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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 46

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Verses 1-15


In this chapter, regulations are given to the prince and the people in connection with the offering of sacrifices (Ezekiel 46:1-Ezra :). The prince is also reminded what his obligations are when he gives any of his possessions to his sons and to his servants (Ezekiel 46:16-Job :). Finally, the cooking and baking facilities (the kitchens) for preparing some of the different sacrifices are mentioned (Ezekiel 46:19-Jeremiah :).

The Offering of the Prince

The LORD gives further instructions for the prince and the offerings he is to bring. The inner east gate plays an important role here. The outer east gate must always remain shut (Ezekiel 44:2). The inner one “shall be shut the six working days”, but must be opened on the seventh day, the sabbath day (Ezekiel 46:1). Also, this gate must be opened on the first day of each month, the day of the new moon.

The expression “working days” occurs only here in the Old Testament. It makes it clear to us that during the rest of the realm of peace, six days of ordinary and quiet work will be done. It is the restoration of the situation in paradise, where God instructs Adam to “to cultivate it and keep” the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15).

The mention of “the sabbath day” and the “day of the new moon” again clearly determines that we are entirely in the Jewish sphere and not in the Christian sphere, the sphere of the New Testament church. The sabbath will be restored in the realm of peace for God’s people. The long-awaited new period of blessing has arrived for the people, which is represented in the day of the new moon (Isaiah 66:23).

With these days, sacrifices are also connected. These sacrifices speak of Christ and His work, for only thereby the rest of the sabbath and the blessing of the new period can be enjoyed. These sacrifices are spoken of in the following verses.

On the days when the inner east gate is to be opened, the prince must enter from outside through the porch of the gate. He walks through the gate and stands at the post of the gate adjacent to the inner court (Ezekiel 46:2). Under his watchful eye the priests prepare his burnt offerings and peace offerings. At that sight, he bows down in worship at the threshold of the gate in front of the altar court. Then he goes back through the gate into the outer court.

The altar is in the inner court, where the common people are not allowed to go, but only the priests. So the situation is different from the tabernacle and Solomon’s temple, because there the altar is in the outer court, where the common people are also allowed to come.

However, the gate must not be closed immediately after the departure of the prince, but must remain open until evening. The people of the land are thus given the opportunity on those days to bow down in worship before the LORD at the entrance to that gate (Ezekiel 46:3). In doing so, they are doing what the prince did. However, they may not go through the gate to the other porch like the prince.

The burnt offering that the prince offers the LORD on the sabbath day consists of seven animals: six lambs and a ram, all of which must be without blemish (Ezekiel 46:4). In addition, a grain offering with oil is brought for each sacrificial animal (Ezekiel 46:5). The day of the new moon offering consists of a young bull, six lambs and a ram, all without blemish (Ezekiel 46:6). A grain offering with oil is also offered for each sacrificial animal (Ezekiel 46:7).

All these sacrificial animals without blemish speak of the Lord Jesus as the perfect Sacrifice. He is “without blemish”, that is, He is without sin and has not known sin nor done sin (1 John 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22). Each animal represents different qualities of Him. The lamb shows Him in His willingness and meek surrender. The ram shows Him in His complete dedication to God to do His work. The young bull represents Him in His powerful persistence to accomplish that work. The grain offering is a picture of His life before and on the cross being perfectly focused on God in everything and in which He was perfectly led by the Holy Spirit, of Whom the oil is a picture.

When we come together as a church, we may offer those sacrifices, that is: tell God Who Christ is. We may remember that He has brought us into the rest of His work, of which the sabbath speaks (Hebrews 4:9-1 Kings :). The sacrifices on the day of the new moon remind us that through His work a new life has begun for us. We may also enjoy that rest again when we have returned to Him after forsaking the Lord and begin to live with Him again. All blessing is grounded in His work.

The LORD also says which way the prince must go when he enters the temple on the sabbath day and the day of the new moon and when he goes out again (Ezekiel 46:8). He is to go out again by the same way he went in.

For the people of the land, it is different. When they come before the LORD, they must go out again by another way (gate) (Ezekiel 46:9). This is first of all a practical instruction to direct the flow of people. But there is also a spiritual application for us as we gather to worship the Lord. If we have truly been in God’s presence, we will leave the meeting differently than we came in. We will have become richer in spiritual experiences because we have seen more of the Lord Jesus again. You cannot have truly been in the presence of the Lord without it changing you.

In this coming before the LORD, the prince takes his place in the midst of the people (Ezekiel 46:10). This expresses the fact that the prince and the people are on the same page before God. The prince, as shown earlier, is not the Lord Jesus Himself, but He is a picture of Him. Similarly, the present heavenly people of God, together with the Lord Jesus, take their place before God (Hebrews 2:11). When the church gathers, He is in its midst and there starts the praise to the glory of God (Hebrews 2:12) .

