Ezekiel 43

 

 

The consecration of the new temple by the entrance into it of the glory of

the God of Israel (vs. 1-12), and a description of the altar with its

dedication to the solemn ritual for which it was in future to be employed

(vs. 13-27), form the contents of the present chapter, and complete the

prophet’s picture of the future sanctuary of Israel.

 

Vs. 1-12 - the consecration of the temple by the entrance into it of the

glory of the God of Israel.

 

1 “Afterward He brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh

toward the east:” Afterward - Having completed the survey of the temple

precincts (ch.42:15-20), the prophet’s guide, “the measuring man,” conducted

him back to the gate that looked towards the east, i.e. to the gate leading into

the outer court from the east (see ch.40:6), perhaps because this was the principal

entrance to the sanctuary, but chiefly because through it the impending theophany

was to pass.

 

2 “And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east:

and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His

glory.”  Scarcely had the prophet taken up his station at or near the gate

when the glory of the God of Israel (see on ch. 1:28; 3:23) came

from the way of the east -  as if intending to enter the temple by the very

door through which it had previously departed from the temple (compare

ch. 1:28, 3:23, 8:4, 9:3, 10:4,18-19; 11:22-23).  The voice which proceeded from

the theophany and resembled the noise of many waters, is after the Septuagint

(καὶ φωνὴ τῆς παρεμβολῆςkai phonae taes parembolaes ) understood

by some to have been the sound produced by the motion of the wheels

and the rustling of the wings of the cherubim (see on ch. 1.; 10:5), but is better

taken to signify the voice of the Almighty Himself, i.e. of the personal Jehovah

(compare Revelation 1:15). The statement that the earth shined with His glory

(compare Ibid. ch.18:1) has been supposed to indicate the absence of

that “cloud” in which the glory of Jehovah appeared in both the Mosaic

tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35) and the Solomonic temple (I Kings 8:10-11),

and thereby to point to the clearer and more resplendent manifestations of

the Godhead, which were to be given in connection with the new dispensation

for which Ezekiel’s “house” was being prepared. This, however, cannot be

maintained in face of the facts that in both Exodus and I Kings “the glory of the

Lord is used synonymously with “the cloud,” and that in Ezekiel’s vision

“the glory” and “the cloud” were alike present (see ch. 10:3-4).  Some take

“the earth” which was illumined to have been “the whole globe,” “the entire

region of humanity,” as in Isaiah 6:3; 60:1, etc.; but there does not appear

ground for departing from the ordinary sense of the words, that “the path”

of the advancing God was irradiated by the brilliance of His material glory.

 

 

The Glory of the God of Israel  (v. 2)

 

The visionary glory that dazzled the eyes of the rapt seer is but an earthly

suggestion of that ineffable glory in which the unseen God is ever clothed.

We may take the manifestation of glory as a type and suggestion of that

higher wonder.

 

  • IN WHAT THE GLORY OF THE GOD OF ISRAEL CONSISTS.

 

Ø      The radiance of heavenly light. The glory is like the effulgence of

sunlight, the raying forth of beams of splendor from the central fountain

of light.

 

o       It is perfect truth. All error and falsehood are excluded. God dwells

in infinite knowledge and wisdom and truthfulness.    (“Who only

hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can

approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: TO WHOM

BE HONOR  AND POWER EVERLASTING.  AMEN.”

I Timothy 6:16)

o       It is absolute holiness. No stain or fleck of sin ever touches the

supreme purity of God.

o       It is infinite love. The glory of God is most seen in His goodness.

By wonderful deeds of grace HE MANIFESTS HIS GLORY!

o       It is unutterable joy. The joy of truth, holiness, and love must ever

dwell in the heart of God. God smiles over His creatures: that is

His glory.

 

Ø      The wealth of heavenly voices.His voice was like a noise of many

waters.” God has broken the silence of eternity. He has called to His

lost and wayward children. With variety of utterance and of truth

God has made His voice heard. His gospel message is His glory.

 

  • HOW THE GLORY OF THE GOD OF ISRAEL APPEARS. Ezekiel

saw the glory dawn in the east like the pure, bright light of a rising sun.

 

Ø      It was not always manifest. There had been a night previous to this glad

dawn. There had been dark days in the Captivity, when even the radiance

of God seemed to be dimmed.

 

o       In the world’s history there have been awful, blank ages, out of which

all Divine glory seems to have been excluded.

o       In individual experience there are sad days when the soul exclaims,

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  (Mark 15:34)

 

Ø      It is made manifest.

 

o       To the world, in Christ, who manifested forth the glory of His

Father.  Thus John says, And we beheld His glory, the glory

as of the Only Begotten of the Father” (John 1:14).

o       To the individual, by faith. When we truly seek for the

brightness of God’s countenance in Christ, and trust His grace,

there rises a light in the darkness, and GOD’S GLORY

APPEARS!

 

  • THE RESULTS THAT FOLLOW THE MANIFESTATION OF

THE GLORY OF THE GOD OF ISRAEL. “And the earth shined with His

glory.” This radiance was not confined to celestial regions. It was no vain

pageantry displayed among the clouds. It came into the world as a

brightness for earthly things. This is ever the case with manifestations of

God’s glory. It is especially so with Christ who” tabernacled among us,”

and so brought the celestial glory to dwell on earth. The shining forth of

God’s truth and goodness makes a new day for the world. It is already

reflected in purified, gladdened-lives; it will be fully seen in a renewal of

the whole face of society. That which seems to be most remote and

unpractical is thus most closely associated with the needs and hopes of

mankind. The world pines and despairs for lack of more visions of Divine

truth and goodness. The perfect day will be when this light shines into the

darkest places of the earth, i.e. when all men have received “the glorious

gospel of the blessed God.”

 

 

I will now attempt to draw attention to God leaving the temple in

Jerusalem, not to come back until Christ enters through the

eastern gate as mentioned in v. 2 – (CY – 2009)

 

There was a precedent set at the time of the Flood when God said

“my Spirit shall not always strive with man”  - Genesis 6:3

 

No one can be saved without the leading of the Holy Spirit drawing

a man to GodJesus said “No man can come to me, except the

Father which hath sent me draw him” – John 6:44

 

When Israel turned her back on Jehovah she “mocked the messengers

of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the

wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was NO REMEDY”

II Chronicles 36:16

 

Therefore Jehovah withdrew from His  people and this withdrawal has

lasted for around 2500 years.   This withdrawal, in stages, is depicted by

Ezekiel in the following passages:

 

  • We find God in His temple – chps. 1:28, 3:23, 8:4

 

  • We see God having removed to the threshold or door of the temple –

      chps. 9:3, 10:4

 

 

Comment on 9:3 – “Was gone up” - better, went up. The prophet saw the

process as well as the result. The “glory of the Lord” which he had seen

(ch. 8:4) by the northern gate rose from its cherub throne (we note the

use of the singular to express the unity of the fourfold form), as if to direct the

action of his ministers, to the threshold of the “house.” This may be

connected also with the thought that the normal abiding place of the

presence of the Lord had been “between the cherubim” (Psalm 80:1) of

the mercy seat.

 

Comment on 10:3-4 – “Now the cherubim stood” - The position of the

cherubim is defined, with a vivid distinctness of detail. They had been standing

on the right, i.e. the southern side of the sanctuary. What follows is probably a

reproduction of the change of positions described in ch. 9:3, and the verbs

should be taken, therefore, as pluperfects. The cloud of glory, as in 1 Kings 8:10-11

and Isaiah 6:1-2, the Shechinah, that was the token of the Divine presence,

filled the court, but the glory itself had moved to the threshold at the first

stage of His departure.

 

  • Jehovah departs from the temple through the door of the east gate –

      ch. 10:18-19

 

Comment on 10:18-19 – “Then the glory of the Lord” - The chariot throne

was, as it were, ready for its Kingly Rider. The “glory”-cloud, or Shechinah.

takes its place over them, and the departure begins. From that hour the temple

was, in Ezekiel’s thoughts, to be, till the time of restoration contemplated in ch.

40-48., what Shiloh had been, a God-deserted place. We are reminded of

the voice which Josephus tells us was heard before the final destruction of

the second temple, exclaiming, “Let us depart hence,” as the priests were

making ready for the Pentecostal feast (‘Bell. Jud.,’ 6:5. 3).

 

v. 19. The departure has the east gate of the Lord’s house for its

starting point. By that gate, in the later vision of the restored temple, the

glory of the Lord was to return (Ezekiel 43:4).

 

 

  • Jehovah leaves the city of Jerusalem and stood upon the mountain on

      the east side of the city – ch. 11:23

 

 

Comment on vs. 22-23 - Another stage of the departure of the Divine glory closes

the vision. He had rested over the middle of the city. He now halts over the

mountain on the east side of the city, i.e. on the Mount of Olives (2 Samuel 15:30;

Zechariah 14:4). Currey mentions, but without a reference, a Jewish tradition that

the Shechinah, or glory cloud, remained there for three years, calling the

people to repentance. What is here recorded may have suggested the thought of

Zechariah 14:4. We may remember that it was from this spot that Christ “beheld

the city, and wept over it” (Luke 19:41); that from it He, the true Shechinah,

ascended into heaven. Here, perhaps, the dominant thought was that He

remained for a time to direct the work of judgment. And so the vision was

over, and the prophet was borne back in vision to Chaldea, and made known to the

exiles of Tel-Abib the wonderful and terrible things tidal he had seen.

