|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
45:1-25 In the period here foretold, the worship and the ministers of God will be provided for; the princes will rule with justice, as holding their power under Christ; the people will live in peace, ease, and godliness. These things seem to be represented in language taken from the customs of the times in which the prophet wrote. Christ is our Passover that is sacrificed for us: we celebrate the memorial of that sacrifice, and feast upon it, triumphing in our deliverance out of the Egyptian slavery of sin, and our preservation from the destroying sword of Divine justice, in the Lord's supper, which is our passover feast; as the whole Christian life is, and must be, the feast of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Verses 18-25. - These verses allude to the institution of a new feast-cycle, whose deviations from that of the Pentateuch will be best exhibited in the course of exposition. Whether three festivals are referred to or only two is debated by expositors. Fairbairn, Havernick, Ewald, Keil, Schroder, and Plumptre decide for three - the festival of the new year (vers. 18-20), the Passover (vers. 21-24), and the Feast of Tabernacles (ver. 25). Kliefoth, Smend, and Curtsy find only two a Passover and a Feast of Tabernacles. Hengstenberg sees in the solemnities of the first and seventh days of the new year a special consecration service for the new temple, not to be repeated, corresponding to the dedication of the tabernacle on the first day of the first month (Exodus 40:1, 17), or of the Solomonic temple in the seventh month (1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chronicles 7:8), and in imitation of which the post-exilic temple was dedicated, probably on the first day of the year (Ezra 6:16-22). Against the notion of a special dedication service, however, stand the facts
(1) that the temple had been already consecrated by the entrance into it of the glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 43:4); and
(2) that the service here described differs in respect either of time or ritual or both from every one of the three cited dedications. Between the two other views the difference is slight. If the festival of the new year (vers. 18-20) was distinct from the Passover, it was still, by the ritual of the seventh and fourteenth days of the first month (vers. 20, 22), so closely connected with the Passover as practically to form a preparation for and introduction to it. Then the circumstance that the proper ceremonial for the new moon is afterwards described (Ezekiel 46:6) favors the proposal to regard the rites in vers. 18-20 as a part of the Passover festival; while this view, if adopted, will explain the omission from ver. 25 of all mention of the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1), and of the great Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:27; Numbers 29:7), with which the autumn festival was usually preceded, by showing that in lieu of these a sacrificial observance had been prefixed to the Passover on the first and seventh days of the first month. Smend's theory, that "Ezekiel's feast-calendar divides the ecclesiastical year into two halves, each of which begins with a re. conciliation ceremony (or expiatory sacrifice) on the first days of the first and seventh months respectively," would lend confirmation to the above view, were it not that the theory in question is based on an alteration of the text in ver. 20 (see Exposition). Verse 18. - Thus saith the Lord God. The usual solemn introduction prefixed to Divine enactments (comp. ver. 9; Ezekiel 43:19; Ezekiel 44:6, 9; Ezekiel 46:1, 16). In the first month, in the first day of the month (comp. Genesis 8:13). That the first month, Abib, was intended is apparent from ver. 21, compared with Exodus 12:2; Numbers 9:1. Under the Mosaic Torah, the Passover began on the tenth day of the first month by the selection of a lamb (Exodus 12:3-6), corresponding to which the great Day of Atonement in the seventh month fell upon the tenth day (Leviticus 23:27). In the Torah of Ezekiel, the ceremonies introducing and leading up to the Passover should begin with the first day of the month, as under the Law the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh mouth practically began the solemnities which culminated in the Feast of Tabernacles. A young bullock without blemish should form the sacrificial offering on this first day of the year, according to the ordinance published by Ezekiel; that promulgated by the Hebrew lawgiver appointed for new moons generally, in addition to the burnt and meat offerings, a he-goat for a sin offering (Numbers 28:15), and particularly for the first day of the seventh month, in addition to the regular burnt and meat offerings, one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs for a burnt offering, meat offerings of flour and oil for each of these animals, and a he-goat for a sin offering (Numbers 29:2-6). The object for which the Mosaic offerings were presented was to make atonement for the worshippers; the Ezekelian sacrifices should stand in more immediate relation to the place of worship, and be designed to cleanse the sanctuary from such defilement, to be afterwards mentioned, as might be contracted from the presence in it of erring men (ver. 20).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thus saith the Lord God,.... Here begins the account of the times and seasons in which the above sacrifices should be prepared and offered; or that which was signified by them be held forth in the ministry of the word to the faith of God's people:
in the first month, in the first day of the month; the month Nisan, as Kimchi observes, who adds,
"which is the month of redemption, in which Israel were redeemed out of Egypt, and in which they shall be redeemed in time to come:''
this month answers to part of our March and part of April; it was the first month in the year with the Jews for their ecclesiastical affairs; so that the first day of this month was New Year's Day:
thou shall take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary; or, "make a sin offering for it" (g); here the Jews are puzzled; since, according to the law of Moses, in the beginnings of their months, they were to offer a burnt offering of two young bullocks and a ram, &c. Numbers 28:11, whereas here only one bullock, and that a sin offering; wherefore R. Jochanan and R. Judah say, this must be left till Elijah comes to explain it; and as much at a loss are they how to account for it that Ezekiel should do this, whom they suppose to be the person spoken to; and therefore imagine this will be done by him after the resurrection, not being able to see that this shows the abrogation of the law of Moses; and that not the Prophet Ezekiel, but Christ the Prince and Priest, is here addressed; and whose sacrifice is designed by the young bullock without blemish; a type of him both in his strength and purity; and by which his sanctuary, his church and people, have all their sins expiated; and particularly the sins of the year past, this being represented as done on New Year's Day, which the annual atonement prefigured.
(g) "expiatoque", Piscator; "expiabis", Cocceius, Starckius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. The year is to begin with a consecration service, not mentioned under the Levitical law; but an earnest of it is given in the feast of dedication of the second temple, which celebrated its purification by Judas Maccabeus, after its defilement by Antiochus.
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