Ezekiel 44International Standard Version (ISV)
The Vision of the Outer Gates
44 Then the Lord God[a] brought me back through the east-facing outer gate of the sanctuary. But it was shut. 2 The Lord told me, “This gate is to remain shut. It will not be opened. No man is to enter through it, because the Lord God of Israel entered through it, so it is to remain shut. 3 The Regent[b] Prince[c] will be seated there,[d] as Regent Prince, and will dine in the Lord’s presence, entering through the portico of the gate and exiting through it also.”
The Front of the Temple
4 Then he brought me through the north-facing gate to the front of the Temple. As I looked, the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s Temple, and I fell flat on my face! 5 Then the Lord told me, “Son of Man, watch carefully,[e] listen closely,[f] and remember[g] everything I’m going to be telling you about all the statutes pertaining to the Lord’s Temple and all of its laws. Pay careful attention to the entrance to the Temple, along with all of the exits from the sanctuary.”
A Rebuke to the Rebellious
6 “You are to tell the Resistance—that is, the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: “I’ve had enough of all of your loathsome behavior, you house of Israel! 7 You kept on bringing in foreigners, those who were uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to profane my sanctuary by being inside my Temple, and by doing so you’ve emptied my covenant, all the while offering my food—the fat and the blood—in addition to all of the other loathsome things you’ve done.[h] 8 Furthermore, you haven’t paid attention to the requirements for my holy things. Instead, you placed foreigners in charge of my sanctuary.”’
9 “This is what the Lord God says, ‘No foreigner who is both uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the Israelis is to enter my sanctuary. 10 But the descendants of Levi, who went far away from me when Israel abandoned me, who left me to follow their idols, are to bear the punishment of their iniquity. 11 Nevertheless, they are to serve in my sanctuary, overseeing the gates of the Temple, taking care of the Temple, slaughtering the burnt offerings and the sacrifices presented for the people, standing in the presence of the people, and ministering to them. 12 Because they kept serving them in the presence of their idols, becoming a sin-filled stumbling block to the house of Israel,’ declares the Lord God.
“‘I have sworn to them that they are to bear the consequences of their iniquity. 13 They are not to come near me to serve me as a priest, nor approach any of my holy things, including the most holy things. Instead, they are to bear the shame of the loathsome things that they have done. 14 Nevertheless, I will appoint them to take care of my Temple, including all of its service and everything that is to be done inside of it.’”
15 “The descendants of Zadok, Levitical priests who took care of my sanctuary when the Israelis wandered away from me, are to come near me to minister to me. They are to stand before me to offer the fat and the blood to me,” declares the Lord God. 16 “They are to enter my sanctuary, approach my table to minister to me, and carry out my requirements. 17 Whenever they enter at the gates of the inner court, they are to be clothed with linen garments. They are not to wear wool when they are ministering within the gates of the inner courtyard or in the Temple. 18 Linen turbans are to be on their heads, and they are to wear linen undergarments. Also, they are not to clothe themselves with anything that makes them perspire.
19 “When they enter the outer courtyard, that is, the outer courtyard where the people are, they are to take off their garments in which they were ministering, lay them in the consecrated chambers, and put on different garments so they will not transfer[i] holiness to the people through their garments. 20 Also, they are not to shave their heads nor let their hair grow long. Instead, they are certainly to trim the hair on[j] their heads. 21 None of the priests are to drink wine after entering the inner courtyard. 22 They are not to marry[k] a widow or a divorced woman. Instead, they are to marry[l] virgins from the descendants of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest.”
Duties of Ministry
23 “They are to teach my people how to discern[m] what is holy in contrast to what is common, showing them how to discern between what is unclean and clean. 24 When disputes arise, they are to serve as a judge, adjudicating matters according to my ordinances. They are to enforce my laws, my statutes, all of my appointed festivals, and they are to sanctify my Sabbaths. 25 They are not to come in contact with a dead body, so they don’t defile themselves, except in the case of their father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or for an unmarried sister, on whose behalf they may defile themselves. 26 After he is cleansed from that contact,[n] he is to not to minister for seven days. 27 On the day that he returns to the sanctuary’s inner court to minister, he is to offer his own sin offering,” declares the Lord God.
28 “Now with respect to the priests’[o] inheritances, I am to be their inheritance, and you are to give them no possession in Israel, since I am their possession. 29 They are to eat the grain offerings, sin offering, and guilt offering. Everything consecrated in Israel is to belong to them. 30 The first portion of all the first fruits of every kind and every offering of any kind is to be for the priests. You are to give the priest the first portion of your grain. As a result a blessing will rest on your household. 31 However, the priests are not to eat any bird or animal that has died a natural death or that has been torn apart.”
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