Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
1And he led me to the gate, the gate that looks toward the east: 2And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east, and its [His] voice 3was as the voice of many waters, and the earth shone with His glory. And as the appearance [was] the appearance which I saw, as the appearance which I saw when I came to destroy the city, and [there were] sights like the appearance which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. 4And the glory of Jehovah came to the house by the way of the gate whose face [front] 5is toward the east. And the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me to the inner court, and, behold, the glory of Jehovah filled the house. 6And I heard one speaking to me from the house, and a man was standing beside me. 7And He said to me: Son of man, [behold] the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the sons [children] of Israel for ever, and the house of Israel shall no more defile the name of My holiness, they and their kings, by their whoredom and by the corpses of 8their kings, their high places; When they gave their threshold beside My threshold and their post beside My post, and [only] the wall [was] between Me and them, and they defiled [so defiled they] the name of My holiness by their abominations which they did, and I consumed them in My anger [breath of9anger]. Now shall they put away their whoredom, and the corpses of their 10kings from Me, and I dwell in their midst for ever. Thou, son of man, show to the house of Israel the [this] house, that they may be ashamed because of their iniquities, and they measure [so they measure] the harmony of proportion. 11And if they be ashamed because of all that they did, make them know the conformation of the house, and its arrangement, and its out-goings, and its incomings, and all its forms, and what relates to all its ordinances, and all its forms, and all its precepts [laws]; and write before their eyes, that they may keep its whole conformation and all its ordinances, and they do them. 12This is the law [the Thorah] of the house; on the head [top] of the mountain all its border round and round is most holy! Behold, this is the law of the house. 13And these are the measures of the altar [altar of burnt-offering] in cubits: the cubit a cubit and a hand-breadth, and [indeed] the [a] bosom (the girth) had the cubit, and [i.e.] one cubit broad [thick], and its border at its lip [its edge] round about was a span, and this is the elevation of the altar; And [namely] from the bosom [at] the ground to the lower rest were two cubits, and a breadth, of one cubit; 14and from the lesser rest to the greater rest, four cubits and a 15breadth of one cubit. And the mountain of God four cubits; and from the 16hearth of God and upwards were the four horns. And the hearth of God 17twelve in length by twelve in breadth, square in all its four sides. And the rest fourteen in length by fourteen in breadth in its four sides, and the border round about it was half a cubit, and its bosom [girth was] a cubit round about, and its [the altar’s] steps toward the east. 18And He said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: These are the ordinances of the altar on the day when it is made, to cause burnt-offerings to ascend upon it, and to sprinkle 19blood upon it. And thou givest to the priests, the Levites, those who are of the seed of Zadok, who draw near to Me,—sentence of the Lord Jehovah,—20to minister to Me, a bullock, a young steer, for a sin-offering. And thou takest of its blood, and givest it upon its [the altar’s] four horns, and on the four corners of the rest, and on the border round about, and thou dost cleanse and 21expiate it. And thou takest the bullock of the sin-offering, and one burns it in the assigned [appointed] place of the house, without the sanctuary. 22And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin-offering, and they cleanse the altar as they cleansed with the bullock. 23When thou hast completed the cleansing, thou shalt offer a bullock, a young steer 24without blemish, and a ram of the flock without blemish. And thou offerest them before Jehovah, and the priests cast salt upon them, and make them ascend as a burnt-offering [Olah] to Jehovah. 25Seven days shalt thou prepare a kid for a sin-offering daily, and they shall prepare a bullock, a 26young steer, and a ram of the flock without blemish. Seven days do they 27expiate the altar, and purify it, and fill its hand. And they shall have completed the [these] days; thus it comes to pass on the eighth day and onwards, that the priests shall make upon the altar your burnt-offerings, and your peace-offerings; and I receive you graciously,—sentence of the Lord Jehovah.
Ezekiel 43:2. Sept.: ... κατα τ. ὁδον της πυλης τ. βλεπουσης προς … φωνη της παρεμβολησ ὡς φωνη διπλασιαζοντων πολλων … ὡς φεγγος ἀπο τ. δοξης κυριου κυκλοθες.
Ezekiel 43:3. Κ. ἡ ὁρασις ἡν ἰδον κατα τ. ὁρασιν ἡν ἰδον ὁτε εἰσεπορευομην του χρισαι τ. πολιν κ. ἡ ὁρασις του ἁρματος οὑ εἰδον,—Vulg.: Et vidi visionem secundum speciem, quam videram quando venit ut disperderet … et speciem secundum aspectum quem videram—(Another reading: בבאו, i.e. cum venit dominus.)
Ezekiel 43:4. … ingressa est templum—
Ezekiel 43:6. Κ. ἐστην κ. ἰδου φωνη ἐκ … εἱστηκει ἐχομενος μου,
Ezekiel 43:7. ... Ἑωρακας, υἱε … του ἰχνους των ποδων … ἐν οἱς … το ὀνομα μου ἐν μεσω του οἰκου Ἰσρ … .; κ. ἐν τοις φονοις των ἡγουμενων ἐν μεσω αὐτων, (8) ἐν τω τιθεναι αὐτους το προθυρος μου ἐν τ. προθυροις αὐτων κ. τας φλιας μου ἐχομεςας των φλιων αὐτων, κ. ἐδωκαν τ. τοιχον μου ὠς συςεχομενον ἐμου κ. αὐτων, κ. … κ. ἐξετριψα αὐτος ἐν θυμω μου κ. φονω. Vulg.: … vestigiorum pedum meorum, ubi habito … et in ruinis regum suorum et in excelsis, (8) qui fabricati sunt … propter quod consumpsi eos—(Another reading: בְמותם, in morte eorum.)
Ezekiel 43:9. ... κ. τ. φονους—Vulg.: … ruinas regum … semper.
Ezekiel 43:10. Another reading: תבנית—ואתה pro חבנית.
Ezekiel 43:10. ... δειξον τω … κ. κοπασουσιν ἀπο των ἀμαρτιων … κ. την ὁρασιν αὐτου κ. την διαταξιν αὐτων (11) κ. αὐτοι ληψονται την κολασιν αὐτων περι παντων … Κ. διαγραψεις τ. οἰκον … κ. την ὑποστασιν αὐτου κ. παντα τ. προσταγματα αὐτου κ. παντα τα νομιμα αὐτου γνωριεις αὐτοις … κ. φυλαξονται παντα τα δικαιωματα μου κ. παρτα τ. προσταγματα μου—Vulg.: … ostende … templum … et metiantur fabricam (11) et erubescant … Figuram domus et fabricæ … et omnem descriptionem … præcepta … cunctumque ordinem … ostende eis … omnes descriptiones—(Desunt in nonnullis codd.: ואת כל חקתיו וכל צורתו, or only וכל צורתו. In fine versus legitur plur.: כל צורותיו.)
Ezekiel 43:12. Κ. την διαγραφην τ. οἰκου ἐπι της κορυφης του ὀρους. Παντα τα ὁρια—Vulg.: … domus in summitate montis.
Ezekiel 43:13. ... Το κολπωμα βαθος πηχυς ἐπι πηχυν, κ. πηχυς το εὐπος κ. γεισος ἐπι του χειλους αὐτου κυκλοθεν, σπιθαμης. Κ. τουτο το ὑψος—Vulg.: … In sinu ejus erat cubitus … hæc quoque erat fossa altaris.
Ezekiel 43:14. Sept.: ἐκ βαθους τ. ἀρχης του κοιλωματος … προς το ἱλαστηπιον το μεγα το ὑποκατωθεν … κ. ἀπο του ἱλαστηριου τ. μικρου ἐπι τ. ἱλαστηριον το μεγα—Vulg.: … usque ad crepidinem novissimam … a crepidine minore—
Ezekiel 43:15. Κ. το ἀριηλ … ἀπο του ἀριηλ … των κερατων πηχυς. (Another reading: וההדיאל, montes dei. Syr.: Adiel.—ומהאדיאל, litteris transpositis.)
