Ezekiel 44International Children’s Bible (ICB)
The Outer East Gate
44 Then the man brought me back to the outer east gate of the Temple area. The gate was shut. 2 The Lord said to me, “This gate will stay shut. It will not be opened. No one may enter through it. This is because the Lord God of Israel has entered through it. So it must stay shut. 3 Only the ruler himself may sit in the gateway to eat bread before the Lord. He must enter through the porch of the gateway and go out the same way.”
4 Then the man brought me through the outer north gate. He brought me to the front of the Temple. I looked and saw the greatness of the Lord. It was filling the Temple of the Lord. I bowed facedown on the ground.
5 The Lord said to me, “Human being, pay attention. See this with your eyes. And hear this with your ears. See and hear everything I tell you about all the rules and teachings of the Temple of the Lord. Pay attention to the entrance to the Temple and to all the exits from the Temple area. 6 Then speak to those who refuse to obey. Say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: Stop doing all your acts that I hate, Israel! 7 You brought foreigners into my Holy Place. They were not circumcised in the flesh. They had not given themselves to serving me. You dishonored my Temple when you offered me food, fat and blood. You broke my agreement by all your ways that I hate. 8 And you have not taken care of my holy things. You put foreigners in charge of my Temple. 9 This is what the Lord God says: Foreigners who are not circumcised in flesh and who do not give themselves to serving me may not enter my Temple. Even a foreigner living among the people of Israel may not enter.
10 “‘Some Levites stopped obeying me when Israel left me and followed their idols. These Levites must be punished for their sin. 11 These Levites are to be servants in my Holy Place. They may guard the gates of the Temple. They may serve in the Temple. They may kill the animals for the burnt offering and the sacrifices for the people. They may stand before the people to serve them. 12 But these Levites helped the people worship their idols and caused the people of Israel to fall. So I have made this promise: They will be punished for their sin, says the Lord God. 13 They will not come near me to serve as priests. They will not come near any of my holy things or the most holy offerings. But they will be ashamed of the things they did that I hate. 14 But I will make them take care of the Temple. They will take care of everything that must be done in it.
15 “‘But this is not true for priests who are Levites and descendants of Zadok. They took care of my Holy Place when Israel left me. They may come near to serve me. They may stand in my presence. They will offer me the fat and blood of the animals they sacrifice, says the Lord God. 16 They are the only ones who may enter my Holy Place. They may come near my table to serve me. They may take care of the things I gave them.
17 “‘When they enter the gates of the inner courtyard, they must wear linen robes. They must not wear wool to serve at the gates of the inner courtyard or in the Temple. 18 They will wear linen turbans on their heads and linen underclothes. They will not wear anything that makes them perspire. 19 At times they will go out into the outer courtyard to the people. But before they go, they must take off their serving clothes. They must put these clothes away in the holy rooms. And they must put on other clothes. Then they will not let their holy clothes hurt the people.
20 “‘They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long. They must keep the hair of their heads trimmed. 21 None of the priests may drink wine when they enter the inner courtyard. 22 The priests must not marry a widow or a divorced woman. They may marry only virgins from the people of Israel. Or they may marry a widow of a priest. 23 They must teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is not holy. They must help my people know what is unclean and what is clean.
24 “‘In court they will act as judges. When they judge, they will follow my teachings. They must obey my laws and my rules at all my special feasts. They must keep my Sabbaths holy.
25 “‘They must not go near a dead person, making themselves unclean. But they are allowed to make themselves unclean if the dead person is a relative. It might be his father, mother, son, daughter, brother or a sister who has not married. 26 After the priest has been made clean again, he must wait seven days. 27 Then he may go into the inner courtyard to serve in the Temple. But he must offer a sin offering for himself, says the Lord God.
28 “‘These are the rules about the priests and their property: They will have me instead of property. You will not give them any land to own in Israel. I am what they will own. 29 They will eat the grain offerings, sin offerings and penalty offerings. Everything Israel offers will be theirs. 30 And the best fruits of all the first harvests will be for the priests. And they will have all the special gifts offered to me. You will also give to the priests the first part of your grain that you grind. This will cause a blessing to come on your house. 31 The priests must not eat any bird or animal that died a natural death. And they must not eat one that has been torn by wild animals.
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