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Ezekiel 45:1 Moreover, when you shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, you shall offer an offering to Yahweh, a holy portion of the land; the length shall be the length of twenty-five thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand: it shall be holy in all its border all around- The confusion has been in deciding whether to take some of the measurements in reeds or cubits (which are much smaller), seeing that the Hebrew text strangely omits the measurement unit. The “oblation” would be about 60 miles square if we measure it in reeds. This area would encroach either upon the Mediterranean or the Dead Sea, and it seems contextually more likely that a smaller area measured in cubits is intended. If measured in reeds, this large area somewhat disrupts the distribution of land amongst the tribes as detailed later in Ezekiel. If the missing measurement unit here is cubits and not reeds, it is likely that it is in the dimensions of the temple itself. The holy oblation described in Ez. 45:1 is to be “the length of five and twenty thousand”. “Reeds” in the AV is in italics. The following verse speaks of cubits as the measurement unit. Only the context can decide whether cubits or reeds is meant in many of the Ezekiel passages- although the LXX, RSV etc. give cubits rather than reeds in 42:16 and other passages. If it is going to be thousands of reeds, then it would be over 1 mile square. However, Jer. 30:18 RSV prophesies: “the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall be where it used to be”. And passages as varied as Zech. 1, Ps. 68 and Micah 4 all insist that the temple of the restored Kingdom was to built within the city of Jerusalem. If the temple is 500 reeds square, there will be no room for a city, assuming the city will be of the same size as the previous old city of Jerusalem.  

Ezekiel 45:2 Of this there shall be for the holy place five hundred in length by five hundred in breadth, square all around; and fifty cubits for its suburbs all around- As noted on :1, the "five hundred" isn't defined.

Ezekiel 45:3 Of this measure you shall measure a length of twenty-five thousand, and a breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the sanctuary, which is most holy- The sanctuary was in the midst of the tribal allotments (Ez. 48:8). The entire area is described as "the most holy", literally "the holy of holies". The conception of sacred space is challenged in the Ezekiel temple. The most holy in Solomon's temple was 20 x 20 cubits, about 9 x 9 meters. Now, the entire temple area is the most holy.

Ezekiel 45:4 It is a holy portion of the land; it shall be for the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who come near to minister to Yahweh; and it shall be a place for their houses, and a holy place for the sanctuary- The priests were to live in one specific area near the temple, whereas under the Mosaic Law, the priests were given land to live on in each of the various tribes of Israel. And yet the record of the restoration stresses that the priests lived not around the temple, but in various cities throughout Judah (Ezra 2:70; Neh. 7:73; 11:3,20; 12:44). They disobeyed about everything in the regulations of Ez. 40-48.

Ezekiel 45:5 Twenty-five thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth, shall be to the Levites, the ministers of the house, for a possession to themselves, as places to live in- AV "for a possession for twenty chambers". This suggests the number of ministers is relatively small, contradicting the theory of a huge temple for the entire planet. The small size and relatively small number of ministers is far more appropriate to a temple intended to be rebuilt by the returned exiles.

Ezekiel 45:6 You shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand broad, and twenty-five thousand long, side by side with the offering of the holy portion: it shall be for the whole house of Israel- Adding the 10,000 reeds of breadth for the Levites’ domain, the 10,000 for the priests’ land, and the 5000 for the city quarter, makes a total breadth of 25,000 reeds; so that the tract in which all these were included was a square.

Ezekiel 45:7 Whatever is for the prince shall be on the one side and on the other side of the holy offering and of the possession of the city, in front of the holy offering and in front of the possession of the city, on the west side westward, and on the east side eastward; and in length answerable to one of the portions, from the west border to the east border- Had Judah repented at the time of the restoration, a Davidic ruler would have been raised up, Zerubbabel is the most obvious candidate (see on Zech. 6). He would have reigned "for ever", for an age. But he dropped the baton, or at least Judah were unwilling for this scenario. And so the prophecies were reinterpreted and rescheduled for total and eternal fulfilment in the Lord Jesus. "The prince" of the envisaged restored temple in Ez. 40-48 refers to this same individual. See on Ez. 37:25.

Ezekiel 45:8 In the land it shall be to him for a possession in Israel: and My princes shall no more oppress My people; but they shall give the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes-
The idea that some prophecies are more command than prediction helps make sense of the prophecy of Ez. 40-48. When we read “my princes shall no more oppress my people… the shekel shall be twenty gerahs… you shall offer an oblation” (Ez. 45:8,12,13), the emphasis needs to be placed upon the word “shall”. This was a command to the elders of the people- made explicit in passages like Ez. 45:9: “Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil… you shall have just balances”. By failing to be obedient, God’s people effectively disallowed the fulfilment of the ‘prophecy’ that could have come true if they had been obedient to it. “My princes [in this new temple system] shall no more oppress my people” as they did in the recent past (cp. Jer. 22:3; Ez. 18:7,12,16; 22:7,29; Zeph. 3:1, where the same Hebrew word for “oppress” is found). Thus there was to be repentance for the ‘oppression’ which Ezekiel had earlier had to criticize Israel for. They went into captivity because the princes and priests oppressed the people (Jer. 21:12; 22:3,17); in the new temple, this was not to be so. The princes were to give the rest of the land to the people of Israel. And yet, in Nehemiah’s time the princes of the people did again oppress them, e.g. through making them mortgage their lands to them so that effectively they took it for themselves (Neh. 5:3). This is the tragedy of Israel’s refusal to learn… The intention was that those hearing Ezekiel's words in captivity would “bear the punishment of their iniquity… that the house of Israel go no more astray” (Ez. 14:11).   

