INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 46
This chapter treats of the shutting of the eastern gate of the inner court on working days, and opening it on sabbaths and new moons, for the prince and people to worship in, Ezekiel 46:1, gives a further account of the sacrifices of both at these seasons, and of their different ways of going in and out, Ezekiel 46:4, delivers some rules about the prince's disposing of his gifts to his sons and servants, Ezekiel 46:16 and describes the places for the priest's baking and boiling the sacrifices, Ezekiel 46:19
Thus saith the Lord God,.... Which is premised, to raise the greater attention to what is about to be said: the gate of the inner court that looketh towards the east; the eastern gate of the inner court; the court of the priests, where stood the altar of burnt offerings, and where they offered the sacrifices for atonement; and seems, in the mystical sense, to design the ministry of the Gospel, which is a ministry of reconciliation; which holds forth Christ as the altar saints have a right to eat of; and who is the sacrifice for sin, and has made reconciliation for it; and, where this is preached, he, the angel descending from the east, comes; here appears the rising sun, the sun of righteousness, who arises on those that fear his name, and love his Gospel, with healing in his wings: this gate
shall be shut the six working days; which seems to be the same with the gate of the outward sanctuary, Ezekiel 44:1 said to be always shut, and never opened; but by what follows here it appears that that must be understood with some exception and limitation: the six working days are the six days of the week in which men should labour, and do all the work and business of their callings, that they may thereby provide for themselves and families, and have wherewith to give to the poor; during which time the public ministry of the word is intermitted, that men may not be taken off of their necessary and lawful employments; and that the ministers of the word may have sufficient time to prepare in their studies for their ministerial service:
but on the sabbath it shall be opened; by which is meant, not the Jewish sabbath now abrogated in the times this vision refers to; but the Lord's day, called by this Jewish name: and this being opposed to the six working days, shows that it ought to be kept by abstinence from all civil, corporeal, and servile works, as well as from dead works or sins, and in the exercise of all religious duties, private and public; and particularly in attendance on the ministry of the word, the gate now opened; and which is sometimes expressed by opening the door of faith, and is called an open door; and may be said to be so when ministers have an opportunity without, and great freedom within themselves, to preach it; and when the doors of men's hearts are opened to attend to it, and many souls are gathered to Christ, and into his churches, by it; see Acts 14:27,
and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened; on stated monthly days, in which the churches of Christ meet together for religious service: the new moon, which is an emblem of new light, and an increase of it, is very suitable to express the Gospel dispensation; in which, as Cocceius observes, there are some particular seasons that may be called so; as the coming of Christ into the world; his resurrection from the dead; the pouring forth of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost; the destruction of the temple, and temple service; the peace and prosperity of the Christian churches in the times of Constantine; the morning star of the reformation; and the call of God's people out of Babylon at the destruction of it; at all which times there has been, or will be, an opening of this eastern gate, or a free, and glorious ministration of the Gospel. Some think these six working days design this life, which is the time of working, after which there will be none but an eternal sabbath or rest; and that, for the present, saints live and walk by faith, and not by sight; divine and heavenly things are greatly shut up, and out of sight; but then it will be new moon, as well as sabbath, and all things will be seen clearly; but the former sense I think is best, which yet I leave to the judgment of others. This Kimchi says is a new thing, that will be in time to come.
And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without,.... That is, by the way of the porch of the eastern gate, even the outermost gate of the porch; for, as every gate had a porch, so every porch had two gates, one at one end, and the other at the other; now this was the outermost gate of the porch, which looked to the outward court, and not that which led into the inner:
and shall stand by the post of the gate; this denotes the presence of Christ, the Prince with his people waiting at Wisdom's gate, and watching at the posts of her door. The allusion seems to be to the king's pillar in the temple, where he used to stand, 2 Chronicles 23:13. Some understand this of Christ's incarnation, of his entrance into the world, and his standing before his Father, and praying for his people, as he did in the garden, and a little before his death, as recorded John 17:1.
