EZEKIEL CHAPTER 43.
The Lord in His New Temple.
THE ENTRANCE OF JEHOVAH’S GLORY. — V. 1. Afterward He brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east, the main entrance of the Temple, v. 2. and, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, to make the Temple of the New Testament, the glorious structure of His Church, the dwelling of His merciful presence; and His voice was like a noise of many waters, that associated also with other manifestations of the Lord’s glory, cp. chap. 1, 24; Rev. 1, 15; 14, 2; and the earth shined with His glory, with the reflection of the Shechinah, the wonderful cloud of the presence of Jehovah in the Old Testament, that which was also seen at the transfiguration of the Lord, Matt. 17, 5. V. 3. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, chap. 1, 4. 28, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city, at the time when he was given the prophecy concerning the fall of the city, in the first chapters of his book; and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar, chap. 3, 23. And I fell upon my face, overcome by the glory of a manifestation which sinful men cannot behold without quaking. V. 4. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east, the majesty of God appearing in the fullness of His grace, to enter into the portal of His everlasting Temple. Cp. Ps. 24, 7-10. V. 5. So the Spirit, cp. chap. 3, 12.23; 10, 15, took me up and brought me into the inner court, while the prophet was in this state of ecstasy; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house, as it did at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, 1 Kings 8, 10. 11. V. 6. And I heard Him speaking unto me out of the house, out of the Sanctuary, where Jehovah at once established His throne; and the Man stood by me. Note that a distinction is made between the person of Him speaking on the inside of the Temple and Him who stood beside Ezekiel; and yet their identity is clear from the following. V. 7. And He said unto me, Son of man, the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, their permanent resting-place, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever, as the King of his people, and My holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they nor their kings, by their whoredom, by the spiritual adultery of their idolatry, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places, the latter referring to their idols as having had lordship over Israel in past times. What the Man says identifies Him entirely with Jehovah; His speech legitimates itself as the Word of Jehovah; He is the Word of God which was with God from the beginning. Cp. John 1. V. 8. In their setting of their threshold by My thresholds and their post by My posts, as when Manasseh built altars in the courts of the Temple to the host of heaven, 2 Kings 21, 5, and the wall between Me and them, or, “with only the wall between Me and them,” they have even defiled My holy name by their abominations that they have committed, as was so abundantly set forth by the various prophets before the Exile; wherefore I have consumed them in Mine anger. V. 9. Now let them, all those who wish to be members of the spiritual Israel, put away their whoredom, their idolatry in every form, and the carcasses of their kings, of their dead idols, far from Me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever, in the everlasting manifestation of His grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. V. 10. Thou son of man, show the house, this new wonderful structure of the Messianic Temple, to the house of Israel that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, for the realization of the unmerited greatness of God’s goodness- and mercy awakens a feeling of shame and repentance; and let them measure the pattern, the harmony of proportion shown in this marvelous edifice, so that they would understand what the Lord is offering through His Church. With the picture of its perfection before their eyes always, Eph. 5, 26. 27, they would have the strongest incentive to keep themselves in the way of holiness. V. 11. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, as it appeared to the beholder in its entirety, and the fashion thereof, its arrangement, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, the various ascents and stairways, and all the forms thereof, the individual sections, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof, everything pertaining to all its parts; and write it in their sight that they may keep the whole form thereof and all the ordinances thereof and do them. V. 12. This is the law of the house: Upon the top of the mountain, on which this wonderful structure is supposed to have been built, the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy, preserved from all acts of idolatry and every profaning influence. Behold, this is the law of the house. In the New Testament the entire edifice of God’s Church is altogether holy, not having a spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but altogether holy and without blemish. Cp. Eph. 5, 27.
DESCRIPTION AND DEDICATION OF THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING. — V. 13. And these are the measures of the altar after the cubits (the cubit is a cubit and an hand-breadth, the so-called sacred cubit) even the bottom, literally, “the bosom,” probably a paneled recess in the side of the altar, shall be a cubit and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about shall be a span, that is, the molding, or ornamental border, enclosing such a panel; and this shall be the higher place of the altar, or its elevation. V. 14. And from the bottom, literally, “the bosom,” upon the ground even to the lower settle, the rest, or projection, running round about the altar, shall be two cubits and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle, near the bottom, even to the greater settle, the second projection, or ornamental rest, shall be four cubits and the breadth one cubit. The altar was thus built in successive units, or cubes, each one set off with a molding. V. 15. So the altar, according to the Hebrew, the mountain of God, the altar proper, with its plate, as it were the sanctuary upon a high mountain, shall be four cubits, and from the altar and upward, on the four corners of its plate, as on the altars of Solomon’s Temple, shall be four horns. V. 16. And the altar shall be twelve cubits long, twelve broad, square in the four squares thereof, so that its plate had an area of 144 square cubits. V. 17. And the settle, the lower ledge, shall be fourteen cubits long and fourteen broad in the four squares thereof, the extra cubits being added on account of the depth of the panel; and the border about it shall be half a cubit, the span spoken of in verse 13; and the bottom thereof shall be a cubit about; and his stairs shall look toward the east, that is, the ascent for the officiating priests faced the east. The altar of burnt offering is so minutely described because under the Old Dispensation it was the place where the ordinary worship centered, where the believing Israelites drew near to God, where their relation to him, disturbed by the fact of their trespasses, was once more restored. V. 18. And He said unto me, Son of man, Thus saith the Lord God, the sovereign Ruler of the universe, These are the ordinances of the altar, the regulations concerning its service, in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon and to sprinkle blood thereon, in the act of atonement combined with that of consecration to Jehovah. V. 19. And thou shalt give to the priests, the Levites, the descendants of Levi, that be of the seed of Zadok, of this line of the family, the other line having been discontinued since the time of Solomon, 1 Kings 2, 26. 27, which approach unto Me to minister unto Me, saith the Lord God, a young bullock for a sin-offering. Cp. Lev. 4, 3 ff. V. 20. And thou shalt take of the blood thereof and put it on the four horns of it, according to the ancient ritual, and on the four corners of the settle, of the ledge below, and upon the border round about; thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it, this purification and expiation of the altar being symbolical of the complete sanctification of the people. V. 21. Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin-offering, Ex. 29, 10; 1ev. 8, 14, and he shall burn it, rather, impersonal, “one shall burn it,” in the appointed place of the house, without the Sanctuary. Cp. Ex. 29, 14. V. 22. And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish, this being a prime requisite in all sacrificial animals, for a sin-offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, namely, the priests engaged in this work, as they did cleanse it with the bullock, the offering of expiation thus being a daily occurrence. V. 23. When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, of purifying the altar by these rites, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish and a ram out of the flock without blemish, for atonement and consecration. V. 24. And thou shalt offer them before the Lord, in whose worship they were brought, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, as required by the ordinance, Lev. 2, 13, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the Lord, again to make propitiation for the sins of the people. V. 25. Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin-offering, Ex. 29, 35; Lev. 8, 33; they shall also prepare a young bullock and a ram out of the flock without blemish. V. 26. Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it, by means of these sacrifices; and they shall consecrate themselves, literally, “fill their hands.” namely, with offerings to the Lord, as when the priests of old were inducted into office. Cp. Ex. 29, 24. 35. V. 27. And when these days are expired, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar and your peace-offerings, or thank-offerings, in the regular work of their calling; and I will accept you, saith the Lord God. While this passage is clearly retrospective. that is, looking backward to the Levitical sacrifices, it is also prophetical, looking forward to the great sacrifice of propitiation whereby Christ, by one offering, forever atoned for the sin of mankind. Cp Heb. 10, 1-18.