Click here to listen to an audio version of the Daily Bible Reading for today.Ezekial 41
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41 After that, the man brought me into the sanctuary of the Temple. He measured the walls on either side of its doorway, and they were 10 1⁄2 feet thick. 2 The doorway was 17 1⁄2 feet wide, and the walls on each side of it were 8 3⁄4 feet long. The sanctuary itself was 70 feet long and 35 feet wide.
3 Then he went beyond the sanctuary into the inner room. He measured the walls on either side of its entrance, and they were 3 1⁄2 feet thick. The entrance was 10 1⁄2 feet wide, and the walls on each side of the entrance were 12 1⁄4 feet long. 4 The inner room of the sanctuary was 35 feet long and 35 feet wide. “This,” he told me, “is the Most Holy Place.”
5 Then he measured the wall of the Temple, and it was 10 1⁄2 feet thick. There was a row of rooms along the outside wall; each room was 7 feet wide. 6 These side rooms were built in three levels, one above the other, with thirty rooms on each level. The supports for these side rooms rested on exterior ledges on the Temple wall; they did not extend into the wall.7 Each level was wider than the one below it, corresponding to the narrowing of the Temple wall as it rose higher. A stairway led up from the bottom level through the middle level to the top level.
8 I saw that the Temple was built on a terrace, which provided a foundation for the side rooms. This terrace was 10 1⁄2 feethigh. 9 The outer wall of the Temple’s side rooms was 8 3⁄4 feet thick. This left an open area between these side rooms10 and the row of rooms along the outer wall of the inner courtyard. This open area was 35 feet wide, and it went all the way around the Temple. 11 Two doors opened from the side rooms into the terrace yard, which was 8 3⁄4 feet wide. One door faced north and the other south.
12 A large building stood on the west, facing the Temple courtyard. It was 122 1⁄2 feet wide and 157 1⁄2 feet long, and its walls were 8 3⁄4 feet thick. 13 Then the man measured the Temple, and it was 175 feet long. The courtyard around the building, including its walls, was an additional 175 feet in length. 14 The inner courtyard to the east of the Temple was also 175 feet wide. 15 The building to the west, including its two walls, was also 175 feet wide.
The sanctuary, the inner room, and the entry room of the Temple 16 were all paneled with wood, as were the frames of the recessed windows. The inner walls of the Temple were paneled with wood above and below the windows. 17 The space above the door leading into the inner room, and its walls inside and out, were also paneled. 18 All the walls were decorated with carvings of cherubim, each with two faces, and there was a carving of a palm tree between each of the cherubim. 19 One face—that of a man—looked toward the palm tree on one side. The other face—that of a young lion—looked toward the palm tree on the other side. The figures were carved all along the inside of the Temple, 20 from the floor to the top of the walls, including the outer wall of the sanctuary.
21 There were square columns at the entrance to the sanctuary, and the ones at the entrance of the Most Holy Place were similar. 22 There was an altar made of wood, 5 1⁄4 feet high and 3 1⁄2 feet across. Its corners, base, and sides were all made of wood. “This,” the man told me, “is the table that stands in the Lord’s presence.”
23 Both the sanctuary and the Most Holy Place had double doorways, 24 each with two swinging doors. 25 The doors leading into the sanctuary were decorated with carved cherubim and palm trees, just as on the walls. And there was a wooden roof at the front of the entry room to the Temple. 26 On both sides of the entry room were recessed windows decorated with carved palm trees. The side rooms along the outside wall also had roofs.Ezekial 42
(Click here to view commentary on this chapter)Rooms for the Priests
42 Then the man led me out of the Temple courtyard by way of the north gateway. We entered the outer courtyard and came to a group of rooms against the north wall of the inner courtyard. 2 This structure, whose entrance opened toward the north, was 175 feet long and 87 1⁄2 feet wide. 3 One block of rooms overlooked the 35-foot width of the inner courtyard. Another block of rooms looked out onto the pavement of the outer courtyard. The two blocks were built three levels high and stood across from each other. 4 Between the two blocks of rooms ran a walkway 17 1⁄2 feet wide. It extended the entire 175 feet of the complex, and all the doors faced north. 5 Each of the two upper levels of rooms was narrower than the one beneath it because the upper levels had to allow space for walkways in front of them. 6 Since there were three levels and they did not have supporting columns as in the courtyards, each of the upper levels was set back from the level beneath it. 7 There was an outer wall that separated the rooms from the outer courtyard; it was 87 1⁄2 feet long. 8 This wall added length to the outer block of rooms, which extended for only 87 1⁄2 feet, while the inner block—the rooms toward the Temple—extended for 175 feet. 9 There was an eastern entrance from the outer courtyard to these rooms.
