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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 45

Verses 1-8

Introduction

This chapter can be subdivided as follows:
1. The land that is for the LORD (Ezekiel 45:1-Ruth :).
2. Admonitions for the princes to act justly (Ezekiel 45:9-2 Kings :).
3. The sacrifices of the people for the prince (Ezekiel 45:13-Esther :).
4. The sin offerings in the first month (Ezekiel 45:18-Proverbs :).
5. The celebration of the Passover and the Feast of Booths (Ezekiel 45:21-Lamentations :).

The Land That Is for the LORD

Before the land is given to the tribes of Israel for inheritance, a holy portion of it must be offers to the LORD as an allotment or a heave-offering (Darby Translation; Ezekiel 45:1-Numbers :). A more detailed discussion follows later, in Ezekiel 48. The subject is already mentioned here to show the place of the temple in the whole surrounding area. The sacred area of the land is a collection that the people must remit to the LORD.

It is a holy fee. Always the LORD must receive His portion first (Ezekiel 45:1). That portion is 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. That whole area is holy territory. In that area is also the sanctuary, which has a size of five hundred cubits square (Ezekiel 45:2). Around it is fifty cubits of pasture land.

Again, the measurements of the piece of land are given and it is added that on this piece of land is the most holy place (Ezekiel 45:3). That piece of land, which is holy, that is, set apart for the LORD, is what the LORD is reserving for the priests, the sons of Zadok (Ezekiel 45:4). They will live there, close to the sanctuary.

The next portion, also of 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide, is intended for the Levites (Ezekiel 45:5). It is their possession and serves to place twenty chambers on it, where they can dwell in.

A third part, of 5,000 cubits wide and 25,000 cubits long, is designated for the city (Ezekiel 45:6). This area is for all the tribes of Israel.

Thus, the entire area is 25,000 cubits long and 25,000 cubits wide, divided in width into three areas: two of 10,000 cubits and one of 5,000 cubits.

The area’s west and east of the square, along the three areas, belong to the prince (Ezekiel 45:7). As shown with Ezekiel 44:3, this prince is not the Lord Jesus, but His representative and in that capacity does represent Him. In addition to this prince, there will be other princes (Ezekiel 45:8). Perhaps we can think of religious and political leaders here. These princes will not, as has often happened in the past, want to enlarge their territory at the expense of the portion given to others (1 Kings 21:7-2 Samuel :; 1 Kings 21:15-Nehemiah :; Isaiah 5:8).

Verses 9-12

Righteous Weights and Measures

It is characteristic of the realm of peace that there will be acted in absolute righteousness in a mind that is in stark contrast to the mind of the princes in Ezekiel’s day. The people have been taken into exile, but the mind of the princes has not changed. They still act violently and destructively. We also see this mind in the time of the Lord Jesus (Ezekiel 45:9; cf. Numbers 7:2; Numbers 7:84; Ezekiel 21:12; Ezekiel 22:6).

Ezekiel, in the light of what he has seen of the future so far, calls upon the princes of his day and those yet to come to cease their violence and to practice justice and righteousness. In this the LORD finds joy, for this is how He Himself acts and this is how Abraham, King David and King Solomon acted in the past (cf. Genesis 18:19; 2 Samuel 8:15; 1 Kings 10:9; Jeremiah 9:24; Jeremiah 22:3Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15). Let them think of how it has been in the past and how it will be in the future and let them change their mind and actions. They should already be acting righteously now. The same applies to us (Romans 14:17-Job :).

The purity of their actions is reflected in the use of pure measures and weights (Ezekiel 45:10-2 Kings :). This is what the LORD has always insisted on. The people in their desire for more, throughout their history, have always had a lax attitude towards this (Leviticus 19:35-Zephaniah :; Deuteronomy 25:13-Nehemiah :; Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11Proverbs 20:10; Proverbs 20:23; Hosea 12:8; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:10-1 Kings :). Everything must be stable in value. Fair, fixed measures must be used. Likewise, we must be fair in our consideration of things and not disadvantage one and favor another based on our antipathy or sympathy.

