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Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 43

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-12

Eze 43:1-12

Ezekiel 43:1-12

Here is a vision of the return of God’s glory to the Temple, corresponding in every way to the visions of the departing glory in Ezekiel 10-11 (Ezekiel 43:1-6). God cited the reprobacy of the priests as a hindrance and as a reason for leaving the Temple. God promised that his glory would dwell there forever (Ezekiel 43:7-12); but that promise was made to be absolutely contingent upon Israel’s holiness (Ezekiel 43:9-12). We also have the detailed measurements of the altar (Ezekiel 43:13-17), certain details on animals sacrificed, the sprinkling of the blood, the choice of animals, the days when sacrifices were to be offered, etc,

The glory of Jehovah fills the new temple

(Ezekiel 43:1-12)

Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shined with his glory. 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. And the glory of Jehovah came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. And the Spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of Jehovah filled the house. And I heard one speaking unto me out of the house; and a man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, this is 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 the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, and by the dead bodies of their kings in their high places; in their setting of their threshold by my threshold, and their door-post beside my door-post, and there was but the wall between me and them; and they have defiled my holy name by their abominations which they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. Now let them put away their whoredom, and the dead bodies of their kings, far from me; and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. Thou, son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, make known unto them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the egresses thereof, and the entrances 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. 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” (Ezekiel 43:1-12).

The temple was now complete and ready for consecration. Ezekiel is brought in the spirit to East side of the temple and there he sees the glory of Jehovah coming from the east toward the temple. The prophet falls upon his face as when he witnessed the glory of Jehovah God at the river Chebar. The glory of Jehovah then passed into the house (temple).

Recall that the tabernacle in the wilderness was consecrated by Jehovah God’s presence at Exodus 40:34-35 and 1 Kings 8:10. Ezekiel had witnessed the glory of Jehovah God leaving the temple in an eastwardly direction at Ezekiel 11:1; Ezekiel 11:22-24 due to the iniquity of Israel. The reappearance of Jehovah’s glory in the new temple indicates a new fellowship brought about by the forgiveness of the people’s sins. God’s mercy allotted forgiveness to those who saw with shame and embarrassment their sins. This new temple has a law and Ezekiel is to teach those who illustrate a spirit of humility this law that they may keep it.

The entire vision is one that looks to the future church where Christ will reign as king of His kingdom. Citizens of this kingdom will be those who have had their sins forgiven by following the Lord’s law of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

Verses 13-17

Eze 43:13-17

Ezekiel 43:13-17 - These verses are a description of the altar of burnt offerings

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. 14 And from the bottom upon the ground even to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth one cubit. 15 So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward shall be four horns. 16 And the altar shall be twelve cubits long, twelve broad, square in the four squares thereof. 17 And the settle shall be fourteen cubits long and fourteen broad in the four squares thereof; and the border about it shall be half a cubit; and the bottom thereof shall be a cubit about; and his stairs shall look toward the east.

Description of the altar of Burnt Offerings. Ezekiel 43:13-17

The first element of temple worship that Ezekiel described was the altar of burnt offering. It was built in four stages consisting of a base plus three stages; each stage was two cubits smaller than the one below. Around the base was a one-cubit gutter with a rim on the outer edge one cubit high (Ezekiel 43:13). The lowest stage was two cubits high and sixteen cubits on each side (Ezekiel 43:14). The second was four cubits high and twelve cubits on each side (Ezekiel 43:15). The third was the hearth and was four cubits high and twelve cubits on each side. On the four corners of the fourth state hearth were horns or projections.

The upper ledge on the edge of the second state also had a rim one-half cubit high and a gutter one cubit wide (Ezekiel 43:17). There were steps on the east side of the altar for access to the hearth. The altar was a visible sign of the consequences of sin that encouraged people to confess and repent of sins (Ezekiel 43:18-19; cf. Ezekiel 45:13-17).

