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Go to Bible: Ezekiel 43
|Eze 43:1||- (top)|
“the glory of the God of Israel came.” Ezekiel had been being led around his vision of the future Millennial Temple by a supernatural being, most likely an angel (Ezek. 40:3). Now God Himself returns and takes over and leads Ezekiel just as He had in earlier chapters (cp. Ezek. 8:2). God is surrounded by His glory. He and His glory had left the Temple and Jerusalem due to the sin of the people and gone east (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:23), now in this vision of the future Millennial Temple, God returns from the east.
[For more on the travels of the glory of God, see commentary on Ezek. 9:3. For more on the glory of Yahweh, see commentary on Ezekiel 1:28].
“sound.” The Hebrew word translated “sound” in the REV can be either “sound” or “voice” (cp. Gen. 3:8). Here, “sound” is the better translation. Ezekiel heard the sound of God coming. The coming of the glory of God, which surrounded God, was the coming of God in his glory. The sound that he heard now was basically the same as what he heard when God appeared to him the first time (Ezek. 1:24), it was the sound made by the quickly beating wings of the cherubim.(top)
“when he came to destroy the city.” The Hebrew text was apparently corrupted from “he” to “I,” and this is explained in many commentaries. Ezekiel never came to destroy the city, destroying spirits did (cp. Ezek. 9:1-11).
“by the Chebar Canal.” Ezekiel was by the Chebar canal when he received his early visions (Ezek. 1:1).(top)
|Eze 43:4||- (top)|
“the Spirit.” This likely refers to God via the power of His spirit (cp. Ezek. 2:2), however, it could also refer to the angel who was taking Ezekiel around the Temple.
“inner court, and behold, the glory of Yahweh filled the house.” The Spirit took Ezekiel into the inner court of the Temple, from which he could see into the Temple proper, into the vestibule, then the Holy Place, then the Holy of Holies, that is, if the double doors of the Holy Place and Holy of Holies were open. Once God was in the Temple, His glory filled the entire Temple. The glory of Yahweh had left the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Ezekiel 9:3. Now that Israel’s sin has been dealt with, in the Millennial Temple the glory of God returns.(top)
“I heard someone speaking to me out of the house.” We learn from Ezekiel 43:7-8 that this “someone” is God Almighty. Here He speaks person-to-person with Ezekiel. God would have been speaking from the Holy of Holies out to Ezekiel in the courtyard.(top)
“place of my throne.” The Millennial Temple will not have an ark of the covenant (see commentary on Jeremiah 3:16). Furthermore, Jerusalem itself will be the throne of God (Jer. 3:17).
“the dead bodies of their kings at their shrines.” This enigmatic line is irony, and the “dead bodies of their kings” are the destroyed idols who the people worshiped and obeyed more than Yahweh. They made idols at the high places and treated them like their kings, but those “kings” will be destroyed and be just the broken bodies of statues of idols (cp. Keil and Delitzsch; Commentary on the Old Testament). There are scholars who think that the kings of Judah were buried close enough to the Temple to defile it, but there is no evidence that that ever happened. Even more evidence that the “dead bodies” are the “bodies” (statues) of idol gods is that Ezekiel 43:9 says the Israelites need to put “the dead bodies of their kings” far away from God if He is going to dwell in Jerusalem, but there is no requirement in the law that the dead bodies of ungodly people need to be moved away in order to get God’s blessing. But in contrast, the bodies of the lifeless idols did need to be removed and destroyed.
The Hebrew word translated “shrines” is bamot, which referred to a place that was leveled and built up and on which were placed various idols and objects of worship. Many of the towns had such shrines (see commentary on Num. 33:52).(top)
|Eze 43:8||- (top)|
“dead bodies of their kings.” The lifeless statues of their pagan gods, who they treated as kings (see commentary on Ezek. 43:7).(top)
“describe the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities.” Here God tells Ezekiel to describe what he is seeing in the vision to the people of Israel what he sees, with the hope that perhaps they will be personally convicted of their sin and change. Periodically in Ezekiel’s description of the future Temple and land of Israel God breaks in with a message to the people of Ezekiel’s time, as He does here in Ezekiel 43:10 (cp. Ezek. 43:10-11; 44:6-16; 45:9-10). This shows us that the vision of the future Temple and land of Israel is not just for head knowledge and intellectual stimulation, but to give hope, excitement, and clarity about the future to the faithful and a stern warning to the unfaithful that their lives will be judged and there will be consequences for their sin and indifference towards God.(top)
|Eze 43:11||- (top)|
“the house.” That is, the Temple, the “house of Yahweh.”
“on the top of the mountain the whole area around it will be most holy.” In the Millennial Kingdom, the Temple will be on the very top of Mount Zion, and the whole area will be most holy.(top)
“These are the measures of the altar.” The Millennial Temple has sacrifices that are burned on the altar just as occurred in the Tabernacle and Temple. [For more on the sacrifices in the Millennial Temple, such as the burnt offering and sin offering, see commentary on Ezek. 42:13].
