Ezekiel 40:48-41:26

  1. Follow with the aid of diagrams 1 and 2 the prophet’s further examination of the temple, as he comes first of the sanctuary itself , with its portico and two pillars (40:48, 49), outer sanctuary (41:1), inner sanctuary (41:3, 4), and side chambers or cells built in three store’s (41:5—11). The interior of the sanctuary is described in 41:15b-26.
  2. Note that Ezekiel, as a priest (1:3; cf. 44:16), entered into the vestibule and the outer sanctuary, but not into the inner sanctuary (41:3, 4). Why did he not enter sanctuary? Contrast our privileges in Christ. See Heb.9:6-9, 24; 10:19-22.
  3. There were palm-trees both in the inner sanctuary (41:18-20), and also on the gate-posts of the outer and inner court (40:16, 22, 31). So also in Solomon’s temple (see 1Kgs. 6:29; 7:36). Applying this to the temple of our lives, what dose it suggests both as to the hidden life of communion with God, and the outer life seen by all? Cf. ps. 92:12-14; jer.17:7, 8.

Notes

  1. Verse7. The meaning is that at each story the walls facing the cells were made less thick, to leave a ledge for the beams to rest on, and thus the rooms on each floor were a little broader then the rooms below.
  2. Verses 12-14. Another strip of ground, at the level of the inner court, encompassed the sanctuary platform, and is called here ‘the temple courtyard’. It marked off the sanctuary from other buildings nearby (see diagram 1, TC). One of these buildings, on the west side, is mentioned in verse 12(see diagram 1, B) but its use is not specified. Other buildings are mentioned in 24; 1-14; 46:19, 20.
  3. Verse 22. The table spoken of here, which looked like an altar of wood, was probably the table of showbread.
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Ezekiel 40:1-47

Having been cast into a trance and brought in spirit to the holy land, Ezekiel saw on the top of a high mountain what at first he thought was a city but was in fact the temple, with its courts and buildings. It was, however, a new temple. While the sanctuary itself was similar to that of Solomon’s temple, the surroundings were very different. The prophet was met by a heavenly messenger, who had a measuring-tape of flax and a measuring-rod, and who acted as his guide.

  1. What two responsibilities did the heavenly messenger place on the prophet? See verse 4. When judged by these standards, how far is your own Bible study a success?
  2. Follow the link (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ground_Plan_of_Ezekiel’s_Temple.png), follow the prophet’s route as he was shown the outer gateway on the east (verses 6-16), the outer court (verse 17-19), and the gateways on the north and south (verses 20-27); then the inner court on a higher level, also with three gateways (verses 28-37). In the inner court, alongside the north gate, were a chamber and tables (verses 38-43), and there were two chambers for the priests, one near the north gate and another near the south gate (verses 44-47).
  3. Note the symmetry of the ground plan of the temple. Has this anything to teach us about God?

    Notes Verse 5. Two cubits were in use, one being eighteen inches long and the other twenty-one inches – a ‘handbreadth’ extra. The longer cubit was that used by Ezekiel. The measuring-rod would therefore have been ten foot six inches long.

Ezekiel 39

  1. A further prophecy against Gog emphasizes the completeness of his overthrown. In what three ways is this brought out in verses 9-20, and what attributes of God’s character are thereby revealed (verses 21-29)?
  2. What is meant by the expression ‘I hid my face from them’ (verse 23? Cf. Deut. 31:17; Pss. 30:7; 104:29; Is. 8:17; 64:7. Consider the great blessings that are contained in the promise of verse 29.

Ezekiel 38

In this chapter and the next the prophet foresees in the far distant future an invasion of Israel by nation lying beyond the circle of those with which Israel hitherto has had to do. They, too, must learn that the God of Israel alone is God, and they will learn it through meeting his power as they seek to plunder his land, and through being brought by him to total defeat. Read Rev. 20:7-10 in conjunction with this chapter.

  1. In what two different ways are the causes of God’s invasion described?
    Contrast verses 4 and 16 with verses 10-12. And yet, do not all these verses describe one and the same cause? Cf. Rom. 9:17, 18.
  2. Cf. verses 18-23 with 37:25-28. In what two ways will God bring the nations to know that he is God alone?
    Cf. Rom. 1:16-18; 9:22, 23; 11:17-22.

Notes

  1. Verse 2. The name ‘God’ is probably Ezekiel’s own invention, formed by removing the first letter from the place-name Magog. It is pointless to try to identify these nations with modern states: they were simply tribes on the fringe of the known world in Ezekiel’s day that he uses for these apocalyptic pronouncements.
  2. Verse 13. These are merchant nations, stirred to excitement by Gog’s invasion.

Ezekiel 37

  1. Why were the people unable to believe Ezekiel’s prophecies of restoration and blessing?
    See verse 11. Did the vision of verses 1-10 show that things were not so bad as or worse than they seemed?
    Yet what happened, and why?
  2. Notice that the regeneration of Israel came in two stages (verses 7-10).
    What would this have signified to Ezekiel?
    What part did he have to play in the change that took place? Are the spiritually dead coming to life as a result of your witness and praying?
  3. Verses 15-28 are a glorious picture of the purified, restored and reunited Israel. Note the five great features of the Messianic kingdom described in verses 24-27. What light does this passage throw on the conditions and blessings of Christian unity?

Ezekiel 36:16-38

  1. Consider carefully in this remarkable passage the following points:
    (a) why the Lord cast the people into exile (verses 16-19);
    (b) why he brought them back (verses 20-24); and
    (c) the change brought about in their moral and spiritual condition (verses 25-31). Reflect how closely the prophet’s teaching here anticipates the New Testament revelation of the steps by which God transforms a sinner into a saint. See particularly Rom.3, 5, 6 and 8.
  2. How will the change in the people and their restored prosperity affect the surrounding nations?
    See verses 35, 36 and cf. John 17:21, 23.

Notes

  1. Verse 20. ‘They profaned my holy name’: because the nations, seeing them cast out, concluded their God and could not protect them. Cf. Ps.42:10.
  2. Verses 26. ‘Heart of stone’: cf. 2:4; 3:7; Zech. 7:12. ‘A heart of flesh’: i.e., sensitive to the divine Word.

Ezekiel 35:1 – 36:15

In this section the prophet declares that the new era will be better than the past, because of the greater fertility of the land. When he uttered this prophecy, the land of Israel seemed ruined. Edom (Mount Seir) was seeking to obtain possession (35:10; 36:5), and mountains of Israel lay desolate (36:4). The prophet declares first a judgment on Edom (chapter 35), and then a return of Israel to enjoy times of unprecedented prosperity (36:1-15).

  1. Chapter 35. What are the three sins of Edom, mentioned in verses 5 and 10, for which they will be judged? Notice how frequently the punishment foretold exactly matches the Edomites’ sin, e.g., verses 5 and 9; verse 6; verses 14, 15. How does Ezekiel show that even in their hour of judgment, God sill identifies himself with his people, Israel?
  2. Summarize the blessings promised to Israel in 36:8-15. If you interpret the restored land as a picture of our inheritance in Christ, what spiritual blessings are typified in these verses?