EZEKIEL CHAPTER 45.
The Portion for the Sanctuary.
THE PORTION OF THE LAND. — V. 1. Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, the division of the land being thought of as in the time of Joshua, ye shall offer an oblation unto the Lord, as consecrated to His service, an holy portion of the land, literally, “holiness from the land,” as of something separated for sacred purposes; the length, namely, of this strip of land set apart for the Lord, shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about. V. 2. Of this there shall be for the Sanctuary, as shown in chap. 42, 20, five hundred in length, with five hundred in breadth, square round about, and fifty cubits round about for the suburbs thereof, as its environs, a space to be kept free of buildings, lest they come too close to the sacred square of tile Temple compound. V. 3. And of this measure, that is, according to this measure, shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand and the breadth of ten thousand; and in it shall be the Sanctuary and the Most Holy Place, or, “therein shall the Sanctuary be the Most holy Place.” V. 4. The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests, the ministers of the Sanctuary, which shall come near to minister unto the Lord; and it shall be a place for their houses, so that they would have sufficient room for their dwellings on this sacred strip, and an holy place for the Sanctuary. V.5. And the five and twenty thousand of length and the ten thousand of breadth, that is, another strip of the same size, shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, as performing the minor services of the Temple, have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers, an expression which may mean that the Levites occupied barrack-like cells with smaller portions of pasturage. V. 6. And ye shall appoint the possession of the city, as the capital of the new nation, five thousand broad and five and twenty thousand long, this being the total area or region under its immediate control, over against the oblation of the holy portion, that is, running next to the strip reserved for the Sanctuary; it shall be for the whole house of Israel, all tile tribes having an equal interest in it. V. 7. And a portion shall be for the prince on the one side and on the other side of the oblation of the holy portion and of the possession of the city before the oblation of the holy portion and before the possession of the city, from the west side westward and from the east side eastward, extending outside of the boundaries of these strips as far as the country extended toward the east and west; and the length shall be over against one of the portions, from the west border unto the east border, so that the Strips belonging to the prince run parallel to the strips assigned to the several tribes. V. 8. In the land shall be his possession in Israel, or, “it shall be land to him for a possession in Israel”; and My princes shall no more oppress My people, as had been the case with many of the former rulers; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes, assigning the several parts as described in chapter 47. The context once more clearly indicates that an ideal country and nation is meant, which we cannot understand but of the spiritual Israel, of the Church of Cod.
THE PORTION OF THE PEOPLE. — V. 9. Thus saith the Lord God, in connecting up this paragraph with the last statement of the previous section, Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, so that they would no more be guilty of the Oppression formerly practiced, and execute judgment and justice, so as to make righteousness the guiding principle in all their actions; take away your exactions from My people saith the Lord God, for this had been done by expelling lawful possessors from their property, as in the case of Naboth. V. 10. Ye shall have just balances, for weighing, and a just ephah, for dry measure, and a just bath, a correct measure also for liquids. V. 11. The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, of the same cubic content, that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer and the ephah the tenth part of an homer, the homer thus being the larger standard; the measure thereof shall be after the homer. V. 12. And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh. “The threefold enumeration of shekels, twenty, twenty-five, fifteen, probably refers to coins of different value, representing, respectively, so many shekels, the three collectively making up a maneh.” V. 13. This is the oblation that ye shall offer, made to the ruler as a gift consecrated to the Lord for purposes of worship: the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, about ten pints; and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley, the same amount of grain in either case. V. 14. Concerning the ordinance of oil, the regulation concerning the gift of oil, the bath of oil: ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, a homer being equal to about sixty pints, which is an homer of ten baths, for ten baths are an homer; v. 15. and one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel, of the rich blessings given by the Lord, for a meat-offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace-offerings, also known as thank-offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord God, for the making of an atonement for the sins of the people was the chief purpose of the sacrifices. Cp. Lev. 1, 4. V. 16. All the people of the land shall give this oblation, making it a special point to render it, for the prince in Israel, who would thereby be enabled to provide for the service of worship and also to give evidence of his representation of the people. V. 17. And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, the special duty of his office, and meat-offerings, and drink-offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities, upon all the great festal occasions, of the house of Israel, he furnishing the material for the sacrifices; he shall prepare the sin-offering, and the meat-offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace-offerings to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. In the Church of the New Testament all offerings are gifts of free love to acknowledge the reconciliation made by Jesus Christ.
SPECIAL ORDINANCES CONCERNING SOME OFFERINGS. — V. 18. Thus saith the Lord God, In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, instead of the goat prescribed by Moses for similar occasions, Num. 28, 15, and cleanse the Sanctuary, by a sacrifice of purification according to the ancient rite; v. 19. and the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, as described in chap. 43, 20, and put it upon the posts of the house, the gate-posts of the Sanctuary, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, its lower part and ledges, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. V. 20. And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, transgressing by reason of human frailty, and for him that is simple, foolish, easily led astray. So shall ye reconcile the house. “Thus shall the year, newly consecrated by such a beginning, most truly represent the appearance of a holy year.” (Haevernick.) V. 21. In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the Passover, according to the ancient rule commanding its celebration, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten, the festival of Unleavened Bread and that of the Passover being spoken of as one as early as this. V. 22. And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering, the idea of the Feast of Atonement thus being transferred also to the Passover. V. 23. And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the Lord, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days, these sacrifices thus being much more numerous than those commanded in the Old Dispensation, cp. Num. 28, and a kid of the goats daily for a sin-offering. V. 24. And he shall prepare a meat-offering of an ephah for a bullock, this also being much more than that required by the Mosaic Law, and an ephah for a ram and an hin of oil for an ephah. V. 25. In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, at the former time of the Feast of Tabernacles, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin-offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat-offering, and according to the oil. The entire description of the festivals is such as to remind one of the words of Luther: “In the New Testament all days are feast-days.” We are no longer under the Mosaic Law, but bring the sacrifices of our worship in a measure unhampered by the restrictions of a legalistic system.