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Other material relevant to this chapter:

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

"The prince" : Potential Messiah

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CHAPTER 44 Oct. 18 
The Prince and the Officials of the Temple
Then he brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which looks toward the east; and it was shut. 2Yahweh said to me, This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, neither shall any man enter in by it; for Yahweh, the God of Israel, has entered in by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3As for the prince, he shall sit therein as prince to eat bread before Yahweh; he shall enter by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go out by the way of the same. 4Then he brought me by the way of the north gate before the house; and I looked, and behold, the glory of Yahweh filled the house of Yahweh: and I fell on my face. 5Yahweh said to me, Son of man, mark well, and see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I tell you concerning all the ordinances of the house of Yahweh, and all its laws; and mark well the entrance of the house, with every exit of the sanctuary. 6You shall tell the rebellious house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: you house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7in that you have brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary, to profane it, even My house, when you offer My bread, the fat and the blood; and they have broken My covenant, to add to all your abominations. 8You have not performed the duty of My holy things; but you have set performers of My duty in My sanctuary for yourselves. 9Thus says the Lord Yahweh, No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into My sanctuary, of any foreigners who are among the people of Israel. 10But the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. 11Yet now they are to be ministers in My sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the house, and ministering in the house: they shall kill the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 12Because they ministered to them before their idols, and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel; therefore have I lifted up My hand against them, says the Lord Yahweh, and they shall bear their iniquity. 13They shall not come near to Me, to execute the office of priest to Me, nor to come near to any of My holy things, to the things that are most holy; but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. 14Yet will I make them performers of the duty of the house, for all its service, and for all that shall be done therein. 15But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who performed the duty of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood, says the Lord Yahweh: 16they shall enter into My sanctuary, and they shall come near to My table, to minister to Me, and they shall keep My instructions. 17It shall be that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come on them, while they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. 18They shall have linen headware on their heads, and shall have linen breeches on their waists; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19When they go forth into the outer court, even into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments in which they minister, and lay them in the holy rooms; and they shall put on other garments, that they not sanctify the people with unclean garments. 20Neither shall they shave their heads, nor allow their locks to grow long; they shall only cut off the hair of their heads. 21Neither shall any of the priests drink wine when they enter into the inner court. 22Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her who is divorced; but they shall take virgins of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. 23They shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the common, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24In a controversy they shall stand to judge; according to My ordinances shall they judge it: and they shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts; and they shall make My Sabbaths holy. 25They shall not go near a dead person to defile themselves; but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister who has had no husband, they may defile themselves. 26After he is cleansed, they shall reckon to him seven days. 27In the day that he goes into the sanctuary, into the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, says the Lord Yahweh. 28They shall have an inheritance: I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession. 29They shall eat the meal offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30The first of all the first fruits of every thing, and every offering of everything, of all your offerings, shall be for the priest: you shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, to cause a blessing to rest on your house. 31The priests shall not eat of anything that dies of itself, or is torn, whether it be bird or animal.


44:2 The priests were to shut the gates (44:2; 46:2,12); but the returned exiles in practice refused to do this unless they were paid for it (Mal. 1:10). The potential set up simply wasn’t realized because of petty selfishness.
44:6 Let it suffice you- These words are picked up from the LXX by Peter, and applied to all of us in 1 Pet. 4:3: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles” (Gk.). The temple vision should have made them ashamed of their sins (43:10,11). It should have motivated them to live the Kingdom life in their lives. Ezekiel’s prophecies should have been an inspiration to Israel to be obedient and live out these things as a reality before them, and thereby see other prophecies come true in their own experience. They could have entered upon an upward spiral of spirituality. The form of the house, the very description of it by Ezekiel, should have inspired them to feel that they had had enough of sin. 
44:7 The house was not to be profaned, the covenant wasn’t to be broken. Judah returned from exile, built a temple, but profaned the Sabbath (Neh. 13:17,18), and profaned the temple by their marriage with Gentiles and their “weariness” with the temple ordinances (Mal. 1:12; 2:10,11). They got bored with the things of the Kingdom, and so they had no part in it. Judah broke covenant [s.w.] with Yahweh at the time of the restoration by marrying Gentiles and worshipping their gods (Ezra 9:1,14). We can externally appear obedient, as Judah did by building a temple, but our hearts can be far from the things of God’s covenant. By doing this, Judah precluded the possibility of all that is spoken in Ez. 40-48 from being fulfilled at that time.
44:9 The temple was primarily for the worship of Israel, “the people of the land” (45:22; 46:3,9), not for the whole world- no uncircumcised will be allowed to worship in it.
44:31 There are many details in Ez. 40-48 which seem very hard to apply to a future Kingdom under the rulership of Jesus. The offering of animal sacrifices in order to gain forgiveness seems to flatly contradict the teaching of Hebrews concerning the one time nature of the Lord’s offering. The existence of animals who will have been “torn” by other animals seems hard to square with the Kingdom prophecies of Isaiah 9 and 11 about the animals living at peace with each other. The language used about “the prince” also seems impossible to understand about an immortal being. The whole prophecy was a command for the returning exiles from Babylon rather than prediction of the future. If we insist that every part of Ez. 40-48 is going to have a literal fulfilment in the Millennium, then we have to accept that Jesus will accept divorce and remarriage in His Kingdom- it’s just that the priests won’t be able to marry divorcees, but others will (44:22).