Search The Scriptures —Study 34 — Ezekiel 47:1-12

Study 34 From the Book of Ezekiel is: Ezekiel 47:1-1

The prophet is shown another aspect of what it means when God dwells in the midst of His redeemed and reconciled people.

  1. Notice particularly where the river comes from. What may those who seek reform, whether it be social, political, or moral learn from the revelation here given to Ezekiel? Cf. Ps. 46:4; Is. 33:21; Rev. 22:1, 2.
  2. What is symbolized by the increasing depth and extend of the waters? How long is it since you first came to Christ, and became a temple for His indwelling? Are the living waters flowing from your life in increasing measure? If not, what is wrong? Cf. Jn.7:37-39
  3. The river of life sought out the most desolate and seemingly irrecoverable region in all the land, and brought life and healing. Recall how this was also Christ’s method. Cf. Mk. 2:16, 17; Lk. 15:1, 2; 19:10; 23:42, 43. What have these things to say to us?

Notes

  1. Verse 1. The waters flowed from the sanctuary across the inner court, south of the altar, and appeared on the right -hand side of the outer east gate.
  2. Verse 8. ‘The sea’: i.e., Dead Sea, in which nothing can live.
  3. Verse 12. Cf. Ps. 1:3; Je. 17:8; Rev. 22:2.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 33 — Ezekiel 45 and 46

Study 33 From the Book of Ezekiel is: Ezekiel 45 and 46

Not only was the Temple different in many respects from that of Solomon, but the whole land was to be divided up in a new way. A broad strip of land, extending right across the country from the Mediterranean to the Jordan and including the Temple, was to be set apart for the Lord (45:1-8). Verses 9-17 lay down regulations as regards, weights and measures, and the dues to be paid by the people to the prince.  The remainder is chiefly concerned with the feasts and offerings (45:18-46:15), but at the end are two notes, one about the right of the prince to bestow part of his territory upon his sons or servants (46:16-18), and the other about rooms in the Temple courts to be used as kitchens for boiling the flesh of the sacrifices (46:19-24).

  1. How does 45:8-12 show that the holiness which Jehovah requires is not only religious but moral? What light do these verses throw upon God’s attitude to injustice and oppression, and to commercial dishonesty? Cf. 46:18; Lv. 19:35, 36; Pr. 11:1; 1 Pet. 1:14-16.
  2. What is said three times in 45:15-20 to be the purpose of the sacrifices? If they had not been offered, could the people have had any assurance in drawing nigh to God? What in the New Testament is revealed as the true ground of atonement? Cf. Heb. 10:4-10; 1 Jn. 2:1, 2.

Notes

  1. 45:1. The holy district consisted of 25, 000 cubits was about eight miles
  2. 45:10-12. There was a vast amount of local variation in ancient Israel regarding weights and measures, and this was the cause of much commercial malpractice. Ezekiel is here demanding in God’s name strict standardization.
  3. 46:19 defines the positions of the priest’ kitchens, as verses 21-24 do the position of the people’s kitchens

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Search The Scriptures —Study 32 — Ezekiel 43:13 – 44:31

Study 32 From the Book of Ezekiel is: Ezekiel 43:13 – 44:31

This section opens with a description of the great altar in the centre of the inner court, together with the sacrifices by which it is to be cleansed and purified (43:13-27). The altar rested upon a square base and was built of three square blocks of stone, each smaller than the one below, so as to leave at each level a projecting ledge.  The uppermost block had four horns and was twelve cubits’ square.  It was reached by steps on the east side. Chapter 44 lays down three ordinances, the first concerning the use of the East gate (verse 1-3), the second concerning the Levites (verse 4-14), and the third concerning the priests (verses 15-31).

  1. Why had the altar to be cleansed before the offerings made upon it were acceptable to God? See 43:27 and cf. Lv. 16:18, 19; Col. 1:19-22; Heb. 9:23.
  2. What lessons are taught in 44:10-16 regarding God’s judgments upon faithful and unfaithful service? Cf. Lk. 19:17; 2 Cor. 5:9, 10; 1 Tim. 1:12.

Notes

  1. 44:7, 8. It had evidently been the custom before the exile to allow foreigners to officiate in the sanctuary and in its ministry, even though it may have been only in menial duties.
  2. 44:19. They shall not bring their holy garments into contact with the people. Cf. Ex. 30:29.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 31 — Ezekiel 42:1 -43:12

Study  31 From the Book of Ezekiel is: Ezekiel 42:1 -43:12

This section opens with a description of other buildings in the inner court (42:1-12), together with the purposes they are intended to serve (42:13, 14). The measurements of the outer wall, and of the whole Temple area are then stated (42:15-20). In 43:1-9 the prophet sees in a vision the glory of the Lord returning by the east gate, the gate by which, years before, he had seen Him depart (11:1, 22, 23).

  1. Observe the emphasis on the holiness of God. See especially 42:13, 14; 43:7-9, 11, 12. How was the holiness of the Temple to be safeguarded, in order to bear witness to this truth about the Lord?
  2. How for us, have the barriers been removed that separate us from the Holy One? And on what conditions may we draw nigh to God and render His acceptable service? Cf. 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 7:24; 10:14, 19; 1 Pet. 2:5.