Sacrifices are also to be offered at the festivals and the appointed feasts (Ezekiel 46:11). It seems that the emphasis here is on the grain offering. This is to be brought with the accompanying oil. How large the grain offering should be depends on the animal to be offered and on the ability of the one who brings the offering.

In addition to the obligatory offerings, the prince may also provide a freewill offering (Ezekiel 46:12). That freewill offering may consist of a burnt offering or peace offerings. On this occasion the gate must be opened for him as on a sabbath day. However, in this case the gate must be shut again immediately after he has gone out. Thus the gate may not, as it does on the sabbath, remain open until the evening (Ezekiel 46:2).

In addition to all the previous offerings to be offered on the various special days or occasions, the daily morning burnt offering must also be offered (Ezekiel 46:13; Exodus 29:38-Malachi :; Numbers 28:2-Ruth :). This is what Ezekiel is to do. The word “you” in Ezekiel 46:13 and Ezekiel 46:14 is in the singular. The sacrifice is “a lamb a year old without blemish”. The offering speaks of the Lord Jesus, of Whom John the baptist said: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The taking away of sin, in its full fulfillment, refers to the eternal state, when there will be a new creation without sin, but we do see a pre-fulfillment of this in the realm of peace.

Emphatically, it is said, “morning by morning you shall provide it”. The realization that everything is based on the burnt offering must be great for the attention of God’s people every morning. Before the phrase “morning by morning” in Hebrew both in Ezekiel 46:13 and Ezekiel 46:14 is “in the morning, in the morning”, indicating a constant repetition: “every morning” (Exodus 16:21; Exodus 30:7; Leviticus 6:12; 2 Samuel 13:4; 1 Chronicles 23:30; Isaiah 50:4; Ezekiel 46:13; Ezekiel 46:14Ezekiel 46:15; Zephaniah 3:5).

There is no longer a daily evening burnt offering (cf. Exodus 29:38-Malachi :). This is because in the realm of peace, in a spiritual sense, there will no longer be an evening and a subsequent night. It is continual day due to the presence of the Lord Jesus as “the sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2), Who shines throughout the realm of peace. Every morning when the burnt offering is brought, His presence in His temple will be remembered as the result of His work on the cross. It is continual day, a day that passes into the eternal state. There is no more evening. This Sun never sets (cf. Zechariah 14:7).

With the lamb as the morning burnt offering, another grain offering must be brought (Ezekiel 46:14). The identification of the grain offering with the burnt offering is given full emphasis here because it says that the grain offering must be made “with it”, that is, with the burnt offering. This grain offering must also be prepared with oil. It is specifically mentioned that the oil serves “to moisten the fine flour”. Thus, the oil is mixed with the flour.

These sacrifices all speak impressively of the Lord Jesus in His sacrifice on the cross and of His life that preceded His cross work. His work on the cross and His life belong together. He could never have done that work on the cross if it had not been preceded by a perfect life led by the Spirit. This must be kept in mind by the people in the realm of peace and by us in our time. They are “a perpetual ordinance”.

It is summarized in Ezekiel 46:15 where we see that the lamb, the grain offering and the oil together make up the “continual burnt offering”. It is also presented here as a sacrifice not only for the whole people, but also by the whole people, “they shall provide” it. The people here fulfill God’s purpose in their deliverance from Egypt: to be to Him a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6).

Verses 16-18

Inheritance of the Prince

After the LORD has spoken of the offerings to be brought by the prince, He speaks of the prince’s possession. He gives clear instructions on how the prince is to handle his possessions (Ezekiel 46:16). If he gives one of his sons any of his possessions as a gift, from that moment on it is his son’s possession. His son is then the hereditary possessor of it.

If we see in the prince a picture of the Lord Jesus, we see in the sons a picture of New Testament believers. They are “the children whom God has given” Him (Hebrews 2:13). This does not mean that believers are ‘children of the Lord Jesus’. They are not called that anywhere in Scripture. They are children of God and as such given by God to His Son (cf. John 17:6). Together with the Son they may possess the inheritance. He gives each of them his own inheritance, to which the Father has qualified them (Colossians 1:12).

The prince is also free to give something from his inheritance as a gift to one of his servants (Ezekiel 46:17). That gift remains his inheritance. The servant may enjoy it “until the year of liberty”, reminiscent of the year of jubilee (cf. Leviticus 27:24; Leviticus 25:10-1 Chronicles :). Then he must return the property to the prince. Everything that belongs to the prince as inheritance remains in his family. The inheritance is all meant for his sons.

