Notes on Ezekiel 1 to 37 by F. W. Grant, from the fourth volume of the Numerical Bible.

Notes on Ezekiel 38 to 48, with a Historical Chart of the Prophets, Plans illustrating the Temple, and the Future Division of the Land, by J. Bloore.

Division 3 (Ezekiel 33 — 48).

Resurrection and Restoration.

There is a question made of where the division of the chapters actually comes here. The references to chapters 3 and 18 in the 33rd are manifest, and this is urged to show that it is a close and not a beginning, that it connects with what is past rather than with what is yet to come. Again, the whole chapter still speaks of judgment, as the former ones have done, not of deliverance. On the other hand, the significance of the re-opening of the prophet's mouth is in this way lost, for in the 34th the judgment is but an introduction to the grace. It could not be rightly thought that this re-opening of the mouth was only more emphatically to repeat what had been already uttered, and that then again there was to be a close. Besides which, righteousness being the eternal character of God's throne must be maintained in grace as in judgment, as we all know it has been; and this must be first made clear, that grace may have free way.

Thus it is the announcement of the fall of the city, of the full execution of judgment foretold, that opens the mouth to predict the blessing. In the next chapter the false shepherds are removed that the true Shepherd may take their place, and it is Jehovah Himself who is manifested as this, the representative of whom is found in the true David raised up unto them. This is, of course, in Messiah, the Successor to David's throne, and of whom David was but the type. The Shepherd being found, and the flock in His hand, the enemy is then answered; then the land is comforted by the rooting out of those who would possess themselves of it, and the restoration of a people reunited in heart to God; after which in the 37th chapter the nation as such is brought up from the dead, and Ephraim and Judah, long parted and at strife with one another, are made one in the land. There is yet one last enemy to be destroyed (Ezek. 38, 39), and then the land is finally cleansed and the full blessing comes in the restoration of the dwelling-place of God among them. This is set before us in full detail, and the city is then and henceforward known by the blessed reality as His abode with them. It is Jehovah Shammah, "The Lord is there."

Subdivision 1 (Ezekiel 33 — 37.)

Jehovah acting from and for himself.

The previous chapters have shown us, then, that as far as man is concerned, all is gone. There is no hope for man that can come from himself. God must act if there is to be blessing, sovereignly and alone, and this is what the terms of the new covenant show. There is no further expectation from man, and no condition made with him. The restoration of the people must be a resurrection from the dead; for this, God alone is competent. But all His glory thus shines out, and there is fulness of blessing found — the dirge passes into a song.

Section 1 (Ezekiel 33, 34.)

The opening of the prophet's mouth.

The prophet's mouth then is re-opened, because there is grace to be announced. Yet the affirmation of God's righteous ways unchanged is the fitting introduction to this. The fall of the city shows the people now fully under judgment. Their false confidences are exposed. The law has spoken, and the people, by its verdict are Lo-ammi, without the blood of atonement for their sins, without the place in which alone it could be sprinkled before God, God Himself entirely withdrawn. Moreover, there are no true shepherds among the people only such as are not only inadequate, but false. God must raise up the only Shepherd who can truly represent Him in His care for the feeble and scattered remnant who shall still remain an election, wholly of grace, and who are cast entirely upon Him — themselves also undone, apart from absolute grace. The true Shepherd is found in David (" the beloved "), the real fulfiller of that name and of the unrepenting promises of God to which "the sure mercies of David" are attached.

1. (1) The prophecy here does not begin with the date, as we might expect, that being found, however, in verse 17. God first prepares the message which the re-opened lips of the prophet are to utter. The message given is a repetition almost wholly of Ezek. 3 and 13, a repetition which, for the purpose, is more effective than a wholly new statement. It is emphasized, however, in the first place that while men might naturally, and ordinarily would appoint themselves a watchman, the prophet is not appointed of the people, but of God in their behalf. Were there no word from Him, the accountability of the people would still remain, but God had provided a watchman for those too heedless and indifferent to care for their own interests, even the most weighty. How this, nevertheless, would increase the culpability of those who still refused the Voice that spoke to them! How often had He spoken of the sword which He was bringing upon the land! Yet they had taken no heed. Instead of looking for every sign of approaching judgment, they hardened their hearts against all that was given them in this way — nay, pressed upon them by one event after another, and by one messenger after another. What then could there be at last but that which had now come? — the awful signs no more to be refused by their desolate city, and the triumph of the heathen enemy over those who, as the people of God, would have been sheltered from every possibility of successful assault.

The second part of the address here begins at the 10th verse, in which the lesson of the 18th chapter is once more enforced. They would now be ready to plead, and indeed were pleading, that before the unbending righteousness of God it was impossible that men should live. But the Lord replies as He had declared abundantly already, that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that they turn from their wickedness and live. For one who truly turned to Him, none of his past wickedness should be remembered against him. Could God go on with them in evil ways? Surely it would be impossible even for themselves to think so. There was then but one alternative, and God still pleaded as He had been pleading, that they turn from their evil ways that they might live. Why would they die? Their death was of their own will and not His. If, then, even one who had been righteous, trusting in this past righteousness of his, gave himself up to wickedness, none of his righteous deeds could be remembered: in his iniquity that he had committed, he would surely die. But what is rather emphasized is the mercy that awaits even the worst and vilest who should turn to God. Yet the people would rest the blame of all upon the Lord's ways as if they were not equal, whereas it was their own ways that are unequal, as their conscience must surely witness against them. Much as men may seek to stifle the voice that speaks for God within them, yet it will one day have full utterance when they will be compelled to hear it.

(2)We have now the confirmation of the judgment foretold in the destruction of the city: "And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth of the month, that one who had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten. Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me in the evening before he that escaped came, and He had opened my mouth before he came to me in the morning, and my mouth was opened, and I writs no more dumb." The date here is a significant one, "the twelfth year of our captivity" is, according to the numerical stamp upon it, the time of complete manifestation of the government of God with which the tenth month and the fifth day of the month combine to speak of the responsibility of man before God, of man who can never escape from the presence of Him whose eye is in every place, beholding the evil and the good. It is strange, however, to realize that the date here of the arrival of the man escaped from the city is more than sixteen months after it was taken. It has been naturally thought, therefore, that there must be a mistake in the text which, in common manuscripts of the Septuagint, seems to have been altered to suit. The well-known Alexandrian manuscript, however, agrees with the Hebrew which, as has been already seen, has its own internal evidence of being the correct one. No doubt the report of the capture had long preceded the actual coming of the refugee, delayed as he doubtless was by the conditions through which he had to make his way, and which there is no need to suppose to have been a direct one. It was probably after much wandering that the refugee had found a place at last where he could rest in safety. Until this time, then, the message waited: God dealing with the people in a way suited to the persistency with which they clung to their false hopes, and hardened themselves in obstinate pride of heart that would not listen to the plainest announcements. Now, with the living witness in their midst, they could at least doubt no more that the blow had actually fallen.

The first utterance of the prophet after this, which is addressed to those yet remaining in the desolate land, shows how readily still these hopes would rally; "Son of man," says the Lord to him, "they that inhabit those waste places in the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land, and we are many; the land is given us for a possession." Had this been the boldness of faith, it might indeed still have been admirable; for the inheritance, as we know, however much the people might even for long years lose possession of it, could never be finally alienated from the children of him to whom God had promised it. But this was another thing, as the character of those who made these utterances showed, mere desperadoes as they were, whose works declared them to be anything but Abraham's children. Their very conduct is held up before them, therefore. It was not for such to possess the land, surely, and they are warned by the Voice that speaks to them through the prophet: "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: As I live, surely they that are in the waste places shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that are in the strongholds and in the caves shall die of the pestilence; and I will make the land a desolation and an astonishment, and the pride of her strength shall cease. And the mountains of Israel shall be desolate that none shall pass through them. And they shall know that I am Jehovah (how differently should they have learned this!) when I have made the land a desolation and an astonishment because of all their abominations which they have committed."

Among the exiles, however, a transient effect might seem to have been produced by the fulfilment of the prophet's words. They were now coming to hear the message that he had for them, sitting before God as if His people, and hearing words which, however, they never followed. "Behold," says the Lord to him, "thou art unto them as a lovely song, a pleasant voice, and one that playeth well upon an instrument; and they hear thy words, but they do them not" — there was no true faith with them. They would know that the prophet had spoken to them only by the voice of the judgment which would overtake them, as it had in fact already overtaken them. They would believe when it was too late, when the prediction was fulfilled, but that would be only to make it vain as to the whole meaning of it. It was no true faith that did not anticipate the fulfilment. Thus everywhere, as one sees, the ruin of man is complete. There could be no proper hope, no expectation any longer, and here the first utterance closes.

2. (1) In the chapter following, we have again no date given as to the time of the message, nor is there another until we come to the closing vision of the temple in the restored land, which is the only other in the book. That which follows here seems now to pour forth without any pause; and while we have once more judgment, in the opening, it is now manifestly connected with blessing, as the way to it. If the people are to be according to God, it must be as Isaiah has said (Isa. 4:4), "By the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning," or as Ezekiel himself has said elsewhere (Ezek. 20:38) by purging out from them the rebels and those that transgress against God.

Thus we find that the judgment now before us is upon the false shepherds, those who only feed themselves, and make a prey of the sheep. "And the word of Jehovah came unto me saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say unto them, even unto the shepherds, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Woe to the shepherds of Israel that feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill those that are fattened; but ye feed not the sheep. The weak have ye not strengthened, nor have ye healed the sick, nor have ye bound up that which was broken, nor have ye brought again that which was driven away, nor have ye sought that which was lost; but with oppression and rigor ye have ruled over them." How thoroughly this gives the character of those whom the Lord charged in His day with similar conduct. The rule of the rabbins was an oppressive one, and while they assumed to stand for God and for His word, self-seeking characterized them throughout, and thus of necessity the sheep were scattered: "They were scattered because there was no shepherd: and they became food to all the beasts of the field and were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill; yea, my sheep have been scattered upon all the face of the earth, and there was none that searched or sought after them." Nothing stirs the heart of the true shepherd like the wanton abuse or neglect of the sheep, and here is One whose heart never needed to be stirred, but abides continually with His people, however long He may have patience, and however much circumstances may seem to argue that He has forgotten them. Therefore, as we shall see, it is Jehovah Himself who is manifested as the Shepherd of Israel, and that in the One raised up to them in tender grace; One who is Himself Man, and a stranger to nothing in man, except man's inherent evil.

(2) The doom of the shepherds is therefore now announced. It is the judgment of love which smites for deliverance. There must be an end of this false assumption of the shepherd's place without the shepherd's heart — an assumption so peculiarly offensive to Him whose heart is with the sheep, who is afflicted in all the afflictions of His people, and who, when He arises for their help, will make a thorough work of it.

(3) Thus the Lord declares that He will come in and search for His sheep and examine their condition. The language is human language, and we see here, according to what Ezekiel has shown us elsewhere, the likeness of a Man upon the throne. God speaks as if He were ignorant; therefore to examine into everything were a first necessity; and in truth there is what answers to this. God is careful to expose fully the evil with which He is dealing, that in His government He may be justified by all His creatures. This is the meaning of all those solemn assurances of a day of judgment to come, when the books are opened, and all the history of those brought before the judgment-seat is thoroughly entered into. There are crises of judgment which anticipate this, in which God allows the character of things fully to come out, allowing to come to a head the evil upon which He is going to smite, and bringing out the secret thoughts of men's hearts into open day. Thus as to His flock, Jehovah will examine their whole condition and all that has led to it. Their scatterings shall cease when the Voice is heard which. His people know — which does not scatter, but brings together; and this, therefore, by removing every cause of scattering. Yet scattering may be at times the very thing that is of God, which He permits to avoid worse evil: nevertheless it is only permission for a brief time. What is in His heart is gathering, not scattering. And so He declares that He will deliver His flock out of all the places whither they were scattered in the cloudy and dark day. He has realized the darkness of it, and He will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and bring them into their own land. It has been their own land in His mind all the way through; and if for a time it has refused to own them as its inhabitants, there is no setting aside of the purposes which, with God, can never be repented of. The mountains of Israel sball welcome them again, and all the springs shall be set running for their benefit, and all the habitable places of the country shall be filled with them. The mountains, which so peculiarly characterize the land of Israel, shall provide good pasture for them, lifted up and kissed as it were by the light of heaven. That is where God would ever have His people feed, and there are the fat pastures to be provided now. He will feed them and make them to lie down. How thoroughly these things go together in His mind — provision and rest, in which all the evils that have afflicted them in the long past shall be put away, the lost restored, the wounded bound up, the weak strengthened; but, on the other hand, the fat and the strong destroyed! We know what this means: God is thinking of those who have been feeding themselves at the cost of the sheep, and have become fat through the spoiling of others. They of necessity will be the objects of swift, sure judgment: "I will feed the flock with judgment," says the Lord.

