v 7…when (for instance) you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary to profane it, even my house, when you offered my food, the fat and the blood (they admitted non-Jews who did not believe into the Temple for sacrificial worship, and even made them servants for themselves in the Temple); for they made my covenant void-this is in addition to all your abominations.

v 8…And you have not kept the charge of my holy things yourselves (did not observe the Torah in regard to these things), but you have appointed guardians of my charge in my sanctuary, whomever you pleased (to serve).”

v 9…’Thus says the Lord God, “No foreigner (Hebrew “nekar”), uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the sons of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary (to serve).

v 10…But the Levites (priests-44.13) who went far from me, when Israel went astray, who went astray (joining the people in their idolatry) from me after their idols, shall bear the punishment for their iniquity.

v 11…Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary (in a limited function), having oversight at the gates of the house and ministering in the house; they shall slaughter the burnt offering and sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them.

v 12…Because they ministered to them before their idols (assisted the people) and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn against them,” declares the Lord God, “that they shall bear the punishment for their iniquity.

v 13…And they shall not come near to me to serve as a priest to me, nor come near to any of my holy things, to the things that are holy (those portions of the sacrifices which have a kedusha to Yehovah, like sprinkling the blood or to burn the fat portions on the altar, etc); but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have done.

v 14…Yet I will appoint them to keep the charge of the house, of all its service, and of all that shall be done in it (all inferior acts of service).

v 15…But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of my sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me (the priestly service at the Temple will be performed by the descendants of Zadok alone because they were faithful); and they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood,” declares the Lord God (Zadok’s sons were dominated by the rabbis around 30 BC).

v 16…They shall enter my sanctuary (to officiate); they shall come near to my table (of wood in 41.22; or as some believe the table of the bread of the faces, but that table is never mentioned) to minister (bear the korbanot on the altar) and keep my charge (what I have commanded).

v 17…And it shall be that when they enter at the gates of the inner court they shall be clothed with linen garments; and wool shall not be on them (they did wear wool previously, like the purple, blue and scarlet, the girdle, etc; the high priests linen garments had no wool, so the ordinary priests is to be elevated to the kedusha of the high priest on Yom Kippur), while they are ministering in the gates of the inner court and in the house (the sanctuary proper).

v 18…Linen turbans shall be on their heads and linen trousers shall be on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat (the body expels impurities through perspiration, so their garments would have no odor of perspiration. As we have seen so far with the Temple designs, the priesthood garments and other things is a progression. The priests are called to wear linen in Ezekiel without wool. This is not a contradiction but the next “stage” obviously sanctified by Yehovah. Remember, from the Mishkan to this Temple in Ezekiel we have had nothing but a progressive revelation).

v 19…And when they go out into the outer court, into the outer court to the people (when they are done with their service), they shall put off their garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers (the north and south chambers have a kedusha equal to the garments. The priestly garments represent glorified man in the Olam Haba, the new man. The kedusha of the garments cannot go into an area with a lesser kedusha), then they shall put on other garments and let them not mingle with the people in their clothes (do not mingle between the holy and the common).

v 20…Also they shall not shave their heads, yet they shall not let their locks grow long (no extreme hair styles like the pagans with what is called “wild hair”), they shall only trim their head.

v 21…Nor shall any of the priests drink wine (to excess-Lev 10.9) when they enter the inner court.

v 22…And they shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman but shall take virgins from the offspring of the house of Israel (no unconverted women who have not been raised in the Torah) or a widow who is a widow of a priest (the only exception to earlier in the verse. That which applied only to the high priest is now extended to all priests-Lev 21.14).

v 23…Moreover, they shall teach my people (the difference) between the holy and the common (Hebrew “L’ ha madvil bein ha kodesh l’ chol) and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean (this is the basis for the purity laws when a temple stood. This was their number one job, what has a kedusha and what didn’t-Mal 2.7; Deut 4.1-2; Lev 10.10-11, 11.47).

v 24…And in a dispute they shall take their stand to judge (any controversy about these issues); they shall judge it according to my ordinances (Hebrew “mishpat” which are judgments already in the Torah). They shall also keep (stay within the tavnit, to learn the pattern God gave) my laws (Torah) and my statutes (chukim) in all my appointed feasts and to sanctify (give it the proper kedusha) my sabbaths (times appointed for worship in the Torah).

v 25…And they shall not go to a dead person to defile (themselves); however, for a father, for mother, for son, for daughter, for brother, or for a sister who has not had a husband they may defile themselve (they can be “tamai” or unclean for close relatives but cannot go into the sanctuary-Lev 21.1-3).

v 26…After he is cleansed (according to Num 19.11-13), seven days shall elapse for him (the Red Heifer ceremony).

v 27…And on the day that he goes into the sanctuary, into the inner court to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering (which is part of the cleansing ceremony, it doesn’t mean he has sinned),” declares the Lord God.

v 28…And it shall be with regard to an inheritance for them, I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no possession in Israel-I am their possession (Num 18.20; Deut 18.1, 10.9).

v 29…They shall eat the grain offering, and the guilt offering, and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs (in accordance with the Torah in Lev 2.3, 6.9, 7.6, 27.21-“devoted thing” is “cherem” and that is when a person declares a possession to be “cherem” and its use is forbidden to him, and ownership reverts to Yehovah, who in turn, presents it as a gift to the priest).

v 30…And the first of all the first fruits of every kind and every contribution (Hebrew “terumah” and is a portion of their produce set aside for “holy use” of any kind, from all your contributions (terumah), shall be for the priests; you shall also give to the priest the first of your dough (challah) to cause a blessing to rest on your house (Mal 3.8).

v 31…The priests shall not eat any bird or beast that has died a natural death (carrion-Acts 15.29; Lev 17.15-16; killed by action on the windpipe like big cats like to do; strangled-Nahum 2.12) or has been torn to pieces (“treifah”-injured internally or externally in a way unfit-Acts 15.29).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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