Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Ezekiel 43-45
2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. Ezekiel 43:2
What a verse! Take note that the Father comes from the east. You’ll see similar references to the east being significant in ways like this throughout Scripture. One other off the top of my head is Matthew 24:27
Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. Ezekiel 43:6-7
WHOA. To even think of the soles of His feet, of Him physically sitting on a throne in our midst. I can’t even process that. I was in awe when we read about the Cloud of His manifestation guiding Israel by day and the Fire at night, I couldn’t even wrap my head around what that time must have been like for Israel to live in. But this is even more than that. Of special note is that the Father says He will dwell here forever. According to His words, this is not going to be a temporary thing.
We will go on to read in chapter 43 details of sacrificial offerings that will be made in the future. This is going to startle and maybe even upset some. I’ve heard a lot of people say “Thank goodness we don’t have to do animal sacrifices anymore”, as if that would be a hardship should the Father require it. I think we need to rethink our thinking on this. If we are going to call Him Lord, should we not prepare our hearts to do whatever He says? This is how my brain works. If the Father tells me to jump, there are two answers I can give.
1. I can respond “Yes, Lord.”
2. I can ask Him “How high?”
My Creator and loving eternal Father asking me to sacrifice an animal does not appear anywhere at all on my “things to worry about” list.
Wrap your head around this because if this is a stumbling block for us, chances are we haven’t developed a pattern of sacrificing our own desires in order to honor His. Honestly, until a few years ago, I considered getting up early on Sunday morning to be a way I sacrificed self for the Father’s will. As if, in light of all He does for me, I was doing Him some grand favor not to sleep in. I had never truly set aside self in order to walk in obedience.
Even now, I hear folks read parts of the Bible where YHWH gives us clear instructions and they heartily respond with “I’m so glad we don’t have to do that anymore!”
It is heartbreaking how easy it is for us to cast aside words like “forever” and “perpetual”, when it comes to something we just don’t want to do.
So two more things.
1. If we paid attention in Leviticus we would have seen that the Priesthood was put into place to carry out these sacrifices anyway.
2. There was once a time where I would have responded with a gasp at just the hint that the Father might ask something like this of me. Once I started reading His whole word for myself, I had to go back and question who was really Lord over my life. I realized, much to my horror, that I had never actually given that position to Him. I had to get in the back seat and let Him take the wheel.
So why do we not offer sacrifices now? The short answer is that we don’t have a temple. See Deuteronomy 12:13 because this is vital.
Towards the end of Ezekiel 44 we see the Levitical priesthood reinstated. The Levitical priests still exist now, but there is no temple for them to serve in. Be nice to these people because they are the ones who step up and be faithful, answering the call to sacrifice in honor of the Father without hesitation. May we learn to be as bold in our obedience when and where we are called.
As you read in Ezekiel 44:28, notice what the inheritance of the Levites is. This inheritance was instated in Leviticus and since YHWH does not change, it remains the same. Can you imagine such an inheritance? Now recall that these are the ones who, when the Father asks them to offer up a sacrifice, set about doing so without hesitation. What if they, instead, explained to Him that animal sacrifice was no longer required because that was “done away with”? Yes, it sounds silly to me now, too. But that used to be my very argument.
16 All the people of the land shall be obliged to give this offering to the prince in Israel. 17 It shall be the prince’s duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel. Ezekiel 45:16-17
Here we have, in the forever kingdom of the Father, proof that we will still be keeping His appointed times: Feasts and Sabbaths. He made them Holy at the beginning of creation, and from then until now there has always been a remnant who kept them. Eventually, all will keep them. We began keeping them about four years ago and they have blessed our lives tremendously. We will go on to read about Passover being kept as we finish up today’s readings.
Hang onto your hats, folks. We are going to finish with a bang tomorrow!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!