“4 Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face. 5 And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary. 6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, [even] to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7 In that ye have brought [into my sanctuary] strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, [even] my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. 8 And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. 9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that [is] among the children of Israel.”
“10 And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, [having] charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them. 12 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy [place]: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. 14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein. 15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD: 16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.”
“17 And it shall come to pass, [that] when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. 18 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird [themselves] with any thing that causeth sweat. 19 And when they go forth into the utter court, [even] into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments. 20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads. 21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court. 22 Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before. 23 And they shall teach my people [the difference] between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; [and] they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths. 25 And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister that hath had no husband, they may defile themselves. 26 And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon unto him seven days. 27 And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, saith the Lord GOD. 28 And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I [am] their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I [am] their possession. 29 They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30 And the first of all the firstfruits of all [things], and every oblation of all, of every [sort] of your oblations, shall be the priest’s: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house. 31 The priests shall not eat of any thing that is dead of itself, or torn, whether it be fowl or beast.” (Ezekiel 44:1-31 AV)
The East Gate – Ezekiel 44:1-3
Verses 1-3 The East Gate was a special gate. The *Lord had entered the *temple by this gate. Only the prince could go into this gate. There he could eat bread in front of the *Lord.The prince will be the leader of the people. He will not be Christ because the prince needs to make a *sacrifice because of his own *sins (45:22). Christ does not need such a *sacrifice because he has no *sin. Unlike Christ, the prince has natural children (46:16). He will not be a priest but Christ will be the chief priest. Christ will be the king. So, this man will lead the people as Christ orders him.The prince will be from the family of David. He will be a man who will be like David. The prince will love the *Lord as David did. And he will serve the *Lord as David did. God promised David that his family would rule his people (see 2 Samuel 7:16).
The priests who work in the *temple – Ezekiel 44:4-16
Verses 4-5 The *Lord’s *glory filled the *temple. The effect on Ezekiel was very powerful. The *glory was so great that it caused him to fall down with his face to the ground. Then the *Lord spoke to him. Ezekiel would see and hear the rules for the new *temple. God would tell to Ezekiel the rules for the priests. Ezekiel must tell these rules to the people.Verses 6-9 Foreigners and strangers could bring their gifts to the *Lord. But they could not act as priests in the *temple. Neither could they be servants in the *temple. The priests and *temple servants had to be from the family of Levi.In the old *temple, foreigners did come in. The priests of *Israel let them come in. The priests even let foreigners serve in the *temple. This was against the law that God gave to Moses. In the end, the *Israelites were even *worshipping foreign gods in the *temple (Ezekiel chapter 8). Such things must never happen in the *temple that Ezekiel saw.God told Abraham to *circumcise all the males in his family. Afterwards, *circumcision was the sign of the special promise that God had made to *Israel. Every boy had to receive *circumcision when he was 8 days old. No male could be an *Israelite without *circumcision. All the foreigners who joined *Israel had to receive *circumcision. In this act, they had to obey God. But this is only a physical sign. It is even more important to obey God from the heart. Ezekiel calls this the *circumcision of the heart. Those who would enter the *temple to *worship God must receive *circumcision of heart and body. Christians do not need *circumcision in the body. But they must have the heart attitude that obeys God.Verses 10-14 As a group, the *Levites had *turned away from God. They had served false gods. In this, they led the *Israelites to *sin. So, the *Lord will punish them. And they will be ashamed of what they did. In future, the families of these *Levites will not be priests. They will not serve at the *altar. They will not go into the *holy place.The *Levites will guard the *temple gates. There will be strict rules about the people who may come into the *temple. And the *Levites will make sure that the people obey those rules.The *Levites will be the servants in the *temple. They will be responsible for all the work in the *temple. Also, the *Levites will kill the animals that the people bring to them for *sacrifices.Verses 15-16 When all the *Israelites *turned from God, some priests remained loyal to God. The *ancestor of these priests was Zadok. Zadok was a priest at the time of David. He remained loyal to David when David’s sons, Absalom and Adonijah, tried to oppose their father (2 Samuel 8:17; 2 Samuel 15:24-29; 1 Kings 1:8). David’s son Solomon appointed Zadok to be the chief priest (1 Kings 2:35).Because they were loyal, the *Lord will reward the Zadok priests in the new *temple. Only they will be able to serve the *Lord in the *holy place. They will make the *sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. The *Lord will not allow other people to come into the *holy place.
Rules for the priests from Zadok’s family – Ezekiel 44:17-31Verses 17-19 God is *holy. Before the priests approach God in the inner area, they must put on special clothes. The material of these clothes must not make the priests hot. They could not be of wool because it would cause them to sweat. (That is, to be damp from the warmth.) So, the material must be linen. Linen is a good quality cloth.As soon as the priests go out from the inner area, they must change their clothes. These clothes are *holy. The priests must wear them in the inner area only. They must take off these clothes in special *holy rooms (42:13-14). Then other people cannot touch these clothes by accident. People who are not priests must not even touch these clothes.Verses 20-22 There are several extra rules for the Zadok priests (that is, the priests from Zadok’s family). They must not shave their heads. The priests of false gods often shaved their heads. They gave their hair as a gift to the gods. This may be one of the reasons for this rule.They must not have long hair. Long hair could mean that a person was sad at the death of someone. The Zadok priests will not be sad. They will serve the *Lord with joy.These rules about hair are to show that the Zadok priests are *holy to the *Lord.When the Zadok priest serves in the *temple, he must have complete control of himself. Therefore, while he is on duty he must not drink wine.He can marry. But his bride must be a woman who has not had sex with a man. But he can marry the widow of another priest. He must not marry any other widow. He must not marry a woman who has left her husband.These rules are like the rules for the chief priest in the old *temple. But here the rules apply to all the priests from Zadok’s family. This passage does not mention a chief priest because the *Messiah will be the chief priest.Verses 23-24 These rules show what it means to be *holy. The priests must teach the people to be *holy. They themselves must be *holy. And by their own lives, they must show the people how to live. They must help people to know what is right.The priests will be the experts in God’s laws. They will be the judges of any problems among the people. They will decide what is right. The *Lord will teach them his laws. And they must use those laws when they make decisions.They must obey God’s laws themselves. They must obey all the rules about special meals. And they must obey the rules for the *Sabbaths.Verses 25-27 A priest should not go near to a dead person. He could not go into the *temple’s inner area if he had been near a dead person. He would not be *clean. He could not serve the *Lord as a priest.He could go near if the dead person belonged to his family. Family here means his parents, his children, his brothers and his sisters. But if his sister is married, she is not part of his family. He must not go near to her body when she dies.If he did go near a dead relative, he would not be *clean. So, he must get himself *clean. (There are rules about this in Numbers 19:11-13.) When he is *clean again, he must wait 7 days. At the end of the 7 days, he must make a *sacrifice. To go near a dead person is like *sin because by it the priest is not *clean. After he is *clean then he may serve the *Lord in the inner area.Verses 28-31 The priests will own no property in *Israel. They will depend on the *Lord for all that they need. Their food will come from the *sacrifices that the people give to the *Lord. But they must not eat the meat from birds or animals that they find dead already. And they must not eat anything that wild animals have killed. All that the people give to the *Lord will belong to the priests.The people must give to the *Lord the first part of their harvests. That part under the old rules would be a 10th of the harvest. Then the *Lord will show his kindness to their families.