(4) The searching which the Lord institutes is to go down deeper than merely with certain heads of the people: "Behold," says the Lord, "I judge between sheep and sheep," not merely between sheep and shepherds. "The rams and the he-goats" seem to speak not alike of objects of His judgment. The rams belong to the flock themselves, but the he-goats are alien to it. They are, as we know, in the Lord's own picture of judgment, representatives of those whom the Son of Man puts upon His left hand, as He puts the sheep upon His right. Among the sheep there are those who have from God a certain natural place as leaders, and when God is working among His people, as in the days to come, these must of necessity come to the front. Leaders among the people of God are always recognized. It is the character of the leading which determines as to what it is before God. The true leader is he who leads by the Word itself, and to faith in it, and not in the leader, therefore. And he who says, "Follow me as I follow Christ" puts Christ before the eyes of His people as the measure by which he himself and all his leading is to be measured. How good to have those who, if they have found a bit of good pasture, must run. to tell others of it! And this is a kind of leading open to all that have hearts for it. How different the conduct of those of whom the Lord speaks here, who not only have eaten up all the good pasture for themselves, but must tread down and spoil what is left of it: not satisfied with drinking of the clear waters, they must foul the residue with their feet. I low this applies to such as rose up in Israel after this, when the rule of the priest was changed for the rule of the rabbi, is obvious to all; who, as our Lord said, were "teaching for doctrine the commandments of men," and putting their own word before the word of God. They made the flock eat what they had trodden with their feet, and drink what they had fouled with them. And it is not in Israel only that these things have taken place. Alas, how Christendom has copied them in fullest detail! But God is going to judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. The lean sheep are His objects now — the people who have suffered from these things, and whom He sees suffering. Thus He will save His flock that they may no more be a prey, and will judge between sheep and sheep.

(5) Now we come to what is God's complete thought for them. He has one true Shepherd that is to be set over them; in that sense, only one; there is not another, and "He shall feed them, even my servant David." "The introduction of David without anything further or particular," says Schroeder, "confirms what is stated by Hengstenberg, that the Messiah, the glorious offspring of David, had in the time of the prophet been for long a lesson of the catechism." That is true, and it is sweet to think how God necessarily supposes that they will know who is spoken of here, the true David, of whom the one in history was only a type. He is to take up David's place and office in a more glorious fashion: David's Son is also David's Lord, "the Beloved," as His name means; and our hearts recognize Him in this way: "He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd." And thus alone it can be that Jehovah will be their God. Thus alone will "the covenant of peace" be theirs — the peace by a covenant never to be broken, and as a consequence, all nature at peace with them, evil beasts gone: "They shall dwell in safety in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods." Eden, but a better Eden, has come for them; and from the hill of God, His dwelling-place among them, the object for every eye and every heart, blessing shall flow out to all the places round about. Heaven yields its seasonable showers: "There shall be showers of blessing." Thus the curse is removed, and the land yields its increase. The tree of the field comes to its fruit, not casts it, and in all this they shall know that it is Jehovah who has brought them into this blessing; it is Jehovah who has burst the bands of their yoke and delivered them; it is Jehovah who has come in with the deliverance which is now eternal. They shall be no more a prey, nor shall they fear it. There shall be no danger nor thought of danger. How blessed to think of such a time at hand, and for a world trodden by the feet of oppressors, as the world has been.

But the attention is turned once more to God's central figure for them: "I will raise up for them," says He, "a plant of renown." Neither shame nor hunger can be their portion when God has done this. "A plant for a name" is the literal rendering, which reminds us at once of the Name in which is all the revelation of God for man, which has been in His thought from the beginning — revelation come to its completion, and all things taking shape according to this. For this Immanuel (Jehovah, revealed in Christ) is among them; the bond of His humanity is never to be broken, and Israel as His people are compassed with those blessed arms which are yet to be seen about the whole creation of God, linking it forever with God. They need not fear, then, to recognize the weakness which as creatures necessarily belongs to them. It is the wholesome lesson which they have taken so long to learn, and which we are all so slow to learn, though a very simple one: "Ye my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord Jehovah."

What does this mean? — that we are men. The word is "adam": God "called their name Adam, in the day that He created them" — a name which comes from adamah, "the ground." Yes, just to learn that we are men! Have we learnt it? Do we act and speak as if we had truly learnt it? That they were formed out of the clay is not the whole matter, of course, and it is not what made them the offspring of God, or in His likeness, but it is the suited word to keep us humble; yet, even so, it is a word of triumph too, of God's triumph, for in them the dust of the ground is made to shine with a new glory. He has taken up this very dust, not putting it away as if the material thing were unsuited for Him, but developing all the capacities which are latent in it, which are not capacities of the spirit but for the spirit, in which matter itself becomes a fitted servant of the spirit, and God as the Creator is revealed all through in the goodness of His work. The dust of the ground is become man, and God Himself has met us in Christ, claiming man, even man's flesh as His, of which He is not, and never will be, ashamed. Is it not the display of His glory, is it not His triumph, this wonder of divine condescension, this stooping of divine love?! Yes, men are thus the sheep of His pasture, and they have no cause to forget, but ever to remember and thank and bless Him ever that they are men.

Section 2 (Ezekiel 35).

The enemy answered.

We have now a prophecy of a wholly different character; it is a natural corollary of what we have had before us. Israel are now the people of God. But "was not Esau Jacob's brother?" It is God's own challenge to Israel in Malachi: "Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord. Yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel" (Mal. 1:2-5). This is the question which comes up here, Esau was Jacob's brother. Were they so unlike each other after all? Was he not Jacob "the supplanter?" — the man with the hand upon the heel of his brother; the man always intent upon his own gain and little careful as to his means of acquirement; the man who believed in himself and who, if he cannot fully trust God, must act for himself? whose motto, "God helps those who help themselves" has had wide circulation. It is but the picture of a fallen being, and Jacob was such, we know. Are any of us different? We may take comfort then that God can yet say: "I loved Jacob!" Nay, that He can call Himself "The God of Jacob," which is but another way of saying, The God of grace. Jacob has another name, as we know, but that is what he is by the work of God, by that only. This "worm" Jacob can only by divine fashioning become a threshing instrument which shall "thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and make the hills as chaff ". (Isa. 41:15). Upon these two names, Jacob and Israel, God dwells in contrast all through their history. It is the history essentially of every soul that has learnt what divine grace is; as Esau's, on the other hand, is the history of a soul that has never learnt grace, and whose misery is this, not only that he has never learnt it, but resists it.

This lesson, which God is holding up before us all, Esau might have learnt, but did not. God has sworn that He has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, and Ezekiel has borne witness to this. But He has but one way of acceptance and blessing, and not another; and he that will not learn this must be without the blessing, akin as he may be naturally, as indeed he is, to his brother that has obtained it. But thus there arises the perpetual grudge and enmity that the Edomite has against the Israelite, and it is an enmity which is really to God, to God's thoughts and ways. Thus we need not wonder if it come into special consideration here, just when Israel comes into his blessing, which is also the time when Edom is finally cast out.

The prophet is instructed to set his face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it, and say: "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I am against thee, Mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and will make thee a desolation astonishment." Mount Seir is Edom's possession, a "rough," or "rugged place," as the word means. Esau has chosen for himself; therefore he has not chosen well. Does ever any one choose well who chooses for himself? When Abram stood with Lot in the land which God had told him was to be his by divine gift, the man of faith could say in the liberality which comes from faith, "Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right: or if thou depart to the left hand, then I will go to the right," but Lot was of another mind: "Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah — even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other" (Gen. 13:9-11). Alas, they were separated by more than locality, and we know the after-history of Lot's fatal choice. In a sense, God was before him also. This plain of Jordan was it not like the Garden of God? All this that spoke so alluringly to his heart, was it not of God, and good? Why should he not enjoy what God had made so manifestly for enjoyment? Alas, how is it that we can forget how sin has disordered everything, even to the very eyes that look upon things now? And Lot chose, as we know, what did not become to him a Mount Seir only because God had mercy towards him — only that God forbade it to be that to him! Lot was to be driven out, as he was driven out, and that was God's mercy to him; but Edom, the profane person, had chosen in deliberate profaneness, and Mount Seir accordingly was his.

Alas, when God has to give according to one's own desire merely, and not according to what would be for His heart a gift! Mount Seir was Esau's choice; yet it could not, after all, remain his. The things that we choose naturally are things which cannot abide because we would have them do so; for there is a judgment of God which may follow, though we see it not, of which we may be warned and yet have no eyes to see. And Edom was to know that God is Jehovah, the true and unchanging God in what He threatens, as in what He promises. Yet the portion of Jacob invited Edom too. But the kind of craving he had for it only stirred in his heart as enmity against its possessor; and thus Edom is the typical enemy of Israel through all his history. That is the point here: "Because thou hast had perpetual enmity, and hast given over the children of Israel to the power of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time of the iniquity of the end; therefore, as I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I will appoint thee to blood, and blood shall pursue thee. Since thou hast not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue thee." We have already had this in brief in a former prophecy, but God returns to dwell upon it for the lesson that is in it, a lesson that we may all well ponder. He that will nurse enmity in his soul shall be himself pursued by the enmity that he nurses, and when this is enmity to God and to His grace, however he may disguise it, it will necessarily be judged as such, and the end is sure. Edom is the ancient infidel as to God. He sees Israel's land, but he does not see Jehovah's presence in it. Thus he thinks to possess himself of that in which he finds Jehovah as his adversary, and the bitter fruit of his unbelief is made good to him as what he has indeed chosen, little as he knew the character of his choice. Was there not plenty in Israel to provoke righteous wrath against them? Yes, and God had to show this as against their misdeeds.

But the enemy's wrath is not righteous; it is of another character. It is against Jehovah at bottom, as all unbelief is; and this is what comes out in result here. The question is not between Edom and Israel, but between Edom and God. If they said of the mountains of Israel that they were desolate, was it not true? But they did not discern the difference between chastening and rejection: therefore they said, "They are given us to devour." But if Israel can for the time cast themselves out of the very land that is their own, Edom can never enjoy it: "Ye have magnified yourselves against Me with your mouth, and have multiplied your words against Me. I have heard it. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee a desolation. As thou didst rejoice over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee. Thou shalt be a desolation, O Mount Seir, and all Edom, the whole of it; and they shall know" — what a wail there is once more in this, "they shall know — that I am Jehovah."

Section 3 (Ezekiel 36, 37).

Restoration and reorganization.

We have now the work of restoration, of reorganization, accomplished first of all in the land once more becoming Israel's. Jehovah claims it from its would-be possessors, and gives it back to Israel. But, that they may enjoy it, a deeper work must be done in the nation itself, and thus we have the Lord sprinkling clean water upon them to make them clean, and putting within them a new heart and a new spirit. In the third place we have the resurrection of the nation as such, their political resurrection, the embodiment in a fitting manner of the new life; and for this Judah and Ephraim, so long sundered, must come together. God can lose nothing of that which, through grace, is now to be owned as His. There must be no final triumph of the power of evil anywhere. The work of restoration is thus to be completed; but the seal of their new condition and the perfect blessing which is to be theirs forever — the return of the glory of God, which Ezekiel had seen depart, but which henceforth is to be in brighter display in the restored city — remains yet to be given us. It has a place by itself, therefore, as the crown of their blessed condition when the city itself shall be known upon earth as the dwelling-place of God with man, Jehovah Shammah, "The Lord is there."

