Ezekiel 43
Barnes' Notes
The consecration of the new temple Ezekiel 43:1-11. The glory of the God of Israel must take possession of the new sanctuary, as, in time past, of the tabernacle and of Solomon's Temple. But it is in a different form. The glory was of old veiled in a cloud resting on the mercy-Seat of the ark between cherubim of carved wood. Now the glory appears in the form with which Ezekiel is familiar, in all its symbolic significance (see Ezekiel 1:1 note). A personal and living God enters the sanctuary Ezekiel 43:2, condescending to occupy it, not merely as a fixed dwelling-place, but as a center from where His Power and mercy radiate freely to the utmost ends of the earth. Hence, amidst the detailed preparations of the house no mention is made of the ark or mercy-Seat, so important a part in the former sanctuary. The living cherubim, the firmament and the rainbow of mercy, replace the cherubic figures and the golden chest.

The ark, having been in some way destroyed in Nebuchadnezzars siege, was never replaced. In its stead there was within the veil a flat stone on which the high priest poured the blood on the Day of Atonement.

Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:
The gate - This was the eastern gate from the precincts to the outer court.

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.
By this gate the glory of the Lord had departed. See the marginal reference.

So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.
The glory of the Lord filled the house - Compare the marginal reference; Exodus 40:34-35.

And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.
The man - A "man." Probably an angel different from "the man" who had hitherto accompanied the seer. That angel guided, measured, and explained; this is present only to guide.

And he said unto me, Son of man, 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 for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.
He said - i. e., God "said." Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate break this verse into two, so as to make the first half the solemn words of dedication. place a full stop after "forever;" the words mark the distinction between the new and the former sanctuary.

The palace of Solomon abutted upon the southern side of the embankment of the temple-platform; there was but "a wall between Yahweh and them." When the kings gave themselves up to idolatry, this vicinity was to the temple a pollution and defilement. Thus it has been conjectured that "the garden of Uzza" in which Manasseh and Amon were buried 2 Kings 21:18, 2 Kings 21:26, and on which now stands the mosque of Omar, was on the temple area itself; if so, this would explain the mention of "high places" in connection with the defilement by the "carcases of kings," since the platform of the mosque of Omar at the time of Ezekiel rose to a considerable height above the temple.

Besides this, idolatrous kings of Judah did actually introduce their idolatries into the temple courts themselves (compare 2 Kings 16:11; 2 Kings 21:4).

In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.
Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.
Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.
Deviation from the exact rules of the Mosaic ordinances was connected with the transgression of the people. So the restoration, according to the pattern of the Law, was symbolic of their return to obedience.

And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.
See also Ezekiel 47:12. This is the law of the ordinance of the new sanctuary. After the consecration, God pronounces the "law" which is to govern the ordinances of the sanctuary (compare 1 Kings 8), first briefly repeating the general rule that the place must be kept holy to the Lord (compare Revelation 21:27), and then proceeding to specific ordinances commencing with the altar.

And these are the measures of the altar after the cubits: The cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth; even the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about shall be a span: and this shall be the higher place of the altar.
The altar of sacrifice which stood in the inner court, not the altar of incense described Ezekiel 41:22. In the temple of the vision the dimensions differ from those of the tabernacle Exodus 27:1, and of Solomon's Temple 2 Chronicles 4:1, with a view to introduce definite propositions and symbolic numbers. See Plan L.

The bottom - The base (I) of the altar so called, because it forms with its "border" (K) a kind of socket to receive the "lower settle" (L). It was to be "a cubit" in depth.

The "breadth" is the breadth of that portion of the base which was not covered by the "lower settle."

The higher place - the base, literally back; the base is called the back because the altar rested upon it.

And from the bottom upon the ground even to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth one cubit.
The bottom - The basement just described is now called "the bottom upon the ground." The altar (independently of the bottom) was composed of two stages called "settles," the base of the "upper settle" (M) being less than that of the "lower" (L).

To the lower settle - That is, to the top of "the lower settle," which was to be "two cubits high."

From the lesser settle ... to the greater settle - i. e., from the top of the "lower settle" to the top of the "upper settle," called "lesser" and "greater," because the height of the lower is less than that of the "upper; The breadth" here is the part of the lower settle not covered by the upper settle, projecting one cubit on every side.

So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward shall be four horns.
The altar ... the altar - See the margin. The two words may denote, the first a square block (N) placed upon the upper settle, the second a slab (O), the thickness of which is not given, from which rose four horns Exodus 27:2; and to which it seems probable that the victims of sacrifice were at times bound. Psalm 118:27. Why the names Harel and Ariel were used must be conjectural. Mount of God may have been a title naturally given to the place of sacrifice as elsewhere to the place of worship Ezekiel 40:2; Lion of God was a term used for the Holy City itself Isaiah 29:1.

And the altar shall be twelve cubits long, twelve broad, square in the four squares thereof.
altar - Ariel was to be an exact square on all sides. Compare Exodus 27:1; Revelation 21:16.

And the settle shall be fourteen cubits long and fourteen broad in the four squares thereof; and the border about it shall be half a cubit; and the bottom thereof shall be a cubit about; and his stairs shall look toward the east.
The settle - The "lower settle" (L), projecting beyond the "upper settle" (M) one cubit on every side.

His stairs - Jewish tradition says that the approach to the altar was by an inclined plane, because to go up "by steps" was forbidden Exodus 20:26.

The number "twelve" was symbolic of the twelve tribes, "four," of the earth; "sixteen" is the square of "four," and "fourteen" the double of "seven," the number of the covenant, as being composed of "three," the number of God, and of "four," the number of the world. Thus we have in the altar a special instance of Hebrew symbolism.

And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.
The rites here described are not those of the regular service, but those to be observed on the day of dedication. (Compare Leviticus 8:10 ff; 1 Kings 8:63 ff; 2 Chronicles 7:4 ff, In the tabernacle the priest killed the victims, but Moses sprinkled the blood. In the vision the seer is addressed as though he were to perform the part of Moses.

And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering.
The seed of Zadok - See Ezekiel 40:46 note.

And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.
Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary.
In the appointed place of the house - A place within the temple-court, but "without the sanctuary" properly so called, that is to say, without the temple and inner court. This was probably the "separate place" (see Ezekiel 41:12).

And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock.
They shall cleanse - By sprinkling the blood Ezekiel 43:18. Here "they" marks the act as that of the priests. Moses did his part before the priests were consecrated, and the seer could act through them.

When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish.
There was, on each of the seven days, a burnt-offering of a bullock and a ram, preceded by a "sin-offereng of a bullock" on the first day, and of a "kid of the goats" on the other days.

And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
Salt is here added to the "burnt-offering" to express still more the idea of purification. In the second temple no sacrifice was complete without the use of salt, and the rabbis assert that there was a great heap of salt close to the altar, always ready for use, and that the inclined plane to the altar was kept covered with salt. Compare Mark 9:49.

Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish.
Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves.
Consecrate themselves - literally, as in the margin. Leviticus 8:27. The priests are already consecrated, but the memory of their consecration was thus kept up at the dedication of the altar.

And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.
After this inauguration the regular service shall be resumed, and be acceptable unto God (compare Malachi 1:11).

The Epistle to the Hebrews Heb. 8-10 helps us to recognize in this vision the symbol of the purification of the Church of God by the cleansing blood of Christ, Victim and priest.

Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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