Ezekiel 40:38
There was a chamber with a doorway by the portico in each of the inner gateways. There the burnt offering was to be washed.
Sacrifice Essential to Human WorshipJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 40:38 -47

The entrances and vestibules of the new temple were planned on a magnificent scale. The mind of the worshipper would be naturally impressed both with the greatness of the Proprietor and with the transcendent importance of the use to which it was devoted. But by what methods will the Sovereign Majesty of heaven be approached? More and more this question oppresses a reflecting man. As he gains the central courts of the temple the answer is clear. Sin is the great separator between man and his Maker. Reconciliation can only be effected by sacrifice. At the altar of burnt offering God will meet with penitent men, and confer on them his mercy. "Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin."

I. SACRIFICE IS THE TRYSTING-PLACE BETWEEN MAN AND GOD. "The altar was before the house." From the first days of man's fall the mercy of God allowed access for man to the presence of his Maker; yet access not free and unrestrained, as in the pristine state of innocence. Access to God's favor could now be found only at the altar of sacrifice. Hence Cain's suit failed because he brought only the fruits of the ground. Abel was accepted because his faith was loyal to the Divine command, and because he felt the evil of sin. Such sacrifice of animal life could be in no respect proper compensation for moral rebellion against God. Yet it was to man a revelation that God would accept substitution, and it served as a matter-of-fact prophecy, that in due time God would provide an efficacious sacrifice. It was as much for man's welfare as for the maintenance of Divine rule, that God would henceforth meet his fallen creature, and give heed to his prayer, only at the sacrificial altar.

II. SACRIFICE SERVES MANY AND VITAL PURPOSES IN MAN'S SALVATION. In the temple sacrifices were of various kinds, and were presented with great variety of ceremony. There was the sin offering, the trespass offering, the wave offering, etc. These were designed to meet the several wants of men. They expressed gratitude for benefit received; submission to the will of God; confession of past sin; acknowledgment that our sin deserved death; acquiescence in God's plan for forgiveness; a new act of covenant with God; complete devotion of self to the service of Jehovah. The future, as well as the past, was considered. The minds of men must be fitly impressed with the terrific evil of sin and with the excellence that comes out of self-sacrifice. God's stupendous gift wakens our profoundest love. We aspire to act as he acts, and so rise into the better life. Condescension is the road to eminence.

III. SACRIFICE DEMANDS A VARIETY OF HUMAN SERVICE. There were porters to keep the gates and to prevent base intruders. There were men to slay the animals, and men to wash the flesh. There were men in charge of the building, and men in charge of the altar. Some kinds of service were repulsive to the senses; some kinds were joyous and exhilarating. In God's temple there is some service which every loyal subject of Jehovah can render. The least endowed may perform some useful mission. As in nature every dewdrop has its effect, and the tiniest insect performs a useful task, so it is also in the kingdom of grace. The tears of the babe Moses changed the fortunes of the world. The child Samuel was teacher to the high' priest of Israel. A lad in the crowd possessed the barley loaves which served as the foundation of the Savior's miracle. Provision was made in the temple for great variety of servants. The service of God is not arduous. "They also serve who only stand and wait."

IV. SACRIFICE SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SERVICE OF SONG. "Without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers." Sacrifice may commence with sorrow; it also ends with joy. "Blessed are they that mourn" here; "they shall be comforted." Music well befits temple-worship. Here, if anywhere, the souls of men should go forth in swelling tides of gladness. Before Jesus and his companions went to Gethsemane they sang a hymn. In the inner dungeon at midnight, with feet bound in the stocks, Paul and Silas sang to God their praise. If joy thrills afresh the hearts of angels when one sinner on earth repents, it is meet that joy should also fill God's temple on earth. - D.

