Since the Glory of God had entered through the east gate, no one other than the prince was allowed enter this way. Many commentators would identify this prince to be King David, who would rule and reign with Christ (just like the rest of us) in the Millennial Kingdom. Others see the prince as a reference to the high priest in those days, different of course, from Jesus who is our Great High Priest. We know this prince in the book of Ezekiel cannot be in reference to Christ since he offers a sin offering for himself (Ezekiel 45:22) and he has children (Ezekiel 46:16).
Ezekiel goes on to describe those allowed to enter into the Temple, and the exclusivity of those priests allowed to serve in the Temple. These were areas where Israel had failed miserably in the past. The entire Trinity has a discussion about this…notice the word “Us”
Ezekiel 44:6 (NKJV) “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations.”
The house of God is to be holy! There is not a place in God’s palace for those living in unrepentant sin (see 1 Corinthians 5; Matthew 18:17).
The leaders in Israel had relinquished their leadership and passed the responsibility on to others – God indicts them for this (Ezekiel 44:8). When the house of Israel went astray, the leaders went astray with them, but shouldn’t the priests have kept their charge? The sons of Zadok were the only exception to this, they DIDN’T go astray when Israel did, so God allowed them to serve in His Temple. Their privileges and responsibilities are elaborated on in the remainder of this chapter.
Ezekiel 44:15–16 (NKJV) “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD. 16 “They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.
Privileged to have the LORD as their inheritance (Ezekiel 44:28)
Ezekiel 44:23–24 (NKJV) “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.
The priests were not allowed to wear clothing that caused them to sweat, for God’s work should not be done by perspiration, but rather inspiration.
The priests in the Millennial Kingdom will be supported by the tithes and offerings of the people, even as we see in today’s church (1 Timothy 5:17-19).
Ezekiel 45 references the district sectioned off for the Temple of the LORD and the priests of the LORD. The land itself is 8 1/3 miles by 3 1/3 miles, which would include a section of land for the prince. Ezekiel mentions the princes in plurality, so perhaps if this is not in reference to David, it speaks of a rotation of high priests in those days – who contrary the norm in Israel, are to rule in righteousness.
Ezekiel 45:9 (NKJV) “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Enough, O princes of Israel! Remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness, and stop dispossessing My people,’ says the Lord GOD.”
1 Peter 1:1-12
Wow, what a blessing it is to have two letters written by the Apostle Peter – and what an amazing work God did in his life. I think back to the beginning, when Jesus called him into the ministry, but Peter told Jesus to depart from him, for he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8). Jesus didn’t depart, He encouraged Peter and told him not to be afraid, for He would make him a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19; Luke 5:10). And that’s exactly what He did.
1 Peter is one of my favorite books in the Bible, it is a well-rounded general letter on the Christian life.
Peter is writing to people who have been dispersed, scattered throughout the land, people who are suffering persecution. In 1 Peter 1:2 he calls them the “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” If you ever hear people talking about election, take them to this verse so you can explain to them the basis of God’s election. God doesn’t elect people to be saved, randomly, like a sloppy spiritual lottery. God elects according to His foreknowledge, He looks down the corridors of time to see those whose hearts are open to Him. He sees flawlessly into the future and “elects,” He selects those for salvation. Salvation is based on God’s sovereignty, but somewhere in there, mysteriously is man’s responsibility.
Did you notice the teaching of the Trinity? All three members of the Godhead are mentioned in 1 Peter 1:2 – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Peter praises God for the fact that these people have been born-again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a living hope, not dead, so there’s hope for us on earth, no matter what our lot in life may be, and of course we have that hope of heaven, it’s incorruptible, undefiled, reserved for us, forever. I like to define hope as a “certain certainty” about the future – it’s good, because God is there.
Did you notice the frequency of the word “faith” in chapter 1? We are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5). We go through trials to prove the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:7). We rejoice in receiving the end of our faith – the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). Keep believing my friend; we read in:
Romans 10:17 (NKJV) “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Just keep believing God’s Word, and loving God’s Son. Even though we’ve never seen Him physically (1 Peter 1:8) we love Him and we see Him spiritually (Hebrews 11:27).
We are beyond blessed to live in this dispensation. The prophets of the Old Testament wrote about it, but didn’t know all that it meant, and didn’t experience it. Angels wonder about it – they don’t know what grace is, because they’ve never experienced it. Do we realize how blessed we really are?
As we cover the 3rd and 4th letters of the Hebrew Alphabet (each stanza started with that letter respectively) keep in mind, this chapter is all about the Word of God.
I’ve always loved the prayer of:
Psalm 119:18 (NKJV) “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.”
This is a perfect prayer to pray as we’re about to read, study, or hear God’s word, that the Lord would open our eyes – to see wondrous things from His law. I found it fascinating to discover that the same root word in the Hebrew – translated “wondrous” here, is translated wonderful in Isaiah 9:6 as a reference to Jesus. That means we can even pray it like this, “Lord open my eyes that I may see Jesus in Your Word.” (He’s everywhere – John 5:39; Hebrews 10:7)
Other verses that stood out to me in this section are:
Psalm 119:24 (NKJV) “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”
Many times we look to men for counsel (and that has its place), but the best counselor is God as He speaks to us through His Word.
Psalm 119:28 (NKJV) “My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.”
When I read the above passage I think of the many, many people who are hurting, depressed, distressed, and struggling with anxiety. Their hearts are heavy, they’re melting. Some don’t even want to live any longer. May they pray this prayer – may God strengthen them with His word.
Psalm 119:32 (NKJV) “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.”
I like this verse because it speaks of God working on my heart, making it larger, stronger. This is the only way we can run the race, finish, and win. O Lord, make our hearts strong.
Which verse stood out to you? Why?
Proverbs 28:8 (NKJV) “One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor.”
Usury is the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.
Extortion is the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.
“There are some who become rich through economic violence. They charge high and unfair interest (usury) or they use their power to cheat and steal (extortion).” – David Guzik
Proverbs 28:9 (NKJV) “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”
“Refusing to obey God’s Law (cf. vv. 4, 7) has disastrous results. Prayers of such a person are hypocritical. Therefore, those prayers, hated by God, are not answered (cf. 15:8; Ps. 66:18; Isa. 59:2). If a person does not listen to (obey) the Lord, the Lord will not listen to him.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
Psalm 66:18 (NKJV) “If I regard iniquity (cherish sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”
Isaiah 59:1–2 (NKJV) “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”
Proverbs 28:10 (NKJV) “Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit; but the blameless will inherit good.”
First of all, to think…the upright can go astray. And then to think that there are those who cause the upright to go astray! Heavy!
We see the contrasting futures, the wicked will fall into a pit, the blameless will inherit good.
Derek Kidner, “This attracted some of Christ’s strongest words: see Matthew 5:19; 18:6; 23:15.”