“the cubit is a cubit and a handbreadth.” The standard cubit was about 18 inches (46 cm) and the “long” or “royal” cubit was about 21 inches (53.5 cm). A “span” was about 9 inches (23 cm). The angel had been using the royal cubit to measure the whole Temple and Temple compound (Ezek. 40:5).
“the height of the bottom is to be a cubit.” The altar was bigger at the bottom than at the top. It went up by stages, and the bottom was the largest part. The bottom of the altar stuck out one cubit (21 inches) beyond the walls of the altar, and thus looked like a step, but of course going nowhere. The extra width of 21 inches at the bottom could have provided some stability to the walls of the altar, which were seven feet high.(top)
“From the bottom on the ground to the lower ledge is to be two cubits.” Ezekiel 43:14 gives us a better picture of how the altar goes up in stages, with each stage being smaller than the one below it. The base at ground level was the largest, then the lower part (the lesser ledge) was above that then the “greater ledge,” the upper part, was above that.(top)
|Eze 43:15||- (top)|
“12 cubits long by 12 wide, square in the four sides of it.” The altar hearth on which the sacrifices will be burned will be a square that will be 21 feet by 21 feet (c. 6.5 meters).(top)
“and its steps will face to the east.” It seems that the altar in the Millennial Temple will be accessed by steps, unlike the Tabernacle of Moses that had a ramp. Steps were forbidden for the Tabernacle of Moses (Exod. 20:26). The steps will be on the east side of the altar. It has also been suggested by some scholars that the Millennial temple will have a ramp but that here in Ezekiel the way up to the top of the altar is called “steps” even though it will be a ramp.(top)
“These are the ordinances concerning the altar on the day it is built.” After the altar is built, it is to be cleansed and sanctified for seven days before it goes into regular use. There will be a special cleansing and atonement on the first day, and the next six days the sacrifices on it will always be the same. [For more on the sacrifices in the Millennial Temple, such as the burnt offering and sin offering, see commentary on Ezek. 42:13].(top)
“the Levitical priests.” The Masoretic Hebrew text reads, “the priests the Levites,” and this phrase is correct since every priest was also a Levite, but it can be confusing so many versions and commentaries read “Levitical priests,” as does the REV. We know this is speaking of priests and not just Levites because Zadok was a priest so his descendants are priests. [For more on the Levitical priests, see commentary on 2 Chron. 30:27].
“a young bull for a sin offering.” The exact reason for the sacrifices and offerings in the Millennial Temple are not known but there are some likely reasons for them (see commentary on Ezek. 42:13).(top)
“and make atonement for it.” Before the altar could be regularly used for sacrifice it had to be cleansed and made holy. This was also done for the altar in Moses’ Tabernacle (cp. Lev 16:18).(top)
“the house.” The “house” is the Temple. The body of the sin offering was to be burned in an appointed place that was associated with the Temple (all sacrifices and offerings were done in connection with the Temple), but outside of the Temple compound.
“outside of the holy place.” Although the Hebrew word translated “holy place” can refer to different holy places or things, in this context, the “holy place” (or “sanctuary”) is the entire Temple compound (cp. Lev. 12:4; 19:30; 21:12; Num. 3:38; 18:1; Ezek. 45:4). In many cases, the bodies of animals that were sacrificed were burned on an altar outside the Temple. Students of Scripture are aware that the Tabernacle and Temple had two altars, which were the golden altar of incense inside the Holy Place (Exod. 30:1-10; 37:25-28) and the large altar of sacrifice in the courtyard of the Tabernacle/Temple (Exod. 27:1-8; 38:1-7). However, there was a third altar associated with the Tabernacle and Temple that is not at all well known, and that altar was “outside of the camp,” that is, it was outside of the area of the Tabernacle/Temple, and it was where things that were often considered unclean were burned (cp. Ex. 29:14; Lev. 4:12, 21; 8:17; 9:11; 16:27). This “altar” (it is called an altar in Hebrews 13:10) was not described in detail in the descriptions of the Tabernacle or Temple, so it is not well known, but it is the place to the east of the Tabernacle/Temple where the bodies of the sin offering, and some other things as well, were burned. [For more on this third altar and especially how it relates to Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross, see commentary on Heb. 13:10].(top)
“On the second day.” The offerings to initially cleanse and sanctify the altar were the same on days two through seven (Ezek. 43:22-26), then the altar was put into regular use. [For more on the sacrifices in the Millennial Temple, such as the burnt offering and sin offering, see commentary on Ezek. 42:13].(top)
|Eze 43:23||- (top)|
|Eze 43:24||- (top)|
|Eze 43:25||- (top)|
“dedicate it for divine service.” The Hebrew text uses the idiom “fill its hands,” but that idiom was commonly used in the Bible for divine ordination for service to God (cp. Exod. 28:41; 29:9, 33; Lev. 8:33; 16:32; 21:10; Num. 3:3).(top)
“your burnt offerings.” The “your” is plural, meaning the offerings of the people of Israel. [For more on the sacrifices in the Millennial Temple, such as the burnt offering and sin offering, see commentary on Ezek. 42:13].(top)