Ezekiel 45:1–25

Read the passage.

With the entire temple area measured, described, and instructions for its use given, the Lord gives instructions for the surrounding land and city. The holy district, set apart for the Lord, is a plot of land some seven miles long (11.2km) and (if we take the Hebrew value of 10,000 instead of the Septuagint’s 20,000) nearly three miles wide (4.5km). I take the value from the Hebrew text because verse 3 states the district with the sanctuary is 10,000 cubits broad, and I believe the extra 10,000 found in the Greek text is because of the plot of land next to it for the Levites. In total, there is a large squareof land with three sections: one for the priests and the temple, one for the Levites, and a half-sized section for the rest of the house of Israel. They get a smaller piece of the city because they will be getting the rest of the country as their inheritance.

That is, besides the large strip of land allotted to the prince. Extending east and west from the city all the way to the borders of Israel are the lands of the crown. Somehow, this allotment of land is connected to an admonishment to the prince not to oppress the people as the princes of old did. The prince will be given his land and must not be greedy and try to take any more from the rest of the children of Israel. Weights and measures must be fair, having proper definitions that aren’t changed from person to person.

The rest of the chapter concerns the various sacrifices and offerings that the prince of Israel is expected to make on behalf of the people. That’s something new and interesting. The details of the offerings could be analyzed, but I want to take a step back and notice that Scriptures don’t talk about sacrifices and offerings on others’ behalf very much. Job sacrificed animals for his children, in case they sinned during their constant parties. The high priesst offered a sacrifice on the Day of Atomenment and put the sins of the whole camp on the scapegoat before sending it out into the wilderness. There may be more examples, but I dont’ think there would be many more.

Now might also be a good time to clarify that these prophecies are not about the Messiah. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to David that the throne would never leave his house, but I think there are a couple of big reasons to believe He is not the prince desribed in these last few chapters of Ezekiel. In the first place, there is no need to tell Jesus to put away violence and oppresion and execute justice and righteousness. He’s perfectly good and will do those things because of who He is. Secondly, when He returns in glory to rule on earth again for a thousand years, there will be no need for sacrifices then. He already offered up Himself as the once-for-all atonement for sins; He wouldn’t offer up mere animals for the sins of His people now or ever.

The lengths to which You have gone to save sinners defy comprehension.

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