Ezekiel had been guided by a heavenly messenger whose appearance was like bronze (40:3a), and who had in his hand a line of twine and a measuring rod (40:3). The prophet had been given a vision of the Temple of the Millennial Kingdom (40:5-26), including the courtyards of the Temple grounds (40:27-47), the outer sanctuary (40:48-41:2), and “The Most Holy Place” (the inner sanctuary, 41:3-5).
Ezekiel was then led out the east gate of the Temple (42:15), and as he gazed upon the Temple, suddenly the glory of the LORD filled the Temple as it had the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:31-38) and Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8:10-13). When Israel sinned as a nation, and the people broke covenant with the LORD, God removed His glory from the Temple (there is no mention in the Scriptures of God’s glory filling the Temple of Zerubbabel or that of Herod the Great).
The glory of the LORD will be a perpetual presence in the Temple of the Millennial Kingdom, and Israel will shine with the radiance of His glory (43:2). When “the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord: and [Ezekiel] fell upon [his] face” in an act of worship and humility (43:4). The LORD then commanded Ezekiel to observe and record (“mark well”) “all the ordinances of the house of the Lord, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary” (43:5).
Time and space will not allow a verse-by-verse exposition of Ezekiel’s vision; however, there are some truths we dare not overlook. Most importantly: the LORD’s earthly throne will be located in the Millennial Temple (43:7; Zechariah 6:12-13), and He will dwell in the Temple in the midst of His people (43:7; Zechariah 2:11; Revelation 7:13-17).
Remember, Ezekiel was preaching to an audience of people who were captive in Babylon. Some had witnessed the devastating destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. Imagine how their spirits were renewed when they heard the news of the Millennial Kingdom and Temple. Their sins had brought on them the sorrows they suffered because of God’s judgment, yet, He promised He would one day restore them as a nation, and reign in their midst.
There is some debate regarding the sacrifices foretold in the Millennial Kingdom, for Ezekiel 43:18-27 states six regulations regarding the offerings, including the “seed of Zadok” being the lone family of priests who will serve the altar (43:19). I am of the opinion the sacrifices offered during the Millennial Kingdom will be a celebration of Christ’s sacrifice.
Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple continued with the LORD saying of the east gate, “This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut” (44:2). What a wonderful message for Israel! The glory of the LORD had entered the Temple, and He would not remove His presence again!
The heavenly messenger then brought Ezekiel to gaze upon the Temple from the north gate, and he “behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord: and [he] fell upon [his] face” (44:4). The limited role of the Levites in the Millennial Temple is recorded, for the LORD had not forgotten they had failed the people, and tolerated false teachers, and “gone away far from” Him (44:6-10). The Levites will serve as gatekeepers, assist with offerings, and minister to the people in worship (44:11). Yet, they would be forbidden to approach the LORD, or “to do the office of a priest” (44:12-14).
Restrictions Governing the Role of Priests (44:15-31)
There were eleven restrictions given to Ezekiel that began with “the sons of Zadok” being the only priests qualified to take charge of the sanctuary, offer sacrifices, and minister before the LORD’s table (44:15-16). We are reminded the garments of the priests in the Temple were to be holy, and not to be worn in the outer court (44:17-19). Priests who served the LORD were under guidelines for their hair-style (44:20), the prohibition of wine (44:21), and whom they would marry (a priest was not to marry a divorced woman or a widow, except she be a widow of a priest, 44:22).
Priests were to teach the people to be holy (44:23), judge in controversies that might arise among them (44:24), and not to defile themselves by touching a dead body (44:25-27). While others of Israel would have possessions, the priests were to have no possessions, trusting the LORD to meet their every need (44:28-30). Lastly, priests were prohibited from eating an animal that was found dead (44:31).
We are reminded once again, the LORD requires holiness of those who minister to His people.
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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