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Ezekiel’s Temple: Based Upon Solomon’s Temple

Command More Than Prediction

The Contemporary Relevance Of Ezekiel's Temple

The Restoration: Potential Kingdom Of God

Ezekiel's Restoration Prophecies

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CHAPTER 43 Oct. 17 
The Return of the Glory of God
Afterward he brought me to the gate that looks toward the east. 2Behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east: and His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shined with His glory. 3It was according to the appearance of the vision which 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 on my face. 4The glory of Yahweh came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. 5The Spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of Yahweh filled the house. 6I heard one speaking to me out of the house; and a man stood by me. 7He said to me, Son of man, this is 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 forever. The house of Israel shall no more defile My holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their prostitution, and by the dead bodies of their kings in their high places; 8in their setting of their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost beside My doorpost, and there was but the wall between Me and them; and they have defiled My holy name by their abominations which they have committed: therefore I have consumed them in My anger. 9Now let them put away their prostitution, and the dead bodies of their kings, far from Me; and I will dwell in their midst forever. 10You, son of man, show the house to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11If they be ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the form of the house, and its fashion, and its exits, and its entrances, and all its forms, and all its ordinances, and all its forms, and all its laws; and write it in their sight; that they may keep the whole form of it, and all its ordinances, and do them. 12This is the law of the house: on the top of the mountain the whole limit around it shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.
 Details of the Altar
13These are the measures of the altar by cubits (the cubit is a cubit and a handbreadth): the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and its border around its edge a span; and this shall be the base of the altar. 14From the bottom on the ground to the lower ledge shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser ledge to the greater ledge shall be four cubits, and the breadth a cubit. 15The upper altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar hearth and upward there shall be four horns. 16The altar hearth shall be twelve cubits long by twelve broad, square in the four sides of it. 17The ledge shall be fourteen cubits long by fourteen broad in the four sides of it; and the border about it shall be half a cubit; and its bottom shall be a cubit around; and its steps shall look toward the east. 18He said to me, Son of man, thus says the Lord Yahweh: 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. 19You shall give to the priests the Levites who are of the seed of Zadok, who are near to Me, to minister to Me, says the Lord Yahweh, a young bull for a sin offering. 20You shall take of its blood, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the ledge, and on the border all around: thus you shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. 21You shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and it shall be burnt in the appointed place of the house, outside of the sanctuary. 22On the second day you shall offer a male goat without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they cleansed it with the bull. 23When you have finished cleansing it, you shall offer a young bull without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish. 24You shall bring them near to Yahweh, and the priests shall cast salt on them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering to Yahweh. 25Seven days you shall prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bull, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. 26Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and purify it; so shall they consecrate it. 27When they have accomplished the days, it shall be that on the eighth day, and onwards, the priests shall make your burnt offerings on the altar and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, says the Lord Yahweh.


43:5 The glory would have entered the house of God’s glory as it did at the inauguration of the first temple (2 Chron. 7:1-3). Ezekiel prophesied that ultimately the glory would fill the temple as it had done then (:4,5). But God’s prophesy of this in Is. 60:7, that He would glorify His house, meant that He was prepared to work through men to glorify it. The fulfilment of Ezekiel’s vision of the cloud of glory entering the temple again could have been fulfilled if the exiles had done what Cyrus empowered them to do- to glorify the house of glory. And so the fulfilment was delayed. The glory of the temple the exiles built was tragically less than the glory of the first temple; and so it would only be in the last day of Messiah’s second coming that the house shall truly be filled with glory (Hag. 2:3,7,9). And the lesson ought to be clear for us, in the various projects and callings of our lives: it becomes crucial for us to discern God’s specific purposes for us, and insofar as we follow His leading, we will feel a blessing and power which is clearly Divine.  
43:8 How close God was ought to have made them quit their idolatry. But their cognizance of the closeness of God was merely theoretical. They didn't feel nor respond to the wonder of it. And truly, He is not far from every one of us.
43:10 Ezekiel showed Judah the general picture of the temple; if they were obedient, then God promised to give them more details so they could build it in reality. There is a congruence between the style of address found in Ez. 40-48 and the earlier part of the prophecy. This is because Ezekiel is addressing the same audience- those who had heard his criticisms and appeals for repentance were the same group who were now being commanded to build a temple according to the dimensions given. Thus "You shall tell the rebellious house of Israel..." (44:6) is the same rubric used earlier (2:5; 3:26; 12:2,25; 17:12; 24:3). The new temple was "to make a separation between that which was holy and that which was common" (42:20)- alluding back to Ezekiel's earlier lament that Judah had not made that very separation (22:26). Time and again, the new system is described in terms which allude to the bad practices in the old system- e.g. the stress of 42:4 etc. that the doors of the new chambers were "toward the north" connects with how Ezekiel had earlier seen women weeping for Tammuz "towards the north" in the temple (8:14; 9:2). Ezekiel himself was to provide the sons of Zadok with a bullock for a sin offering (43:19), as if he himself could have been present in the work of the building and dedication of this temple. Ezekiel himself, as a priest, was to inaugurate the altar by sprinkling blood upon it and making an offering (43:20-25). Ezekiel’s temple prophecies are described as “the law of the house” (43:12). They were a law, a commandment to be fulfilled. This explains the commandment style of the instructions, e.g. 44:2: “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened”. The description of Ezekiel's Temple was to be given to the captives in Babylon by Ezekiel, to lead them to repentance and to assure them of what could be if they repented. Then when the invitation to leave Babylon and return came in the time of Ezra, they ought to have been motivated to return to the land and build the temple which Ezekiel had explained to them. But sadly most of them weren’t very deeply motivated at all; they wanted to build a temple, but not to the extent Ezekiel had outlined. The intention was that then, when the temple was built (:11), they were to be obedient in all the ways in which they hadn’t been obedient in the past, with the result that they were now sitting in captivity (44:24).
43:19 This suggests the temple could have been built within Ezekiel’s lifetime, for he was to give the animals to the sons of Zadok to offer in the temple; Ezekiel was to prepare the daily sacrifice (46:13). But due to the Jews’ selfishness and lack of spirituality, it didn’t happen. This accounts for the many links between the Ezekiel prophesies and prophets like Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. What was theoretically possible, what potentially could have been, simply wasn’t- because of their self-centredness and lack of effort. The prophecy of Ezekiel 40-48 was therefore primarily command rather than prediction. This was how it should have been, but the Jews failed to obey it all. They were minimalists, satisficers, rather than rising up to their full potential.
43:21 Nehemiah built ‘Miphkad’, “the Muster Gate” (Neh. 3:31 RSV), the “appointed place” [same Hebrew word]; he really tried to fulfil this command of 43:21. See on 40:29; 48:31. But one man’s obedience couldn’t in this case count for the whole people.
43:27- see on 20:40. If Judah resumed building the temple according to Ezekiel’s plan, “I will take pleasure” in it, God offered (Hag. 1:8). They should be more committed to building the temple “that I may appear in my glory” (RSV). The glory of Yahweh as described at the end of Ezekiel could have appeared in Haggai’s time- but this wonderful possibility was held back by Israel’s petty minded, self-satisficing laziness. The same word is used here in 43:27- then, when the temple of Ezekiel was built, Yahweh would “accept / take pleasure in” His people and temple. But because they built and served Him with such a mean spirit, He did not “accept” them at that time (Mal. 1:10,13 s.w.).
I will accept you- This is to be connected with the prophecy of 20:41, that God would accept His people when they had been regathered from Babylon.