Ezekiel 46 - Outline of Ezekiel (MENU page)
In the previous chapter, the LORD provided instructions for observation of the regular Feasts, during the Millennial Kingdom. In the present chapter, His instruction concerning worship continues, with additional details concerning where and when the prince will worship, how specific sacrifices should be prepared on various occasions, and when appropriate, where food from the altar should be prepared and eaten.
 
- Holy Procedures for Offerings on Sabbaths, New Moons, Daily (v.1-15)
1. Thus saith the Lord GOD;
The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days;
but on the sabbath it shall be opened,
and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.
2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of [that] gate without,
and shall stand by the post of the gate,
and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings,
and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate:
then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.
3 Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate
before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.
...the gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut... shall be opened...
Whereas the eastern gate of the outer court will remain permanently closed, except for occasional opening of the inward door (Eze 44:1-3), the eastern gate of the inner court will be opened at designated times, and whenever the prince comes to offer sacrifices (v.12). The open gate will allow the prince and the people to look into the inner court and see the altar. However, no man, not even the prince, will pass through the gate into the inner court. The prince will enter this gate through the door of the porch (ie., from the outer court), he will walk past the little chambers to stand at the threshold of the door to the inner court, where he will worship. When he departs, he will leave through the same door by which he entered the gate. The people will not enter the gate, but will worship in the outer court, at the door to the gate's porch.
     Without a doubt, the exclusion of the worshippers from the inner court is intended to teach Israel to discern between that which is holy and that which is common (Eze 44:23). It also serves to highlight the tremendous privilege of church age believers, who have direct access into the holy place, because as members of His body, we enter with our High Priest (Heb 10:19-22).
...shall be shut the six working days, but on the sabbath, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.
  • the Sabbath -
    In the Millennial Kingdom, as now, people will be engaged in productive activity six days of the week.
    The Sabbath is a day of 'rest.' The Sabbath will be observed because...
    • the LORD rested upon completion of the Creation (Ex 20:9-11).
    • He rested upon accomplishing our Salvation (Heb 1:1-3; 10:12).
    • Israel, long troubled and dispersed in the world, will finally realize their rest,
      which the LORD had previously promised and purchased for them (eg., Psa 107:1-8).
      In their prior history, Israel's unbelief prevented them from entering into this rest. But having turned, in faith, to their Messiah at His return, they will enter into the rest which He has provided (the same rest that believers enjoy today, Heb 4:1-10).
  • the New Moon {HB=chodesh, new, month; from HB=chadash, renewal, repair} -
    The new moon marks the beginning of each new month for Israel. As the moon's brilliance waxes and wanes as a month passes, Israel's glory as a nation reached a peak during the reigns of David and Solomon, but it rapidly faded into the darkness of apostasy, until it had vanished completely under God's judgment. In the Millennial Kingdom, the nation will again rise to reflect the light of their Messiah (Isa 60:1-3). They will have every reason to celebrate His renewal of the nation.
 
4 And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in the sabbath day
[shall be] six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish.
5 And the meat offering [shall be] an ephah for a ram,
and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give,
and an hin of oil to an ephah.
6 And in the day of the new moon [it shall be] a young bullock without blemish,
and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish.
7 And he shall prepare a meat offering, an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram,
and for the lambs according as his hand shall attain unto, and an hin of oil to an ephah.
The prescribed sacrifices on these occasions differ from those under the Mosaic Law.
The differences include the number and type of animals to be offered, and also the proportions of meal and drink offerings for each type of sacrifice. Also, the drink offerings in the Millennial Temple will be oil without wine, whereas wine was often included in the OT formulas (cp. Num 28:9-15). The full significance of these differences will be made known in that future day. However, the increased number of sacrificial animals and the increased measures (of meal and drink offerings) probably reflect the Lord's abundant blessing on the productivity of the land (Eze 34:27-29; 36:29,30).
...as he is able to give (v.5)... as his hand shall attain unto (v.7)...
In two places, the size of the meal offering is not prescribed, but rather is left to the discretion of the prince. It is to be (lit.) "the gift of his hand."
8 And when the prince shall enter,
he shall go in by the way of the porch of [that] gate,
and he shall go forth by the way thereof.
9 But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts,
he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate;
and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate:
he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.
10 And the prince in the midst of them, when they go in, shall go in;
and when they go forth, shall go forth.
Even the orderly flow of worshippers through the Temple complex is prescribed.
The inner court will be off limits to all but the priests.
     The prince will be allowed to enter (but not pass through) either of the eastern gates (the inner v.1-3; the outer Eze 44:1-3). In either case, he will enter the porch of the gate from the outer court and, later, exit the gate, via the porch, into the outer court.
     The people will enter the outer court via the north or south gate, and exit through the gate opposite from where they entered. Perhaps, north and south moving corridors will be roped off in the court, to accommodate the many pilgrims (eg., Isa 2:2,3).
     The prince will enter and exit the Temple complex "in the midst" of the people, joining the north or south moving worshippers, as it seems good to him. As the representative of the King, the presence, of the prince among the people, will remind them that the LORD is dwelling in their midst (Eze 43:7,9; Zech 2:10,11).
 
11 And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meat offering shall be an ephah to a bullock,
and an ephah to a ram, and to the lambs as he is able to give,
and an hin of oil to an ephah.
12 Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering
or peace offerings voluntarily unto the LORD,
[one] shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east,
and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, as he did on the sabbath day:
then he shall go forth; and after his going forth [one] shall shut the gate.
The regularly scheduled feasts and their required sacrifices were described in 45:17-25.
Verse 11 prescribes the proportions of meal and drink offerings for these occasions.
Again, these proportions are much larger than those prescribed in the OT.
     As a priest, Ezekiel must have been familiar with what the Law required for the various sacrifices (as delineated in multiple passages, eg., Leviticus ch. 23; Numbers ch. 15 and ch. 28). Yet, as a prophet, he faithfully recorded all that the LORD showed him and told him (Eze 40:4), even though he probably did not understand the significance of the many differences between the patterns and ordinances of the OT Tabernacle and the Millennial Temple.
For the prescribed national sacrifices, the prince will be responsible for the provision
of most of the sacrificial animals with their associated meal and drink offerings (eg., v.4-f; 45:17).
Yet, the prince will not be limited to the prescribed offerings. Whenever he is moved to bring an offering for personal worship or thanksgiving, the priests and Levites will accommodate his freewill offering.
13 Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt offering unto the LORD
[of] a lamb of the first year without blemish: thou shalt prepare it every morning.
14 And thou shalt prepare a meat offering for it every morning,
the sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of an hin of oil, to temper with the fine flour;
a meat offering continually by a perpetual ordinance unto the LORD.
15 Thus shall they prepare the lamb, and the meat offering, and the oil, every morning [for] a continual burnt offering.
The OT Law prescribed a daily offering of two lambs, one in the morning and one in the evening (eg., Ex 29:38-42; Num 28:3-6).
In the Millennial Temple, one lamb will be offered in the morning. (Again, the associated meal and drink offerings differ from those of the Mosaic Law.) This continual burnt offering will be a continual reminder of Christ's complete yielding of Himself to the Father's will, for the redemption of His people.
     In OT times, the continual morning and evening burnt offerings spoke of the constancy of the LORD's provision for His people, even when spiritual darkness would engulf them (eg., Isa 60:2). In the Millennial Kingdom, the 'morning only' burnt offering will declare that Israel's continual day has dawned (Isa 60:1-3; Mal 4:2). While physical night and day will continue, during Christ's earthly Kingdom, spiritual darkness will never again descend upon the nation. When the thousand years have ended, the eternal day of the New Heaven and New Earth will begin (Rev 22:5).
 
- Holy Procedures for the Inheritance of the Prince (v.16-18)
16. Thus saith the Lord GOD;
If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons,
the inheritance thereof shall be his sons';
it [shall be] their possession by inheritance.
17 But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants,
then it shall be his to the year of liberty;
after it shall return to the prince:
but his inheritance shall be his sons' for them.
18 Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance
by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession;
[but] he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession:
that my people be not scattered every man from his possession.
The portion of land for the prince was defined in Eze 45:7,8.
In order to protect the possessions of ordinary citizens, the prince will not be allowed to acquire more land for himself. This should be an unnecessary measure, because the heart of the prince will be closely aligned with that of the King, in that day. But considering historic abuses by Israel's kings and rulers, this provision assures the people that they will not be oppressed by the powerful.
     In order to protect the possession of the prince and his family, any land which he gives to 'one of his servants' {ie., anyone other than his immediate heirs} will revert to the family's ownership in 'the year of liberty.' This refers to the year of jubilee, in which servants were released and land reverted to its original owners. From this, we understand that the observation of sabbatical years will be continued in the Millennial Kingdom (see Lev 25:1-15).
     Because the prince will have sons by natural descent, it is clear that the prince is a natural man, not the risen and glorified Christ. The many spiritual sons of Christ, are born of God's Spirit ("not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man"), into God's family, in which earthly distinctions have no place (eg., Isa 53:10; Joh 1:12,13; Gal 3:26-28; Heb 2:9-10). In Christ, the inheritance of the sons of God is not earthly land, but to be forever with Him (Joh 14:3; Rom 8:16,17).
 