Note. 43:7-9. In Solomon’s Temple there was no walled-off outer court separating the Temple from the unconsecrated ground without (cf. 42:20). The Temple, royal palace and other buildings all stood together in  one great enclosure, and the burial-ground of the kings was not far distant.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 30 — Ezekiel 40:48 – 41:26

Study 30  From the Book of Ezekiel is: Ezekiel 40:48 – 41:26

  1. Follow with the aid of diagrams 1 and 2 the prophet’s further examination of the Temple, as he comes first to the sanctuary itself, with its vestibule and two pillars (40:48, 49), holy place (‘nave’, 41:1), most holy place (‘Inner room’, 41:3, 4), and side chambers or cells built in three storeys (41:5-11). The interior of the sanctuary is described in 41:15b-26.
  2. Note that Ezekiel, as a priest (1:3; cf. 44:16), entered into the vestibule and the holy place, but not into the most holy place (41:3: 4). Why did he not enter the most holy place? Contrast our privileges in Christ. See Heb. 9:6-9, 24; 10:19-22.
  3. There were palm-trees both in the inner sanctuary (41:18-20), and also on the gate-posts of the outer and inner courts (40:16, 22, 31). So, also in Solomon’s Temple (see 1 Ki. 6:29; 7:36). Applying this to the temple of our lives, what does it suggest both as to the hidden life of communion with God, and the outer life seen by all? Cf. Ps. 92:12-14; Je. 17:7, 8.

Notes

  1. Verse 7. The meaning is that at each storey the walls facing the cells were made less thick, to leave a ledge for the beams to rest on, and thus the rooms on each floor were a little broader than the rooms below.
  2. Verse 11b. The sanctuary stood upon a raised platform six cubits higher than the level of the inner court (verse 8), and occupied the whole platform except for a marginal strip running round three sides on the outer edge.
  3. Verses 12-14. Another strip of ground, at the level of the inner court, encompassed the sanctuary platform, and is here called ‘the temple yard’. It marked off the sanctuary from other buildings nearby. (other buildings are mentioned in 42:1-14; 46:19, 20).
  4. Verse 22. The table here spoken of, which looked like an altar of word, was probably the table of shewbread.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 29 — Ezekiel 40:1-47

Study  29 From the Book of Ezekiel is: Ezekiel 40:1-47

Having been cast into a trance and brought in spirit to the holy land, Ezekiel saw on the top of a high mountain what at first he thought to be a city but was in fact the Temple, with its courts and buildings. It was, however a new Temple. While the sanctuary itself was similar to that of Solomon’s Temple, the surroundings were very different. The prophet was met by a heavenly messenger, who had a measuring-tape of flax and a measuring-rod, and who acted as his guide.

  1. What two responsibilities did the heavenly messenger place upon the prophet? See verse 4. When judged by these standards, ho far is your own Bible study a success?
  2. With the aid of diagram I, follow the prophet’s route as he was shown the outer gateway on the east (verses 6-16), the outer court (verses 17-19), and the gateways on the north and south (verses 20-27); then the inner court on a higher level, also with three gateways (verses 28-37). In the inner court, alongside the north gate, were a chamber and tables (verses 38-43), and there were two chambers for the priests, one near the North gate and another near the south gate (verses 44-47).
  3. Note the symmetry of the ground plan of the Temple. Has this anything to teach us about God?

Notes

  1. Verse 5. Two cubits were in use, one being eighteen inches long and the other twenty-one inches-a ‘handbreadth’ extra. The longer cubit was that used by Ezekiel. The measuring-reed would therefore have been 10ft. 6 in.
  2. Verse 12. ‘A barrier’: i.e., projecting wall.

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Ezekiel – Introductory Note to Chapters 40-48

Introductory Note to Chapters 40-48

These chapters describe a vision given to Ezekiel some twelve years after the prophecies of chapters 33-37 (cf. 40:1 with 33:21). In these earlier prophecies, he had declared to the exiles in Babylon God’s purpose to restore Israel to the holy land as a nation purified, redeemed and re-united. The question must have been much in the prophet’s mind how this restored community would be fashioned in its religious and political life; and in these chapters God gives to the prophet the answer to his questionings. There is first a description of sanctuary, to which Jehovah will come in glory, and in which He will take up His dwelling (40-43); second, regulations with regard to the ministers of the sanctuary, and to the ‘prince’ who shall rule over the people; and third, the boundaries of the land are defined, and the territories of the tribes.

            The question is sometimes asked whether the vision will be literally fulfilled. Why, however, should we suppose this any more than that the vision of chapter I is a literal portray of the divine Being? It is true that the prophets generally associate great changes in nature with the advent of ‘the day of the Lord’, and this is affirmed also in the New Testament (see, e.g., Rom. 8:21), but this is not to say that the vision which Ezekiel saw will find literal fulfillment. It is rather a setting forth, within the limits of Old Testament symbolism, of fundamental principles concerning God’s relation to His redeemed and sanctified people when He dwells in their midst in His glory.

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