 

 

  

  

 

 

The Eastern or Golden Gate of Jerusalem, shown in the two photgraphs

above, was sealed by the Moslems centuries ago for reasons unclear.  In

doing so, they unwittingly fulfilled the first part of the prophecy in

Ezekiel 44:1-6 (see vs. 1-9 here).  The rest of the prophecy will be

fulfilled when the Prince, Messiah Jesus, enters the Temple Mount

through this gate, this time to rule!  (Just last week, I heard over the

news that Israel wants to reopen this gate for convenience sake but it

will be at a risk in offending the Arabs – CY  - Sept. 4, 2011)

 

During the Christian Dispensation God’s Spirit has been dealing with

man – The Holy Spirit’s withdrawal after the Church Age in which we

are living seems to be the prerequisite for the appearance of the

“anti-christ – II Thessalonians 2:7-8

 

For a parallel see all of the “for this cause God gave them up” in

Romans 1:24, 26-28

 

All outward pomps and all human distinctions are as nothing to the human soul

compared with the glorious presence of the Divine Spirit in the heart of man.

But though God comes to us thus and dwells with us, He will not abide with us

if we do not retain our purity, our moral and spiritual integrity (see I Corinthians 3:16;

II Corinthians 6:16). Yet may there be, in individual experience, a blessed

return of the glory of the Lord. If there be a sincere and deep humility; if

there be an earnest seeking after God in prayer; if there be a cordial

reconsecration of the heart and life to the Divine Redeemer;then will

there be a gracious and a glorious return of His presence and of His blessing

to the soul.

 

WE CANNOT DO DESPITE UNTO THE SPIRIT OF GRACE AND

GET BY WITH IT – BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

IS THE ONLY UNPARDONABLE SINTODAY IS THE DAY

OF SALVATION  - WILL NOT YOU TRUST HIM TODAY!!!?

 

 

 

3 “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.”

 

The prophet identifies the vision on which he now looks as the

same he had formerly beheld on the banks of the Chebar, when he came to

destroy the city, i.e. when, in obedience to Divine command, he stood

forth to announce the destruction of Jerusalem. Ewald and Smend follow

the Vulgate. quando venit ut disperderet, in substituting “he,” Jehovah, for

“I,” Ezekiel; but the change is unnecessary, as the prophet’s language is

perfectly intelligible and quite correct, since “the prophet destroyed the city

ideally by his prophecy” (Hitzig), and it is not unusual for Scripture to

represent a prophet as himself doing what he is only sent to predict (compare

Ezekiel 4:2; 32:18; Jeremiah 1:10). The prophet’s reason for

introducing this clause was manifestly the same he had for identifying the

visions — to show that, while it was the same Jehovah who had departed

from the old temple that was now returning to the new, there was nothing

incongruous in the idea that he who in the past had shown himself a God of

justice and judgment by overturning and destroying the old, should in the

future exhibit himself as a God of grace and mercy by condescending to

establish his abode in the new. The impression produced upon the

prophet’s soul by his vision was the same that had been produced by the

former — he fell upon his face in awe and wonder.

 

 

God the Same in Judgment and in Mercy (v. 3)

 

The remarkable point of this verse lies in the fact that Ezekiel could detect

no change in the manifestation of the Divine glory when he compared the

new appearance which heralded the great redemption of Israel with the

earlier appearance which preceded the denunciation of wrath and doom.

God is the same in both cases.

 

  • THE FACT. This has two sides — one relating to the time of judgment,

and the other concerned with the period of redemption.

 

Ø      Gods mercy is not lost in judgment. He was glorious when He came to

judgment, and one essential element of the glory of God is His ineffable

love. We may not see love in wrath, but it is present, for “whom the Lord

loveth he chasteneth (Hebrews 12:6). God does not change His nature

because men sin, nor indeed does He cease to yearn over His poor fallen

children with infinite pity because it became well that He should smite

them in His great anger.

 

Ø      Gods righteousness is not lost in redemption. He loses none of the

glory of His holiness by saving sinners. Christ came to “magnify the Law

and make it honorable” (Isaiah 42:21). Righteousness is honored:

 

o       in the Person of Christ, our great Representative, who offered

His pure and spotless soul as a perfect sacrifice to God;

 

o       in the deliverance of man from sin. Righteousness itself desires

an end of sin more than the mere punishment, which is but a means

towards that end. Thus the glory of God’s holiness is most manifest

when He redeems man from sin and leads him into a new, holy life.

 

  • ITS CONSEQUENCES.

 

Ø      There is no escape from the law of righteousness. The subjects of a

changeable autocrat watch his fickle moods, and endeavor to seize on

lucky moments when he appears to be in a good burnout, in order to

extract some favor from him. No such maneuvers are needed, or can be of

any use, when men are looking for God’s grace. On the one hand, He is

always desirous to save and bless; on the other hand, He is never weakly

negligent in regard to the great principles of justice. We can never evade

His laws.

 

Ø      There is no reason to despair on account of the wrath of God against

sin. That wrath was always felt by God, though it has not always been

perceived by man. “God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm

7:11). Yet God has shown continuous love, and has put forth repeated

efforts of mercy to save His fallen children. He has not changed towards us

because He has veiled His mercy and displayed His wrath for a season. The

same ever-righteous and ever-merciful Father who at one time smites in

anger and at another saves in grace will act to us just as we do to Him.

With the froward thou wilt show thyself froward, etc. (Ibid. ch. 18:26).

Therefore our part is to be plain and straight with God, simply trusting His

great love, and honestly endeavoring to fulfill His holy will.

 

4 “And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the

gate whose prospect is toward the east.  5  So the spirit took me up, and

brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled

the house.”  The prophet next narrates that he saw the glory of the Lord

entering into and taking possession of the “house,” as formerly it had

entered into and taken possession of the tabernacle and the temple

(Exodus 40:34-35; I Kings 8:10-11), and that of this he was

further assured by experiencing immediately thereafter an impulse from

the Spirit (not “a spirit,” which raised him from the ground upon which he

had fallen (v. 3), took him up (see on ch. 2:2; 3:12), and brought him into the

inner court, exactly in front of the “house,” where, having looked into the

interior, he saw that the glory of the Lord filled the house, the language being

that used in connection with the tabernacle and the temple.

 

 

Filled with Glory (v. 5)

 

  • THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE TEMPLE. Ezekiel saw the temple

filled with the glory of God. This was only a vision; but it was predicted

concerning the rebuilt temple that the glory of the latter house should

exceed that of the former (Haggai 2:9). Yet, while young men rejoiced

at the sight of the new structure, old men wept as they remembered the

greater splendor of Solomon’s temple, which Nebuchadnezzar had

destroyed (Ezra 3:12-13). Nevertheless, it was promised that, though

in materials and architecture Zerubbabel’s temple might be inferior to

Solomon’s; there was this unique privilege reserved for the new building

the Lord Himself should suddenly appear in it (Malachi 3:1). This

promise was fulfilled in the advent of Christ (Luke 2:27).

 

  • THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE CHURCH. The spiritual brotherhood

of Christians, the Church of Christ, has taken the place of the temple of the

Jewish economy (I Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:21). Now God

has manifested His glory in the Church, for it is seen in the display of

Christian graces, so that she is like a city set on a hill that cannot be hid.

But the brightness or the dimness of this glory will be just proportionate to

the Christ-likeness or the worldliness of the Church. The more of the Spirit

of Christ there is in this great temple, the more of the glory of God will

there be there. Her glory has been looked for in size, numbers, wealth,

power, influence, intellect; in her sons of genius and her works of worldly

importance. But these things do not reveal God’s glory. Christ is the Glory

of the Church — “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

 

  • THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE WORLD. Ezekiel saw the broad

earth ablaze with the radiance of the heavenly glory (v. 2). But this glory

was concentrated in the temple. God has a brightness for all men, but the

best light for those who seek His near presence. The world now reveals the

glory of God in creation and in providence. When the world is brought to

the feet of Jesus Christ it will enjoy the richer, fuller glory of God in Christ.

Even now, in so far as a Christ-spirit is spread through society, a new light

dawns over the old weary world. The day is coming when the earth shall be

full of His glory as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). That will be the day

of the earth’s perfect redemption and man’s perfect blessedness.

 

  • THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE SOUL. God’s glory comes into the

Church and the world by first entering individual souls. To the darkest and

saddest this joy and light will appear, when the barred door is opened to

the Guest who stands knocking and graciously waiting for admission.

(Revelation 3:20).  There is no glory equal to that which His in-coming

will bring. We may think much of riches, popularity, intellect, and power.

But the greatest glory of a human life is the glory of goodness. The highest

ambition should be to live a good and useful life. Christ’s aureole surrounds

such a life.

 

6 “And I heard Him (better, one) speaking unto me out of the

house; and the (literally, a) man stood by me.”  Two questions arise —

Who was the speaker? and, Who the man? As to the speaker, the natural

reply is that the One who addressed Ezekiel from the interior of the

“house” was Jehovah himself, whose “glory” had just entered in to take

possession of the house, and this view is adopted by most interpreters.

As to the man, it cannot be decided solely by the absence of the article before

“man” that this was a different person from the guide who had hitherto

conducted the prophet and measured the building. The article may have

been omitted because the important point to be recorded was not the

circumstance that the “one” who stood beside him was his quondam guide,

but the fact that this “one” was a man. That he was also Ezekiel’s old

conductor is at least a natural suggestion when one finds him afterwards

appearing as a measurer with a line in his hand (ch. 47:3).

 

In the next six verses, debate exists as to who the speaker in the seventh verse

was, whether Jehovah or the man — some holding that He was Jehovah; others, 

that he was “the man;” and still others, with that it cannot be decided which

he was. One thing is clear, that if “the man” was the speaker, his words and

message were not his own, but Jehovah’s. Yet unless the man had been the angel

of the Lord it will always seem incongruous that he should have addressed Ezekiel

without a “Thus saith the Lord.” Hence the notion that the speaker was Jehovah is,

perhaps, the one freest from difficulty. The message announced or communication

made to the prophet related first to Jehovah’s purpose in entering the temple (vs. 7-9),

and secondly to his object in showing the house to the prophet, viz. that he

might show it to the house of Israel (vs. 10-12).