and the priests shall prepare his burnt offerings, and his peace offerings; that is, shall offer them. The meaning is, that the ministers shall preach Christ and him crucified, who, by his sacrifice, has made atonement for sin, and peace for his people; though some interpret this of the concern the priests had in the crucifixion and death of Christ:
and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate; of the other gate that led into the inner court, and where he could see all that was done in it: or bow
then shall he go forth; out of this world to his Father, and be seen no more, until the restitution of all things; though this and the preceding may be understood of Christ's mystical worshipping; or of his people, who are one with him; and of their departure from public worship, when it is over:
but the gate shall not be shut until the evening; of the sabbath, or new moon; or the evening of the world, the second coming of Christ; the Gospel ministry and ordinances will continue till then, and no longer; and this is owing to his powerful and prevalent intercession in heaven, whither he is gone then the door will be shut, and not before, Matthew 25:10.
Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the Lord,.... Publicly, and in a spiritual manner; attending the ministration of the word and ordinances with constancy and fervency; praying to God, praising his name, and hearing his word with attention; and performing all the duties of religious worship. The allusion is to the people of Israel meeting at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, Exodus 29:42, "in the sabbaths, and in the new moons"; at their stated weekly and monthly meetings; see Isaiah 66:23.
And the burnt offering the prince shall offer unto the Lord in the sabbath day,.... In Ezekiel 45:17, it is said to be the prince's part to give and prepare sacrifices in the feasts, new moons, sabbaths, and all solemnities; and there follows an account of them, for New Year's Day, and for the feasts of passover and tabernacles; and here an account is given of those for the sabbaths and new moons; which is very properly reserved for this place, to follow the account of the opening of the eastern gate at those seasons: and the burnt offering for the sabbath shall be
six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish; according to the law of Moses, only two lambs were the burnt offering for this day, besides the continual one, Numbers 28:9, here Jarchi confesses his ignorance; and Kimchi says it is a new thing; and indeed it is, and is a proof of the ceremonial law being now abolished. These seven denote the perfect sacrifice of Christ, by which he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified; and being without blemish, the purity and holiness of it; and as the people of God on the six working days commit much sin, and contract much guilt, the sacrifice of Christ is signified by six lambs, which it is necessary they should hear of, and it should be set before them in the ministry of the word on Lord's days, which is meant by the offering of it; that they may by faith apply it to themselves, to the removal of sin from their consciences, and take the comfort of it; as the one ram may denote the one sacrifice of Christ, though typified by many; and who, like the ram, is the leader and guide of the flock: now, more creatures being offered for this burnt offering than under the law, denotes the clearer knowledge of the sacrifice of Christ under the Gospel, and the more extensive efficacy of it, to the removal of the guilt of sin from the Lord's people.
And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram,.... See Gill on Ezekiel 45:24,
and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give; or, and "the gift of his hand"
and an hin of oil to an ephah; which was also a larger quantity than under the law, denoting the larger measure of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, signified by oil, given unto the ministers of the word, and the people also; See Gill on Ezekiel 45:24.
And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish,.... This is also different from the law of Moses, which required two young bullocks and a ram, and seven lambs, Numbers 28:11, whereas here only one bullock:
and six lambs, and a ram; they shall be without blemish; and here Kimchi acknowledges again that this is a new thing to be done in future time. Some have observed, that the seven lambs under the law showed that perfection might be hoped for and expected; but, there being but six now, that this is not yet attained, nor will be till the saints get to heaven; though perfection is come by the priesthood of Christ, whose sacrifice is a perfect and complete one, and by which his people are perfected, and they are complete in him, yet they have no perfection in themselves.
And he shall prepare a meat offering, an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram,.... See Gill on Ezekiel 45:24,
and for the lambs according as his hand shall attain unto, and an hin of oil to an ephah; See Gill on Ezekiel 46:5.
And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of that gate,.... See Gill on Ezekiel 46:2;
and he shall go forth by the way thereof; the same way he came in, he shall go out; not so the people; and, to introduce the manner of their going in and out, this is repeated concerning the prince.
But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord in the solemn feasts,.... To worship the Lord, to pray and praise; to honour the Lord, and keep the solemn feast of love, the Lord's supper:
he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth in by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate; that so such as were coming in, and going out, might not meet, and stop and hinder one another in going out and coming in: no mention is made of entering in by the east gate, which was only for the prince, Ezekiel 44:1, and there was no entering in, or going out, on the west:
he shall not return by the way of the gate he came in, but shall go forth over against it; signifying, that those that come to the house of God to worship, and join in communion with the saints, should not return to their former ways and practices; to their former rites, customs, and ceremonies in religion, used by them; and to their former principles and errors in doctrines; and to their former sinful courses of life; but go straight on and thorough stitch with it in their profession of Christ and his Gospel, and in the practice of spiritual and evangelic worship; see Luke 9:62.
And the prince in the midst of them,.... Christ in the midst of his people while worshipping; this situation of him agrees with all the descriptions of him; as the Angel in the midst of the bush on fire, and not consumed; as among the myrtle trees in the bottom; as walking in the midst of his golden candlesticks; as the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God; and as King, Priest, and Prophet, in his house; and with all the declarations and promises of his grace; and which is true in fact: and the phrase is expressive of his presence, not merely of his essential, powerful, and providential presence, common to all, but of his gracious presence with his people; he is in the midst of them, to assist them in every service; to protect them from every enemy; to sympathize with them in all their troubles; to deliver out of them; to supply them with all needful grace; and to rule over them, and defend them: and his being here shows that he is to be seen of all, to be come at and enjoyed by them; than which nothing is more desirable, and nothing more encouraging in the worship of God:
when they go in, shall go in; and when they go forth, shall go forth; when they go to the throne of grace, for grace and mercy to help in time of need, he goes with them; their access is through him; he introduces their persons, presents their petitions, is their advocate and intercessor for them, and for his sake they are heard and accepted: when they go into the house of God, and to the ordinances of it; when they go in and out to find pasture, he goes in with them, and before them, as the shepherd of the flock, and leads them into green pastures; he teaches them how to go in and out, and to behave themselves in the church of God; he is their guide, by way of instruction, both by his word and by his Spirit: when they go out from public service to their own houses, he goes with them, and by his Spirit brings to their remembrance what they have heard; and when they go forth into the world again, and the business of it, he goes forth with them, to preserve them from the evil of the world, and to keep them from falling; and when they go forth out of the world at death, he is with them through the dark valley; he sees them safe over Jordan's river, and introduces them into the heavenly Canaan, into his kingdom and glory, where they are for ever with him.
And in the feasts, and in the solemnities,.... Or, "appointed times"
the meat offering shall be an ephah to a bullock, and to the lambs as he is able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah; the same to be done on all feasts and solemnities as on the sabbath day; See Gill on Ezekiel 46:5.
Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering, or peace offerings voluntarily unto the Lord,.... That is, on week days, distinct from sabbath days, new moons, feasts, and solemnities, of which before; and seems to have respect to week day lectures, in distinction from the weekly and monthly stated times, for the ministry of the word and administration of the Lord's supper; in which lectures the principal thing insisted on must be the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and peace and reconciliation made by his blood; for the Gospel, which is to be preached in season and out of season, is the ministry of reconciliation, or the word preaching peace by Jesus Christ; and which should at all times be held forth, to the faith of God's people; which is meant by the preparation of these offerings: and being voluntary ones show not only that Christ's sacrifice was a willing one, and offered without any reluctance, with all readiness and cheerfulness; but also that week day lectures are voluntary things, which men are not under necessary obligation to attend unto, either ministers or people, but is a matter of free choice, as their circumstances will admit; and yet are acceptable to God, and agreeable to the will of Christ, the Prince, said to prepare these free will offerings:
one shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east: the place where he stood and worshipped on the sabbath day; on the evening of which it was shut, and remained so the six days of the week, Ezekiel 46:1 only when it was the prince's pleasure to offer a sacrifice, or to have the word preached, it was opened by one of the porters of the gates; or there was an open exercise of the ministry of the word, by one of the preachers of it:
and he shall prepare his burnt offerings, and his peace offerings, as he did on the sabbath day; the same doctrine, respecting the sacrifice and satisfaction of Christ, must be delivered at such times, as on Lord's days:
then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate; on the sabbath day, or the Lord's day, it was not to be shut till the evening, because that day is wholly to be devoted to the service of God; men are not to find their own ways, nor do their own work, nor seek their own pleasure; but on week days, when the lecture is over, the gate is shut immediately, and persons may return to their worldly business directly.
Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt offering unto the Lord,.... Called the daily sacrifice, Daniel 8:11 typical of Christ's sacrifice, which has a continual daily virtue in it, to take away the sins of his people; and which ought to be looked unto faith, and pleaded by them for that purpose every day John 1:29,
of a lamb of the first year without a blemish; a type of Christ the Lamb of God, without spot and blemish, strong and able, and so fit and proper to be a sacrifice for the sins of others:
thou shalt prepare it every morning; or, "morning by morning"
And thou shalt prepare a meat offering for morning,.... That is, for the daily burnt offering to go along with it; prayer and thanksgiving for our temporal and spiritual food, which should be done every morning:
the sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of an hin of oil, to temper with the fine flour; to mix with it, and moisten it: under the law, only a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour, and a fourth part of a hin of oil, were ordered to make this meat offering of, Exodus 29:40, wherefore Kimchi observes, this is a new thing in time to come: the reason of it is this; to show us, that as the blessings of grace abound under the Gospel dispensation, we should abound in our thanksgiving to God:
a meat offering, continually, by a perpetual ordinance unto the Lord; these sorts of sacrifices are never to cease; and so the Jews
"in future time, or in the days of the Messiah, all sacrifices shall cease; but the sacrifice of praise shall not cease.'
Thus shall they prepare,.... This shows that not a single person is meant in the preceding verses, but all the Lord's people; who are all priests unto God, and who are to offer up daily spiritual sacrifices unto him:
the lamb, and the meat offering, and the oil every morning, for a continual burnt offering; which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and to excite a careful and constant attention to it.
Thus saith the Lord God,.... Having finished the account of the sacrifices of the prince and people, the monthly, weekly, and daily ones; here his gifts are treated of, which are two fold; some given to his sons, others to his servants:
if the prince give a gift to any of his sons; Christ, the Prince, has sons; he that is the Prince, of peace is the everlasting Father; he has children given unto him, whom he preserves; a seed promised him in covenant, which shall always endure; a family he is master of, and cares for; for whose sake he became incarnate, suffered, and died: they are sons by adopting grace, and in their adoption he has a great concern; they are predestinated to it by him; they receive it through him; he gives them power to become the sons of God, and they are manifestatively so through faith in him; they appear to be his sons, or are evidenced as such by their regeneration, which also is of him: it is by his Spirit they are regenerated; it is his grace that is implanted in them; it is he himself that is formed in them, and his image that is stamped upon them; it is owing to his word and Gospel as the means and to his resurrection as the virtual cause of it; it is in his church they are born, yea, of her, to whom he stands in the relation of a husband, and so they are sons brought forth to him by her; and these are princes by birth, have a free and princely spirit, and are brought up and provided for as such: now to these Christ gives gifts; gifts of special grace, all sorts of grace; sanctifying grace, faith, hope, love, repentance, &c.; justifying grace, the gift of righteousness; pardoning grace; adopting grace; all supplies of grace; spiritual strength, peace, joy and comfort; and persevering grace, to hold out to the end: and he also gives glory or eternal life; this is with him, in his hands; he has a power to give and he does give it, to all his sons; all which, being once given, ever continue.
The inheritance thereof shall be his sons', it shall be their possession by inheritance; that is, it shall ever remain with them, shall never be taken away from them; these are gifts and calling without repentance, irreversible blessings, which are for ever: sanctifying grace is a well of living water, springing up unto eternal life; faith, hope, and love, always abide; Christ's justifying righteousness is an everlasting one; pardon of sin is of all sin, past, present, and to come, and is never made void or called in; once children of God, and always such; and the inheritance of heaven is incorruptible, never fading, and eternal; and all this flows from the unchangeable love of God and Christ to these sons of the prince.
But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants,.... Who are not his sons, but his hired servants, and who serve him in a mercenary way; such are unregenerate ministers of the word, who preach Christ in pretence, and not in reality, for by ends, to serve themselves, and not him, or to advance his glory; and all carnal professors, who have only an outside of religion, a form of godliness without the power of it: to these Christ gives gifts, the gifts of nature, wealth, and riches, to some, to whom he gives not grace; these are his left hand blessings, which are given to the men of the world, who have their portion in this life: to others external means, the word and ordinances, but not internal special grace; yea, to some, gifts for the ministry, so as to be able to prophesy or preach in his name, which are meant by the talents, and pounds in the parable; some of which were given to slothful and unprofitable servants; see Matthew 7:20.
Then it shall be his to the year of liberty; the servant's to whom it is given, as long as the prince pleases; who when they make no use, or an ill use of them, takes them away in lifetime, and gives them to those that have more, and employ them to better purpose, Zechariah 11:17, or however at death, which is a time of liberty from civil bondage, the servant is free from his master; and when good men are freed from the oppression of others, and from sin, Satan, and the world, and are delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God; this is a year of liberty indeed to them; and then all external gifts to others, as riches, are held no longer; the word and ordinances no more enjoyed; prophesying, speaking with tongues, and all mere natural knowledge, cease, and vanish away, 1 Corinthians 13:8, the allusion is to the year of jubilee, when liberty was proclaimed throughout the land, and every man returned to his possession, and to his family, Leviticus 25:10, and so the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret it of the year of jubilee; a type of the heavenly glory, and of the joy of the Lord, which Christ's faithful servants enter into; and when there will be a manifest difference between them and slothful servants, and the gifts of the one and of the other, and of their use of them, as well as between sons and servants:
after it shall return to the prince; signifying that such gifts are not durable; they are revertible to the donor of them; who will call these servants to an account for them at death or judgment, if not in time of life:
but his inheritance shall be his sons' for them; the prince's inheritance shall be theirs; for being sons they are heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ: or that which is given them for an inheritance shall always continue; it shall never be taken from them or returned; but it shall be their own, for themselves, and enjoy it for ever; which is a confirmation of what is said in the preceding verse.
Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession,.... Christ, the Prince, will never do this; he will never take any part of his people's inheritance from them, or thrust them out of the possession of any benefit or blessing of grace; they have chosen that good part which shall never be taken from them, Luke 10:42, this is said, not as a direction to the prince, as a law enjoined him, or a caution to him against oppression; but as expressing his clemency, grace, and goodness to his subjects, and their safety and security under him:
but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession; whatever Christ gives his sons, whether present grace, or future glory, it is out of his own possession; for all that the Father has are his; all the blessings of goodness are with him; all the fulness of grace is in him; the eternal inheritance is reserved with him in heaven; and it is all his own he gives, and not another's:
that my people be not scattered every man from his possession; or, "that therefore my people may not be scattered every" "men from his possession"
After he brought me through the entry, which was at the side of the gate,.... The north gate of the inner court, where the prophet was last, Ezekiel 44:4, through an entry, by the side of that, he was brought by the man his guide:
into the holy chambers of the priests; see Ezekiel 42:13,
and, behold, there was a place in the two sides westward; or, "on their sides westward"
Then said he unto me,.... Declaring what this place was, and what it was for:
this is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass offering, and the sin offering; this was the priests' kitchen, in which they prepared the sacrifices that were to be eaten; and which were typical of Christ, who was made sin, and became a sacrifice for the sins of his people, whether presumptuous ones, or sins of ignorance; the doctrine of whose sacrifice and satisfaction is a principal part of the Gospel ministry; and which should be delivered, not in a raw, crude, and indigested manner; but the Scriptures should be diligently searched into, to get a clear and distinct understanding of it; and these should be constantly meditated on, and thoroughly studied: ministers should examine their doctrine by the word of God before they deliver it; and take heed unto it that it is right, according to the oracles of God, and the proportion of faith; and take care to deliver it in the best manner, not in a cold lukewarm way, but with fervency of spirit; all which may be meant by the boiling of these sacrifices; it seems to design the laborious and diligent employ of Gospel ministers in their studies, preparatory to their public work in the house of God; and suggests that they should not come thither unprepared, and deliver out unpremeditated matter; or set before the Lord's people undigested food; or offer that in the sanctuary of the Lord which cost them no pains or trouble: this place, and so the boiling places in Ezekiel 46:24, are to be understood of the closets, studies, and places of retirement, where the ministers of the word employ their time and thoughts in preparing for their public ministry; for these were without the sanctuary, on the side of the priests' chambers, and in the corners of the outward court:
where they shall bake the meat offering; or "bread offering"
that they bear them not out in the utter court, to sanctify the people; that they might not be carried through the outer court, where the common people were; lest they should think it was lawful for them to eat of them as Kimchi observes, when they belonged to the priests only; or lest they should touch them, and become holy thereby, and so for the future be employed in sacred service, and obliged to quit the duties of their calling, which would, introduce confusion in the commonwealth; see Haggai 2:12, the Targum is,
"lest they be mixed with the people.'
The design seems to be to show, that the doctrine of peace, pardon, atonement, and satisfaction for sin, is only to be preached as belonging to such that truly repent of sin, and believe in Christ; and particularly that the ordinance of the Lord's supper, in which the sacrifice of Christ is held forth and commemorated, is to be administered, not to men in common, but to holy and regenerate persons; to do otherwise would be to cast pearls before swine, and give that which is holy to dogs.
Then he brought me forth into the utter court,.... From the holy chambers of the priests, and from viewing the place where they boiled the sacrifices, and baked the meat offering:
and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; in each of the four corners of the outward court there was another court; signifying that there will be courts or churches in the several parts of the world in the latter day.
In the four corners of the court there were courts joined,.... To the side walls of the outward court, which met in right angles: or, "were made with chimneys"
of forty cubits long, and thirty broad; an oblong quadrangle:
these four corners were of one measure; the courts that were in these four corners were, of the same measure, as to length and breadth; denoting the equality of Gospel churches, being of the same faith, order and discipline, power and authority.
And there was a row of building round about in them,.... Within the courts, not on the outside of them: these were either chambers to eat the sacrifices in when boiled; or they were sheds which covered the cooks, and the meat they were boiling, from the rain, &c.: the Targum renders it,
"and walls were made to them round about;'
to the court: and so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret this row of building of a stone wall:
round about them four; the four courts at the four corners:
and it was made with boiling places under the rows round about; under these rows of building, chambers or sheds; or under these stone walls were furnaces, and coppers, and caldrons, set on them, for the boiling of the sacrifices.
Then said he unto me, these are the places of them that boil,.... The kitchens, in which those whose business it was to boil the sacrifices did it; and who they were are next declared:
where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people; these seem to be the Levites, as distinct from the priests before mentioned; though in this prophecy they are both used of the same persons; see Ezekiel 44:15, the sacrifice of the people were the peace offerings, which the people might eat of, but were first to be boiled; typical of peace and reconciliation made by Christ, held forth in the ministry of the word, called from thence the word of reconciliation: of the boiling of sacrifices; see Gill on Ezekiel 44:15. The Targum is,
"the holy sacrifices of the people;'
see Romans 12:1.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 46". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://pro.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent