Ezekiel 42:3
Gallery faced gallery in three levels, opposite the twenty cubits that belonged to the inner court and opposite the pavement that belonged to the outer court.
Sermons
Provision Made in the Temple for Social IntercourseEzekiel 42:3-5


There can be no question that by this table Ezekiel intends the altar of incense, which stood in the holy place, but which, on account of its sacredness and value, is mentioned by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews as part of the furniture of the holy of holies. This altar in the tabernacle was of acacia wood covered with gold; that in the temple of Solomon was of cedar wood covered with the same pure and costly metal. Upon this table was burned, every morning and evening, the incense which represented the devotions of Israel. Upon the day of atonement the horns of the altar of incense were touched with the blood of sacrifice. But as no sacrifice, in the strict meaning of that term, was offered upon it, it seems appropriately designated "the table that is before the Lord." Remembering the symbolical intention of the offering of incense as described in the Apocalypse, we cannot fail to understand by this table the appointment that prayer and praise, as an acceptable offering to God, should ever be presented by the Church through the priestly mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. A SPIRITUAL OFFERING. The costly and fragrant incense had value in the sight of God, as representing the spiritual sacrifices with which he is ever well pleased. Prayer is not only natural to man as a needy and dependent being; it is enjoined by God as an exercise profitable to man and as the wisely ordained means of securing spiritual and promised blessings. Thanksgiving and praise are becoming to those who are ever receiving from Heaven more than they desire or deserve. We are not to understand merely verbal offerings, but those which proceed from a devout, grateful, confiding, and affectionate heart.

II. AN APPOINTED OFFERING. In the thirtieth chapter of Exodus we find minute directions concerning the presentation as well as the preparation of incense. This service was not an invention of man; it was prescribed by Divine authority. In the Church it is God's will that there should be constant presentation of devotion - " incense and a pure offering." From the altar of Christian hearts such sacrifices are to ascend to heaven. God will be "inquired of" by his people. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God."

III. AN ACCEPTABLE OFFERING. We have abundant testimony in Scripture to the Lord's indifference to the merely material gifts of men. If such gifts are not the expression of faith and loyalty, he disdains and rejects them. But, on the other hand, nothing is more clearly revealed in Scripture than the delight of the Supreme in the offering of true and loving and reverent hearts. This is a "sweet-smelling savor" to him.

"Vainly we offer each ample oblation, Vainly with gifts would his favor secure; Sweeter by far is the heart's adoration, Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor."

IV. A PERPETUAL OFFERING. Incense was offered by the Jewish priest daily - every morning and every evening. Not leas frequent should be the offering of prayer and praise by God's people-in the Church and in the home, above all in the heart. There is no cessation of God's favors; there should be no cessation of our thanksgivings. There is no intermission of our needs; there should be no interruption of our prayers. "Pray without ceasing."

V. A HEAVENLY OFFERING. It is observable that the one altar mentioned in the Book of the Revelation as existing in the celestial temple is the altar of incense. The purpose of sacrifice is answered and accomplished upon earth. There remains no more offering for sin. In heaven, accordingly, is no altar of sacrifice. But the altar of incense is imperishable. From it ascend immortally the praises and the prayers of the redeemed and glorified. In heaven fellowship with God is never suspended; there harps are never unstrung and voices are never silent. - T.









And before the chambers was a walk of ten cubits breadth inward.
Before these chambers there were walks of five yards broad, in which those who had lodged in these chambers might meet for conversation, might walk and talk together for their mutual edification, might communicate their knowledge and experiences. For we are not to spend all our time between the church and the chamber, though a great deal of time may be spent to very good purpose in both. But man is made for society, and Christians for communion of saints, and the duties of that communion we must make conscience of. It is promised to Joshua, who was high priest in the second temple, that God will "give him places to walk in among those that stand by" (Zechariah 3:7).

( M. Henry.).

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