Notes on Ezekiel 44:1-14

Ezekiel 44:1‑14  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The prophet is again brought back to the gate that looks toward the east. This time it was shut. When he saw it before, the glory of Jehovah came by this very way into the house, and filled it. This gives occasion for the word of Jehovah. And there is ample instruction to decide its application. “Then He brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said Jehovah unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before Jehovah; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the, same” (vss. 1-3).
The entrance of Jehovah, the God of Israel, was enough to close it for all but His representative. But He will have a representative upon earth—the prince—and the prince shall sit “to eat bread before Jehovah.” He is to have the honor of entering in and going out by the way of the porch of that gate. No high priest ever claimed this. Indeed it is not a priest but the prince, the earthly chief of Israel. We shall learn from chapters 45 and 46 a little more about the prince. Suffice it to say that he is certainly not the Messiah; for although he is thoroughly distinguished from a priest, he needs to offer a sin-offering, and he may have sons. Doubtless, it is a future prince of the house of David.
“Then brought He me the way of the north gate before the house. And I looked, and behold the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah; and I fell upon my face” (v. 4). It is clearly the kingdom. The prince shall be there, and the glory of Jehovah too. No approach to it has yet been seen, only a type in the days of Solomon. Greater things are yet in store for Israel.
“And Jehovah said unto me, Son of man, mark well; behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of Jehovah, and all the laws thereof. And mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary” (v. 5). It is here that men have failed to set their heart. They have not understood the difference between all the ordinances and laws of the house here noted, and the past circumstances of the temple. They have failed to mark well, and confounded all with that which has been. Indeed it is where man habitually is dull. The Holy Ghost alone can show us “things to come” (John 16:1313Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. (John 16:13)) according to God.
“And thou shalt say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Let it suffice you of your abominations, in that ye have brought children of a stranger, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary, to pollute it, My house, when ye offer My bread, the fat, and the blood; and they have broken My covenant, because of all your abominations” (vss. 6-7). There will be no following of idols any more. Israel will have done with all their abominations. No longer will there be a tampering with the priesthood, nor yet a breach of Jehovah's covenant. Holiness will be observed henceforth in the house of Jehovah forever. Here he reminds them of their sins, but shows that there can be no toleration of such ways longer.
“And ye have not kept the charge of Mine holy things, but ye have set keepers of My ordinance in My sanctuary for yourselves” (v. 8). There is an end of every such failure.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, no stranger uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into My sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. And the Levites that are gone away far from Me, when Israel went astray, when Israel went astray far from Me, shall even bear their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having charge of 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. 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 Jehovah, and they shall bear their iniquity. 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. 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” (v. 9-14).
Thus the Levites who had turned aside will feel their shame in the days of the kingdom. They are degraded from their proper work—at least in its higher parts—and are only allowed to do menial service for the sanctuary. Sad contrast with the Levites in the days of Moses, when even Aaron revolted! But it is the days of the kingdom, and righteousness governs. Past reputation will not suffice. If their sons have walked unfaithfully before Jehovah appears in glory, they must bear the consequences. Jehovah shall be exalted in that day, and those who have humbled themselves will He exalt in due time.
So Israel must here learn in due time upon the earth. We have had the prince and the Levites; the rest of the chapter concerns the priests.