Ezekiel 43:3
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 on my face.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) When I came to destroy the city.—That is, to announce its destruction. (Comp. Ezekiel 32:18; Genesis 49:7; Isaiah 6:10; Jeremiah 1:10.)

Like the vision that I saw.—Comp. Ezekiel 1:4, &c.; Ezekiel 3:23; Ezekiel 10:15; Ezekiel 10:22. The manifestation of Divine glory to the prophet was the same throughout.

Ezekiel 43:3-5. And it — This glory of the God of Israel; was according to the vision, &c., when I came to destroy the city — That is, to prophesy that the city would be destroyed. The prophets are often said to do those things which they foretel shall be done. And I fell upon my face — In humble and reverent adoration of the divine majesty, or overwhelmed, as it were, and not able to bear the lustre of such glory. But the Spirit took him up, when the glory of the Lord was come into the house, that he might see how the house was filled with it. He had formerly seen, to his great grief, how the glory of the Lord, in this same appearance, departed from the temple; because it was profaned; and now he sees, to his great satisfaction, how it returns to it. As we do not find that ever the Shechinah did in such a manner take possession of the second temple, it seems evident that this was to have its accomplishment in that glory of the divine grace which shines so bright in the gospel church, and fills it.43:1-27 After Ezekiel had surveyed the temple of God, he had a vision of the glory of God. When Christ crucified, and the things freely given to us of God, through Him, are shown to us by the Holy Ghost, they make us ashamed for our sins. This frame of mind prepares us for fuller discoveries of the mysteries of redeeming love; and the whole of the Scriptures should be opened and applied, that men may see their sins, and repent of them. We are not now to offer any atoning sacrifices, for by one offering Christ has perfected for ever those that are sanctified, Heb 10:14; but the sprinkling of his blood is needful in all our approaches to God the Father. Our best services can be accepted only as sprinkled with the blood which cleanses from all sin.The gate - This was the eastern gate from the precincts to the outer court. 3. when I came to destroy the city—that is, to pronounce God's word for its destruction. So completely did the prophets identify themselves with Him in whose name they spake. And it, this glory of the God of Israel,

was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw: see Ezekiel 1:4,28.

To destroy the city; to declare that their sins would ruin their city, Ezekiel 9:3 10:4, which see. Here the effect seems ascribed to him, though he only declares it will be.

By the river Chebar: see Ezekiel 1:1,3.

Fell upon my face; overwhelmed, and as it were swallowed up: see Ezekiel 1:28. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw,.... Recorded in the first, ninth, and tenth chapters of this book; the form in which the glory of the God of Israel now appeared was like to what he then saw; in each of which visions was the likeness of a throne, and on it the appearance of the glory of God:

even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city; the city of Jerusalem; not that the prophet destroyed it, or came to destroy it himself, which was to be done, and was done, by the Chaldeans; but to foretell the destruction of it; which prediction of his made it as certain as if it was done. So the Targum,

"when I prophesied to destroy the city;''

and this was, when he was bid to cause, in a visionary and prophetic manner, six men, with their destroying weapons, to draw near unto it, and smite it; at which time he saw the glory of the God of Israel go up from the cherub, Ezekiel 9:1.

And the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; the four living creatures and the wheels; the throne of sapphire stone, and the glorious appearance above it, Ezekiel 1:3 only with this difference, then he saw the glory of the God of Israel departing, especially in the last vision, but now returning:

and I fell upon my face; in reverence of such glorious majesty: affected with such a display of grace and goodness, and sensible of his own unworthiness to behold it: the clearer and fuller views saints have of the grace and glory of Christ, the more humble they are; see Isaiah 6:1.

And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw {a} 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.

(a) When I prophesied the destruction of the city of the Chaldeans.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. And it was according to] And the appearance which I saw was like the appearance which I saw when I came—the word “appearance” at the beginning of the verse being omitted.