1. We have, first of all, Jehovah's word to the land itself. This is in plain connection with the claim which the Edomite enemy had made to possess it. It must be vindicated from this reproach, therefore. The land is really Jehovah's land, and He certainly has never forfeited it, and will never give it up to those who are His enemies. Israel are to possess it upon the surest ground possible — that of God's grace. They are to be sojourners with Him, to be His guests, and thus to know all the resources of His hand, as well as the full protection necessitated by this relationship.

Thus Ezekiel is instructed now to prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say: "Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of Jehovah: thus saith the Lord Jehovah; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, and the ancient high places have become ours in possession: therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because, yea, because they have made you desolate, and have swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession to the remnant of the nations, and ye are taken up on the lips of talkers, and the defamation of the people; therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah." These mountains have been addressed before, in the sixth chapter, but in far other terms. They were then the seats of an idolatry which dared to lift its head in a special manner in the high places of the land. Desolation had come upon them, therefore; and the enemy had taken it up as a reproach both to them and to Jehovah Himself. But these mountains of Israel, very far from being what we have seen Mount Seir to be (the indication of the folly of Esau's choice and the barrenness of the portion which had thus become his own), were characteristically verdant and fruitful mountains, the places of pasture for the flock; they also were in testimony to the condition of a people whom Jehovah owned as His: round about whom He stood as the mountains round about Jerusalem. Their foundations must be upon the earth, but their tops were lifted high into the light and glory of heaven. How different from their condition since! — a reproach, in their present barrenness, in the sight of those that look upon them — the types, as so many suppose, of the hopeless forfeiture of all things by the people to whom they belonged! How often Jehovah declared here that He has pledged Himself by His never-to-be-broken word, to their revival!

That word therefore takes in all the land: "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains and to the hills, to the water-courses and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and the cities that are forsaken, which have become a prey and a derision to the remnant of the nations that are round about; therefore, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the remnant of the nations, and against the whole of Edom who have appointed my land unto themselves for a possession with the joy of all their heart, with spite of soul, to take possession of it for a prey." This is all that the enemy could do. Make it yield its fruit to him, he could not; and already we see this in the long Sabbaths in which the land has rested while Israel has been banished from it. To none of the nations would it yield its strength, and the people who are in present possession are just those who can be readily characterized as mere plunderers, and nothing else. But this suits, in the meanwhile, Jehovah's purpose. With all this, they are as it were, His watchmen against the intrusion of those who might take it up with more serious intent to make their own out of it. The hordes that sweep over it still, the government under which it remains and under which everything like prosperity is impossible, all this is but the sign that the land is still waiting for her true inhabitants.

The prophet is instructed, therefore, to speak to the mountains and to the hills, to the water-courses and to the valleys, and to declare to them that they shall yet shoot forth their branches and yield their fruit to His people Israel, as a people who are at His hand, ready to come. The people, as we know, are kept as distinct as ever they were, under the same repression meanwhile as their land has been. Jerusalem is to "be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." If we see, as surely we do see now, the people gathering back, and the land sought to by them for a new occupation, we have in all this the proof that God is ready to turn His face towards them and to their land alike. It would then be seen far other than as the eye of the stranger has seen and the scoff of the infidel has declared it, a land that has but devoured its inhabitants. It is to be, as the faithfulness of God is pledged to make it, a land that shall be "the glory of all lands," a land upon which His eye rests continually: "I will multiply men upon you — all the house of Israel, the whole of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built, and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful." Thus has God pledged Himself; and, as in other cases, if He restore it is not merely to the old fruitfulness, to the condition at the beginning, but to one far better than at the beginning. The reproach of the nations shall be entirely removed from it, and His glory shall be more fully seen than ever where men have assumed to see His dishonor.

2. The prophet now turns from the land to the people themselves. The condition of the land was but the reflection of their own condition. If Joshua sees the people flee before their enemies, and in astonishment and dismay falls before God to ask, "And what wilt Thou do for thy great name?" the sufficient and only answer is, "Israel hath sinned." But Israel has resisted the lesson of their scattered condition, and have turned it even into a matter of self-glorying as if it were the sins of others that they were bearing and making atonement for! Thus they have interpreted Isaiah 53. God here asserts against them that it is judgment on account of their condition. They have defiled the land with their idolatry, and He scattered them among the nations, and they have been dispersed through the countries. According to their ways and according to their doings He has judged them: nor can they say that it was for their sin before they were carried captive into Babylon, but that since then they have been clear. They were, in fact, permitted to go back into their land, in order that they might, with the lesson of their past before them, receive the One who alone could atone for the iniquities they had committed. But to these sins they have added the crowning sin of rejecting Him who came to them, afore-announced by the prophets, with the signs and wonders with which God sealed the testimony that He gave. Thus they have bought for themselves an Aceldama with the price of His betrayal. Thank God, for this also there can be and will be forgiveness; for grace shall yet manifest itself for them above all their sins! But how vain to plead that that to which the prophet looks on here, was the termination of their scattered condition — a condition which was expressly the judgment for their sins — when we go on to that which follows here! Have they ever been taken from among the nations and gathered out from all the countries and brought to their own land? Have they ever, with a new heart and a new spirit, entered upon the possession of that from which they are no more to be alienated? It is impossible honestly to read a prophecy such as we have here and not to see that the scattering which began at Babylon has never really come to its end for God; but that they are still abiding, as Hosea declared they should abide, "many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim" (Hosea 3:4). Their idolatrous ensigns have indeed passed from them; but recover themselves from that in which their sins have involved them, they never can until, as another prophet has declared, "they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for an only son … In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness"(Zech. 12:10; Zech. 13:1). God will fulfil His word, but only in His appointed way, and the cleansing of His people can only come when He sprinkles upon them that "clean water" which, as a type of old, declared the virtue of a sacrifice before completed — not a work of atonement as then newly wrought, but the verity of that which, blessed be God, still abides for them when faith in them shall be able to claim it.

There is a remarkable connection here between the 51st psalm and the prophet's declaration. This is the answer from God to their prayer, as it is prophetically given us in the psalm referred to. The prayer is: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow … Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Ps. 51:7, 10). Put this in connection with the promise here: "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean … and I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you." How plainly the one corresponds to the other, while there is indeed, as one might expect, a greater fulness in the answer than in the prayer! That this 51st psalm is, in fact, the voice of the people when they shall turn to God in the latter days, has been seen by many, and the proof of it has been fully given elsewhere. (See Ps. 51, Notes.) It was David's voice that utters it, no doubt, but the personal application to himself is plainly not all, and this "Purge me with hyssop" clearly refers to the language in Ezekiel — to that sprinkling which is for cleansing from defilement with the dead, and speaks of a more terrible defilement of the people, and of God's provision for it in a sacrifice whose virtue, as already said, still abides for them. It is like that other remarkable ordinance for the day of atonement, when the sins of the people are carried away by the scape-goat, which does not make atonement for them, but which is identified with an atonement already made. (See Leviticus 16, Notes.) The priest has carried in the blood of the offering for them — the blood of the first goat; but no answer as to it comes forth for them while the priest is himself hidden in the sanctuary into which he is entered. When he comes out again, the scapegoat (identified with the first goat in the work which has been accomplished before, and which is not repeated) carries away the iniquities of the nation to a land cut off. Thus, in fact, Israel will be met by the power and virtue of an atonement made before our Great High Priest passed into heaven. There He remains, and so long as He remains there hidden from them, Israel have practically no atonement for them nationally. Their sins are not put away.

How perfectly this is in keeping with the sprinkling of water in which are the ashes of a sacrifice before offered — the memorial of a before-accomplished work. It is then only that this word is carried out: "From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you." They abide as yet under the condemnation of their sins, as it is plain that nationally a new heart and a new spirit, which are the accompaniment of this, have never yet become theirs. Had it been so, that which follows immediately here would have taken place, and a fulness of blessing would be theirs, in which their whole condition would bear witness to the reality of what God is yet to do for them. It is not mere reformation; it is no work such as man can perform. If David witnesses that God must create in him a clean heart, so the promise here declares: "I will give you a new heart." It is the new heart that He will give which can alone alter their condition, a new heart which is itself the effect of a new spirit put within them.

The words at once remind us of the Lord's declaration to Nicodemus, that the Israelite also needed to be born again in order to inherit the kingdom of God. Water and Spirit the Lord puts together in these words: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" "born of the Spirit" implies, therefore, a new spirit in the person so born — a new and divine nature from the Almighty Worker of every true work that has ever been done in man. (See John 3, Notes.)

For this, the heart of stone must be taken out of the flesh, that a heart of flesh — a true feeling and tender heart — may be theirs. To this is added the blessed assurance: "I will put my Spirit within you," and thus, as the glory rests upon Jerusalem itself in the days that we are so shortly to contemplate, there is to be for all His saved among the people a personal assurance of this glorious reality. "I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments and do them." Then follows that for which only now they are fit, and are secure in it: "Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."

The increase of the land follows as a necessary consequence. Israel's portion is in the earth, and therefore nature itself is a witness to the relation in which they stand to God. It has been largely a witness against them, as we know. It is yet to bear testimony of another kind. Christians are taken out of the world, and are strangers and pilgrims in it: their portion is elsewhere. But, alas, with Christians also there can be a reproach of famine, which is the index of how they stand with God. How many have gone down to Egypt, as Abraham did of old, because of a famine in their own things! Our land is indeed "the glory of all lands;" but it is, above all things, a dependent land, and if we are not in communion with God we have less than any others; for the world is a wilderness for us, however much we may dream of plenty in it, while our own portion, though not denied us, surely, can yet be found only by those who dwell in it. The word is still for us, "Dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." It is not so much the knowledge of the evil we have brought upon ourselves that brings repentance, but, in its full character, it is the wonder of the Lord's grace that does so; as the apostle says, ' The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance," so it will be when Israel shall have been brought back into their land by the mercy of God, and find His abundant welcome in the light of His glorious presence. They shall indeed remember their evil ways and their doings that were not good, and loathe themselves for their iniquities and abominations.

Meanwhile God is acting for Himself, as He declares here. He is in a measure doing in Israel what we shall know in a still brighter scene and in all its fulness, when God shall show "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." It is not only for their sakes or for our sakes that God takes up any, but He delights to make Himself known in all that He is — the depths of the riches of His wisdom as well as of His love. Thus He has a sure ground upon which to act, and we have an unchallengeable blessing,which never can be forfeited. If God is going to show "the exceeding riches of His grace," where can we limit that? What wondrous revelations are implied here! It is good, while we are thinking of all the prophet here sets before us, to realize that they are but the figures of the things which belong to us — not indeed in the sense in which so many would make them figures, as depriving Israel of their just title to them, for the apostle of the Gentiles has assured us that these Old Testament promises belong to his "kinsmen according to the flesh:" it seems idle, therefore, to discuss whether these promises do belong to Israel. The earth at that time will be, as it were, a reflection of the heavens that are opened over it. But we shall have to trace this more fully in our prophet when we reach the final chapters. There is no confusion between the earthly and the heavenly spheres of blessing, and there is no excuse for any making confusion. Correspondence there is indeed, and we shall find many a lesson in seeking to trace this.

