Notes on Ezekiel 43:13-37

EZE 43:13-37  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
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Next in order we have the measurement of the altar, and then its statutes for the offering of burnt-offerings and sprinkling of blood.
We have already seen that it is in vain to apply this description to the past return from Babylon. Much more evidence will follow in refutation of such a thought. The present chapter is evidence enough; there has been no return of the Shechinah. The Jews were then groaning under Gentile power. Since the destruction of the city by the Romans still less can it apply. Why then should men evade the only alternative? The fulfillment is future. Israel shall yet return to the land, and be converted indeed, and blessed, under Jehovah their God, but as Israel, not as Christians, which all believers do become meanwhile, whether Jews or Gentiles. They belong to Christ in heaven, where such differences are unknown, and therefore one of the great characteristics of Christianity is that such distinctions disappear while Christ is the head on high, and His body is being formed on earth by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. When Ezekiel's visions shall be accomplished, it will be the reign of Jehovah—Jesus on earth, and the distinction of Israel from the Gentiles will again be resumed, though for blessing under the new covenant, not, as of old, for curse under the law. Hence the total difference of what is found in the Epistle to the Hebrews as compared with this and other prophecies. There can be no doubt that that epistle applies now. There ought to be as little question that this prophecy will apply by-and-by. Those who make both converge upon the Christian destroy the force of both. The result is that one is half Jew, half Christian. And such is the prevalent aspect of Christendom, to the great dishonor of the Lord, the distress of souls, and the enfeebling of the word of God. No, we must give each scripture its own proper value, and, while cleaving as Christians to the doctrine of that epistle for ourselves, let us rejoice in the prophet's bright anticipation for Israel. The heavenly people rest upon the one sacrifice, and draw near into the holiest of all, where Christ is at the right hand of God. But the earthly people will have a sanctuary as well as land suited to them, and such are all the ordinances of their worship.
“And these [are] the measure of the altar in cubits: The cubit [is] a cubit and a handbreadth, and the bottom a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and its border on its edge round about a span: this [shall be] the outside of the altar. And from the bottom [on] the ground to the lower projection two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser projection to the greater projection four cubits, and the breadth a cubit, and the hearth” (literally Ariel, or lion of God) “four cubits; and from the hearth and upwards four horns; and the hearth twelve [cubits] long, twelve broad, square on its four sides; and the projection fourteen [cubits] long, and fourteen broad, on its four sides; and the border round about it half a cubit, and its bottom a cubit round about. And its steps shall look toward the east” (vss. 13-17).
Next follows the use to which it was to be applied. “And He said to me, Son of man, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: These [are] the ordinances of the altar on the day when it shall be finished, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. And thou shalt give to the priests, the Levites, who are of the seed of Zadok, who approach to Me, saith the Lord Jehovah, to minister unto Me, a young bullock for a sin-offering. And thou shalt take of his blood, and put it on its four horns, and on the four corners of its projection, and upon the border round about. And thou shalt cleanse it, and make an atonement for it. And thou shalt take the bullock for a sin-offering, and one shall burn him at an appointed place of the house outside the sanctuary. And on the second day thou shalt offer an he-goat, without blemish, for a sin-offering. And they shall cleanse the altar as they cleansed it for the bullock. When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish, and thou shalt bring them near before Jehovah, and the priest shall throw salt upon them, and they shall offer them up a burnt-offering unto Jehovah. Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin-offering. They shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. Seven days shall they atone for the altar, and purify it. And they shall consecrate it. And when these days are expired, it shall be on the eighth day and forward, the priests shall prepare upon the altar your burnt-offerings, and your peace-offerings, and I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah” (vss. 18-27).
This is decisive. Not only do we hear of the priests, but of these as Levites; nor this only, but of the seed of Zadok, entrusted with the duties of the altar. Sin-offerings, burnt-offerings, thank-offerings, all follow in due order. It is the renewal of sacrifice when the earth and Israel come under the reign of Messiah, displayed in glory, and governing in righteousness and peace. It is the apostasy, the Judaizing, of ritualism, which seeks to introduce the sacrificial system, now that we are called to act in faith of the one offering of Christ accepted in heaven. But we ought not to close our eyes to the revelation of this future day for the earth, when God sanctions priest and people, sacrifice and altar, for Israel. If we cannot adjust the differences, we are bound at least to submit to the scriptures, which are unanswerably plain in their import, both as to ourselves now, and as to Israel by-and-by. Simplicity of subjection to Christ and His word is the secret of all intelligence that has worth in the eyes of God.