Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 230

Bible text(s)

The Returns to the Temple

1The man took me to the gate that faces east, 2and there I saw coming from the east the dazzling light of the presence of the God of Israel. God's voice sounded like the roar of the sea, and the earth shone with the dazzling light. 3This vision was like the one I had seen when God came to destroy Jerusalem, and the one I saw by the River Chebar. Then I threw myself face downwards on the ground. 4The dazzling light passed through the east gate and went into the Temple.

5The LORD's spirit lifted me up and took me into the inner courtyard, where I saw that the Temple was filled with the glory of the LORD. 6The man stood beside me there, and I heard the LORD speak to me out of the Temple: 7“Mortal man, here is my throne. I will live here among the people of Israel and rule over them for ever. Neither the people of Israel nor their kings will ever again disgrace my holy name by worshipping other gods or by burying the corpses of their kings in this place. 8The kings built the thresholds and doorposts of their palace right against the thresholds and doorposts of my Temple, so that there was only a wall between us. They disgraced my holy name by all the disgusting things they did, and so in my anger I destroyed them. 9Now they must stop worshipping other gods and remove the corpses of their kings. If they do, I will live among them for ever.”

10And the LORD continued, “Mortal man, tell the people of Israel about the Temple, and let them study its plan. Make them ashamed of their sinful actions. 11Then if they are ashamed of what they have done, explain the plan of the Temple to them: its design, its entrances and exits, its shape, the arrangement of everything, and all its rules and regulations. Write all this down for them so that they can see how everything is arranged and can carry out all the rules. 12This is the law of the Temple: all the area surrounding it on the top of the mountain is sacred and holy.”

The Altar

13These are the measurements of the altar, using the same unit of measurement as in measuring the Temple. All round the base of the altar there was a gutter fifty centimetres deep and fifty centimetres wide, with a rim at the outside edge 25 centimetres high. 14The lowest section of the altar, from the top of the base, was one metre high. The next section was set back from the edge fifty centimetres all round, and was two metres high. The section after that was also set back from the edge fifty centimetres all round. 15This top section, on which the sacrifices were burnt, was also two metres high. The projections on the four corners were higher than the rest of the top. 16The top of the altar was a square, six metres on each side. 17The middle section was also a square, seven metres on each side, with a rim at the outside edge 25 centimetres high. (The gutter was fifty centimetres wide.) The steps going up the altar were on the east side.

The Consecration of the Altar

18The Sovereign LORD said to me, “Mortal man, listen to what I tell you. When the altar is built, you are to dedicate it by burning sacrifices on it and by sprinkling on it the blood of the animals that were sacrificed. 19Those priests belonging to the tribe of Levi who are descended from Zadok are the only ones who are to come into my presence to serve me. I, the Sovereign LORD, command this. You will give them a young bull to offer as a sacrifice for sin. 20You are to take some of its blood and put it on the projections on the top corners of the altar, and on the corners of the middle section of the altar, and all round its edges. In this way you will purify the altar and consecrate it. 21You are to take the bull that is offered as a sacrifice for sin and burn it at the specified place outside the temple area. 22The next day you are to take a male goat without any defects and offer it as a sacrifice for sin. Purify the altar with its blood in the same way as you did with the bull. 23When you have finished doing that, take a young bull and a young ram, both of them without any defects, 24and bring them to me. The priests will sprinkle salt on them and burn them as an offering to me. 25Each day for seven days you are to offer a goat, a bull, and a ram as sacrifices for sin. All of them must be without any defects. 26For seven days the priests are to consecrate the altar and make it ready for use. 27When the week is over, the priests are to begin offering on the altar the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings of the people. Then I will be pleased with all of you. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.”

The Use of the East Gate

1The man led me to the outer gate at the east side of the temple area. The gate was closed, 2and the LORD said to me, “This gate will stay closed and will never be opened. No human being is allowed to use it, because I, the LORD God of Israel, have entered through it. It is to remain closed. 3The ruling prince, however, may go there to eat a holy meal in my presence. He is to enter and leave the gateway through the entrance room at the inner end.”

Rules for Admission to the Temple

4Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the Temple. As I looked, I saw that the Temple of the LORD was filled with the dazzling light of his presence. I threw myself face downwards on the ground, 5and the LORD said to me, “Mortal man, pay attention to everything you see and hear. I am going to tell you the rules and regulations for the Temple. Note carefully which persons are allowed to go in and out of the Temple and which persons are not.

6“Tell those rebellious people of Israel that I, the Sovereign LORD, will no longer tolerate the disgusting things that they have been doing. 7They have profaned my Temple by letting uncircumcised foreigners, people who do not obey me, enter the Temple when the fat and the blood of the sacrifices are being offered to me. So my people have broken my covenant by all the disgusting things they have done. 8They have not taken charge of the sacred rituals in my Temple, but instead have put foreigners in charge.

9“I, the Sovereign LORD, declare that no uncircumcised foreigner, no one who disobeys me, will enter my Temple, not even a foreigner who lives among the people of Israel.”