God has not forgotten man and the earth, and He is not going to drop it out of sight and have done with it. It is the scene of His own Son's sufferings, and the earth itself has been purchased by Him. It shall therefore be redeemed, not done away. The millennial blessing itself is but a step to the full glory of it. It is its regeneration time, according to the Word elsewhere (Matt. 19:28), the time when evil shall be put down and righteousness shall rule, but not yet the time when it will be utterly banished. That there comes between this and the time of full blessing, the passing away of the heavens and earth to be replaced by new heavens and a new earth, has been misapprehended so as to make a great mistake in the way. The earth passes — is to be changed — just as the body passes from the corruptible to the incorruptible, from the state of dishonor which sin has caused, to the state of glory; but the identification of the risen man with the man who toiled and suffered and sinned upon earth is no less complete on this account. We speak of a "new man" when we do not mean another man in the strict sense of the word; so we speak of "a new earth" which will indeed be that, as every one shall realize, yet not another earth, but the earth made new — a realized fulfilment of God's thoughts with regard to the earth when He created it. We do not go on to that here. Save in a single expression, Old Testament prophecy is limited to the millennium as its outlook, and then that kingdom shall have begun in which, under the rule of Him who is the perfect Revealer of the mind of God, that which is eternal will be perfected. What we have here is, on the one side, the trial of man still, but, on the other, God is finally inviting (by the display of all this beauty and the manifestation of His truth and grace) men to enjoy it. Revelation assures us that even then, as there will be hearts obdurate to it all the way through, so there will be a final outbreak even under those glorious skies. It is the necessary manifestation of what has been kept down by power throughout the millennial reign, in order that judgment may make the clean work which it must finally do that perfect blessing may come in.

And what a witness to man will be that which we find here; and they shall say: "This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited!" There is no room for doubt or question any longer but that Jehovah has done this. There will be no skeptics or atheists in those days; yet, alas, the enmity of man's heart will not be removed even by that wondrous vision. "The nations that shall be left round about you shall know that I Jehovah build the ruined places, and plant that which was desolate. I Jehovah have spoken it, and will do it."

That which follows immediately is not necessarily a condition that God will "yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them;" but, rather, the assurance that they will. It does not involve, as some seem to imagine, that the actual unbelief of the nation at the present time has set aside such promises as these which have been given them. The Lord goes on imme diately with His assurances, which certainly do not rest upon any foundation less broad than that upon which He has set them. God is acting for the glory of His name, and who shall disappoint Him? "I will increase them with men," He says, "like a flock, as the holy flock; as the flock of Jerusalem at her appointed times; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men, and they shall know that I am Jehovah."

3. We have still to see this restoration of Israel stamped as a resurrection; God bringing them out of a condition in which even to themselves all hope is lost. They are but as the dry bones of the slain, of which, if the question be raised, "Can these bones live?" the answer can only be in God's hands. The new life of the nation is truly a resurrection. The stamp which God is putting upon all things here is to be put distinctly upon this people yet. It will not be by their own efforts or achievements — as they are thinking and planning now — that they will become all that the prophets have declared that they shall become. Nothing but the quickening breath of God can accomplish it for them, and for this they have yet to be brought down into the dust, even after all that they have suffered for these centuries, in order that they may learn their needed lesson of abasement and may learn the grace to which, as they shall finally own, they owe everything.

(1) We have two parts in this chapter: First, new life in the Spirit is given to the nation which thus becomes miraculously reorganized; while, in the second part we have what must be in order for this, the healing of the long breach between Judah and Ephraim, so that the nation as a whole shall re-attain its unity and under the true David, from whom, alas, they have alike gone astray. "The hand of Jehovah was upon me, and Jehovah carried me out in the Spirit, and set me down in the midst of a valley, and it was full of bones; and He caused me to pass by them round about, and behold, there were very many on the face of the valley, and behold, they were very dry." There is no mingling here of the dead and the living as the prophet sees them. They are altogether those from whom not merely life is departed, but who are the mere dry and scattered relics of the dead. The prophet is challenged by the question: "Son of man, can these bones live?" To man of course this is impossible. The passage from death to life has never been achieved, save by the power of God alone; and this, spite of all their present thoughts, is the condition out of which God at last revives them. It is not the actual condition of the nation at present in which, as we know, there are yet those who live — live spiritually. "Blindness in part is happened unto Israel." It is true that these are, in the mind of God, no more part of the people according to the flesh; they have lost their Jewish hopes, to find in the loving mercy of God far better ones. When the Lord shall have removed His present people to Himself, the Church, this state of things will be ended. The nation will be then, in their rejection of Christ, utterly dead. The prophet answers: "O Lord Jehovah, Thou knowest," and then he is bidden to give Jehovah's word to the dry bones themselves. The nation is to be thus new born by the word of God, and from the dead. Every step here is a true creative work of God: "Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live; and I will put sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live." And then comes once more the refrain, — for this alone is what can make it truly life: "Ye shall know that I am Jehovah."

So the prophet prophesies and sees the miracle wrought — the wondrous miracle of resurrection. He sees the bones come together and the flesh cover them, and the form given, while yet there is no breath' from on high. But then he is told to prophesy to the winds, the type, as we know, in the Lord's words, of the Spirit; and from the four winds, the breath comes into these slain, and now they live. These that, but a moment since, were mere inanimate and scattered wrecks of departed life, are now at once an exceeding great army, the hosts of the Lord.

The prophet is not left in doubt about the vision. The bones are the whole of the house of Israel, and in a condition in which they are made to realize at last that, as to themselves, there is no hope any longer. They are not only dead, as the prophet has seen them, but in their graves, buried and gone. But this is the stamp which God puts upon everything in nature. The evening dies into the night before the morning springs out of it. The earth itself will have to find its dissolution before it comes to that new earth in which dwelleth righteousness. Ezekiel's wheel is going round; it is ordained to abase all the glory of man in order that man may come at last to true glory. In resurrection alone can everything be stable, as that which manifests the power of evil already met and conquered, and no foe to meet again. God has done it all Himself; He has taken upon Himself the whole burden of it! How strange a work He has wrought in order that He might lift creation into the glory that yet shall be, every Christian knows. And Israel shall know who it is that has done this, that He is indeed Jehovah, when He has opened their graves and caused them to come up out of their graves and put His Spirit in them that they may live. The blessing still keeps to the old sphere of promise for them; as an earthly people the earth is their destiny. "I will bless you," says the Lord, "in your own land." Then shall prophecy find its full witness and have the eternal seal upon it: "Ye shall know that I Jehovah have spoken it, and have done it, saith Jehovah."

(2) One thing remains which must not be omitted. The ancient and unnatural strife between Judah and Ephraim must and will surely pass away if all this is to be; and the complete assurance of it is given "The word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, And thou, son of man, take thee one stick and write upon it: For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions. Then take another stick, and write upon it: For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions; and join them one to another into one stick, and they shall become one in thy hand."

The people are Jews, for us now; that is, they are all of Judah; and the question has even been asked whether such coming together did not find its accomplishment long ago, when the people returned out of captivity in Babylon. Thus we are told with regard to the prophetess Anna, in our Lord's day, that she was of the tribe of Asher; and it is thought that other intimations are given that the ten tribes, so often spoken of as "the lost tribes," have become merged long since into this one Jewish race. But this will not do for the prophecy here, and assuredly it will not do for God. It is distinctly in their own land, and under the King whom God will raise up to them, when God shall be once more manifestly their God, His sanctuary set in the midst of them forever, that this prophecy shall find its accomplishment. There is a universal gathering: "Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations whither they are gone and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one King shall be king to them all, and they shall be no more two nations; neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." That the time of all this is future should need no argument, nor should it need one that the promise to which God has appended no condition here (but which He affirms He will Himself fulfil) can never be set aside by any unfaithfulness of the people of whom He speaks, a people whose unfaithfulness has been all contemplated (and realized) from the beginning. Faithless as they may be, the time will come, as God has announced it, when they shall no more defile themselves with their idols nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions, but He will save them out of their dwelling places wherein they have sinned, and they shall be His people and He will be their God.

The former shepherd-king comes again before us here, David, "the Beloved." This keeper of sheep has celebrated in his psalms, as we well know, Jehovah Himself in this character, and realized wondrous things from it: "Jehovah is my Shepherd; I shall not want." This is God's thought of rule, as Christ, the true Shepherd, fully manifests it so that even if He take the rod of iron, as e will do in the time near to come, it will be to "tend" or shepherd the nations with it. Here is one with whom rule is ministry, and subjection to Him is subjection to eternal love itself. Thus when God at last shall be able to show all that is in His heart, in the times contemplated here, how shall it in fact be shown? When they shall dwell in the land as their unalienable inheritance, they and their children and their children's children forever; and David, "the Beloved," himself the servant of Jehovah, shall be their prince forever. The One who claims obedience shall be the One who has milked in obedience, and that at all cost to Himself, and in devotedness to all the interests of His people.

Thus the "covenant of peace" shall be made with them — "He has made peace by the blood of His cross." Thus it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and "I will bless them," says the Lord, "and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore." This last remains for full expansion by the mouth of Ezekiel himself, but divine love lingers upon it: "My tabernacle also shall be over them" — those covering wings which once they refused, but of which they shall yet know the blessedness — "and I will be their God, and they shall be my people; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah that sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore."

Subdivision 2 (Ezekiel 38, 39).

Salvation fully realized through Jehovah's judgment of Israel's last enemy

Israel is now brought finally back from her long captivity and planted in the land, no more to be removed, the face of the Lord never again to be turned from her. This being accomplished, there remains only the condition of the world outside to be dealt with, and to show the effect of these judgments in the deliverance of the earth.

There are three spheres of judgment in Ezekiel, apart altogether from the sphere of professing Christianity, which, of course, is not seen in Ezekiel.

First of all comes the judgment of the Gentiles who have been brought in contact with the light, and who are judged, therefore, with regard to their responsibility as to this. We shall constantly find that they are judged by their attitude towards Israel, and that the judgment does not go, therefore, beyond the circle of those who have been brought in contact with Israel. This we have seen already.

The judgments in Ezekiel are earthly judgments, and by the hands of the Gentiles themselves — in short, of Nebuchadnezzar, in whose hands God had put the imperial power. The Gentiles, who never had any revelation, are entrusted with this power. Therefore, they are directed at least to the true God and to His message, as we find in Daniel, God Himself dealing expressly with the man to whom He had entrusted this power. This ends speedily in the discovery that he is but like all those who have been entrusted with such responsibility, as we see in the image of gold set up in the Plain of Dura, and where those who confess the true God have to suffer for their faithfulness. What follows is the history of increasing departure; the history of Nebuchadnezzar himself and of his successors being taken as the exemplification of it. With the Lord's personal coming the story of the empires ends. But this is not the end altogether of Gentile history. Morally, man is completely judged, but the full assurance of this condition is seen in what follows — "the times of the Gentiles."

This is what we have in the chapters now before us, in which the last manifestation of the Gentiles is given. If we look carefully at the names of the peoples here mentioned, we see at once that we are in a different sphere from that of Daniel. We return to what we find at the very beginning: Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and such like, which carries us right back to Gen. 10; it sets before us the final history of those who, we may say, had as yet no history at all. It is evident that the sons of Japheth are here before us, and that Japheth is seen as the prodigal that has wandered away from God; and having lost God, he has lost himself no less.

If we look at the genealogies in Gen. 10, we shall see how brief and fragmentary they are. As with the sons of Gomer, those of the next generations are only put before us in a broken manner, and they soon end altogether; nor have we any revival of them until we come to Ezekiel. With the exception of Persia in a partial way, we have nothing of the Gentiles numbered among the imperial powers of Daniel; for, as already said, the imperial history ignores these.

The first name here, a strange one in Scripture, we may recognize in another form. It is said that Gog means "extension," Magog is but the same with the additional thought, perhaps, of "means," or "place of," "extension." Japheth is "enlargement." Thus Japheth and Gog give us thoughts to some extent similar.

[End of notes by Mr. Grant. Beginning of notes by J. Bloore.]

Now Ezekiel clearly shows how in the coming days of peace and prosperity, following the gracious work of restoration recorded in the preceding chapters, Jehovah will bring up against His people and their land these great and powerful nations which are situated outside the limits of the empires of which Daniel speaks. They have been already met in the full assemblage of their power at Har-Magedon (Rev. 16:12-16; Rev. 19:11-21), followed by the judgment, at the Lord's appearing on Mount Olivet (Zech. 14:1-4), of the great host gathered for the capture of Jerusalem. But Gog and his hosts are brought up after these scenes of judgment, and when Israel is dwelling safely (vers. 8-11), for the purpose of manifesting before all nations the absolute supremacy of Jehovah in all the earth. The object in view is emphatically stated (Ezek. 38:16, 23; Ezek. 39:6-7, 21, 22, 28) .

