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The Use of the East Gate

44 Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the holy place, toward the east, and it was shut. The Lord said to me, “This gate must stay shut. It must not be opened. No one may come in through it, for the Lord God of Israel has come in through it. So it must stay shut. Only the ruler may sit at the gate to eat bread before the Lord. He must come in through the porch of the gate, and go out the same way.”

Those Who Could Go In to the House of God

Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the house. There I saw the shining-greatness of the Lord filling the Lord’s house, and I fell with my face to the ground. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, be careful to see with your eyes and to hear with your ears everything that I say to you about all the rules and laws of the Lord’s house. Be careful to learn which persons are allowed to go in and out of the Lord’s house, and which persons are not allowed. Tell the sinful people of Israel, ‘The Lord God says, “Enough of your hated sins, O people of Israel! You have brought in strangers, who had not gone through the religious act of becoming a Jew, and who were sinful in their heart. You brought them into My holy place to make it unclean, when you brought My food of the fat and the blood. You have broken My agreement by all your hated sins. And you have not taken care of My holy things yourselves. You have let strangers take care of My holy place.” ‘So the Lord God says, “No stranger among the people of Israel who has not gone through the religious act of becoming a Jew, and is sinful in his heart, may come into My holy place.

Levites Cannot Be Religious Leaders

10 “The Levites who went far from Me when Israel left Me to follow their false gods, will be punished for their sin. 11 They may do the work in My holy place. They may watch over the gates of the house and do the work in the house. They may kill the burnt gifts and the gifts brought by the people. And they may stand in front of the people to serve them. 12 But because they served them in front of their false gods and caused the people of Israel to sin, I have promised,” says the Lord God, “that they will be punished for their sin. 13 They must not come near Me to serve Me as a religious leader. They must not come near any of My holy things and the things that are most holy. But they must suffer their shame because of the hated sins they have done. 14 Yet I will have them take care of the house and do all the work that is needed to be done in it.

Zadok’s Sons to Serve in the House of God

15 “But the Levite religious leaders of the sons of Zadok took care of My holy place when the people of Israel left Me. So they will come near Me to serve Me. They will stand before Me to give Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord God. 16 “They will come into My holy place and come near My table, to serve Me and to do My work. 17 When they come through the gates of the inner open space, they will be dressed in linen clothing. They must not wear any wool while they are serving inside the gates of the inner open space or in the house. 18 They will wear linen head-coverings and linen underclothes. They must not dress in anything that makes their bodies wet with heat. 19 When they go out to the people in the outer open space, they must take off the clothes they wear while they serve Me, and lay them in the holy rooms. Then they will put on other clothes, so that they do not make the people holy because of their clothing. 20 And they must not cut all the hair from their heads, yet they must not let their hair grow long. They must only cut their hair shorter. 21 None of the religious leaders may drink wine when they come into the inner open space. 22 They must not marry a woman whose husband has died, or who has been divorced. But they may marry women of Israel who have never had a man, or a woman whose husband was a religious leader before he died. 23 They will teach My people the difference between what is holy and what is not. And they will teach them to know what is unclean and what is clean. 24 In an argument, the religious leaders will serve as judges, and will judge by My Laws. They will also keep My Laws in all My special suppers. And they will keep My Day of Rest holy. 25 They must not make themselves unclean by going near a dead person. But they may make themselves unclean if the dead person is their father or mother, son or daughter, brother, or sister who was not married. 26 After a religious leader has become clean again, he must wait seven days. 27 And on the day he goes into the holy place, into the inner open space to serve in the holy place, he must bring his sin gift,” says the Lord God.

28 “I am to be the only part that the religious leaders have. You must not give them any land in Israel for their own. I am their part. 29 They will eat the grain gift, the sin gift, and the guilt gift. Everything in Israel that is set apart to Me will be theirs. 30 The first of all the first fruits of every kind, and every kind of gift you bring, will be for the religious leaders. And you must give them the first of your grain, so that good will come to your house. 31 The religious leaders must not eat any bird or animal that has died of itself or has been torn to pieces.

The Priesthood Restored

44 Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east,(A) and it was shut. The Lord said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it.(B) It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it. The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence(C) of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.(D)

Then the man brought me by way of the north gate(E) to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple(F) of the Lord, and I fell facedown.(G)

The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations and instructions regarding the temple of the Lord. Give attention to the entrance(H) to the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary.(I) Say to rebellious Israel,(J) ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough of your detestable practices, people of Israel! In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart(K) and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant.(L) Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary.(M) This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.(N)

10 “‘The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray(O) and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin.(P) 11 They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings(Q) and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them.(R) 12 But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall(S) into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand(T) that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord.(U) 13 They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame(V) of their detestable practices.(W) 14 And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done in it.(X)

15 “‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok(Y) and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat(Z) and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord.(AA) 16 They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table(AB) to minister before me and serve me as guards.(AC)

17 “‘When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen clothes;(AD) they must not wear any woolen garment while ministering at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple. 18 They are to wear linen turbans(AE) on their heads and linen undergarments(AF) around their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them perspire.(AG) 19 When they go out into the outer court where the people are, they are to take off the clothes they have been ministering in and are to leave them in the sacred rooms, and put on other clothes, so that the people are not consecrated(AH) through contact with their garments.(AI)

20 “‘They must not shave(AJ) their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.(AK) 21 No priest is to drink wine when he enters the inner court.(AL) 22 They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests.(AM) 23 They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common(AN) and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.(AO)

24 “‘In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges(AP) and decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed festivals,(AQ) and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.(AR)

25 “‘A priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person; however, if the dead person was his father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister, then he may defile himself.(AS) 26 After he is cleansed, he must wait seven days.(AT) 27 On the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary(AU) to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering[a](AV) for himself, declares the Sovereign Lord.

28 “‘I am to be the only inheritance(AW) the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession. 29 They will eat(AX) the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings; and everything in Israel devoted[b] to the Lord(AY) will belong to them.(AZ) 30 The best of all the firstfruits(BA) and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal(BB) so that a blessing(BC) may rest on your household.(BD) 31 The priests must not eat anything, whether bird or animal, found dead(BE) or torn by wild animals.(BF)

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 44:27 Or purification offering; also in verse 29
  2. Ezekiel 44:29 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord.

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