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Ezekiel 40:1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was taken, on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me and He brought me there.

< Ezekiel 39:29
Ezekiel 40:2 >

      Eze 40:1-49. THE REMAINING CHAPTERS, THE FORTIETH THROUGH FORTY-EIGHTH, GIVE AN IDEAL PICTURE OF THE RESTORED JEWISH TEMPLE.

      The arrangements as to the land and the temple are, in many particulars, different from those subsisting before the captivity. There are things in it so improbable physically as to preclude a purely literal interpretation. The general truth seems to hold good that, as Israel served the nations for his rejection of Messiah, so shall they serve him in the person of Messiah, when he shall acknowledge Messiah (Isa 60:12; Zec 14:17-19; compare Ps 72:11). The ideal temple exhibits, under Old Testament forms (used as being those then familiar to the men whom Ezekiel, a priest himself, and one who delighted in sacrificial images, addresses), not the precise literal outline, but the essential character of the worship of Messiah as it shall be when He shall exercise sway in Jerusalem among His own people, the Jews, and thence to the ends of the earth. The very fact that the whole is a vision (Eze 40:2), not an oral face-to-face communication such as that granted to Moses (Nu 12:6-8), implies that the directions are not to be understood so precisely literally as those given to the Jewish lawgiver. The description involves things which, taken literally, almost involve natural impossibilities. The square of the temple, in Eze 42:20, is six times as large as the circuit of the wall enclosing the old temple, and larger than all the earthly Jerusalem. Ezekiel gives three and a half miles and one hundred forty yards to his temple square. The boundaries of the ancient city were about two and a half miles. Again, the city in Ezekiel has an area between three or four thousand square miles, including the holy ground set apart for the prince, priests, and Levites. This is nearly as large as the whole of Judea west of the Jordan. As Zion lay in the center of the ideal city, the one-half of the sacred portion extended to nearly thirty miles south of Jerusalem, that is, covered nearly the whole southern territory, which reached only to the Dead Sea (Eze 47:19), and yet five tribes were to have their inheritance on that side of Jerusalem, beyond the sacred portion (Eze 48:23-28). Where was land to be found for them there? A breadth of but four or five miles apiece would be left. As the boundaries of the land are given the same as under Moses, these incongruities cannot be explained away by supposing physical changes about to be effected in the land such as will meet the difficulties of the purely literal interpretation. The distribution of the land is in equal portions among the twelve tribes, without respect to their relative numbers, and the parallel sections running from east to west. There is a difficulty also in the supposed separate existence of the twelve tribes, such separate tribeships no longer existing, and it being hard to imagine how they could be restored as distinct tribes, mingled as they now are. So the stream that issued from the east threshold of the temple and flowed into the Dead Sea, in the rapidity of its increase and the quality of its waters, is unlike anything ever known in Judea or elsewhere in the world. Lastly, the catholicity of the Christian dispensation, and the spirituality of its worship, seem incompatible with a return to the local narrowness and "beggarly elements" of the Jewish ritual and carnal ordinances, disannulled "because of the unprofitableness thereof" [FAIRBAIRN], (Ga 4:3, 9; 5:1; Heb 9:10; 10:18). "A temple with sacrifices now would be a denial of the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ. He who sacrificed before confessed the Messiah. He who should sacrifice now would solemnly deny Him" [DOUGLAS]. These difficulties, however, may be all seeming, not real. Faith accepts God's Word as it is, waits for the event, sure that it will clear up all such difficulties. Perhaps, as some think, the beau ideal of a sacred commonwealth is given according to the then existing pattern of temple services, which would be the imagery most familiar to the prophet and his hearers at the time. The minute particularizing of details is in accordance with Ezekiel's style, even in describing purely ideal scenes. The old temple embodied in visible forms and rites spiritual truths affecting the people even when absent from it. So this ideal temple is made in the absence of the outward temple to serve by description the same purpose of symbolical instruction as the old literal temple did by forms and acts. As in the beginning God promised to be a "sanctuary" (Eze 11:16) to the captives at the Chebar, so now at the close is promised a complete restoration and realization of the theocratic worship and polity under Messiah in its noblest ideal (compare Jer 31:38-40). In Re 21:22 "no temple" is seen, as in the perfection of the new dispensation the accidents of place and form are no longer needed to realize to Christians what Ezekiel imparts to Jewish minds by the imagery familiar to them. In Ezekiel's temple holiness stretches over the entire temple, so that in this there is no longer a distinction between the different parts, as in the old temple: parts left undeterminate in the latter obtain now a divine sanction, so that all arbitrariness is excluded. So that it is be a perfect manifestation of the love of God to His covenant-people (Eze 40:1-43:12); and from it, as from a new center of religious life, there gushes forth the fulness of blessings to them, and so to all people (Eze 47:1-23) [FAIRBAIRN and HAVERNICK]. The temple built at the return from Babylon can only very partially have realized the model here given. The law is seemingly opposed to the gospel (Mt 5:21, 22, 27, 28, 33, 34). It is not really so (compare Mt 5:17, 18; Ro 3:31; Ga 3:21, 22). It is true Christ's sacrifice superseded the law sacrifices (Heb 10:12-18). Israel's province may hereafter be to show the essential identity, even in the minute details of the temple sacrifices, between the law and gospel (Ro 10:8). The ideal of the theocratic temple will then first be realized.

      1. beginning of the year--the ecclesiastical year, the first month of which was Nisan.
      the city . . . thither--Jerusalem, the center to which all the prophet's thoughts tended.

JFB.


