|<< Ezek 43|
Ezekiel 44-45 Listen
1 Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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,
7 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.
8 And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
9 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.
10 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.
11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
12 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.
13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.
14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.
Only the prince will use this gate. Who is the prince in chapters 44, 45, 46 and 48? After very carefully examining this issue over a period of time, I can only conclude that this prince IS NOT the Messiah. You will see in these last four chapters obvious reasons why this "prince" is not a reference to Christ, and can't be. For starters, consider this: this "prince" makes a sin offering for himself in 45:22 (see below). If the prince were Jesus Christ, then he, the Messiah, would need cleansing from sin, but we know that Jesus Christ is sinless. Then, in Ezekiel 46:16 (see notes), we see that the prince may have "sons" to whom the prince may pass on an inheritance. This, too, argues against the identity of this prince being the Messiah, Jesus Christ. "So, who's the prince?" you are probably asking. Ezekiel tells us earlier that it will be David himself. Look at Ezekiel 34:23-24 (see notes) and then Ezekiel 37:24-25 (see notes); there he is - David. You'll see in the following chapters that this prince is entirely human. Can you say "resurrected King David?" However, many scholars hold to the notion that a mention of David as a millennial leader is actually a reference to a descendant of David. Apparently Ezekiel's prophecy envisioned David (or a descendant) as the civil leader under the authority of the Messiah. Very few commentators even acknowledge the fact that this prince is not a reference to the Messiah, but it is clear that he is not. Most commentators gloss over the clear references to David and these issues that are raised here regarding the "prince" and pay the subject little attention.
To summarize regarding this "prince," consider the following:
It is, therefore, clear that Ezekiel saw a leader in addition to the Messiah (Jesus) who will serve in this leadership capacity. It can only be surmised that there will be the Messiah (Jesus) during the millennium with David or a descendant of David serving under him. Click here to read additional comments on this issue from the Ezekiel 46 notes.
Then, in verses 6 through 14, we get a special rebuke for the past practices of Israel in that they allowed pagans and pagan worship to take place in the previous temple. Here we have some very specific instructions designed to keep that from happening again. Remember, during the millennium a host of Gentile people will be born who will not choose to partake of the salvation in Christ. These are those strangers spoken of here. We also notice a narrowing of the Levitical priesthood. Only those of a particular lineage, that of Zadok, are allowed to serve as actual priests. The others will do temple maintenance. This isn't really unique to the millennium; the prophetic decree was actually issued back in I Samuel 2:27-36 (see notes) when Eli's boy's were killed by God. We don't see its implementation until Solomon becomes king in I Kings 2:27, 35 (see notes). That's when the priesthood is actually narrowed to only the descendants of Zadok, eliminating the descendants of Abiathar from that point forward. Technically, however, Abiathar's ancestors were to have already been eliminated from serving as priests all the way back to Numbers 25:11-13 (see notes) where it was decreed that priests from that time forward would come only from the line of Aaron's grandson, Phinehas. Not even Eli in I Samuel was a descendant of Phinehas; that prophecy took a long time before fulfillment, but it was fulfilled. Well...those prophetic restrictions continue right on into the millennium.
Special instructions for these priests (Ezekiel 44:15-31)
15 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:
16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.
20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.
21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
22 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.
23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.
25 And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister that hath had no husband, they may defile themselves.
26 And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon unto him seven days.
27 And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, saith the Lord GOD.
28 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.
29 They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.
30 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.
31 The priests shall not eat of any thing that is dead of itself, or torn, whether it be fowl or beast.
We see the service requirements for these priests outlined here. These millennial priests will still be expected to present themselves before the people as examples of righteous living. Specific instructions for doing so are listed here. There is a teaching ministry required of these priests as well in verse 23, "And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." We then see in verse 24 that these priests will have a hand in judging during the millennium. And...they'll live off the provisions from the people they serve.
One can't help but notice the similarities of the activities of these millennial priests to that of the Aaronic priests as outlined in Leviticus 1 through 7 (see notes). Many of the specifications are the same or similar. Of course, back then those sacrifices were anticipating the day when sins would once and for all be atoned for, whereas we conclude that these millennial sacrifices will serve as a memorial of what Jesus has done for the entire world.
Zoning issues in the millennium (Ezekiel 45:1-8)
1 Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, ye shall offer an oblation unto the LORD, an holy portion of the land: the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about.
2 Of this there shall be for the sanctuary five hundred in length, with five hundred in breadth, square round about; and fifty cubits round about for the suburbs thereof.
3 And of this measure shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the sanctuary and the most holy place.
4 The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests the ministers of the sanctuary, which shall come near to minister unto the LORD: and it shall be a place for their houses, and an holy place for the sanctuary.
5 And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand of breadth, shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers.
6 And ye shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long, over against the oblation of the holy portion: it shall be for the whole house of Israel.
7 And a portion shall be for the prince on the one side and on the other side of the oblation of the holy portion, and of the possession of the city, before the oblation of the holy portion, and before the possession of the city, from the west side westward, and from the east side eastward: and the length shall be over against one of the portions, from the west border unto the east border.
8 In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes.
Here are some additional zoning issues being settled for the holy district around the temple grounds. There's a piece of property about six miles by eight miles that surrounds the temple, and the priests surround the temple on this land. Additionally, the prince's area extends beyond this, both to the east and to the west, another 8 miles or so.
9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.
10 Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.
11 The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of an homer: the measure thereof shall be after the homer.
12 And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.
13 This is the oblation that ye shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley:
14 Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are an homer:
15 And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD.
16 All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel.
17 And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.
18 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary:
19 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court.
20 And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house.
21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
22 And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.
23 And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering.
24 And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah.
25 In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.
Even with Jesus as the Messiah during the millennium, sacrificing will resume. As explained in the notes for Ezekiel 43 (see notes), these sacrifices will be reflective of the finished work of Christ on the cross. However, keep in mind, the millennium is not a sin-free period. Even though Satan is bound for the entire period of the millennium (Revelation 20:2-3, see notes), it is not Satan that causes people to sin; it is the presence of the Adamic nature in everyone born. The people who will populate the millennium are just regular folks like you and me who enter because they had a faith relationship with Christ at the end of the tribulation. Nothing is done between the last day of the tribulation and the first day of the millennium to eradicate the Adamic nature in these people - these earth dwellers. Moreover, they will bear children who must choose for themselves whether or not they will receive Christ as their Savior. Therefore, the offerings and sacrifices in these verses characterize the millennium as Jewish in nature with a sinless Messiah flawlessly overseeing the requirements thereof. It should be noted, however, that the rebellion that takes place when Satan gathers unregenerate people to assist him is made up of only Gentile people according to Revelation 20:8 (see notes).
Incidentally, the Passover Feast will be observed (verses 21-24) during the millennium just as in the Old Testament, complete with the lamb and unleavened bread for seven days.Then, in the seventh month, the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) will be celebrated. For more information on these festivals, click here.