We, believers of the church, are not only sons of God but also servants of the Lord Jesus. As servants, the Lord Jesus has also given us earthly possessions. With these we may work for Him (Luke 16:8-2 Kings :). We may enjoy them as we use them for Him (1 Timothy 6:17-Psalms :). But what He gives us to use for Him remains His. When the year of jubilee, the realm of peace, comes, we will return to Him what He has entrusted to us and He will reward what we have earned with His goods (Matthew 25:20-Isaiah :; 2 Corinthians 5:10). However, the emphasis is on what we have received as sons. We have received all spiritual blessings as sons (Ephesians 1:3-Deuteronomy :). These are our property and remain our property forever.

The LORD also destines that the prince must not expand his property by thrusting peoples out of their possessions (Ezekiel 46:18; cf. Ezekiel 45:8). Past princes often shamelessly looted property from their subjects, as Ahab looted Naboth’s inheritance (1 Kings 21:1-Leviticus :; 1 Kings 21:11-Nehemiah :). This will not be allowed to happen in the new Israel. Here we see that despite the perfect reign of the Lord Jesus, the heart of man has not changed. The desire for more remains. The LORD warns the prince to respect the rights of others and not to abuse his position of power. Incidentally, this verse shows once again that the prince is not the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. It is impossible that God should say anything of the sort to Him.

The prince has his own inheritance and from that possession he may give his sons inheritance whatever he wishes. If he adheres to this and does not infringe on the property of others, the people whom the LORD calls “My people” will remain in the enjoyment of their own property.

Just as the prince may not reduce his own property by giving part of it to servants, so he may not forcibly remove someone from his property to give it to his sons, for example. He may only give his sons an inheritance of his own property. When he displaces the people from their own property to take possession of it, he drives them away from it and scatters them. Such a course of action is completely contrary to what God has realized in the realm of peace: each will live in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree (1 Kings 4:25).

Verses 19-24

The Boiling Places of the Temple

The tour resumes. In Ezekiel 44:4, the Man and Ezekiel are at the inner northern gate. The Man now leads Ezekiel through the entrance next to the gate into the holy chambers for the priests (Ezekiel 46:19; Ezekiel 42:1; Ezekiel 42:7Ezekiel 42:8; Ezekiel 42:10-1 Chronicles :). The chambers are adjacent to the north side of the outer court, but are part of the inner court. The Man explains that these chambers are the place where the priests are to boil the guilt offering and the sin offering and bake the grain offering (Ezekiel 46:20).

The boiling place of priest is the place where the offerings are prepared to be offered. Preparing the offerings refers to being constantly engaged with Christ by reading the Scriptures, to see in them Who He is and what He has done. Luke, the writer of the gospel to Luke, is busy in the boiling place, so to speak, as he carefully examines things concerning all the things concerning the Lord Jesus about which he has heard from others (Luke 1:1-Numbers :).

Earlier we have been to the chambers, of which it is said that the priests may eat the offerings there (Ezekiel 42:13; Ezekiel 44:29). In connection with the boiling place, this holds an important lesson for the Scripture researcher. After the Scripture study that takes place ‘in the boiling place’, the ‘eating in the chambers’ follows. This indicates that in fellowship with God we process in our hearts what truths we have discovered in our examination of Scripture, both about the Lord Jesus and about ourselves. It brings us to self-examination, and if necessary to self-judgment and confession, and to worship of God.

The boiling place of the priest is a place separated from the people. There is to be no contact with the people who are in the outer court. The consequence of the sanctifying effect of the offering is that the people become guilty and must pay a ransom or offer a sin offering (cf. Ezekiel 44:19; Leviticus 6:11; Leviticus 6:18Leviticus 6:27).

Then the Man brings Ezekiel out of the inner court into the outer court and leads him along its four corners (Ezekiel 46:21). In the four corners are what are called “enclosed courts”, all of the same size (Ezekiel 46:22). Around each of those enclosed courts is a row of masonry and in each of them is a boiling place (Ezekiel 46:23).

Again, the Man explains their purpose. These boiling places are the places where the Levites boil the sacrifices that the people bring (Ezekiel 46:24; cf. 1 Samuel 2:12-Esther :). Those sacrifices are the peace offerings. The flesh of the peace offering may be eaten by the offeror, along with the priest who offers the offering to the LORD and with the LORD to Whom the peace offering is offered (Leviticus 3:1; Leviticus 3:6Leviticus 3:12; Leviticus 7:19Leviticus 7:30-Nahum :).

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Ezekiel 46". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/ezekiel-46.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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