James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.Ezekiel 44:1-48:35
THE CLOSE OF THE BOOK
THE GATE OF THE PRINCE (Ezekiel 44:1-3)
As the glory of Jehovah had entered this gate (Ezekiel 48:4-5), it must hereafter be closed for all but His representative the prince. This cannot mean the Messiah, because the prince requires a sin-offering. (Remember that sin will be suppressed in that day, but not yet extirpated.) Doubtless this prince is a future prince of the house of David.
THE FUTURE PRIESTS AND LEVITES (Ezekiel 44:9-31)
Ezekiel 44:9-14 show that the Levites who, in the earlier time had turned from God to idols, will be made to feel their shame since it is the days of the earthly kingdom that are here referred to, and righteousness (not grace) governs. The concluding verses of this chapter show conclusively that they are dealing, not with Christian conditions, but with Israel again on the earth, and in covenant relations with God. Ezekiel 44:17-22, for example, is a repetition of the Levitical law for the priests, only with greater strictness. The priests’ decisions are both for ceremonial and judicial matters (Ezekiel 44:23-24). Death may be rare and exceptional on the earth in that day, but it will still take place (Ezekiel 44:25-27).
THE LAND AND THE FEASTS (Ezekiel 45)
Jehovah’s portion of the land must be set aside in acknowledgment of His claim to the whole, but He applies it for the sanctuary and those who minister there (Ezekiel 45:1-5). The portion of the prince comes next, and then that of the people (Ezekiel 45:6-8). Note the prophecy, “My princes shall no more oppress the people” selfishness and greed must at least cease on the earth (Ezekiel 45:9-12). Note, also, the religious dues to be paid (Ezekiel 45:13-17). Also the fact of sin still existing (Ezekiel 45:18-20), and the feasts (Ezekiel 45:21-24), excepting, however, the feasts of weeks, or Pentecost. One might think this would be the most prominent of the feasts during the Millennium, as that period is considered the era of the Holy Spirit which Pentecost represents, but the feast drops out of the list. Of course the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh in that day, as the prophets foretell, but for a different object than now. Now He comes to baptize both Jew and Gentile into the body of Christ (this is the meaning of Pentecost), but then each Jew and Gentile will be blessed on their own ground, but there will not be union. There will be greater breadth of blessing then, but not the height and depth there is today.
The feast of tabernacle, however, is alluded to (Ezekiel 45:25), because it most fully expresses their great ingathering when they rejoice before Jehovah, and look back on pilgrim days forever past.
PUBLIC WORSHIP (Ezekiel 46)
The Sabbath is made much of, and the new moon (v 1). There is a distinction between the prince and the people, but neither goes within the temple to worship (Ezekiel 46:2-3). There is no drawing near as we now do through the rent vail, for Israel is being blessed on earth, and not like the church in heavenly places. There is no longer an evening lamb, though the offering of the morning lamb continues (Ezekiel 46:12-15). The jubilee year is re- established (Ezekiel 46:16-18).
THE TEMPLE WATERS (Ezekiel 47:1-12)
Compare with Ezekiel 47:1-5 of this chapter, Joel 3:15 and Zechariah 14:8, which show that the region of the Dead Sea, which had been the embodiment of barrenness and desolation, is, in the coming day to be changed into a scene of life and fruitfulness. And the remarkable fact is that the waters increase continually, without the least hint, rather to the exclusion of, accession from tributary streams. The whole thing is literal in fact, and yet supernatural in origin. For the healing effect of these waters read Ezekiel 47:6-12.
THE DIVISION OF THE LAND (Ezekiel 47:13 to Eze 48:35)
In accordance with Genesis 48:5 and 1 Chronicles 5:1 Joseph has two portions (Ezekiel 47:13). The land will be rich enough not only for all Israel gathered there, but for the stranger and his children as well (Ezekiel 47:22). And think of the largeness of vision of Israel in that day (Ezekiel 47:23)! A comparison of chapter 48 shows the distribution of the tribes in the millennial kingdom will be different from that previously known, but we cannot consider it in detail (Ezekiel 48:1-29). The distribution is to be made by lot.
The last and chief glory is the presence of Jehovah in the city of His choice (Ezekiel 48:30-35).
1. What shows that the prince is not identical with the Messiah?
2. What consequence of sin will still be in evidence during the Millennium?
3. What noted feast of earlier Israel will be omitted in the Millennium? Why?
4. What ordinance of public worship shows the less desirable position of earthly Israel as compared with the heavenly church?
5. What other prophets corroborate Ezekiel concerning the temple waters?
6. Are these waters literal or only figurative?
7. What is the chief glory of the city of Jerusalem in the millennial age?