Ezekiel 43:16. Κ. το ἀρινλ (eadem codicum varietas).
Ezekiel 43:17. Κ. το ἱλαστηπιον … το εὐρος τετραγωνον ἐπι τα τεσσαρα … κ. το γεισος αὐτου κυκλοθεν κυκλομενον αὐτω.—Vulg.: Et crepido … et corona in circuitu ejus—
Ezekiel 43:19. ... ὁ θεος του Αευι, … μοσχον ἐκ βοων περι ἁμαρτιας—Vulg.: … vitulum de armento pro peccato.
Ezekiel 43:20. Κ. ληψοντκι … κ. ἐπιθησουσιν … του ἱλαστηριου κ. ἐπι τ. βασιν κυκλω, κ. περιραντιεις αὐτο κ. ἐξιλασονται αὐτο. Vulg.: … angulos crepidinis et super coronam … et mundabis illud et expiabis.
Ezekiel 43:21. Κ. ληψονται … κ. κατακαυθησεται ἐν τ. ἀποκεχωρισμενω του
Ezekiel 43:22. ... ληψονται ἐριφους δυο ἀπο αἰγων ἀμωμους
Ezekiel 43:23. ... προσοισουσιν—Vulg.: … de armento et … de grege—
Ezekiel 43:24. κ. προσοισετε—
Ezekiel 43:25. ... ποιησουσιν (26) ἑπτα ἡμερας, κ.—
Ezekiel 43:26. Qeri: יְבַפּרוּ. Idem legunt quam plurimi codices.
Ezekiel 43:27. ... κ. προσδεξομαι ὑμας—Vulg.: … et placatus ero vobis—
Ezekiel 43:1–12. The Entrance of the Glory of Jehovah
The measuring is over, the house is in this respect finished as an actual house (Ezekiel 42:15), that is, its measurements are completed. But heaven and earth are said to be finished (Gen. 2.) only when the Eternal rested. And so the prophet’s guide leads him back
Ezekiel 43:1—to the gate (הַשָּׁעַד), to the one that principally comes into consideration (comp. what has been remarked in the foregoing chapters regarding the significance of this gate, and also the Doctrinal Reflections), to the east gate,—we will have to imagine Ezekiel standing before this gate,—that after all the measuring he
Ezekiel 43:2—may see the glory, sq. (see pp. 38 sq., 52), coming to its rest. HENGST.: a parallel to Ex. 40:34 sq., and 1 Kings 8:10 sq., and the counterpart to Ezekiel 11 of our prophet (comp. Ezekiel 10:19, 11:1, 23). The gate of exit then is the gate of re-entrance now.—וְקוֹלוֹ׳, comp. on Ezekiel 1:24. The voice might refer more to the manifestation of the glory; comp. however. Rev. 1:15: His glory is at all events the glory of the God of Israel (Luke 2:9; Rev. 18:1). The significant addition: and the earth, etc., is not sufficiently explained by a brilliant light cast upon the ground; but as the land of Canaan is hardly meant here, by this burst of light extending far beyond Israel is meant to be symbolized an enlightenment also of the face of the whole earth, that is, of the entire region of humanity, thus shown to have been in itself and hitherto dark, Isa. 6:3, 60:1 sq. It is like sunrise (אוֹר in the Hiphil, to “make” or “give” “light,” Gen. 1:15, 17) for the world through Israel’s temple-gate, and in so far is certainly something additional which was not in the tabernacle or Solomon’s temple; just as in general the temple of Ezekiel is a symbol of the future.
Ezekiel 43:3 in no way contradicts this. וּכְמַרְאֵה הַמַּרְאֶֹה אֲשֶׁר׳ may be translated: “and as the appearance of the appearance which, etc., as the appearance (closer definition) which I saw when,” etc., that is, quite as conspicuous as that was, was the appearance of glory this time also. KEIL: “And the appearance which I saw was to look upon just like the appearance which I saw when I,” etc. כַּ is evidently a resumption of וּכְ. The former appearance (וּכְמַרְאֵה) comes first before the prophet’s mind when he wishes to describe what he saw, and seeks therefore for an appearance with which he can compare it; and then he characterizes more closely this appearance (כַּמַּרְאֶה), with which he compares that now seen. Keil’s observation against Hitzig does not meet the point, but neither is Hitzig’s alteration of the text necessary. In the first place, by means of this comparison the re-entrance of the divine glory is attested in the strongest way, and therefore so circumstantially. It was the same glory then as now. For all this, the prophet does not intend to deny the anger in the execution of judgment then, for he expressly defines more closely בְּבֹאִי לְשׁחֵת, which alone is the correct text, since the Lord did not come, but rather went, giving over the city to destruction, and in reality Ezekiel was the person coming—of course in the vision of God, the subject to be spoken of immediately. The prophet did not come in order to see the destruction of the city, but his coming was a seeing which had for its aim and issue his announcement of the overthrow; and then this ideal destruction on the part of the prophet was also realized by the judgment of God fulfilling it. Ezekiel first, Nebuchadnezzar afterwards (Ezekiel 30:11), but by both certainly Jehovah. In the second place, the prophet, as he had already done in Ezekiel 10:15, 20, compares the last visions (comp. Ezekiel 40:2), hence the coming of the glory with its individual manifestations, with the appearance which the manifestation had had on the Chebar (Ezekiel 1).—On his falling down Hengstenberg observes: “In Ezekiel 1:28 it was before the majesty of the angry God; here before the majesty of God appearing in His grace (Rev. 1:17).” Comp. also on Ezekiel 3:23.
Ezekiel 43:4. A continuation of Ezekiel 43:2; there: whence the glory of the God of Israel came; here: whither the glory of Jehovah came; there: from the east; here: to the house through the east gate, to its dwelling, to its rest.
Ezekiel 43:5. Comp. on Ezekiel 3:12. There is still less need of the “wind” here; to arrive at the inner court, the prophet needed only to go, as hitherto, in vision. But Ezekiel needs taking up by the Spirit, not only because the impression of Ezekiel 43:2 has cast him to the ground (HENGST.), but also in order to be able to follow, so far as was permitted to him as priest, the fresh revelation of the glory of Jehovah filling the temple. For the form of manifestation, 1 Kings 8:10 sq. might be compared, and so much the more as that becomes quite plain there, which indeed is already indicated in Ex. 40:35 sq., that the cloud is as significant in the manner of manifestation as the glory is in the actual fact, according as the cloud is one of fire or of light (Matt. 17:5).
Ezekiel 43:6. Evidently, however, the מִדַּבֵּר אֵלַי [Häv. understands the Hithpael of a conversation in the interior of the sanctuary (?), of a command to the angel to communicate to the seer the revelation of God], that is, the one speaking to him from the house whom Ezekiel hears first, is meant to be represented as visible by וְאִישׁ הָיָה׳, so that the man is the medium between Jehovah and the prophet, and so must certainly be conceived of in analogy with Ezekiel 40:3 (which comp.), as Keil: ὁ λογος, John 1. Hengst. supposes: “the man has entered the door to speak to him.” ויֹאמֶר in Ezekiel 43:7 is certainly the אִישׁ of Ezekiel 43:6.—מְקוֹם אֶת־ denotes an accusative, and requires a “behold” to be supplied. What the man says identifies him entirely with Jehovah, wherefore the reference by the article back to the man in Ezekiel 40:3 is intentionally omitted. We no longer walk with the prophet through the courts of the sanctuary to the measurings of his guide, but the vision is interpreted to Ezekiel, and through him to us, from the most holy place. The man’s speech, legitimating itself as word of Jehovah, shows him to be essentially the glory of the God of Israel, so that we now know why nothing farther was said regarding the way and manner in which the glory of Jehovah filled the house (Ezekiel 43:5), and the form of its manifestation. “Between the statement,” rightly remarks Hengst., “that one spake, and the speech that was spoken, stands the account of the person of the speaker, to which the prophet has his attention first directed by the speech; the seeing was first occasioned by the hearing.” We have before us in the man the essential revelation of Jehovah’s glory. Comp. on Ezekiel 1:26, pp. 55, 56; Rev. 1:10 sq. The Messianic-christological interpretation is the only explanation corresponding to the connection, so much the more significantly, as there is no mention in Ezekiel of the ark of the covenant, with which elsewhere the dwelling of Jehovah in the midst of Israel is wont to be connected; and hence also the לְעְוֹלָם here, and in Ezekiel 43:9, is to be taken as unconditionally literal (Ezekiel 37:26, 28). Neither in the tabernacle nor in the temple of Solomon had Jehovah dwelt for ever, although these might be called the “place of His throne,” that is, of the ark of the covenant (1 Sam. 4:4; Ex. 25:22); see Bähr, Symb. der Mos. Kult. i. p. 387 sq., and parallel therewith מְקוֹם כַּפוֹת רַגְלַי, by which the lower part of the throne, more exactly the ground whereon it stands, is particularized. Comp. for the latter mode of expression, Isa. 60:13. According to Ezekiel 66:1: place of the soles of My feet, hence the same footstool (the earth) as here, perhaps alludes to the most holy place of the temple, where the ark stood, while the ark which was set up upon the floor of the most holy place is to be compared to heaven, Isa. 66:1; Ps. 99:5, 132:7. Reference is also made hereby to the ark of the covenant (1 Chron. 28:2). Both modes of expression symbolize the temple in the traditional legal manner as the dwelling-place of Jehovah (אֲשֶׁד אֶשְׁבָּן־שָׁם),—the first referring chiefly to the ark, and the second chiefly to the most holy place (for which see Ezekiel 43:12). Bähr says: “What the dwelling is in a larger sense and generally, the ark of the covenant is in a narrower sense and in particular; in it the dwelling of Jehovah is concentrated in a single point,” etc.—In conformity with his theory of the conditionality of certain promises, Hengst. finds in the statement: shall no more, etc., reference to a condition, whereas it simply repeats negatively what the dwelling of Jehovah for ever has already said positively (Ezekiel 37:23 sq., 39:24, 29; comp. John 10:28).—On: the name of My holiness, comp. on Ezekiel 36:20 sq. Ch. 16., 20.—פֶּגֶר is something “fallen down,” “flaccid,” a corpse. It cannot be proved that the burial-places of kings were in the neighbourhood of the temple. It will not do to take the corpses for dead idols, even although it should be a quotation from Lev. 26:30, for that passage speaks of demolished idols, whereas flourishing idols are treated of here. Moreover, a closer definition could hardly be omitted (Jer. 16:18), which Keil, indeed, finds here in the context. Häv. insists on finding the idols in the kings (Amos 5:26; Zeph. 1:5), holding it to be a contemptuous expression for: the lifeless idols. On the other hand, Keil and Hengstenberg remind us of kings like Manasseh and Amon, who took to do with dead bodies, which according to the law were to be avoided, as unclean and polluting, had built for them altars or high places in the courts of the temple (2 Kings 21:4, 5, 7), and patronized the worship of idols. As whoredom designates idolatry in general, so what is meant to be said by the corpses of their kings applies to the worship of kings, the forgotten subjection to Jehovah under them, who, if kings, yet are perpetuated only as corpses; one might be allowed, to call to mind Schubert’s poem: “The Princes’ Vault.” To this the appositional, loosely strung בָּמוֹתָם the more fittingly attaches itself, as in בָּמוֹת the thought of the kings as also high points, points of worship in social life, easily connects itself with the worship on the high places, which was specially popular in the time of the kings, and tolerated even by the better kings; the worship of the king, and the worship favoured by the kings, would border on one another. As idolatry in general constitutes the defilement of the name of Jehovah, the doings on the part alike of the house of Israel in general, and of their kings in particular, so the figurative and literal worshipping on high places forms, with special reference to the kings, a contrast to the enthronement of the King Jehovah, and to His dwelling in the literal sense in the midst of Israel. [In the interest of the different explanation of בְּפִגְרֵי it has been proposed to read בְמוֹתָם, “in their death,” as the Chaldee paraphrase already interprets. Zunz makes בָּמוֹתָם dependent on יְטַמְּאוּ, but the בְּ wanting before בָּמוֹתָם can be easily supplied from the preceding בִּזְנוּתָם and בְּפִגְרֵי׳]
Ezekiel 43:8. (The subject in בְּתִתָּם is not the kings (HENGST.), but what was subject in Ezekiel 43:7, the house of Israel and their kings. The suffix in סִפָּם means, if any particular persons, the kings, but better, Israel in general. What is then said refers neither to the temples of the high places, which had been placed so close beside the temple of God (KEIL), for their threshold cannot refer to their high places, nor to idol-chambers there (comp. for this Ezekiel 8.), and idol-altars in the courts of the temple, which the kings of Judah built (such things would require to be expressed more plainly); nor is this disparaging expression meant to condemn the building of royal palaces like that of Solomon (1 Kings 7.); but if kings are specially aimed at, then the figurative mode of expression, as given by the temple of Jehovah, will pronounce sentence on the conduct of the kings who assumed an equality with Jehovah (1 Kings 12:28, 32), by their idolatrous appointments and arrangements with respect to religion and worship. It is better, however, to hold that the defilement of the name of the holiness of Jehovah by the people and the kings consisted in this, that the consciousness of the distance between Jehovah and Israel had entirely disappeared from the life of the latter, the dwelling of Jehovah was as if it were not present in Israel, Israel performed his domestic and secret worship of idols as his worship of Jehovah, so that only the temple wall (הַקִּיר) still protested, and preserved, or at least marked to Israel the boundary between the Holy One and His people. [Keil understands הַקִּיר of the temple wall, which was “the only thing between Jehovah and the corpse-gods.”]—וָאֲכל, from כָּלָה imperf. apoc. Piel (Ex. 32:10, 30:3!), signifies: to make the measure full, to finish sin by death (Jas. 1:15).—בְּאַפִּי, comp. on Ezekiel 38:18.
Ezekiel 43:9 resumes, in conclusion, the subject of Ezekiel 43:7, as also to the same purpose; “the eternal duration of the new and perfect revelation of God as distinguished from the Old Testament merely temporary one, which is at this time passing over into complete fulfilment and glorification” (HÄV.), is repeatedly set forth.—יְרַחַקוּ (Piel: “to put far away”) מִמֶּנִי corroborates with respect to the corpses of kings the interpretation proposed (Ezekiel 43:7) of idolatrous adulation and adoration of them and their edicts regarding worship.
Ezekiel 43:10. הַגֵּד, Ezekiel 40:4.—The Aim of the Announcement of the Temple-vision, and consequently of the Vision itself as regards Israel.
It is not said that Israel is again to build a temple of the kind; but neither is it said that he is to build up his phantasy on this architectonic interim phantasy. But with the perception that Jehovah still, and now first in the proper sense, desires to dwell in the midst of Israel,—a perception which will be brought about by the announcement of this house to the house of Israel,—shame shall come over them through the knowledge of their iniquities, from a comparison of these iniquities with the mercy and grace of God (Ezekiel 36:31, 32), so that the goodness of God leads them to repentance (Rom. 2:4). This moral-prophetic tendency is thoroughly in accordance with the Messianic acceptation of the templevision.—תָּכְנִית (comp. Ezekiel 28:12), not so much: “plan,” model (HENGST.), but ( “proportionality,” says Fürst): the harmony of the proportions, the regular character of the edifice. KEIL: “the well-apportioned edifice.” Hengst. observes on this measuring: “not as architects, but as Abraham went through the length and breadth of the Promised Land (Gen. 13:17) with the interest of the family belonging to the house, in a meditating and loving and thankful spirit, following the measures shown,” etc.
Ezekiel 43:11. And the announcement for this purpose is not, if they are ashamed of themselves, to be confined to the harmony of the whole, but will enter into particulars, which, being enumerated at the beginning, and in a profusion of words, are well fitted to produce from the outset the impression of something important. צוּרָה, from צוּר, “to form” (Ps 49:15 ), is the shape, the form, hence primarily the outside, with which is joined תְּכוּנָה, which Gesenius would derive from תָּכַן, and compares with תָּכְנִית. The word is derived from כּוּן, and signifies the inside plenishing of a dwelling-place, as also the dwelling-place itself (Job 23:3), for which its out-goings and its in-comings, taking into account both the exterior and the interior, come above all into consideration. כָּל־צוֹּרתָו is everything that צוּרָה is in the particular, the individual forms; כָּל־חֻקֹּתָיו the regulations in regard to the particulars of the arrangement; according to KEIL: “regarding what Israel has to observe, the ordinances of worship.” [HENGST.: All here has a practical import (2 Tim. 3:16). The high mountain, for example, on which the house is situated proclaims: “Hearts upward.” The wall which surrounded the whole (Ezekiel 42:20) proclaims: “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” The guardrooms of the gates embody the word: “Without are dogs, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters.” The chambers for the people in the outer court preached: “Rejoice before the Lord always,” and: “Be ye thankful.” The arrangements for the priests reminded of sin, and demanded that one should consecrate himself to God in the burnt-offering, present to Him always the thank-offering and the meat-offering of good works. The altar of incense proclaimed to all: “Pray without ceasing.”] That the dwelling of the Holy One among His people has as its aim their sanctification in repentance and faith as to every part of them, is clear from the accompanying כָּל־חֻקֹּתָיו, which is, moreover, repeated by a parallel expression, and so strengthened (and all its forms and כָּל־תּוֹרֹתָו), that is, all instructions and directions, what has thereby been given in doctrine according to which a man should live. And thus the symbolical view of the section (see Doct. Reflec.) has no need to seek elsewhere for farther justification. By the command: write, etc., the: make them know, passes over from oral annunciation into a more abiding form, into the written outline we have before us of the new temple, into the description given of the vision.—The: do, corresponding to the preceding: all that they did, certainly does not mean that they are to build such a temple, and just as little that they were to console themselves therewith. They are to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The “doing” intended is a spiritual, ethical doing.
Ezekiel 43:12. The mention of the תּוֹרֹתָו leads to the summary of all doctrine and precepts in respect to this temple, which is significantly—in contrast with the law of Moses which Israel has not kept—one might indeed say: as the law of Christ—laid down repeatedly (Ezekiel 43:13) as the Thorah of the house. For all is summed up in this, that what has been represented on the (going back to Ezekiel 40:2) top of the mountain ( “head” of the mountain and head article of the doctrine!), the whole boundary marked out for the house round and round, is most holy (Ezekiel 45:3). The summary thought which underlies the whole, the holiness of Jehovah, the sanctification of Israel, is in a way set forth by this, that even the courts appear in the light of the most peculiar abode of Jehovah, so that the perfection of a new temple as the completion of the old is here proclaimed as a close to the temple-vision proper. Hengst. quite uselessly takes pains to tone down the קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים into “eminently holy.” For if it is conceded to him that “ideally” (as he says) such (a holy place) was already extant in the tabernacle and the temple of Solomon, and all behoved in view of it to strive to be holy in their whole conversation (for which he appeals to 1 Pet. 1:15), then he will have to concede that this “ideal” is set down here as a real, as the fulfilled law, since its ideality was nothing else than the idea of the future, the promised fulfilment in Christ. Num. 18:10 rather proves this advance than furnishes ground for contending against it, with Hengstenberg; for what is said in that passage of the court of the tabernacle is expressly limited to the priestly families representing the people, and, moreover, to the male portion of them. The Old Testament form, indeed, still obtains on the top of the mountain here, but yet the novum quod in vetere latet is distinctly apparent. The question is not concerning the “world surrounding” the sanctuary, but when the vision here finishes with the temple, the mutual relation of its parts must be viewed—a view rendered possible just by this, that the most holy place still remains, as the prophet has shown. Certainly the point of view is a “practical” one; but when Hengst. says: “the passage serves as the foundation for the confident expectation expressed in Ezekiel 43:7 and 9, that the people will in future lay aside all unholy dispositions,” then this looks forward to a future which points far beyond the immediatly post-exile period, namely, that God (to speak with Hengstenberg) “holds in prospect to the children of Israel a help against themselves, whereby they may succeed in conquering the enemy that makes the dwelling of God among them impossible,” this help being, of course, the Spirit of the Anointed One, of the fulfilling of the law, somewhat as in the passage cited by Hengst., 1 Pet. 1:3 sq. Comp. 1 Cor. 1:30: ὁς ἐγενηθη ἡμιν και ἁγιαμος (2 Thess. 2:13 sq.; Eph. 4:20 sq., and similar passages). COCCEIUS: “And the least on this mountain, within this wall of God, is greater than the high priest in the temple of Solomon, Matt. 11:11; Rev. 1:6, 5:10; 1 Pet. 2:9; comp. also Zech. 14:20, 21.”
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON EZEKIEL 43:1–12
[ “In this striking passage we are first of all to note the character in which the Lord now appears to dwell and manifest Himself among His people. It is as their divine King, occupying that house as the throne of His kingdom. God had always claimed this position, and had at first resisted their desires to have an earthly sovereign, because this virtually implied a rejection of Him as the proper head of the State. Even when He consented to their request, it was with a solemn and earnest protest against the person chosen ruling in his own name, and for selfish purposes, or in any other way than as the Lord’s vicegerent. The protest, however, was soon forgotten. The king looked upon himself, and the people also looked upon him, as possessing an absolute title to the throne, and the earthly head came very much to occupy, in men’s eyes, the place of the true and proper King. But in the new and more perfect order of things now unfolded in vision to the prophet, this flagrant perversion of the past must be rectified; God must be known and honoured as alone properly ‘King in Jeshurun.’ And hence, not only here does He declare that He had come to occupy His throne in the house, but, as mentioned in the note on Ezekiel 43:7, the earthly head, when spoken of in a subsequent chapter, is simply called ‘the prince.’ The supremacy and glory of Jehovah were henceforth to appear in their full splendour. We have farther to notice in the preceding passage the essentially moral character of all that was here displayed in vision respecting the future things of God’s kingdom. It was not a pattern which God was going to carry out anyhow, and accomplish as by a simple fiat of Omnipotence. It depended upon the condition of the people, and only if they agreed to put away sin from among them, and give God the supreme place in their hearts, could He manifest Himself toward them in the manner described. And finally, while the whole scheme was fraught with lessons of instruction, and inlaid with principles of holiness, the grand and distinguishing peculiarity of this pattern of the future, as compared with the past, we are expressly informed, was to be a general and all-pervading sanctity. The law of the house—what was pre-eminently entitled to be called the law—consisted in the whole region of the temple-mount being most holy. Not, as hitherto, was this characteristic to be confined to a single apartment of the temple; it was to embrace the entire circumference occupied by the symbolical institutions of the kingdom,—the chambers allotted to the priest, and even the courts trodden by the people, as well as the immediate dwelling-place of Jehovah. All were to have one character of sacredness, because all connected with them were to occupy a like position of felt nearness to God, and equally to enjoy the privilege of access to Him. So that the pattern delineated is that of a true theocracy, having God himself for king, with the community in all its members for true denizens of the kingdom, and acceptable ministers of righteousness before the Lord.”—FAIRBAIRN’S Ezekiel, pp. 473, 474.—W. F.]
Ezekiel 43:13–27. The Altar of Burnt-offering (Ezekiel 43:13–17), and its Consecration (Ezekiel 43:18–27)
[ “The remaining verses of this chapter (Ezekiel 43:13–27) which contain a description of the altar of burnt-offering, and of the necessary rites of consecration connected with it, seem at first view somewhat out of place. But there is an historical reason for such a description being given here. Now that the Lord has taken possession of the house, the prophet goes on to show how the work of fellowship and communion with Him is to proceed on the part of the people. It must, as it were, commence anew, and of course be conducted after the old manner; for no other could here come into contemplation. But in ancient times the grand medium of divine intercourse was the altar, at which all gifts and sacrifices were to be presented for the divine favour and blessing. And therefore, the prophet here, to show that the way was open, and that the people might have free access to the fellowship of God, after having briefly sketched the dimensions of the altar, gives instructions for its consecration, and the consecration of the priesthood, which was all that was needed to complete the arrangements. … The seven days’ purification services for the altar have respect to the original directions of Moses for the same purpose, in Ex. 29:37, and are simply a preparation for the great end aimed at—that God might accept the sacrifices of the people, and be gracious to them (Ezekiel 43:27). This indispensably required that there should first be a consecrated way of access—a holy altar, and a holy priesthood to minister at it.”—FAIRBAIRN’S Ezekiel, pp. 474, 475.—W. P.]
Ezekiel 43:13, with which the vision already turns more expressly to the second particular, the service in the temple of Jehovah, has been prepared for by occasional references, such as Ezekiel 40:38 sq., 42:13 sq., but is introduced in particular by the “ordinances” and “precepts” commanded to be made known in Ezekiel 43:11 of our chapter. We remark, as regards the predominating evangelical tone of the vision, that the statement that Jehovah’s sanctuary, as well as Jehovah Himself, will dwell among His people, precedes any commandment or ordinance in regard to it. So the time of the wandering patriarchs was likewise before the time of the law, which simply came in between promise and fulfilment.—And these are the measures, the idea is symbolized in the “measure.”—הַמִּזְבֵּחַ is the altar of burnt-offering (Ezekiel 40:47, 9:2; Ex. 30:28 sq.). Both on account of its significance in regard to the people in their relation to Jehovah,—since it is for the court what the ark which is wanting in Ezekiel is for the most holy place, and the altar of incense for the holy place (comp. Ezra 3),—and also because a fresh section of the vision announces itself here, the more exact statement of the measures is repeated in accordance with Ezekiel 40:5.—חֵיק, from חוּק, “to surround,” is the so-called bosom,—GESENIUS: the hallowed part of the altar, where the fire burnt; KEIL: its base; HENGST.: the same as its back (?), namely, the enclosure, which was of brass,—as being on the outside; “back,” because it formed the periphery of the altar; “bosom,” because it embraces and grasps the heart, since חֵיק properly means something that grasps. Evidently the whole circumference of the altar will be first given. Keil translates: “a bottom-frame one cubit high and one cubit broad” (?). In the case of that which encloses the earth and stone, the kernel of the altar, the breadth is the thickness.—גְבוּלָהּ (the feminine suffix here and in שְׂפָתָהּ, referring to חֵיק, has been explained from the transferred relation); more closely defined by אֶל־שְׂפָתָהּ סָבִיב, is, since anything else can scarcely be understood from the foregoing, the one span, that is, half cubit broad edging projecting over the circumference. הָאֶחָד, as noun: a span of unity, of the one = one span. Keil, who interprets from below upwards, places here a moulding a half cubit high.—וְזֶה נַּב הַמִּזְבֵחַ is commonly translated: the “back,” which גַּב must as little signify as it can denote the “socle” of the altar, the bottom-frame with its moulding. According to the fundamental idea of the root-word, to be “drawn together,” “heaped up,” גַּב may at least quite as well denote something elevated or high, which is so easily expressed by this object (altare), as what is bowed or bent, especially when circumference and edging have preceded, and when in this way the configuration in height was not yet touched on.
Ezekiel 43:14 would describe this from the bottom upwards; hence מֵחֵיק הָאָרֶץ = from the circumference (starting from that with which the description began in Ezekiel 43:13), where it rose above the earth, apparently as belonging to it and raising itself out of it. [And for this reason Hävernick already in Ezekiel 43:13 makes the bosom mean: the lowest part of the altar, the part immediately on the earth, the support of the whole. Keil understands הָאָרֶץ of the filling up of the חֵיק with earth (?).]—הָעֲזָרָה, HENGST.: “closing;” KEIL: “walling round.” The Aramaicized word, which is derived as a softened form from עָצַר, denotes in 2 Chron. 4:9, 6:13, the court (חָצֵר, the “enclosure”). If derived from עָזַר, “to hold off” (hence, “to protect,” “to help”), the word would indicate a rest or landing-place, as the courts formed such ascending landing-places or terraces. It can hardly be a third designation for the wall of the altar (HENGST.: “especially the external wall of the two cubits thick enclosure”). When, as here, the height of the altar is treated of, two rests are to be understood, one above the other,—first a lower one, because only two cubits high, and therefore called the lesser, in relation to the greater of four cubits high, the next and higher one. The repeatedly stated breadth of one cubit makes the detailed description of the more general description in Ezekiel 43:13 more intelligible. We make by addition the height six cubits; Keil, seven cubits, but where is his half cubit נְּבוּל?
Ezekiel 43:15. הַהַרְאֵל, “the mountain of God,” four cubits high, denotes after the two court-like rests, in the priestly mode of expression, the altar proper, as it were the sanctuary upon the very high mountain (Ezekiel 40:2). The height of the altar which is being described suggested the expression; and accordingly the entire temple edifice, as it has been designated after the temple proper, “house” or “palace,” concentrates itself in the altar with its rests, designated as it is after its upper part: mountain of God. From this, however, the genuine priestly term: הָאֲרִאֵיל, is still to be distinguished. The Qeri reads: אֲרִיאֵל, adopting which Keil interprets, in conformity with Isa. 29:1, not: “lion of God,” but, from אָרָה, “to burn” (ara Dei): “hearth of God.” Hengst. holds for the reading in the text: אֲרִי, “lion,” and takes איל, the י being elided by the Masoretes, as “ram,” while he thinks it possible that the original form was אראֵיל, instead of אראַיִל, so that a double sense had been intended. Lion of God and ram-lion, the lion that consumes the rams for God! At all events, what is meant is the upper surface, that is, in reality the fire-hearth of the altar from the four corners of which the four horns extended, and these, according to Jewish tradition, belonged to the essential requisites of the altar, and indicate the insignia of kingly dominion, hence the revelation of divine power and glory, etc. (BÄHR, Symb. i. p. 473); with these our description is completed as regards extent upwards. The altar has, like that of Solomon, a height of ten cubits.
Ezekiel 43:16. The account of the height is followed by that of the length and breadth, measured at the highest point of the altar, and given for the whole four sides from the ground up.