The Levites are Excluded from the Priesthood

10The LORD said to me, “I am punishing those Levites who, together with the rest of the people of Israel, deserted me and worshipped idols. 11They may serve me in the Temple by taking charge of the gates and by performing the work of the Temple. They may kill the animals which the people offer for burnt offerings and for sacrifices, and they are to be on duty to serve the people. 12But because they conducted the worship of idols for the people of Israel and in this way led the people into sin, I, the Sovereign LORD, solemnly swear that they must be punished. 13They are not to serve me as priests or to go near anything that is holy to me or to enter the Most Holy Place. This is the punishment for the disgusting things they have done. 14I am assigning to them the menial work that is to be done in the Temple.”

The Priests

15The Sovereign LORD said, “Those priests belonging to the tribe of Levi who are descended from Zadok, however, continued to serve me faithfully in the Temple when the rest of the people of Israel turned away from me. So now they are the ones who are to serve me and come into my presence to offer me the fat and the blood of the sacrifices. 16They alone will enter my Temple, serve at my altar, and conduct the temple worship. 17When they enter the gateway to the inner courtyard of the Temple, they are to put on linen clothing. They must not wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in the inner courtyard or in the Temple. 18So that they won't perspire, they are to wear linen turbans and linen trousers, but no belt. 19Before they go to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must first take off the clothes they wore on duty in the Temple and leave them in the holy rooms. They are to put on other clothing in order to keep their sacred clothing from harming the people.

20“Priests must neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow long. They are to keep it a proper length. 21Priests must not drink any wine before going into the inner courtyard. 22No priest may marry a divorced woman; he is to marry only an Israelite virgin or the widow of another priest.

23“The priests are to teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is not, and between what is ritually clean and what is not. 24When a legal dispute arises, the priests are to decide the case according to my laws. They are to keep the religious festivals according to my rules and regulations, and they are to keep the Sabbaths holy.

25“A priest is not to become ritually unclean by touching a corpse, unless it is one of his parents, one of his children or a brother or an unmarried sister. 26After he has become clean again, he must wait seven days 27and then go into the inner courtyard of the Temple and offer a sacrifice for his purification, so that he can serve in the Temple again. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.

28“The priests have the priesthood as their share of what I have given Israel to be handed down from one generation to another. They are not to hold property in Israel; I am all they need. 29The grain offerings, the sin offerings and the repayment offerings will be the priests' food, and they are to receive everything in Israel that is set apart for me. 30The priests are to have the best of all the first harvest and of everything else that is offered to me. Each time the people bake bread, they are to give the priests the first loaf as an offering, and my blessing will rest on their homes. 31The priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or is killed by another animal.”

The 's Portion of the Country

1When the land is divided to give each tribe a share, one part is to be dedicated to the LORD. It is to be 12.5 kilometres long by ten kilometres wide. The entire area will be holy. 2In this area there is to be a square plot of land for the Temple, 250 metres along each side, entirely surrounded by an open space 25 metres wide. 3Half of this area, a section 12.5 kilometres by five kilometres, is to be measured off; it will contain the Temple, the holiest place of all. 4It will be a holy part of the country, set aside for the priests who serve the LORD in his Temple. It will contain their houses and the section of land for the Temple. 5The other half of the area is to be set aside as the possession of the Levites, who do the work in the Temple. There will be towns there for them to live in.

6Next to the holy area, another section, 12.5 kilometres long and 2.5 kilometres wide, is to be set aside for a city where any of the people of Israel may live.

Land for the Prince

7Land is also to be set aside for the ruling prince. From the western boundary of the holy area it will extend west to the Mediterranean Sea; and from the eastern boundary it will extend to the eastern border of the country, so that its length will be the same as the length of one of the areas allotted to the tribes of Israel. 8This area will be the share the ruling prince will have in the land of Israel, so that he will no longer oppress the people, but will let the rest of the country belong to the tribes of Israel.

Rules for the Prince

9The Sovereign LORD said, “You have sinned too long, you rulers of Israel! Stop your violence and oppression. Do what is right and just. You must never again drive my people off their land. I, the Sovereign LORD, am telling you this.

10“Everyone must use honest weights and measures:

11“The ephah for dry measure is to be equal to the bath for liquid measure. The standard is the homer. The resulting measures are as follows:

    one homer == ten ephahs == ten baths.

12“Your weights are to be as follows:

    twenty gerahs == one shekel
    sixty shekels == one mina.

16“All the people of the land must take these offerings to the ruling prince of Israel. 17It will be his duty to provide the animals to be burnt whole, the grain offerings, and the wine offerings for the whole nation of Israel at the New Moon Festivals, the Sabbaths, and the other festivals. He is to provide the sin offerings, the grain offerings, the offerings to be burnt whole, and the fellowship offerings, to take away the sins of the people of Israel.”

Ezekiel 43:1-45:17GNBOpen in Bible reader
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