Ezekiel 45:9 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Let it suffice you, princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute justice and righteousness instead of dispossessing My people, says the Lord Yahweh- Nehemiah 5 records that Judah did the very opposite on returning from exile, and Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi all record social injustice as being the order of the day at the time of the restoration.

Ezekiel 45:10 You shall have just balances, a just ephah and a just bath- They were to have “just” balances, as opposed to the “unjust” [s.w.] balances which they had in the lead up to the captivity (Jer. 22:13, AV “unrighteous”).

Ezekiel 45:11 The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of a homer, and the ephah the tenth part of a homer: its measure shall be after the homer- Malachi and Haggai so bitterly complain at the way the priests didn’t serve God properly in the restored temple.  They were to use just measures (:9-14), unlike what they had previously done. But they robbed God in their sacrifices in the restored temple (Mal. 3:8).

Ezekiel 45:12 The shekel shall be twenty gerahs. Twenty shekels plus twenty-five shekels plus fifteen shekels shall be your mina- The standard, defining weights were destroyed during the Babylonian attack, according to Josephus.

Ezekiel 45:13 This is the offering that you shall offer: the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of wheat; and you shall give the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of barley- There are intentional differences with the Mosaic requirements. There is probably no great symbolic meaning in the differences, rather is the point being made that acceptance of the new covenant meant effectively that the Mosaic law had been ended. This is evidence enough that the law of Moses was not literally "eternal" but was for that age or olahm.

Ezekiel 45:14 And the set portion of oil, of the bath of oil, the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is ten baths, even a homer (for ten baths are a homer)- This is significantly more than the Mosaic law required, although there was to be only one daily offering in the morning, and not also in the evenings.

Ezekiel 45:15 And one lamb of the flock, out of two hundred, from the well-watered pastures of Israel for a meal offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make atonement for them, says the Lord Yahweh- T
he Ezekiel temple prophecies may be a purely conditional prophecy, which will not now come true in that Israel were disobedient. This would then allow us to be more comfortable with the passages in Hebrews which speak as if the system of sacrifices has finished for all time. It would also enable us to sit more comfortably with the Ezekiel passages which speak of the sacrifices offered in that temple as actually achieving atonement, i.e. forgiveness of sins (Ez. 45:15,22,25,17). They are not just ‘pointing back’ as teaching aids to the Lord’s work; they are framed as actually enabling, by their blood, forgiveness. It may be, however, that the Ezekiel prophecies had an intended and possible fulfilment at the time of the restoration under Ezra, but this was nullified by Israel’s lack of response; and therefore, at least in principle, the prophecies had their fulfilment delayed until the second coming. The lesson that comes out of all this is the extent to which God is willing to work with us, to tailor His purpose according to how far we are prepared to work with Him, and in that sense to allow Himself to be limited by us. There could be no greater inspiration to a maximal commitment to His purpose and His work. 

Ezekiel 45:16 All the people of the land shall give to this offering for the prince in Israel-  “The people of the land” were to have a part in the new system of things (Ez. 45:16,22; 46:3,9), and yet this very phrase is repeatedly used concerning the Samaritan people who lived in the land at the time of the restoration (Ezra 4:4; 10:2,11; Neh. 9:24; 10:30,31). God’s intention was that they should eventually be converted unto Him; it was His intention that Ezekiel’s temple be built at the time of the restoration under Ezra. And yet Judah intermarried with them, learnt their language, and were dragged away from true Yahweh worship by them at the time. The later separation from the 'Samaritans' was only after a few generations from the restoration. But Zech. 7:10; Mal. 3:5  criticize the Jews who returned and built the temple for continuing to oppress the stranger / Gentile. Israel would not. Is. 56:6 defines what is meant by “a house of prayer for all nations”- it is for those of all nations who “join themselves to the Lord, to serve him and to love the name of the Lord... every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant”.

Ezekiel 45:17 It shall be the prince’s part to give the burnt offerings, and the meal offerings, and the drink offerings, in the feasts, and on the new moons, and on the Sabbaths, in all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering and the meal offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel- It was this which in principle inspired Nehemiah to generously provide food to God's people and the local people of the land (Neh. 5:17). "The prince" here is presented as also a priest; and Zech. 6 presents the possibility of a king-priest arising as leader of the returned exiles. But it never came about, and so these things have their spirit fulfilled in the Lord Jesus, although not the exact letter of them.

