Ezekiel 42-44 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Sacred Rooms for the Priests
42 1-2 After the man and I left the temple and walked back to the outer courtyard, he showed me a set of rooms on the north side of the west building.[a] This set of rooms was one hundred seventy feet long and eighty-five feet wide. 3 On one side of them was the thirty-four feet of open space that ran alongside the temple,[b] and on the other side was the sidewalk that circled the outer courtyard.[c] The rooms were arranged in three levels 4 with doors that opened toward the north, and in front of them was a walkway seventeen feet wide and one hundred seventy feet long.[d] 5 The rooms on the top level were narrower than those on the middle level, and the rooms on the middle level were narrower than those on the bottom level. 6 The rooms on the bottom level supported those on the two upper levels, and so these rooms did not have columns like other buildings in the courtyard. 7-8 To the north was a privacy wall eighty-five feet long,[e] 9-10 and at the east end of this wall was the door leading from the courtyard to these rooms.
There was also a set of rooms on the south[f] side of the west building. 11 These rooms were exactly like those on the north side, and they also had a walkway in front of them. 12 The door to these rooms was at the east end of the wall that stood in front of them.
13 The man then said to me:
These rooms on the north and south sides of the temple are the sacred rooms where the Lord’s priests will eat the most holy offerings. These offerings include the grain sacrifices, the sacrifices for sin, and the sacrifices to make things right. 14 When the priests are ready to leave the temple, they must go through these rooms before they return to the outer courtyard. They must leave their sacred clothes in these rooms and put on regular clothes before going anywhere near other people.
The Size of the Temple Area
15 After the man had finished measuring the buildings inside the temple area, he took me back through the east gate and measured the wall around this area. 16 He used his measuring stick to measure the east side of this wall; it was eight hundred forty feet long. 17-19 Then he measured the north side, the south side, and the west side of the wall, and they were each eight hundred forty feet long, 20 and so the temple area was a perfect square. The wall around this area separated what was sacred from what was ordinary.
The Lord’s Glory Returns to the Temple
43 The man took me back to the east gate of the temple, 2 where I saw the brightness of the glory of Israel’s God coming from the east. The sound I heard was as loud as ocean waves, and everything around was shining with the dazzling brightness of his glory. 3 This vision was like the one I had seen when God came to destroy Jerusalem and like the one I had seen near the Chebar River.
I immediately bowed with my face to the ground, 4 and the Lord’s glory came through the east gate and into the temple.[g] 5 The Lord’s Spirit lifted me to my feet and carried me to the inner courtyard, where I saw that the Lord’s glory had filled the temple.
6 The man was standing beside me, and I heard the Lord[h] say from inside the temple:
7 Ezekiel, son of man, this temple is my throne on earth. I will live here among the people of Israel forever. They and their kings will never again disgrace me by worshiping idols at local shrines or by setting up memorials to their dead kings.[i] 8 Israel’s kings built their palaces so close to my holy temple that only a wall separated them from me. Then these kings disgraced me with their evil ways, and in my fierce anger I destroyed them. 9 But if the people and their kings stop worshiping other gods and tear down those memorials, I will live among them forever.
10 The people of Israel must suffer shame for sinning against me, so tell them about my holy temple. Let them think about it, 11 then if they are truly sorry, describe for them the design and shape of the temple, the gates, the measurements, and how the buildings are arranged. Explain the regulations about worshiping there, then write down these things, so they can study and obey them.
12 The temple area on my holy mountain must be kept sacred! This is the most important law about the temple.
13 According to the official standards, the altar in the temple had the following measurements: Around the bottom of the altar was a gutter twenty inches wide and twenty inches deep, with a ten inch ledge on the outer rim. 14-17 The altar rested on a base and had three sections, each one of them square. The bottom section was twenty-seven feet on each side and three feet high. The middle section was twenty-four feet on each side and seven feet high, and it had a ten inch rim around its outer edge. The top section, which was twenty feet on each side and seven feet high, was the place where sacrifices were burned, and the four corners of the top section looked like the horns of a bull. The steps leading up to the altar were on the east side.
The Dedication of the Altar
18 The Lord God said:
Ezekiel, son of man, after the altar is built, it must be dedicated by offering sacrifices on it and by splattering it with blood. Here is what you must do: 19 The priests of the Levi tribe from the family of Zadok the priest are the only ones who may serve in my temple—this is my law. So give them a young bull to slaughter as a sacrifice for sin. 20 Take some of the animal’s blood and smear it on the four corners of the altar, some on the corners of the middle section, and some more on the rim around its edge. That will purify the altar and make it fit for offering sacrifices to me. 21 Then take the body of the bull outside the temple area and burn it at the special place.
22 The next day, a goat[j] that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Purify the altar with its blood, just as you did with the blood of the bull. 23 Then choose a young bull and a young ram that have nothing wrong with them, 24 and bring them to my temple. The priests will sprinkle salt on them[k] and offer them as sacrifices to please me.[l]
25 Each day for the next seven days, you must offer a goat and a bull and a ram as sacrifices for sin. These animals must have nothing wrong with them. 26 The priests will purify the altar during those days, so that it will be acceptable to me and ready to use. 27 From then on, the priests will use this altar to offer sacrifices to please me and sacrifices to ask my blessing.[m] Then I will be pleased with the people of Israel. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
The East Gate Must Remain Closed
44 The man took me back to the outer courtyard, near the east gate of the temple area. I saw that the doors to this gate were closed. 2 The Lord said:
I, the Lord God of Israel, came through this gate, so it must remain closed forever! No one must ever use it. 3 The ruler of Israel may come here to eat a sacrificial meal that has been offered to me, but he must use only the entrance room of this gate.
People Who Are Not Allowed in the Temple
4 Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the temple. I saw that the brightness of the Lord’s glory had filled the temple, and I immediately bowed with my face to the ground.
5 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, I am going to give you the laws for my temple. So pay attention and listen carefully to what kind of people are allowed to come in the temple, and what kind are not. 6 Tell those rebellious people of Israel:
I, the Lord God, command you to stop your evil ways! 7 My temple has been disgraced, because you have let godless, stubborn foreigners come here when sacrifices are being offered to me. You have sinned and have broken our solemn agreement. 8 Instead of following the proper ways to worship me, you have put foreigners in charge of worship at my temple.
9 And so I, the Lord God, say that no godless foreigner who disobeys me will be allowed in my temple. This includes any foreigner living in Israel.
The Levites Are Punished
The Lord said:
10 Some of the Levites turned their backs on me and joined the other people of Israel in worshiping idols. So these Levites must be punished! 11 They will still be allowed to serve me as temple workers by guarding the gates and by killing the animals to be sacrificed and by helping the worshipers. 12 But because these Levites served the people of Israel when they worshiped idols, I, the Lord God, promise that the Levites will be punished. They did not stop the Israelites from sinning, 13 and now I will no longer let the Levites serve as my priests or come near anything sacred to me. They must suffer shame and disgrace for their disgusting sins. 14 They will be responsible for all the hard work that must be done in the temple.
Rules for Priests
The Lord said:
15 The priests of the Levi tribe who are descendants of Zadok the priest were faithful to me, even when the rest of the Israelites turned away. And so, these priests will continue to serve as my priests and to offer the fat and the blood of sacrifices. 16 They will come into my temple, where they will offer sacrifices at my altar and lead others in worship.
17 When they come to the inner courtyard, they must wear their linen priestly clothes. My priests must never wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in this courtyard or in the temple. 18 Even their turbans and underwear must be made of linen to keep my priests from sweating when they work. 19 And before they leave to join the other people in the outer courtyard, they must take off their priestly clothes, then place them in the sacred rooms and put on their regular clothes.[n] That way, no one will touch their sacred clothes and be harmed.[o]
20 Priests must never shave their heads when they are mourning. But they must keep their hair properly trimmed and not let it grow too long. 21 They must not drink wine before going to the inner courtyard.
22 A priest must not marry a divorced woman; he can marry only a virgin from Israel or the widow of another priest.
23 Priests must teach my people the difference between what is sacred and what is ordinary, and between what is clean and what is unclean. 24 They will make decisions in difficult legal cases, according to my own laws. They must also observe the religious festivals my Law requires and must always respect the Sabbath.
25 Touching a dead body will make a person unclean. So a priest must not go near a dead body, unless it is one of his parents or children, or his brother or unmarried sister. 26 If a priest touches a dead body, he is unclean and must go through a ceremony to make himself clean. Then seven days later, 27 he must go to the inner courtyard of the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. After that, he may once again serve as my priest. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
28 I myself will provide for my priests, and so they won’t receive any land of their own. 29 Instead, they will receive part of the grain sacrifices, as well as part of the sacrifices for sin and sacrifices to make things right. They will also be given everything in Israel that has been completely dedicated to me.[p] 30 The first part of every harvest will belong to the priests. They will also receive part of all special gifts and offerings the Israelites bring to me. And whenever any of my people bake bread, they will give their first loaf as an offering to the priests, and I will bless the homes of the people when they do this.
31 Priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that has been killed by a wild animal.
1 John 1 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
1 The Word that gives life
Our ears have heard,
2 The one who gives life appeared! We saw it happen, and we are witnesses to what we have seen. Now we are telling you about this eternal life that was with the Father and appeared to us. 3 We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so that you may share in this life with us. And we share in it with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing to tell you these things, because this makes us[a] truly happy.
God Is Light
5 Jesus told us that God is light and doesn’t have any darkness in him. Now we are telling you.
6 If we say that we share in life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth. 7 But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away. 8 If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn’t in our hearts. 9 But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and his message isn’t in our hearts.[b]
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