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Ezekiel 43

 

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
    Vision of the Restored Temple and Land
(40:1-48:35)
Vision of the Future Temple
(40:1-48:35)
 
Vision of the Glory of God Filling the Temple The Temple, The Lord's Dwelling Place Return of the Glory of God The Lord Returns to the Temple The Return of Yahweh
43:1-5 43:1-5 43:1-5 43:1-4 43:1-3
        43:4-9
      43:5-9  
43:6-9 43:6-9 43:6-9    
43:10-12 43:10-12 43:10-12 43:10-12 43:10-12
The Altar of Sacrifice Dimensions of the Altar The Altar of Burnt Offering The Altar The Altar
43:13-17 43:13-17 43:13-17 43:13-17 43:13-17
The Offerings Consecrating the Altar   The Consecration of the Altar The Consecration of the Altar
43:18-21 43:18-27 43:18-21 43:18-27 43:18-27
43:22-27   43:22-27    

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:43:1-5
 1Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; 2and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. 3And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. 5And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.

43:2 "the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east" We must remember that the glory, or the presence of God, had left (cf. 10:18-22; 11:22-24). He is returning to His temple. It is a way of affirming that the ancient covenant had been re-established (cf. Ps. 24:7-10).

▣ "His voice was like the sound of many waters" See 1:24 and Rev. 1:15; 14:2.

▣ "the earth shone with His glory" The verb (BDB 21, KB 24, Hiphil perfect) is used of the Shekinah Cloud of Glory during the wilderness wandering period (cf. Exod. 13:21; 14:20). This is part of the Aaronic blessing of Num. 6:25. It involved God's face (i.e., intimate presence) to shine in/on those whom He fully accepted. See Special Topic at 3:12.

43:3 This vision of the manifested glory of YHWH is the same as in the vision that Ezekiel saw in chapters 1 and 10 (i.e., the portable throne chariot of YHWH).

NASB, NRSV,
REB"when He came"
NKJV, NJB"when I came"
TEV"when God came"

The MT has "I" (בבי), but some Hebrew manuscripts (6) and the Vulgate have "He" (בבו). There is much confusion in Ezekiel related to the pronouns "I," "you," "He," and "they."

▣ "I fell on my face" See 1:28; 3:23.

43:5 "the Spirit lifted me up and brought me" See note at 40:1 and 3:12.

▣ "the glory of the Lord filled the house" This was like the Shekinah cloud that came down on Mount Sinai (cf. Exodus 19:16,18,20), the Tabernacle (cf. Exodus 40:34,35), and Solomon's temple (cf. I Kgs. 8:10,11; II Chr. 5:14; 7:1-2). This is another way of showing that God present and the covenant was reestablished.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:43:6-9
 6Then I heard one speaking to me from the house, while a man was standing beside me. 7He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever. And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their harlotry and by the corpses of their kings when they die, 8by setting their threshold by My threshold and their door post beside My door post, with only the wall between Me and them. And they have defiled My holy name by their abominations which they have committed. So I have consumed them in My anger. 9Now let them put away their harlotry and the corpses of their kings far from Me; and I will dwell among them forever."

43:6 "I heard one speaking to me from the house" From the next three verses we know it was YHWH Himself who had just returned from Babylon. This seems to imply that Ezekiel thought this message was for the post-exilic community. Surely YHWH does not stay in Babylon until the eschaton.

▣ "while a man was standing beside me" This refers to one of the angel guides (cf. 40:3-4).

43:7 "the place of My throne" Normally YHWH's throne is in heaven, but since the vision of chapters 1 and 10 (YHWH's portable Throne Chariot, cf. 1:26; 10:1), the new temple is both His throne (cf. Jer. 3:17; 14:21; 17:12) and His footstool (i.e., the space between the Cherubim on the Ark, cf. I Chr. 28:2; Ps. 132; 7: Isa. 66:1; Lam. 2:1). Obviously this is metaphorical of power and majesty and not meant to be turned into God, the eternal Spirit, actually sitting on a chair/throne! Even Ps. 45:6 probably refers to the coming Davidic descendant (i.e., Messiah, cf. II Samuel 7), not God (see Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 270-271).

▣ "the place of the soles of My feet" Although YHWH lived in heaven, His feet were between the Cherubim (i.e., Jerusalem, Mt. Moriah, cf. Exod. 25:22; Isa. 37:16) above the Ark of the Covenant in the holy of holies (cf. I Chr. 28:2; Ps. 99:5; 132:7; Isa. 60:13). This dedication service is very similar to Solomon's in I Kings 8 (cf. Isa. 66:1).