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Ezekiel Images and Notes

The Book of Ezekiel

Ezekiel 3:17-19 - Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ezekiel 28:6-10 - Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of [them that are] slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I [am] God? but thou [shalt be] a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 43:1-4- Afterward he brought me to the gate, [even] the gate that looketh toward the east: And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice [was] like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. And [it was] according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, [even] according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions [were] like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect [is] toward the east.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survey - Ezekiel
Hebrew Name - Yehezqel "God is strength"
Greek Name - Iezekiel (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Ezekiel (According to Tradition)
Date - 595 BC Approximately
Theme - The final restoration of Israel
Types and Shadows - In Ezekiel Jesus is the son of man

The First Day. Light.

Summary of The Book of Ezekiel

Ezekiel prophesied to the the Jewish captives in Babylon. The Babylonians had invaded Judah three times and each time they took prisoners back to Babylon. The first invasion was in 607 BC and Daniel was taken as a captive to Babylon. The second invasion was in 597 BC and Ezekiel was taken as a captive to Babylon, and in 586 BC Jerusalem was destroyed and all the survivors were taken as captives to Babylon. Ezekiel was married to a beautiful woman who was "the desire of his eyes" and God told him but his beloved wife was going to die on the very same day that Jerusalem was to be destroyed. As a sign to the Jews is a cure was commanded not to mourn his wife's death. He was to prepare himself as God had prepared himself for the death of his beloved city (Ezekiel 24:15-22). God spoke many prophecies through Ezekiel using words, parables, visions, and similitudes (strange things to point to something greater). Ezekiel also prophesied about the false shepherds in Jerusalem and God said that he will be the true Shepherd Messiah and there will be a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a re-gathering of Israel in the land. Ezekiel also predicted the downfall of those nations that were hostile to Judah. Ezekiel 16 is probably the most remarkable chapter concerning the love of God for his people in spite of their continuing idolatry. - The above text is Rusty Russell - Bible History Online and must be sourced for use on a website.

"Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you," says the Lord GOD. "But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it." Ezekiel 16:14-15

The prophet Ezekiel taken captive during the time when the Babylonians began their captivity of Judah during the time of the reign of king Jehoichin, which was about 11 years before Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. Ezekiel was one of the Jewish captives who was brought to the land of Babylon and settled on the banks of the river Chebar. While he was by this river and the "land of the Chaldeans" he had a prophetic vision and received his call to be a prophet to the people in exile. This all happened in the fourth month of the "fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (595 BC). There is one interesting note that Ezekiel makes when he mentions that he married a woman in the land of Babylon and had a house, and that he lost his wife on the very day that the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem took place. Something else that is interesting is that the prophecies of Ezekiel address the Jews in Jerusalem and the events taking place over there, as though he was in Jerusalem, but he was actually in Babylon.

According to Jewish tradition Ezekiel was murdered in Babylon by a Jewish prince whom Ezekiel accused of idolatry, Ezekiel was supposedly buried on the banks of the Euphrates River.

The major divisions within the book of Ezekiel reveal the purpose of this ministry. In the first half of the book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1-33) Judah is accused of breaking all of God's commandments, and they are warned by God that they will be destroyed if they persist in their sins. After Ezekiel's announcement of Jerusalem's destruction the book of Ezekiel focuses on an entirely different subject, which is one of comfort and encouragement to the heartbroken Jews.

The contents of the book may be analyzed further as follows :

Outline of the Book of Ezekiel

I. Israel's sin and impending judgment, uttered before the final captivity (Ezekiel 1-24).

1) Biographical information concerning Ezekiel, including a note as to his personal situation and a description of his call to the prophetic ministry (Ezekiel 1-3 ).
2 ) The siege of Jerusalem portrayed in four symbolical acts (Ezekiel 4-7 ). In the first of these, Ezekiel evidently drew a picture of a city under siege, indicating that this was soon to be the condition of Jerusalem. After this, Ezekiel lay on his side for a great number of days, announcing that the nation was to be punished for its sins. By eating an inferior type of food which had been cooked on animal dung, Ezekiel predicted the famine which would accompany the siege. In the final act, Ezekiel shaved his head, burning his hair, striking it with a sword and scattering it to the winds, indicating the fate of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 6 and 7 contain additional oracles concerning Israel's sin and imminent doom.
3 ) Visions of idolatry in Jerusalem and the resultant judgment and destruction of that city (Ezekiel 8-11).
4 ) Further prophecies against Jerusalem (Ezekiel 12-24). This section contains a rebuke of false prophets and hypocrites (Ezekiel 12-14), a repeated emphasis on the certainty and necessity of punishment (Ezekiel 15-17), a discussion of retribution and responsibility and a reassertion of God's love toward sinners (Ezekiel 18), a lamentation or dirge over the rulers of Judah (Ezekiel 19) and final warnings before the complete destruction of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 20-24).

II. Prophecies against the nations of Am-mon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon and Egypt (Ezekiel 25-32).

III. Prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel, uttered after the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

1 ) A discussion of the responsibility of the people to respond to the call of the prophet (Ezekiel 33: 1-20).
2 ) The announcement of the fall of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 33:21-33).
3 ) A contrast between the leadership of the faithless shepherds ( kings) of Judah and Israel and the true shepherd who was to come (Ezekiel 34).
4 ) The doom of Edom (Ezekiel 35).
5 ) The vision of the valley of dry bones, symbolizing the resurrection of the remnant of Israel (Ezekiel 36-37).
6 ) The prophecy of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39 ).
7 ) The rebuilt Temple (Ezekiel 40-48).

The First Day. Light.

Ezekiel Resources

The Divided Kingdom
The Northern Kingdom of Israel
The Southern Kingdom of Judah
The Assyrian Captivity
The Babylonian Captivity
The Return From Babylon
The Prophets
The Messiah

The Book of Ezekiel

More About the Book of Ezekiel
Ezekiel in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
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