What does it say?
Ezekiel 43 continues the visions beginning in chapter 40. Ezekiel previously saw God’s glory depart from Solomon’s temple. Now in visions of the millennial temple yet to come upon Christ’s Second Coming, he witnesses the return of God’s glory and the renewal of Levitical worship.
Chapter 44 focuses on the eastern gate remaining shut until the prince arrives. We also see glimpses of restored Levitical worship. In the next chapter (45), Israel once again divides the land by lot under the guidance of God’s sovereignty. Chapter 45 also describes the reinstatement of the system of feasts.
What does it mean?
The vision of God’s returning glory (Eze 43) completes the cycle of glory departed, glory returned. Parallels to this cycle exist in the Philistine capture of the Ark of the Covenant (1Sam 4) and its return to the tabernacle by David (2Sam 6), and also in Jesus’ ascension following the resurrection and his promise to return again in glory.
The east gate of Ezekiel 45 is not the one in the remaining portion of the ancient walls of Jerusalem today, but is part of Ezekiel’s millennial vision. The existing eastern gate (also called Golden) was sealed in the time of the Crusades believing that Jesus entered this gate on a donkey and will return through it on a white horse. Legends abound including dreams by both Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and Napoleon warning them that entering this gate would cost them their lives.
The division of land and other elements of Ezekiel 45 are yet future. Distinguishing future visions wrapped in Jewish cultural context 500 years before Christ from the realities yet to come is not easy. Any conclusions should be held lightly. For example, many see “the prince” that appears often in this passage as the Messiah. Yet in Ezekiel 45:22 he offers sin offerings for himself. For this, some have even suggested he is David resurrected. However these mysteries are resolved, God exhorts Jewish leadership in Ezekiel’s day to grasp God’s promises for the future as motivation to practice righteousness and justice in their present and future (45:9).
How will I respond?
Avoiding the temptation to get lost in details of things yet future, what is the main lesson that I can apply to my life today? Specifically, what does it look like for me to practice righteousness and judgment to my life today in light of God’s promises of things to come?