Verses 13-17

Sacrifice for the Prince

The reason for taking care to use righteous measures and weights of the previous verses is now mentioned. Righteous weights and measures are to be used first and foremost to weigh before the LORD the portion due Him. If we are not to shortchange anyone, then certainly not God. The people are to bring the prince a measured offering, i.e. a heave-offering (Ezekiel 45:13-Nehemiah :). The prince is to use that heave-offering to serve in the temple and to offer to the LORD on behalf of the whole people (Ezekiel 45:17).

The first part of the heave-offering is a grain offering of wheat and barley. Of both grains, a sixth of an ephah from a homer must be brought (Ezekiel 45:13). An ephah is a tenth part of a homer (Ezekiel 45:11). Oil must also be brought, and again the amount is accurately indicated (Ezekiel 45:14). Wheat and barley point to the life of the Lord Jesus. The oil points to the Holy Spirit by Whom He was perfectly led.

For the portion of oil to be used, reference is made to a prescription. This does emphasize the importance of not deviating from that quantity. It is so important, in fact, that the measure of content to be used is confirmed in a double way: it is “ten baths [or] a homer, for ten baths are a homer”. It is impossible here to use any other measure than that indicated. In connection with the life of the Lord Jesus – of Whom we see in the prince a reflection, He represents the Lord Jesus – it shows that He was always full of and always filled with the Holy Spirit. There should be no misunderstanding about that.

Then follows the instruction as to which animal sacrifices are to be brought as a heave-offering (Ezekiel 45:15). Of every two hundred lambs, one lamb, that is half a percent, is to be brought. An additional feature of the lamb’s origin is that it must come “from the watering places of Israel”. The lamb has had a good pasture. It is a healthy lamb. The spiritual application is that we offer our sacrifices in connection with the water of the Word. By drinking from the Word, that is, by contemplating what we have seen of the Lord Jesus in it, we will express ourselves about Him in words that come from “sound doctrine”.

The grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings are offered to make atonement. Atonement is the overall purpose of all these sacrifices. On the basis of this atonement, the LORD can dwell in His sanctuary in the midst of His people. The heave-offering that the people of the land make available to the prince is to be offered by “all the people of the land” (Ezekiel 45:16), no one excepted.

The prince has the responsibility to offer those sacrifices on the annual feasts, the monthly new moons, and the weekly sabbaths, meaning on all the feast days of the house of Israel (Ezekiel 45:17). The sacrifices consist of “burnt offerings, the grain offering and the drink offering”. It is notable that in the original text the “burnt offerings” is in the plural and the other offerings are in the singular. The emphasis is on the burnt offerings, while the other offerings are not to be absent, but are to be offered together with the burnt offerings.

All of these sacrifices speak of Christ and His work. The burnt offerings represent His complete surrender to God on the cross. The grain offering refers to His life on earth that was completely devoted to God. The drink offering is an offering of wine, which speaks of the joy God found in His Son, in His work and His life. All these sacrifices serve, it is said again, to make atonement for the whole people, “the house of Israel” (cf. Ezekiel 45:16).

Verses 18-20

Offering on New Year

The Lord GOD has another precept regarding the beginning of a new year, “the first [month], on the first of the month” (Ezekiel 45:18). This expression is also found in Genesis 8 (Genesis 8:13). There it refers to the earth that has emerged after the waters of the flood have dried up, that is, an earth cleansed by judgment. God has renewed “the face of the ground” (Psalms 104:30). That is the situation we have here as well, that of the realm of peace.

Just as Noah sacrifices to God after he goes out of the ark, so too here is a sacrifice. A young bull without any defect is to be taken as a sin offering to cleanse the sanctuary. The cleansing is done by the priest who puts some of the blood on the door posts of “the house”, that is the temple, on the four corners of the circumference of the altar and on the posts of the gates of the inner court (Ezekiel 45:19). These actions are reminiscent of the Passover in Egypt, when a new year begins and where blood was also done on the door posts (Exodus 12:2; Exodus 12:7).

With the dawning of the realm of peace and the dwelling of the LORD in His temple, a new period in the history of the people begins. The people are now truly the people of the LORD. That new relationship is grounded in the work of the Lord Jesus. But even in the realm of peace people can still sin (Isaiah 65:20). The work of the Lord Jesus still applies then, especially to someone who cannot have fellowship with God because of unintentional, unconscious sin (Leviticus 4:13; Numbers 15:22) (Ezekiel 45:20). Through the blood, reconciliation has been established and God no longer sees the sins. Thus, atonement takes place twice a year: on the first day (Ezekiel 45:18) and on the seventh day (Ezekiel 45:20) of the first month.

In our time, with every conversion that takes place, a new period in a person’s life begins. The same is true for a child of God who has gone astray, but returns to Him. Every restoration – which is the beginning of a new period – can only happen on the foundation of Christ’s sacrifice.

Verses 21-25

The Great Annual Feasts

The LORD then goes on to speak in these verses about three of the seven feasts that He prescribes in Leviticus 23 for His people to keep for Him. He wants these three feasts also to be kept in the realm of peace when His Messiah reigns. The big difference from the feasts He prescribed for His people through Moses is that the feasts are now prescribed for a people with whom He has fellowship on the basis of the new covenant. They will also keep these feasts wholeheartedly. Of the other feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23, nothing is said here. The three feasts mentioned here are the three great feasts on the occasion of which the people are to go to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16).

God gives His precepts for those feasts. The first feast is the Passover (Ezekiel 45:21). That feast is to be celebrated “seven days”, indicating that the Passover is inseparable from the second feast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread of seven days (cf. Luke 22:1). This feast is the basis of all feasts and of the entire life of God’s people.

The Passover symbolizes that the blessing of the realm of peace can only be enjoyed by virtue of the death of the Lamb of God. This must be borne in mind in order to arrive at a life in which sin has no place, which is represented in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This has emphasis here because it only speaks of the eating of the unleavened bread and not the slaughtering and eating of a paschal lamb. Leaven is everywhere in Scripture a picture of sin (Matthew 13:33; Matthew 16:6Matthew 16:11-2 Kings :; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; Luke 13:21; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 5:9).

We too, believers of the church, owe everything to our Passover, Christ. Through Him we are able – and what is also expected of us – to live an “unleavened” life. We see this in the picture of the seven days of unleavened bread, that is a life in which sin has no place (1 Corinthians 5:7-Ruth :).

On the fourteenth day, which is the day of the Passover, the prince must provide a young bull as a sin offering (Ezekiel 45:22). That sacrifice is for himself and the entire population of the land (cf. Hebrews 5:3). Here we see clearly that this prince cannot be the Lord Jesus, for He needs no sacrifice for Himself.

On each day of the seven days of the feast of Passover, the prince must bring a burnt offering to the LORD (Ezekiel 45:23). It is a great burnt offering, consisting each day of seven bulls and seven rams, without blemish. That sacrifice refers to the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus dedicated entirely to God. Also, a male goat must be offered every day as a sin offering. The Lord Jesus is also the sin offering, who both for God and for His people has put away everything that reminds of sin, so that God can be in the midst of His people.

Added to this is a grain offering along with a hin of oil which the prince must also see to it that it is brought (Ezekiel 45:24). This grain offering with the oil is counted per bull. This combination means that the bloody sacrifice and the non-bloody sacrifice are intimately connected. Spiritually, we also see this in the Lord Jesus, Who lived a perfect life through the Holy Spirit – we see this in the grain offering – and therefore could also be the perfect sacrifice on the cross to open the way to God and allow God to dwell with His people (we see this in the other sacrifices).

In the seventh month, “the feast” that is the Feast of Booth is to be celebrated (Ezekiel 45:25). That feast also lasts seven days. On those days the prince must do the same things and offer the same sacrifices as in the first month at the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Booths is the last feast of the feasts of the LORD (Leviticus 23:34-John :) and speaks of the rest of the realm of peace. That a sin offering must be brought is because sin is still present, though curbed because Satan is bound.

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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Ezekiel 45". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/ezekiel-45.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.