 

7 “And He said unto me, Son of man, 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 my holy name, shall the house of

Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their

whoredom, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.”

The Septuagint and the Vulgate divide the present verse into two

parts, and take the first as equivalent to a solemn word of consecration, the

former supplying ἑώρακας - heorakas  - the latter vidisti, “thou hast seen.”

The Chaldee Targum inserts, hic est locus, “this is the place,” and in so doing is

followed by Luther and the Revised Version. Some word, it is obvious,

either a “see!” or a “behold!” must be interpolated, in thought at least,

unless one adopts the construction of the Authorized Version makes

 “the place of my throne,” etc., to be governed by the verb “defile,” or,

places it under the regimen of “show” in v. 10, throwing the whole intervening

clause into a long parenthesis — a device which does not contribute to its

clearness of thought.  Of the two expressions here employed to designate the

sanctuary — not the temple proper, but the whole house with its surroundings —

the former, the place of my throne, though peculiar to Ezekiel, receives explanation

from the conception, familiar to earlier writers, of Jehovah as dwelling between the

cherubim (Exodus 25:22; I Samuel 4:4; II Kings 19:15; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 37:16);

the latter, the place of the soles of my feet, was of frequent occurrence to denote

the ark of the covenant (I Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5; 132:7) and the temple

(Isaiah 60:13; Lamentations 2:1). The word of consecration was expressed in the

promise, I will dwell (in the temple) in the midst of the children of Israel

forever, etc., which went beyond anything that had been spoken

concerning either the tabernacle of Moses or the temple of Solomon

(compare Exodus 25:8; 29:45; I Kings 6:13). The second part of the

verse announces what would be the result of Jehovah’s perpetual

inhabitation of the temple — the house of Israel would no more defile His

holy Name either by their whoredom or by the carcasses of their kings

in their high places, or, according to another reading, in their death. That

the whoredom signified idolatry (compare ch.16.) commentators are

agreed. What divides them is whether this also is alluded to in the

alternative clause.  Some believe it is, contending that the “carcasses of their kings”

(compare Leviticus 26:30; and Jeremiah 16:18) was a contemptuous and satirical

designation of the idols they had formerly served, that the word “kings ‘ is

frequently employed in this sense in Scripture (see Isaiah 8:21; Amos 5:26;

Zephaniah 1:5), and that the special sin complained of, that of building altars for

dead idols in the very temple court, had been practiced by more kings than one in

Judah (compare II Kings 16:11; 21:4-7); and in support of this view may be

urged first that it is favored by the use of the term bamotk, or “high places,”

in v. 7, and secondly by the exposition offered in v. 8 of the nature of the sin.

Others regard the sin spoken of in the second clause as different from that

indicated in the first, maintaining that while this was the practice of defiling

Jehovah’s sanctuary by idolatry that was the desecration of the same by the

interment in its courts of their dead kings. Against this, however, stands the

fact that no authentic instance can be produced of a Judaean sovereign’s

corpse having been interred in the temple area. David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat,

and others were buried in the city of David (I Kings 2:10; 11:43; 22:50), and

a place of sepulchers existed on the south-west corner of Zion in the days of

Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:16); but these prove nothing unless the temple hill be

taken, as no doubt it sometimes was, in an extended sense as inclusive of

Mount Zion. Similarly, the statement that Manasseh had a burial-place in

the garden of Uzzah (II Kings 21:18, 26) cannot be adduced in support

of this view, unless it can be shown that the garden of Uzzah was situated

on the temple hill. On the whole, therefore, the balance of argument

inclines in favor of the first view, though it does involve the introduction of

a figurative sense into the words.

 

 

The Divine Indwelling (v. 7)

 

There peculiar solemnity in this utterance. The prophet has beheld the

return of the Lord’s glory to His house, and has seen its courts filled with

the mystic luster. He stands in the inner court, the attendant angel being

by his side. And the voice of the Lord, mighty as the sound of many

waters, addresses him as the son of man, and assures him that the Eternal.

Spirit has now takes up a perpetual abode within His consecrated temple,

and that those courts shall henceforth be pure from every defilement, and

shall be holy unto the Lord.

 

  • THE FACT OF THE DIVINE INDWELLING. It appears that this is set

forth under two metaphors, both just and impressive, yet, even when taken

together, inadequate to set forth the great reality.

 

Ø      The Church is God’s dwelling, His home, where He reveals Himself in

His compassion and kindness, and where He admits men to His sacred

fellowship, upon terms of delightful, though reverent, worship and

familiarity.

 

Ø      The Church is God’s throne, whence He rules by the publication of His

Divine and righteous laws, and the exercise of His just, irresistible, and yet

benign authority. It is as though He were at once the Father of the spiritual

family and the King of the spiritual dominion. He is, indeed, all this, and

more than this, to the Church He loves and has redeemed.

 

  • THE ACCOMPANIMENTS OF THE DIVINE INDWELLING.

These, as represented in this passage, are:

 

Ø      Deliverance from past idolatries, by which humanity has been defiled,

degraded, and disgraced.

 

Ø      By implication, reverence for God’s holy Name, displaying itself in

holiness, in obedience, in praise. It was the expulsion of evil abominations

which made the return of the Lord a possibility; it is the prevalence of

holy worship and affectionate service which secures the lasting residence

and reign of the great and glorious Inhabitant.

 

8 “In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post

by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even

defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have

committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.”

In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds etc. The

first “their” can only refer to “the house of Israel and their kings;” the

second “their” may also allude to these, but is best taken as pointing to the

“idols,” whose thresholds or temples, according to the view adopted of the

preceding verse, were set up in the court of Jehovah’s temple, and so close

to the latter that nothing stood between them except the temple wall

 

9  “Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcasses of their

kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.”

Now let them put away their whoredom, etc. What has just

been declared to be the necessary consequence of Jehovah’s abiding in the

midst of Israel is now enjoined upon Israel as an indispensable prerequisite

of Jehovah’s taking up his residence amongst them. Ezekiel’s theology in

this respect harmonizes with that of Old and New Testament writers

generally, who invariably postulate purity of heart and life as a necessary

condition of God’s abiding in the heart, while asserting that such Divine

indwelling in the heart is THE ONLY CREATOR of such purity (compare

ch.18:31; 36:26; Isaiah 1:16, 25; 26:12; John 14:23; II Corinthians 6:17; James 4:8).

 

 

 

 

God’s Unapproachable Sovereignty (vs. 7-9)

 

God now appears among His people as their Divine Sovereign; the house to

which He comes in glorious manifestation is “the place of His throne” (v.7).

There He is resolved to rule. Other kings, human potentates, had been

reigning there, but their rule should now be over. They had been usurpers

in that they had set up their will against His, “their threshold by His

thresholds, their post by Hhis posts” (v. 8); but all such pretensions would

be henceforth peremptorily disallowed; they would be unsparingly swept

away.  “I consumed them in mine anger.” THE LORD ALONE was to

reign, without any rival, the unchallenged, unapproachable Authority. The

sanctuary of the Lord was the throne of THE GREAT KING!

 

  • THE CHURCH OF CHRIST THE SPHERE OF DIVINE

SOVEREIGNTY. As God declared, through His prophet, that He would

reign in the temple, so Jesus Christ claims to be the one and only Head and

Ruler of His Church. “One is your Master, even Christ”  (Matthew 23:10).

We must not invade His “crown rights” in any way or under any consideration

whatever.

 

Ø      To Him we must pay our worship, not placing any created being by

His side upon His throne.

 

Ø      By His revealed will we must determine the constitution of His

Church.  Whether we gather that from His own words, or from

the spirit of His life, or from the words and action of His apostles,

we must make the will of Christ absolutely supreme in all our

collective action.  And His will not only affects us in deciding on

the forms and the rules of our ecclesiastical association, but also

as to the spirit in which we hold our post and do our work in His

kingdom; we are essentially disloyal to Him when our attitude

or bearing toward any of our brethren is other than that which

illustrates the spirit of Christ.

 

  • THE CHURCH OF CHRIST THE SOURCE OF DIVINE

SOVEREIGNTY. The source in the sense of being instrumental in its

promotion. For it is to the Church that God has committed that truth which

alone will establish it; and it is of the Church He expects that life which will

contribute so largely to its extension. The Church — every Christian

Church has:

 

Ø      to proclaim the sovereign rights of Him who is the God of our life;

Ø      to present God to men as the Divine Author of their being,

o       Fountain of their joy,

o       Source of all their comforts and their blessings,

o       Father of their spirit,

o       Preserver and Guardian of their life;

o       The Divine One in whom they “live and move and have their being,”

“with whom they have to do” (Hebrews 4:13) in a deeper

sense and to a far higher degree than they have with any human being.

Ø      to present the regal claims of the Lord of our salvation;

Ø      to hold up before the eyes of men that Son of man:

o       who came down from heaven to be our Teacher, Leader, Friend,

and Savior;

o       who lived, taught, wrought, sorrowed, and died for our redemption;

o       that Son of God who rose in triumph from the grave and ascended

to the right hand of God;

o       who has a supreme right

§         to the trust,

§         the love,

§         the obedience,

§         the full and entire devotion

of all who have received the story of His dying love and living

power.

Ø      to show the Way of a true, thorough, happy subjection to the Divine

rule.

 

Thus will the Church of Christ become “the place of His throne.”

 

10  “Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they

may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the

pattern.” Show (or, make known, i.e. publish the revelation concerning)

the house to the house of Israel For this purpose the vision had been

imparted to the prophet. That they may be ashamed of their iniquities.

