New Home, New Priests

Posted: December 12, 2016 in Ezekiel, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 43-45, “New Home, New Priests”

It’s been often said “Home is where the heart is.”  That certainly seems true for us – and perhaps it is with God as well.  The glorious thing about being a born-again Christian today is that the Living God has made our hearts His home, as God the Holy Spirit dwells within us.  The nation of Israel had a bit of a different relationship with the Lord, as they had a physical representation of God’s dwelling among them at the temple. 

Ezekiel’s visions of the Millennial Kingdom began the temple & thus began with measurements.  He was given a tour of the Millennial temple, and was told to measure out every nook & cranny.  There were many details, which demonstrated the fact that this is going to be a real place.  What Ezekiel saw was no ambiguous dream-sequence – it was physical & real.  This was a place to which God’s own people would go.

Yet a temple is just another building without the glory of God within it.  That’s what needed to change, and that is what God promised in Ch. 43-45.  He would once again dwell among His people, and they would once again worship Him there.

Ezekiel 43

  • The glory of God (1-5)

1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. 3 It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4 And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. 5 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

  • God returns in glory.  (from the east)  Earlier in his ministry, Ezekiel was dismayed to see the glory of God depart from the temple (Ch 10); surely now he was overjoyed to see God’s glory return!
  • What Ezekiel actually saw as a representation of God’s glory is something he had seen earlier – both in his initial vision from God in Ch. 1, as well as when he saw God’s glory depart from the temple in Ch. 10.  It was so amazing that Ezekiel always seems to be at a loss of words to describe it.
  • Ezekiel’s response?  Reverent fear!
  • God’s grace?  He “lifted [Ezekiel] up.
  • The dwelling of God (6-12)

6 Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. 7 And He 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. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. 8 When they set their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore I have consumed them in My anger. 9 Now let them put their harlotry and the carcasses of their kings far away from Me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.

  • God promised to dwell with them…forever!  The Hebrew speaks of settling down, abiding, dwelling somewhere for a long time.  When God came back in His glory to His temple, He wasn’t stopping by for a brief visit; He was moving in for good.
  • Not that they deserved it.  In the past, they had sinned greatly against God, even “defil[ing] [His] holy name.”  Past kings made idolatrous images (Manasseh’s idol – 2 Kings 21:7)…  Idolatrous additions to the temple (Ahaz built a new altar based on the pagan altar in Syria – 2 Kings 16:14)…
  • As a result, God “consumed them in [His] anger.” Of course, this was much of the topic of the first 2/3 of Ezekiel’s prophecies!  There was no doubt that God poured out His wrath upon His people, to the point that they felt totally consumed.
    • Although the idea is vivid & accurate, it’s somewhat an exaggeration.  Obviously some Jews were left alive, as evidenced by Ezekiel & the Jews with him in Babylonian captivity.
    • Even in the outpouring of God’s wrath, He gives grace!  The same thing will be seen during the days of the Great Tribulation.  Even while God sends judgment after judgment upon the earth, with all kinds of horrible things taking place all over the world – there is still the open invitation to receive of the grace of Jesus Christ.  Those who live still have the opportunity to be saved.  They might not physically survive the Tribulation, but they could still live forever in eternity.  That’s grace!
    • Every day God gives us is another day we can receive of His grace.  Will we do it?
  • The point here is that even though Israel fully deserved to be consumed in God’s anger, God still graciously gave them a future.  They earned eternal condemnation, yet they had the promise of eternal fellowship.  God would dwell with them into the ages.
  • Interestingly, the word consistently translated as “temple” here is a word usually (and literally) translated “house.”  There is another word often used for “temple” which speaks more of a palace.  Yet God often (here included) describes His temple as a house.  Where better for God to dwell, than a home?  His temple is the house of God.
    • That has special meaning for us as NT believers.  We are the temple of God.  Speaking collectively of the Church as a whole, Paul writes: 1 Corinthians 3:16–17, "(16) Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (17) If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are."  Contextually, he is warning the Corinthians away from defiling sin.  Not that they were in danger of God’s wrath or of losing their salvation – Paul simply underscored how serious sin actually is.  We are God’s holy temple.  For us to willingly jump into sin is no different than the ancient Jewish kings who set up idolatrous altars in the Jerusalem temple.  It is defiling, and ought not to be done. 
    • But beyond that, the truth remains that we are the temple of God.  God dwells within us.  The Holy Spirit has made us His home.  That is amazing!

10 “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them. 12 This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.

  • Reason for the detailed measurements: God wanted them to “be ashamed.”  Say what?!  Yes!  If the Jews presently living alongside Ezekiel understood what was still to come according to the promises of God, they would be ashamed of their past sins against Him.  They would see His goodness, and their hearts would break as a result – and that’s a good thing.  The goodness of God leads us to repentance. (Rom 2:4)
  • The new altar (13-27)

13 “These are the measurements of the altar in cubits (the cubit is one cubit and a handbreadth)…

  • 21”, as opposed to the 6-hand cubit of 18”.  God is basically going to describe the altar to Ezekiel from the bottom-up.  There is a base surrounded by a rim – a lower ledge/level – an upper ledge/level – finally the altar on the top, with a horn extending from every corner, all described & measured in vss. 13-17.

…: the base one cubit high and one cubit wide, with a rim all around its edge of one span. This is the height of the altar: 14 from the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits; the width of the ledge, one cubit; from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits; and the width of the ledge, one cubit. 15 The altar hearth is four cubits high, with four horns extending upward from the hearth. 16 The altar hearth is twelve cubits long, twelve wide, square at its four corners; 17 the ledge, fourteen cubits long and fourteen wide on its four sides, with a rim of half a cubit around it; its base, one cubit all around; and its steps face toward the east.”

  • Millennial altar. 
  • Strictly speaking, this isn’t too different from the earlier altar built for Solomon’s temple, also 10 cubits high (2 Chr 4:1), though Solomon used the shorter cubit measurement.  Even so, the description for the Millennial altar is far more detailed than the one provided in the Bible for Solomon.  We may not know exactly what the altar looked like for the original temple, but we certainly know what it will look like for the future one!
    • FYI, the modern Temple Mount Institute has built all kinds of temple instruments in hopes of rebuilding a temple in Jerusalem today.  Including an altar, which was completed in late 2014.  Interestingly, the available photo shows that the altar does not match the description in Ezekiel, but was based on the opinions of the ancient rabbi Maimonides, and uses stone rather than bronze.  It goes to show that if there is indeed a 3rd temple built prior to the Millennium (which seems likely), it is not the same as the temple described in the book of Ezekiel.  (source: https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/33583/new-details-emerge-rebuilt-holy-temple-jewish-world/#ggqsECzjK8HimV5e.97)
  • Of course, if there is a new altar, that must mean there are renewed sacrifices.  And so there are.  Vs. 18…

18 And He said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: ‘These are the ordinances for the altar on the day when it is made, for sacrificing burnt offerings on it, and for sprinkling blood on it. 19 You shall give a young bull for a sin offering to the priests, the Levites, who are of the seed of Zadok, who approach Me to minister to Me,’ says the Lord GOD. 20 You shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar, on the four corners of the ledge, and on the rim around it; thus you shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. 21 Then you shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and burn it in the appointed place of the temple, outside the sanctuary.

  • Technically, sacrifices on behalf of the people are not yet taking place.  At this point, they are consecrating the altar (part 1!).  The altar needs to be set apart for holy use by the Lord, and thus the blood of animals is shed.  In the Mosaic covenant, the priests were sanctified by blood, whereas God’s own glory sanctified the tabernacle & altar (Exo 29:43-44).  Anointing oil was also used to consecrate the altar & other items (Exo 40:10).  Why it changes for the Millennial temple is unclear.
  • That said, remember what consecration is: setting something apart for the Lord. WE are to be consecrated for Him!

22 On the second day you shall offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they cleansed it with the bull. 23 When you have finished cleansing it, you shall offer a young bull without blemish, and a ram from the flock without blemish. 24 When you offer them before the LORD, the priests shall throw salt on them, and they will offer them up as a burnt offering to the LORD. 25 Every day for seven days you shall prepare a goat for a sin offering; they shall also prepare a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without blemish. 26 Seven days they shall make atonement for the altar and purify it, and so consecrate it.

  • Consecrating the altar, part 2.  Using bulls, goats, and rams on a daily basis, blood was to be shed, salt offered, all as a ritual of purification.  Question: did the blood actually do anything?  Was it efficacious to take away sin?  No – that’s not the point.  In verse 26, it’s said that “atonement” shall be made for the altar, but the altar hadn’t sinned.  What sin can an inanimate object commit?  The root word itself has sometimes been thought of as a covering, but scholars today tend to agree that it refers to a ransom.  Considering the idea of sacrifice, “ransom” is far better fitting, even in regards to the altar.  The altar had not sinned, but it would be the place where ransom for sin was offered.  Thus it too needed to be ransomed, in order to set it apart for God’s holy use.

