Be found faithful…

Ezekiel 44:10-16

“And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord GOD, “that they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. 14 Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.

15 “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD. 16 “They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=44&v=1&t=NKJVP>

 

Faithful – full of faith, faith that He is, what He says is so;

Faithful-full of faith, faith that believes, against all odds believes

Faithful – full of faith, faith that does, without reservation is action.

God honors faithfulness.

Take care of His temple…

Ezekiel 44:1-9

Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. 2 And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3 As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.”

4 Also He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD; and I fell on my face. 5 And the LORD said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.

6 “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations. 7 When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it—My house—and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations. 8 And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.” 9 Thus says the Lord GOD: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

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The entrance is closed to all once the glory of God has entered.  We are his temple.  When we receive his presence at the cross, our minds- the east gate- are closed to all else.  We become focused upon the Lord, His thoughts and His ways; we are new the old has gone.

“…This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. …”

Need it be said to be careful what we expose our minds to?  Our God is a jealous God – we are to keep to Him only.  We are not to allow ‘foreigners’ – anything that can be anti- or other than- God based- anything that does not hold to Him only- entrance to our temple.

“… “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel….”

We are consecrated; set apart for Him only.

Take away:  What do we spend our time on?  To whom do we allow entrance to our inner self and mind?  When we allow outside influences, – those influences other than  the Lord’s we are inviting ‘foreigners’  into His temple, our body,  mind and spirit.  He calls this desecrating His sanctuary.

“….you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it…”

We can be alert, aware of what we expose our minds and inner selves to.  Monitor the influences we expose ourselves to; He says pay close attention to…

“… mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary….”

Burnt and gone…

Ezekiel 43:13 -27

These are the measurements of the altar in cubits (the cubit is one cubit and a handbreadth): the base one cubit high and one cubit wide, with a rim all around its edge of one span. This is the height of the altar: 14 from the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits; the width of the ledge, one cubit; from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits; and the width of the ledge, one cubit. 15 The altar hearth is four cubits high, with four horns extending upward from the hearth. 16 The altar hearth is twelve cubits long, twelve wide, square at its four corners; 17 the ledge, fourteen cubits long and fourteen wide on its four sides, with a rim of half a cubit around it; its base, one cubit all around; and its steps face toward the east.”

18 And He said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: ‘These are the ordinances for the altar on the day when it is made, for sacrificing burnt offerings on it, and for sprinkling blood on it. 19 You shall give a young bull for a sin offering to the priests, the Levites, who are of the seed of Zadok, who approach Me to minister to Me,’ says the Lord GOD. 20 ‘You shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar, on the four corners of the ledge, and on the rim around it; thus you shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. 21 Then you shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and burn it in the appointed place of the temple, outside the sanctuary. 22 On the second day you shall offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they cleansed it with the bull. 23 When you have finished cleansing it, you shall offer a young bull without blemish, and a ram from the flock without blemish. 24 When you offer them before the LORD, the priests shall throw salt on them, and they will offer them up as a burnt offering to the LORD. 25 Every day for seven days you shall prepare a goat for a sin offering; they shall also prepare a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without blemish. 26 Seven days they shall make atonement for the altar and purify it, and so consecrate it. 27 When these days are over it shall be, on the eighth day and thereafter, that the priests shall offer your burnt offerings and your peace offerings on the altar; and I will accept you,’ says the Lord GOD.”

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Have we as believers, burnt our past, our idols, our former beliefs on the altar of the cross?  Burnt is destroyed, changed to unusable, gone.  Christ made it possible but we have to give them up; not take them up.  We are changed at the cross to new life, do we really believe what we believe is really real?

We are His temple…

Ezekiel 43:1-12

Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. 3 It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I [fn1] came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4 And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. 5 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

6 Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. 7 And He 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 in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. 8 When they set their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore I have consumed them in My anger. 9 Now let them put their harlotry and the carcasses of their kings far away from Me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.

10 “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them. 12 This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.

