Author: Ron Graham
Ezekiel Chapters 43, 44, and 45
—Outline and Notes
On this page, chapters 43, 44, and 45 of Ezekiel are outlined and analysed. These chapters are about Ezekiel's vision of an ideal temple and its laws.
1 Context Overview
In Ezekiel's time the temple at Jerusalem was reduced to ruins by the enemies of Israel. However, Ezekiel saw visions of a new temple which the glory of God filled.
According to the design, measurements, and laws, which the vision revealed, it seems that God intended that temple to be built by the Israelites for sacrifices. Ezekiel was told by God to describe to the Israelites all its pattern and ordinances (Ezekiel 43:10-12:).
The failure of the Israelites to build the new temple according to the pattern is their failure, not God’s. Ezekiel’s vision does not fail. It acomplished its purpose which was to show Israel the temple that God designed and which he wanted the Israelites to build and use. This pattern from God retains absolute integrity whatever man fails to do.
The prophetic vision is a pattern not a prediction. Prophecy and vision is not always to predict the future, but often to convey instruction from God.
2 Outline of Ezekiel 43, 44, 45
- The glory of God fills the temple (Ezekiel 43:1-9).
- Ezekiel must show to the house of Israel the temple’s pattern and design just as it was shown to him. He must write it down as they watch, and they must measure the pattern (Ezekiel 43:10-12).
Laws About the Altar
- Measurements for the altar in more detail (Ezekiel 43:13-17).
- Ordinances for use of the altar (Ezekiel 43:18-27).
- The east-facing gate to the sanctuary is shut (Ezekiel 44:1-5).
- God warns against rebellion. He recalls previous rebellion, especially the use of uncircumcised foreigners as ministers in God’s sanctuary (Ezekiel 44:6-9).
- The Levites (the priestly tribe) had been rebels before the destruction, so God bans them from being priests in the new temple. They are charged with other temple duties, but forbidden to enter into God’s presence, or near his holy things. (Ezekiel 44:10-14).
- The sons of Zadok are exempt from the ban on Levites. Because their ancestor Zadok was faithful, they are appointed priests in the sanctuary (Ezekiel 44:15-16).
Laws for the Zadok priests
- Laws about garments worn by the Zadok priests (Ezekiel 44:17-19).
- Laws for the Zadok priests about hair; wine; marriage; teaching about what is clean and unclean; judging in controversies; keeping meetings, festivals, and sabbaths (Ezekiel 44:20-24).
- Laws for Zadok priests about contact with dead bodies (Ezekiel 44:25-27:).
- Zadok priets have no tribal inheritance in Israel. God is their inheritance and possession. However they inherit the right to all offerings as food for themselves (Ezekiel 44:28-31).
Division of the City Land
- A holy district dedicated to the LORD, his sanctuary, and houses for the Zadok priests (who have no possession outside the holy area) (Ezekiel 45:1-4).
- An area for the other Levites (Ezekiel 45:5).
- Next to the holy section, a commons is reserved for the whole house of Israel (Ezekiel 45:6).
- Land for the prince (governor) (Ezekiel 45:7-8).
An Oracle to the Princes (governors)
- A call to the prince to execute peaceful justice (Ezekiel 45:9).
- Honest scales and an honest standard for currency (Ezekiel 45:10-12).
- Offerings donated to the prince (Ezekiel 45:13-16).
- The prince’s responsibility regarding festivals and offerings for atonement (Ezekiel 45:17).
- Making atonement for the temple (Ezekiel 45:18-20).
- Observance of the Passover (Ezekiel 45:21-24).
- Another festival (Ezekiel 45:25, cf Numbers 29:12).
3 A Temple for the Messiah’s Kingdom?(Ezekiel 1)
This temple in Ezekiel was not intended for the Messiah's kingdom, because the Messiah himself made a sacrifice to end all sacrifices and he exercises his high priesthood in heaven itself, not in a temple on earth (Hebrews 9:23-28).
The only earthly temple Christ builds is his church whose members, "like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5).
Peter makes the earthly temple a type or symbol of the "spiritual house" comprised of Christ's called out people (his church). This church is forseen in Ezekiel's vision. However it would be fanciful to say that every measurement and ordinance has some spiritual meaning regarding the church.
This leads us to believe that the temple of wood and stone, described by Ezekiel, should have been built according to the pattern. The fact that a lesser temple was built is just another example of the house of Israel in general falling short of God’s ideal.