Ezekiel 45:18 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: In the first month, in the first day of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish; and you shall cleanse the sanctuary- We wonder why the Lord Jesus and His assistant priests would need regular cleansing in the age to come. The entire situation presented here clearly applies to mortal, sinful people and priesthood, which could have arisen at the time of the restoration.

Ezekiel 45:19 The priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it on the door posts of the house and on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the posts of the gate of the inner court- This alludes to the Passover, which under Moses' law was to begin on the tenth day of the first month. But this was to be done on the first day of the first month (:18). The differences seem intended to underline the fact that the Mosaic law was over. But Judah refused to accept this revision of the Passover law, and to this day keep the Mosaic law rather than that laid down here.

Ezekiel 45:20 So you shall do on the seventh day of the month for everyone who errs, and for him who is ignorant: so you shall make atonement for the house- This appears to be a revised form of the day of atonement. We note that sins of ignorance still require atonement. This ought to humble us, realizing that ignorance is no excuse. We are saved by grace rather than specific repentance and obtaining of forgiveness for every sin.

Ezekiel 45:21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten- There is no Day of Atonement mentioned in Ezekiel's new system, because the exiles were to have repented and been forgiven on a more permanent basis than under the Mosaic system.

Ezekiel 45:22 On that day shall the prince prepare for himself- That the "prince" needed to prepare for himself a sin offering is surely evidence that the Lord Jesus is not in view; not only does He need no sin offering, but He was Himself the sin offering. "The prince" must refer to a prince of the restored line of David at the time of the restoration, although as I have explained on Zechariah, the various possible candidates all dropped the baton.


And for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering- See on :16; "the people of the land" refer to Gentiles who were envisaged as accepting Yahweh in this new system. This is a revised form of the Passover legislation; but Judah didn't accept it and continued to attempt to keep the Mosaic legislation. And so the envisaged system didn't come about.

Ezekiel 45:23 The seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to Yahweh, seven bulls and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a male goat daily for a sin offering- This differs from Mosaic legislation; see on Ez. 46:4. Moses' law required 1 lamb, (daily for 7 days, 2 bulls burnt, 1 ram burnt). There were to be more bulls and rams offered in this new system; perhaps to suggest a greater level of dedication.

Much thinking about the temple seems to have gotten confused because of an assumption that Ezekiel’s temple will be in order to observe parts of the Mosaic law. But consider the following studied differences between the two. Clearly the system described by Ezekiel implied  a change of the Law at the re-institution of the temple; the temple he speaks of was not in order to obey the Mosaic Law: 

Sin offering:

·       Ez. : blood daubed, parts burned outside, day 1-1bull, days 2-7-1 kid, 2 bulls, 1 ram

·       Law: blood poured, parts burned inside, day 1-1bull + 2 rams, days 2-7-1bull

Sabbath offering:

·       Ez. : 6 lambs, 1 ram (gate open)

·       Law: 2 lambs

New Moon offering:

·       Ez.: 1 bull, 1 ram, 6 lambs

·       Law: 2 bulls, 1 ram, 7 lambs

Daily sacrifice:

·       Ez.: 1 lamb (in a.m.)

·       Law: 2 lambs (1 a.m., 1 p.m.)


·       Ez.: 1bull, (daily thru 7 days: 7 bulls burnt, 7 rams    burnt), 1 kid? (sin offering)

·       Law: 1 lamb, (daily thru 7 days: 2 bulls burnt, 1 ram burnt), 1 kid? (sin offering)

Feast of Booths:

·       Ez.: 7 bulls + 7 rams (burnt daily, 7 days), 1 kid

·       Law: day 1: 13 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 kid; day 2: 12 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 kid; The number of bulls is reduced by 1 each 7: 7 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 kid

Ezekiel 45:24 He shall prepare a meal offering, an ephah for a bull, and an ephah for a ram, and a hin of oil to an ephah- This clearly differs from the Mosaic law (Num. 28:19-22).

Ezekiel 45:25 In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, in the feast, shall he do the like the seven days; according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meal offering, and according to the oil- Zechariah 7:5 criticized the Jews for keeping this feast only externally, but not “unto me”. Hag. 2:1 records how on the 21st day of the 7th month- i.e. once the seven day feast that began on the 15th had finished- Haggai was sent to rebuke “the prince”, Zerubbabel, for being so slack in fulfilling Ezekiel’s vision. Even by the time of Nehemiah 8:14-17, it was so that the feast of the 7th month had not been kept by Judah since the time of Joshua. They subconsciously switched off to Ezekiel’s words; just as we can all do. They reasoned that “the time” of which he spoke hadn’t come- even though the temple had miraculously been enabled to be rebuilt, for no human benefit at all to Cyrus (Isaiah 45:13 “not for price nor reward”). They felt that all the prophecies were “marvellous” in the sense of something incapable of concrete fulfilment in their experience (Zechariah 8:6). This is why Hag. 1:2 rebuked them for saying “the time is not come…that the Lord’s house should be built”. They didn’t want the prophecy to be fulfilled, because it would mean ‘going up’ from their ceiled houses- both in Babylon and in the farmsteads they had built in Judah- to build the temple.