This told the reason why the vision of the house should be made known to

Israel. And let them measure the pattern; sum, number, or well proportioned

building. This explained how, by beholding the house, Israel

would be led to repent, and be ashamed of her iniquities. There is no

ground for thinking the ultimate object Jehovah had in view, in

recommending the house of Israel to note the proportions of the visionary

edifice that they might reproduce these in the post-exilic building; if they

were to measure, i.e. scan and meditate upon the fair dimensions of the

“house,” it was that they might understand its religious or moral and

spiritual significance, both as a whole and in detail.

 

 

The Goodness that Leads to Repentance (v. 10)

 

The people of Israel are to see the new temple in order that they may be

ashamed of their iniquities. The goodness of God in restoring the temple

will induce them to look with new horror on their old sins. Thus God’s

goodness in life generally, and in the gospel of Christ, should lead men to

see the evil of their ways and to repent of it.

 

  • GOD’S GOODNESS PRECEDES MAN’S REPENTANCE. The full

enjoyment of that goodness is not possible for those who are still living in

sin. The prodigal son cannot enjoy the fatted calf before he comes to

himself, or arises and returns to his father. But long before any movement

is made on the side of the sinner to return, God is preparing the way for

him. The shepherd seeks the wandering sheep. The woman sweeps for the

lost piece of silver. Even in Eden, on the discovery of the Fall, God

promised a gospel and victory (Genesis 3:15). The pity of God for

Israel in Egypt was made known to Moses in the bush before the people

made any effort to effect their own escape. Christ came into a world that

was even unwilling to receive Him, yet He came for the world’s salvation.

The gospel is now only too often offered to unwilling hearers. God now

waits to be gracious.

 

  • THE REVELATION OF GOD’S GOODNESS SHOWS THE

NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE.

 

Ø      It should reveal our sin.

 

o       By contrast. God is good to us, while we behave ill to Him.

Surely we should see how sad it is to live in rebellion against a

gracious God. Thus the dreadful guilt of ingratitude is added to

other sins.

 

o       By the manner of the revelation. It is a revelation in holiness.

God’s glory was seen in the temple. It is a revelation in atonement

for sin: the temple was for sacrifices; Christ died on the cross as a

sacrifice for the world’s sin. Thus the very proclamation of the

gospel involves a declaration of man’s sinfulness.

 

Ø      It should incline us to return. If God had turned against us we might feel

no inclination to go back to Him. But His graciousness should serve as a

great attraction. Surely it is bad indeed to hold out against such forgiving

mercy as that of our Father and of our Savior Jesus Christ

 

  • GOD’S GOODNESS ASSISTS US IN REPENTANCE.

 

Ø      It opens the door for our return. There is no longer any excuse for

delay. Despair need not paralyze our returning footsteps. The

preparation is an invitation; the invitation should be an inspiration.

 

Ø      It moves our hearts to return. We may only be hardened by

denunciations of wrath and doom. But love should melt the heart of ice.

God’s love is shed abroad in the hearts of His people. It comes as a glow

Of reviving energy to the soul that is unable to save itself because it is

dead in trespasses and sin.” All is now ready. The temple built, the

sacrifice offered, the welcome waiting. “And the Spirit and the bride say,

Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst

come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”

(Revelation 22:17)

 

 

Shame for Sin (v. 10)

 

Shame is an emotion which is often misdirected. Men are ashamed

sometimes of those things of which they ought rather to boast, whilst they

boast of those things of which they ought to be ashamed. There is one

habit of which men ought always to be ashamed — the habit of sinning

against God. It was this which Ezekiel was directed to bring home to the

hearts of his fellow-countrymen of the house of Israel.

 

  • THE SIN OF WHICH A JUSTLY SENSITIVE NATURE IS

ASHAMED. The iniquities with which the prophet was directed to charge

the people of Jerusalem, and for which he was instructed to reproach them,

were their idolatrous practices, especially in connection with the temple

precincts. The palaces of the idolatrous monarchs of Judah adjoined the

consecrated edifice, and in those palaces heathen rites were celebrated. Not

only so, some of the kings of Judah, as Ahaz and Manasseh, actually

introduced idolatry into the very courts of the temple. Of such infamous

conduct both monarchs and subjects may well have been ashamed. All who

put the creature in the place of the Creator, who worship, whether with

their lips or in their hearts, others than God, are virtually guilty of idolatry,

and have need to humble themselves with shame and confusion of face.

(Note the prayer of Daniel [Daniel 9:3-19] – CY – 2014)

 

  • THE MANNER IN WHICH SHAME FOR SIN IS AWAKENED.

 

Ø      The Word of God without propounds the sacredness and the exacting

character of the Divine Law which has been violated, and summons the

offender to contrast his conduct with the commandment which is holy,

just, and good.

 

Ø      The voice of conscience within responds to the voice of the Word,

testifies to its Divinity and its authority, rebukes the sinner for his

rebelliousness, and awakens within the soul fear of the righteous

judgment of God. No wonder that this conjunction should cause:

 

o       bitter humiliation,

o       poignant shame, and,

o       deep contrition.

 

  • THE PROPER EFFECTS OF SHAME FOR SIN.

 

Ø      The offence is loathed and forsaken; the idolater abandons his idols, the

unjust, impure, and profane relinquish their sinful practices.

 

Ø      Reverence ensues for the Law and ordinances of God. Corresponding to

the aversion and humiliation felt in the retrospect of evil courses now

abandoned, is the aspiration which takes possession of the penitent, urging

him to conformity to the Divine character, and subjection to the Divine

will. To be ashamed of sin is to glory in righteousness, to boast one’s self

in God.

 

11 “ And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the

form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out

thereof, and the comings in 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.”

And if they be ashamed of all that they have done. This

cannot signify that Ezekiel was not to show the house until they had

evinced a sincere penitence for past wickedness, since the converse has just

been stated, that their repentance should flow from a disclosure to them of

the house: but that in the event of the presentation to them of the “well-measured”

building awaking in them any disposition of regret and sorrow,

then the prophet should proceed to unfold to them its details. He should

show them first the form of the house, i.e. the external shape of the

building, and the fashion thereof, or its well-proportioned and harmonious

arrangements; the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, i.e. its

exits and entrances (ch. 44:5), and all the forms thereof; which

can only mean the shapes of its several parts; and all the ordinances

thereof, or regulations concerning its use in worship, and all the forms

thereof — the same words as above, and therefore omitted by the Septuagint

as well as some Hebrew manuscripts, but others retain the clause as genuine,

and regard it as an illustration of Ezekiel’s habit of crowding words together

for the sake of emphasis and all the laws thereof, by which were probably

signified the instructions contained in these statutes for sanctification of life.

In addition to rehearsing the above in the hearing of the people, the prophet

was directed to write them in their sight, if it be not open to understand

the “writing” as explanatory of the way in which the “showing” was to be

made.

 

12 “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.”  This is the law of the house. In this instance “the house”

must not be restricted to the temple proper, consisting of the holy place

and the holy of holies, but extended to the whole free space encompassing

the outer court, the quadrangular area of three thousand cubits square

(ch. 42:16-20); and concerning this house as so defined, the fundamental torah,

law, or regulation, is declared to be that of its complete sanctity. Upon the top

of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about; and that the prophet’s

thought is that the entire territory upon the mountain summit included

within the above specified border, and not merely the inner sanctuary, or

even that with its chambers and courts, was to be regarded as most holy, or

as a holy of holies, i.e. was to be consecrated as the innermost adytum of

the tabernacle and temple had been BY THE INDWELLING OF

JEHOVAH!   “This is the law” is the customary underwriting and

superscription of the laws of the priest-code (see Leviticus 6:9, 14; 7:1,

37; 11:46; 12:7; 13:59; 14:54; 15:32); but it need not result from this that

the priest. code borrowed this expression from Ezekiel, who employs it

only in this verse. The more rational hypothesis is that Ezekiel, himself a

priest, made use of this formula, because acquainted with it as already

existing in the so-called priest-code.

 

 

 

                                    The Law of the House (v. 12)

 

The connection to which is owing the introduction and treatment in this

place of the law of the house, appears, though it is not very plain, to be this

— Lawlessness has been described, lawlessness, taking the form of sinful

rebellion against God, and defiance of just authority, especially in the

sacred precincts of the temple, which have been diverted from spiritual

worship to idolatrous rites. Lawlessness, by contrast, suggests law, and

especially law as applicable to the house of God. And to the spiritual

apprehension, the orderly arrangement, the symmetrical proportions of the

temple, and the provision made for all proper services, all speak of the

Church of Christ, which is obviously symbolized by the sanctuary beheld by

the prophet in his vision.

 

  • THE FACT OF DIVINE LAW IN THE CHURCH. With the increase of

habits of observation and of accuracy, with the diminution of superstition,

men have come to recognize throughout the universe the presence and

operation of law. Many different opinions prevail regarding natural law;

but it is recognized as a reality. No wonder that a settled conviction should

have formed itself in men’s minds that “order is Heaven’s first law.” It

would be strange, indeed, were the Church, God’s noblest revelation of

Himself now on earth, exempt from what seems a condition of all God’s

works. As there was a law of the house in the Jewish temple, so also is

there in the Church of the redeemed, THE LIVING TEMPLE OF

THE SPIRIT!

 

  • THE RANGE OF DIVINE LAW IN THE CHURCH. Referring to the

context, we observe that the prophet notes the application of law to the

form, the furniture, the ordinances, the holiness, of the temple. When we

come to consider the range within which law is observable in Christ’s

Church, we find ourselves constrained to believe that the principles are

universal and unmistakable, but that in the details there is uncertainty.