- Holy Procedures for Partaking of Sacrifices (v.19-25)
19. After he brought me through the entry,
which [was] at the side of the gate,
into the holy chambers of the priests, which looked toward the north:
and, behold, there [was] a place on the two sides westward.
20 Then said he unto me, This [is] the place
where the priests shall boil the trespass offering and the sin offering,
where they shall bake the meat offering;
that they bear [them] not out into the utter court, to sanctify the people.
Ezekiel's angelic guide brought him to the northern group of buildings designated for use by the priests. These are accessed from the outer court, through an entry which is west of the northern gate to the inner court (as shown to Ezekiel in Eze 42:1-12). To the west of these buildings, Ezekiel now saw a place to prepare the priests' portion of food, from certain offerings. The phrase "on the two sides westward" indicates that adjacent to both the northern and southern clusters ('the two sides') of buildings for the priests, there were similar kitchen areas. (See the 'kitchens for the priests' in the diagram.)
     These kitchens will enable the priests to maintain separation between that which is holy and that which is common (Eze 42:13,14; 44:23).
     The priests alone partook of meat from sin offerings (Lev 6:24-30) and trespass offerings (Lev 7:1-10). In these sacrifices the priests perform a symbolic atonement for sin, in which they 'bear the iniquity' of the people (eg., Ex 28:38; Lev 10:17; Num 18:1). It is impossible for sinful people to cleanse themselves from sin and guilt. But Christ took our iniquity upon Himself, and put sin to death in Himself, so that we could stand in His righteousness (2Cor 5:21). In doing so, He was both our Priest and Lamb, for He offered Himself... alone. We could have no part in His work of salvation which He accomplished in our behalf. He and His work of redemption were totally 'separate from sinners' (Heb 7:26).
21 Then he brought me forth into the utter court,
and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court;
and, behold, in every corner of the court [there was] a court.
22 In the four corners of the court [there were] courts joined of forty [cubits] long and thirty broad:
these four corners [were] of one measure.
23 And [there was] a row [of building] round about in them, round about them four,
and [it was] made with boiling places under the rows round about.
24 Then said he unto me, These [are] the places of them that boil,
where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people.
Ezekiel was next shown kitchens in the four corners of the outer court.
Here, the ministers (ie., Levites) will prepare food for the people, from certain types of sacrifices.
     While the people have no part in Christ's work of redemption, and therefore cannot partake of the sacrifices which typify His work (v.19,20), they are invited to partake of those sacrifices which speak of the benefits which He has purchased for His people. In the OT, these were called peace offerings or thank offerings (eg., Lev 7:11-21).
     Because Christ has redeemed us by His blood, believers ought to have hearts full of thanksgiving, for in Christ we have peace and communion with God (Rom 5:1,2). A portion of the peace offerings was to be eaten by the offerers (ie., the people). The peace offerings include both unleavened and leavened bread. The unleavened bread symbolizes the purity of Christ our Redeemer. The leavened bread symbolizes the redeemed, who are accepted before God on the basis of Christ's righteousness, even though their inner purity is not yet perfect (eg., 1Joh 1:5-9; 3:2,3).
     The chambers, along the inside of the outer wall, may be the designated areas in which the people partake of food from the altar. As the representative of the King, the prince will eat in their midst, in the porch of the east gate on the outer wall (Eze 44:1-3). His presence among the people, as they partake together of the peace offerings, will symbolize their acceptance before God, through the finished work of Christ.
 
[The diagram of the Temple Floor Plan, above, was adapted from TBKC.]

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