Ezekiel 43:17. Setting out now from that which is not a part of the altar proper (וְהָעֲזָרָה, collective, comp. Ezekiel 43:14), the lower ledge, in contrast and as complement to וְהָאֲרִאֵיל (Ezekiel 43:16), the top surface, Ezekiel 43:17, measures fourteen instead of twelve cubits square, since it adds from Ezekiel 43:13, 14 the thickness of the “bosom,” a cubit on each side, to the length and the breadth; this is referred to in what follows: and the border round about it, etc. = “and its border at its lip round about” (Ezekiel 43:13), although for the sake of variety we have half a cubit here, instead of a span there.—And its bosom, etc. (Ezekiel 43:13); this explains the difference in the measurement here from that of Ezekiel 43:16. The mention of the bosom and the border reverts to the beginning of the description of the altar (Ezekiel 43:13), so that only גַּב there still needs to be mentioned, and this is now done by naming the steps, in distinction from Ex. 20:26, indicating the elevation of the altar of burnt-offering. [Bähr carries an inclined plane round the altar for a similar purpose as the two rests here.]—פְּנוֹת, infinitive = when one turns, equivalent to: toward; according to others, a noun, read by Hitzig as participle פֹּנוֹת.
Ezekiel 43:18 leads to the consecration of the altar of burnt-offering, forming an introduction to its ritual for the purpose stated, and to its service. In other words, as the entire temple-edifice was referred to the underlying idea by means of the measuring, that is, was set forth as to its symbolical signification, so, in accordance with its intention as respects the people, in whom the idea is to be realized, the altar of burnt-offering has been purposely described at such length; but this intention will be effected only by this means, that, strictly parallel with the entrance of the glory into the sanctuary, a formal act of sacrificial consecration in respect of the altar of burnt-offering is provided for beforehand. The clothing of the idea is a kind of dramatic transaction between Ezekiel and the priests of the new temple, an act of the future with which we can compare from the past Lev. 8. (Ex. 29:10 sq.); 1 Kings 8:62 sq.; 2 Chron. 8:4 sq.—By the words: on the day when it is made, the ordinances of the altar are more closely defined as ordinances which are fulfilled (as to their idea) as soon as the whole temple, including this altar, will be in actual existence. A “being made” is also spoken of in the sense of the reference throughout to the people, just as the whole consecration points to men, who as such can do nothing pure or holy. Comp. Ex. 20:22; Lev. 16:16. But the consecration of the altar, the ritual of which is told to the prophet in the Old Testament mode of expression, particularly by the solemn: “thus saith the Lord,” etc., holds out the prospect of a consecration of the people by Jehovah.—By the avowed purpose of the altar, “to cause ascendings” (as the burnt-offerings meant to be wholly burnt, specially fulfilling the view, are called) “to ascend upon it” (with reference to the altar, the raising up of the gift), and to sprinkle blood upon it (which precisely in these offerings was done merely on the altar round about), is therefore signified in the first instance, and corresponding at the same time to the act of consecration here, the consecration of the people to Jehovah, their entire surrender and presentation of themselves to Him. The burnt-offerings usher in the class of offerings which obtains in the state of grace. The justified man lives henceforth not to himself; the service of the Lord which is ministered in the Church is symbolized by this purpose of the altar of burnt-offering; hence there is no act of worship without burnt-offering. Its expiatory significance comes out only in a secondary way in referring to the altar, just as the sprinkling with blood in the case of the burnt-offering takes place in the most general form. But since, in the time before the law, the burnt-offerings were at the same time the sin-offerings,—just as their atoning nature reminds of the sin which continually adheres to us, although the awakened conscience is again hushed,—so likewise the history of sacrifice is represented to us by this oldest of all sacrifices; thus the self-surrendering reliance on grace continues to be taken into account, as in the past, so for the future, and so the burnt-offering may be called the perpetual offering of the Church of God.
Ezekiel 43:19 passes over from the altar as to its purpose to the priests and the appropriate victims. The former are simply presupposed as a body of priests descended from Levi, belonging through the tribe to the whole people as their natural and official representatives, and that without consecration, which took place at the tabernacle; nevertheless, instead of consecration the elective appointment is repeated (comp. Ezekiel 40:46), so that only the race of Zadok who draw near to Jehovah (Ezekiel 42:13) are qualified for the service (comp. on Ezekiel 44:15 sq.). As to the second element, the victim, פַּר בֶּן־בָּקָר, a young bullock was fixed on. The male was the fitting victim for the burnt-offering, and the bullock was the most distinguished among the animals coming into consideration for a sin-offering; and so the high priest, as priestly head and representative of the community, offered for his cleansing a bullock still in the full flower of his strength (Lev. 4:3 sq., comp. 13 sq.).
Ezekiel 43:20. Comp. Ezekiel 43:15; Ezekiel 43:14, 17; Ezekiel 43:13. The sprinkling of the blood is the sprinkling in detail of the particular parts characteristic of the sin-offering. The cleansing and expiation of the altar have a reflex influence on the people that made it, and that, at the word of God (in Lev. 17:11 the altar is a place of God), raise themselves up there to God. That which the two words employed express (cleanse, and expiate), that which the procedure above and below and around the extremities symbolizes, will be a complete sanctification of the people. With such a strong representation of the cleansing, an anointing of the altar, etc. (Lev. 8:11) was not necessary in order to give expression to the idea.
Ezekiel 43:21. הַפָּר הַחַטָּאת, the article before the stat. constr. It is quite as unwarranted simply to suppose everything omitted, as from what is not said to make the prophet be in contradiction with the Mosaic ceremonial. The statements in this vision are mainly determined by the idea to be set forth, and which shows itself everywhere. Thus there was no need of saying anything about the blood which was not consumed, and which elsewhere was poured out at the foot of the altar of burnt-offering to prevent its being profaned, since the sanctification is so strongly expressed in that no mention is once made of the fat upon the inwards which came upon the altar, but it is so spoken as if the fire consumed the whole animal (comp. besides in Lev. 4:12, 8:17, the manner of expression) without the sanctuary; comp. Lev. 4:21, 6:23. Thus not within the house, and if in a place that may be supposed related to it, certainly (comp. what was remarked in speaking of the gizrah, Ezekiel 41) in the “off-place,” hardly Ezekiel 46:19 sq.
Ezekiel 43:22. The goat is the atonement for a prince (Lev. 4:23), but also the characteristic offering for the people on the great day of atonement (Lev. 16.). Thus the people might be looked upon as perfectly represented at the altar of the court, Ezekiel 43:19 sq. ecclesiastically, and here civilly, by their two heads the high priest and the prince (comp. Ezekiel 44:3 sq.), with reference at the same time to the great yearly atonement. At any rate, only the second day is marked at the beginning which is made with the bullock as sin-offering; the following days up to the seventh are, as respects sin-offering, introduced and indicated by the second.—תָּמִים, integer, which had to be the quality of every victim, but clearly more noteworthy here when the civil side is treated of.—וְחִטְּאוּ, the priests, or: one, etc., while at the same time Ezekiel 43:21 sq. is illustrated in this respect by כַּאֲשר׳. The prophet does it by instructing the priests to do it.—After what has been stated regarding these two days, that the bullock cleanses the altar, etc. (Ezekiel 43:20), to which reference is expressly made in speaking of the goat of the second day (Ezekiel 43:22), then בְּכַלּוֹתְךָ מֵחַטּא in Ezekiel 43:23 can be understood only of the completion of the two sin-offerings, to which the subordinate purpose of the altar, the mention of the sprinkling of blood (Ezekiel 43:18), had led the prophet, so that he now comes to what is spoken of as the principal purpose, to the burnt-offering, which, in the indefiniteness as regards time with which the bullock and ram of which it consists are spoken of, can be quite as easily assigned to the first day as it is expressly assigned in Ezekiel 43:25 to seven days.
Ezekiel 43:24. What remained still indefinite in Ezekiel 43:22 now becomes quite clear by the mention of the priests.
Very significant, however, and exceedingly telling for the setting forth of the idea of sanctification already remarked in Ezekiel, is the casting of salt by the priests, which in the law is expressly demanded for the meat-offering, and appears here connected in a similar manner (שָׁלַךְ) with the burnt-offering, although salt (Lev. 2:13) was to be put on every oblation. Salt (especially in contrast with leaven and honey), by its seasoning and antiseptic power, with its hidden cleansing fire which consumes everything unclean, is meant to bring out the signification of the powerful truth which keeps off impurity and hypocritical legal sanctity, viz. the surrender to the service of the Lord symbolized in the burnt-offering. Perhaps its character as salt of the covenant of God, with reference to the eternity thereof (Num. 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5), comes additionally into consideration for the act of consecration. The quality of human nature, observes Hengst., is unsalted, and may not enter into relation with God.
Ezekiel 43:25. The seven days can be neither nine nor eight days, i.e. excluding the first two days, or at least the first day, for they are expressly seven; as also it is said again in Ezekiel 43:26, וְכִפַּרתָּהוּ (Qeri: יְכַפְּרוּ), with evident allusion to וְכּפַּרתָּהוּ in Ezekiel 43:20. Moreover, apart from the significance of the number seven as the number of the covenant, consecration, sanctification, etc., it is the basis of all solemnities in Israel, as Keil observes: prescribed in the law without exception for every act of consecration continuing over one day. Comp. particularly Ex. 29:37; 2 Chron. 7:9. The one kid for a sin-offering daily cannot possibly be held to run counter to this, for it expresses what relates to the majority of these days, six days; and in respect of the first day, the bullock (Ezekiel 43:19 sq.) stood clearly defined from the outset. The two victims appointed for burnt-offering (Ezekiel 43:23 sq.) are also distinguished from the kid by the change from תַּעֲשֶׂה to יַעֲשׂוּ. And not without significance could the cleansing sin-offering, in distinction from the burnt-offering, be ascribed—although only formally—to the prophet; in this keeping separate he represents the sanctifying grace of God, and the priests the community sanctifying themselves to God.—As Ezekiel 43:23 sq. is supplemented by the שִׁבְעַת יָמִים placed at the beginning of Ezekiel 43:25, and qualifying the whole verse, the burnt-offering in question is to be offered daily during the seven days after the daily completion of the cleansing.
Ezekiel 43:26, concluding the act of consecration,—hence couched in general terms,—confirms both the merely seven days’ duration of the consecration of the altar (for nothing else is meant by טִהֲרוּ), and also, in virtue of the entire consecration above mentioned, its perfect purification, on the ground and in consequence of the expiation (וְכַפְּרוּ) of the altar, which according to Ezekiel 43:20 is its cleansing. We might translate; a pronouncing clean for the present use, treated of in Ezekiel 43:27. It is certainly also in harmony with this when, in making over to the altar thereby represented as entering personally on its functions, the peculiar phrase: fill its hand, is used. After the use previously in the description of the altar of the words “bosom” and “lip” in reference to it, its hand (יָדיָו, plur., is a needless gloss) can cause no surprise, especially in Ezekiel, who delights in bold symbols. The altar representing the people in the priests, even of itself, easily becomes a person, and still more readily if the idea of it is to be made prominent. But to “fill the hand” is the expression used in Lev. 8. on occasion of the offering for consecrating the priests, inasmuch as those parts of the offering, which otherwise were heaved and waved in the thank-offering, were laid, along with the loaves and cakes, into the hands of the priests. With exception of the breast and shoulder, all this was laid on the altar as a sacrifice of consecration (מִלֻּאִם). The expression: מִלֵּא יָד, occurs similarly in Ex. 32:29; 1 Chron. 29:5; 2 Chron. 29:31 (יֶדְכֶם), in reference to Jehovah, so that the application to the priests in general denotes the giving of a present to them, which, although by the people, is yet as from Jehovah. It indicates in particular, however, their official right to their ministry, and the obligation of this ministry to offer to Jehovah in the fire of the altar. Since the expression, different from the consecration proper of priests, implies the conferring of the priestly office, the formal installation into it,—the making of it over to the altar here, corresponding to its purification, is designed to represent the making over of the altar of burnt-offering for the service assigned to it, as Ezekiel 43:27 farther describes. The use for which this altar will have to be employed henceforth, after the completion of what has to be completed in regard to it in the seven days, as, moreover, it is expressly said: on the eighth day and onwards, is intimated by the burnt-offering and the Shelamim, which, however, appear not exactly as the principal and most frequent offerings, instar omnium (KEIL, HENGST.), but to make prominent the idea of a people of God in the state of grace, as the kinds of offering befitting such a relation to Jehovah. Hence also the Shelamim are not called here זְבָחִים, “slain offerings,” in order to give a general designation for offerings, or to mark the distinction from the burnt-offering, which falls entirely to Jehovah, but שְׁלָמִים, that is, salvation-offerings (peace-offerings), a designation well fitted to place them on a level with the “whole offering” (כָּלִיל), as the burnt-offering is also called: full surrender is met by full grace, salvation perfect in respect to the past and for the future, and the individual’s enjoyment of peace resting on and flowing from it (in which perhaps the more private character of this species of offering compared with the more official character of the burnt-offering should be noticed). The burnt-offerings mentioned first give the key-note, just as they are also strengthened through the bullock in the seven days’ consecration. As supplicatory offerings, the Shelamim, therefore, are also rather thank-offerings, because the praying Church knows on whom she believes (as John 11:41). Finally, the Shelamim were in the Old Covenant the oldest flesh-offerings after the burnt-offerings. Comp. also Ex. 10:25, 18:12 (in reference to the delivering of Israel out of Egypt), and Gen. 46:1.—רָצָא, thus only here, elsewhere רָצָה (Ezekiel 20:40, 41), refers to: “restraining,” so that the guilt presupposed in having recourse to the sacrifice is confessed; hence Niphal in Isa. 40:2 (Lev. 26:41, 43: ר׳ עון) of guilt being recompensed, here: to receive as unrestrained by guilt (the idea of justification is perceptible in the word), equivalent to: to receive graciously.
On Ch. 43
Ezekiel 43:1. “Jerusalem, how gladly would our foot stand in thy gates!” (Ps. 122.)—“Open to me the pearl gates, Thou who art the Ornament of heaven’s city, Light from Light, chosen as the Light before the world began,” etc. (DESSLER).—To come to Christ is really to find out the bearings of this world.—“The entrance took place after the measuring of the temple and consideration of its adornment. So did Christ show His disciples, represented in the person of the prophet, the whole heavenly edifice by word and work (John 17:6); and everything pertaining to the building of this spiritual temple was finished on the cross. The entrance of the glory from the east for lighting the temple took place when the apostles, on the day of Pentecost, were endued with power from on high,” etc. (ŒCOL.)—“When Jesus comes there is light; darkness must disappear, and all is pure joy and comfort, Ps. 97:11” (CR.).
Ezekiel 43:2 sq. “The gracious advent of Jehovah indicates the visitation of grace in the forgiveness of all sins, in light, salvation, and blessedness” (STARCK).—“The voice is that of Ps. 19, the voice of the gospel, which resounds through the whole world” (STARCK).—Where the gospel is preached, the waters of life make a noise not only of themselves, but also from the stones which men cast in, and from the rocky banks of worldly hearts which make resistance; but the glory of eternity shines upon earth.—“The loud noise of the glory is the voice of them who praise the Lord with one heart and one voice, here on earth as there in heaven, Rev. 14:1” (HEIM-HOFF.).—“We have here the hymn of praise and the triumphant joy of the saints as they cheer and encourage one another; the contradiction, confutation, and blasphemy of the wicked at the confessions of believers; the cries of the spectators expressing their various opinions, and the songs of the witnesses unto blood at the stake; just as in a triumphal procession the victors shout with joy, the vanquished howl. There is no more glorious victory than that of faith” (COCC.).—“The creature has its voice only from the Creator; and therefore His voice must sound louder than its, however loud it is, Ps. 93:3, 4 (Dan. 10:6; Rev. 1:15). He who said: ‘Let there be light,’ Himself shines forth at His appearing in the clearest light, as He who dwelleth in light that is inaccessible, 1 Tim. 6:16; James 1:17 [Ps. 50:12; Deut. 33:2; Rev. 18:1]” (HENGST.).—“The justice and wisdom of God, kept secret since the world began, are set before the eyes of all. There was no corner in which the truth was not heard, whether it met with approval or contradiction. Thus no one perishes unless he is an enemy to the light. Christ is altar, priest, and sacrifice; hence they who are near the altar cannot but have a sight of His glory” (COCC.).—“Let us pray God to enlighten the dark earth of our heart with that holy light of His glory!” (ŒCOL.)
Ezekiel 43:3. The terror of the prophet on account of the past and in the present; what will be the future terrors of the wicked!—“The thought of the perdition of the lost always causes pain and alarm to the true prophets” (STARCK).—“The knowledge of God never causes pride, but humility, because it at the same time discovers the corruption of the heart. The more modest a man is, and the less he trusts to himself, the more is he endowed with the knowledge of God. The bowed down are, however, revived by the Lord and led by the Spirit to the place where the majesty of the God of glory shines” (HEIM-HOFF.).
Ezekiel 43:4 sq. Whom the Spirit has cast down, the Spirit raises up again.—This is life in dying, rising up in falling.—“Yea, thus shall God’s temple be, full of divine spirit and life; but then it must consist of other materials than brick or stone” (DIEDRICH).—“What hinders this glory from filling also thy heart, provided it is not full of other things, and needs first to become empty, that thy hunger and desire may by the breath of the Spirit seek and find satisfaction in its fulness?” (BERL. BIB.)
Ezekiel 43:6 sq. “God does not relinquish mankind; He continually creates anew His Israel for Himself” (DIEDRICH).—“That Jesus aimed at the preservation of the temple is shown by His cleansing of the temple at the commencement of His ministry, whereby He intimated His intention to effect a wholesome reformation. Not until after this reformation was decisively rejected did He, at the close of His ministry, effect the second cleansing of the temple, which is the symbolical announcement of its destruction: Ye would not have reformation, therefore ye must have revolution. The sentence: ‘Behold, your house is left unto you desolate’ (Matt. 23), immediately follows the saying: ‘How often would I have gathered thy children,’ etc. Had they let themselves be gathered, their house would not have been destroyed; it would have become ‘a house of prayer for all people’ (Isa. 56:7). Jesus speaks first in view of His passion in Matt. 24:2, when the stiff-necked obduracy of the people had been completely revealed. Had the Jews listened to Him, had they not imposed silence on His disciples, the stones of the temple would not have cried out (Luke 19:40; comp. Hab. 2:11). Not until they had stopped up the mouths of the true witnesses did the preaching of the stones sound forth. But while the abolition of the form was brought on by the mass of the people, who once more, and in the most culpable manner, thrust away from them their Creator, and lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation (Deut. 32:15), the election, far from being deprived of the blessing pertaining to them, found a glorious compensation for the loss of the temple in the Church of Christ, the legitimate continuation of the temple, John 2:19” (HENGST.).—“It is man in whom, as in a temple chosen for Himself, He sets the throne of His glory. This is a New Testament word of promise; for what else does it imply than that sins are forgiven, our heart renewed, confirmed, and made obedient to the truth?” (HEIM-HOFF.)—“(1) This temple shall be the true temple; (2) this temple is different from the former temple. Into it nations and kings bring indeed their glory, but the kings and people of Israel no longer their abominations” (COCC.).—False doctrine brings the threshold of God and the threshold of men close to each other.—“Where the government of the Church is conducted by and according to the spirit of the State” (BERL. BIB.).—In this way the divine becomes human, and the human looks as if divine; and this is the devil’s union-work.—Therefore the sanctuary of the king is still not Jehovah’s sanctuary.—“A table at once the Lord’s and the devil’s, Paul has expelled from the Church” (STARCK).
Ezekiel 43:9. “God now first returns to the apostates; but His grace is designed to work repentance, and then He will never more depart from them” (DIEDRICH).
Ezekiel 43:10 sq. “Solomon’s temple left the people in their disobedience and worship of idols; but this house belongs to a higher order. He who lays it to heart will cease sinning, and duly examine the temple and its measurements. For the measuring of the temple, which is not visibly present, must be done in the Spirit, ‘which temple, however, are ye’ (1 Cor. 3). And therefore each one should examine with abasement his heart and conscience, and be displeased with himself because he has lived so long in ingratitude toward God,” etc. (ŒCOL.)—The shame of the poor sinner finds in the temple, which is Christ, exactly the right measure.—The understanding of Ezekiel’s temple-vision from the self-knowledge of the heart.—The turning to repentance through the promises of the gospel.—“The contemplation of the goodness and the works of God ought to bring shame into our hearts” (STARCK).—“The form of the divine economy of grace is, in outline, here described” (BERL. BIB.).
Ezekiel 43:11 sq. “They who repent of their sins are capable of knowing the temple and its arrangements, while those who wantonly pursue fleshly desires receive not the Spirit of wisdom, and are incapable of knowing the law of the Lord (2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 3:3). For the law of the house is God’s law, that everything be most holy” (HEIM-HOFF.).—“That the temple stood on the top of the mountain lets the whole land have it continually before its eyes in its midst, and not now and then only on occasional visits” (DIEDRICH).
Ezekiel 43:13 sq. “Christ is the true altar (Heb. 13:10); for He is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2; Rom. 3:25), and He has sanctified Himself for us, John 17:19” (CŔ).—“No one could go into the temple without passing by the altar, and so no one can go into heaven without the sacrifice of the death of Christ, Acts 4:12” (STARCK).—Golgotha the true altar of burnt-offering: “here hangs the antitype of all the sacrifices” (LAMPE).
Ezekiel 43:18 sq. “Thus God comes first and gives grace; His grace makes ashamed, chastises, sanctifies, reconciles, and produces intimate eternal fellowship. This is always God’s way with us men, provided only we recognise it aright in these days of ours, when now it is set in the most glorious light; Christ and the apostles have given additional clearness to Ezekiel” (DIEDRICH).—“In the New Testament we no longer offer material, but spiritual sacrifices through Jesus Christ, etc., 1 Pet. 2:5” (TÜB. BIB.).—“He who would bring an offering pleasing to God must be of the race of Zadok, Isa. 1:15 sq.” (STARKE).—The prayer of a righteous man availeth much, because it is effectual, Jas. 5:16.—“All true believers are priests who can draw near to God, for access to the throne of grace has been opened to us through Christ” (STARCK).—The ministers of a king are glorious; how much more so are they who minister before the King of all kings!
Ezekiel 43:21. Comp. Heb. 13:11 sq.—“All this only illustrates more clearly the sacrifice of Christ” (RICHTER).
Ezekiel 43:22. Golgotha the place of purification of all altars.
Ezekiel 43:23 sq. “A man can offer himself as a burn-sacrifice to the Lord, when he fully, entirely, and unreservedly devotes himself to Him in faith and love. The end of our creation, redemption, and sanctification, involves this” (BERL. BIB.).
Ezekiel 43:25 sq. Christ finishes His work in His people too.—“It is not enough to begin well in what is good; we must also stand fast in the Lord, and continue stedfast unto the end, 2 Thess. 3:13; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:10, 3:11” (CR.).—“But those who are sanctified to the Lord by the sacrifice of Christ ought to praise God’s benefits, and especially to remember them at the Holy Supper, according to the saying: This do in remembrance of Me, and: Show the Lord’s death till He come” (HEIM-HOFF.).
Ezekiel 43:27. “They who were in Christ before others ought in this to serve as priests to the younger believers” (BERL. BIB.).
Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: