The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: E

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Ezekiel's temple, related to the return from Babylon

  1. Who is "Prince" of Eze 45; 46? A mortal prince/ruler of Israel: (a)         offers sacrifice for his own sins (Eze 45:22; 46:10-12); (b)         subject to death (Eze 46:17,18); (c)         has wife and sons (Eze 46:16), who will succeed him (Eze 45:8).
  2. The priests of this Temple are mortal: (a)         they sweat (Eze 44:18); (b)         should drink no wine (Eze 44:21; ct Mat 26:29; (c)         they die (Eze 44:22); (d)         they have no inheritance (Eze 44:28). By ct, see Mat 22:28-30.
  3. This Temple has Levites who went/can go astray (Eze 44:10-14).
  4. Interspersed with exhortations to a rebellious (?!)         house of Israel: Eze 40:4; 44:6; 45:9.
  5. No uncircumcised person (Eze 44:9). What about Gentiles saints?
  6. "Strangers" in the Land (Eze 47:22,23)? Easy to relate to return from Babylon, but not so easy to Kingdom Age.
  7. Eze 47:18: An eastern border of Jordan River. And Eze 47:19: the "river" on the south is wadi El Arish, not Nile. These borders are incompatible with extent of Kingdom (Gen 15:18).
  8. Is Jerusalem an enormous Temple area only? Or is it a city without walls, inhabited by children, as in Zec 2:4; 8:4,5?
  9. East gate shut 6 days out of 7 (Eze 46:1), or always open (Isa 60:11; Rev 21:25)?
  10. What is not described here? No lavish use of gold and silver. No High Priest garments of glory and beauty. "Splendid and holy as their new Temple was to be, its limitations only emphasized in their minds the abiding need for a new and better order, with a Messiah who would be both Prince and Priest ministering a sacrifice which would be all-sufficient, and not merely temporary and typical" (FLET)
  11. Ezekiel envisions a large Temple area, but no real city. Likewise, this is what Nehemiah sought to build (Neh 4:22; 7:4; 12:29). Did he understand Ezekiel's vision to be for his day?
(Summarized from FLET)

"it is desirable to emphasize how much Israel were in need of a new religious code. With the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, they lost not only their temple but also everything associated with it. The ark of the covenant was gone. There was therefore no mercy seat, and therefore no Day of Atonement was possible. The holy fire, which had been unquenched since God signified His good pleasure by accepting Solomon's sacrifices (2Ch 7:1), was now gone out. So the offering of true burnt offerings was likewise out of question. Neither had they a high-priest with Urim and Thummim who could give a divine judgment in time of perplexity. Indeed all the indications were that God had altogether abolished the system of worship which had been given hundreds of years earlier for the guidance and help of His people: 'He hath violently taken away his tabernacle... he hath destroyed his place of assembly: the Lord hath caused the sabbaths and solemn feasts to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest. The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary... the king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more' (Lam 2:6,7,9).

"So unless God gave His nation a new start, Israel returned from captivity would be a people spiritually adrift.

"Evidently, then, Ezekiel 40-48 was designed to show the Jews how they were to worship and serve God when their seventy years of exile were expired -- what kind of temple they were to fashion; the character of their priesthood; their offerings and their feasts; the due status of priest and prince; the re-allocation of the Land to the tribes; and especially, they were to be inspired with the possibilities of Jerusalem as a center for worship, not only for Israel but also for the strangers in the Land, and -- more than that -- as a source of spiritual blessings radiating to all the nations of the world" (FLET).


"But the people of Israel were unable to carry the project through to its culmination. Their own efforts were halfhearted. They were hindered and discouraged by enemies without and the beginnings of a renewed apostasy within. Thus, bit by bit, they lost their early idealism, and though the temple was built -- probably, so far as one can tell, on the pattern of that planned by Ezekiel -- it never achieved that which was intended for it. The Glory of the God of Israel did not return unto it, and Ezekiel's great ideal still goes unrealized until the day when the new Jerusalem descends from God out of heaven; and then it will find expression, not in reeds of wall and cubits of altar but in the spiritual realities which those solid facts were intended to teach" (FLET).

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