Opinions differ as to the measure in which law of an explicit character

governs the constitution, the ministry, the observances, etc., of the Church

of Christ. Some students are disposed to look to Scripture and to primitive

usage for more explicit instructions regarding Church matters than are

others; and this holds good of those taking different views of what are

known as ecclesiastical principles. But all are agreed:

 

Ø      that mutual love is a universal obligation,

Ø      that acceptable worship must be spiritual, and,

Ø      that efforts are to be made for the enlightenment and salvation of mankind.

 

And such laws as these are of far more importance than many customs and

regulations upon which different opinions prevail.

 

  • THE AUTHORITY OF DIVINE LAW IN THE CHURCH. It is the

authority of right, which, however it may be misunderstood and practically

repudiated by any, is not denied, but is admitted by all. It is also the

authority of love; the Divine Lawgiver Himself declared, “Ye are my

friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”  (John 15:14)

 

  • THE BLESSINGS OF DIVINE LAW IN THE CHURCH. These are

apparent to those who consider how wretched would be the state of a

Church without a law, and how little less wretched the state of a Church

handed over to the control of fallible and imperfect human legislators. The

past history of the Church shows that it has truly prospered just so far as

the rules laid down for it by Divine authority have been obeyed, just so far

as man has been kept in abeyance, and human policy and human selfishness

have been repudiated. Beside the direct blessings which have accrued to

the Church itself through subjection to “the law of the house,” it must be

borne in mind that the world has benefited by the example which has thus

been set to earthly institutions and secular rulers, that owe more than they

are forward to acknowledge to those principles of authority and subjection

which by the Church have been introduced into and impressed upon the

world.  (“the light of the world; a city set on a hill” – Matthew 5:14)

 

 

The Law of the House (vs. 10-12)

 

Through all the ceremonies and observances of the ancient temple one

conspicuous lesson ran, viz. a lesson of purity. Every rite and sacrifice

were vocal with this lesson. It was written on every altar. It was visible in

the priestly dress. It was engraved on the high priest’s miter. On every side

men saw and heard the cardinal truth that God is holy, and that on earth He

has a residence in order to make men holy.

 

  • GOD’S ABODE AMONG MEN IS THE HIGHEST PROOF OF HIS

FAVOR. This is the climax of His condescension. Material gifts He imparts

to all His creatures: “He makes His sun to shine on the evil and on the

good”  (Matthew 5:45).  It is an act of kindness for God to speak to men

through a messenger; an act of kindness to provide pardon for the penitent;

an act of kindness to open the way to spiritual eminence and joy. But to

dwell among inferior, wayward, rebellious creatures is the highest piece of

condescension we can conceive. Such an idea overwhelmed Solomon’s

mind with surprise: “Will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?”

(II Chronicles 6:18)  And the incarnation of God in the Man Christ Jesus

will ever remain the mystery of mysteries. If God be with us we can have

no need. If God be with us we are sure to conquer, sure to rise in excellence,

sure to reach perfection.

 

  • GOD’S AMAZING KINDNESS IS THE SOURCE OF PENITENCE.

The end of this gracious revelation by Ezekiel is “that they may be ashamed

of their iniquities.” “What the Law could not do” love has accomplished

(Romans 8:3).  So constructed is the human heart that love (if mighty enough)

shall move and conquer it. The exile in Babylon had ploughed deep furrows

in the hearts of the Hebrews, and now the dew and sunshine from heaven had

fallen on them to make the soil fruitful. The purity of the human, soul is an

end so transcendently great that no measures are too costly by which such

an end can be gained. The magnificent provision which God was making,

in Ezekiel’s day, for dwelling again in the midst of Israel was well

calculated to awaken remorse and shame in every breast. Jehovah’s good

will, in spite of provocation, was enough to melt the stoutest heart.

 

  • MAN’S PENITENCE IS THE GROUND OF FURTHER

REVELATION FROM GOD,If they be ashamed… show them the form

of the house,” etc. Right moral dispositions are essential to an understanding

of God. “To the froward God will appear as froward  (Psalm 18:26).  To

the Jews of His day Jesus said, “How can ye believe, who receive honor

one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?”

(John 5:44)  As natural light cannot find its way into our dwelling if the

window be barred with shutters so cannot God’s truth enter the mind if the

 mind be choked with worldly things. “The secret of the Lord is with them

that fear Him;” (Psalm 25:14).  “To the upright there ariseth light in the

darkness.” (Ibid. 112:4)  For God to reveal His will to sin-loving men would

be “to cast pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).  That heart must be right

towards God that desires to know the truth; and whensoever a man eagerly

desires the truth, God will reveal it unto Him. The man who has a docile mind

shall see a light that others do not see, shall hear a voice that others do not hear.

 

  • GOD’S REVELATIONS TO MEN HAVE A PRACTICAL

ASPECT. “Write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form

thereof.” God has seen fit never to indulge human curiosity. Questions that

have no practical bearing on conduct God will not answer. To indulge the

curiosity of men would divert them from the great practical tasks required

of them — tasks which are the largest channel of blessing. Further, God

has condescended to put HIS WILL IN A WRITTEN FORM, that it may

be more clearly known, and may have permanence amid the dissolutions

of mankind. These chapters in the prophet’s book which seem to us void of

interest, were written by special command of God. They have served a

useful purpose in the past; they may fulfill a beneficent mission in time to

come. “All Scripture, written by inspiration of God, is profitable” —

(II Timothy 3:16) – it promotes some noble end. The fashion of the temple,

its court within court, its many gates and porches, all conveyed important

lessons to the Jews, they convey momentous lessons still.

 

  • GOD’S TEMPLE IS A VISIBLE AND IMPRESSIVE REVELATION

OF HIS HOLINESS. “The law of the house” is this, viz. holiness. The

sanctuary of God incorporates men’s idea of God. Unless men adopt God’s

thoughts and cherish God’s feelings, they will not build God’s temple after

God’s plan.  (God was very plain with Moses when He said “See, saith

He,  that thou make all things according to the pattern showed thee in

the mount.”  - Hebrews 8:5 – CY – 2014).   This is the visible and eloquent

witness for God, age after age. If it be truly a temple of God, and God

reside in it, it will be a center of LIGHT and PURITY and BLESSING

to the neighborhood. The purifying power will touch every worshipper.

The gracious influence will be felt:

 

Ø      in the home,

Ø      in the city,

Ø      in every commercial circle;

Ø      it will spread through the nation; and

Ø      it will bless the world.

 

“The whole limit thereof round about shall be holy.” What

the sanctuary is, the town or city will be. What the combined sanctuaries

of the land are, THE NATION WILL BE!  This law of God’s house

is influential holiness — holiness that uplifts and ennobles and beautifies

humanity; the holiness that springs from love.

 

 

 

 The Law of the House (v. 12)

 

“The Law of the House universal holiness.”  The law of the house, what was

pre-eminently entitled to be called the law, consisted in the whole region of the

temple mount being most holy. Not, as hitherto, was this characteristic to be

confined to a single apartment of the temple; it was to embrace the entire

circumference occupied by the symbolical institutions of the kingdom —

the chambers allotted to the priests, and even the courts trodden by the

people, as well as the immediate dwelling-place of Jehovah. All were to

have one character of sacredness, because all connected with them were to

occupy a like position of felt nearness to God and equally to enjoy the

privilege of access to Him. For the glory of the Lord — His manifested

presence filled the house; every one, therefore, in every part of the

sacred precincts, stood in very close and hallowed relation to the living

God, and-character must correspond with privilege. The Church of Christ

is now the “house” of the Lord, and respecting its holiness we have:

 

  • ITS TWO SPIRITUAL CONSTITUENTS. These are:

 

Ø      Felt nearness to God. He only can be truly said to be holy who

realizes continually:

o       how near he is to THE LIVING GOD,

o       how intimate is the relationship in which he stands to Him,

o       how free is his access to Him; and

who, realizing this, does in truth “walk with God” and “have

fellowship with the Father.”  (I John 1:3)

 

Ø      Separateness from sin. The holy man is he who, like the righteous and

holy Father Himself, “hates all manner of iniquity,” puts far from him,

far from his sight and from his sympathy as well as from his conversation

and his conduct, everything that defiles and dishonors; he is the man who

repels from his soul, and therefore banishes from his life, all falsehood and

falsity, all impurity, all covetousness, all forms of dishonesty and

intemperance, all irreverence and. profanity.

 

  • ITS UNIVERSAL PREVALENCE. “The whole limit thereof round

about shall be most holy.” Not one particular compartment, but the whole

“mountain of the Lord,”  (I consider selling wares in the vestibule as

being included in this! – CY – 2014)  Thus with the Church of Christ,

holiness is to characterize:

 

Ø      All its members, whatever their position or function may be, whether

they be ministers or whether they hold no official position at all. There

is, indeed, a peculiar and emphatic demand made upon those who speak

for Christ, that they should be holy; but any one member of the Christian

household who does not realize his nearness to God and does not

separate himself from sin, is not qualified to take his place there, he is not

obeying “the law of the house,” he is a disloyal subject, an unworthy

inmate.

Ø      Its members in all their relationships. Not only, though markedly and

unmistakably there, in all their distinctively religious engagements, but

in every sphere in which they move — domestic, social, literary, artistic,

municipal, political. At all times and in every place the people of God are

to have respect to “the law of the house,” for wherever they are they are

members of the household of God.

 

  • THE SECRET OF ITS MAINTENANCE. How are we to be holy,

and to maintain our sanctity in all the rush and strife, under all the burdens

and provocations, in all the unwholesome atmosphere, of daily life?

 

Ø      By being much, in thought and prayer, with Jesus Christ, the holy

Savior. Much of his friendship will mean much of His spirit, for we

constantly grow into the likeness of Him we love.

Ø      By receiving into our minds all we can welcome of Divine truth (see

John 15:3; 17:17).

Ø      By seeking and obtaining the cleansing and renewing influences of

The Holy Spirit.

