Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:
Eze 43:1-27. Jehovah's Return to the Temple.
Everything was now ready for His reception. As the Shekinah glory was the peculiar distinction of the old temple, so it was to be in the new in a degree as much more transcendent as the proportions of the new exceeded those of the old. The fact that the Shekinah glory was not in the second temple proves that it cannot be that temple which is meant in the prophecy.
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.
2. the way of the east—the way whereby the glory had departed (Eze 11:22, 23), and rested on Mount Olivet (compare Zec 14:4).
his voice … like … many waters—So English Version rightly, as in Eze 1:24, "voice of the Almighty"; Re 1:15; 14:2, prove this. Not as Fairbairn translates, "its noise."
earth his glory—(Re 18:1).
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.
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 the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.
So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.
And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.
6. the man—who had been measuring the buildings (Eze 40:3).
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.
7. the place—that is, "behold the place of My throne"—the place on which your thoughts have so much dwelt (Isa 2:1-3; Jer 3:17; Zec 14:16-20; Mal 3:1). God from the first claimed to be their King politically as well as religiously: and He had resisted their wish to have a human king, as implying a rejection of Him as the proper Head of the state. Even when He yielded to their wish, it was with a protest against their king ruling except as His vicegerent. When Messiah shall reign at Jerusalem, He shall then first realize the original idea of the theocracy, with its at once divine and human king reigning in righteousness over a people all righteous (Eze 43:12; Isa 52:1; 54:13; 60:21).
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.
9. carcasses of their kings—It is supposed that some of their idolatrous kings were buried within the bounds of Solomon's temple [Henderson]. Rather, "the carcasses of their idols," here called "kings," as having had lordship over them in past times (Isa 26:13); but henceforth Jehovah, alone their rightful lord, shall be their king, and the idols that had been their "king" would appear but as "carcasses." Hence these defunct kings are associated with the "high places" in Eze 43:7 [Fairbairn]. Le 26:30 and Jer 16:18, confirm this. Manasseh had built altars in the courts of the temple to the host of heaven (2Ki 21:5; 23:6).
I will dwell in the midst … for ever—(Re 21:3).
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.
10. show the house … that they may be ashamed of their iniquities—When the spirituality of the Christian scheme is shown to men by the Holy Ghost, it makes them "ashamed of their iniquities."
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.
12. whole … most holy—This superlative, which had been used exclusively of the holy of holies (Ex 26:34), was now to characterize the entire building. This all-pervading sanctity was to be "the law of the (whole) house," as distinguished from the Levitical law, which confined the peculiar sanctity to a single apartment of it.
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.
13-27. As to the altar of burnt offering, which was the appointed means of access to God.
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.
So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward shall be four horns.
15. altar—Hebrew, Harel, that is, "mount of God"; denoting the high security to be imparted by it to the restored Israel. It was a high place, but a high place of God, not of idols.
from the altar—literally, "the lion of God," Ariel (in Isa 29:1, "Ariel" is applied to Jerusalem). Menochius supposes that on it four animals were carved; the lion perhaps was the uppermost, whence the horns were made to issue. Gesenius regards the two words as expressing the "hearth" or fireplace of the altar.
And the altar shall be twelve cubits long, twelve broad, square in the four squares thereof.
16. square in the four squares—square on the four sides of its squares [Fairbairn].
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.
17. settle—ledge [Fairbairn].
stairs—rather, "the ascent," as "steps" up to God's altar were forbidden in Ex 20:26.
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.
18-27. The sacrifices here are not mere commemorative, but propitiatory ones. The expressions, "blood" (Eze 43:18), and "for a sin offering" (Eze 43:19, 21, 22), prove this. In the literal sense they can only apply to the second temple. Under the Christian dispensation they would directly oppose the doctrine taught in Heb 10:1-18, namely, that Christ has by one offering for ever atoned for sin. However, it is possible that they might exist with a retrospective reference to Christ's sufferings, as the Levitical sacrifices had a prospective reference to them; not propitiatory in themselves, but memorials to keep up the remembrance of His propitiatory sufferings, which form the foundation of His kingdom, lest they should be lost sight of in the glory of that kingdom [De Burgh]. The particularity of the directions make it unlikely that they are to be understood in a merely vague spiritual sense.
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.
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.
20. cleanse—literally, "make expiation for."
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.
21. burn it … without the sanctuary—(Heb 13:11).
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.
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.
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.
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.
26. Seven days—referring to the original directions of Moses for seven days' purification services of the altar (Ex 29:37).
consecrate themselves—literally, "fill their hands," namely, with offerings; referring to the mode of consecrating a priest (Ex 29:24, 35).
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.
27. I will accept you—(Eze 20:40, 41; Ro 12:1; 1Pe 2:5).