I came to destroy] Reference is to ch. 8–11. and the destruction of the city there seen in vision by the prophet. He was carried to Jerusalem to witness the destruction, and he calls this his coming to destroy it. Vulg., when he (Jehovah) came.

the visions were like the vision] like the appearance. The words “and the visions” are rather unnatural; LXX. reads: and the vision of the chariot which I saw was like &c. The “chariot,” i.e. the whole theophany of cherubim and wheels is often spoken of in later times (e.g. Ecclesus. 49:8), but is nowhere named in the Bible (cf. 1 Chronicles 28:18). The reading of LXX. is probably a gloss in explanation of the Heb., which is awkward. Possibly the word “visions” should be omitted: … the city, and like the appearance that I saw by the river Chebar. Cf. Ezekiel 3:23, where LXX. interpolates “according to the vision.”Verse 3. - The prophet identifies the vision on which he now looks as the same he had formerly beheld on the hanks of the Chebar, when he came to destroy the city, i.e. when, in obedience to Divine command, he stood forth to announce the destruction of Jerusalem. Ewald and Smend follow the Vulgate. quando venit ut disperderet, in substituting "he," Jehovah, for "I," Ezekiel; but the change is unnecessary, as the prophet's language is perfectly intelligible and quite correct, since "the prophet destroyed the city ideally by his prophecy" (Hitzig), and it is not unusual for Scripture to represent a prophet as himself doing what he is only sent to predict (comp. Ezekiel 4:2; Ezekiel 32:18; Jeremiah 1:10). The prophet's reason for introducing this clause was manifestly the same he had for identifying the visions - to show that, while it was the same Jehovah who had departed from the old temple that was now returning to the new, there was nothing incongruous in the idea that he who in the past had shown himself a God of justice and judgment by overturning and destroying the old, should in the future exhibit himself as a God of grace and mercy by condescending to establish his abode in the new. The impression produced upon the prophet's soul by his vision was the same that had been produced by the former - he fell upon his face in awe and wonder. Introduction

Ezekiel 40:1. In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, on this same day the hand of Jehovah came upon me, and He brought me thither. Ezekiel 40:2. In visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain; and upon it there was like a city-edifice toward the south. Ezekiel 40:3. And He brought me thither, and behold there was a man, his appearance like the appearance of brass, and a flaxen cord in his hand, and the measuring-rod; and he stood by the gate. Ezekiel 40:4. And the man spake to me: Son of man, see with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thy heart upon all that I show thee; for thou art brought hither to show it thee. Tell all that thou seest to the house of Israel. - The twofold announcement of the time when the prophet was shown the vision of the new temple and the new kingdom of God points back to Ezekiel 1:1 and Ezekiel 33:21, and places this divine revelation concerning the new building of the kingdom of God in a definite relation, not only to the appearance of God by which Ezekiel was called to be a prophet (Ezekiel 1:1, Ezekiel 1:3), but also to the vision in Ezekiel 8-11, in which he was shown the destruction of the ancient, sinful Jerusalem, together with its temple. The twenty-fifth year of the captivity, and the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, i.e., taken and reduced to ashes, are the year 575 before Christ. There is a difference of opinion as to the correct explanation of בּראשׁ השּׁנה, at the beginning of the year; but it is certainly incorrect to take the expression as denoting the beginning of the economical or so-called civil year, the seventh month (Tishri). For, in the first place, the custom of beginning the year with the month Tishri was introduced long after the captivity, and was probably connected with the adoption of the era of the Seleucidae; and, secondly, it is hardly conceivable that Ezekiel should have deviated from the view laid down in the Torah in so important a point as this. The only thing that could render this at all probable would be the assumption proposed by Hitzig, that the year 575 b.c. was a year of jubilee, since the year of jubilee did commence with the day of atonement on the tenth of the seventh month. But the supposition that a jubilee year fell in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity cannot be raised into a probability. We therefore agree with Hvernick and Kliefoth in adhering to the view of the older commentators, that ראשׁ השּׁנה is a contracted repetition of the definition contained in Exodus 12:2, ראשׁ חדשׁים ראשׁון , and signifies the opening month of the year, i.e., the month Abib (Nisan). The tenth day of this month was the day on which the preparations for the Passover, the feast of the elevation of Israel into the people of God, were to commence, and therefore was well adapted for the revelation of the new constitution of the kingdom of God. On that day was Ezekiel transported, in an ecstatic state, to the site of the smitten Jerusalem. For היתה עלי יד יי, compare Ezekiel 37:1 and Ezekiel 1:3. שׁמּה evidently points back to העיר in Ezekiel 40:2: thither, where the city was smitten. מראות , as in Ezekiel 1:1. יניחני אל : he set me down upon (not by) a very high mountain (אל for על, as in many other instances; e.g., Ezekiel 18:6 and Ezekiel 31:12).

