The Old Testament reading for Monday, September 24 is:

Ezekiel 44:1–14 (Listen)

The Gate for the Prince

44:1 Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east. And it was shut. And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it. Therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD. He shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.”

Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple, and I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD. And I fell on my face. And the LORD said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I shall tell you concerning all the statutes of the temple of the LORD and all its laws. And mark well the entrance to the temple and all the exits from the sanctuary. And say to the rebellious house,1 to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: O house of Israel, enough of all your abominations, in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple, when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You2 have broken my covenant, in addition to all your abominations. And you have not kept charge of my holy things, but you have set others to keep my charge for you in my sanctuary.

“Thus says the Lord GOD: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. 10 But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment.3 11 They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before the people, to minister to them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn concerning them, declares the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their punishment. 13 They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my holy things and the things that are most holy, but they shall bear their shame and the abominations that they have committed. 14 Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its service and all that is to be done in it.

Footnotes

[1] 44:6 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks house
[2] 44:7 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew They
[3] 44:10 Or iniquity; also verse 12

(ESV)


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Old Testament Pastoral Commentary for Ezekiel 44:1-14
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
After completing his tour of the entire temple complex, Ezekiel's angelic guide brought him back to the east outer gate of temple and it was shut. Only the "prince" could enter or leave by the vestibule of the main gate. The Prince, of course, was the Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Savior. He is the One through whom we are able to approach God and worship in God's presence. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Then the angel led Ezekiel out through the north gate to stand in front of the temple. Ezekiel was awestruck when he saw the glory of the LORD filling the temple and fell on his face before the LORD. Ezekiel was reminded of all the laws of the temple, and in turn was told to rebuke God's rebellious people for all of their "abominations," by which the former temple had been defiled. He also chastised them for allowing "uncircumcised foreigners" to profane God's temple by entering it. The Levites who served before the LORD would have to bear their punishment for their sin of idolatry, nevertheless, by God's grace they would renew their service to the LORD at the New Temple, assisting with the offerings and ministering to the people. They were, however, forbidden from becoming priests because of their idolatry. Even though God forgives us for our sins, and continues to use us as His servants, there are still consequences to our sins that we must bear.