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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ezekiel 43

Verse 1

Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:

Everything was now ready for His reception. As the Shechinah-glory was the special distinction of the old temple, so it was to be in the new, in a degree as much more transcendent as the proportions of the new exceeded those of the old. The fact that the Shechinah-glory was not in the second temple proves that cannot be that temple which is meant in the prophecy.

Verse 2

And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

The way of the east - the way whereby the glory had departed (Ezekiel 11:22-23), and rested on mount Olivet (cf. Zechariah 14:4).

His voice was like a noise of many waters - so the English version rightly, as Ezekiel 1:24 - "like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty" - Revelation 1:15; Revelation 14:2 prove. Not as Fairbairn translates, 'its noise.'

And the earth shined with his glory - (Revelation 18:1, "The earth was lightened with His glory").

Verse 3

And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

Even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city - i:e, to pronounce God's word for its destruction: so completely did the prophets identify themselves with Him in whose name they spake.

Verses 4-5

And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 6

And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.

And the man stood by me - "the man" who had been measuring the buildings (Ezekiel 40:3 ).

Verse 7

And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

The place of my throne - i:e, behold the place of my throne, etc-the place on which your thoughts have so much dwelt (Isaiah 2:1-3; Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 14:16-20; Malachi 3:1 , "The Lord whom ye seek (the Messiah whom the Jews have been so long looking for) shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in"). God from the first claimed to be their King politically, as well as religiously; and had resisted their wish to have a human king, as implying a rejection of Him as the proper Head of the state. Even when He yielded to their wish, it was with a protest against their king ruling except as His vicegereut. When Messiah shall reign at Jerusalem, He shall realize then first the original idea of the theocracy, with its at one divine and human king reigning in righteousness over a people all righteous (Ezekiel 43:12 ; Isaiah 52:1 ; Isaiah 54:13 ; Isaiah 60:21 ).

Verse 8

In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 9

Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.

Now let them put away ... the carcasses of their kings. It is supposed that some of their idolatrous kings were buried within the bounds of Solomon's temple (Henderson). Rather, 'the carcasses of their idols,' here called "kings," as having had lordship over them in past times (Isaiah 26:13); but henceforth Yahweh, alone their rightful lord, shall be their King, and the idols that had been their "kings" would appear but as "carcasses." Hence, these defunct kings are associated with the "high places" in Ezekiel 43:7 (Fairbairn): Leviticus 26:30 ; Jeremiah 16:18 , confirm this. Manasses had built altars in the courts of the temple to the host of heaven (2 Kings 21:5 ; 2 Kings 23:6 ).

I will dwell in the midst of them forever - (Revelation 21:3).

Verse 10

Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.

Show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities. When the spirituality of the Christian scheme is shown to men by the Holy Spirit, it makes them "ashamed of their iniquities." Ezekiel 43:11

And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 12

This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

The whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. This superlative, "most holy," which had been used exclusively of the holy of holies (Exodus 26:34 ), was now to characterize the entire building.

Behold, this is the law of the house. This all-pervading sanctity was to be "the law of the (whole) house," as distinguished from the Levitical law, which confined the special sanctity to a single apartment of it.

Verses 13-27

And these are the measures of the altar after the cubits: The cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth; even the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about shall be a span: and this shall be the higher place of the altar.

These are the measures of the altar - as to the altar of burnt offering, which was the appointed means of access to God.

Verse 15. The altar - [Hebrew, har'eel ( H741 )] i:e., mount of God; denoting the high security to be imparted by it to the restored Israel. It was a high place, but a high place of God (as the Hebrew for "altar" means), not of idols.

From the altar - the Hebrew for "altar" is literally, 'the lion of God' [ 'ªri'eel ( H741)], Arieil (in Isaiah 29:1 ['Ariy'eel (H740)] "Ariel" is applied to Jerusalem). Menochius supposes that on "the altar" four animals were carved; the lion perhaps Was the uppermost, whence the horns were made to issue, and that from this the altar was called, as the Hebrew means, "the lion of God." Gesenius regards the two words as expressing the hearth or fire-place of the altar. Verse 16. And the altar shall be ... square in the four squares thereof - square on the four sides of its squares Fairbairn).

Verse 17. The settle - the ledge, (Fairbairn).

And his stairs - rather, 'the ascent,' as "steps" up to God's altar were forbidden in Exodus 20:26.

Verse 18-27. These are the ordinances of the altar ... to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. The sacrifices here are not mere commemorative, but propitiatory ones; or at least relatively propitiatory. The expressions, "blood" (Ezekiel 43:18 ) and "for a sin offering" ( Ezekiel 43:19; Ezekiel 43:21-22) prove this. In the literal sense they can only apply to the second temple. Under the Christian dispensation they would directly oppose the doctrine taught in Hebrews 10:1-18 - namely, that Christ has by one offering forever atoned for sin. However, it is possible that they, might exist with a retrospective reference to Christ's sufferings, as the Levitical sacrifices had a prospective reference to them: not propitiatory in themselves, but memorials to keep up the remembrance of His propitiatory sufferings, which form the foundation of His kingdom, lest they should be lost sight of in the glory of that kingdom (DeBurgh). The particularity of the directions make it unlikely that they are to be understood in a merely vague figurative sense. See my Remarks on Ezekiel 40:1-49 . The Israelites in the coming Millennial Kingdom shall stand in a special relation, as the elect nation, to Messiah, as at once their Saviour, their God, and their King, and to the Gentile nations of the earth; so that sacrifices may then be introduced as the outward appointed expression of that special connection.

Verse 20. Thus shalt thou cleanse ... it - literally, make expiation for it [wªchiTee'taa ( H2398)].

Verse 21. He shall burn it ... without the sanctuary - ( Hebrews 13:11).

Verse 26. Seven days shall they purge the altar - referring to the original directions of Moses for seven days' purification-services of the altar ( Exodus 29:37 )

They shall consecrate themselves - literally, fill their hands, namely, with offerings: referring to the mode of consecrating a priest (Exodus 29:24; Exodus 29:35 , "Thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron" - namely, "one loaf of bread, one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord:" "seven days shalt thou consecrate them").

Verse 27. I will accept you - ( Ezekiel 20:40-41, "In mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them;" Romans 12:1 , "I beseech you, brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service; 1 Peter 2:5, "Ye also ... are

... an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ").

Remarks:

(1) The visible glory of God, which had manifested itself in the first temple had withdrawn from Jerusalem just before the destruction of that city by Nebuchadnezzar, and has never since returned. But in this chapter it is explicitly foretold that it shall, in God's good time, return "from the way of the East" (Ezekiel 43:2; Ezekiel 43:4), and fill the house of God again. As Christ withdrew His visible presence from the people of Jerusalem shortly before the destruction of both the city and the temple, and ascended from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12), so shall He come in Like manner as He went, by the way of the mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:23; Zechariah 14:4 ).

(2) He has declared to the Jews, "Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Luke 13:35 ). When, therefore, He does come, it shall be as the universally recognized King of Israel: every Jew shall hail Him, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest" ( Luke 19:38), as His typical entry as a King into Jerusalem on the Palm Sunday before His crucifixion implies. Then first shall be fully realized the grand idea of the theocracy, which was only in part represented under the old commonwealth of the people, before they set it aside by asking for an earthly king, instead of retaining God as the Head of their nation. Yahweh-Jesus shall set up His throne, and shall dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever ( Ezekiel 43:7), and they shall no more defile His holy name with abominations. He shall reign in righteousness over a people all righteous, as their manifested King, at once perfectly human and perfectly divine. Such a blessed reign has never yet been seen in this disordered world, whose politics have heretofore been disgraced by the virtual ignoring of God's supremacy, by self-seeking ambition, pride, and covetousness, and by frequent disregard of the rights of man in respect to justice and mercy.

(3) Ezekiel is directed to show to the house of Israel the house of God, that so they may be ashamed of their iniquities ( Ezekiel 43:10 ). Nothing so effectually makes men ashamed of their sins as the revelation to them, by the Holy Spirit, of Christ crucified and Christ glorified, in the hearing of the Word. The height, the depth, the length, the breadth of the love of Christ to His spiritual temple, the elect Church, causes the believer to loathe his past course of life, and henceforth desire to live wholly to Christ, who loved him, and gave Himself for him.

Thus believers are prepared for further discoveries of the blessed laws of God's spiritual house ( Ezekiel 43:11). Its all-pervading feature and prominent law is universal sanctity. Nothing that defileth, or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, direct or implied, can have place in God's spiritual house. Let the thought of this, its holy and glorious character, constrain us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1 ).

(4) Whatever may be the nature of the future "burnt offerings," "sin offerings," and "blood sprinklings" (Ezekiel 43:18-19; Ezekiel 43:21), we have no doubt, as concerns ourselves now, that we need no other burnt offering than that one whereby Christ bore for us all the fiery indignation of the righteous God against our sin: His one sin offering whereby God "made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21 ), causes every believer to become the righteousness of God in Him; so that, as we have forgiveness of all sins through Him, there is no more offering for sin ( Hebrews 10:18) needed. We have boldness to enter the holiest by a new and living way ( Hebrews 10:19-20), and not by dead sacrifices; and so can draw near, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22). We have the altar ( Hebrews 13:10 ) of the cross, whereat we can present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God (Ezekiel 43:27 ; Romans 12:1 ), through Jesus Christ.

(5) As to the future sacrificial service of Israel, we can well afford to wait until God by the event shall clear up every difficulty: and throughout eternity we shall adoringly wonder at the beautiful variety, and, at the same time, perfect unity of the several parts of the mighty scheme of redemption through the incarnate Son of God.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 43". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/ezekiel-43.html. 1871-8.