A measuring reed.
It is a complex and mysterious thing, — this human life which it is appointed us to live. At first glance it seems as if it were simply the outflowing of ourselves from day to day, very much as water flows from a jar, without effort or design or law of movement, Take the history of a day, or the larger history of a life from the cradle to the grave; what subtle breaths of desire, of affection and repulsion determine its movements! What accidents, casual contacts, unexpected pressures of circumstance carve its outlines! Day by day the tapestry is woven. We cannot stop the play of the loom. But what a wilderness of aimless lines comes out in the fabric! What a blur of unfinished patterns, overlying each other! What a tangle of broken threads! But a deeper glance reveals to us the persistent and inexorable action of law in the shaping of our life. Indeed it is easy to formulate a theory of life in which it seems as if it were all law, nothing but law, law that crushed all freedom and spontaneity out of life. This happens when you try to reduce life to a department of physics. You find everywhere law; only the law lies not so much in the life as in the things that press upon it and give it direction. The water that flows from a jar falls and sparkles and runs on the ground with no choice of its own. Every drop is the slave of law. So it seems when we look upon life and treat it as a chapter of mechanics; as if it were simply the product of the forces that beat upon it, as if the measure of the forces gave the measure of the life, as if the colours and shapes it takes in its outflow were all determined by the angle of the sunbeam that strikes it, and the lay of the ground where it falls. It is evident that this conception of life is inadequate and false. It is all the more dangerous, because it falls in with a current fashion of thought and contains a half-truth. We read so much nowadays of force and law, that it is natural to speak of the energy of life under these terms; only, if we take our conceptions of force and law entirely from the physical world, we reduce all the intricate and mysterious movement of life to the irresponsible throbbings of a machine. The life which each of us is living is neither a formless, accidental jumble of thoughts, words and deeds, which link themselves together without any compelling force or law of combination; nor is it the fixed and inevitable result of forces that lie outside the domain of the will, and that beat resistlessly upon our life for good or evil. There is both freedom and law in our life; freedom working within law, along the lines of law. Every human life is a structure like that temple in the prophet's dream. It is built up stone by stone. And every stone has a meaning. It falls into its place in obedience to a law. The design of the structure determines the position of the stone. The building grows according to the law of the design. But what determines the design? Here is where the element of choice comes in. We can choose one design or another. But the design once chosen determines the character of the building. It gives the law of measurement to every stone and door post and pinnacle. It is like a man with a measuring reed standing in the gate. Now there are certain things which, you will agree with me, fall entirely within our choice, which have such power and influence in the shaping of character that they become the measuring reeds of life. They give the design on the lines of which the structure of the life is built. One of these things is a man's estimate of himself. What a man holds himself to be, he tries to be, and in the long run becomes. If he count himself a cur, his life will be a kennel, whatever money he may lavish on it and however richly he may decorate it. If he recognise and hold himself true to a royalty of soul, his life will be a palace. Though it have the dimensions of a hut, and the roof cover but a single room, that room will be a throne chamber. Have you never noticed how Christ, in His effort to lift men to higher levels of life, kept in sight this law? Never was such dignity dreamed for human nature as He gave to it. He called men God's children. And all, that He might win them to a life that had the purity and beauty of God in it, a life that should be worthy of the sons of God. Christ recognised the law: man is the measure of his life. His estimate of his own worth gives the quality of his daily deed and word. The law runs from the sublime heights to which Christ carried it, to the beaten paths where men pass to and fro on the business of the world. If you hold yourself copper, your life will be copper. If you count yourself gold and diamond, your life will be gold and diamond. You must first estimate yourself as something cheap and mean, before you can sell yourself to a cheap and mean sin. But there is another measuring reed of life. As he goes on with the years, every man makes not only an estimate of himself, but also a philosophy of life. If we choose to explain life as a selfish, brutal struggle for existence, as a dull, lingering misery to be borne simply with patience or defiance, as a hunt for pleasurable sensations, as a plot for the mastery of our fellows, as a school for the education of character, as an opportunity of lighting up this earth with something of the life that pulses in the heart of God; in every case, life rises up and answers: "Yes, that is my explanation of myself. I can furnish proofs of your theory. You have translated the cipher on my heart. Take me, read me, treat me as you choose; I will supply you with plenty of facts to substantiate your philosophy of me." Life echoes back our own answer. She comes to us and sits down by us and goes to and fro over our threshold, in the very feature, step, and accent of our theory. The smallest details of life take tone and colour from our creed. Our life makes a constant effort to adjust itself to our theory. How can it be otherwise? Our theory is a measuring reed, with which we stand in the gate, and which we apply to every stone and beam that go into the structure of our life. Is it any wonder that the whole structure is simply a sort of flower, which has blossomed on the stalk of our measuring reed?

(W. W. Battershall, D. D.)

Ezekiel, Levi, Levites, Zadok
Burned, Burnt, Burnt-offering, Cell, Chamber, Chambers, Covered, Door, Doorway, Entries, Entry, Gate, Gates, Gateways, Inner, Offering, Offerings, Opening, Pillars, Portico, Posts, Purge, Rinse, Rinsed, Room, Thereof, Vestibule, Washed
1. The time, manner, and end of the vision of the city and temple
6. The description of the east gate of the outer court
20. of the north gate
24. of the south gate
27. of the south gate of the inner court
32. of the east gate
35. and of the north gate
39. Eight tables
44. The chambers
48. The porch of the house

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 40:1-49

     5207   architecture

Ezekiel 40:38-39

     7370   guilt offering

The Parts of the City. Sion. The Upper City: which was on the North Part.
There is one who asserts Jerusalem to stand on seven hills; but whether upon a reason more light, or more obscure, is not easy to say. "The whale showed Jonah (saith he) the Temple of the Lord, as it is said, 'I went down to the bottom of the mountains': whence we learn that Jerusalem was seated upon seven mountains." One may sooner almost prove the thing itself, than approve of his argument. Let him enjoy his argument to himself; we must fetch the situation elsewhere. "The city itself (saith Josephus)
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness.
^A Matt. IV. 1-11; ^B Mark I. 12, 13; ^C Luke IV. 1-13. ^c 1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, ^b 12 And straightway the Spirit driveth him forth ^c and ^a 1 Then [Just after his baptism, with the glow of the descended Spirit still upon him, and the commending voice of the Father still ringing in his ears, Jesus is rushed into the suffering of temptation. Thus abrupt and violent are the changes of life. The spiritually exalted may expect these sharp contrasts. After being
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Millennium in Relation to Israel.
"And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land" (Gen. 15:17, 18). Here the two great periods of Israel's history was made known to Abram in figure. The vision of the smoking furnace and the burning lamp intimated that the history of Abraham's descendants was to be a checkered one. It was a prophecy in
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

The Holy City; Or, the New Jerusalem:
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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