|By Clarence Larkin (click to enlarge)|
45:1-6 – The sacred district. The full sacred area would cover an area seven miles wide and seven miles long. One section stretching seven miles long and three miles wide would be for the priests and would be for the “Most Holy Place”. Another section stretching seven miles long and three miles wide would be for the Levites who serve on behalf of the people of Israel in the temple. They would no longer have towns scattered among the tribes (as in Josh. 21), but would live with all of the rest of Israel focused upon the center: the temple as the presence of the LORD in the midst of His people. The “city” would take up a section about one mile wide and seven miles long for the whole of Israel.
45:7-12 – The prince(s) of Israel. No longer would the princes be allowed to abuse Israel as had occurred throughout Israel’s history, but would receive a portion of the land surrounding the sides of the sacred districts. What is the importance of fair measurements? (cf. Lev. 19:36; Deut. 25:13-16; Prov.11:1; Amos 8:5-6; Hos.12:7) One shekel would be approximately 4 oz. and therefore one minah about 24 oz. The ephah (for dry measurements) and bath (for liquid measurements) would be about 5.8 gallons and so the homer would be about 58 gallons total.
45:13-20 – Offerings for atonement. Why would the LORD be so specific about the offerings Israel was to offer? The offerings made of wheat and barley were nearly 2% of the total, the oil 1% and the sheep .5%. These sacrifices were specifically for atonement. What need would Israel have for atonement? Also, note that the prince plays a particular role in making provision for the sacrifices as well. There was to be an atonement made on the first day of the year and the seventh (were these to be repeated?) for atonement of the temple. Why would the temple need atonement? What sorts of sins were said to be covered by this sacrifice?
45:21-25 – The feasts. The requirements here are notably different than those found in the Torah concerning the Passover celebration (cf. Exo.12:1-28; Num.9:1-14; Deut.16:1-8). However, it is also notable that whereas there was never a repetition of the smearing of blood on the doorposts after the exodus from Egypt, yet in verses 19-20 the posts of the temple were to be smeared in sacrificial blood prior to the actual celebration of Passover that would begin a week later. The other feast day is unnamed but is said to occur at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (cf. Deut. 16:13).
46:1-12 – The Sabbath and New Moon feasts. The eastern outer court gate was perpetually kept shut, but the inner courts eastern gate was opened every Sabbath and New Moon when the prince was to come and offer sacrifices and stand at the entrance of the gate giving worship to the LORD. The people were also to worship the LORD at that gate. The prince must come and go at the same gateway, but the people were to leave at the opposite (if they entered north they left south and vice-versa). What is the point of the control at the gates? The prince was to act as just another person and would not stay longer than the rest of the people though he was the only one permitted use of the eastern inner court gate which would be shut at evening after he had gone. There was a marked difference between what Ezekiel was instructed and what had happened throughout Israel’s history in regard to the ruler’s relations to the temple.
46:13-15 – The command to make daily offerings. Why might the language have shifted from the third person to the second person (“you”) for these few verses? Was Ezekiel expected to participate in this? Also, how does the nature of the sacrifices being a “lasting ordinance” relate to what is written in Hebrews 7:27; 9:25-10:18?
46:16-18 – The prince and his land. What is the importance of the inheritance being kept within the prince’s family and of the prince not being able to take any property from the rest of the house of Israel? (on acquisition of Israelite territories and inheritance issues see Deut.17:14-20; 2 Sam.9:7; 16:4; 24:24; 1 Kings 9:16; 16:24; 21:1-29) Many have often confused the notion of this “prince” with the Messiah, but Iain Duguid astutely notes, “It is the temple that points us to Jesus, not the prince” (NIVAC 524).
46:19-24 – The importance of the kitchens. Why should Ezekiel be shown the kitchens in the temple and why should these be mentioned for us? It is significant because temples of the ancient Near East were places for the gods to feast, but not for the general population, but in the temple of the LORD He prepares a table before His people and shares it with them (cf. Ps. 23:5; Matt.22:1-14; Rev.3:20; 19:9).