▣ "where I will dwell among the sons of Israel" The verb (BDB 1014, KB 1496, Qal imperfect) is used so often in Deuteronomy of the place God will cause His name to dwell (cf. Deut. 12:11; 14:23; 16:2,6,11; 26:2). This promise is also found in 37:26-27. It goes back to Exod. 25:8 (YHWH gave them a detailed pattern of the tabernacle, also Exod. 25:9); 29:45-46. This same covenant language is continued when the coming Messiah is called Emmanuel (i.e., God with us) in Isa. 7:14 (cf. Matt. 1:23). This is another way of showing that the covenant has been reestablished (cf. 16:60-63; 37:24-28).

▣ "forever" See Special Topic at 37:25,26.

▣ "Israel will not defile My holy name" This is a recurrent issue in Ezekiel. YHWH wants His name revealed to the nations, not profaned among them (cf. 20:9,14,22,39; 36:21,22; 39:7; 43:7,8)! Israel was meant to be a kingdom of priests, but they turned into a kingdom of idolaters! This will change; a new day is coming! The nations themselves will witness to Israel (cf. Romans 9-11)! There will be no distinction between Jew and Gentile anymore (cf. Eph. 2:11-3:13). Joel 2:28 has been realized (cf. Acts 2:14-21).

▣ "the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name" This reflects the new covenant discussed in 36:22-36. A new day of obedience is coming. Obedience is possible because of YHWH providing "a new heart" and "a new spirit." This new covenant not only involves forgiveness, but godly living! Notice the stated condition in vv. 9 and 11.

▣ "the corpses" This term (BDB 803, KB 910) has several possible meanings.

1. the bodies of dead kings in their tombs/monuments in the vicinity of the temple (cf. Lev. 26:30)

2. the offering of dead bodies to Molech (same consonants as "king")

3. the place and practice of idolatry (cf. v. 8; 8:3,16)

The parallelism suggests #3.

NASB"when they die"
NKJV"on their high places"
NRSV, JPSOA"at their death"
TEV, NJB,
Peshitta"by burying the corpses of their dead kings"
REV"with the monuments raised to dead kings"
LXX"the murders of their princes in the midst of them"

The only difference between the two options is the vowel points of the MT scholars. The Hebrew consonants are the same. The question is, "Does the context refer to idolatry (cf. 5:11; 23:36-45) or the monuments (stele) of dead sinful kings?"

43:8 "So I have consumed them in My anger" See Special Topic at 1:3.

43:9-11 There is a series of commands.

1. put away harlotry, v. 9, BDB 934, KB 1221, Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense

2. describe/declare, v. 10, BDB 616, KB 665, Hiphil imperative

3. be ashamed of iniquities, v. 10, BDB 483, KB 480, Niphal imperfect used in a jussive sense

4. make known to them, v. 11, BDB 393, KB 390, Hiphil imperative

5. write, v. 11, BDB 507, KB 503, Qal imperative

6. observe, v. 11, BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

 

43:9 "Now let them" Verses 9 & 11 show the conditional nature of Ezekiel's covenant, as all covenants in the OT were conditional on mankind's appropriate response to God in repentance, faith, and obedience.

▣ "and I will dwell among them forever" See note at v. 7.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:43:10-12
 10"As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan. 11If they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the house, its structure, its exits, its entrances, all its designs, all its statutes, and all its laws. And write it in their sight, so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them. 12This is the law of the house: its entire area on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house."

43:10 This elaborate plan of the new temple was meant to

1. remind them of the Exodus (a detailed pattern from YHWH of a place of worship and its procedures, cf. Exodus 25-31)

2. cause them to repent (cf. 6:9; 16:61,63; 20:43; 36:31; 43:11)

3. give them an opportunity for obedience (i.e., "and do them," v. 11)

 

43:11 Notice the parallelism between

1. design, BDB 849, KB 1017, only in this chapter, possibly drawing, plan, or form

2. statutes, BDB 349, cf. v. 18, see Special Topic at 5:7

3. laws, BDB 435, cf. v. 12(twice), see Special Topic at 5:7

YHWH is giving them a new temple (i.e., to build) and new procedures (i.e., to act on) to test their obedience. They failed the tabernacle test; they failed Solomon's temple test; they will fail Zerubbabel's and Herod's tests also! Only after the new covenant of chapter 36 and the restoration of chapter 37 can Israel be obedient.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:43:13-17
 13"And these are the measurements of the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth): the base shall be a cubit and the width a cubit, and its border on its edge round about one span; and this shall be the height of the base of the altar. 14From the base on the ground to the lower ledge shall be two cubits and the width one cubit; and from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge shall be four cubits and the width one cubit. 15The altar hearth shall be four cubits; and from the altar hearth shall extend upwards four horns. 16Now the altar hearth shall be twelve cubits long by twelve wide, square in its four sides. 17The ledge shall be fourteen cubits long by fourteen wide in its four sides, the border around it shall be half a cubit and its base shall be a cubit round about; and its steps shall face the east."

43:15 "and from the altar hearth shall extend upwards four horns" There are numerous references to the four horns (i.e., like cow horns) of the sacrificial altar in the OT (cf. Exod. 27:2; 29:12; 30:10; 1 Kgs. 1:50; 2:28). Even the incense altar had four horns. This was the most holy part of the sacrificial altar on which a small portion of the blood was smeared (cf. Exod. 29:12; Lev. 4:7,18,25; 9:9; Ezek. 43:20) before the rest was poured out at the base of the altar of sacrifice.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:43:18-21
 18And He said to me, "Son of man, thus says the Lord God, 'These are the statutes for the altar on the day it is built, to offer burnt offerings on it and to sprinkle blood on it. 19You shall give to the Levitical priests who are from the offspring of Zadok, who draw near to Me to minister to Me,' declares the Lord God, 'a young bull for a sin offering. 20You shall take some of its blood and put it on its four horns and on the four corners of the ledge and on the border round about; thus you shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. 21You shall also take the bull for the sin offering, and it shall be burned in the appointed place of the house, outside the sanctuary.'"

43:18 This clearly states that the altar was for the purpose of atonement, not a memorial (cf. 45:15, 17, 20). This is in direct conflict with the NT book of Hebrews (esp. chapters 9-10), which sees Jesus as the last sacrifice needed to atone for mankind's sin.

43:20 "cleanse it" This verb (BDB 306, KB 305, Piel perfect) is repeated in vv 22(twice) and the Piel infinitive construct in v. 23. The Piel denotes cleansing by means of a blood sacrifice (cf. Lev. 8:15; Ezek. 45:18) as does the next verb "make atonement" (BDB 497, KB 493, Piel perfect, cf. v. 26; 45:20).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT:43:22-27
 22"'On the second day you shall offer a male goat without blemish for a sin offering, and they shall cleanse the altar as they cleansed it with the bull. 23When you have finished cleansing it, you shall present a young bull without blemish and a ram without blemish from the flock. 24You shall present them before the Lord, and the priests shall throw salt on them, and they shall offer them up as a burnt offering to the Lord. 25For seven days you shall prepare daily a goat for a sin offering; also a young bull and a ram from the flock, without blemish, shall be prepared. 26For seven days they shall make atonement for the altar and purify it; so shall they consecrate it. 27When they have completed the days, it shall be that on the eighth day and onward, the priests shall offer your burnt offerings on the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you,' declares the Lord God."

43:24 "salt" Usually salt was put with the grain offerings (cf. Lev. 2:13) and here with blood offerings. Because of Ezek. 6:9 it possibly was put on all offerings. It was a symbol of the Israelite's covenant with YHWH (cf. Num. 18:19; II Chr. 13:5).

43:25,26 "for seven days" This purification and dedication procedure parallels Exod. 29:35-37; Lev. 8:33-36. Holy things had to have a special initiation and also rigid procedures for maintaining their holiness. The Mosaic legislation (and also that of Ezekiel) was keen on maintaining a strict separation between the holy and the mundane, the clean and the unclean. This ritual separation reflected their theology of the world and life, the physical and spiritual

▣ "goat" Goats were not used in the Mosaic system for dedication offerings.

43:27 "peace offering" This was the fellowship meal where God symbolically ate with the offerer. It was eaten in the temple setting and is a foreshadowing of the Lord's Supper.

▣ "I will accept you, declares the Lord God" This was the purpose of Ezekiel's sacrificial cultus (i.e., reunite sinful Israel with a holy God). Ezekiel sees it in terms of ancient sacrificial ritual (i.e., Leviticus 1-7).

The verb (BDB 953, KB 1280, Qal perfect) is also used in 20:40,41 of an accepted sacrifice. Because YHWH was with His people, purity, holiness, ceremonial cleanness must be maintained!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. When were these chapters fulfilled?

2. What is the purpose of the end-time sacrificial system?

3. Describe the Cherubim.

4. What is the purpose of an end-time temple?