1. “And you, son of Adam, prophesy about Gog, and say, ‘This is what the Master YHWH says: “Here I come toward you, O Gog, leader of the head of Meshekh and Tuval!
Gog is usually identified as the ruler of Magog, a Yafethic people. Meshekh means “drawing out”, and Tuval means “you shall be brought”. They were both brothers of Magog. Yet the fact that Gog and Magog show up again after the Messianic Kingdom (Rev. 20:7-9) to lead an army assembled by haSatan indicates that there is a spiritual dimension behind their identity, much like the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia or the Prince of Greece whom Mikha’el told Daniel he had to fight. (Dan. 10:13, 20) The Septuagint version of Amos 7:1 identifies the “king of the locusts” which eat the “latter growth” (see also Rev. 911) as none other than Gog. This is especially intriguing since Prov. 30:27 says the locusts have no king. So these are clearly not literal locusts. The only other mention of someone named Gog in Scripture is in 1 Chron. 5:3, 4, where he is identified as a descendant of Re’uven and the leader of a dynasty in that tribe. So an Israelite is leading Gentile peoples to battle against the rest of Israel. All of Y'shua’s other enemies have been put under his feet by the end of the Millennial Kingdom, so this final attempt at rebellion has to originate with an insider who has experienced the benefits of the kingdom all along.
2. “‘“I will then turn you back and make you walk slowly and come up from the recesses of the north, and I will bring you onto the mountains of Israel.
Make you walk slowly: or possibly, divide you into six parts, or leave only one-sixth of you.
3. “‘“Then I will knock your bow out of your left hand and make your arrows fall from your right hand.
This specific description means that one group these cannot be is the Assyrians, because all their archers were trained to be ambidextrous so that they could attack cities designed particularly to be very hard for right-handed archers to shoot at. They will somehow lose control of their weapons. They may even literally “backfire in their own face”.
4. “‘“On the mountains of Israel you will fall—you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to the [shrieking, greedily-darting] birds of prey—birds of every wing—and wild beasts as food.
5. “‘“You will fall onto the surface of the field, because I Myself have spoken,” declares the Master YHWH.
They are not buried, which is both a disgrace and means they are not gathered to their fathers to await the resurrection, as is the hope of every Hebrew who dies.
6. “‘“Then I will send a fire on Magog and on those who sit at the coastlands to feel safe. Then they will be aware that I am YHWH!
Magog is often seen as the land ruled over by Gog. But the name means “overtopping”, which also relates to Re’uven’s lack of self-control. (Gen. 49:4) To feel safe: These people are on the sidelines, thinking they are far enough from the conflict. They may be the three nations listed in 38:13 who are curious about the purpose. Apparently since they do nothing to avert the attack, they are considered complicit and are destroyed too.
7. “‘“Then I will make My distinguished Name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let My set-apart Name be profaned any longer. Then the nations will know that I am YHWH, am set apart in Israel!
8. “‘“Look, it has come and it has been brought about,” declares the Master YHWH. “That is the day of which I have spoken!
9. “‘“Then the inhabitants of Israel’s cities will go out and set [on fire] and burn the weapons—both shield and siege-buckler, bow and arrows, hand-staves and lances, and they will burn them with fire for seven years!
Weapons: from a word meaning to handle, but also to kiss or touch gently. Shield and siege-buckler: or, defense-mechanism and what penetrates or pierces. Bow and arrows: or any type of launcher and projectiles. Staves: any kind of hand-size stick or rod, from a word meaning to germinate. It could refer to some way of releasing biological warfare. Lances: anything that can be hurled. These may not be the ancient examples of such generalized terms, but a very up-to-date form that we cannot imagine now, for what bows and arrows would take seven years to burn? But if they are nuclear armaments, “burning” them might mean using them for fuel to power the nation of Israel’s infrastructure!
10. “‘“They will not even carry wood out from the field, or cut [any] from the forests, because they will be burning the weapons with fire. Thus they will plunder those who plundered them and despoil those who despoiled them,” declares the Master YHWH.
11. “‘“Then what will take place is that I will give Gog a place there—a grave in Israel: a valley of those who cross over, east of the sea, and it will muzzle those who pass through, and there they will bury Gog and all her noisy crowd, and call it the Valley of Gog’s Noisy Crowd.
East of the Sea: probably the Salt Sea (the Dead Sea, though that will change. See 47:9-11) Muzzle: i.e., stop up the noses due to the odor and bacteria. East of the sea is downwind from Israel, so the foul odors will not be brought back to the Land proper.
12. “‘“And the House of Israel will bury them in order to cleanse the land, [and it will take] seven months!
13. “‘“As all the people of the land bury, it will come to serve as a name for them—a day I am honored,” declares the Master YHWH.
A name: a reputation of renown, something to be remembered—i.e., a memorial holiday.
14. “‘“And they will set aside men to continually cross through the land, burying en masse those who crossed over, who remain on the surface of the land, to purify her. [Starting] from the end of seven months, they will make a thorough search.
Set aside…continually: i.e., hire professionals who know how to deal with radioactive waste or disease-ridden corpses. (Missler) Note that they cannot even begin the cleanup for seven months after the disaster. By that time, after they have been carrion for the birds and beasts (v. 5), there are not even corpses left, only isolated bones:
15. “‘“And when those who pass through the Land go by, if they have seen a human bone, he will build a signpost beside it until the mass-buriers have buried it toward the Valley of Gog’s Noisy Crowd.
A signpost: to mark it and make it conspicuous to those who come to collect them all. But the Hebrew word is tziyun, spelled just like Tzion!
16. “‘“Even the name of the city [will be] “Her Noisy Crowd”, too! And they will purify the Land.”’
17. “And [as for] you, son of Adam, this is what the Master YHWH says: ‘Say to the bird of every wing, and to every wild animal, “Assemble yourselves and come, gathering yourselves to one another from all around onto My sacrifice which I am slaughtering for [all of] you—a great slaughter on the mountains of Israel so you can eat meat and drink blood!
18. “‘“You will eat the flesh of heroes and drink the blood of the earth’s exalted [rulers]—rams, he-lambs, and he-goats, all of them fattened bulls of Bashan!
Rams, he-lambs, and he-goats: the root words mean “prominent, plump, and ready”, and this is exactly what birds of prey would want. Bashan: called the Golan Heights today--Israel’s finest pastureland which produced extremely robust cattle in ancient times. These people are the cream of the crop, whom even haSatan thought could probably not be defeated. Since this invitation to a “feast” of carnage is reiterated in Rev. 19, which is before the Messianic Kingdom, we have more evidence that there may be an incomplete first fulfillment before the final one.
19. “‘“And you will eat the choicest parts to [the point of] satisfaction, and drink blood to [the point of] drunkenness, of My sacrifice which I have slaughtered for you [all].
20. “‘“So you will be filled up at My table [with] horse, mighty charioteer, and every man of war,” declares the Master YHWH.
21. “‘“Thus I will allow My [weighty] reputation [to be] among the nations, and all the Gentiles will see My sentence that I have carried out, and My hand that I have laid upon them.
Sentence: Their crime cannot be merely seeking plunder. Though by the end of the Kingdom Israel will be supremely wealthy, this common motive does not seem adequate to justify this strong a response from YHWH. Yes, He guards Israel as the pupil of His eye. (Zkh. 2:8) But what sort of plunder would this mainly-Yafethic horde led by an Israelite from the tribe of Re’uven be seeking? In the context of 1 Chron. 5, where Gog’s genealogy is cited, it specifically states that the birthright was taken from Re’uven and given to Yosef, and the throne given to Yehudah. Gog’s great-grandson is named Ba’al, and his tribal land was Ba’al-Meon--the habitation of Ba’al (v. 8). This heavy connection with the name of Ba’al (one of the main ancient manifestations of haSatan) suggests an antipathy for YHWH early on. Heylel (haSatan’s title in Yeshayahu 14:12) was also a “firstborn” whose position, like Re’uven’s, was given to another because he did not prove to deserve it or live up to his potential (Gen. 49:3-4), since the firstborn is to be priest to the family. So there is a strong undercurrent of envy and the wish to regain a lost estate rather than mere material spoils. But why, then, are all these Yafethites interested in joining this futile jealousy? Because Noakh pronounced the blessing that Yafeth would inhabit the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:19ff) because these two sons together covered up their father’s nakedness. Re’uven’s particular sin is described in Torah law as “uncovering his father’s nakedness”. (Lev. 20:11) But for this, Re’uven would have remained leader (as Gog is described in 38:2; both literally say “head”). So Re’uven undid what his ancestor and that of Meshekh and Tuval had done. “Tents of Shem” is an idiom for being under his teaching. Yafeth has indeed benefited from having the Hebrew scriptures, but has often been mistaught from them, expecting to receive personal rather than national salvation. Though the Church as such is done away with as the Kingdom begins and the Torah goes forth from Yerushalayim to all the world (Havaqquq 2:14), there will apparently still remain many “Christian nations” among the Yafethites (as Russia and the West have usually been), who also resent Yosef’s, Levi’s, and Yehudah’s positions of privilege during the Kingdom (thinking, as in Christian teaching, that they deserve equal treatment though they did not respond to the Torah until conditions were more favorable, though they still live for self, and though they never chose to be as holy as these living in tents around Yerushalayim did). They have had enough of the direct, untempered Torah, and prefer the sugar-coating of the “New Testament” instead. (The Arab nations, who were Christian before they were Muslim, also seem included in chapter 38’s litany, since they are also descendants of Avraham and harbor deep resentments over YHWH’s choice of Yitzhaq over Yishmael. This may be why the horde is described as being “like the sand of the sea”—an idiom for Avraham’s seed-- in Rev. 20:8.) They still have something within them that answers to haSatan’s whispering after living under a perfect and benevolent King for so long. YHWH uses the wicked to punish Israel; haSatan uses those who seem righteous—who by human reasoning have the right of the firstborn—to try to destroy us. They are not plainly identifiable as enemies, or we wouldn’t have been fooled into allowing them into the covert positions through which wars are usually won. They did not fall solidly in the category of YHWH’s enemies at the beginning of the Kingdom and were spared because YHWH is merciful and they had honored Him to some extent, though by the name of Ba’al (“Lord, lord”) rather than by His true covenant Name. He allowed them a full thousand years to mature (Lk. 13:8), so punishment is swift and decisive now that their cup is full. This sentence deals a final blow to any rebellion every rearing its head again. As there are contradictions or overlaps in most attempts to identify precisely who the players are, it seems that genealogy is not the most important factor, but which spirit they end up following and which camp they are in by this point. There are parallels here with the sons of David (a type and title of Messiah) vying for who should be his successor, and David in his last words telling the successor he chose to kill someone he had promised that he himself would not kill, because he had acted insolently in the face of David’s undeserved mercy. (2 Shmuel 19:21-23; 1 Kings 2:8ff)
22. “‘“Then the House of Israel will recognize that I am YHWH their Elohim from that day onward,
Though the message is available to all nations at that time, only Israel fully “gets it”.
23. “‘“and the Gentiles will know that the House of Israel went into exile because of their crookedness, on account of their acting unfaithfully toward Me, so I caused My face to be hidden from them and handed them over to those who would oppress them, and all of them fell by a sword.
24. “‘“I have done to them according to their defilement and their rebelliously crossing boundaries, and have caused My face to be hidden from them.”
They are described as clean animals (v. 18), yet YHWH leaves them to be eaten by animals who drink blood and have no concern that this is not kosher. He does not want them for Himself because of their attitude. This is a dividing between sheep and goats like in Mat. 25.
25. “‘Nevertheless, this is what the Master YHWH says: “Now I will allow the captive of Yaaqov to return, and have compassion on the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for My set-apart Name,
26. “‘“as they have borne their disgrace and all their betrayals by which they have acted unfaithfully toward Me while dwelling safely on their soil with none to make them tremble [with fear].
27. “‘“When I bring them back from the peoples and collect them from their enemies’ lands and have been treated as set-apart among them in the eyes of many nations,
28. “‘“then they will recognize that I am YHWH their Elohim in causing them to be taken into exile, when I have wrapped them back toward their own soil, and I will not let any of them be left there any longer,
29. “‘“and I will never again hide My face from them when I have poured out My spirit on the House of Israel,” declares the Master YHWH.’”
This section probably pertains chiefly to the first incidence of Gog and Magog’s attack, but reiterates the finality of YHWH’s choice, not to be changed even at the end of this world-age.
1. In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year on the tenth of the month (in the fourteenth year after that [in which] the city was attacked), on that particular day YHWH’s hand came over me and brought me there.
That particular day: The tenth day of the first month as designated by YHWH at the Exodus is the day the lamb is selected to be slain as the Passover. (Ex. 12:2-6) Though he had been gone from the Land 25 years, Y’hezq’el must have felt a keen sense of mourning as he awoke that day, when he, as a priest, would have been participating in that prescribed ritual. His deep sense of loss would have only been compounded by the fact that the Temple itself had also been gone for 14 years, so no one could fully keep this commandment. But YHWH recognized his righteous intent, and so on the very day we are to begin examining the lamb, Y’hezq’el is given a vision that parallels the one Yochanan was later given in which he is shown “the bride, the Lamb’s woman”. (Rev. 21:9) There is to be one Passover lamb per household (Ex. 12:3), and its purpose is the survival of the firstborn, who represents the whole household. The House of Israel has been represented in its exile by one perfect “Lamb”, who is called the firstborn (Mat. 1:25 in Hebrew; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23). But Y’hezq’el is seeing even beyond this to the fulfillment of the Lamb’s mission. He is seeing Yerushalayim not only rebuilt, but in its final, perfected state—far better than the city he had known. This is what Yahshua, the antitype of the Passover lamb, came to accomplish—to present back to YHWH His bride, who was divorced from Him while still betrothed and never committed to another (though she played the prostitute with many), yet still taken back, though, like Hoshea’s estranged wife, she has been kept apart from Him for a long time until she is fully purified. (Hos. 3:3-4) Thus far we have brought shame to YHWH’s Name among the nations, who, looking at our record, would accuse Him of not being strong enough to maintain a following. Our exile was for the purpose of allowing us to become decent people who could uphold YHWH’s name and become worthy of being tenants in His Land. Now, like the Passover lamb, she is also to be presented to YHWH without spot or blemish. (Eph. 5:27) The bride is meant to become as mature and perfect as the Lamb is, since we, too, are called to be YHWH’s sons (1 Yochanan 3:1-2; Heb. 2:10; 12:7-8).
2. In the visions of Elohim, He brought me into the Land of Israel and set me at rest on a very high mountain, and on it was the structure of a city from the south.
A very high mountain: Yeshayahu 2:2 and Mikha 4:1 tell us that in the latter days the Mountain of the House of YHWH will be lifted higher than any other hill. (Every other mountain and hill will be lowered as well, according to Yeshayahu 40:4). This is the context in which we must see this mountain. (Compare 17:22ff)
3. Then He brought me there, and there appeared a man who looked like something resembling copper with a thread of flax in his hand, as well as a measuring reed, and he was standing in the gate.
Thread of flax: Aramaic, linen cord.
4. And the man said to me, “Son of Adam, look with your eyes and listen with your eyes, and fix your mind on all that I let you see, because it is for the purpose of showing that you have been brought here; declare to the House of Israel everything that you see.
The House of Israel had already ceased to be a Household as such over 100 years prior to this. Only today is it being prepared to again be one single entity. So the House of Israel as a House has never heard this prophecy. It was written to be read some 2,500 years after Y’hezq’el lived! The purpose of the vision, as clarified in chapter 43, is to make the House of Israel act on it and become what YHWH wants us to be.
5. Then there appeared a wall for the House, surrounding [it] on every side, and there was a measuring reed of six cubits in the man’s hand (by the cubit plus a handbreadth). When he measured the width of the building, [it was] one reed [wide], and [its] height [was] one reed.
House: an abbreviation for the House of YHWH or House of the Sanctuary (Beyt haMiqdash). While we are told in Rev. 21:22 that the city in Yochanan’s vision (the bride, the New Yerushalayim) had no temple, it says that both YHWH and the Lamb are its Temple. Remember, this is a vision, and what he is seeing may or may not be literally embodied in the way he saw it; it may all be symbolic. If we follow the chronology of the last two chapters and of Revelation 20-21, this vision refers to the “eighth day”, the New Yerushalayim that comes to a renewed earth after the 1,000-year Messianic Kingdom. It is possible that during that time, after the Counterfeit Messiah defiles the third temple with the Abomination of Desolation (Mat. 24:15), there will only be a tabernacle in the “camp of the set-apart ones”, and not a temple as such. What is clear is that measurements are being taken: Is this Temple (1 Cor. 3;16; 2 Cor. 6:16) what it is meant to become? Every detail is being scrutinized. And when the picture is laid out, it even looks like a lamb with four legs spread out and the sanctuary as its head. It is enclosed by a wall all around, depicting the house that the Passover lamb was brought into on the tenth of Aviv. The purpose of the measurements is not so much the blueprint for a physical structure, but a signpost to lead us in the direction of Cubit plus a hand-breadth: While the cubit in Shlomo’s temple measured only about 18 inches (nearly half a meter), the Hasmoneans built according to this prophecy with a cubit that was 21.8 inches long, possibly because they thought the temple they were building was this one. In any case, this represents the fact that the latter-day temple complex would not be built according to measures we are accustomed to—whether the Hellenized “Jesus”, the misinterpreted Paul, or the Talmud of Pharisaical/Rabbinic standards, which also distorted and tried to override Torah. If we look at it either of those ways, we will not see what we are meant to see—the Temple as YHWH wants it, not as David wanted it.
6. When he came to the gate that faced the direction east, he ascended its stairway and measured the threshold of the gate. [It was] one reed wide, and the [other] threshold, one reed wide.
7. And the guard-room was one reed long and one reed wide, with five cubits between the guard-rooms, and the threshold of the gate adjoining the porch of the gate [measured] one reed out from the edifice.
From the edifice: or, from the inside. Threshold: in the second Temple, the threshold and gateway were considered as having the same level of sanctity as the courtyard they led into. Guard-room: Aramaic, cell.
8. Then he measured the porch of the gate from the House, one reed.
9. And he measured the portico of the gate, eight cubits, and its pillars, two cubits with the porch of the gate from inside.
With the porch: Aramaic, and the vestibule of the gate was from within.
10. And the guard-rooms of the gate of the eastern direction [were] three on this [side] and three on that; the three of them had one [and the same] measurement, and the pillars on each side had the same measurement.
Rashi depicted the three rooms on each side of the gate being outside the middle wall, side by side parallel to it. Other artists have interpreted this as the gateway having three rooms on each side of the gateway, running the depth of the gateway, perpendicular to the outer wall with which the gate is flush. The latter interpretation would mean the measurements given from the inner face of one gateway to that of the other (v. 15) would not be the entire depth of the courtyard they both open into. Ancient gates were usually, but not always, on the outside of the city wall surface. Sometimes they were mainly outside, but extended partially inward as well. The gate structure included, like this, guard-rooms for defense purposes, but also judgment halls where city court proceedings were held.
11. Then he measured the width of the opening of the gate [as] ten cubits, and the length of the gateway was thirteen cubits.
Opening of the gate: Aram., entrance to the gate.
12. And the enclosure in front of the guard-rooms was one cubit, and one cubit the enclosure on [the other side], and the guard-room was six cubits on this side and six cubits on the [other] side.
Enclosure: apparently a wall one cubit thick. Aram., marked-off area; LXX, the space before the chambers was narrowed to one cubit…
13. And he measured the gate from the roof of [one] guard-room to the roof [of another]; its width was twenty-five cubits, doorway corresponding to doorway.
Roof: apparently the eaves of a roof that stretches all the way across the entire gateway. Corresponding to: or, directly across from.
14. He also did the pillars—sixty cubits—that is, toward the pillar of the courtyard surrounding the gate from every side.
The Aramaic says “He made the supports sixty cubits high, and the support of the courtyard gate was one cubit round about.”
15. And [from] on the surface of the gate of the entrance onto the front of the porch of the inner gate was fifty cubit.
Gate: Aramaic, middle gate. Fifty cubit: sometimes the singular form is used for plural measurements in this passage. Typically this constitutes the majestic plural which implies that there is something greater about these measurements than those that use the normal plural-plural combination. Though awkward to our ears, the literal wording is left in this translation to show the reader which is which.
16. And the guard-rooms and their pillars on the inside of the gate had narrowing windows [with lattices] all around on every side, and the same for the colonnades, that is, the windows were all around on every inward side, and toward [each] pillar there were palm-tree figures.
Toward…figures: Aramaic, on top of each support there was a crown.
17. Then he brought me into the outer courtyard, and here there were chamber-halls and a pavement [of glowing stones] fashioned for the courtyard all around on every side—thirty chambers [facing] toward the pavement.
18. And the pavement toward the corner of the gates exactly paralleling the length of the gates was the lowest pavement.
Aram., the pavement on the side of the gates ran the length of the gates.
19. Then he measured the width from in front of the lower gate to in front of the outside of the inner court: a hundred cubit of the east and the north.
20. And he measured the length and width of the gate that faces the direction north belonging to the outer court.
21. And its guard-rooms were three on this side and three on that side, and its pillars and colonnades corresponded to the measurement of the first gate—its length fifty cubit and its width twenty-five by the cubit.
22. And its windows, its porches, and its palm-tree figures corresponded to the measurement of the gate that faces the way east, and they went up to it by seven steps, and its colonnades were in front of them.
23. And the gate of the inner court was directly in line with the gate for the north and for the east, and he measured from gate to gate a hundred cubits.
24. And he had me walk in the southward direction, and here there was a gate [for] the way south, and he measured its pillars and colonnades, which corresponded with these.
25. And the windows belonging to it, as well as its porches all around on every side corresponded to these windows. Fifty cubit was [its] length and [its] width twenty-five cubits,
26. with seven steps going up to it, and its colonnades in front of them. And it had palm-tree figures, one on this side and one on that side of its pillars.
27. And there was a gate to the inner court [in the] southward direction, and he measured from gate to gate in the southward direction a hundred cubits.
28. Then he brought me into the inner courtyard by the gate [to] the way south, and he measured the southern gate in correspondence with these measurements.
29. And its guardrooms, its pillars, and its porches corresponded to these measurements, as did the windows belonging to it, as well as its colonnades all around on every side—fifty cubit long and twenty-five cubits wide.
30. And the colonnades all around on every side were twenty-five cubit in length and five cubits in width.
31. And its colonnades were toward the outermost court, with palm-tree figures toward its pillars, and the ascent to it had eight steps.
32. And he brought me into the inner court in the eastern direction, and he measured the gate in correspondence with these measurements.
33. And its guardrooms, its pillars, and its porches corresponded to these measurements, as did the windows belonging to it, as well as its colonnades all around on every side—fifty cubit long and twenty-five cubit wide.
34. And its colonnades were toward the outermost court, with palm-tree figures toward its pillars on each side, and the ascent to it had eight steps.
35. And he brought me to the north gate, and measured in correspondence with these measurements,
36. as did its guard-rooms, its pillars, and its colonnades all around on every side—fifty cubit long and twenty-five cubit wide.
37. And its colonnades were toward the outermost court, with palm-tree figures toward its pillars on each side, and the ascent to it had eight steps.
38. And the chamber-hall and its entryway were at the pillars of the gates; there they rinsed the ascending-offering.
“Northward from the altar” is where Lev. 1:11 specifies the sacrificial animals must be slaughtered.
39. And on the porch of the gate there were two tables on one side and two tables on the other, on which to slaughter the ascending offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering.
If this is indeed a post-millennial time frame, it is very significant that such “sacrifices” are still being offered. At the very least its setting is the millennial kingdom, which we have not experienced. Anyone who interprets the book of Hebrews to say that Yahshua’s superior sacrifice puts an end to the others is ignoring this very important passage. Hebrews was written at a time when the sacrifices were about to temporarily cease, and provided comfort and a coping mechanism to deal with that loss, but since the offerings are an integral part of the Torah and Yahshua will uphold the Torah completely during His reign, there is no reason to see in them a contradiction with the work He accomplished for us through the offering of Himself. Rather, they will bring home the significance of His sacrifice to the slaughterer in a way that nothing but direct experience ever could. It is no wonder that we who have been without this direct experience for two millennia have to un-learn many of our ideas about Yahshua.
40. And toward the outer corner, as one goes up to the entryway of the northern gate, there were two tables, and toward the other corner that belonged to the porch of the gate, there were two tables.
41. Four tables were on this [side] and four tables on [the other]; for the corner of the gate, eight tables on which they slaughter.
42. And [the] four tables for the ascending offering were of cut stone, one cubit and a half in length, one cubit and a half in width, and one cubit in height. On them they would also set down the implements with which they slaughtered the ascending offering and the sacrificial offering.
43. And [double] hooks one hand-breadth wide were fastened within the House all around on every side and toward the tables of the meat [for] the drawing-near [offering].
44. And from the outside to the inner gate was for the chambers of those who sing in the inner court, which is toward the corner of the northern gate, and they faced in a southerly direction; [the] one toward the corner of the eastern gate faced toward the north.
45. And he told me, “This—the chamber that faces in a southward direction, is for the priests who are in charge of guarding the House,
46. “and the chamber that faces in a northerly direction is for the priests who are in charge of guarding the altar. They are the descendants of Tzadoq, those of the sons of Levi who come close to YHWH to minister to Him.”
Minister to: or, wait on. The reason for this special privilege is detailed in 44:10ff.
47. Then he measured the courtyard. [It was] a hundred cubit long and a hundred cubit wide—a square—with the altar in front of the House.
With the altar: that is, including the altar within this square courtyard.
48. Then he brought me to the porch of the House and measured toward the porch, five cubits from this [side] and five cubits from [the other]. And the width of the gate was three cubits from this [side] and three cubits from that [side].
Toward the porch: many, including the Aramaic targum, read it as “a pillar of the porch”, but this would mean “pillar” was spelled defectively (with one letter missing). But the five-by-five measurement could then correlate with the doorposts that appeared square (41: 21). They seem to be the front part of the outer wall of the edifice which is actually six cubits thick (41:5), but look like doorposts because they jut inward from behind the supports on the very corner (41:1), and “appear” square because the gateway sits one cubit forward from their inner side or takes up the final cubit. Gate: possibly a frame 3 cubits wide on each side of the 10-cubit-wide opening of 41:2.
49. The length of the porch was twenty cubit and [its] width was eleven cubit plus the steps by which they went up to it. And there were columns [standing] toward the pillars—one from this [side] and one from that.
This may be a sideward view of the porch’s length, since the front of the house adds up to 20 cubits in width, and the combined depth of the outer supports (41:1) and the shoulders of the opening (41:2) adds up to eleven.
1. Then he brought me to the Temple [proper] and measured the supports: six cubits wide from here and six cubits wide from there—the width of the tent.
Supports: or pillars; LXX, porch. Since the side-wall of the house was six cubits thick (v. 5), this may simply have been an extension of it, or separated by only a short distance to make them look like a separate entity, but still be counted into the length of the house. Tent: This corresponds with Yochanan’s statement that he saw no temple as such in the New Yerushalayim. The tent is more the ethos of Israel than the building. But by the rest of the description here, this was something of a vestibule by which to approach the sanctuaries inside. It would thus recapitulate the history of the Tabernacle as a contiguous “lead-in” to the Temple. It may simply be that Y’hezq’el, being a priest, was so “Temple-minded” that anything that reminded him of the measurements of any past sanctuary would strike him as significant, which may be why YHWH chose him for this task. The man connected with the two Houses of Israel being reunified (ch. 37) must know the Temple (ch. 43). The measurement of a total of 12 cubits hearkens back to Ex. 26:15, 22-23, where we are told that the back of the tabernacle consisted of 8 planks 1.5 cubits wide, including the two corner pieces. Thus this new Temple carries the authority that YHWH vested directly in the original tabernacle. Building YHWH a dwelling place that He might dwell in Israel’s midst (Ex. 25:8) is not a temporary command. Pillars: the root meaning is “he-goat” or “oak tree”, denoting strength. This Temple is a “big, strong version of the Tabernacle”. From here…from there: possibly, six cubits in each direction—i.e., “six this way and six that way”.
2. And the width of the opening was ten cubits, and the shoulders of the entryway were five cubits from here and five cubits from there. And its length was forty cubit and its width twenty cubit.
Shoulders: or possibly, corners; LXX, side-pieces. Its length: The room beyond the entryway (which, by the total length of the house as given in v. 13, may have been 21 cubits long) corresponds to the Holy Place (haQodesh) within the former Temples and Tabernacle. The proportions are the same for them all; the exact measurements are the same as for Shlomo’s Temple (1 Kings 6) and twice those of the original tabernacle (inferred from Exodus 26). The entryway, if indeed slightly larger than the Holy of Holies (v. 4), is like a room added onto the past Temples—an annex, so to speak. This correlates perfectly with the ancient Israelite custom of adding a room onto a father’s household when his son got married. In that case, this is Y’shua’s chamber—possibly a throne room. Access to the sanctuary proper would only be through this room. He said, “I am the doorway for the sheep” (Yoch. 10:7, 9) and “No man comes to the Father except through Me” (Yoch. 14:6), and in that very context, “In My Father’s House are many rooms/chambers.” (14:2; compare v. 6 below.)
3. Then he came inside and measured a pillar of the doorway: two cubits. And the opening was six cubits, and the width of the doorway, seven cubits.
Inside: LXX, into the inner court; Aram., he entered the inner room. The width of the doorway: LXX, side-pieces of the door, seven cubits on one side and seven cubits on the other. This may have been added to remove ambiguity, but may not be authoritative. More likely, there was a half-cubit border around the door itself on each side.
4. And he measured its length: twenty cubit; and its width, twenty cubit, up to the surface of the Temple. And he said to me, “This is the Holy of Holies.”
LXX: …length of the doors, 40 cubits and their breadth, 20 cubits. Surface: in this case, apparently the wall at the very back, but the LXX takes it as the front.
5. And he measured the side-wall of the House: six cubits. And the width of [each] side-chamber, four cubits, all around on every side, surrounding the House.
Side-chamber: apparently cells within the thick outer walls of the structure housing the sanctuaries, with a one-cubit buffer on each side. The word for “side-chamber” is the same as the Hebrew word for “rib”, and comes from a root word meaning to curve. This still suggests the possibility of a tent rather than a stone structure. In any case, figuratively the “ribs” surround the “heart” of the Temple.
6. And the side-chambers [were structured] side to side, three with thirty occurrences, and they come into the side-wall that belongs to the housing for the side-chambers all around on every side, in order that they might be held fast, but they were not fastened into the side-wall of the House.
Three: based on v. 7, it appears to mean three tiers or stories. The Aramaic takes “side to side” as “chamber over chamber”. Thirty occurrences: i.e., a repeated pattern. These appear to be different from the thirty chambers around the very outside of the whole outer courtyard (40:17). The Aramaic takes the three and thirty together as one phrase, i.e., 33, in sequence of 11. The 60 cubits on each side and 20 across the back (140 cubits the total for three sides) allowed for a .7-cubit-thick wall on average between each of the chambers (a little over a foot or 1/3 meter). Apparently there is a separate wall of the building housing the side-chambers which sits directly beside the wall of the Temple proper, but is not actually connected to it. Aram., fixed to the walls inside the side-chambers round about were beams resting on brackets, so the beams would not extend into the walls of the Temple. LXX: There was a space in the wall of the House at the sides round about, that they should be for them that take hold of them to see, that they should not at all touch the walls of the House.
7. And it widened and was turned about further and further upward for the side-chambers, because the part surrounding the House [went] further and further upward all around on every side of the House, so that the width of the House increased, and thus from the lowest it went up to the highest via the middle [one].
Turned about: apparently in an upward winding manner so that each story jutted further outward than the one below it [if on three distinct levels), or so that each chamber was slightly higher than the one before. The Aramaic targum takes it as actually referring to a winding staircase. The middle one: possibly somewhat like a landing. LXX: The breadth of the upper side was made according to the projection out of the wall, against the upper one round about the house, that it might be enlarged above, and that [men] might go up to the upper chambers from those below, and from the ground-sills to the third story.
8. I also noticed, in regard to the House, the height all around on every side. The foundations of the side-chambers [were] a full reed (six joined cubits).
Foundations: LXX, space between the sides. Joined cubits: Aramaic, extended cubits, described in 40:5—a regular cubit plus a handbreadth.
9. The thickness of the side-wall that was toward the outside of the side-chamber was five cubits, and the remainder was the housing of the side-chambers toward the inside.
10. And between the chamber-halls and surrounding the House was [a space] twenty cubit wide all around on every side.
LXX (including the last phrase of v. 9): the spaces that were left between the sides of the House and between the chambers were a width of twenty cubits the circumference of the House.
11. And the doorway of [each] side chamber for what remained [was] one doorway in the northward direction, and one door toward the southward direction. And the width of the remaining space was five cubits all around.
LXX: And the doors of the chambers were toward the space left by the one door that looked northward, and [there was] one door southward...
12. And the building that was toward the face of the separate area at the extremity of the western direction was seventy cubit wide, and the outer wall of the building was five cubits thick all around on every side, and its length was ninety cubit.
LXX: The partition [wall] in front of the remaining space toward the west…
13. When he measured the House, it was a hundred cubit long. And the separate area including the structure and its outer walls were a hundred cubit long.
LXX: And he measured in front of the House a length of a hundred cubits, and the remaining spaces and the partitions, and the walls thereof were in length 100 cubits.
14. And the width of the front of the House and the separate area toward the east was a hundred cubit.
15. And he measured the length of the building up to the surface of the separate area which was on its rear, with its offset galleries from this [side] and from that: a hundred cubit. And the inner temple and the porches of the courtyard,
Offset galleries: or passages, from a word meaning to decrease or draw away. Jastrow renders the Aramaic equivalent “a projection of a wall formed by abruptly reducing its thickness so as to give space for a balcony.”
16. the thresholds, the narrowing windows [with lattices], and the galleries all around their three [stories], parallel to the threshold, were paneled with wood all around on every side, and [from] the ground up to the windows, but the windows were covered.
Panelled: or wainscoted. Wood often represents perishable men. Narrowing: from a root meaning to contract. We know that in the Second Temple there were windows that were broader on the outside and narrow on the inside of the wall they were set into. The explanation was that they were not to let light into the Temple, but to let light out from within. But these windows appear to Covered: the implied purpose based on the etymology is to conceal them, but the LXX says, the window shutters folded back in three parts for one to look through, and that the latticed windows gave “light round about to the three [stories], so as to look through”.
17. Concerning the [part] above the entryway and as far as the inner house and to the outside and toward the whole outer wall all around on every side on the inside and on the outside, measurements,
18. being made [with] kh’ruvim and palm-tree figures, with a palm-tree figure between kh’ruv and kh’ruv, and [each] kh’ruv had two faces:
19. that is, a human face toward the palm tree from this [side] and the face of a young lion from that, being fashioned toward the whole house, all around on every side,
The Hebrew term for the young lion (k’fir) is rooted in the word for atonement (kafar, to pacify, cover over with a coating).
20. the kh’ruvim and palm-tree figures [were] fashioned from the ground up to above the entryway, as well as the wall of the Temple [building].
21. The Temple [had what appeared to be] squared doorposts, and [the] front of the Holy [Place had] the appearance like [in] the vision.
Doorposts: mezuzoth, from a root meaning to be conspicuous. Or, the appearance of the squared doorposts of the Temple was like the appearance of the front of the Holy Place. Squared doorposts: LXX, the holy place and the Temple opened on four sides. They looked as if they were five cubits square, because the last cubit of the front wall of the house, of which they seem to be a part, was hidden behind the gateway.
22. The wooden altar was three cubits in height, and its length was two cubits, and its corner-buttresses and the [whole] length of it with its side-walls [were of] wood, and he said to me, “This is the table that is in YHWH’s presence.”
The LXX adds that its breadth was also two cubits. Corner-buttresses: LXX, horns. Wood: apparently not overlaid with gold like the former sanctuaries’ furniture, because he could tell that it was wooden. The dimensions are not the same as either the altar of incense (1 cubit square and 2 cubits high) or the Table of the Bread of the Faces (2 cubits by one cubit and 1.5 cubit high), or the Ark of the Covenant (1.5 by 2.5 cubits), the article that had been most directly in YHWH’s presence. It may function as a combination of all three. Yet how can anything be burned atop a wooden altar without burning it as well? Based on this verse, the rabbis have drawn a parallel (at least in our exile) between our dining table and the altar. Indeed, it should not be host to any unclean or improperly-slaughtered meat, and the conversation about the table should bear some of the dignity of the altar, for the purpose of both is to draw near.
23. And the Temple [building] and the Holy [Place] had two doorways,
24. with two doors for each of the doorways: two doors that turned [around], two belonging to the one doorway and two belonging to the other,
25. and there were fashioned on them (on the doors of the Temple [building] kh’ruvim and palm-tree figures, like those fashioned on the walls, with an offset projection of wood on the face of the outside porch,
Offset projection of wood: or possibly simply a thick plank (the LXX has “stout planks”).
26. and narrowing windows [with lattices] with palm-tree figures on this side and that toward the corners of the porch and the side-chambers of the House with offset projections.
LXX, There were secret windows. Corners: LXX, roofing. With offset projections: LXX, closely planked.
1. Then he brought me out into the outer courtyard, in the direction of the northern road, and he had me enter into the chamber-hall that was directly in front of the separate area, and which was [also] directly across from the structure to the north.
Outer courtyard: the LXX adds “eastward”. Northern road: LXX and Aram., northern gate. Separate area: LXX, vacant space; Aramaic, balcony.
2. Toward the hundred-cubit-long face [was] the northern entryway, and the width was fifty cubits.
The width: either of the courtyard or of the entryway itself.
3. Opposite the twenty that belonged to the inner court and across from the pavement [of glowing stones] that belonged to the outer court, offset gallery faced offset gallery in thirds.
LXX, ornamented/sculptured accordingly as the gates of the inner court, and arranged accordingly as the peristyles of the outer court, with triple porticos fronting one another. Offset gallery: Aram., balconies. Thirds: Aramaic, at three levels..
4. And in front of the chamber-halls [there was] a walkway ten cubits wide, one cubit toward the inward direction, with their entryways to the north.
One cubit toward the inward direction: Aram., the width inside the passage was one cubit, and their gates faced north.
5. And the upper chambers were shorter, because the offset galleries used up more [space] than they—than the lower [ones] and those in the middle of the building,
Shorter: Aram., narrower…because the balconies took space away from them. LXX: And the upper walks were in like manner, for the peristyle projected from it, even from the range of columns below, and there was a space between…and so there were two porticos.
6. because they were threefold, and did not have pillars like the pillars of the courtyard, so [they were] more withdrawn from the ground than the lowest and middle [ones].
Threefold: Aram., on three levels. Pillars: A picture of those who overcome… (Rev. 3:12) Yahshua is called the cornerstone and His followers the rest of the “living stones” fitted together to become YHWH’s true Dwelling-place. (Eph. 2:20-22/1 Kefa 2:5-6) This is the main point of what this whole vision depicts. Courtyard: LXX, outer ones. Were more withdrawn: LXX, they projected.
7. And a fence that was outside paralleled the chamber-halls in the direction of the outer courtyard toward the face of the chamber-halls; its length was fifty cubit,
Fence: something built by masons to close something off, etymologically; Aram., outer wall. LXX: and there was light without, corresponding to the chambers of the outer court looking toward the front of the northern chambers…
8. because the length of the chamber-halls that belonged to the outer courtyard was fifty cubit, but indeed, on the face of the Temple [there were] a hundred cubit.
On the face of the Temple: LXX, these are the ones that front the others; the whole was a hundred cubits.
9. And from below these chamber-halls was the entrance from the east, by which to enter into them from the outer court.
10. In the fenced expanse of the court in the eastward direction facing toward the separated area and facing toward the building, [there were] chamber-halls,
Aram., along the width of the wall of the court, eastward, in front of the balcony which was in front of the building. LXX: by the opening of the walk at the corner...
11. And the pathway in front of them was like the appearance of the chamber-halls of the northern roadway; as was their length, so was their width. And all their exits were like both their plans and their openings.
Plans: the same word as “justice” or “right legal procedures”, emphasizing the correctness of their angles and measurements, and the proper rectitude of their fittings; Aram., general appearance. LXX: turnings and lights.
12. And like the openings of the chamber-halls that were in the southward direction, an opening at the head of the road—the way on the side of the fencing directly ahead of the eastern road where one enters.
Directly ahead of: or, suited to. Road: Aram., passage. Where one enters: Anciently the eastern gate to the entire complex was the main one, and it was by this gate that the ashes of the red heifer (Num. 19:2ff) were brought in to sanctify the high priest on the few occasions when this was necessary. It led directly into the sanctuary, as in this third Temple. However, it was the eastern gate to the Garden of Eden that was sealed off and guarded by kh’ruvim (Gen. 3:24), which fits the symbolism of the Eastern Gate being walled up today (accomplished by a Muslim ruler who wanted to prevent the Messiah from returning through it, as foretold in 46:2 below). During Second Temple times, the long way back to Eden was suggested by the fact that normally one had to enter the Temple complex by first completing a ritual bathing (miqveh), then walking up a long underground ramp, across a wide courtyard, around a corner, and only then being at the point the Eastern Gate would have brought one directly to with no delay at all. That the eastern road is “where one enters” Y’hezq’El’s Temple highlights the restoration of the original design of the former Temples and beyond that, symbolizes the reopening of Eden to the restored Adam through the “Latter Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), for it is now safe for him to have access to the Tree of Life. (Rev. 2:7; 22:2)
13. And he told me, “The northern chamber-halls, the southern chamber-halls that face toward the separated area—they are set-apart chambers where the priests who draw near to YHWH may eat the most holy [things]. There they can deposit the holiest of holy things—that is, the tribute, the sin-offering, and the guilt-offering, because the place is set apart.
The priests: the LXX adds “the sons of Tzadoq”. Guilt-offering: for sins of ignorance.
14. “When the priests enter, they may not then go out of the sanctuary into the outer court, but there they must leave their cloaks in which they minister, because they are sacred, and they must put on other clothes whenever they come close to what belongs to the people.”
Whenever they come close: LXX: when they come in contact with the people (since they have a lesser degree of holiness); Aram., and then mingle with the people.
15. When he had finished the measurements of the inner House, he brought me out in the direction of the gate that faces the eastern road and measured it off all around, on every side:
All around on every side (saviv saviv): LXX, round about in order (diataxei). Compare the measurements of Shlomo’s Temple (1 Kings 6:2-5).
16. He measured the east wind with the measuring reed: five hundred reeds by the measuring reed, [then coming] around,
East wind: i.e., eastern side; etymologically, the spirit of what had come beforehand. Instead of “coming around”, the LXX says, “he stood behind the gate.”
17. he measured the north wind: five hundred reeds by the measuring reed, [then coming] around,
North wind: or, spirit of hidden treasure. In circumference: LXX, the front of.
18. he measured the south wind: five hundred reeds by the measuring reed.
South wind: of uncertain derivation, but possibly meaning bright or clear, as opposed to the obscure north.
19. He came around to the west wind [and] measured five hundred reeds by the measuring reed.
West wind: or, the spirit of the roaring sea.
20. By the four winds he measured it. It had a wall all around on every side—five hundred long and five hundred wide to make a distinction between the holy and the ordinary.
Compare Rev. 11:1-2, where the outer court is still under the jurisdiction of Gentiles, and Rev. 21:13ff, where the outer wall is described as surrounding a square city with three gates on each side. Indeed, this whole vision of Y’hezq’El’s begins with him seeing a city (40:1-2), which is not mentioned again until chapter 45, where the land around it is described in a way reminiscent of the Levitical cities (Num. 35). But this square three thousand cubits long in each direction appears to be the city in which everything is counted as “set apart unto YHWH” (Z’kharyah 14:21) But there is no description of what lies between these outer gates and the gates mentioned in 40:6ff, which appear to be some 1,350 cubits further inward. It may be a larger open space to accommodate the crowds that come from all over the world for the Appointed feasts (e.g., Zkh. 14:19). It may be the place they set up their sukkoth and/or tents then and during all the pilgrim festivals and any other time they may come to visit the Temple.
1. Then he had me walk toward the gate—a gate that faces in the eastward direction.
2. And lo and behold, the weightiness of the Elohim of Israel [was coming] from the eastern direction, and His voice was like the sound of a multitude of waters, and the Land was illuminated by His splendor.
Was coming: His voice…: LXX, there was a voice of an army, like the sound of many redoubling [their shouts], and the earth shone like light… Compare Rev. 18:1.
3. And [it was] like the appearance of the vision that I had seen—[that is,] like the vision I had seen when I had come to destroy the city, and [both] visions were like the vision I had seen by the River K’var, and I fell on my face.
Destroy: more literally, spoil, corrupt, ruin. This alludes back to the vision in chapters 1 and 10. Aramaic, when I had prophesied concerning the destruction of the city. LXX, to anoint the city. Like the vision: LXX adds, of the chariot. The sound mentioned in v. 2 fits the description of the living creatures in 1:24.
4. Then the weightiness of YHWH came toward the House [by] way [of] the gate whose face is in the eastern direction,
The One who carries YHWH’s authority (the anointed Prince) will also enter by this gate. (46:2)
5. and the wind picked me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and lo and behold, the splendor of YHWH filled the House!
Wind: or spirit. YHWH’s splendor filled Shlomo’s Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11) and the post-exilic Temple, but we do not see it in Herod’s reconstruction of the Temple until the Shavuoth after Yahshua’s resurrection. (Acts 2)
6. And I heard [someone] speaking to me from the house. Then a man was standing beside me,
A man: David, to whom the first vision of the Temple was given by the Spirit (1 Chron. 17:15; 28:12, 19), in this case possibly by way of his descendant, Yahshua, but possibly not, since David will be resurrected as well, and Yahshua says his father will let Him sit on His throne. (Rev. 3:21) Should “father” be capitalized? Not if we let Scripture interpret Scripture, for the father on whose throne Yahshua sits is not YHWH, but David. (Luke 1:32)
7. and he said to me, “Son of Adam, with the place of My throne and with the place of the soles of My feet is where I will dwell among the descendants of Israel forever, and the House of Israel will never again profane My set-apart Name—[neither] they nor their kings—with their harlotries or with the statues of their kings on their cultic platforms,
With the place: LXX, you have seen the place; Aramaic, this is the place. Compare Psalm 99:1; Yeshayahu 60:13; 1 Chron. 28:2. My throne: Is this still David speaking for both himself and YHWH? Forever: Thus the Temple described here is the final one. The House of Israel: Apparently it is the Northern Kingdom that will take the first steps and break through to bring this vision to reality. This—not the “Church”—is what will provoke Yehudah to jealousy. (Rom. 11:11) Statues: possibly stelae (standing stones, idolatrous phallic symbols that marked pagan worship sites); literally, corpses or weak things, hence the LXX translation as “murders of their princes”; Aramaic, shrines of the corpses of their kings. Statues are similar to corpses in that they are lifeless, resembling something that was more than they are now, yet still purport to carry on a power that no longer exists. The images of kings are often on coins as well (Luke 20:24), but it is the image of YHWH—the ever-living one—whose image we should focus on becoming and exhibiting.
8. “by their setting their bowls with My threshold and their doorposts adjoining My doorposts with the wall between Myself and them. They had also sullied My set-apart Name by the disgusting things they did, so I was consuming them with My anger.
Bowls: commonly carved into thresholds to catch blood from the animal sacrificed to dedicate a building. Aramaic, by placing…their buildings beside My Temple court with only a wall between My Memra (living Word) and them. This is one reason the outermost court (42:15-20) is so huge. I.e., to prevent this kind of profanation, He now made the entire mountain-top holy. (v. 12) The first occurrence of the word “doorposts” here could be interpreted as the articles called mezuzoth (boxes nailed to the doorpost in which to put portions of Scripture), for that is the actual Hebrew word for “doorposts”. I.e., they are attempting to put their own words on His doorposts (trying to obligate Him to their agendas), rather than writing His words on our doorposts, as He commanded. (Deut. 11:20) Wall between Myself and them: Not even a veil is mentioned between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in chapter 41; it may be His intent to no longer have one in this third Temple. LXX, they made My wall as if it were adjoining Myself and them, or, adjoining itself to me and them. Anger: literally, nose.
9. “Let them now put their harlotries or with the statues of their kings far away from Me, and I will settle [right] among them forever.
10. “You, son of Adam, show the House of Israel the House, so they may be ashamed of [the ways] they deviate [from it] when they have measured the pattern.
Show: make conspicuous to, proclaim to, announce to. The ways they deviate: literally, their twistings or distortions. The House of Israel has built a distorted dwelling-place for YHWH on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets. Pattern: or proportion; the root term has the connotation of being tested against the pattern, adjusted, and corrected. When we dig through all the trappings that have obscured the cornerstone and see the direction it actually sits in, we will be able to do this. LXX, that they may cease from their sins.
11. “And if they are [indeed] ashamed because of all that they have done, let them become acquainted with the design of the House, its arrangement, its exits, its entrances, and all its [confining] rock [walls] and all its prescribed limits, and all its delineated edges, and all its instructions. And engrave it on their eyes so that they may retain [in their memory] its whole design and all its requirements, so that they may carry them out.
If they are ashamed of: LXX, they shall bear the punishment for; Aram., humble themselves. Exits: or possibly, sources, places from which it issues. But the exits may be listed before the entrances because we have to leave other things behind before we can enter His set-apart place. (Gibor) All its delineated edges: Aramaic, its entire framework. Instructions: the plural form of the word torah—directions, codes of law, manners, directives; LXX, regulations. Aram., everything to which it is entitled. Engrave: write or etch; i.e., burn it into their memories through a vivid depiction that remains with them forever. As a “photograph” is a different type of “writing”, burned onto film with light, only the actual thing does a better job of guaranteeing our retention than a picture or, better yet, a 3-dimensional model. And that is what this is traditionally taken to mean. The Jewish scholar Rashi said that whoever would see this model would see the Messiah’s coming! David also appears to have made a model of the Temple for King Shlomo to build (1 Chron. 28:11), or at least a blueprint or figure (illustration).
12. “This is the instruction [for] the House: on the top of the mountain, the whole area within its enclosing boundary all around on every side is holiest of holy places. Take note! This is the instruction [for] the House!
He draws special attention to the fact that it is set apart for a special purpose.
13. “And these are the dimensions of the altar in cubits (a cubit [being] a cubit and a handbreadth): Now the cubit-[deep] enclosed hollow [area] was also a cubit wide, while the border-area toward its edge all around is one span. Now this is the [most] prominent surface of the altar.
Every time the sanctuary was built, the altar was built first—in the wilderness, Shlomo’s Temple, upon the return from exile, and by the Maccabees. Enclosed hollow part, the cubit: can also be read, the bosom of the mother. LXX, the cavity shall be a cubit deep, and a cubit the breadth. This is often taken to mean a base, and as such we can read this as a trough or gutter running one span away from the edge of the lowest tier of the altar, probably to catch the runoff of blood and other materials from atop the altar. It very likely has a drain at its bottom for the waste to run out of the holy area without a mess. In the Second Temple, the altar was washed every Sabbath--a picture of letting past sins be left behind once they are dealt with. Y’shua spoke of not letting tomorrow burden us today, nor letting yesterday’s offenses clutter our thoughts. Each week has enough sins of its own! Deal today with the issues that are actually in question right now, not emotional baggage from things that have already been resolved. Border-area: or boundary, enclosing section. Apparently this is at ground level (v. 14) and forms a sort of molding-base between the altar and the trough. Edge: rim, brink, lip, termination. Span: the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger on a maximally-extended hand, while the handbreadth is the width of an unextended hand. Prominent surface: a convex, pre-eminent part—the widest part of the whole altar, because the rest of its stands atop this; the same term used of the brow over one’s eyes (the most prominent part of the head), the “boss” (projected central portion) of a shield or large building block, figuratively used of advancing an argument.
14. “And from the enclosed hollow [base on] the ground up to the lowest support-ledge is two cubits, and one cubit wide. Then from the small [surrounding] ledge to the large [surrounding] ledge is four cubits, and the thickness the [one] cubit.
LXX, From the bottom at the commencement of the hollow part to this great mercy-seat… The large ledge appears to be the top of the altar, larger because it is taller and because the whole thing (which may have also included the hearth of v. 15, which is the same height) was much wider, though the length of the top ledge would actually be two cubits shorter than the lower one.
15. “So the hearth will be four cubits, and from the hearth upward, four ‘horns’.
Hearth: first spelled like “mountain of El” (har’el), then the second time spelled ‘ari’eyl, as if a transposition of Ari’El (lion of El), but it seems to mean “lion-ram”! There may be two separate things being described, or there may be a significance to the difference the numerical value of the two spellings makes to the total value of the sentence or phrase. The Aramaic merely has “the altar” in both cases, indicating that this was the altar proper, which the rest was to support. Horns: horn-like projections, not literal animal horns.
16. “And the hearth is twelve long by twelve wide, squared toward its four quarters.
LXX, square on its four sides.
17. “And the ledge is fourteen long by fourteen wide toward its four quarters, and the boundary surrounding it, half of the cubit, and its enclosed hollow, a cubit on every side, and its ascending-[ramp]s face east.”
The hearth may rise another four cubits above the second ledge, but the two could be concurrent, with the hearth being part of the upper ledge, separated from the border-section by a cubit-deep trough just like the one at the base, and with the same purpose of draining away the residue when the altar-top is washed off. The phrase “half of the cubit” suggests the one cubit in each direction that the 14-cubit-long ledge is wider than the 12-cubit-wide altar. Both the cubit-deep trough and the half-cubit thick boundary could constitute this remaining cubit, which would mean the trough is a half-cubit wide as well. Ascending-ramps: or steps, but steps to an altar were forbidden in Exodus 20:26, and a ramp was used in the second Temple—unless because they are provided with undergarments, the priests’ nakedness is no longer exposed and this command is no longer relevant. The term is exactly the same as what was forbidden, so the precise meaning is unclear. Face: or turn, for if someone was facing east when ascending them, his back would be toward the sanctuary—something that was never permitted in the Second Temple. The altar at the Second Temple (which was much larger than this), of which we have many more descriptions, was of stone overlaid with plaster and whitewash, but King Shlomo’s altar (which was very close to the same size as this one) was made of bronze (2 Chron. 4:1), and it was made according to a pattern shown to David; the Tabernacle altar, though much smaller, was also of bronze, according to the command YHWH gave to Moshe. So it is reasonable to think this final one (cf. v. 7) will be bronze as well.
18. Then he said to me, “Son of Adam, this is what the Master YHWH says: ‘These are the prescribed enactments [in regard to] the altar on the day when it is prepared to make ascending offerings go up on it and to toss blood onto it.
19. “‘When you have provided for the priests—the Levites who are from the seed of Tzadoq—who come close to Me,’ declares the Master YHWH, ‘to minister to Me, a bull, the son of a herd, as a sin offering,
To prevent the kind of attitudes Yeshua spoke of in Mat. 23:7, the priests must put off their garments of service when leaving the sanctuary so that they will not expect special treatment outside their sphere of service.
20. “‘then take some of its blood and put it on its four “horns” and on the four corners of the support-ledge, and on the boundary [that runs] all around. Thus you will [purify] it from sin and cover it over.
21. “Then take the bull of the sin-offering and burn it at the appointed [place] of the House outside the sanctuary,
Appointed: or visited, place to which one is summoned. The appointed place is designated in 40:47—the inner courtyard directly in front of the Temple.
22. “and on the second day, bring near a healthy, hairy [buck] from among the goats to [be] a sin-offering, and [cleanse] the altar from sin just as they [cleansed] it from sin with the bull.
23. “When you finish [cleansing it] from sin, you will present a healthy bull, son of a herd, and a healthy ram from the flock,
24. “and bring them near the face of YHWH and the priests will throw salt on them and cause them to go up as an ascending [offering] to YHWH.
Salt: in obedience to the command in Leviticus 2:13.
25. “[For] seven days you must prepare a hairy [goat] buck [as a] sin offering for [each] day; they must also prepare a bull, son of a herd, as well as a healthy ram from the flock.
Healthy: unblemished, perfect, reminding us that the day Y’hezq’El saw this vision was the day a worthy lamb was selected for the Passover, then examined even more closely for four days to be sure it was suitable in every way. In the same way, the House of Israel must go over the description of this Temple with a “fine-toothed comb” to determine how the puzzle all fits together, in the same way we should do with all of Scripture. We have to get “between the bone and marrow” to make sure the Temple of which we are a part is built properly, for if not, the life of the firstborn is at stake! YHWH said “Efrayim is My firstborn.” (Yirm. 31:9) It must be preserved at any cost!
26. “[For] seven days they will cover the altar, that is, [ceremonially] cleanse it, and consecrate it.
Cover: either literally (for the term means to coat with pitch to form a complete seal) or figuratively to effect an atonement by means of the offerings for the once-common materials that are now being set apart for sacred use. Consecrate it: literally, fill its hands, an idiom from the ritual used to put the priests in the position of responsibility (Ex. 28:41; 29:9, 33-35; 32:29; Lev. 8:33)—i.e., ordain it, employ it, dedicate it for its intended task.
27. “When the days are completed, what will take place [is that] on the eighth day and onward, the priests may prepare your ascendings and your peace [offerings], and I will accept you [favorably, as satisfactory]”, declares the Master YHWH.
Eighth day: a picture of the Age to Come, when all that we prepare now is sealed as established and permanent. Accept: or even, be pleased by and enjoy. How, therefore, can we be not just acceptable but enjoyable to YHWH? By being under the right covering, cleaning ourselves up after we are dirtied, ensuring that we fulfill our responsibilities toward Him and one another, and continuing to ascend closer to YHWH. Peace: Heb., shlemah, meaning completeness. How do we do this without an altar? The rabbis point out that the main purpose of the altar was to prepare food, so our meal table is the closest equivalent now. A table, too, is most welcoming when clean and covered, and when everyone has done his part to make sure all the preparations are made. The emphasis is not so much peace as completeness, because the peace offering in particular is one that lets the whole community share in the partaking, for YHWH’s feasts are about camaraderie and unity. When we treat each other the way we want to treat YHWH, He is most pleased, for we love Him best by loving one another.
1. Then he brought me back [by] way of the outermost gate of the sanctuary that faces east; then it was shut.
2. Then YHWH said to me, “This gate will be shut; it will not be opened, nor will a man enter by it, because YHWH, the Elohim of Israel, has entered by it, so it will be shut.
Aramaic, it must remain closed; it must not be opened. Has entered by it: LXX, shall enter by it.
3. “[As for] the Prince, [as] Prince He will sit in it to eat bread in YHWH’s presence. He will enter by way of the gate’s porch, and he will go out by way of it.”
The Prince: traditionally interpreted by both Jews and Christians to refer to the Messiah. Does this stand up when tested? This person is not called the king, but David is said to be the prince at this time (34:23-24; 37:24-25). His is a ruling dynasty, but when the original head of the family is resurrected, how can the whole royal line reign? So just as when he chose which son of his would be the next king when this was in dispute (1 Kings 1), he will also allow one of his descendants to sit with him on his throne (Rev. 3:21 in conjunction with Luke 1:32). He is also called “son of the Most High”, but this is a title for the king of Israel, and YHWH said the same of David’s other son Shlomo, who prefigured Yeshua. (2 Shmuel 7:14) The term for prince here means “an exalted ruler”, rooted in the term “to raise up”. We are told that Yeshua is exalted (by YHWH) to the highest reputation because he did not strive to usurp another’s position as several of David’s sons had done. (Phil. 2:8-9) Note the prince’s intimate relationship with YHWH. David actually did eat some of the Bread of the presence once when in need. (1 Shmuel 21:6) Will David serve as a figurehead, and Yeshua essentially as prime minister—simply “not called king in the presence of the king”? The fact that we see this prince offering sacrifices in chapters 45 and 46 strongly vouches for this being the Messiah, who it is known will be both ruler and priest (Heb. 5:5; 7:26; 8:1; Psalm 110:4, in the context of David actually calling the Messiah his master!) YHWH’s is “the” throne—the heavenly one, surrounded by 24 other thrones (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:4); Yeshua’s is earthly, surrounded by 12 thrones to judge the 12 tribes of Israel. (Mat. 19:28) I.e., He administers the carrying out of Torah. We can never say Yeshua fulfilled the entire Torah; He did His part and made it possible for the rest of Israel to do so, for it is the responsibility of the whole people, as the covenant reads.
4. Then he brought my by way of the northern gate toward the front of the House. Then I looked, and, lo and behold, the splendor of YHWH filled the House of YHWH, and I fell on my face!
5. Then YHWH said to me, “Son of Adam, direct your heart, observe [carefully] with your eyes and listen with your ears to all that I am saying to you [in regard] to all the prescribed limits of the House of YHWH and all its instructions, and direct your heart to the entrance of the House whenever [anyone] goes forth from the sanctuary.
Direct your heart: or mind. I.e., concentrate! Aramaic, note well. To the entrance: or, to entering. Its instructions: LXX, regulations; Aramaic, everything that is proper for it. Whenever anyone goes forth: He is to pay attention to who goes in and who comes out. As further detailed in the next few verses, he is to notice who is serving, and who is not; he is to notice that there are no foreigners in charge of the sanctuary, and this is what he needs to compare the House of Israel’s record to (43:10):
6. “And you must say to the rebellious—to the House of Israel, ‘This is what the Master YHWH says: “More than all your disgusting things [that were done] for yourselves, O House of Israel,
Rebellious: LXX, provoking. More than all: i.e., This is your very worst offense:
7. “‘“[was] when you brought the sons of foreignness, uncircumcised of heart and uncircumcised of flesh, to be in My sanctuary to treat it as common while you bring My bread, the fat and blood near, and they have rendered My covenant ineffective on account of all your abhorrent [practices]!
Brought the sons of foreignness: Paul was wrongly accused of doing this (Acts 21:28), but it shows that the Jews in his day were taking this rebuke seriously and trying to avoid doing the same. The problem was that they were now screening out those of the House of Israel who were coming back to the Torah. But when did the Northern Kingdom let foreigners administer the Temple? They were already long gone from the Land at the time Y’hezq’El prophesied. This must refer to what the exiled Northern Kingdom would do from the time He prophesied until this Temple is built. And indeed, as the Church, they have welcomed anyone in without fulfilling any preliminary obligations such as circumcision or at least evidence of a circumcised heart. (Which had to come first was the dispute in Acts 15 and Galatians, not whether or not the command had to be followed.) We were not following Yahshua’s instructions to inquire who is worthy. (Mat. 10:11) We thus gave what was holy to dogs. (Mat. 7:6) Many of these foreigners to the covenant even became the Church’s “priests”! Treat it as common: or, worse, to defile or pollute it. Uncircumcised: Aramaic, wicked. Rendered ineffective: Aramaic, altered.
8. “‘“Nor have you safeguarded My set-apart things [that I] put you in charge of, but you have been appointing your own keepers of the [ceremonial functions I want] guarded within My sanctuary!”
9. “‘This is what the Master YHWH says: “No sons of foreignness, uncircumcised of heart and uncircumcised of flesh, may enter My sanctuary, [and that also goes] for any son of foreignness who is [right] among the descendants of Israel!
Foreignness: etymologically this term includes the idea of disguising oneself, acting as someone recognized or for the sake of recognition, so that people misconstrue one to be an insider when he truly is not. What would his purpose be but subterfuge?
10. “‘“Except the Levites who have distanced [themselves] from [being] about Me at the time of the wandering off of the House of Israel, which strayed from Me from [being] about Me, after their own [rolling] idols. They will [certainly] bear the punishment for their guilt,
Being about Me: Aramaic, My worship.
11. “‘“and they will come to be the ones who serve in My sanctuary, custodians for the gates of the House and serving the House [itself]. They may slaughter the ascending-offering and the [sacrifice] slain for the nation, and they may stand before them to wait on them,
Custodians: or overseers.
12. “‘“on account of the fact that they waited on them before their idols and became an occasion for the House of Israel’s stumbling [into] perversion. I have therefore lifted up My hand over them,” declares the Master YHWH, “and they will [certainly] bear the punishment for their guilt.
The Levites were the ones responsible to guard the Torah and not allow it to become fuzzy. By being slack in what they allowed, they were encouraging Israel to go astray. Some Levites agreed to administer Yaravam’s rival temples when the Kingdom split; they should have known better, so they are counted the most guilty in this matter. But because they misled the people—or were rather used by them—they are permitted to make some degree of reparation by at least correcting the direction of their worship. Lifted up My hand: Aramaic, sworn by My word.
13. “‘“They will not approach Me to officiate [in the office of priest] for Me nor approach toward the holiest of the holy in regard to any of My set-apart things; thus they will carry their dishonor and the repulsive things they have done.
14. “‘“But I will appoint them as keepers of what is to be guarded [within] the House and all its servile labor and anything that needs to be done in it.
15. “‘“But the Levite priests—the sons of Tzadoq, who guarded the [ceremonial] functions of My sanctuary when the descendants of Israel strayed away from Me--they will come near to Me to minister, and they will stand in My presence and bring the fat and the blood near for Me,” declares the Master YHWH.
Fat: the best part. Any non-Tzadoqite priest (though also a son of Aharon) was thus lowered to the status of any other Levite for the reasons given in verses 10-14. Tzadoq was a priest of the line of El’azar, put in place by King David alongside another priest from El’azar’s line in an initial fulfillment of YHWH’s curse on the line of Eli (1 Shmuel 2:35), who was from the line of Ithamar. But Tzadoq himself remained loyal to David through two attempted coups by his sons, in the first case of which the other head priest defected to the other side, so Tzadoq alone was left. His descendants helped Hizqiyahu bring the Temple service back to Torah order (2 Chron. 31) and Ezra, the “ready scribe” who helped restore it after the Babylonian captivity, was also his descendant. So YHWH made a distinction between them and the other priests, singling them out for special privileges (see also 48:10-12):
16. “‘“They will enter into My sanctuary and they will approach My table to serve Me, and they will watch over what I want guarded.
My table: i.e., the combination Table of the Bread of the Faces and altar all in one. (41:22)
17. “‘“And what will take place when they enter the gates of the inner courtyard [is that] they must put on linen garments, and wool must not come upon them while they serve within the gates of the inner courtyard or within the House.
18. “‘“Linen turbans must be on their heads, and they must have linen undergarments over their hips, and they must not bind onto themselves anything that causes perspiration.
No reminder of the curse (Gen. 3:19) may be upon them in this place that restores the atmosphere of Eden. Linen in Egypt was spun as fine as cotton is today, and Egypt would have been where the first priests of Israel obtained the linen for their garments.
19. “‘“And when they exit into the outer courtyard—to the outer court for the people—they must strip off the garments in which they served, and leave them in the set-apart chambers, and they must put on other garments. Nor may they sanctify the people [while] in their own garments.
To prevent the kind of attitudes Yeshua spoke of in Mat. 23:7, the priests must put off their garments of service when leaving the sanctuary so that they will not expect special treatment outside their sphere of service.
20. “‘“And they may neither shave their heads nor let their [hair] extend out [loose and] unrestrained, but they must trim their heads by clipping.
Unrestrained: Aramaic, wild. Trim by clipping: or shearing, cutting—i.e., not with a razor, but neither should they go to the other extreme of not cutting it at all. A neat cut that neither draws special attention to their individuality nor distracts them from their duties by either blowing into their faces or taking too much attention to maintain is what is most appropriate to their office—much like the requirement for military service today. Aramaic, they must only trim. LXX, they shall not shave their heads nor pluck off their hair; they shall carefully cover their heads. This would permit a Nazirite like Shmu’el to also serve as priests. (He was not redeemed as a boy, so he was able to serve in the Tabernacle as belonging to YHWH in the same way the Levites, who usually substituted for the firstborn Israelite sons who were redeemed, as per Exodus 13:15; Numbers 3:12.) Those from other tribes may be permitted to serve as if they were Levites and priests during the Messianic kingdom. (Yeshayahu 66:21)
21. “‘“And none of the priests may drink wine once they enter into the inner courtyard.
They must have all their wits about them to avoid carrying out any of the prescribed procedures wrongly, for the weight of the world rides on their doing their job rightly. (Compare Prov. 31:4.)
22. “‘“And they may not take a widow or divorcee as wives for themselves, but they must [only] take virgins of the seed of the House of Israel—though a widow who had been bereaved of [a husband who was] a priest, they may take.
House of Israel: They are therefore not restricted to marrying only Levite women.
23. “‘“And they must direct My people between the holy and the ordinary and between the defiled and the [ritually] pure, and make them clearly discernible.
Direct: teach or instruct on the difference; literally, shoot like an arrow—show them the target, that is, what the Torah means—and does not mean. Y’hezq’el, himself a priest, gives us some examples of this in verses 18 and 23 by adding explanatory comments that are not contained in the Torah itself.
24. “‘“And in the case of a dispute, they must [be the ones to] stand in order to discriminate, and they must render judgment on it with My legal procedures. And they must guard My instructions and My prescribed limits at all My appointed times, and they must set My Sabbaths apart.
The case of a dispute: Aramaic, matters of judicial litigation; LXX: a judgment of blood. Set My Sabbaths apart: consecrate them-- i.e., be the ones to declare their beginning and ending, and define how they are to be treated as in a separate category than other days. They teach the distinctions, but it is the rest of Israel’s job to actually make the distinctions in every part of life. Especially with no priesthood—Tzadoqite or other—in place, it is incumbent on us to teach what we know to our children so YHWH’s instructions will not be watered down, lost, forgotten, or misplaced.
25. “‘“And he must not approach toward a dead human being, [which would] render him [ritually] impure—except for a father or for a mother or for a son or a daughter or for a brother or for a sister who did not belong to a husband they may become ritually impure.
Must not approach toward a dead human being: Aramaic, shall not enter where there is a dead person. The exception was the high priest (Lev. 21:11), but he is not mentioned here at all, further strengthening the notion that the prince at this time is also to fulfill the role of high priest. (See note on v. 3.) The whole argument of the book of Hebrews is based on this passage, for this has not yet taken place.
26. “‘“Then after his purification, they must count seven days for him,
27. “‘“and on the day he goes to the sanctuary (to the inner courtyard to serve in the sanctuary), he must bring his sin-offering near,” declares the Master YHWH
28. “‘“And this will serve as an inherited share for them; I am their inherited share. And you will not give them [land or property as a] possession in Israel; I am what they [will] possess.
I am their possession: This is a treasure worth giving up all the rest! (Mat. 13:46) Aramaic, the gifts that I give them are their possession. The next verses uphold this as at least part of the interpretation:
29. “‘“The tribute, sin, and guilt [offerings] they will eat, and every devoted thing in Israel will be for them.
Every devoted thing: Aramaic, every thing that is set apart as sacred.
30. “‘“And the choicest of all the firstfruits of anything, and all of the lifted-off [contributions] of anything—of every [kind] of contribution you [bring], will come to belong to the priests, and you must give the priest your first batch of dough, to cause a blessing to alight on your household.
First batch of dough: LXX, your earliest produce.
31. “‘“The priests may not eat of anything that has died of natural causes, or anything torn by birds or by wild animals.”’”
I.e., You dare not bring them any such animal as your offering! The animal must be killed in a kosher manner.
1. “‘“And when you cast [the lot to divide up] the Land for an inheritance, you must lift off a contribution for YHWH—a set-apart [portion] of the Land. The length [will be] twenty-five thousand [cubits] long, and the width ten thousand. It will be set apart within all of its boundaries on every side.
Lift off: Aramaic, set aside. A contribution: LXX, first-fruits. This is the prime “real estate” in the Land of Israel. 25,000 by 10,000 cubits: approximately 12.5 km. (7.75 miles) by 5 km. (3 miles). Cubits is assumed because of the fifty cubits in v. 2, but it could be measured in reeds, and thus be six times as large.
2. “‘“Of this, a square five hundred by five hundred [cubits] on each side, will be for the sanctuary, with fifty cubits of open [common] land belonging to it on every side.
Five hundred cubits: assumedly implied, as per the Aramaic targum, but the LXX says “reeds”, and this would agree with 42:16-20, but 500 cubits was the size of King Shlomo’s original Temple precinct. Open land: LXX, vacant space—possibly to expedite “crowd control” at festivals and to leave a buffer between it and anything profane. (43:8) It would also give plenty of room for miqvaoth (ritual baths) for immersion prior to entering, as well as a campground area since tents are mandated for Passover (Deut. 16:7) and temporary dwellings at Sukkoth. (Lev. 23:42)
3. “‘“And by this measurement you must measure a length of twenty-five thousand [cubits] and a width of ten thousand, and within it will be the sanctuary—the holiest of holy [place]s.
4. “‘“It is set apart from the Land; it will be for the priests who serve the sanctuary—those who come near to wait on YHWH. It will belong to them [as] a place for their houses and a sacred place for the sanctuary.
Sacred place: Aramaic, precinct. I.e., the rest of the area designated in verse 1, after cutting out the square for the sanctuary itself described in verse 2, will belong to the priests.
5. “‘“And a length of twenty-five thousand [cubits] and a width of ten thousand will be for the Levites who serve the House—twenty segments will be theirs as property.
Segments: or, chamber-halls, the same term as that for the buildings surrounding the sanctuary. (ch. 42)
6. “‘“And [as] property of the city, you must appoint five thousand wide and twenty-five thousand long alongside the set-apart contribution; it will belong to the whole house of Israel.
Alongside: or, parallel with. This is further detailed in 48:15ff.
7. “‘“And for the Prince, from this [side] and that [side of what] belongs to the set-apart contribution and to the property of the city [up] to the face of the set-apart contribution and up [to] the face of the city’s possession, from the western extremity westward and from the eastern extremity eastward, and the length shall be alongside one of the parcels [of land] from the western boundary to the eastern boundary.
Aramaic: a portion on both sides of that which is set aside for the sanctuary, and the city property, and the length will correspond to one of the portions extending from the western border to the eastern border. This “sanctuary” would, however, seem to include all the land given to both the priests and Levites. Parcels: shares, portions, tracts; those directly bordering the Prince’s are the tribal territories allotted to Yehudah (48:8) and Binyamin (48:22). Having his land on both sides of the set-apart area would mean both borders of the Land are under his protection. This also suggests the “double portion” given to the firstborn, which Yahshua and most of the kings are—though Shlomo was not and David himself was not. In the resurrection, there would also need to be room to house the inheritance of not just Yahshua, but Yoshiyahu, etc.--any righteous king in David’s line.
8. “‘“It will serve as land for him, as property in Israel, and My princes will no longer oppress My people, and they will assign the Land to the House of Israel for their tribes.”
I.e., specific land would be deeded to the prince, and plenty of it, so that he would not even consider taking anyone else’s land as Akh'av wanted to do (I Kings 21):
9. “‘This is what the Master YHWH says: “Enough belongs to you, O princes of Israel! Take away cruelty and violence, and practice justice and [what is] right! Lift off your evictions from [being] upon My people,” decrees the Master YHWH.
Cruelty and violence: Aramaic, violence and robbery.
10. “‘“Let there be just scales, a normal eyfah, and a normal bath for you!
Just: Aramaic, accurate. Eyfah…bath: particular weights and measures of equivalent amounts, the former for dry materials and the latter for liquid:
11. “‘“The eyfah and the bath must be of one [and the same] quantity, so that the bath contains a tenth of a chomer, and the eyfah a tenth of a chomer; it must be proportionate to the chomer,
Quantity: Aramaic, volume. I.e., there must be no variation in the measurements called by the same name. (Lev. 19:36) Chomer: the equivalent of 65 to 80 imperial gallons (300 to 400 liters); thus a bath would have been from 6.5 to 8 gallons (30-40 liters). The discrepancy in sizes may reflect the very thing YHWH is saying may not be done any longer—varying the definition of what a chomer is so that not everyone receives their merchandise equally.
12. “‘“and the sheqel must be twenty gerahs. Twenty sheqels, twenty-five sheqels, and fifteen sheqels will constitute your ways of reckoning.
The sheqel is a unit of weight equal to 1/10,000 of a talent of gold, 1/3,000 of a talent of silver, and 1/1,500 of a talent of copper. A gerah is the weight of a kernel of barley. There may be a coin in this amount. Ways of reckoning: or, common usage—possibly the denominations of coins to be used (if they are actually in that form), or the three different measures may reflect the above distinctions between metals, since these metals are of differing weights; alt., a maneh (or mina, the equivalent of 60 sheqels, the total of these three amounts). In any case, they are predetermined by the Prince who micro-manages even how the coins are minted so that there cannot be crooked dealings. No foreign currency is used, since Israel is not occupied by any other nations any longer. The Temple tax will not therefore bear any foreign king’s image as it had to at certain times in the past. Everything here is holy.
13. “‘“This is the contribution that you must lift off: from a chomer of wheat, a sixth of the eyfah; from a chomer of barley, a sixth of the eyfah.
This is 1.67%. Note that the wheat and barley are assessed at the same rate.
14. “‘“And the prescribed amount of oil due for a bath of oil is a tenth of the bath; out of [each] kor, ten of the baths--a chomer (since ten of the baths [constitute] a chomer),
Compare v. 11. Kor: in dry measure, the equivalent of 6.25 bushels (220 liters); in liquid measure, the equivalent of 58 gallons (263 liters). The Aramaic substitutes kor for chomer in this verse.
15. “‘“and one lamb from the flock out of [every] two hundred, from the well-watered [areas of] Israel, as a tribute and for an ascending [offering] and as peace [offering]s to effect a covering over them,” declares the Master YHWH.
This is 0.5% of the flock, but is above and beyond all of the tithes.
16. “‘“All the people of the Land must be [contributing] toward this offering for the Prince in Israel,
17. “‘“and the ascending [offering]s and a tribute and the libation at the pilgrimage festivals and at the new moons and on the Sabbaths—at all the appointed times of the House of Israel—will be the Prince's responsibility. He must prepare the sin [offering], the tribute [offering], the ascending [offering], and the peace [offering]s to effect a covering for the House of Israel.”
I.e., the Prince is responsible to make the contribution out of what the people all bring to him.
18. “‘This is what the Master YHWH says: “In the first [month], on [day] one of the month, you must take a bull, a healthy son of a herd, and [cleanse] the sanctuary [from] sin.
This is a one-time event inaugurating the usage of the new Temple and rendering it fit to use; thereafter, Torah specifies that the atoning bull be brought on Yom Kippur each year by the high priest.
19. “‘“Then the priest must take some of the blood of the sin [offering] and apply it to the doorposts of the House, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the doorposts of the gate [to] the inner courtyard.
20. “‘“And you must do the same on the seventh of the month for [each] man who goes astray and for the naïve; thus you will effect a covering for the House.
Goes astray: swerves, reels, or staggers as if intoxicated. Naïve: or simple, open-minded—those who make mistakes in ignorance. There has never been a sacrifice available for intentional sin, nor is there now. (Heb. 10:26) It would be a mockery to ask forgiveness for what we have done when we already knew better.
21. “‘“In the first [month], on the fourteenth day of the month, you will have the Passover—a feast of seven days; unleavened bread must be eaten.
Note that the month called the first is the month in which Passover falls, not the month of “Rosh Hashanah", Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth. And this demonstrates that the lunar calendar has been re-established as the norm.
22. “‘“And on that day the Prince must prepare a bull as a sin [offering] on his own behalf and on behalf of all the people of the Land.
Sin offering: This is not a normal Passover offering, but Deut. 16:12 does allow the Passover to be brought from the herd as well as from the flock. The Passover was to preserve the life of the firstborn. As Yahshua’s flock, we are members of the household of the Firstborn. (Mat. 1:25 in Hebrew; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Heb. 12:23) Ephraim (Yirmeyahu 31:9) and Israel as a whole (Ex. 4:22) are also called YHWH’s firstborn. So the Prince, of course, brings the more valuable of the two options—from the herd. Of course, this bull must be a year old or younger, so it is really a calf. This is the same offering the High Priest is to bring on Yom Kippur to atone for himself and his household. (Lev. 16:6) By this time, our habits will have changed dramatically as the Torah lifestyle in the Land has become the norm, but there will still be some occasional sins committed. If this Prince is indeed Yahshua, he does not have his own sins to atone for, but chooses to take responsibility for his household’s missing the mark, instead of running from it, as Adam did, for he knows that in Israel there really is no “him personally”. If his people miss the mark, it still reflects on him. On behalf of: Aramaic, as a substitute for.
23. “‘“Then the seven days of the feast, he must prepare an [offering] to ascend to YHWH: seven [healthy] bulls, seven healthy rams per day for the seven days, and as a sin [offering], a [hairy male] kid of the goats each day.
This is when Yahshua ends His Nazirite vow and is able to fulfill His wish of eating the Passover with all of His disciples in His Kingdom (Mat. 26:29) –along with all those who have come into the Kingdom because of them. (Yoch. 17:20)
24. “‘“And [as] a tribute [offering], he must prepare an eyfah per bull and an eyfah per ram, as well as a hin of oil for each eyfah.
Tribute offering: or grain offering; LXX, a cake. A hin is the equivalent of about 6 liters.
25. “‘“In the seventh [month], on the fifteenth day of the month, at the Feast, he must prepare the same as these, [all] seven days, [just] like [this] sin [offering], at the ascending [offering], like the tribute [offering], and like the oil.”
The Feast: i.e., the pilgrimage-festival of Sukkoth. It is known as “THE Feast” because it is the grandest of all.
1. “‘This is what the Master YHWH says: “The gate of the inner courtyard that faces east will be closed on the six working days, but on the Sabbath it will be opened, and on the day of the new moon it will be opened.
Closed: otherwise the Temple itself would become mundane. Day of the new moon: literally simply, day of the renewing. This is the gate that the “eastern road” leads to (40:22), and what “eastern road” also means in Hebrew is “ancient path”. (Compare Yirm. 6:16.) It is the way back into Eden. (Gen. 3:24) Doors open to us in the spirit on these days, allowing intimacy with YHWH that is not available on other days when Israel is not assembled. It is not open on Sunday (except Shavuoth)! The Sabbath and New Moons are the only way to “set our clocks” on His calendar; the rest of it depends on them.
2. “‘“And the Prince will enter from outside by way of the gate’s porch and take his stand over the doorpost of the gate, and the priest will prepare his ascending [offering] and his peace offerings, and he will bow down [in homage] on the threshold of the gate and go out, but the gate will not be shut until the evening.
Over the doorpost: apparently on a second tier, possibly a balcony above the gateway.
3. “‘“The people of the Land will also bow down before YHWH [at] the opening of this gate on the Sabbaths and on the new moons.
4. “‘“And the ascending [offering] that the Prince will bring to YHWH on the Sabbath say [is] six unimpaired [male] lambs and an unimpaired ram.
The ram shows the superiority of the Sabbath over the other six days of the week.
5. “‘“And the tribute [offering] is an eyfah [of grain] per ram, and for the [male] lambs a tribute, a gift from his hand, and of oil, a hin per eyfah.
Gift from his hand: Aramaic, as much as his hand can grasp, an idiom for as much as he desires or can afford. (This is more explicit, though possibly slightly different, in v. 7.)
6. “‘“And on the day of the new moon, a bull—a healthy son of a herd—as well as six [male] lambs and a ram; they must be unimpaired.
7. “‘“Also, he must prepare as a tribute [offering] an eyfah [of grain] per bull and an eyfah per ram, and for the [male] lambs, as much as he can afford, and of oil, a hin per eyfah.
Can afford: literally, whatever his hand can reach or secure. There will be times the people can give more than the minimum and times they cannot, and it is from their contributions that he draws his offerings. (45:16-17) At the harvest time more will be given and as the tribute of foreign nations increases as the Messiah’s kingdom spreads (Yeshayahu 9:7), the prince will be able to brig much more. Thus the new moon offering is exactly the same as the Sabbath with the one bull added, suggesting that the new moon is considered a more important day than the normal weekly Sabbath. In ancient times, the new moon was a time to assemble either as a household (1 Shmu’el 20:18) or a community (2 Kings 4:23). Buying and selling was suspended, at least in Yerushalayim. (Amos 8:5) It appears that to some degree these customs will resume, though we are not told if they will be mandatory for all Israelites or voluntary. But Numbers 29:3-4 indicates that at the new moon, twice as much grain would be brought for a ram as for a lamb, and three times as much for a bull as for a lamb. The offering prescribed for the Sabbath was a lamb in the morning and a lamb in the evening, along with their accompanying grain and libation offerings. (Num. 28:1-9) These referred to the communal offering of Israel; what is described here is not a negation of or an amendment to the Torah, but an additional offering the ruler is now to bring.
8. “‘“And when the Prince enters, he will come in by way of the gate’s porch; he will also depart by way of it,
Though the Muslims sealed up the gate to prevent Messiah’s entry, here it sounds like the gate itself need not be open for him to get in, but possibly a smaller door beside it, though if that is built, the gate itself can be reopened just as easily.
9. “‘“but when the people of the Land come before YHWH at the appointed times, one who enters by way of the northern gate must depart by way of the southern gate, and one who enters by way of the southern gate must depart by way of the northern gate; he may not return by way of the gate by which he came in, but must go out opposite [it].
This arrangement will improve the orderly flow of traffic through the Temple, preventing chaos or bottlenecks at one gate (if something interesting is going on outside it) while the other is nearly empty. Once we ascend to the Temple, we cannot backtrack; we must keep progressing onward. (Deut. 17:16) The term for “north” means “hidden treasure”, and the term for “south” is negev (parched), the proper name of the desert in southern Israel. It is important that each person experience some of each. Everyone will be going somewhere they have not been that day. Even those who study the most still often tend to stay in their area of expertise. Seeing from the perspective others have already known helps unify the nation. Opposite: literally, straight across from, or directly ahead of him—so all would have to pass directly by the altar. The only other time this same term is used is in Ex. 14:2, the account of when Israel became backed up at the Reed Sea and YHWH brought deliverance. By using it again here, it appears He wants to remind us of that event.
10. “‘“And the prince will enter among them when they enter, and when they leave, he will leave.
He is present among the people so we might see how he carries himself and learn from his example. Yet he enters and exits by a different gate than they do. Like the king, he does not exalt himself above his countrymen (Deut. 17:20), but YHWH dignifies him by keeping him in a separate category.
11. “‘“And on the feasts and appointed times, the tribute [offering] will be an eyfah [of grain] per ram, and for the [male] lambs a tribute, a gift from his hand, and of oil, a hin per eyfah.
12. “‘“And whenever the Prince prepares a voluntary ascending [offering], or peace [offerings] as a freewill offering to YHWH, [they] will open to him the gate facing east. When he has prepared his ascending or his peace [offerings], as he would on the Sabbath day, and has departed, [they] will shut the gate after his departure.
Whenever: at other times besides the appointed feast days and Sabbaths. Prepares a voluntary ascending: literally, makes a stairway of willingness. It is spontaneous, but he may not bring just anything he fancies, as Qayin tried to do. (Gen. 4:3-5) He must still follow the pattern of the Sabbath offering, and in Lev. 22:21-23 YHWH specifies what one must bring when his heart desires to do something extra for Him. If we really want to please Him, we will find out what He says pleases Him, not do what we assume would be appreciated, and especially not just bring what is convenient for us.
13. “‘“And daily you must prepare a male lamb a year old—unimpaired--as an ascending to YHWH. You must do it morning by morning.
Prepare: Aramaic, provide. A year old: literally, son of its year. Morning by morning: Aramaic, every single morning.
14. “‘“And in addition to it, morning by morning you must prepare a tribute [offering] of a sixth of the eyfah with oil (a third of the hin) to moisten the fine flour as a tribute to YHWH—perpetual prescribed customs, always.
To moisten: It could not be cooked into anything while still dry, without the oil that holds it together. He prefers that we be united, though all the individual pieces may be willing to please the Master. Fine flour: from a word meaning to strip (down).
15. “‘“Thus they must prepare the [male] lamb, the tribute, and the oil morning by morning as a constant ascending.”
Constant: or regular, from a root meaning “to stretch”. If this is indeed after the 1,000-year Messianic Kingdom, there is no endpoint to it, and no reason to think it should ever stop.
16. “‘This is what the Master YHWH says: “When the prince gives a gift of inheritance to any of his descendants, it will belong to his sons; it is their inherited property.
Again we may have to think “outside the box” about who this prince is. If it is David, there is nothing out of the ordinary; he had many descendants. If it is Yahshua, however, then contrary to popular belief, he must have been married and had children, for he himself said that once resurrected, no one would marry or be given in marriage. (Mat. 22:30) Or it may be that the ruler appointed by both Houses of Israel (Hos. 1:11) is yet someone else who rules in a different capacity. Scripture tells us that a little child shall lead in the Kingdom.(Yeshayahu 11:6) Does this only apply to the animals who live in harmony or to the people as well? David is promised a son on the throne perpetually—but only as long as they continue to obey YHWH. (1 Kings 2:4) Could this prince be someone predating Yaaqov, who does not already have inherited property in the Land as all of Yaaqov’s sons do? Could it be Avraham—or even Adam? He will need land to work in the time of the restoration of all things! The point is that we need to be sure that our assumptions are truly based on Scripture in agreement with the rest of Scripture, for the power of the counterfeit messiah’s deceit will be in popular misconceptions. Demystification brings us closer to a true view of who YHWH and Yahshua really are, for YHWH said His word was not so far away that someone had to go up into heaven to retrieve it for us. (Deut. 30:12) We have to distinguish between what is truly spiritual and what is merely spiritualized. (Compare Heb. 4:12.)
17. “‘“But when he gives a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, then it can belong to him until the year of liberty, then it must return to the prince; his sons’ inheritance will belong to them alone.
Liberty: literally, flowing or running free. But even what is given away freely must be returned to its proper owner at that time.
18. “‘“Nor may the prince take from the people’s inheritance, to press them out from their property; he must give his sons inheritance from his own property in order that My people will not each be scattered from his property.”’”
This is what was taking place in Y’hezq’El’s lifetime: nobles stole land from common men without returning it in the fiftieth year. Ancestral possessions meant nothing to them by this time. This is a large part of what caused the dispersion, since YHWH only puts up with such things for so long. He placed the responsibility on the nobles. (Chapter 22) This prince, however, will not act that way. Scattered: has the connotation of overflowing, like water displaced as something “presses” on it from outside, which is the effect the prince would cause if he started this domino effect, for others would have to move also to make room for the displaced.
19. Then he brought me through the entrance which is at the shoulder of the gate, into the set-apart chamber-halls [belonging] to the priests (those facing north), and, lo and behold, there was a space on the pair of westward recesses.
Those facing north: a reference back to 42:4. Recesses: or simply sides, flanks.
20. And he told me, “This is the place in which the priests will boil the guilt [offering] and the sin-offering, where they will bake the tribute [offering], to avoid having to take them out into the outer courtyard, which would render the people set-apart.”
It is commonly thought that with haSatan bound, there will no longer be sin in the Kingdom. Without dispute, sin will be greatly decimated since the Torah will be enforced with an iron rod, and the Messiah’s influence will reach every part of the world. Possibly those who are resurrected will no longer sin, but it is doubtful that this will mean they are incapable of sinning. It will no longer be the norm to sin. If we obey Torah, our oxen will no longer gore people, nor will anyone fall off our roofs, so there will be vast improvements in the world. But there will still be exceptions--people who survived the time of Yaaqov’s trouble who remain unchanged, people who are still just beginning to learn Torah and slip up often, and everyone becomes slack at least once in a while. The offerings listed here can remedy those times. “They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain” (Yeshayahu 11:9; 65:25), but the rest of the world may not fully reach that standard. How else would the priests eat? There is no free ride if we do not keep our part of the covenant. Everyone since Adam has been seeking the fairy tale that we will one day be free from the responsibility. But there can come a day when we stop blaming someone else, make our confession, bring the penalty, and stop the vicious cycle right away. We cannot get Home until we reach some measure of this attitude, which begins with the confession, “Our fathers have inherited lies.” (Yirm. 16:19) Yahshua even took responsibility for sins that were not His. Do not look to Him for an excuse to be lazy! The goal is to focus on giving to one another, not taking and giving ourselves the advantage.
21. Then he had me come out to the outer courtyard and was making me cross over toward the four corner-buttresses of the courtyard, and indeed, [there was] a courtyard in each corner of the court.
In each corner: Literally, the phrase simply repeats twice, a courtyard in the corner of the court.
22. In the four corners of the court were enclosed courtyards forty [cubits] long and thirty wide; the four of them had one [and the same] size, being cut out [and set into] the corners.
Enclosed: possibly meaning “without a roof”.
23. And there was an enclosing-wall all around within them—around the four of them—and places for cooking were prepared from underneath the rows [of stones] on every side.
Enclosing-wall: the term suggests an orderly row or arrangement that surrounds. Rows of stones: or battlements, tent encampments, walled dwelling places.
24. Then he told me, “These are the place of those who cook, where those who intensely serve the House will boil what the people slaughter.”
These are separate cooking areas than those mentioned in v. 20. Since the priests are the ones cooking in the inner courtyard (v. 20), the cooks here are apparently the other Levites. It is the offerings being eaten in the inner courtyard (see Numbers 18), and though not mentioned here, the peace and thanksgiving offerings are also cooked in the inner court on or by the altar. Though it was forbidden to sit down in the Second Temple, this is not required in Torah, and neither is turning one’s back on the Temple building itself, though this is a worthwhile picture. (There is now a new Sanhedrin in Israel which aims to rectify errors in practice that have come from giving the Talmud too much authority.) There might even be picnic tables set up near the altar to share the fellowship over food with the priests and others who care to hear what you are thanking YHWH for. What is cooked here in the outer courtyard is the animals worthy of the altar (male lambs, goats, and bulls) which are not being sacrificed, but cooked for the owner and his household to eat. (Deut. 12:10ff; Lev. 17:3ff) It may be taken back home, but a portion is left for the Levites.
1. When he brought me back to the entrance of the House, lo and behold, water [was] coming out from under the threshold of the House on the east (because the House faces east, and the water came down from beneath the right shoulder of the House, from the south to the altar).
This would be near where the king’s seat sat in the Second Temple, and Rev. 22:1 says the water comes from under the Throne. The laver in the previous Temples was also very close to where this water would be flowing from, suggesting that in this Temple a laver would not be needed, since flowing water is constantly available, and indeed the only temple furniture mentioned in this vision is the table/altar inside the building. (41:22) No laver is mentioned. When General Gordon explored underneath the Temple Mount in the early 20th century, he found a cistern right at this spot, and a duct to carry water and blood out of the altar area is still there today; this water could be partly to wash away the blood, etc. In ancient times, the richest fields in all of Yerushalayim were in the Qidron Valley, where this duct empties out. The barley to be watched to determine when it was the month of Aviv grew in some of these fields. Blood and water flowing from the side is also a picture of the Messiah. (Yoch. 19:34) Water coming forth also symbolizes the Torah (instruction) going forth from Tsion. (Mikha 4:2) Shoulder: or simply, side, as interpreted in the Aramaic targum.
2. Then he took me out by way of the northern gate and brought me around by the outer road to the outer gate in the direction facing east, and indeed, water was trickling out on the right shoulder.
3. As the man went out eastward, [with] the measuring-cord in his hand, and measured a thousand by the cubit, and had me step into the water—water [covering only the] soles [of my feet].
Had me step in: or, start to cross. Soles of my feet: literally, [there was] nothing [to it]; Aramaic, up to the ankles.
4. He then measured [another] thousand, and had me step into the water, [and the] water [was up to my] knees. Again he measured a thousand and had me step into the water, [and the] water [was up to my] hips.
Up to my knees: LXX, water of a fountain. It is unusual to have water deepening so quickly without other tributaries. The Gihon Spring might again feed into it, but this itself suggests an allusion to Gen. 2, where we see one river flowing out of Eden, which was located at the site of Yerushalayim, then dividing into four “heads”. This passage only mentions one river, but Z’kharyah 14:8 says another will flow from Yerushalayim westward toward the Mediterranean Sea.
5. When he measured another thousand, [it was] a river that I was not able to cross, because the waters had become overpowering—waters for swimming, a torrent that could not be crossed!
Overpowering: or risen up (as in triumph), deep; LXX: acted proudly. For swimming: Aramaic, that one had to swim across. Four measurements of water suggest the four levels of interpreting Scripture, the last of which is the deepest.
6. Then he said to me, “Have you seen, son of Adam?” And he had me go back up onto the riverbank.
7. As I came back, there on the bank of the river were very many trees from this [side] and that.
No trees are present until after the fourth measurement; we are not totally fruitful until we have used all four measures on a passage of Scripture.
8. And he told me, “These waters go out toward the eastern district, then go down into the Aravah, then enter the sea. [Once] they are let out into the sea, the waters have been healed.
District: Heb., Galilah--literally, region of rolling hills. The LXX takes it as the “Galilee of the east”. The northern region actually called Galilee (Heb., Galil) is the same term. Aravah: the “transitional zone” between vegetated and desert, but a specific term for the Great Rift Valley; LXX, Arabia. The Qidron Valley already extend all the way to the Dead Sea and forms a natural channel ready for this river to flow down. Healed: Aramaic, purified. The waters: that is, in the Dead Sea, which are now far too caustic from the high mineral content to support any life except a tiny bit of algae.
9. “Then what will take place is that every living soul that swarms [in] every place where the river goes will survive, and there will be very many fish since these waters have come there and they will be healed. Everywhere that the river goes will come alive.
Survive: or, come to life. It may even resurrect animals that had died along its course! This is part of the answer to how such a barren Land, also ravaged by war by this time, will again become a land flowing with milk and honey, the envy of the whole world. A climatic shift may also take place again, returning Israel to the latitude it was at before 701 B.C.E. The Hebrew word for “river” is nahal, and the word for inheritance, nahalah, is based on it, through the idea of flowing down. Fish are symbolic of Efrayim and Manashe. (Gen. 48:16), so this is a picture of the restoration of the inheritance of the tribes that left YHWH as they come back to life. (Yirm. 16:16; Mat. 4:19)
10. “And the fishermen will stay on it; from Eyn Gedi all the way to Eyn-Eglayim there will be a place to spread out nets. Their fish will be according to its kind like the fish of the Great Sea—very numerous!
Eyn Gedi: “spring of the goat”. Eyn Eglayim: “spring of the pair of calves.” There are no fish in this sea (the Salt Sea) today, giving it the nickname “the Dead Sea”. According to its kind: a phrase also used of YHWH’s creation of the various species of animals (Gen. 1:21, 25); LXX, distinct. Thus this indicates that a variety of species of fish will also return to this sea. This also suggests that it will remain a saltwater sea, which is supported by v. 11: Numerous: Aramaic, plentiful. It may no longer even be called “the Salt Sea”, though salt mines will remain along its edges, according to the Aramaic translation of verse 11:
11. “But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be designated for salt.
Swamps and marshes: LXX, at the outlet of the water and where it overflows its banks. Thus it seems this area will be like the Nile Valley—seasonally watered as the water rises, possibly in spring. As to an outlet, see note on v. 19. Salt: The Aramaic translation specifies “salt mines”. It may include other minerals as well, as are mined there today by the process of evaporating the water. Salt marshes will constitute part of the ecosystem in the restored Land—important because salt is needed daily for all contribution-offerings brought to the Temple. (Lev. 2:13)
12. “And every kind of tree to eat [from] will grow on the river’s bank, on both sides; its leaf will not wither, nor will its fruit be exhausted; it will bring forth fruit by its months, because its waters are those that come out from the sanctuary. Its fruit is for food, and its leaf for healing.
Tree to eat from: LXX, fruit tree. Its leaf will not wither: David said the same about a man whose delight is in the Torah of YHWH and who meditates on it day and night (Psalm 1); LXX, it shall not decay on it. Grow: Aramaic, spring up. Be exhausted: that is, run out or be used up. By its months: LXX, they shall bring forth the first-fruit of their early crop. For healing: or medicine. Rev. 22 adds the details that these are the tree of life—a restoration of the tree in Paradise that was lost—and the healing is for the nations (which can just as well be translated tribes, which is more likely in the context of Israel). It clarifies that the tree bears fruit every month—or possibly, every new moon to be even more precise. The gate is opened every new moon, but no one enters through it; is it opened to let the waters out? There are twelve kinds of fruit, according to Rev. 22. Is there a specific fruit that brings healing in a special way for each tribe? Is one tribe magnified each month and given a special place in the Temple—to administer a special type of healing for the whole nation--at that time, like the 24 courses of Levites that used to each serve on a particular week? David claimed his entire family had a sacrifice on the new moon (1 Shmuel 20:29); his extended family was the tribe of Yehudah. This may be the reinstitution of an ancient practice. Yahshua cursed a fig tree that had leaves, but no fruit. (Mat. 21:19-20) How many who claim to be His followers produce healing, but no fruit, since they practice lawlessness, that is, say the Torah is not for today? (Mat. 7:22-23)
13. “This is what the Master YHWH says: ‘This is the bordered region by which you will take possession of the Land for yourselves—for the twelve tribes of Israel; Yosef [will receive two] measured-out regions.
Will receive: implied, as interpreted by the Aramaic translation, based on his being counted the firstborn, who receives a double portion (Deut. 21:17) and since Yaaqov adopted Yosef’s two sons as his own (Gen 48), and thus gave Yosef an extra portion of land. (48:22) The first Y’hoshua did the same (Y’hosh. 17:14, 17), but only after these two tribes reminded him that they needed more space.
14. “‘And you will inherit it, [each] man as his brother [does]—that which I lifted up My hand [in oath] to give to your ancestors, so this land has fallen to you as inherited property.
As his brother does: LXX, each according to his brother’s portion—i.e., each tribe may receive an equal division of the territory, or each family within the tribe may be allotted an equal portion of his tribe’s land. The first time the land was allotted (by Y’hoshua) according to the size of the tribes.
15. “‘Now this is the boundary of the Land: for a northern extremity, from the Great Sea by way of Chethlon, to the entrance at Tz’dad,
Great Sea: LXX, the great sea that comes down and divides the entrance of Emaseldam.
16. “‘Hamath, Berothah, Sibrayim, which is between the territory of Damaseq and the territory of Hamath, Chatzer haTikhon, which is toward the border of Chauron.
Hamath means “walled fortress”. Berothah means “place of cypress trees”. Sibrayim means “dual intention”. Chatzer haTikhon means “most central enclosure”. Chauron means “caverns that are growing pale”. Between the territory: the Aramaic calls it the pond of the Agebeans.
17. “‘And the border will be from the Sea [to] Chatzar Eynon [of the] territory of Damaseq and north; at the north—that is, the border of Hamath, so this is the northern edge.
Chatzar Eynon means “enclosure of springs”. Hamath is the principle city of upper Syria in the valley of the Orontes River.
18. “‘Then you must measure the eastern edge from between Chauron, Damaseq, Gil’ad, and the Land of Israel, the Yarden [River] from the border over the eastern sea: this is the eastern edge.
Aramaic: between Chauron and Damaseq and between Gil’ad and the Land of Israel. Gil’ad was an extra area annexed to the Land of Israel proper because of the desires of the tribes with “much cattle” (Deut. 3:19) and as a reward for Makhir’s exploits (Y’hoshua 13). LXX, the Jordan divides to the sea that is east of the city of palm-trees.
19. “‘Then the edge of the Negev southward from Thamar as far as the waters of Meriboth-Qadesh at the wadi to the Great Sea; this is the southern edge in the Negev.
Thamar means “a date palm”. The Aramaic takes this as Yerikho since it is known as the “city of palm trees”; LXX mentions both “Taeman” and the city of palm-trees --two different sites. Thamar, in the Negev (Ir Ovot or Eyn haTzeva), has now been excavated and is an easily-identifiable site for a border today. However, Yerikho is north of the “eastern sea”. Meriboth-Qadesh means “holy contentions”. It may refer to the waters of Meribah at Qadesh-Barnea, a place the Israelites all passed through (Ex. 17:7), complaining of the lack of water; here Moshe struck the rock, bringing water from it at YHWH’s word. Deut. 32:51 identifies it as being in the Wilderness of Tzin. Numbers 34:8 says the ancient border would run from Mount Chor to the entrance to Hamath, so this eastern edge probably ends at Mount Chor, which is very close to Petra (Sela), as far south of the Dead Sea as the Dead Sea is long. But all of Edom belonged to Israel in the days of Shlomo and the Hasmoneans, and YHWH said that wherever our foot treads will be Israel’s inheritance. (Y’hoshua 1:3) Dr. Lennart Möller, in The Exodus Case, locates this rock very close to Mt. Sinai, on the eastern shore of the Reed Sea in present-day Arabia. Wadi: or possibly, river, for it appears that the Yarden may again flow south from the Dead Sea into the Reed Sea as it did prior to the S’dom and Ghamorah catastrophe.
20. “‘And the western edge is the Great Sea from the border to directly opposite the entrance to Hamath; this is the western edge.
LXX, “This part of the Great Sea forms a border till one comes opposite the entrance of Hemath, even as far as the entrance thereof. These are the parts west of Hemath.”
21. “‘So you must allot this Land unto yourselves for the tribes of Israel.
22. “‘Thus it has come about; so you will let it fall [by lot] as inherited property for yourselves and for the foreigners who are staying among you who have brought forth children in your midst, and they must become to you just like the natives [who grew up] among the descendants of Israel. They are to receive a share with you [by lot] in inherited property within [that of] the tribes of Israel.
23. “‘How it must be is that in the tribe within which the foreigner stays, that is where you must give him his inheritance’, declares the Master YHWH.”
This is where he has chosen to sojourn, so this is where he will be permitted to remain. There are several words for foreigners in Hebrew; this type is one who stays with Israel for a long time for the sake of learning from Israel, and in general intends to eventually become part of Israel. But one who sojourns in another tribe’s territory is also called by the same term, so this could include Israelites who do not know what tribe they are from, but live as Israelites—a large number today. We may be counted according to the tribal identity of the teacher under whom we enter this Torah lifestyle, if it is known. The Aramaic rendering is “proselytes who have converted”. YHWH grants them their wish! Compare Yeshayahu 66:21, in which some are even allowed to be priests and Levites.
1. “Now these are the names of the tribes: from the northern extremity (to the side of the Khethlon Road) belonging to the entrance of Hamath, Khatzer-Eynon of the border of Damaseq northward toward the side of Hamath, and [each] will have a part east of the sea. One [portion for] Dan,
Side: literally, hand. Khethlon means “enwrapped” or “hiding place”, much like the term for “north” which means “hidden” or “place of hidden treasure”. In a way this could come from the topography. At Dan on the northern extremity of the Land today, one can look only a short distance north before mountains obscure the view. Only one pass opens the way through snow-shrouded Levanon, where trade routes came from Mesopotamia. East of the sea: or, an eastern extremity [and] the western.
2. “and on the border of Dan, from the eastern extremity to the western extremity, one [for] Asher.
The presence of tribal land for Dan begs the question of why this is reinstated when Dan is not included among the “servants of YHWH” who are sealed before the earth can be harmed during the “Great Tribulation”. (Rev. 7:5-8) Each tribe has 12,000, including Levi and Yosef as well as Yosef’s son Menashe—but not Dan. In Jewish tradition, the Counterfeit Messiah will come from this tribe, based on Gen. 49:17. One clue is that every time the number 12,000 is mentioned in relation to men in Scripture, it is in the context of war. (Num. 31; Y’hoshua 8:25; Judges 21:10; 2 Shmuel 10:6; 1 Kings 4:26; 10:26; 2 Chron. 9:25; Psalm 60:1 (or the Psalm’s introduction in some versions). But in 17:1 it is in relation to Avshalaom’s revolt—another clear prototype of the Counterfeit Messiah’s attempted usurping of Yahshua’s throne. Could Dan’s 12,000 all be serving the Beast, then repent thereafter? In any case, Dan is placed furthest of any tribe from the sanctuary.
3. “and on the border of Asher, from the eastern extremity to the western extremity, one [for] Nafthali.
4. “and on the border of Nafthali, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Menashe.
5. “and on the border of Menashe, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Efrayim.
6. “and on the border of Efrayim, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Re’uven.
7. “and on the border of Re’uven, from the eastern extremity to the western extremity, one [for] Yehudah.
8. “and on the border of Yehudah, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, will be the contribution that you must lift off 25,000 [cubits] wide and [as] long as one of the allotments from the eastern extremity up to the western extremity, and the sanctuary will be in its midst.
As long as one of the allotments: i.e., the full length of the land west to east. This also suggests that the eastern border remains equidistant from the coast at all points. Midst: not the exact center, as portrayed in chapter 45, but also not on its edge. It is buffered on all sides by this set-apart portion, though on the south side is the city which is the “ordinary within the holy” like the intervening days during the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Sukkoth.
9. “The contribution that you skim off for YHWH is 25,000 long and 10,000 wide.
10. “And to these the set-apart contribution will belong: for the priests, on the north, 25,000; on the west, a width of 10,000; on the east, a width of 10,000; and on the south, a length of 25,000. And the sanctuary will be in its midst
11. “for the priests of the sanctuary—from the sons of Tzadoq, who guarded what I wanted guarded, who did not go astray when the descendants of Israel wandered off, just as the Levites wandered off.
45:4 tells us this land is a place for the priests to put their houses. Undoubtedly land-use regulations will be stricter here than anywhere else in Israel. YHWH could not trust anyone but the faithful Tzadoqites to administer this special distirict.
12. “The sub-contribution from the contribution—the holiest of the holy [places]—will be theirs, toward the territory of the Levites.
Sub-contribution: or, further skimming-off, secondary subdivision, the “cream of the cream”, the best land—not as their own holding (v. 14), but for their use as long as they fulfill their calling. Territory: or border.
13. “And alongside the territory of the priests, the Levites will have [an area] 25,000 long and 10,000 wide. The whole length will be 25,000 and the width 10,000.
14. “And they may not sell any of it or have it exchanged, nor may they let the firstfruits of the Land leave the territory, because it is set apart for YHWH.
Leave the territory: literally, cross over; Aramaic, nor transfer this choice land.
15. “And the remaining 5,000 in width on the face of the 25,000—it is common [land] for the city, for dwelling and for open space, and the city will be in the middle of it.
Open space: from a term meaning to thrust outward, push out, or drive away. This would be like a buffer zone keeping anything from encroaching on the city, and allow for a campground needed during the pilgrimage festivals. The city: Aramaic, the precincts of the city.
16. “And these are its measurements: the north side, 4,500; the south side, five, 4,500; on the east side, 4,500; the west side, 4,500.
17. “And the city’s open space will be 250 on the north, 250 on the south, 250 on the east, and 250 on the west.
18. “And what remains of the length alongside the set-apart contribution is 10,000 on the east and 10,000 on the west, and it comes alongside the set-apart contribution, and its produce will serve as bread for those who work for the city.
19. “And the city’s laborer will serve it out of all the tribes of Israel.
The city’s laborer: Aramaic, those who work in the city.
20. “The whole skimmed-off [contribution] will be 25,000 by 25,000—a square—and you will have the set-apart contribution go up to the city’s property.
21. “Then what is left is for the prince on this side of the set-apart contribution and the city’s property, and on that, toward the face of the 25,000 of the skimmed-off [contribution] as far as the eastern border, as well as westward on the face of the 25,000 as far as the western border—parallel tracts belonging to the prince. Thus it will serve as a set-apart section skimmed-off, with the sanctuary of the House within it.
22. “And [some] of the Levites’ property and [some] of the city’s property will be in the middle of what belongs to the prince; [that which is] between the territory of Yehudah and the territory of Binyamin will belong to the prince.
23. “Then the rest of the tribes: from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Binyamin.
24. “and on the border of Binyamin, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Shim’on.
25. “and on the border of Shim’on, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Yissakhar.
26. “and on the border of Yissakhar, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Z’vulun.
27. “and on the border of Z’vulun, from the eastern extremity all the way to the western extremity, one [for] Gad.
28. “and on the border of Gad, to the southern extremity of the Negev, the border will be from Thamar [to] the waters of Meriboth-Qadesh of the wadi onto the Great Sea
29. “This is the Land [for] which you will let [the lot] fall from [the] inheritance of the tribes of Israel, and these are their allotments”, declares the Master YHWH.
Allotments: divisions or shares. The obvious question that must arise is, why are the tribal lands not laid out according to the borders Y’hoshua appointed (Y’hoshua 19), when the Torah says not to shift the ancient boundaries (Deut. 19:14)? This may be a test of whether we will interpret any other Scripture in comparison to Torah. It has to somehow be in agreement with the Torah, or it is wrong. (Yeshayahu 8:20) And what great sea is as far south as v. 28 describes? The Reed Sea? We could surmise that since the topography will change when the Kingdom is being established (Yeshayahu 40:4; Mikha 4:1; Z’kharyah 14:4-5), the places Y’hoshua set as corner-markers will become aligned with the points of convergence of the parallel “strips” of land depicted here. Or it may be that these are simplified administrative districts similar to those set up by David (1 Chron. 23-28), each headed by someone from a different tribe (the princes, plural, of 45:8 who will not oppress the people) which overlap with the actual boundaries of tribal inheritance rather than canceling them in any way. Or there may be another way of interpreting this that will not come to light until it is needed—as the time to divide the Land approaches.
30. Now these are the exits of the city: from the northern extremity, 4,500 in measurement--
31. with the gates of the city [based] on the names of the tribes of Israel—three gates on the north: one [being] the gate of Re’uven, one the gate of Yehudah, [and] one the gate of Levi;
The tribes are grouped differently here than in the four quadrants of the wilderness camp of Israel. (Numbers chapter 2)
32. and toward the eastern extremity, 4,500, with three gates, and one is the gate of Yosef, one the gate of Binyamin, [and] one the gate of Dan;
Each of those who work in the city from the various tribes (v. 19) may enter through the specific gate of his own tribe and gather there in their “work crews”.
33. and the southern extremity, 4,500 in measurement, with three gates, one the gate of Shim’on, one the gate of Yissakhar, and one the gate of Z’vulun;
34. the western extremity, 4,500, their gates [being] three—one the gate of Gad, one the gate of Asher, [and] one the gate of Nafthali.
Rev. 21 adds the details that each gate was a single pearl, and at each there was a messenger. It says Yochanan saw no temple in the city; Y’hezq’el’s account reveals that the Temple was actually just outside the city! But his measurements are also much larger—12,000 furlongs on each side. A furlong (Gk., stadion, a measure of about 600 feet or 185 meters,thus totally about 7.2 million feet or 1,363 miles on each side! That would not even fit in the Land of Israel, so there are clearly more factors than meet the eye. One measure may be the city in the Kingdom, and the other in the “new heaven and new earth”. The details may not be ours to know just yet; what could we do with them right now anyway? The main point of Y’hezq’el’s visions is that Israel will come back together, and that for that to take place we must confess our ancestors’ sins, repent, and begin to live as Israel again. We need to focus on this rather than becoming sidetracked by the logistics of how it all fits together. That will come when we need it.
35. The entire circumference will be 18,000, and the name of the city from [that] day is “YHWH is There.”
From that day: Aramaic, from the day that YHWH makes His Sh’kinah rest upon it. YHWH is there: or possibly “Where YHWH is”; Heb., YHWH Shammah. This will truly be in every sense “the place where He has chosen to set His Name” and a “city of refuge”.