Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.
This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened - ( Job 12:14; Isaiah 22:22, "The key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder (the antitypical Eliakim); so He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open;" Revelation 3:7 ). "Shut" to the people (Exodus 19:21-22), but open to "the prince" ( Ezekiel 44:3), he holding the place of God in political concerns as the priests do in spiritual. As a mark of respect to an Eastern monarch, the gate by which he enters is thenceforth shut to all other persons (cf. Exodus 19:24 ).
It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.
The prince - not King Messiah, as He would not be likely to offer a burnt offering, as the prince is to do (Ezekiel 46:4). The prince must mean the civil ruler under MESSIAH. His connection with the east gate (by which the Lord had returned to His temple) implies that, as ruling under God, he is to stand in a place of special nearness to God. He represents Messiah, who entered heaven, the true sanctuary, by a way that none other could-namely, by His own holiness; all others must enter as sinners, by faith in His blood, through grace.
He shall sit in it to eat bread before the Lord - a custom connected with sacrifices (Genesis 31:54 ; Exodus 18:12; Exodus 24:11 ; 1 Corinthians 10:18 ).
Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face. No JFB commentary on this verse.
And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary.
... concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord - directions as to the priests. Their acts of desecration are attributed to "the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 44:6-7 ), as the sins of the priesthood and of the people acted and re-acted on one another; 'like people, like priest' (Jeremiah 5:31; Hosea 4:9).
And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations,
No JFB commentary on this verse.
In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
Uncircumcised in heart - Israelites circumcised outwardly, but wanting the true circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 10:16; Acts 7:51).
Uncircumcised in flesh - not having even the outward badge of the covenant-people.
And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
But ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves - such as yourselves though fit, not such as I approve of. Or else, 'ye have not yourselves kept the charge of my holy things, but have set others as keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves' (Maurer).
Thus saith the Lord GOD No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
the Levites that are gone away far from me ... they shall even bear (namely, the punishment of) their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary. So Mark, a Levite, nephew of Barnabas ( Acts 4:36), was punished by Paul for departing at Perga from Paul and Barnabas in their missionary tour among the Gentiles, and thereby losing an opportunity of bearing the cross of Christ in the face of the Jewish opponents to the admission of Gentiles, and yet was afterward admitted into his friendship again, and showed his zeal (Acts 13:13; Acts 15:37; as is shown by Paul's favourable notices of him subsequently, Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11). One may be a believer, and that too in a distinguished place, and yet lose some special honour-be acknowledged as pious, yet be excluded from some dignity (Bengel).
Having charge at the gates. Better to be "a doorkeeper in the house, of God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Psalms 84:10). Though standing as a mere doorkeeper, it is in the house of God, which hath foundations; whereas he who dwells with the wicked dwells in but shifting tents.
Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity. No JFB commentary on these verses.
But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
The priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok. The priests of the line of Ithamar were to be discharged from ministrations in the temple, because of their corruptions, following in the steps of Eli's sons, against whom the same denunciation was uttered (1 Samuel 2:32; 1 Samuel 2:35). Zadok, according to his name, which means righteous, and his line, were to succeed (1 Kings 2:35; 1 Chronicles 24:3), as they did not take part in the general apostasy to the same degree, and perhaps (Fairbairn) the prophet, referring to their original state, speaks of them as they appeared when first chosen to the office.
They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.
They shall be clothed with linen - symbolical of purity. Wool soon induces perspiration in the sultry East, and so becomes uncleanly.
They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat.
Linen bonnets - turbans.
And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.
They shall not sanctify the people with their garments - namely, those peculiarly priestly vestments in which they ministered in the sanctuary.
Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.
Neither shall they shave their heads - as mourners used to do, and as the Levitical priests were forbidden to do (Leviticus 21:1-5). The worshippers of the Egyptian idols Serapis and Isis shaved their heads; another reason why Yahweh's priests are not to do so.
Nor suffer their locks to grow long - as the luxurious, barbarians, and soldiers in warfare did (Jerome).
Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
Neither shall any priest drink wine - lest the holy enthusiasm of their devotion should be mistaken for inebriation, as in Peter's case (Acts 2:13; Acts 2:15; Acts 2:18).
Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before. No JFB commentary on these verses.
And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.
I am their inheritance - (Numbers 18:20, "Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel;" Deuteronomy 10:9; Deuteronomy 18:1; Joshua 13:14; Joshua 13:33 ).
They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And the first of all the firstfruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest's: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house.
Ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house - ( Proverbs 3:9-10, "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first- fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine;" Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it").
(1) The gate of the outward sanctuary toward the east is to be shut, and no man is to enter in by it, because it is the gate by which the Lord God of Israel shall enter on His return to His temple. An exception is made in favour of "the prince," who, if not Christ, must stand in a special relation to the Lord as the civil ruler, and as representing Him in political concerns, as the priests do in religious concerns. It is not likely that Messiah would give or offer a burnt offering, as the prince is to do ( Ezekiel 45:17; Ezekiel 46:4 ), though doubtless Messiah shall be,, not only a King but a "Priest upon His throne" (Zechariah 6:13 ). The spiritual truth to be learned by us herein is, that our Messiah entered heaven, the true sanctuary, by a way that none other could-namely, on the ground of His own perfect "holiness" (Romans 1:4); all we the rest must enter as sinners saved by the grace of God, justified through faith in His blood, and sanctified by His Spirit. Through Him alone ( Ezekiel 44:3) believers "eat bread before the Lord" in the communion of the holy supper, and shall hereafter experimentally realize that Scripture ( Luke 14:15 ), "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God."
(2) In order to derive their full spiritual profit from the words of God, we must "mark well with our eyes and ears" ( Ezekiel 44:5) all that is communicated to us from God respecting the ordinances and laws of the heavenly sanctuary. The "heart" must be "circumcised" (Ezekiel 44:7 ) "with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" ( Colossians 2:11).
(3) The house of Israel is reproved ( Ezekiel 44:8) for having neglected the charge of God's holy things, and for having delegated that duty to others, without regard to the fitness of the persons so appointed to the sacred office (Ezekiel 44:8 ). Let us beware, in the discharge of all such sacred obligations, if ever they devolve on us, lest we look to our own convenience or carnal interests, and choose "for ourselves" rather than for the glory of God.
(4) The Levites who "went astray from God after their idols" ( Ezekiel 44:10) are to "bear" the punishment of "their iniquity." And yet, such is the marvelous grace of God, that even they, after their sin has been purged away, "shall be ministers in the Lord's sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house," but not allowed to "come near to God" ( Ezekiel 44:11-13 ). So one may be a believer, and therefore eternally safe, and yet be excluded from some special honour in the Lord's spiritual house, the Church, because of past gross offences. Still it is better to be even a doorkeeper in the house of our God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness ( Psalms 84:10 ). For though one has to stand as a doorkeeper, it is in an everlasting house, and that the house of the believer's God; whereas the dwelling of the ungodly is at best but in a shifting tent, soon and forever to be taken down. But let us beware of losing precious opportunities wherein we may have the honour of doing great things for God, such as John Mark lost in leaving Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia, and in not going forward to the glorious work, through love of ease or fear of man; and such as the disciples lost in not affording Jesus, at His request, the sympathy of their prayers and tears, through drowsiness, in Gethsemane.
(5) The priests, the sons of Zadok, are to succeed to the privilege forfeited by the sons of Ithamar, and shall come near to minister and stand before the Lord (Ezekiel 44:15-16). They shall wear linen garments, the emblem of purity (Ezekiel 44:17-18). They shall avoid wine when ministering in the immediate presence of the Lord ( Ezekiel 44:21 ); and they shall teach the people of God the difference between the holy and the profane, and how to discern between the unclean and the clean (Ezekiel 44:23). Those who minister in holy things ought to avoid the very appearance of evil, as well as the reality of evil. They are to derive their earnestness in devotion and spiritual ministrations, not from artificial stimulants, but from the power which the Spirit of God i mparts. They are not to confound, but clearly to teach the people of God, by precept as well as example, the eternal distinction there is between things sacred and things secular.
(6) The obligation to hallow the Sabbaths of the Lord (Ezekiel 44:24) is not done away with by the advent of Messiah; for here, in a passage which, in any fair interpretation, can only apply to Christian times, this obligation is expressly insisted on.
(7) The last lesson to be learned from this chapter (Ezekiel 44:28; Ezekiel 44:30 ) is, first, that the ministers of the sanctuary are not to seek their portion in earthly possessions, but are to regard the Lord as their "possession," and the portion of their inheritance; secondly, the people will find that, in liberally providing for their minister's sustenance, and in making it a primary duty, to give "the first of all the first-fruits of all things" to the cause of the Lord, they are all the while promoting their own truest gain, and are "causing the blessing of the Lord to rest in their own houses."
`Was there ever blessing
That, did not turn and rest, A double power possessing, The blesser being blest?'
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 44". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany