Ezekiel 43

Introduction

Return of Jehovah, the entrance of the glory of the Lord into the new temple. Ezekiel 43:1-12.

Glory enters the temple. Ezekiel 43:1-5.

The holiness of the temple. Ezekiel 43:6-9.

Visions for the sinner’s shame. Ezekiel 43:10-11.

The surrounding area is holy. Ezekiel 43:12.

Description and consecration of the altar of burnt offering. Ezekiel 43:13-27.

The altar. Ezekiel 43:13-17.

Dedication of the altar. Ezekiel 43:18-27.

Here is a picture of the restoration of the Jewish religious system. It is imperative for the remnant to know this will happen to be assured that he can be ceremoniously clean. Haggai 2:10ff. Not only that but the Lord will come back and will once again place his throne there.

Here we find the condition of this restoration, holiness, Ezekiel 43:6-12.

We see how the people had defiled themselves:

1. Harlotry.

2. Dead bodies of their kings.

3. Idolatry.

4. Setting their doorposts by Jehovah’s doorposts.

So, they were not only wrongdoers, but wrong thinkers in relation to God. They had become too familiar with God. They did not recognise that there should have been a reverent separateness from Jehovah. Hence this temple is totally separated from the city. Ezekiel 40:5 / Ezekiel 42:20 / Ezekiel 43:12.

The plan will make them ashamed, Ezekiel 43:10, so that they realise they are to be holy, and recognise God as holy. Separateness is at the root of holiness; the people had mingled too much in the past. Familiarity breeds contempt.

For you and I. 1 Peter 1:15 / 1 Corinthians 15:33.

‘Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 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. 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 Kebar River, and I fell facedown. The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. 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 forever. 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. 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. Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings, and I will live among them forever. ‘Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider its perfection, 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. ‘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.’ Ezekiel 43:1-12

The glory of the Lord fills all the earth, Isaiah 6:3. God reveals His glory in order to manifest His approval and presence. The vision that Ezekiel saw on this occasion was similar to other times when he experienced the awesome presence of God, Ezekiel 1:26-28 / Ezekiel 8:1-2 / Ezekiel 9:1-3.

What was experienced on this occasion was the divine glory of God that was manifested in Ezekiel’s vision of the temple. His glory came into the reconstructed temple from the east, signifying that God was still present with His people in captivity in Babylonian territory east of Palestine. He would be with them when they returned from captivity to rebuild the temple.

When the people forsook idolatry, God came again into their presence while they were in captivity. God’s presence, therefore, was not confined to a physical temple. His presence with His people exists wherever they are in the world.

The awesomeness of God cannot be compared to or associated with man in his most pure state of being. In the past, the Israelites had built their houses joined to the temple. In the restored temple, they were not to defile the presence of God by doing such. Man cannot exalt himself to be compared with God as he had done with the idol gods that he had created after his own imagination.

The awesomeness of the presence of God should be so revered that we would fear His presence and stand in awe of His glory. If men seek to personalise God to the point that they lose their fear of His awesomeness, they may be creating a god after their own imagination. When God was incarnate in the flesh of man, He had to empty Himself of His divine form in order for man to be able to stand in His presence, Philippians 2:5-8.

God is personal to us through Jesus, but we should never forget that if we stood within the energy of His total glory we would be disintegrated into nothingness as in a nuclear blast. The One who created the millions of suns of the universe is millions of times greater in energy than all the universe combined, for He is greater than that which He created.

‘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 rim of one span around the edge. And this is the height of the altar: From the gutter on the ground up to the lower ledge that goes around the altar it is two cubits high, and the ledge is a cubit wide. From this lower ledge to the upper ledge that goes around the altar it is four cubits high, and that ledge is also a cubit wide. Above that, the altar hearth is four cubits high, and four horns project upward from the hearth. The altar hearth is square, twelve cubits long and twelve cubits wide. The upper ledge also is square, fourteen cubits long and fourteen cubits wide. All around the altar is a gutter of one cubit with a rim of half a cubit. The steps of the altar face east.’ 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: 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. 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 around the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it. You are to take the bull for the sin offering and burn it in the designated part of the temple area outside the sanctuary. ‘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. When you have finished purifying it, you are to offer a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. 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. ‘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. For seven days they are to make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; thus, they will dedicate it. 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.’ Ezekiel 43:13-27

In the vision, Ezekiel sees the restoration of the temple ceremonies that were conducted by the priests, the descendants of Zadok, Ezekiel 43:19 / Ezekiel 44:15 / 1 Kings 1:7-8.

In connection with the offerings that were made, the priests were to sprinkle salt, signifying that the people would keep the covenant. The blood was sprinkled in order to sanctify and set apart, all that was reconstructed for the offering of the sacrifices.

Before the people could continue with the altar and temple they had to cleanse and dedicate it to the Lord. After the cleansing, the people could be accepted, and thus the sacrifices that they would make would be accepted.

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