Verses 18-27

Eze 43:18-27

The Altar - Ezekiel 43:18-27

And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. Thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that are of the seed of Zadok, who are near unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord Jehovah, a young bullock for a sin-offering. And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the ledge, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse it and make atonement for it” (Ezekiel 43:18-20).

The name Zadok means righteousness. Zadok was a descendant of Aaron and a faithful high priest during the days of David ruling as king over Israel (1 Chronicles 18:16). “After David, Zadok and his sons became the ruling priestly line in Jerusalem (cf. 1 Kings 4:2; 2 Chronicles 31:10)....It is generally accepted that the descendants of Zadok held the priesthood in Jerusalem till the Exile. Four references to sons/family of Zadok in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40:46; Ezekiel 43:19; Ezekiel 44:15; Ezekiel 48:11) highlight the future service that the sons of Zadok will have at the restored sanctuary because of their faithfulness to Jehovah.”

To take these statements as being literal would certainly do damage to the function of Ezekiel’s vision. There will not be a literal temple constructed where God dwells and His priest offer literal sacrifices for sins (cf. Hebrews 10:1 ff). Luke records that God does not currently dwell in temples made with hands (cf. Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24).

Thou shalt also take the bullock of the sin-offering, and it shall be burnt in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary. And on the second day thou shalt offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin-offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock. When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish. And thou shalt bring them near before Jehovah, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah. Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin-offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and purify it; so shall they consecrate it. And when they have accomplished the days, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah” (Ezekiel 43:21-27).

As the altar of the tabernacle and the altar of Solomon’s temple were consecrated before use, so the altar of burnt offerings will be consecrated before its use so that men’s sins will be forgiven. Figuratively, Christ would be the offering for sin and thereby all men may have the opportunity to receive the remission of sins if they would but obey His voice. Obedience to Jehovah God results in God’s acceptance of you.”

The Glory Returns to the Temple - Ezekiel 43:1-27

Open It

1. What kinds of places do you find most conducive to worship? Why?

2. What do you think is the deepest, commonest human desire?

3. Judging from your own observations, what does our society consider holy?

Explore It

4. What did the man of bronze show to Ezekiel after he had toured the whole restored temple area? (Ezekiel 43:1-2)

5. How did Ezekiel describe the return of the glory of God to the temple? (Ezekiel 43:3-4)

6. Where was Ezekiel transported after his initial vision of the glory of God approaching from the east? (Ezekiel 43:5)

7. What did the voice from within the temple say? (Ezekiel 43:6-7)

8. How had Israel angered God and brought on their own destruction? (Ezekiel 43:8-9)

9. What response did God hope to produce in the people when Ezekiel related his vision of the temple? (Ezekiel 43:10-11)

10. How was Ezekiel instructed to preserve the details and dimensions of the temple God showed him? (Ezekiel 43:11)

11. How much ground was to be dedicated as holy ground? (Ezekiel 43:12)

12. How was the altar in the new temple to be constructed? (Ezekiel 43:13-17)

13. What specific instructions were given for a week-long dedication of the altar? (Ezekiel 43:18-26)

14. How did God promise to respond after the eighth day of sacrifices and offerings? (Ezekiel 43:27)

Get It

15. Why was the return of the Lord’s presence (described in Ezekiel 43) critical to the overall restoration of God’s people?

16. What emotions do you suppose Ezekiel experienced as he watched the glory of the Lord return to the temple?

17. When does a beautiful worship space help us worship, and when is it a distraction?

18. Why were Ezekiel’s previous visions helpful to him when God showed him other things?

19. How could the temple in its symmetry, beauty, and greatness cause the people to be ashamed of their sins?

20. How can the beauty and perfection of the heavenly worship, communicated to us in the Bible, be an encouragement to us in our present trials?

Apply It

21. Knowing that you are accepted by God, how can you reach out this week in His name to a person who may not feel acceptable?

22. Where can you go for a brief retreat to remember God’s greatness and glory compared to your difficulties?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezekiel 43". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/ezekiel-43.html.
 
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