 

The temple-altar is now described in vs. 13-17, and the ritual for its consecration

explained in vs. 18-27.

 

13 “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.”

The measures of the altar. The altar is הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, that formerly

mentioned as standing in the inner court, immediately in front of the

“house” (ch. 40:47), the altar of burnt offering, and not the altar of

incense in the holy place (ch.41:22). Its dimensions, then omitted,

are now reported in connection with its consecration, which also is

narrated as a pendant to that of the “house,” because of the intimate

connection between the two — the consecration of the altar being

practically equivalent to the consecration of the house, and the

consecration of the house finding approximate expression in the

consecration of the altar. As in the other portions of the temple, so in this,

the measurements are given after the cubits, i.e. by or in cubits, the length

of each cubit being noted at “a cubit and an hand-breadth,” as in

ch.40:5. They are likewise taken first from the foundation upwards (vs. 13-15),

and then from the top downwards (vs. 16-17). The first portion measured

is the bottom; literally, the bosom (Hebrew, , חֵיק, "that which embraces,"

from הוּק “to embrace;” Septuagint, κόλπωμαkolpoma – bosom -

Vulgate, sinus); but what exactly that signified is debated among

interpreters. Gesenius thinks of “the hollowed part for the fire;” Hitzig, of

“a frame running round, a stand in which the altar stood;” Kliefoth, of “a

deepening on the wooden ring in which the whole altar stands;” Keil, of” a

lower hollow or base of the altar, formed by a border of a definite height;”

Smend, of “the channel or gutter of the altar base, which should receive the

sacrificial blood;” Havernick, Currey, and Plumptre, of “a base upon which

the altar stood.” If Smend’s feasible notion be not adopted, then probably

that of Hitzig, Kliefoth, or Keil most nearly expresses the conception of the

Hebrew term. The altar was surrounded by an enclosure in which it seemed

to be set, or out of which to rise; the dimensions of this “stand” or

“enclosure” being a cubit in height, and a cubit in breadth, with a border

on its edge round about a span or half a cubit high. This, the stand just

described, should be the higher place; literally, the back; hence the

support, base (Revised Version), or ὕψος

hupsus elevation

(Septuagint) 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.”

The next measurements which are taken from the bottom upon the ground,

i.e. from the הֵיק, “base,” or ground framework above described, to the lower

settle, i.e. to the top of the undermost of the two “terraces,” or “enclosures,” or

“platforms,” of which the altar consisted, are two cubits of height with one

cubit of breadth; the measurements which follow, from the lesser settle,

i.e. the undermost, to the greater settle, i.e. the uppermost, are four cubits

of height with one cubit of breadth.

 

15  “So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward

shall be four horns.”  Noteworthy is the word altar, which in this verse renders

two distinct Hebrew terms, הַרְאֵל and אֲרִיאֵל, which many, after the

Septuagint (τὸ ἀριὴλ - to ariael), identify as synonymous, and translate by

“hearth.” But the first can only signify “the mount of God,” while the latter

may mean either “lion of God” or “hearth of God.”  Kliefoth, deriving the

latter from אָרָה, “to consume,” and אַיִכ, “a ram,” prefers as its import

“ram-devourer;” Hengstenberg, resolving into אַיִל “a ram,” and אְרַיִ, “a lion,”

proposes as its equivalent “ram-lion.” i.e. “the lion that consumes the rams for

God” — a rendering closely allied to that of Kliefoth. In any case, the terms

allude to parts of the altar: the second, Ariel (equivalent to the hearth on which

God’s fire burns), according to Keil, Kliefoth, and the best expositors, meaning

the flat surface of the altar; and the first, Harel (conveying the ideas of elevation

and sanctity), the base on which it rested. The height of this base was four cubits,

while from the hearth projected four horns, as in the altars of the Mosaic tabernacle

(Exodus 27:2; 38:2; Leviticus 4:7,18; 8:15) and Solomonic temple (Psalm 118:27).

If the length of these be set down at three cubits, then the whole height of the altar

will be in cubits — one for the ground bottom, two for the lower settle, four for the

upper, four for the bases of the hearth, with three for the horns, equal to fourteen

in all; or, omitting the horns, of which the length is not given, and the altar

base, which is distinguished from the altar, ten cubits in all for the altar

proper. As to the symbolic import of the “horns,” Kurtz, after Hofmaun

and Kliefoth, finds this in the idea of elevation, the “horns,” as the highest

point in the altar, bringing the blood put upon them nearer to God than the

sides did the blood sprinkled on them (see ‘Sacrificial Worship of the Old

Testament,’ § 13); Keil, after Bahr, in the notions of strength, beauty, and

blessing, the horns of an animal being the points in which its power, grace,

and fullness of life are concentrated, and therefore fitting emblems of those

points in the altar in which appears “its significance as a place of the

revelation of Divine might and strength, of Divine salvation and blessing”

(‘Biblische Archaologie,’ § 20).

 

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.” The measurements that now begin concern the breadth

of the altar, and proceed from above downwards. First the altar, or, hearth

of God (Hebrew, ariel) was twelve cubits long and twelve broad, i.e.

was square in the four squares (or, sides) thereof, or a perfect square

(compare Exodus 27:1; Revelation 21:16). Next the settle, or, enclosure (Hebrew,

הָעֲזָרָה) of v. 14, was fourteen cubits long, and fourteen broad in the four

squares (or, sides) thereof; the fourteen being made up of the twelve cubits of the

altar-hearth’s side with one cubit of ledge from the settle all round. The only

question is to which “settle,” the upper or the under, reference is made. Some

expositors, identifying the greater Azarah with the Harel, i.e. the “upper settle,”

with “the mount of God” or the base of the hearth, make the altar height only

seven cubits from the ground to the hearth. The general belief, however, is that

they cannot be so identified. Among interpreters who distinguish them, Kliefoth,

with whom Smend agrees, holds the “settle” in this verse to be the harel,

or “mount of God,” which extended (Smend says with a hek. or “gutter”)

one cubit on each side beyond the ariel, or “hearth of God,” so that the

“mount of God,” on which the “hearth of God” rested, was fourteen cubits

square. Then, assuming a similar extension of one cubit at each stage — in

the greater azarah, the lesser azarah, and the hek, or ground bottom — he

finds the surface of the greater azarah to be sixteen, of the lesser azarah

eighteen, and of the ground bottom twenty cubits square. Keil, with whom

Schroder and Currey agree, objects to this as involving too much of

arbitrary assumption, and takes the “settle” of this verse to mean the lower

azarah; so that no additional measurements are required beyond those

given in the text. If the square surface of the greater azarah be considered

as having been the same as that of the harel, so that their sides were

continuous, then, as the “ground bottom” extended one cubit on each side

beyond the lower azarsh, the altar at its base was a square of sixteen cubits.

Comparing now these measurements with those of the altar of burnt

offering in the tabernacle and the temple, one finds that the former was

only five cubits square and three cubits high (Exodus 27:1), while the

latter was twenty cubits broad, but only ten cubits high (II Chronicles

4:1), which awakes the suspicion that the different views above noted have

been insensibly influenced by a desire on the part of their authors to make

them harmonize with the measurements of the temple. But there does not

appear sufficient reason why the measurements of Ezekiel’s altar should

have agreed with those of Solomon’s rather than with those of Moses’,

The border (or, parapet) of half a cubit which ran round the ledge, or

bottom, of a cubit, at the foot of the lower azarah was clearly designed, not

for the protection of the priest officiating, but for ornament. The stairs (or,

steps), mention of which closes the description, mark a departure, not from

the pattern of the Solomonic temple, in which the altar must have had steps

(see Keil’sBiblische Archaologie,’ p. 141), but from the pattern of the

tabernacle, in which altar-steps were disallowed (Exodus 20:26) and

did not exist (Ibid. ch. 38:1-7). But if, as Jewish tradition asserts, the

post-exilic altar had no steps as Ezekiel’s had, having been reached by an

inclined plane, because in the so-called book of the covenant steps were

forbidden, how does this harmonize with the theory that Ezekiel’s vision

temple was designed as a model for the post-exilic temple? And why, if the

priest-code was the composition of a writer who worked in the spirit and

on the lines of Ezekiel, should it have omitted to assign steps to the

tabernacle altar?

 

18  “And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; 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.”

The ordinances of the altar. These were not the regulations

for the sacrificial worship to be afterwards performed upon this altar, but

the rites to be observed at its consecration when the day should arrive for

its construction. As the altar in the tabernacle (Exodus 29:1-46;

Leviticus 8:11-33), and that in Solomon’s temple (I Kings 8:63-66;

II Chronicles 7:4-10), so was this in Ezekiel’s “house” dedicated by a

special ceremonial before being brought into ordinary use. The particular

ritual observed by Solomon is not described in detail; but a comparison

between that enjoined upon and practiced by Moses with that revealed to

and published by Ezekiel shows that while in some respects they agreed, in

other important particulars they differed. In both the ceremony largely

consisted in offering sacrifice and smearing blood, and lasted seven days;

but in the former the ceremony was performed exclusively by Moses,

consisted, in addition to the above, of an anointing of the altar, the holy

utensils, and the tabernacle itself with oil, and was associated with the

consecration of the priests; whereas in the latter, in addition to some

variations in the sacrificial victims, which will be noted in the course of

exposition, the priests should bear an active part — there should be no

anointing with oil, and no consecration of the priests, the priesthood being

assumed as already existing. If in Ezekiel’s ritual there was no mention of a

cleansing of the sanctuary (that of ch.45:18 referring to a special

case), but only of the altar, that was sufficiently explained by the

circumstance that Jehovah was already in the “house.” The final clause, to

offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon, indicates

the purpose for which the altar was to be used.