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This temple has yet to be built.  Note the statement:

 “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them.”

Some translate it to mean, consider it, take a measure of it, take it all in then decide.  The physical temple in this vision has yet to be built, if ever.  It is a proposition to His people.  When we look around us; note what we see and hear with our own ears and eyes, what do we conclude?  God’s creation has yet to turn from their evil ways, their substitutions for Him, and look to Him solely as their God.  For the believer, this temple is the imprint of the cross upon their life and being. We are his temple, and his glory fills us from the head to the foot.

“…1Corinthians 3:16  Do you not know that you are the temple of God and [that] the Spirit of God dwells in you?…”

…And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east….”

The east corresponds to the head of the cross and our head, our mind.  He abides with us and within us.  We know him, we are renewed and changed through the immersion in the blood of Christ when we come to the cross and accept what he has done for us.

“…Roman 12:1 and 2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God….”

We forsake all other beliefs, all other manner of thinking and hold to Him only.  There is no room left for any other when His glory fills the temple.  It is complete.

A free exchange…our sin for His righteousness

Ezekiel 42

Then he brought me out into the outer court, by the way toward the north; and he brought me into the chamber which was opposite the separating courtyard, and which was opposite the building toward the north. 2 Facing the length, which was one hundred cubits (the width was fifty cubits), was the north door. 3 Opposite the inner court of twenty cubits, and opposite the pavement of the outer court, was gallery against gallery in three stories. 4 In front of the chambers, toward the inside, was a walk ten cubits wide, at a distance of one cubit; and their doors faced north. 5 Now the upper chambers were shorter, because the galleries took away space from them more than from the lower and middle stories of the building. 6 For they were in three stories and did not have pillars like the pillars of the courts; therefore the upper level was shortened more than the lower and middle levels from the ground up. 7 And a wall which was outside ran parallel to the chambers, at the front of the chambers, toward the outer court; its length was fifty cubits. 8 The length of the chambers toward the outer court was fifty cubits, whereas that facing the temple was one hundred cubits. 9 At the lower chambers was the entrance on the east side, as one goes into them from the outer court.

10 Also there were chambers in the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, opposite the separating courtyard and opposite the building. 11 There was a walk in front of them also, and their appearance was like the chambers which were toward the north; they were as long and as wide as the others, and all their exits and entrances were according to plan. 12 And corresponding to the doors of the chambers that were facing south, as one enters them, there was a door in front of the walk, the way directly in front of the wall toward the east.

13 Then he said to me, “The north chambers and the south chambers, which are opposite the separating courtyard, are the holy chambers where the priests who approach the LORD shall eat the most holy offerings. There they shall lay the most holy offerings—the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering—for the place is holy. 14 When the priests enter them, they shall not go out of the holy chamber into the outer court; but there they shall leave their garments in which they minister, for they are holy. They shall put on other garments; then they may approach that which is for the people.”

15 Now when he had finished measuring the inner temple, he brought me out through the gateway that faces toward the east, and measured it all around. 16 He measured the east side with the measuring rod, [fn1] five hundred rods by the measuring rod all around. 17 He measured the north side, five hundred rods by the measuring rod all around. 18 He measured the south side, five hundred rods by the measuring rod. 19 He came around to the west side and measured five hundred rods by the measuring rod. 20 He measured it on the four sides; it had a wall all around, five hundred cubits long and five hundred wide, to separate the holy areas from the common.

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What implications does this have for us today?  First, there is to be some type of separation indicating what is holy and what is common.  Define holy and common.  The offerings are divided into three groups, grain, sin, and guilt.  What is significance about each?  Holy was so holy, even the garments were changed and kept separate.  What does this say of God’s nature?  We are made in His image, can we learn from that?  The image has been tarnished and warped by sin.  To what extent?  God is holy and only the righteous and clean can enter His presence.