The very high mountain is Mount Zion, which is exalted above the tops of all the mountains (Micah 4:1; Isaiah 2:2) - the mountain upon which, according to what follows, the new temple seen in the vision stood, and which has already been designated as the lofty mountain of Israel in Ezekiel 17:22-23.

(Note: J. H. Michaelis has already explained it correctly, viz.: "The highest mountain, such as Isaiah (Isaiah 2:2) had also predicted that Mount Zion would be, not physically, but in the eminence of gospel dignity and glory; cf. Revelation 21:10.")

Upon this mountain Ezekiel saw something like a city-edifice toward the south (lit.,from the south hither). מבנה is not the building of the new Jerusalem (Hהvernick, Kliefoth, etc.). For even if what was to be seen as a city-edifice really could be one, although no tenable proof can be adduced of this use of כ simil., nothing is said about the city till Ezekiel 45:6 and Ezekiel 48:156 and 30 ff., and even there it is only in combination with the measuring and dividing of the land; so that Hvernick's remark, that "the revelation has reference to the sanctuary and the city; these two principal objects announce themselves at once as such in the form of vision," is neither correct nor conclusive. The revelation has reference to the temple and the whole of the holy land, including the city; and the city itself does not come at all into such prominence as to warrant us in assuming that there is already a reference made to it here in the introduction. If we look at the context, the man with the measure, whom Ezekiel saw at the place to which he was transported, was standing at the gate (Ezekiel 40:3). This gate in the wall round about the building was, according to Ezekiel 40:5, Ezekiel 40:6, a temple gate. Consequently what Ezekiel saw as a city-edifice can only be the building of the new temple, with its surrounding wall and its manifold court buildings. The expressions עליו and מנגב can both be brought into harmony with this. עליו refers to the very high mountain mentioned immediately before, to the summit of which the prophet had been transported, and upon which the temple-edifice is measured before his eyes. But מנגב does not imply, that as Ezekiel looked from the mountain he saw in the distance, toward the south, a magnificent building like a city-edifice; but simply that, looking from his standing-place in a southerly direction, or southwards, he saw this building upon the mountain, - that is to say, as he had been transported from Chaldea, i.e., from the north, into the land of Israel, he really saw it before him towards the south; so that the rendering of מנגב by ἀπέναντι in the Septuagint is substantially correct, though without furnishing any warrant to alter מנגב into מנּגד. In Ezekiel 40:3, ויּביא is repeated from the end of Ezekiel 40:1, for the purpose of attaching the following description of what is seen, in the sense of, "when He brought me thither, behold, there (was) a man." His appearance was like the appearance of brass, i.e., of shining brass (according to the correct gloss of the lxx χαλκοῦ στίλβοντος נחשׁת קלל equals , Ezekiel 1:7). This figure suggests a heavenly being, an angel, and as he is called Jehovah in Ezekiel 44:2, Ezekiel 44:5, the angel of Jehovah. Kliefoth's opinion, that in Ezekiel 44:2, Ezekiel 44:5, it is not the man who is speaking, but that the prophet is there addressed directly by the apparition of God (Ezekiel 43:2 ff.), is proved to be untenable by the simple fact that the speaker (in Ezekiel 44) admonishes the prophet in Ezekiel 40:5 to attend, to see, and to hear, in the same words as the man in Ezekiel 40:4 of the chapter before us. This places the identity of the two beyond the reach of doubt. He had in his hand a flaxen cord for measuring, and the measuring rod - that is to say, two measures, because he had to measure many and various things, smaller and larger spaces, for the former of which he had the measuring rod, for the latter the measuring line. The gate at which this man stood (Ezekiel 40:3) is not more precisely defined, but according to Ezekiel 40:5 it is to be sought for in the wall surrounding the building; and since he went to the east gate first, according to Ezekiel 40:6, it was not the east gate, but probably the north gate, as it was from the north that Ezekiel had come.

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