10 On the south side of the Temple there were two blocks of rooms just south of the inner courtyard between the Temple and the outer courtyard. These rooms were arranged just like the rooms on the north. 11 There was a walkway between the two blocks of rooms just like the complex on the north side of the Temple. This complex of rooms was the same length and width as the other one, and it had the same entrances and doors. The dimensions of each were identical. 12 So there was an entrance in the wall facing the doors of the inner block of rooms, and another on the east at the end of the interior walkway.
13 Then the man told me, “These rooms that overlook the Temple from the north and south are holy. Here the priests who offer sacrifices to the Lord will eat the most holy offerings. And because these rooms are holy, they will be used to store the sacred offerings—the grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. 14 When the priests leave the sanctuary, they must not go directly to the outer courtyard. They must first take off the clothes they wore while ministering, because these clothes are holy. They must put on other clothes before entering the parts of the building complex open to the public.”
15 When the man had finished measuring the inside of the Temple area, he led me out through the east gateway to measure the entire perimeter. 16 He measured the east side with his measuring rod, and it was 875 feet long. 17 Then he measured the north side, and it was also 875 feet. 18 The south side was also 875 feet, 19 and the west side was also 875 feet. 20 So the area was 875 feet on each side with a wall all around it to separate what was holy from what was common.Ezekial 43
(Click here to view commentary on this chapter)The Lord’s Glory Returns
43 After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. 2 Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory.3 This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. 4 And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway.
5 Then the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. 6 And I heard someone speaking to me from within the Temple, while the man who had been measuring stood beside me. 7 The Lordsaid to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. I will live here forever among the people of Israel. They and their kings will not defile my holy name any longer by their adulterous worship of other gods or by honoring the relics of their kings who have died. 8 They put their idol altars right next to mine with only a wall between them and me. They defiled my holy name by such detestable sin, so I consumed them in my anger. 9 Now let them stop worshiping other gods and honoring the relics of their kings, and I will live among them forever.
10 “Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, 11 and they will be ashamed of what they have done. Describe to them all the specifications of the Temple—including its entrances and exits—and everything else about it. Tell them about its decrees and laws. Write down all these specifications and decrees as they watch so they will be sure to remember and follow them. 12 And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple.The Altar
13 “These are the measurements of the altar: There is a gutter all around the altar 21 inches deep and 21 inches wide, with a curb 9 inches wide around its edge. And this is the height of the altar: 14 From the gutter the altar rises 3 1⁄2 feet to a lower ledge that surrounds the altar and is 21 inches wide. From the lower ledge the altar rises 7 feet to the upper ledge that is also 21 inches wide. 15 The top of the altar, the hearth, rises another 7 feet higher, with a horn rising up from each of the four corners. 16 The top of the altar is square, measuring 21 feet by 21 feet. 17 The upper ledge also forms a square, measuring 24 1⁄2 feet by 24 1⁄2 feet, with a 21-inch gutter and a 10 1⁄2-inch curb all around the edge. There are steps going up the east side of the altar.”
18 Then he said to me, “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: These will be the regulations for the burning of offerings and the sprinkling of blood when the altar is built. 19 At that time, the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who minister before me, are to be given a young bull for a sin offering, says the Sovereign Lord. 20 You will take some of its blood and smear it on the four horns of the altar, the four corners of the upper ledge, and the curb that runs around that ledge. This will cleanse and make atonement for the altar. 21 Then take the young bull for the sin offering and burn it at the appointed place outside the Temple area.
22 “On the second day, sacrifice as a sin offering a young male goat that has no physical defects. Then cleanse and make atonement for the altar again, just as you did with the young bull. 23 When you have finished the cleansing ceremony, offer another young bull that has no defects and a perfect ram from the flock. 24 You are to present them to the Lord, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and offer them as a burnt offering to the Lord.
