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The Lord’s Glory Returns

43 After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory. This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came[a] to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway.

Then the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. And I heard someone speaking to me from within the Temple, while the man who had been measuring stood beside me. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. I will live here forever among the people of Israel. They and their kings will not defile my holy name any longer by their adulterous worship of other gods or by honoring the relics of their kings who have died.[b] They put their idol altars right next to mine with only a wall between them and me. They defiled my holy name by such detestable sin, so I consumed them in my anger. Now let them stop worshiping other gods and honoring the relics of their kings, and I will live among them forever.

10 “Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, 11 and they will be ashamed[c] of what they have done. Describe to them all the specifications of the Temple—including its entrances and exits—and everything else about it. Tell them about its decrees and laws. Write down all these specifications and decrees as they watch so they will be sure to remember and follow them. 12 And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple.

The Altar

13 “These are the measurements of the altar[d]: There is a gutter all around the altar 21 inches deep and 21 inches wide,[e] with a curb 9 inches[f] wide around its edge. And this is the height[g] of the altar: 14 From the gutter the altar rises 3 1⁄2 feet[h] to a lower ledge that surrounds the altar and is 21 inches[i] wide. From the lower ledge the altar rises 7 feet[j] to the upper ledge that is also 21 inches wide. 15 The top of the altar, the hearth, rises another 7 feet higher, with a horn rising up from each of the four corners. 16 The top of the altar is square, measuring 21 feet by 21 feet.[k] 17 The upper ledge also forms a square, measuring 24 1⁄2 feet by 24 1⁄2 feet,[l] with a 21-inch gutter and a 10 1⁄2-inch curb[m] all around the edge. There are steps going up the east side of the altar.”

18 Then he said to me, “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: These will be the regulations for the burning of offerings and the sprinkling of blood when the altar is built. 19 At that time, the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who minister before me, are to be given a young bull for a sin offering, says the Sovereign Lord. 20 You will take some of its blood and smear it on the four horns of the altar, the four corners of the upper ledge, and the curb that runs around that ledge. This will cleanse and make atonement for the altar. 21 Then take the young bull for the sin offering and burn it at the appointed place outside the Temple area.

22 “On the second day, sacrifice as a sin offering a young male goat that has no physical defects. Then cleanse and make atonement for the altar again, just as you did with the young bull. 23 When you have finished the cleansing ceremony, offer another young bull that has no defects and a perfect ram from the flock. 24 You are to present them to the Lord, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and offer them as a burnt offering to the Lord.

25 “Every day for seven days a male goat, a young bull, and a ram from the flock will be sacrificed as a sin offering. None of these animals may have physical defects of any kind. 26 Do this each day for seven days to cleanse and make atonement for the altar, thus setting it apart for holy use. 27 On the eighth day, and on each day afterward, the priests will sacrifice on the altar the burnt offerings and peace offerings of the people. Then I will accept you. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

The Prince, Levites, and Priests

44 Then the man brought me back to the east gateway in the outer wall of the Temple area, but it was closed. And the Lord said to me, “This gate must remain closed; it will never again be opened. No one will ever open it and pass through, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered here. Therefore, it must always remain shut. Only the prince himself may sit inside this gateway to feast in the Lord’s presence. But he may come and go only through the entry room of the gateway.”

Then the man brought me through the north gateway to the front of the Temple. I looked and saw that the glory of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord, and I fell face down on the ground.

And the Lord said to me, “Son of man, take careful notice. Use your eyes and ears, and listen to everything I tell you about the regulations concerning the Lord’s Temple. Take careful note of the procedures for using the Temple’s entrances and exits. And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign Lord: O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary—people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary.

“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigners, including those who live among the people of Israel, will enter my sanctuary if they have not been circumcised and have not surrendered themselves to the Lord. 10 And the men of the tribe of Levi who abandoned me when Israel strayed away from me to worship idols[n] must bear the consequences of their unfaithfulness. 11 They may still be Temple guards and gatekeepers, and they may slaughter the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people. 12 But they encouraged my people to worship idols, causing Israel to fall into deep sin. So I have taken a solemn oath that they must bear the consequences for their sins, says the Sovereign Lord. 13 They may not approach me to minister as priests. They may not touch any of my holy things or the holy offerings, for they must bear the shame of all the detestable sins they have committed. 14 They are to serve as the Temple caretakers, taking charge of the maintenance work and performing general duties.

15 “However, the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok continued to minister faithfully in the Temple when Israel abandoned me for idols. These men will serve as my ministers. They will stand in my presence and offer the fat and blood of the sacrifices, says the Sovereign Lord. 16 They alone will enter my sanctuary and approach my table to serve me. They will fulfill all my requirements.

17 “When they enter the gateway to the inner courtyard, they must wear only linen clothing. They must wear no wool while on duty in the inner courtyard or in the Temple itself. 18 They must wear linen turbans and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that would cause them to perspire. 19 When they return to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must take off the clothes they wear while ministering to me. They must leave them in the sacred rooms and put on other clothes so they do not endanger anyone by transmitting holiness to them through this clothing.

20 “They must neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow too long. Instead, they must trim it regularly. 21 The priests must not drink wine before entering the inner courtyard. 22 They may choose their wives only from among the virgins of Israel or the widows of the priests. They may not marry other widows or divorced women. 23 They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean.

24 “They will serve as judges to resolve any disagreements among my people. Their decisions must be based on my regulations. And the priests themselves must obey my instructions and decrees at all the sacred festivals, and see to it that the Sabbaths are set apart as holy days.

25 “A priest must not defile himself by being in the presence of a dead person unless it is his father, mother, child, brother, or unmarried sister. In such cases it is permitted. 26 Even then, he can return to his Temple duties only after being ceremonially cleansed and then waiting for seven days. 27 The first day he returns to work and enters the inner courtyard and the sanctuary, he must offer a sin offering for himself, says the Sovereign Lord.

28 “The priests will not have any property or possession of land, for I alone am their special possession. 29 Their food will come from the gifts and sacrifices brought to the Temple by the people—the grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Whatever anyone sets apart[o] for the Lord will belong to the priests. 30 The first of the ripe fruits and all the gifts brought to the Lord will go to the priests. The first batch of dough must also be given to the priests so the Lord will bless your homes. 31 The priests may not eat meat from any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that dies after being attacked by another animal.

Footnotes

  1. 43:3 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Latin Vulgate; Masoretic Text reads I came.
  2. 43:7 Or kings on their high places.
  3. 43:11 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads if they are ashamed.
  4. 43:13a Hebrew measurements of the altar in long cubits, each being a cubit [18 inches or 45 centimeters] and a handbreadth [3 inches or 8 centimeters] in length.
  5. 43:13b Hebrew a cubit [53 centimeters] deep and a cubit wide.
  6. 43:13c Hebrew 1 span [23 centimeters].
  7. 43:13d As in Greek version; Hebrew reads base.
  8. 43:14a Hebrew 2 cubits [1.1 meters].
  9. 43:14b Hebrew 1 cubit [53 centimeters]; also in 43:14d.
  10. 43:14c Hebrew 4 cubits [2.1 meters]; also in 43:15.
  11. 43:16 Hebrew 12 [cubits] [6.4 meters] long and 12 [cubits] wide.
  12. 43:17a Hebrew 14 [cubits] [7.4 meters] long and 14 [cubits] wide.
  13. 43:17b Hebrew a gutter of 1 cubit [53 centimeters] and a curb of 1⁄2 a cubit [27 centimeters].
  14. 44:10 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung; also in 44:12.
  15. 44:29 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.

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