The End Times According To Ezekiel, Part 6
From our last installment, we can see that Ezekiel's Temple
will be much different from either previous one in both appearance and function.
The Holy Place will have no Menorah, no incense altar, and no table of
show bread. A wooden altar will be
its only piece of furniture. A thick
veil separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in previous Temples and no
one was allowed through the veil except the High Priest and then only on one day
each year, Yom Kippur. In Ezekiel's
Temple the veil has been replaced by folding doors, and there will be no ark,
and no mercy seat in the Holy of Holies.
At the close of our last study we saw the Shekinah Glory
return after a 2600 year absence and proclaim that this Temple is where He will
live among the Israelites forever.
Now we'll hear His first words to them upon doing so.
The Lord's Accusation
The LORD said to me, "Son of man, look carefully, listen
closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the
regulations regarding the temple of the LORD. Give attention to the entrance of
the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary.
Say to the rebellious house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD
says: Enough of your detestable practices, O house of Israel!
In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought
foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my
temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant.
Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put
others in charge of my sanctuary.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and
flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the
Israelites. (Ezek. 44:5-9)
This accusation could only refer to the anti-Christ and
False Prophet, one of whom will apparently serve as a kind of High Priest after
the Temple is made desolate during the Great Tribulation.
Uncircumcised in heart means the foreigner will not be a Christian, for
as Paul wrote to the church, circumcision is of the heart. (Romans 2:29)
Uncircumcised in the flesh means he won't be a religious Jew either.
Some have wondered how Israel could accept a non-Jew as their High
Priest, but remember, they like
everyone else will be totally persuaded by his miracles that he is the one
they've been waiting for. (2 Thes. 2:9)
Daniel 11:37 says he'll have no regard for the God of his fathers
nor for the one desired by women, a reference to the Messiah. This confirms that
he'll be neither a practicing Jew nor a Christian.
The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside
the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD. He is to enter by way of the
portico of the gateway and go out the same way."(Ezek. 44:3)
" 'The prince will have the land bordering each side of
the area formed by the sacred district and the property of the city. It will
extend westward from the west side and eastward from the east side, running
lengthwise from the western to the eastern border parallel to one of the tribal
It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt
offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons
and the Sabbaths—at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He will
provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship
offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel. (Ezek. 45:17)
In Ezek. 34:23-24 the Lord had promised, I will
place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will
tend them and be their shepherd. I
the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I
the LORD have spoken.
This tells us that a descendant of David's will be the
Prince in Israel. He'll be a human
in natural form because he'll be a sinner (Ezek. 45:22) and he'll have
children. (Ezek 46:16) He
will not be the original David, nor will he be the Messiah, but he will be the
ruling authority in Israel, subject only to the Messiah.
Although he provides the animals for offerings, he can not
enter the inner court since he won't be of the priestly family.
He will stand at the gate while the priests prepare and sacrifice the
animals. (Ezek. 46:2)
The Levites And The Priests
" 'The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray
and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their
sin. They may serve in my sanctuary,
having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter
the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people
and serve them. But because they
served them in the presence of their idols and made the house of Israel fall
into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the
consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign LORD.
They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my
holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their
detestable practices. Yet I will put
them in charge of the duties of the temple and all the work that is to be done
“ 'But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of
Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the
Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are
to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign
LORD. They alone are to enter my
sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and
perform my service. (Ezek. 44:10-16)
" In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges and
decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees
for all my appointed feasts, and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.
I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are
to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” (Ezek.
Zadok the Priest remained faithful to King David even when
many others around him were doubting that he could effectively reign due to his
advancing years and the strife within his own family.
As a reward David made him the High Priest just before yielding the
throne to Solomon. Now Zadok's
descendants are given the favored place in all of Israel, that of being closest
to God in His Temple.
As in days of old the priests will be the keepers of the law
and will settle disputes among the people according to God's law. And as before
the tribe of Levi will receive no land grant.
The Lord is their inheritance. They will eat the offerings as always, in
rooms dedicated for that purpose (Ezek. 44:29-30)
and derive their incomes from the tithes of the people.
There will be no High Priest, that office being permanently
filled by the Lord. There's no
indication that He'll preside at any ceremony, however.
One of the priests will accept that duty and act under the supervision of
the Prince, who although from the tribe of Judah, will be responsible to
supervise the presentation of offerings from the thresh hold of the gateway to
the inner court.
There will be an altar for sacrificing the various burnt
offerings in the courtyard just outside the Temple and there the priests will
perform the ongoing and precise work of preparing and presenting the endless
sacrifices to God. But unlike before there will be no bronze laver or washing
station. Also different from before
is that this altar will be made of dressed stones and can be approached by
ascending steps, in place of the unhewn stones and ramp that were required
previously. A seven day long purification ceremony will be necessary to make
atonement for the priests and the altar before it will be acceptable for use.
Beginning on the eighth day their sacrifices and offerings will make the
people acceptable to the Lord.(Ezek 43:13-27)
The Sacred District
" 'When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to
present to the LORD a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits
long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy.
Of this, a section 500 cubits square is to be for the sanctuary, with 50
cubits around it for open land. In
the sacred district, measure off a section 25,000 cubits
long and 10,000 cubits wide.
In it will be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place.
It will be the sacred portion of the land for the priests, who minister
in the sanctuary and who draw near to minister before the LORD. It will be a
place for their houses as well as a holy place for the sanctuary.
An area 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide will belong to the
Levites, who serve in the temple, as their possession for towns to live in.
" 'You are to give the city as its property an area 5,000
cubits wide and 25,000 cubits long, adjoining the sacred portion; it will belong
to the whole house of Israel.
" 'The prince will have the land bordering each side of the
area formed by the sacred district and the property of the city. It will extend
westward from the west side and eastward from the east side, running lengthwise
from the western to the eastern border parallel to one of the tribal portions.
This land will be his possession in Israel. (Ezek. 45:1-8)
In the center of the nation a tract of land will be set aside
for the priests and the Temple.
We'll discuss its exact location when we look at the distribution of the land.
This area will measure about 7 miles by 6 miles.
The priests will have their homes there on about half of this land with
the rest being set aside for the Temple.
Just south of this district will be a portion for the Holy City, and east
of it another one for the Prince and his family.
Offerings and Holy Days
As we discussed in our last installment animal sacrifice
will be practiced on Earth during the Millennium.
In addition to the daily sin offering, there will be many other offerings
as in Old Testament times, for Sabbaths, New Moons and other festivals, and for
the atonement of the people. (Ezek. 45:17)
The Levitical feasts observed in the Old Testament will be modified with
First Fruits, Pentecost, Rosh Hashannah, and Yom Kippur eliminated.
Only Passover, followed by the seven days of Unleavened Bread (Ezek.
45:21-24) and the seven day Feast of Tabernacles (Ezek. 45:25) will
be observed. Passover will no longer
include the sacrifice of a lamb, the Passover Lamb having already been
sacrificed once for all time.
Everyone on Earth will be required to come to the Holy City
each year for the Feast of Tabernacles.
If any nation adopts an official policy exempting its people from
attending this annual pilgrimage, they'll experience drought and plague, (Zechariah
14:16-19) for this is the great celebration of the restoration of Israel and
the in-gathering of the nations to their Creator.
Next time we'll conclude this study with a review of the
Temple's location and the distribution of the land.
See you then. 02-23-08