25 “Every day for seven days a male goat, a young bull, and a ram from the flock will be sacrificed as a sin offering. None of these animals may have physical defects of any kind. 26 Do this each day for seven days to cleanse and make atonement for the altar, thus setting it apart for holy use. 27 On the eighth day, and on each day afterward, the priests will sacrifice on the altar the burnt offerings and peace offerings of the people. Then I will accept you. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”Ezekial 44
(Click here to view commentary on this chapter)The Prince, Levites, and Priests
44 Then the man brought me back to the east gateway in the outer wall of the Temple area, but it was closed. 2 And theLord said to me, “This gate must remain closed; it will never again be opened. No one will ever open it and pass through, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered here. Therefore, it must always remain shut. 3 Only the prince himself may sit inside this gateway to feast in the Lord’s presence. But he may come and go only through the entry room of the gateway.”
4 Then the man brought me through the north gateway to the front of the Temple. I looked and saw that the glory of theLord filled the Temple of the Lord, and I fell face down on the ground.
5 And the Lord said to me, “Son of man, take careful notice. Use your eyes and ears, and listen to everything I tell you about the regulations concerning the Lord’s Temple. Take careful note of the procedures for using the Temple’s entrances and exits.6 And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign Lord: O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! 7 You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary—people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. 8 Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary.
9 “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigners, including those who live among the people of Israel, will enter my sanctuary if they have not been circumcised and have not surrendered themselves to the Lord. 10 And the men of the tribe of Levi who abandoned me when Israel strayed away from me to worship idols must bear the consequences of their unfaithfulness. 11 They may still be Temple guards and gatekeepers, and they may slaughter the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people. 12 But they encouraged my people to worship idols, causing Israel to fall into deep sin. So I have taken a solemn oath that they must bear the consequences for their sins, says the Sovereign Lord.13 They may not approach me to minister as priests. They may not touch any of my holy things or the holy offerings, for they must bear the shame of all the detestable sins they have committed. 14 They are to serve as the Temple caretakers, taking charge of the maintenance work and performing general duties.
15 “However, the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok continued to minister faithfully in the Temple when Israel abandoned me for idols. These men will serve as my ministers. They will stand in my presence and offer the fat and blood of the sacrifices, says the Sovereign Lord. 16 They alone will enter my sanctuary and approach my table to serve me. They will fulfill all my requirements.
17 “When they enter the gateway to the inner courtyard, they must wear only linen clothing. They must wear no wool while on duty in the inner courtyard or in the Temple itself. 18 They must wear linen turbans and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that would cause them to perspire. 19 When they return to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must take off the clothes they wear while ministering to me. They must leave them in the sacred rooms and put on other clothes so they do not endanger anyone by transmitting holiness to them through this clothing.
20 “They must neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow too long. Instead, they must trim it regularly. 21 The priests must not drink wine before entering the inner courtyard. 22 They may choose their wives only from among the virgins of Israel or the widows of the priests. They may not marry other widows or divorced women. 23 They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean.
24 “They will serve as judges to resolve any disagreements among my people. Their decisions must be based on my regulations. And the priests themselves must obey my instructions and decrees at all the sacred festivals, and see to it that the Sabbaths are set apart as holy days.
25 “A priest must not defile himself by being in the presence of a dead person unless it is his father, mother, child, brother, or unmarried sister. In such cases it is permitted. 26 Even then, he can return to his Temple duties only after being ceremonially cleansed and then waiting for seven days. 27 The first day he returns to work and enters the inner courtyard and the sanctuary, he must offer a sin offering for himself, says the Sovereign Lord.
28 “The priests will not have any property or possession of land, for I alone am their special possession. 29 Their food will come from the gifts and sacrifices brought to the Temple by the people—the grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Whatever anyone sets apart for the Lord will belong to the priests. 30 The first of the ripe fruits and all the gifts brought to the Lord will go to the priests. The first samples of each grain harvest and the first of your flour must also be given to the priests so the Lord will bless your homes. 31 The priests may not eat meat from any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that dies after being attacked by another animal.