 

19 “And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of

Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the

Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering.”  Thou shalt give to the priests.

This injunction, which was addressed to Ezekiel, not as the representative of the

people or of the priests, but as the prophet of Jehovah, made it clear that Ezekiel

was not to act in the future consecration of the altar alone as Moses did in

the dedication of the tabernacle altar, but that the priests were to bear their

part in the ceremonial. If some expressions, as the use of “thou” in this and

the following verses, appear to suggest that Ezekiel alone should officiate,

the employment of “they” in vs. 22, 24, 25, 26 as plainly indicates that

Ezekiel’s share in the ceremonial was to be performed through the medium

of the priests. And, indeed, if the temple was a pattern designed to be

converted into an actual building after the return from captivity, as the

newer criticism contends, it is apparent that Ezekiel could not have been

expected to have any hand in its erection. The Levites that be of the seed

of Zadok. The assistants of Ezekiel and the officiating priests at the new

altar were not to be the whole body of the Levitical priesthood, but those

only who derived their descent from Zadok (see on ch.44:15). A

young bullock for a sin offering. With the offering of this the ritual

commenced, as in Exodus 29:1, 10 and Leviticus 8:14 (compare ch. 45:18).

It is observable that in the Levitical code a young bullock, i.e. of a bullock in

the full vigor of youth, is appointed as the requisite sin offering for the priest,

i.e. the high priest, who was the head and representative of the people.

 

20 “And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four

horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the

border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.”

And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it. The

application of the victim’s blood to and upon the altar formed an integral

part of every expiatory offering; but “whereas in all the other kinds of

sacrifice the blood was poured indifferently round about the altar of the

fore court, in the sin offering it was not to be sprinkled, lest the intention

should be overlooked, but smeared with the finger upon the horns of the

altar (‘And the priest shall put of the blood upon the horns,’ Leviticus

4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34). In the present instance the blood was to be carefully

put upon the four horns of the altar — the only part to be smeared with blood in

the Mosaic consecration (Exodus 29:12) — the four corners of the settle,

or azarah, but whether the greater or lesser is left undecided, though in all

probability it was the under, if not both, and the border round about, that

mentioned in v. 17; and the effect of this smearing with blood should be

to cleanse and purge, or, make atonement for, the altar; not for the

people, without an atoned-for altar, no atoned-for people (ohne entsuhnten

Altar, kein entsuhntes Volk), but for the altar, either, because, being made out

of a part of the sinful earth and world, it required to be sanctified, or because, as

the sins of the people having been, as it were, transferred to it, it stood in need

of cleansing.

 

21 “Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall

burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary.”  As a

further stage in the ceremony, the Bullock of the sin offering, i.e. the carcass

of the victim, was to be burned by Ezekiel or the priest acting for him in

the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary, as in the Mosaic code

it was prescribed that the flesh of the bullock, with his skin and dung, should

be burned without the camp (Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:12, 21; 9:11, 15; compare

Hebrews 13:13).  The “place of the house, without the sanctuary” meant the gizrah,

or separate place (ch.41:12), which was a part of the “house” in the widest sense,

and yet belonged not to the “sanctuary” in the strictest sense. Smend thinks of the

migrash, “suburbs” or “open spaces,” which surrounded the temple precincts (ch.45:2);

and these were certainly without the sanctuary, while they were also appointed for the

holy place, and might have been designated, as here, miphkadh, as being always under

the inspection of the temple watchmen. The fact that in post-exilic times one of

the city gates was called Hammiphkadh (Nehemiah 3:31) lends

countenance to this view. That in this “appointed place” the carcass of the

bullock should be consumed was a deviation from the Mosaic ritual, which

prescribed that the fat portions should be burned upon the altar, and the

rest eaten as a sacrificial meal (Leviticus 4:10, 26, 35; 7:15, 31;

Deuteronomy 12:7, 17-18). Keil appears to think that the fat portions

may have been burned upon the altar, although it is not so mentioned, and

that only those points were mentioned in which deviations from the

ordinary ritual took place.

 

22 “And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without

blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they

did cleanse it with the bullock.”  The second day’s ceremonial should begin with

the offering of a kid of the goats (rather, a he-goat) without blemish for a sin

offering, the ritual observed being probably the same as that of the preceding

day.  The substitution of a “he-goat,” the offering for a ruler who sins

(Leviticus 4:23-24), instead of a “young bullock,” which formed the

first day’s offering, was a deviation from the ritual prescribed for the

consecration of the Mosaic altar and priesthood (Exodus 29:36). The

object of the offering of the “he-goat” was the same as that of the offering

of the “bullock,” viz. to cleanse the altar; not, however, as if the previous

day’s cleansing had been insufficient and required to be supplemented, or

had already become inefficient so as to call for renewal, but in the sense of

recalling the meaning and impression of the previous day’s ceremonial, and

so in a manner linking it on with the several rites of the succeeding days.

 

23 “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.  24 And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests

shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt

offering unto the LORD.”  The presentation of a burnt offering unto the Lord

was the next item in the ritual that should be observed. The material composing

it should consist of a young bullock without blemish, as in the ordinary

sacrificial code (Leviticus 1:3-5), and a ram out of the flock

without blemish, as in the consecration of the priests (Exodus 29:18)

and of the altar (Leviticus 8:18). The persons presenting it should be

the prophet, thou, and the priests, they, as his representatives. The mode

of offering should be by burning, the distinctive act in a burnt offering, as

that of a sin offering was sprinkling, and that of a peace offering the

sacrificial meal, and by casting salt upon the carcass, a feature in every

meat offering (Leviticus 2:13), and here added probably to intensify the

idea of purification. In the corrosive and antiseptic property of salt there is

hidden something of the purifying and consuming nature of fire; hence the

Redeemer, in Mark 9:49, combines the salting of the sacrifice with the

purifying fire of self- denial (Kurtz, ‘Sacrificial Worship of the Old

Testament,’ § 145). The significance of it should be an expression of

complete self-surrender unto Jehovah, as the necessary outcome of the

antecedent act of expiation. The time of its presentation should be

immediately after the cleansing of the altar on the second day, and

presumably also on the succeeding days. Whether the burnt offering was,

or was not offered also on the first day is difficult to decide, though the

former opinion has, perhaps, most in its favor. The Mosaic ritual always

enjoined a burnt offering to be offered as a sequel to the sin offering

(compare Exodus 29:14, 18, with Leviticus 8:14, 18; and, in accordance

with this, vs. 23-24 naturally follow on vs. 19-21, v. 22 being interposed

because of the variation in the sin offering for the second day.

 

25 “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.  Kliefoth begins them with the second; Keil,

Schroder, Currey, and the majority of expositors take them as inclusive of

the first and second. In favor of Kliefoth’s view may be

urged that the first day appears to stand out from the others, ‘and to be

distinguished by the peculiar character of its offering — a young bullock

for a sin offering, without any accompanying burnt offering; that the

offerings on the second and subsequent days are alike, a he-goat and a ram;

that on each of the seven days a goat is mentioned for a sin offering,

whereas on the first day it was a young bullock that was slain; and that in

Zechariah 3:9 occurs an allusion to what seems a special day such as

this first day of Ezekiel. In support of Keil’s interpretation it is contended

that the seven days were to be employed in purging or making atonement

for, and purifying the altar, which was in part at least (even admitting a

distinction in meaning between חָטָּא and טָהַר) the business of the first

day; that the general statement in v. 20 as to a goat for a sin offering on

the seven days admits of easy qualification by the previous statement in

v. 19; and that seven days was the normal duration of religious

solemnities under the Law (see Leviticus 8:33; I Kings 8:65; II Chronicles 7:8-9).

 

26 “Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall

consecrate themselves.” They shall purge the altar and they shall consecrate

themselves; more correctly, they — i.e. the priests — shall consecrate it; literally,

fill its hand. The phrase, מִלֵּאיָד, “to fill one’s hand,” sc. with gifts, occurs with

reference to Jehovah (Exodus 32:29; I Chronicles 29:5; II Chronicles 29:31). It is

also employed in the sense of filling the hand of another, as e.g. of a priest, with

sacrificial gifts, when he is instituted into his sacred office (Exodus 28:41; 29:9;

Leviticus 21:10; compare Ibid. ch.8:27). Here the hand to be filled is that of

the altar, which is personified for the purpose (compare the use of the terms

“bosom” and “lip” in connection with the altar). The meaning is that the altar,

at its consecration, should have a plentiful supply of gifts, to symbolize that the

offering of such gifts was the work for which it was set apart, and that it

should never be without them.

 

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; and I will accept you,

saith the Lord GOD.” The eighth day, and so forward. Omit “so.” With this

day the regular sacrificial service should commence. Thenceforward the priests

should offer upon the altar the burnt offerings and peace offerings of the

people. The omission of sin offerings is explained by Keil, on the principle

that “burnt offerings” and “peace offerings” were “the principal and most

frequent sacrifices, whilst sin offerings and meat offerings were implied

therein;” Kliefoth adding that ch. 44:27, 29; 45:17, 19, 22-23, 25;

and 46:20 show it cannot be inferred that sin offerings were no more to be

offered on this altar. At the same time, the prominence given to “burnt”

and “peace” as distinguished from “sin offerings” may have pointed to the

fact that the sacrificers who should use this altar would be “a people in a

state of grace,” to whom Jehovah was prepared to say, I WILL ACCEPT YOU-

 not your offerings alone, but your persons as well; and not these because of

those, but contrariwise, these on account of these.

 

 

Purification and Preparation (vs. 13-27)

 

Almost all the regulations pertaining to the sacrifices under the old

economy bore upon the supreme question of sanctity. God would impress

upon His people, by every means and in every way, that the Holy One of

Israel must be approached by those only who were pure and holy; that if

they would “ascend unto the hill of the Lord” they must come “with clean

hands and a pure heart”  (Psalm 24:3-4).  Hence everything and every one

had to be carefully purified or consecrated in preparation for the solemn service.

In these verses we have the same idea once more affirmed in the prophet’s

vision. The priests who officiated were to be duly consecrated (v. 26);

the animals slain were to be very carefully selected, only those without

blemish being allowed (vs. 22-23, 25). And even the altar itself, which

might have been thought to be incapable of any impurity, had to be

formally purged and cleansed (v. 20). Sin offerings and burnt offering

were to be presented, not forgetting the salt (v. 25), that the altar might

be perfectly prepared for use, and that the worshippers who approached it

might find acceptance with the Lord (v. 27). Such preparation by

sacrifice is unknown to the Church of Christ, the old ritual having happily

become obsolete. But the essential idea of it remains and WILL NEVER

DISAPPEAR!   Before we draw near to God in public worship it becomes

us to make preparation answering to the purification of the older time.

There is:

 

  • THE PREPARATION OF THE BODY. Our Lord said there was a

certain “kind” of evil which could only be expelled after prayer and fasting

(Matthew 17:21). We must recognize the fact that one bodily condition

is much more favorable to pure and sustained devotion than another; e.g. a

wakeful rather than a somnolent one; a wisely and moderately nourished

state in preference to one incapacitated by indulgence on the one hand or

by prolonged abstinence on the other. Not in weariness and exhaustion, nor

yet in a disabling and unfitting fullness, should we bring our offering of

prayer or praise, of exhortation or docility, unto the house of the Lord.

 

  • THE PREPARATION OF THE MIND. They who have undertaken

the sacred task of speaking for God should surely prepare for this high and

exalted work. If we carefully prepare to speak in our own name, how much

more should we do so when we speak in His! Should we not gather all the

knowledge we can anywise obtain, think our subject through to the best of

our ability, search the Scriptures to sustain the truth we are to utter by the

Word of God, lay all our mental acquisitions and information under

contribution to give clearness and cogency to our argument or appeal,

order and arrange our thoughts that we may present them as freely and as

forcibly as we can?  (And let us not forget our need of prayer!  Without

God we can do nothing! – John 15:5 – CY – 2014)

 

  • THE PREPARATION OF THE HEART. This preparation, more than

that of the body or the mind, answers to the purification described in the

text. Our hearts need to be “cleansed and purged” (v. 20). It has to be

cleansed from:

 

Ø      All self-seeking; so that we aim, not at our own honor or advancement,

but at the glory of Christ and the good of men.

 

Ø      All worldliness and vanity; so that when we bow in prayer or assume

the attitude of attentiveness we are not lost in the remembrance or the

anticipation of bargains in the market or of pleasures in society.

(Mr. Spurgeon said he used to have some of the worst thoughts

during prayer – no doubt an onslaught from Satan – CY – 2014)

 

Ø      The search for enjoyment rather than the seeking after God; the

temptation to come to the house of the Lord to partake of that which is

sweet unto our taste rather than that which is strengthening to our

character and nourishing to our soul. Such preparation or purification as

this must be wrought in the secret chamber of devotion, WHEN WE

ARE ALONE WITH GOD and:

 

o       in solemn contemplation and

o       in earnest and believing prayer.

 

 

Foundation of Acceptance with God (v. 27)

 

It is a question vital to the interests of men, “How to find reconciliation

with God.” If the Bible contains no authentic information on this head, it

contains no real gospel. Martin Luther tersely described this doctrine of

justification as the hinge of a standing or a falling Church. It is the pivot of

salvation or perdition for every man. What the sun is in the midst of the

solar system, what the heart is to the human body, what the mainspring is

to a watch, the doctrine of man’s justification before God is to all the other

doctrines of religion. On this momentous matter God has clearly revealed

to us His will. It is so plainly unfolded that he “may run who reads”

(Habukkuk 2:2).  The Old Testament is in complete accord with the New.

Acceptance is based on VICARIOUS SACRIFICE!   On the part of man

active and implicit faith is required.

 

  • ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD IS MAN’S PRESSING WANT. All other

needs are subordinate to this. God’s favor converts man’s hell into heaven.

To bring men into reconciliation with God, all these visions were

vouchsafed to Ezekiel.

 

Ø      For this, all the sacrifice of animal life had been made.

Ø      For this, the temple had been erected, and was now to be reconstructed.

Ø      For this, the office of priesthood had been instituted.

Ø      For this, every written revelation has been given.

Ø      For this, God’s mind has been deeply concerned.

 

·         FOR MAN’S ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD A MEDIATING PRIEST

IS REQUIRED. The work of bringing men back to God is so full of

difficulty that it must be accomplished by distinct stages. A priest serves

many useful purposes. He is an instructor, by deed, if not by utterance. He

is a sympathizing helper. He has near access to God, and interest with Him.

The priest must be, of all men, the least erring. His mission must be marked

as specially sacred. Every circumstance which can lend sanctity to his

office must be provided. He must be mature in years, experienced in human

needs. His person must be free from blemish. Frequent ablutions must be

practiced. Exact obedience to the commands of God must be observed. He

must be a pattern man. God has been pleased to do for us through a Priest

what he will not do without a Priest. And all the complicated arrangements

of the priesthood were designed to impress men’s minds with the gigantic

evil of rebellion, and with the difficulty of regaining the lost place in God’s

regard.

 

  • FOR MAN’S ACCEPTANCE VICARIOUS DEATH IS NEEDED.

The necessity for substitution for the endurance of penalty prior to

reconciliation with God may be a necessity on God’s side as well as a

necessity on man’s side. The maintenance of the Divine government

throughout the universe is an object of supreme moment. To make pardon

cheap and easy would loosen the bonds of loyalty, and depreciate the value

of righteousness, in men’s esteem. As law had expressed the moral

relations between God and men, law must be maintained. The penalty of

sin must be met. Innocent lambs and heifers must die that sentiments of

penitence may be deepened in the human soul. So valuable is reconciliation

between man and God that it is worthwhile to sacrifice hecatombs of

inferior animals in order to gain the end. This was an educational process,

that men might perceive how devoid of efficacy any sacrifice must be, short

of THE PERFECT SACRIFICE OF GOD’S SON!   Whether our minds

can comprehend the reason of the atonement or not, it is clearly the will of

God that restoration of man can come only by the channel of VICARIOUS

SACRIFICE! 

 

  • FOR MAN’S ACCEPTANCE A COMPLETE CYCLE OF TIME

FOR PREPARATION MUST ELAPSE. “When these days are expired, it

shall be.” Day after day, for seven days, a victim slain was demanded in

order to purify the altar. The Jewish altar had been grievously desecrated

and polluted; hence a complete purgation was required. Not until the

completion of the week could the priests proceed to present any offerings

for guilty men. A cycle of time was to be spent in the work of preparation.

In like manner, the patriarchal and Levitical periods were a time of

preparation for Messiah’s work. Until men have learnt the tremendous evil

there is in sin, until they have learned that without Divine interposition moral

renovation is impossible, they will not value A SAVIOUR FROM SIN;

they will not listen to Him. Therefore “in the fullness time” — then, and not

till then —“the Son of God came forth.”  (Galatians 4:4)

 

  • FOR MAN’S ACCEPTANCE COMPLETE CONSECRATION OF

SELF IS DEMANDED. The offerings appointed to be laid upon the altar

were “burnt offerings.” The burnt offerings must precede the peace

offerings. By a burnt offering is meant that which must be wholly

consumed. The sacrifice must be complete. (I recommend a study of the

offerings in Leviticus chapters 1-7 – this website - There is a lot more to grasp

than what is on the surface – CY – 2014).  A profound moral lesson is

here inculcated; IT SHOULD BE WRITTEN IN CAPITALS -  Salvation

means complete surrender to God, complete devotion to His service. If we

keep back anything from God, we still grieve His heart, we mar our characters,

we imperil our salvation. If one foe remains in the citadel, the city is not safe.

One weed left in the garden may spread and spoil the whole. One germ of

disease in the system may issue in death. Loyalty, to be worth anything,

must be complete. In order to be saved, the Son of God must reign

supremely in us, King over every thought.

 

 

Acceptance (v. 27)

 

The purpose of the temple is the establishment and maintenance of

harmonious relations between God and the sons of men. By sin those

relations have been interrupted; by religion they are restored. What was

symbolized by the material temple at Jerusalem — its priesthood and

services and sacrifices — is realized in the spiritual temple of the new

covenant, in which Christ is the Sacrifice and the Priest, and in which the

Holy Spirit sheds the Shechinah-glory through the holiest of all.

Acceptance thus takes the place of estrangement.

 

  • ACCEPTANCE IS OF GOD’S GRACE, AND IS UNDESERVED.
  • ACCEPTANCE IS IN VIRTUE OF THE HIGH PRIEST’S

MEDIATION AND INTERCESSION.

  • ACCEPTANCE IS FOR THE OBEDIENT, THE COMPLIANT,

THE SUBMISSIVE.

  • ACCEPTANCE IS ALIKE OF THE PERSON AND OF THE

SERVICE.

  • ACCEPTANCE INVOLVES THE ENJOYMENT OF ALL THE

MANIFESTATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE DIVINE

FAVOR.

 

  • APPLICATION.

 

Ø      One aim of a spiritual ministry to men is to convince them that

in their sinful state they are without acceptance with God.

Ø      Another aim of such a ministry is to exhibit the divinely appointed

method of obtaining and enjoying acceptance with God.

Ø      Yet another aim is to expose false and delusive representations of the

way of acceptance. “There is one God, and one Mediator between God

and man, the Man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all,

 to be testified in due time.”  (I Timothy 2:5-6)

 

 

 

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