27 When these days are over it shall be, on the eighth day and thereafter, that the priests shall offer your burnt offerings and your peace offerings on the altar; and I will accept you,’ says the Lord GOD.”

  • Consecration completed on the 8th day.  7 full days of sacrifice, and on the a week of new beginnings, the Israelites have an altar where they can have new starts with the Lord every time they repent and come to Him.  (Our new start begins the very instant we confess & repent!)
  • I will accept you.”  Hebrew could be translated “I will be pleased with you,” or “I will be favorable towards you.”  What does this mean for the Jews?  Were they not accepted?  No – at least, not for a time.  For a time, they were not pleasing to God, and God cast them out of the land in His anger.  The Jews currently living with Ezekiel in captivity could certainly testify to that!  Yet it wouldn’t always be that way.  Not only would God dwell among them, but He also said that He would be pleased with them.  Some families might live under the same roof, but they certainly don’t dwell together – they never talk, and are never pleased with each other.  God promised something different for His people.  He would not only be physically close to them, but He would have a close relationship with them as well.
  • What does this mean for us today?  Because of Christ, God is already pleased with us!  We don’t do anything to earn God’s favor; it has been freely bestowed on us through His grace.

Ezekiel 44

  • The holiness of God (1-9)

1 Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. 2 And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3 As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.”

  • The east gate belongs to the Lord, remaining shut.  Once He entered through it, it was too holy for anyone else to use it.
    • Which gate was it? Eastern, facing out. 
  • Too holy, for anyone except one.  Who can at least sit in the presence of the gate?  The “prince.” 

4 Also He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD; and I fell on my face.

  • This is still the right response!  Just because God lifted up Ezekiel before didn’t mean that God was not still worthy of reverence & worship.

5 And the LORD said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary. 6 “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations. 7 When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it—My house—and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations. 8 And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.” 9 Thus says the Lord GOD: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

  • Although the invitation is open to all the world to be saved, not everyone is invited into the sanctuary of God.  The only people allowed there are those God Himself allows there.  In the Millennial Kingdom, this will be the Levitical priests and no one else.  Especially no “uncircumcised…foreigners,” as Israel had allowed in the past. …  What’s the problem with the foreigners?  They didn’t belong to God.  They weren’t a part of His covenant (symbolized through circumcision).  They had not been consecrated unto Him as His own.  Thus their very presence was defiling.  This isn’t unfair discrimination – this is simple fact.  Unless someone is invited by God into His presence – unless someone has a covenant relationship with God, then they are a defiled foreigner, and will be forever excluded from Him.
    • That was us, until we came to faith in Jesus!  Now we are HIS people, HIS priesthood, HIS kingdom.  No longer are we strangers; we are covenant-citizens of the Kingdom of God!
  • Question: will there be foreigners in the Millennial Kingdom?  Yes.  Remember that although the Church will be raptured by Christ, ushering in the Great Tribulation, there will be multitudes of people who live through those days.  Some will come to faith; some won’t.  Those who come to faith in Christ will be welcomed by Him at His Second Coming, and will go on to populate the Millennial Kingdom, both Israelites & Gentiles among them.  That first generation will all be believers (by definition) – but future generations are not guaranteed to come to faith.  Men and women will continue to have children during the Millennial Kingdom, and those generations may or may not be faithful followers of Christ.  Some will be uncircumcised foreigners, excluded from the covenant.
    • The point: No matter what the dispensation, the only way someone enjoys fellowship with God is through faith in Jesus Christ.  No one is naturally born into it.  We must choose to receive Jesus as our Lord, or we have no relationship with Him at all.
  • The priests and Levites (10-31)

10 “And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord GOD, “that they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. 14 Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.

  • Uncircumcised foreigners weren’t the only ones excluded from the Lord – some of the Levites fell into the same category.  They had proven unfaithful, so God forbade them from serving as priests in the Kingdom.  As recipients of the Levitical promises, they could still work at the temple, but it would be in minor roles – strictly anything but the priesthood.
  • Who was allowed to serve as priests?  Those from the lineage of Zadok…vs. 15…

15 “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD. 16 “They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.

  • Just as Zadok had been faithful to the Davidic covenant by continuing to serve Solomon, so had his descendants been faithful unto God.
  • If much of this sounds like ancient Jewish politics, that’s because it is.  But remember that God is primarily giving instructions regarding a future Jewish/Hebrew Kingdom.  As the Church, we have only one High Priest: the Lord Jesus Christ.  Apart from Him, we ourselves are priests unto God.  Today, we share in those same priestly privileges.  We can draw near to God, and freely stand before Him in worship.  We need not enter a physical temple sanctuary to do so, for (again) we are the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit.  And because of that, we have access.  The privilege afforded only to Zadok is the privilege we enjoy today. (And in the future!)

17 And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 When they go out to the outer court, to the outer court to the people, they shall take off their garments in which they have ministered, leave them in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; and in their holy garments they shall not sanctify the people. 20 “They shall neither shave their heads, nor let their hair grow long, but they shall keep their hair well trimmed. 21 No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22 They shall not take as wife a widow or a divorced woman, but take virgins of the descendants of the house of Israel, or widows of priests.

  • Specific instructions for the priests.  Much of this is representative of the various commands given in the Mosaic covenant regarding the priesthood.  The whole idea is holiness.  These priests were set apart to serve the Lord, and this was symbolized by various ways of physical separation.
    • Linen vs. wool = no sweating.
    • Different garment = visible separation.
    • Trimmed hair, not shaved = no signs of mourning
    • No wine = priestly service is to be sober.
    • Virgin wife = Symbol of purity, just as Jesus takes only the virgin bride of the Church.
  • Keep in mind all of this is for the Zadokian Levitical priests.  There’s no injunction here as to how a Christian ought to cut his hair, etc.  These were outward signs of separation & purity.  That said, we are to be separate from the world.

23 “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.

  • God’s purpose for the priests.  They had the responsibility to instruct the people in God’s standards & Scriptures.  They were to represent His righteousness, and to live as examples to the rest of the nation.  (So are we!)

25 “They shall not defile themselves by coming near a dead person. Only for father or mother, for son or daughter, for brother or unmarried sister may they defile themselves. 26 After he is cleansed, they shall count seven days for him. 27 And on the day that he goes to the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, he must offer his sin offering in the inner court,” says the Lord GOD.

  • A follow-up note about their purity: they weren’t to be around dead bodies.  Why?  Death is the result of sin, and priests were to be consecrated away from all of that.

28 “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.

  • This was the same promise God made to the Levites as the ancient Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land.

29 They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering; every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30 The best of all firstfruits of any kind, and every sacrifice of any kind from all your sacrifices, shall be the priest’s; also you shall give to the priest the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house. 31 The priests shall not eat anything, bird or beast, that died naturally or was torn by wild beasts.

  • A final note about their purity.

Ezekiel 45

  • The land of the holy city (1-8)

1 “Moreover, when you divide the land by lot into inheritance, you shall set apart a district for the LORD, a holy section of the land; its length shall be twenty-five thousand cubits, and the width ten thousand. It shall be holy throughout its territory all around. 2 Of this there shall be a square plot for the sanctuary, five hundred by five hundred rods, with fifty cubits around it for an open space. 3 So this is the district you shall measure: twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide; in it shall be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. 4 It shall be a holy section of the land, belonging to the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who come near to minister to the LORD; it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary. 5 An area twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide shall belong to the Levites, the ministers of the temple; they shall have twenty chambers as a possession.

  • Basically talking about a section of land 8.3 miles x 6.6 miles in perimeter to be set apart for the Lord, His temple, and the Levites. In addition, there will be sections available to the prince on the eastern & western sides, as he will reside there as well.  Vss. 6-8…

6 “You shall appoint as the property of the city an area five thousand cubits wide and twenty-five thousand long, adjacent to the district of the holy section; it shall belong to the whole house of Israel. 7 “The prince shall have a section on one side and the other of the holy district and the city’s property; and bordering on the holy district and the city’s property, extending westward on the west side and eastward on the east side, the length shall be side by side with one of the tribal portions, from the west border to the east border. 8 The land shall be his possession in Israel; and My princes shall no more oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel, according to their tribes.”

  • The point being that there will now be one righteous prince in the holy city, who will ensure that all of the other leaders among the Israelites will act fairly.  No more family politics – no more cloak & dagger intrigue & assassinations – there will finally be justice in the kingdom.  Psalm 2 speaks of the Messianic King ruling the nations (including Israel) with a rod of iron (Ps 2:9), and His designated prince (most likely David) will be His representative in the holy district itself.  The theme picks up in vs. 9…
  • Equity in the holy city (9-15)

9 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Enough, O princes of Israel! Remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness, and stop dispossessing My people,” says the Lord GOD. 10 “You shall have honest scales, an honest ephah, and an honest bath. 11 The ephah and the bath shall be of the same measure, so that the bath contains one-tenth of a homer, and the ephah one-tenth of a homer; their measure shall be according to the homer. 12 The shekel shall be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels, and fifteen shekels shall be your mina.

  • From the honest measurements, God goes on to command what the appropriate size of the various sacrifices ought to be.

13 “This is the offering which you shall offer: you shall give one-sixth of an ephah from a homer of wheat, and one-sixth of an ephah from a homer of barley. 14 The ordinance concerning oil, the bath of oil, is one-tenth of a bath from a kor. A kor is a homer or ten baths, for ten baths are a homer. 15 And one lamb shall be given from a flock of two hundred, from the rich pastures of Israel. These shall be for grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them,” says the Lord GOD.

  • This seems to describe a type of tithe.  At the very least, it’s an example of proportional giving.  However much the people were blessed in their harvests & flocks, that determined how much they were to offer to the Lord at the temple.  Not only would this provide for their worship (grain offerings, burnt offerings, etc.), but it would be the physical provision God gave to the Levites serving there. (44:29)
  • Seasonal feasts (16-25)

16 “All the people of the land shall give this offering for the prince in Israel. 17 Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.”

  • The prince has the responsibility of leading the nation in the annual feasts.  Whereas individual Israelites will need to bring their own offerings for their individual sins, the prince will provide the offerings on behalf of the nation as a whole.  Many of the regular offerings from the Mosaic covenant are repeated here, indicating that this will take place on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.
  • Question: Why offerings at all?  Didn’t Jesus’ single sacrifice at the cross do away with all the need for offerings?  Yes.  The author of Hebrews makes this crystal clear: Hebrews 10:11–14, "(11) And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. (12) But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, (13) from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. (14) For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."  Contrasting the Mosaic covenant with the New Covenant of Christ, the writer of Hebrews shows that every act of sacrifice ever performed by the Israelite priests were done as a shadow of the single act of sacrifice performed by the Lord Jesus.  Yet that does not invalidate the possibility of future sacrifices performed in the Millennial Temple – it actually provides the foundation.  How so?  The blood of bulls & goats never took away the sin of the people (Heb 10:4) – at least, not in truth.  All it did was provide a temporary covering, allowing the people to look to God in faith, trusting Him to provide the ultimate sacrifice through the future Messiah (which He did).  Today in this present age, we enjoy the reality of that sacrifice, and Jesus has forever done away with the need for any sacrifice whatsoever.  Why should it start again in the Millennium?  Because at that point, the dispensation will again be focused on God’s plans & promises to Israel, as the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.  Thus the sacrifices again are renewed – not to truly take away sins (which they never did in the first place), but as a constant reminder of the perfect completed sacrifice of Christ Jesus.  The sacrifices at that time will be a memorial of worship, thanking God for the Son of David who will then reign over them as their King.
    • As a reminder, this is non-essential doctrine.  Good Christians strongly disagree on how to interpret the latter chapters of Ezekiel.  The tricky part for us is being as faithful to the text as presented to us, while still being faithful the rest of Scripture of which there’s no disagreement. 

18 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish and cleanse the sanctuary. 19 The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the gateposts of the gate of the inner court. 20 And so you shall do on the seventh day of the month for everyone who has sinned unintentionally or in ignorance. Thus you shall make atonement for the temple.

  • Talking about Rosh Hashanah, in regards to the religious New Year.  At that time, an offering was made for unintentional or ignorant sin.  It’s the just-in-case offering, to cover any sin that may have been without sacrifice.
  • It’s a reminder that God sees every sin – even the ones we don’t.  And the good news is that Jesus died for every single one.

21 “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall observe the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. 22 And on that day the prince shall prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering. 23 On the seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bulls and seven rams without blemish, daily for seven days, and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering. 24 And he shall prepare a grain offering of one ephah for each bull and one ephah for each ram, together with a hin of oil for each ephah.

  • Referring to Passover & the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This is an appropriate festival to carry over into the Millennium, as it is basically the Hebrew equivalent of the cross.  It was then that God redeemed His people (paid ransom for them), purchasing them out of slavery & death.  This is what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross & rose again.

25 “In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month, at the feast, he shall do likewise for seven days, according to the sin offering, the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the oil.”

  • Referring to the Feast of Tabernacles, surely another appropriate festival.  After all, the Millennial Kingdom is the very fulfillment of what Tabernacles/Booths symbolized.  God was indeed dwelling with His people, caring for them as His very own.

Conclusion:
God promised to dwell with His people & God promised to be close to His people.  For Israel, it was through the sacrificial temple system – for us, it’s through Christ Jesus.

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