Ezekiel 44 New Life Version (NLV)
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. 2 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. 3 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
4 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. 5 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. 6 Tell the sinful people of Israel, ‘The Lord God says, “Enough of your hated sins, O people of Israel! 7 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. 8 And you have not taken care of My holy things yourselves. You have let strangers take care of My holy place.” 9 ‘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.