Let’s begin with holy and common.  In another translation, holy areas is called sanctuary and the common is called profane.  Holy/sanctuary comes from ‘godesh’  is defined as:

apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness

a) apartness, sacredness, holiness

1) of God

2) of places

3) of things

b) set-apartness, separateness 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6944&t=NKJV>

Common/profane is chol and is defined as:

1) profaneness, commonness, unholy, profane, common, sand 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2455&t=NKJV>

There were two clearly defined areas within the temple area.  One is the area into which all can come for the purpose of worship and cleansing from sin.  The other is the area reserved for the priests who moved between the people and the Lord.  Carrying the offerings and wishes from one to the other.  The area into which all can come is called by the Lord a common area or opposite of holy, profane because it is contaminated with sin.  The area in which the priests serve is called holy for it has been cleansed and as we shall see it contains the presence of God.

Today because of the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we  can come freely into the presence of God.

“…Hebrew 7:22, 24-27  by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant….But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.  Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;  who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself….”

So now, we too have left the common and we become holy in salvation  finding ourselves separated from the unbeliever on the basis of our salvation.  Not due to anything we have done, but based solely upon what Christ has done.  As the areas are so clearly defined and separated, we also can be seen as  different as a result of our salvation demonstrated through our love for one another,  our freedom from sin’s curse,  our lifestyle now consecrated to the will of God.

As to the offerings what was the significance of the offerings, also called holy?  In Christ’s sacrifice for us can we conclude that they are part of that offering?  Let’s begin with the first, called grain offering in one translation and meat offering in another.  This comes from the word minchah:

1) gift, tribute, offering, present, oblation, sacrifice, meat offering

a) gift, present

b) tribute

c) offering (to God)

d) grain offering 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H4503&t=NKJV>

Essentially this is an offering that can take many forms.  The next, sin offering  is from the word chatta’ah:

1) sin, sinful

2) sin, sin offering

a) sin

b) condition of sin, guilt of sin

c) punishment for sin

d) sin-offering

e) purification from sins of ceremonial uncleanness

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2403&t=NKJV>

This offering had a specific purpose to ask for forgiveness from sin.  Aren’t we glad we have that in Christ?  The third was trespass offering, called guilt in some translations.  This word is ‘asham defined as:

1) guilt, offense, sin, guiltiness

a) offense, sin, trespass, fault

b) guilt, guiltiness

c) compensation (for offense)

d) trespass or sin offering

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H817&t=NKJV>

From this we can conclude that the priests were receiving from the people offerings to be presented to the Lord for their guilt of sin and that offering could be in several forms.  Today we have the offering of Christ for our sins at the cross.

“…John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life….”

A free gift from God to us to make a way for us to return to the relationship unhindered by sin that He designed at creation.  Can we say thank you?  We have been made clean by the one sacrifice on the cross.  We can enter the holy place of prayer and commune with our God because Christ has been our sacrifice and has made us clean.  Do we owe a debt?  Would seem so but the debt was paid by Christ.  There is nothing we can do to repay Christ.  But our life can be a reflection of His mercy to others so that they too may come to the same place.  Perhaps what we can gain most from this passage is again the imprint of Christ on the cross laid out on this temple.  A promise of the coming of Christ and salvation for all of creation.  We too can be a reflection of this temple, a place where others can see Christ and the free exchange of our sin and guilt for His righteousness.

Protection, prosperity and health…

Ezekiel 41:13-26

So he measured the temple, one hundred cubits long; and the separating courtyard with the building and its walls was one hundred cubits long; 14 also the width of the eastern face of the temple, including the separating courtyard, was one hundred cubits. 15 He measured the length of the building behind it, facing the separating courtyard, with its galleries on the one side and on the other side, one hundred cubits, as well as the inner temple and the porches of the court, 16 their doorposts and the beveled window frames. And the galleries all around their three stories opposite the threshold were paneled with wood from the ground to the windows—the windows were covered— 17 from the space above the door, even to the inner room, [fn2] as well as outside, and on every wall all around, inside and outside, by measure.

18 And it was made with cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Each cherub had two faces, 19 so that the face of a man was toward a palm tree on one side, and the face of a young lion toward a palm tree on the other side; thus it was made throughout the temple all around. 20 From the floor to the space above the door, and on the wall of the sanctuary, cherubim and palm trees were carved.

21 The doorposts of the temple were square, as was the front of the sanctuary; their appearance was similar. 22 The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits. Its corners, its length, and its sides were of wood; and he said to me, “This is the table that is before the LORD.”

23 The temple and the sanctuary had two doors. 24 The doors had two panels apiece, two folding panels: two panels for one door and two panels for the other door. 25 Cherubim and palm trees were carved on the doors of the temple just as they were carved on the walls. A wooden canopy was on the front of the vestibule outside. 26 There were beveled window frames and palm trees on one side and on the other, on the sides of the vestibule—also on the side chambers of the temple and on the canopies.

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Lets consider the use of cherubim with two faces, one of a man and one of a lion and the use of palm trees to decorate the interior.  Jesus was God come to us as a man; he was also called the Lion of Judah.

“…1John 4:2 and 3 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,  and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the [spirit] of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

John 1:10 – 12, 14 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.   But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth….”

Revelation 5:5  But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”…”

The palms were used at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem to pave the road.  They are seen as a symbol of health and prosperity.

“…Psalm  92:12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon….”

Through Christ we have protection, note reference to the lion, and we have prosperity and health, note the palm.  We have much to be thankful for as His people.  The promise is so genuine and lasting the symbols are used to decorate the temple, reminders of His faithfulness to us.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

God of order and peace…salvation

Ezekiel 41:5-12

Next, he measured the wall of the temple, six cubits. The width of each side chamber all around the temple was four cubits on every side. 6 The side chambers were in three stories, one above the other, thirty chambers in each story; they rested on ledges which were for the side chambers all around, that they might be supported, but not fastened to the wall of the temple. 7 As one went up from story to story, the side chambers became wider all around, because their supporting ledges in the wall of the temple ascended like steps; therefore the width of the structure increased as one went up from the lowest story to the highest by way of the middle one. 8 I also saw an elevation all around the temple; it was the foundation of the side chambers, a full rod, that is, six cubits high. 9 The thickness of the outer wall of the side chambers was five cubits, and so also the remaining terrace by the place of the side chambers of the temple. 10 And between it and the wall chambers was a width of twenty cubits all around the temple on every side. 11 The doors of the side chambers opened on the terrace, one door toward the north and another toward the south; and the width of the terrace was five cubits all around.

12 The building that faced the separating courtyard at its western end was seventy cubits wide; the wall of the building was five cubits thick all around, and its length ninety cubits.

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This speaks of a God of order and not confusion; a God of balance;  a God of support.  This temple, not yet built of man’s hands stands in Ezekiel as a reminder that there is and always will be a place to worship; a place where God can inhabit the praises of His people.  It is said that  God does not have need of a temple, a physical place;

“…2Chronicles 2:6  But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who [am] I then, that I should build Him a temple, except to burn sacrifice before Him?…”

Humanity has built temples for several reasons among them the need to have a physical place dedicated and consecrated for worship, a place that has been built in honor of the name of God, a place built following the instructions of God for His purposes.

“…2Chronicles 2:4 Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate [it] to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the LORD our God. This [is an ordinance] forever to Israel….”

“…Hebrews 9:1 and 2 Then indeed, even the first [covenant] had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.
 – For a tabernacle was prepared: the first [part], in which [was] the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;…”

Many rooms, lots of space, all in order and having balance.  When our lives are out of balance and full of confusion we do not have peace.  Can we sense the peace of this place, a peace on the inside?

Moreover we have the present promise of a temple not made with hands:

“..Hebrews 9:11 – 14 But Christ came [as] High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation
 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?…”

Blessed be the name of the Lord…we are His temple, He resides within us and all because Christ went to the cross for us as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins!