Ezekiel 20:40
For in my holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, said the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
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(40) In mine holy mountain.—See note on Ezekiel 17:23. The former prophecy was distinctly Messianic; in this, taken by itself, there is nothing which might not refer to the restoration from the exile. Yet in view of the parallelism and connection between the two, we can hardly avoid the supposition, that in predicting the restoration the prophetic eye looked beyond to the greater glory of the Christian dispensation, of which that restoration was a type. But, however this may be, it is not necessary to explain any of the expressions in this passage as looking for their direct and immediate fulfilment beyond the restoration under Zerubbabel.

All the house of Israel.—It has already been shown (see notes on Ezekiel 2:3; Ezekiel 4:3) that the existing nation is recognised as constituting “Israel,” except where special occasion arises for distinguishing between the ten tribes and the two. Here “Israel” is used throughout for the people whom the prophet is directed to address (Ezekiel 20:39), as is further shown by the parallel, “all of them in the land.” Though the restored nation was made up chiefly of Judah and Benjamin, there were also among them considerable remnants of the other tribes; and it is declared that the offerings of them all shall be alike acceptable.

Ezekiel 20:40-42. For in my holy mountain, &c. — The holy hill of Zion, holy through God’s appointing it for the place of his temple. The mountain of the height of Israel — See Ezekiel 17:23; Micah 4:1. Though mount Zion was not one of the highest mountains of Israel, yet God manifesting his presence there in his temple, it was more honoured than any of their other mountains. Lowth, and several other commentators, think the Christian Church is here meant, and termed God’s holy mountain in allusion to the temple at Jerusalem, built upon mount Moriah, a part of mount Zion; (see notes on Ezekiel 17:23, and Isaiah 2:2;) and that the prophet here foretels the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, and their union with the converted Gentiles in the church of God. At the same time, however, they suppose that, upon their conversion and return to their own country, certain privileges shall belong to the earthly Jerusalem, as the metropolis of that nation. There shall all the house of Israel, all of them, serve me — That is, all the house of Israel that are restored, shall serve me in Jerusalem. There shall be no more any such separation as when the ten tribes forsook the worship of God at Jerusalem. There will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, &c. — Requiring signifies the same with accepting, by a metonymy of the cause for the effect; just as seeking is sometimes used for finding: see Isaiah 65:1. In the same sense, God is said not to require such instances of worship as he takes no delight in, Isaiah 1:11. Offerings signify in general every thing devoted to God’s service. Those who suppose that the prophet is here foretelling the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, consider him as “expressing the Christian worship by those religions oblations which were proper to his own time; as the other prophets frequently describe the state of the Christian Church, by representations taken from the Jewish temple and service.” — See Lowth. I will accept you with your sweet savour — This is mentioned in opposition to the sweet savour of their offerings to idols. The words may be rendered, I will be pleased with you, as with a sweet savour; or, as with the savour of an offering of atonement. When I bring you out — Or, as it may be better rendered, When I have brought you out from the people; that is, either, 1st, When I have brought you back out of captivity to your own land; or, 2d, When I have converted you to Christ, and united you to the Christian Church. And I will be sanctified in you before the heathen — I shall procure honour to my name by the wonderful works, whether of justice or mercy, which I will show toward you; and the nations shall consider me as a great and holy God, when they shall observe my deliverance of you, and your obedience to me. And ye shall know that I am the Lord — Or, Jehovah; that is, He who causeth that TO BE which he hath said SHALL BE, and who fulfilleth his promises. When I shall bring you into the country, &c. — Into the land which I sware to give to your fathers and their posterity: see Ezekiel 20:5.20:33-44 The wicked Israelites, notwithstanding they follow the sinful ways of other nations, shall not mingle with them in their prosperity, but shall be separated from them for destruction. There is no shaking off God's dominion; and those who will not yield to the power of his grace, shall sink under the power of his wrath. But not one of God's jewels shall be lost in the lumber of this world. He will bring the jews to the land of Israel again; and will give them true repentance. They will be overcome with his kindness: the more we know of God's holiness, the more we see the hateful nature of sin. Those who remain unaffected amidst means of grace, and would live without Christ, like the world around them, may be sure it is the way to destruction.This points to the consummation indicated by the vision of the temple.

In the mountain of the height - Or, Upon a very high mountain Ezekiel 40:2. Compare Isaiah 2:2-3.

The house of Israel, all of them - All the separation between Israel and Judah shall cease. This points to times yet future, when in Messiah's kingdom Jews and Gentiles alike shall be gathered into one kingdom - the kingdom of Christ. Jerusalem is the Church of Christ Galatians 4:26, into which the children of Israel shall at last be gathered, and so the prophecy shall be fulfilled Revelation 21:2.

40. For—Though ye, the rebellious portion, withdraw from My worship, others, even the believing remnant, will succeed after you perish, and will serve Me purely.

in mine holy mountain—(Isa 2:2, 3). Zion, or Moriah, "the height of Israel" (pre-eminent above all mountains because of the manifested presence of God there with Israel), as opposed to their "high places," the worship on which was an abomination to God.

all—not merely individuals, such as constitute the elect Church now; but the whole nation, to be followed by the conversion of the Gentile nations (Isa 2:2, "all nations;" Ro 11:26; Re 11:15).

with—rather, "in all your holy things" [Maurer].

The gifts of idolaters, and all their painted stuff, God rejected in the former verse; now he encourageth the upright, those that feared, and obeyed, and waited on him. Mine holy mountain; Zion, holy hill, Psalm 2:6; holy by designation, and God’s own appointing it for his temple and presence.

The height of Israel: the hypocrites, you have your high places, I abhor them; my church hath its high place, but it is the Mount Zion I have loved and chosen, called the height: it was the glory of Israel, and though lower than many other hills, yet it was above them all for God’s peculiar presence there.

All the house of Israel; redeemed by me, whom I have brought out of Babylon according to promise, the returned captivity.

All of them: it is doubled to insure them.

In the land; their own land, and their fathers’ land.

Serve me; not idols, but the God of their fathers.

Accept them; delight in them, and in their sacrifices.

Require your offerings: when I have brought you into, and blest you in, the land, then I will require your offerings as formerly; your first-fruits, your tithes, in a word, all your holy gifts: you shall see my temple built, Jerusalem filled with inhabitants, the land of Israel planted with seed of man and beast, my worship restored, and you shall go up with joy, carrying your holy things, and I will there accept them. For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God,.... Alluding to Mount Zion, or Moriah, on which the temple was built, on the highest part of the land of Israel, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; here the Gospel church is meant, comparable to a "mountain" for its firmness and durableness; said to be a "holy" one, because consisting of holy persons, performing holy worship to a holy God; and represented as "high", being established, as it will be in the latter day, upon the top of the mountains, and be very visible and glorious:

there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: when all Israel shall be saved, or converted; and, the rebels and transgressors being purged away from them, they shall join themselves to the Gospel church, and in it serve the Lord, according to the rules of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; even all of them that shall enter into their own land and dwell in it; the rest being not admitted to it:

there will I accept them; their persons, and their sacrifices of prayer and praise, being offered up, in the name and faith of Christ, that altar which sanctities every gift; see Isaiah 56:7,

and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things; meaning the offering up of their persons: bodies, and souls, as a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice, which he would require of them as their reasonable service; together with all holy duties of prayer, praise, and beneficence; sacrifices with which God is well pleased through Christ and his sacrifice; and which are the only sacrifices he now requires under the Gospel dispensation; for ceremonial ones he does not require, seek after, enjoin, or accept; these are done away and made void by the sacrifice of his son; only it may be observed, as in other places and prophecies of Gospel times, that New Testament worship is expressed by the phrases, forms, and usages suited to the Old Testament; see Psalm 40:6.

For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
40. Resumes Ezekiel 20:34-38, and carries these verses a step further—to the restoration (Ezekiel 20:41).

your offerings] Always rendered oblations in Ezek., except ch. Ezekiel 48:8. The idea expressed by the word appears in ch. 45 and 48, where it is used of the portion of the land devoted to special and sacred uses. “Firstfruits,” marg. chief, i.e. the best of your offerings.Verse 40. - From the earlier stage of the restoration the prophet passes on to its completion. The people have come to the mountain of the height of Israel (Micah 4:1, 2; Isaiah 2:2, 3). Ezekiel sees an Israel that shall at last be worthy of its name, the worship of false gods rooted out forever. The all of them points to the breaking down of the old division between Israel and Judah (Isaiah 11:13). Jehovah would accept the "heave offering" (same word as in Exodus 24:27; Leviticus 7:14, et al.) and other oblations. The fact that Israel itself is said to be the "sweet savour" (Revised Version) which Jehovah accepts (comp. 2 Corinthians 2:15; Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 4:18) suggests a like spiritual interpretation of the other offerings, though the literal meaning was probably dominant in the prophet's own thoughts. The nearest approach to a parallelism in a later age is that presented by Romans 9-11; but it is noticeable how there St. Paul avoids any words that imply the perpetuation of the temple and its ritual, and confines himself to the spiritual restoration of his brethren according to the flesh. It was given to him to see, what the prophets did not see, that that perpetuation would frustrate the purpose of the restoration; that the temple and its ritual took their places among the things that "were decaying and waxing old," and were ready to vanish away (Hebrews 8:13). Israel committed these sins in Canaan also, and to this day has not given them up; therefore God will not allow the idolatrous generation to inquire of Him. - Ezekiel 20:27. Therefore speak to the house of Israel, O son of man, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Still further have your fathers blasphemed me in this, with the faithlessness which they have shown toward me. Ezekiel 20:28. When I had brought them into the land, which I had lifted my hand to give them, then they looked out every high hill and every thickly covered tree, and offered their sacrifices there, and gave their irritating gifts there, and presented the fragrance of their pleasant odour there, and poured out their drink-offerings there. Ezekiel 20:29. And I said to them, What height is that to which ye go? And its name is called Height to this day. Ezekiel 20:30. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, What? Do ye defile yourselves in the way of your fathers; and go whoring after their abominations; Ezekiel 20:31. And defile yourselves in all your idols to this day, by lifting up your gifts, and causing your sons to pass through the fire; and should I let myself be inquired of by you? As I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, I will not let myself be inquired of by you. - The לכן in Ezekiel 20:27 is resumed in Ezekiel 20:30; and there the answer given by God to the elders, who had come to inquire of Him, is first communicated, after an express declaration of the fact that Israel had continued its idolatry in the most daring manner, even after its entrance into Canaan. But the form in which this is done - עוד זאת, "still further in this" - is to be understood as intimating that the conduct of the fathers of the existing generation, and therefore not merely of those who grew up in the wilderness, but also of those who had lived in Canaan, has already been described in general terms in the preceding verses, and that what follows simply adds another novel feature. But this can only be the case if Ezekiel 20:23-26 are taken in the sense given above. זאת is an accusative; and גּדּף is construed with the accusative both of the person and thing. The more precise definition of זאת is not given in בּמעלם בּי ni nev at the end of the verse, but in the idolatry depicted in Ezekiel 20:28. מעל refers to the faithlessness involved in the breach of the covenant and in idolatry. This is the general description; whilst the idolatry mentioned in Ezekiel 20:28 constituted one particular feature, in which the faithlessness appeared in the form of blasphemy. For the fact itself, namely, the worship on high places, which was practised on every hand, see Ezekiel 6:13; Ezekiel 16:24-25; 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10.

In the enumeration of the offerings, there is something striking in the position in which כּעס קרבּנם stands, namely, between the slaughtered sacrifices (זבחים) and the increase- and drink-offerings; and this is no doubt the reason why the clause 'ויּתּנוּ שׁם וגו is omitted from the Cod. Vat. and Alex. of the lxx; and even Hitzig proposes to strike it out. But Theodoret found this reading in the Alex. Version; and Hitzig is wrong in affirming that קרבּן is used in connection with sacrifices, meat-offerings, and drink-offerings. The meat-offerings are not expressly named, for ריה ניחוח does not signify meat-offerings, but is used in the law for the odour of all the offerings, both slaughtered sacrifices and meat-offerings, even though in Ezekiel 16:19 it is applied to the odour of the bloodless offerings alone. And in the same way does קרבּן embrace all the offerings, even the slain offerings, in Ezekiel 40:43, in harmony with Leviticus 1:2; Leviticus 2:1, and other passages. That it is used in this general signification here, is evident from the introduction of the word כּעס, irritation or provocation of their gifts, i.e., their gifts which provoked irritation on the part of God, because they were offered to idols. As this sentence applies to all the sacrifices (bloody and bloodless), so also does the clause which follows, 'ויּשׂימוּ שׁם וגו, refer to all the offerings which were burned upon the altar, without regard to the material employed. Consequently Ezekiel mentions only slain offerings and drink-offerings, and, by the two clauses inserted between, describes the offering of the slaughtered sacrifices as a gift of irritation to God, and of pleasant fragrance to the idolatrous worshippers who presented them. He does not mention the meat-offerings separately, because they generally formed an accompaniment to the slain offerings, and therefore were included in these. But although God had called the people to account for this worship on high places, they had not relinquished it even "to this day." This is no doubt the meaning of. Ezekiel 20:29, which has been interpreted in very different ways. The context shows, in the most conclusive manner, that הבּמה is to be taken collectively, and that the use of the singular is to be explained from the antithesis to the one divinely appointed Holy Place in the temple, and not, as Kimchi and Hvernick suppose, from any allusion to one particular bâmâh of peculiar distinction, viz., "the great high place at Gibeon." The question מה is not expressive of contempt (Hitzig), but "is founded upon the assumption that they would have to give an account of their doings; and merely asks, What kind of heights are those to which you are going? Who has directed you to go thither with your worship?" (Kliefoth). There is no need to refute the trivial fancy of J. D. Michaelis, which has been repeated by Hitzig, namely, that Ezekiel has taken בּמה as a derivative from בא and מה. Again, the question does not presuppose a word addressed by God to Israel, which Ezekiel only has handed down to us; but is simply a rhetorical mode of presenting the condemnation by God of the worship of the high places, to which both the law and the earlier prophets had given utterance. The next clause, "and their name was called Height" (high place), is not to be regarded as containing merely a historical notice of the name given to these idolatrous places of worship; but the giving of the name is a proof of the continued existence of the thing; so that the words affirm, that notwithstanding the condemnation on the part of God, Israel had retained these high places, - had not abolished them to this day. - Ezekiel 20:30 and Ezekiel 20:31 facilitate the transition from the first part of this word of God to the second. What has already been said in vv. 5-29 concerning the idolatry of the people, from the time of its election onwards, is here expressly applied to the existing generation, and carries with it the declaration to them, that inasmuch as they are defiling themselves by idolatry, as their fathers did, Jehovah cannot permit Himself to be inquired of by them. The thought is couched in the form of a question, to express astonishment that those who denied the Lord, and dishonoured Him by their idolatry, should nevertheless imagine that they could obtain revelations from Him. The lifting up (שׂאת, from נשׂא) of gifts signifies the offering of sacrifices upon the altars of the high places. For Ezekiel 20:31, compare Ezekiel 20:3. - With this declaration God assigns the reason for the refusal to listen to idolaters, which had already been given in Ezekiel 20:3. But it does not rest with this refusal. God now proceeds to disclose to them the thoughts of their own hearts, and announces to them that He will refine them by severe judgments, and bring them thereby to repentance of their sins, that He may then gather them out of the dispersion, and make them partakers of the promised salvation as a people willingly serving Him. - In this way do Ezekiel 20:32-44 cast a prophetic glance over the whole of the future history of Israel.

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