This prophecy not only warns, and so prepares, the people for this last great invasion but it is intended to give them confidence, since it makes known that Jehovah will act on their behalf — He who has so blessedly established them in the land under the True Shepherd. Further they will not need to fight; Jehovah shall rise in His fury; He shall fight and triumph gloriously, and Gog shall find not a spoil, but a grave in Israel's fair land, which shall be a perpetual memorial, a witness to Jehovah's great power in judgment upon this insolent enemy.

After this great show of the enemy's arrogance, his destruction, and the purging of the land from the defilement of their corpses, we have in beautiful sequence the dwelling place of God with the detail of its establishment, the Sanctuary of the land and people, the divine centre of the earth, for "The Lord is there."

Thus, in the order of these events, we see the linking together of important features which often appear in the ways of God. First, the people are gathered back and established in favor; secondly, the enmity and power of the enemy is permitted under God's hand to manifest itself, resulting in God being glorified, while full deliverance becomes the portion of His people. Thenceforth "none shall make them afraid" any more, God in glory dwelling in their midst.

These things are illustrated on two other prominent occasions. In Egypt during the plagues, and at the Passover, the people are manifested as having special favor in the eyes of Jehovah; they are marked off from those under judgment, though in exile and poor slaves under Egypt's power; these conditions find a certain correspondence in the days of which Ezekiel speaks, in that a people scattered and peeled, trodden down under Gentile oppression, is delivered and brought into blessing in their God-given land. And as Pharaoh and all his hosts came against the delivered people, only to meet his utter destruction, so shall it be with Gog and his company; and as the Tabernacle, God's dwelling, was set up among the people, so here, as already remarked, the Sanctuary of the Millennial glory is established. The other occasion is in David's time. The nation, delivered out of the abject condition which existed in the closing period of the Judges, is established in blessing under David's rule with the subjugation of enemies, followed by the peaceful reign of Solomon and the building of the Temple.

We may translate these things into our individual experience. Redemption not only places us before God in favor, but also where we become special objects of the enemy's attack in full power (Eph. 6). For this the panoply of God is provided, invested in which, victory is assured. This leads into the possession of our spiritual blessings in heavenly places, into what spiritually answers to the sanctuary for us.

The truth in the Epistle to the Romans may be considered in a similar setting. First, our salvation out of ruin through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Then we get the questions as to sin, the flesh, and the law, by means of which the enemy assails the saved soul, yet permitted by God for its exercise and blessing. God delivers by the Word of Truth, and this introduces to the glorious things of Romans 8 — a sanctuary chapter. Other analogies of this divine order may be traced in Scripture. To thus see the ways of God is not only instructive, but comforting and assuring to the heart. How certain it is that He makes all things work together for good to His people. The enemy can do nothing but what shall abound to His praise and our blessing.

Let us now consider this important prophecy in more detail.

Section 1 (Ezekiel 38:1-7).

The leaders in this final conflict.

{Verse 5: Cush was the son of Ham, and the father of Nimrod. Cush, or Ethiopia, has reference in general to a powerful kingdom to the south of Egypt, while the connection with Nimrod associates the family with the first kingdom in Babylonia. — (J. Bloore).

The A. V. gives Libya, the Greek name for the region along the Mediterranean, west of Egypt. The Hebrew name is Phut. — (J. Bloore)

Verse 6, Gomer was the eldest son of Japheth, and father of Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. He is the supposed progenitor of certain branches of the Celtic family. His descendants settled to the north of the Black Sea, spreading to the South and West of Europe. — (J. Bloore)

Verse 7 'Guard,' "Or, "chief," "commander."

Verse 8 'end of years': This expression would seem to have the same meaning as another of very distinct prophetic connection, i.e., "the last," or "latter (end of, New Trans.) days," which occurs just 14 times (Gen. 49:1; Num. 24:14; Deut. 4:30; Deut. 31:29; Isa. 2:2; Jer. 23:20; Jer. 30:24; Jer. 48:47; Jer. 49:39; Ezek 38:16; Dan. 2:28; 10:14; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1), in all of which the reference is clearly to the closing scenes of Jacob's time of trouble and the establishment of the Millennial kingdom, as a study of the context of these passages will show. — (J. Bloore)}

1. The leaders in the conflict soon to ensue are first set before us. It is the Lord Jehovah as against Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. For faith this must at once settle the issue. "Who may stand in Thy sight when once Thou art angry?" Who? — for it is the hour when the earth must fear and be still, God having arisen in judgment "to save all the meek of the earth" (Ps. 76).

Gog is evidently a ruler of great power and influence, for he is able to gather under his leadership a complex group of nations, on behalf of whom Jehovah commands him to prepare in view of the coming conflict, and to whom he is to be a "guard" or "commander." This marks him as a military organizer and leader. Here we have simply the statement of his great assemblage. The time at which it takes place and the object, are given later in the chapter.

These nations do not fill a large place in prophecy. Persia alone has any measure of prominence. They are not immediately adjacent to the land, nor do they belong to the western confederacy. They are the Gentile nations external to the groups mentioned in Daniel and Revelation, and largely descendants of Japheth, from whom come the inhabitants of "the isles of the sea" (Gen. 10:5). In a general way these peoples have been located near to and north of the Black Sea, Rosh pointing to Russia. It seems clear that we have in this assemblage a great northern confederacy which becomes the last instrument in Satan's hand by which he will seek the destruction of the chosen people then restored to the land under Messiah.

We must also distinguish this company and this invasion (which takes place early in the Millennium) from that which comes after the 1000 years of Messiah's reign, though Gog and Magog are again introduced (see notes on Rev. 20:7-9) .

Section 2. (Ezekiel 38:8-13).

The evil designs of the enemy

Let us now endeavor to place this invasion in relation to the closing events of Daniel's 70th week. In this connection first note the words, "I will turn thee back" (38:4; 39:2). The force of this expression is to cause to return as to a place previously occupied. This being said of the invasion of the land at the time of which this vision treats seems to suggest that Jehovah is bringing these nations back again to a place formerly visited. In view of this the inquiry may be raised as to whether they had previously invaded Israel's land.

Bearing in mind that it is a northern confederacy of which Ezekiel speaks, certain nations of which are also associated in the assault upon the land recorded in Daniel 11, let us turn briefly to that prophecy. In vers. 36-39 we have the future Wilful King reigning in the land, with whom the Roman Prince makes a covenant for seven years (Dan. 9:27), but which is broken in half that time; these rulers (the Beasts of Rev. 13) then manifest their full blasphemous character, setting up the abomination of desolation because of which God brings in a desolator — the overflowingscourge of Isa. 28:15-19, the details of which are given in Dan. 11:40-45. In the closing days of the seventieth week when the fearful apostasy of the Jewish nation under Antichrist supported by the Roman Prince is at its height, and the hour of judgment having drawn near, God in His providential ways acts to bring about the gathering of all the forces of the nations to meet their overthrow when the Lord appears in glory. So at this time the King of the South finds some reason to attack the Wilful King. Jealous perhaps of his great increase in power and influence as the chief associate of the Roman Prince, he determines upon an effort to lower his prestige. Seeing this the King of the North is roused to action, for he too aspires to world-supremacy, and doubtless has watched with jealous eye the ascendancy of the king in Palestine who stands as the representative of the great western confederacy; now fearing that the King of the South may gain an advantage he rushes into action with the vast forces at his command. It is his movements which Daniel details at length. It is evident that he passes through Palestine and reaches as far as Egypt, the country of the King of the South, in the course of his victorious campaign. It is stated that the Libyans, or people of Phut, and the Ethiopians, or those of Cush, are in his forces, and these are also allies of Gog. Then tidings out of the east and north trouble him. Since he would be in the vicinity of Egypt at this time, it would appear that these tidings would come from Palestine, which would be to his east and north. They stir him to furious energy in a mighty effort to destroy an enemy of whom these tidings inform him. He returns and establishes himself with his armies "between the seas, at the glorious holy mountain," that is, between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem. Joel and Zechariah describe this gathering, adding details not given by Daniel. (Compare Joel 3 and Zech. 14).

This gathering of armies to besige Jerusalem cannot be those of the western or revived Roman empire to which Rev. 19 refers, for that power is allied to and would support the Wilful King against whom the King of the North comes in his whirlwind campaign. The nations then of which Zechariah and Joel speak are those to the north and east of the "pleasant land." They are the enemies of the Wilful King and the Western confederacy which supports him — the false Messiah in the Land. Keeping this in mind, and remembering that God is working at this time to bring all these forces together for judgment at the Lord's appearing, a thought suggests itself as to what tidings reached the King of the North when in the vicinity of Egypt. May they not be the news of the gathering hosts of the Western powers coming into Palestine to effect the cutting off of his return to the north, thus severing his communications from the rear, purposing then to strike one final blow which will decide the question of world-supremacy once for all in favor of the Beasts of Rev. 13 which are the instruments of Satanic power and policy? Putting together with this the prophecy of Rev. 16 we learn that this mighty host will gather at Har-Magedon, identified as the plain of Esdraelon, which lies across the path of travel through Palestine between the north and the south.* Tidings of such movements may well explain Dan. 11:44, and the northern leader commences his return, likewise determined to strike the blow which will place in his hand the coveted world-supremacy.

{*At the seaward end of this notable plain is situated the Bay of Acre, the line of which stretches from Haifa to Acre, or Acco. Perhaps it is of more than passing interest to note that the American Zion Commonwealth has purchased 15,000 acres of land right along the shore and back, covering a very fertile section; and that the Commonwealth is undertaking a great development of this vast sea frontage, making a new channel to the sea for the River Kishon, and preparing to establish important industries with garden cities lying back from the sea, around what will be soon the greatest port of the Mediterranean, as a high British official has declared. The Palestinian Government is to spend millions to make a genuine harbor at Haifa. It is just such extensive developments which would be needful for the assembling of the vast forces of the Roman empire upon this great plain, for it is natural to suppose that they will be gathered from many parts of the ten-kingdom confederacy, and transported under naval convoy to the shores of Palestine. Already 500 miles of railroad connect this bay and its harbor facilities with different parts of the Land, including Jerusalem and reaching as far south as Beersheba. At Haifa, where at the close of the world-war there were only 3,000 inhabitants, ten years after there were 13,000. For centuries this town has been at a standstill, but now it pulsates with life, and under the urge of industrial enterprise the mountains are being cut through and the sea front developed to meet the demands of the projects in view.}

These opposing leaders know nothing of Him whom they will suddenly meet and whose appearing will with swift blows of judgment destroy them utterly (Isa. 30:27-33; Isa. 31:8-9; Zech. 14:3-5; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21) .

Having digressed thus far it may not be amiss to go a little farther afield and consider more fully the order and relation of these events.

There are two general lines of prophecy as regards the nations which perhaps are not always distinguished. The Old Testament Prophets, except Daniel, very largely, if not entirely, treat of the course and judgment of the "peoples," or nations, north and east of the land, and which have come into direct relation to Israel, but which are always her pronounced enemies and oppressors. It is the Assyrian, the King of the North, and his allied peoples which are brought before us. The great western coalition, or revived Roman empire, is not directly spoken of except in Daniel who, indeed, reveals the relation of both these confederacies.

Now in the New Testament what comes into view is the western empire, and not those nations which so largely fill the Old Testament vision. The moral reason for this seems evident. In the Old Testament God's controversy is with "the heathen" or "peoples" north and east of the land, also to the south, which had come into direct touch with Israel, and from whom she had learned her evil ways, all of whom however hated her bitterly, despising Jehovah, and helping forward her affliction on every possible occasion, for they desired to crush her out of existence. It is their still future attack upon the Land, and their siege of Jerusalem, with their overwhelming judgment at the hands of the Lord when He comes, which so largely occupies the Old Testament. In the New Testament it is the western coalition which fills the prophetic vision, because it is in direct relation to the Church and Christendom (which is the subject of the New Testament as Israel and her place is of the Old Testament), which it first persecuted, then favored. Finally becoming apostate we find these western powers associated with the Antichrist or false Jewish Messiah. The King of the North and his allies are the open enemies of this Wilful King who will then exercise authority in Palestine.

Thus we see there are two great divisions of the nations, and similarly there are two great gatherings, at the time of the end. One distinctively occupies the Old Testament vision, and the other the New. The former is the gathering of the peoples under Israel's oppressor, the Assyrian of the future, or last King of the North. The latter is the gathering of the western nations under the Beast and False Prophet at Har-Magedon.

As there are two gatherings, there are two distinct geographical locations at which they take place. In considering these two gatherings we must remember one marked feature of contrast: the one under the Beast is friendly to the apostate Jews and their city Jerusalem, their apostate leader being the ally of the Beast; the other is fiercely opposed to the Jews and their false prince, against whom they direct their attack. We can hardly think of the Beast and his hosts besieging Jerusalem; they would rather be its defenders, and so cannot be included among the "peoples" which come up against Jerusalem. The locations then are these: the King of the North and his hosts are gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which is just outside of Jerusalem at the base of Mount Olivet. This is referred to in Joel 3 and Zech. 14, and Dan. 11:45. The other gathering, as already mentioned, is at Har-Magedon, quite to the north of Jerusalem, and identified with the plain of Esdraelon, connected with the sea coast where it would be natural for great armies to disembark.

As we may thus discern two distinct groups of nations, two distinct gatherings at two distinctly different centres, so we may, I think, speak of two distinct, though of course closely related, manifestations of the Lord in judgment. The appearing of the Lord in glory for judgment is described in a twofold way. Daniel saw Him come like a son of man with the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7:13); John says, "Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him." And again, "I saw, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like the Son of Man," and, "I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and one sitting on it. …and the armies which were in heaven followed Him." Then the Lord's own words are, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days… shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the land lament, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." He will come in the glory of His Father with His angels. Paul speaks of "the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with the angels of His power," at which time He will consume the Lawless One, the Antichrist, with the breath of His mouth and shall annul him by the appearing of His coming. It is then also that the first Beast is taken, and both these monsters of iniquity are cast into the lake of fire and their armies destroyed. These details give one aspect of the Lord's appearing apparently directly connected with the judgment of the apostate western powers under the Roman Prince, the first Beast of Rev. 13, and his ally the second Beast, or the Antichrist of the Jews, the Lawless One of 2 Thess. 2 and the Wilful King of Dan. 11:36-39. The other aspect of the Lord's appearing is described as an actual descent to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14; Acts 1:10-11). With this we have the deliverance of besieged Jerusalem, against which the King of the North and his hosts are assembled in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, as with the other — the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, His coming in the clouds — we have the immediate judgment of the Beast and the False Prophet, or Antichrist, which stroke of judgment seems to take place first in the progress of the Lord's manifestation, after which He stands upon Olivet as Zechariah describes. It is to be noted that the city is actually taken and plundered by the besieging armies, which naturally are not those of the Beast and his ally, the Jewish Antichrist, for they would be gathered rather for its defence, and it seems more than likely that they had been at Har-Magedon for that purpose in response to appeal from the Jewish ruler to meet and destroy their mutual enemy, the King of the North, when he returned from his drive into Egypt. It is evident that for some reason they could not reach Jerusalem in time to prevent its capture and plunder, though assembled only a few miles to the north. Why this failure and victory of the enemy? Is it to be explained by the fact that the Lord had suddenly appeared in heavenly glory and smitten them with the breath of His mouth, which is compared to a sharp two-edged sword, and so the city left to its own resources falls a prey to the superior power of the attacking forces? Is not just such a failure of the trusted power of the West foretold by Isaiah (Isa. 28:14-22)? It would so appear. But is there a lapse of time allowed between this initial stroke and the actual appearing on Mount Olivet — during which opportunity is given for the King of the North to accomplish the capture of the city with its apostate mass? And may this not take up the additional thirty days of Dan. 12:11 at the end of which the Lord appears for the deliverance of the city? In any case after this the Millennial kingdom is set up. There is still a further period of forty-five days after the close of the seventieth week mentioned in Daniel. May it not be that during this second additional period the momentous events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 take place? I merely offer these thoughts by way of suggestion as presenting the possible order and relation of these vastly important events. As to the events themselves there need be no question. The prophetic Scriptures are clear enough.

We may conclude, then, that there was a first invasion of the land by the King of the North, and that this answers to what is foretold in such scriptures as Isa. 28:14-22; Dan. 9:27; Dan. 11:40-45; Joel 3; Zech. 14. Furthermore, this leader is the personage of Dan. 8:23-25, of whom the Little Horn of that chapter is the anticipatory fulfilment (Antioches Epiphanes, King of Syria, the north, in contrast to Egypt, the south), showing that it is the King of the North that is in view. Now the course of this leader is carried to the point of standing up against the Prince of princes — Messiah, who must therefore have been manifested for this to take place. Considering that the powers in Dan. 8 and 11 are to be identified, as well as with the Gog confederacy which comes out of the north and bears both a national and territorial identity with the former, then in the invasion of which our chapters speak we get the second invasion of the Northern confederacy. This seems like a supreme effort to overcome the third great Combatant who so suddenly appeared on the scene at the time of their first attack, smiting the assembled armies in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and those of the West at Har-magedon. He does not know that Jehovah is turning him back to the mountains of Israel, and that in reality he is standing up against the Prince of princes, who is already present, as Ezek. 37 shows. But as Daniel says, "He shall be broken without hand" — a terse description of what Ezekiel depicts in more detail.

{Verse 2. The meaning of this word 'lead' is uncertain. Perhaps the A.V. is correct in rendering, "leave but the sixth part of thee." It is at least suggestive as intimating that six, the number which speaks of the manifestation of evil, and the divine limit to its activity, is the measure of Gog's host, i.e., six parts compose it, of which God spares one in divine sovereignty. — (J. Bloore).}

One final suggestion: in Dan. 8 it is stated of this northern leader that he destroyed the mighty and the holy people, that is, the Jewish people; and that he shall stand up against Messiah. The first would certainly characterize his actions at the time of his first invasion, while the latter would be accomplished in what these chapters of Ezekiel tell us. This may have taken place very shortly after the Lord's descent to the Mount of Olives.

The time at which this invasion took place is clearly indicated (vers. 8, 11, 12). It is when the waste condition of the land is past, and the regathered people are dwelling securely in peace (Zech. 14:10-11; Amos 9:11-15; Isa. 35; Jer. 30:3). His coming is like that of a dark thunder-cloud, spreading over the land, ascending from the north parts upon the mountains of Israel. In all this Jehovah is revealed as not only foreknowing and foretelling, but also as the Searcher of hearts. The mind of the enemy is as an open book to Him. This we learn in addition to the fact that He is putting hooks into the jaws of this mighty host, bringing them forth to meet Himself that all nations may know Him, the Holy One of Israel.

When the time of these events has come, how comforting and re-assuring for the people to have this word of prophecy. On this they may rest their souls when the first signs of the gathering storm shall suddenly darken the blessed scenes of peace and plenty which will then be their portion in the land "brought back from the sword." Gog shall not be permitted to put it to the sword again. Has not Jehovah made His everlasting covenant of peace with them? It is the day of Isa. 12:2-6 when Israel shall prove the blessing of abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.

The enemy thinks he is carrying out the purpose of his own heart, and in boastful pride assembles his hosts to take a spoil. The secret for faith is that Jehovah both leads and commands. It is a solemn lesson. How often must the proud "I will" of man bring him under the crushing stroke of Omnipotent power called into action to shield and deliver the objects of infinite love. Haughty Pharaoh must sink down before it. Midian's hosts must fall under its sword. Boastful Rabshakeh and the armies of Assyria must melt away before its blast. How many more of earth's mighty have fallen, must yet fall, before its withering breath! So too, but with higher thoughts, the Christian heart can say in the light of the inspired record, and rejoicing in Christ now enthroned, "Who shall separate us?" even though we be but as sheep accounted for the slaughter.

Section 3 (Ezekiel 38:14-23).

The revelation of Jehovah to the nations in the judgment of Gog.

The interrogation of the merchant princes represents them as expressing surprise at Gog's multitude. Can it be simply for the taking of spoil? The greatness of the attack appears out of proportion to the smallness of the object. Thus might it appear to human eyes, but the deep underlying reason is given in Jehovah's answer. He draws forth all this army, that, as He says, "The nations may know Me when I shall be hallowed in thee, O Gog, before their eyes." The magnitude of Gog's undertaking would seem to the observant eyes of all the "young lions" of Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish without any prospect of adequate compensation, but all is clear when God's purpose is known. In this we get an example of how the wheels of divine government go round, carrying forward the throne and its glorious Occupant.

We have now a reference to former prophecies relating to these events. This at first may present a difficulty, for we do not find any previous prophetic announcement under the nation's names here given. The interrogative form rather excludes the thought of Gog being mentioned before. It is rather that the prophets for many years announced a great consummation in judgment, executed upon the nations having special relations with Israel, while also her pronounced enemies. The question is then, "Art thou he" in connection with whom this will find its full accomplishment? The answer is given affirmatively in the next verse, coupled with the declaration of Jehovah's wrath, and the terrible shaking which will be caused by His stroke of judgment.

It may be well to mention here several of the prophecies which point to this consummation. The name "Assyrian" is given to the last great enemy of Israel. He is associated with the north in Zeph. 2:13; and Assyria is the land of the north from which Israel will be gathered (Isa. 27:12-13; Hosea 11:11; Zech. 10:10; Jer. 16:15; Jer. 23:8). Though "Assyria" and "Gog" seem names so very different, there is a similarity in their meaning which suggests moral identification, as well as that of locality, while the prophecies we shall refer to establish identity as to time, scene, and the character of judgment. Gog means either "extension" or "the topmost," both suggesting the ambition, pride and avarice which mark his conduct as given in our chapters. Assyria, from Asshur, means "a footstep," as going forward successfully, and this in boasted self-sufficiency, as Isaiah says (Isa. 10:8-11, 13, 14). In this very chapter Isaiah makes plain that the invasion and the consummation in judgment of which it speaks is not only future, but after the restoration and when Messiah is present (vers. 12, 17, 20, 21, 27). Thus he stands up against the Prince of princes as Dan. 8 states, and this is more emphatically affirmed by Micah (Micah 5:1-9). We know how direct the reference here is to Christ (vers. 1, 2), and then "He shall stand and shall feed His flock in the strength of the Lord," this being in beautiful accord with what Ezekiel has told us (Ezek. 36:24-26). Following this we have the remarkable statement, "And this Man shall be the Peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land. …and He shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he cometh into our land" (vers. 5, 6). And Jehovah says in reference to this time, "I will execute vengeance in anger and in fury upon the nations, such as they have not heard." This agrees with what we have considered to be the time of Gog's invasion, giving us good reason to link the prophecies regarding the Assyrian of the last days with those of Gog in Ezekiel. This we will find further strengthened by such passages as Isa. 17:12-14; Isa. 25; Isa. 26:21; Isa. 30:18-33; Joel 2:15-27; Nahum 1 — 3, especially Nahum 1:11-15 and Nahum 3:9; and Zech. 12. A careful consideration of these scriptures will lead us to see that, no matter what application they may have to the days which close the seventieth week of Daniel, they look on for full accomplishment in Gog's great gathering, though his name does not appear. Similarity of moral character and purpose, coincidence in time and characteristics of judgment, prevail throughout. They are in that way of the same generation as the Assyrian of Sennacherib's day, whose coming and defeat gave the text for many prophecies, while undoubtedly it was the foreshadow of the final consummation.

From these considerations we may conclude that Jehovah's words (ver. 17) indicate the wide scope to be attributed to the prophecies. They not only have an application to the action of Assyria at the time when that ancient empire flourished, but also to the King of the North, or Assyrian of the future, who shall be the desolator, or overflowing scourge, in the closing scenes of the seventieth week, God's battle-axe then as before upon a rebellious and idolatrous people; and finally the day when he shall come again as Gog from the north, to be utterly broken upon the mountains of Israel (Isa. 10:26-27; Isa. 14:24-27 with our present chapters. Compare also Isa. 10:26; Judges 7:22 with ver. 11).

There follows a most graphic description of Jehovah revealed in judgment. It is a manifestation which while centering in the land of Israel reaches throughout the earth and affects all mankind. The overthrow is accomplished by internal strife, every man's sword against his brother; by pestilence and blood, that is, violent death, and by the downpour of destruction from heaven. Thus man in proud self-will and vaunted sufficiency has his own weapons turned against him, corruption and violence assail, while heaven's displeasure is revealed. Those who are against God must find that the forces of earth and heaven, combined with their own devices, carry them down to destruction. Self-will and pride must ever reap according to the sowing. It is an unvarying principle of the divine government. God has written this largely on the pages of history, but men in their folly will not learn, seemingly blinded by thinking that each successive effort will be the exception to the rule which prevails in all affairs physical, moral and spiritual.

Grace known by us in Christ does not deliver from this holy government of God. Rather, since it gives to us a higher place of favor than ever known to faith before, we have greater responsibility, and we become more directly subject to the action of such divine principles. The whole history of Israel enforces this lesson. It is the moral underlying the ministry of the prophets. It is pressed home upon the people by repeated strokes of judgment. David used the sword to accomplish his own sinful will, and the sword never departed from his house. Solomon consorted with strangers, his heart was led astray, and enemies arise in the very quarters from which he drew the means of pleasing himself (1 Kings 11). Man's. self-devised plans and wilful choice ever come back upon him with. a harvest of results, which if he would only hear the Voice speaking in them, would bring him down before God in confessed impotency and sinfulness to receive the uplifting that is always given to those who humble themselves under God's mighty hand.

The divine purpose is clearly stated (vers. 16, 23). It is that Jehovah may be known, that "the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9; Habakkuk 3:14). "Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy; for all the nations shall come and worship Thee; for Thy righteous acts have been made manifest" (Rev. 15:4). This alone can establish things in proper order, as the lack of it, or its refusal, only produces confusion and evil. It is to this end that judgment is brought in. Indeed, since sin came in it is alone through God's strange work that men can be brought to know Him. From the very beginning this has been so. Through the woman's sorrow and subjection, and the man's toil striving against the curse and blight of sin, God becomes known in mercy, grace and deliverance. He might have been known to His creatures through the Garden of Delights, earthly abundance, and ever-extending dominion, but this avenue was closed forever as far as the old creation is concerned, because of man's sin. It will be realized by the new creation on a higher plane and in intimate heavenly associations through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Thus does God triumph over evil, but by way of judgment, in which He is magnified, sanctified, and made known. And where more fully so than in the greatest of all judgments? — that of the Cross, at once the answer to every question raised by sin, the fullest manifestation of God in holiness, righteousness, and love, when indeed a greater than Gog is met and judged, even Satan, the prince and god of this world. In our individual experience it is still often through the Lord's judgments that we come to know Him in growing measure. Judgments which are either chastening for our waywardness, the discipline of love, or the disposing contrary to our proposing, or even allowing our will to have its demands granted that the bitter fruit of our way may be tasted, and so the sweetness of subjection to His way be realized. But ever it is the same love that gave Christ, working with and for us, love nevertheless which must prove itself holy to the objects of its richest blessing — to us. Our failure may not bring open discipline, He by the Holy Spirit may produce exercise and distress of heart which leads to self-judgment before Him, yet the salutary lesson will be kept before the soul by results reaped from our sowing which cannot be avoided. God graciously makes all contribute to a better knowledge of Himself. He is magnified and sanctified in these ways of judgment.

It is not that the believer has sin imputed to him, for to such pertains the blessedness of Romans 4, that of non-imputation, so that he does not come into judgment (John 5:24). This has to do with eternal issues, it is put in relation to our possession of eternal life, so that from this viewpoint we have passed out of the region of judgment. It remains true, however, that as in this blessed position we call on God "as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man's work," and are to pass the time of our sojourn in fear, conscious of the redemption we have through the precious blood of Christ, and responsible as obedient children to be holy in all our behavior, "Because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:14-18). Thus we are under the Father's government. Its principles find illustration all through Scripture, and that quite fully in the Old Testament, where we get the record of the various dealings of God with those who are given places of privilege and responsibility. Hence the value and importance of all Scripture, and its use for teaching, conviction, correction, and instruction (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Its essential unity is known by the exhibition of the same divine principles in the greatest possible variety of circumstance and instrumentality. This Word "endureth forever" — "Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in the heavens." It is the heavens that shall rule for blessing to all creation. This will surely be exercised according to that Word which is now to rule us as born from above, born by that Word and the Spirit. The position of this verse in the psalm (Ps. 119:89) offers an interesting numerical study. That psalm is an alphabetic acrostic "of the most regular and perfect kind," and this verse opens its twelfth section — Lamed being the twelfth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It is the number of divine government, heavenly in character and manifestly exercised over all creation (3x4), as the psalm expresses. But to this we may add that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (as also the Greek) have a definite numerical value. In this case it is thirty (3x10), divine and heavenly manifestation in that completeness of divine order, both Godward and manward, which ten suggests. All of this is found in and through the Word, and the exercise of that holy government which is according to it and revealed in it.

Section 4 (Ezekiel 39:1-7).

Creature impotence: the overthrow of the proud foe.

We return to the announcement with which we began, so that by reiteration emphasis is given to what Jehovah declares. His unalterable "I will" assures complete accomplishment. Added to the repetition of Jehovah's purpose we now have location specified — "from the uttermost (or farthest) north." This helps to identify Gog with whatever power may occupy Russian territory at this time, while the similarity of detail in many prophecies leads us also to link him with the Assyrian, or King of the North.

As Jehovah has told of Gog's coming and purpose, also revealing His own relation and purpose now He shows Gog's impotence to accomplish his plan — he is only a creature, vanity. The bow and arrows are smitten from his hands — at the very moment they are drawn ready for the attack, bow in left hand, arrows in right, the blow falls. How often the attainment of some self-cherished object or wilful plans seems within the grasp, and sudden blight comes. Instead of vanquishing, we are vanquished. The self-chosen way or plan is suddenly turned to our destruction. Why? God has been left out of the carefully devised arrangements. Sensual wisdom has ruled instead of that wisdom which is from above which is first pure; and God must sanctify Himself in relation to us by showing Himself in opposition. "With the froward, Thou wilt show Thyself froward." And here we must mark a distinction, for the Hebrew words for "froward" are different. The first means perverse, crafty, false, and "is said only of the mind falling from rectitude" (Gog's sin, Ezek. 38:10); while the second speaks of the wrestling of one opposed, who strives until he overcomes. These chapters illustrate this text. But are there not chapters in our individual lives which convey the same lesson? How slow we are to learn! Yet God has given many warning lessons in His holy Word.

Gog then is permitted to reach the mountains he has lusted after, only to be given a prey to the ravenous bird and beast. "Lust when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is completed, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15). How often the grave is the answer to the heart's folly! Instead of taking a spoil, proud Gog falls a prey. "Extension" he did not find, nor "the topmost" place, for which he strove in pride and self-sufficiency; instead, he ignominiously falls without striking a blow to advance his selfish interests, and finds a grave in the valley.

The results of this overthrow shall be as a fire on Magog, reaching to the distant isles where they had thought to dwell securely, secure, perhaps, from the disastrous judgments that had fallen in rapid succession in the land at the time of the Lord's appearing in glory. In this Jehovah lets the nations know that His judgment can reach to the uttermost bounds, and so "they shall know that I am the Lord." Their security must be found in knowing Him, and this at once destroys every other fancied safety, opening the only true sanctuary to them.

In all this a threefold purpose finds accomplishment. Jehovah is manifest as dwelling in the midst of Israel. He is there in holy, preserving, delivering power. This will make true in the fullest way the desire expressed by Moses: "Wherein shall it be known that I have found grace in Thine eyes, I and Thy people, except in that Thou goest with us? and we shall be distinguished, I and Thy people, from all the people which are on the face of the earth." Then, "Neither will I suffer My holy name to be profaned anymore." This had taken place in the past. Though Jehovah had humbled and stricken Israel in judgment, using the nations as the rod of His anger, they whom He used had not considered; mocking and boasting, they had blasphemed Jehovah's name. Surely He was of less account than their own idol-gods. He could not defend nor save His professed people! They gloried in wasting the land and the people that bore that name. Israel had made Jehovah to serve with their sins, so that His name was dishonored among the Gentiles. The very judgments His holiness must visit upon His sinful people resulted to His dishonor in the eyes of the nations. The overwhelming judgment of Gog will cause this reproach to pass away, for it will demonstrate His power over the mightiest of earth. Furthermore, all that profaned that holy name in Israel will also have been purged out, and the nation will be holiness unto the Lord. Finally, through this consummation of judgment "the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel."

There is a voice in this for us. We, too, individually or collectively, stand identified with the holy name of Christ. Is that name sullied because of our failure? Do we commend Him before the eyes of the world? Or does our carelessness, our indifference, make Him serve with our sins in the world's eyes because His name is named upon us? He is not visible; we are to be His living representatives, His ambassadors. May the impress of His image be upon us! For this we must be much in the secret place of communion, learning from Him, sitting at His blessed feet.

Section 5 (Ezekiel 39:8-16).

Almighty strength: the glory brought to Israel through its exercise.

{Verse 11, 'passers-by.' This probably refers to some usual route of communication between the country east and that west of the Dead Sea. In view of the use of this same word in vers. 14, 15, it can hardly be applied to the hosts of Gog, as some suggest. The "passers-by" are evidently distinct from the "men of continual employment." May not the reference be, as Kiel suggests, to "travellers who pass through the land?" If so, and they are called upon with those men of special appointment to engage in burying the dead as they pass through the land, instead of going by the usual route of the valley, it being closed (ver. 11), we may see how in this way the knowledge of what God had done to Gog would be carried to distant peoples, for travellers thus made to serve either in burying or setting up signs would naturally inquire concerning the details of this signal event, and spread the news as they travelled. Thus would Israel's renown and Jehovah's glory be made known, as v. 13 intimates. — (J. Bloore).

'Hamon-Gog.' meaning, "multitude of Gog."}

Judgment executed upon proud flesh always leaves its aftermath to which the torch must be applied, or for which the grave must be dug. The collapse of every self-willed fleshly plan leaves that which must be removed or buried out of sight as loathsome and corrupt. Who that has experienced deliverance out of a snare by God's blight falling upon some cherished plan conceived in the will of the flesh, has not found plenty to burn and bury? Yet it is thus we spoil the spoiler and plunder the plunderer, while the graves of our lust are a memorial, warning by the lessons they teach, but leading the exercised soul to confidence in an ever faithful God, so that after all He is glorified.

The prophet is first assured of the absolute certainty of these events. It is the day of which Jehovah has spoken (Ezek. 38:18-19), the day referred to in the many prophecies already mentioned. The arms of a stricken foe are usually gathered and preserved as trophies, or if fit for use stored in the arsenals of the victor. Not so here; they are consumed by fire. Might not Israel have future use for all this vast store? Would it not be prudence to preserve it? Why? They who dwelt in peace without walls or gates or bars had not used a weapon to strike the foe! They had not been called to fight, Jehovah had accomplished the overthrow. It was like that of the ancient Assyrian host, the foreshadow of Gog, when the angel of the Lord went forth and smote 185,000, and "behold, they were all dead corpses" (Isa. 37:36) . The day for sword and spear had passed. The fires that burned for seven years would witness to this, as also to Israel's confidence being in Jehovah. For how different a purpose to that of Gog shall then the gathering of the nations to Jerusalem be (Isa. 2:1-4).

The land is now cleansed of its defilement through death by the burial of Gog's multitude. This place of a grave will abide a memorial to posterity; they who pass by will stop there to consider Jehovah's judgment. Geographically this valley is difficult to locate, though the language suggests the vicinity of the Dead Sea, and also a route of general communication between the land and the east of the sea. That the lesson may not be forgotten the valley shall be called Hamon-Gog, "multitude of Gog," and a city shall bear a name memorializing this judgment.

This burial of the slain shall be for Israel a renown. It will give them a name of fame, of honor, before all nations. They bury the foe, instead of being buried under the weight of Gog's avalanche. This is so, because it is the day upon which Jehovah is glorified in overcoming their enemies.

Section 6 (Ezekiel 39:17-21).

The mighty a prey

The sacrifice of judgment provides a feast for bird and beast. It is spread upon the mountains of Israel which had been laid waste when the nations surfeited themselves with the spoil of Jehovah's people; but there now the rich and mighty of the nations fall to utter destruction. Where once they had spoiled, they are now taken for a spoil. Such is the sowing and the reaping.

Section 7 (Ezekiel 39:22-29.)

The perfect completion of God's ways with His people

{Verse 26. It is not bearing shame in the sense of outward disgrace, but as bearing the inward realization of unworthiness, into which they are brought by the manifestation of the goodness of Jehovah on their behalf. — (J. Bloore)}

The perfect completion of God's holy ways in government with His people, and their establishment in full blessing, is now expressed as a fitting conclusion. First, the work of judgment confirms Israel beyond all question in the knowledge of Jehovah as their God. Secondly, it answers conclusively every question raised to profane Jehovah's name because of Israel's abject condition for the centuries of her dispersion. It was not because He was weak, unable to save, though it might appear so to the mocking eyes of unbelief. It was because He was holy, and must hide His face from them because of their iniquity. So He gave them into the hands of the adversaries, otherwise they could have had no power. This history read in the light of Gog's judgment will witness to the righteousness and holiness of Jehovah to whom now all the earth must bow. It also becomes the lesson book for the restored nation (ver. 28), while none shall be left out of blessing, nor shall God's face be anymore hid from them. The Sun of Righteousness has arisen, and in its perpetual shining they shall ever rejoice. Likewise shall we, when in the glory of Christ's day we read the lesson book of life's history, which the judgment-seat of Christ will enable us to interpret according to divine righteousness and holiness. What a blessed knowledge this will give us of the Holy and the True, while being then forever like Him no cloud shall ever come between us and the glorious shining of His face!

God is jealous of His holy name, He acts to vindicate it, and in this His people get their full blessing. How gloriously redemption accomplishes both — His glory and our blessing. And so with Israel in that day. But their dwelling securely as regathered will only give them a deeper realization of their shame and trespasses. The grace that restores and blesses writes more deeply upon the heart the failure of which we may be guilty than does the rod of judgment, which may leave of necessity a bleeding furrow. Thus shall the matchless glory of His presence, the perfect grace and kindness displayed in our being there, only make us read more deeply the awful meaning of sin, while we raise our anthem before the throne, "Unto Him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by His blood."

The blessing of those Millennial days will be found through the outpoured Spirit (ver. 29). Whatever may be the difference in dispensation, He has always been the active Divine Agent of blessing. From the time of His brooding upon the face of the waters, He has wrought in loving ministry for the creature. For us the blessing is the highest because of His personal indwelling of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and His baptism. of all such into one Body united to Christ in glory. Though this will not be true of Millennial days, and the presence and activity of the Spirit will then be after the order which the Old Testament makes known, yet it will be in greater fulness and with effects far more widespread than known in the days of old. It will be the glorious time of creation's deliverance from its groan and its enjoyment of the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).

Subdivision 3 (Ezekiel 40 — 48).

This final vision of Ezekiel has for its background the whole of his preceding prophecies. It is in the form of a great plan with accompanying specifications, drawn with the utmost care, delineated with mathematical exactness, and intended to give expression by its sharp outlines to those principles of God's holiness and government which are set forth in the earlier messages of the book.

It is important for us to get a general view before studying any of the details.

It is not hard to see that the prophet embodies in the plan of the Sanctuary and the related subjects the great central truth of God's holiness, and the divine order which must govern for blessing to be realized. Expression to this is given symbolically in the wonderful structure presented in the vision, and upon which in its glorious Millennial execution all the nations of the world will look as they come to worship.

The truth of God's holiness has been the theme pervading all of Ezekiel's utterances, whether directed to Israel or the nations. Throughout the object in view is declared to be the knowledge of Jehovah in the holiness of His nature and government. This had been most seriously called in question by the rebellion and sin of His professed people. They had obscured His character and profaned His holiness in the eyes of the nations.

The presentation of this fundamental truth in relation to Jehovah not only leads to the fullest exposure, arraignment, and judgment of Israel in the light of the glorious manifestation of God given to the prophet (Ezek. 1 — 24), but the prophet is led on to pronounce judgment upon the surrounding nations who had shown themselves enemies of God and His people, so that complete manifestation of Jehovah may be made in all the earth (Ezek. 25 — 32).

Not only is Jehovah to be manifested in withering everything contrary to Himself by the breath of His holy judgment, proceeding from that august Presence which is revealed at the beginning of the book and broods over all its action, but He also is manifested in grace in resurrection power, restoring the prodigal to Himself in the power of the Spirit and as a new creation, followed by the defeat of the last unholy assault of the enemy (Ezek. 33 — 39). Now that a people have been created suited to God and His holiness, we fittingly close with the picture of the divine order for Sanctuary, priesthood, people and land.

The book opens with visions of God which set forth His almighty majesty; His unerring, ever harmonious movement toward the pre-destined end; His will in holy government, to which all creation must bow, to the accomplishment of which all events must contribute. The book closes with the vision of the Sanctuary in which this glorious Presence takes up His dwelling, in the plan of which He intends all creation to learn the truth of His character and relation to creation, since it forms a visible expression of the very truth His prophet has so emphatically spoken.

We view things here according to the visions of God. We do not pass through the land to the Sanctuary, but begin with the sacred enclosure and proceed outward to the people and land. This is like the description of the tabernacle. It begins with the ark, the throne and mercy seat (Ex. 25). Or, again, like the sacrifices in Lev. 1 — 6, the burnt offering is first, that in which all went up as a sweet savor to God. Then, too, this vision commences at the East Gate, that at which a little later the glory is to enter (Ezek. 43:1-4) . This is ever the foundation of all blessing. We must begin with God, we must take His view-point. From this all unfolds in divine order, and with absolute precision.

It is rather remarkable that there is only a single measurement which we can certainly define as being a measurement of height (Ezek. 41:8) in the whole of this minute specification. As to the sanctuary, it is exclusively a ground-plan which is before us. This marks utter indifference to what seems to man a very great, if not the greatest, element of architecture. Nothing is considered to affect the imagination so much as height or loftiness of space, especially in a religious sense. "The height, the span, the gloom, the glory" of a venerable Gothic cathedral do not enter into the conception before us. It is characteristic of man in his pride and rebellion to aim at building a tower which will reach to heaven. In this an important principle may find illustration. Man's blessing is not found through his efforts to reach up to God, but through God coming down to him. Many are the illustrations of this, commencing with the scene in the garden (Gen. 3), which enforce the general truth that "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3) . As a result of this coming down there is a great spreading out in relation to which height becomes an insignificant factor — the mountain is brought low, and the valley filled, for the revelation of Jehovah's glory (Isa. 40:3-5).

In a general survey of the whole arrangement laid out in this vision, several general principles may be discerned as ruling this presentation of the fundamental truth of holiness. We may define them as separation, gradation, symmetry, sacrifice.

That separation is of great importance in manifesting the character and name of God comes out in Ezekiel 43:7-12, where comparison is made with the first temple arrangements. Great defilement had arisen through the close proximity of the royal buildings to the Sanctuary, for the wickedness and idolatry of those who often occupied the former had been introduced into the latter. Further, the sharp distinction between the priests and Levites (Ezek. 44:5-16) emphasizes the thought of separation, the guarding against all undue familiarity with the presence of Jehovah, and the exercise of His government in holiness. It is to be noted how past disorders are brought forward both to show the need of, and to enforce, the ordinances of the new Sanctuary. The same may be observed as to the priestly garments and the people, and other related details (Ezek. 42:14; Ezek. 44:19). All is manifestly designed to impress the observer with the distinct sanctity of Jehovah and His dwelling-place. This is a needful lesson for all times, and in the days to which these visions of God refer it will be not only enforced by precept, but will have its continual display before the whole world in the plan and service of the Sanctuary, to which all nations shall come to worship.

A second principle of importance may be called gradation — a relative subordination or arrangement of parts so as to produce the desired effect, or express some one great truth. This is expressed in a way that could not fail to set forth the fundamental idea of holiness, and so give before the eyes of all a constant witness to this essential characteristic of Jehovah, who will then rule from Mount Zion over all the earth. First, as moving toward the divine centre, we have Israel's separation from the nations; then the oblation in the midst of the land; then the Sanctuary with its walls and courts; finally the Temple and its three graded apartments — porch, holy place, and most holy place. The whole plan is a most impressive portrayal of the Divine majesty and holiness in the power and truth of which the Millennial blessing will be maintained. It will give an ever present object lesson to the world such as it has never seen before. Note, too, that the outer court is 'entered by seven steps, the inner by eight, and the House by ten. It is an entrance into what is perfect as to its form and order (7); established in the blessing of the New Covenant, a new beginning for Israel (8); and all this through God manifest in holy government according to the fulness of the divine measure (10). God ever leads the creature, as to its learning and experience, by successive steps, into the secret of His presence. We may learn this as a general principle of God's ways in the tabernacle and its arrangement, in the days of creation, and in the recorded 'experiences of men of God. Whatever may be the absolute and perfect fulness of our standing, made ours the moment faith lays hold of God according to His Word, the apprehension or learning of it is by gradation, by successive steps. This, in one way, narrows the sphere, for constriction marks the gradation as we draw near the Divine presence, and yet in another way it is an introduction into the fulness of God. After speaking of the all-various wisdom of God, the eternal purpose in Christ, and the breadth, length, depth, and height which are connected with the riches of God's glory, the apostle brings us to the love of Christ, the heart of all, which had its positive and full manifestation at the Cross in every way. This may appear to be constriction, a narrowing down to that upon which our hearts may rest in what, as we may say, is concrete. This is needful for us, and ever will be so. But having reached the concentrated centre of all, notice there is immediate expansion, "which surpasses knowledge; that ye may be filled even to all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3). Having found the divine centre we look out upon the vast expanse of grace and glory. Again, he speaks of "every family in the heavens and on earth," but the making known of the all-various wisdom of God is narrowed down to the assembly, though it will surely radiate to the utmost bounds. This mode of revelation is expressed in the most wonderful way of all, in a way seemingly constricted, if you please, yet ever abiding inscrutable, when we consider Christ in whom "dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." From the contemplation of the incomprehensible vastness of all things which that fulness ever pervades in a variety of constant manifestations we come to Him, and hear those marvelous words, the like of which cannot be found elsewhere, "Ye are complete in Him." It is interesting in this very connection to find that, not the holiest of all, but the great altar is the exact centre of the whole sanctuary enclosure (see plan.). What a striking testimony to the truth of the Person and Work of Christ upon which is founded the glory of God and the blessing of man for time and 'eternity! May not the significance of this have influenced the mind of the godly remnant who later returned from Babylon? for they first set up the altar, and in it they found their protection in face of the surrounding peoples (Ezra 3:1-3). Again, in Noah's day, the altar is prominent at the new beginning which is made after the purging judgment, typical, as we may well take this to be, of the Millennial scene after the introductory judgments of the day of the Lord. Then at the commencement of Solomon's reign — another Millennial picture — the altar is the great gathering centre, and also the place of God's revelation and blessing (2 Chron. 1).

Symmetry is another general principle illustrated in the plan and arrangements presented in this vision. Throughout there is a perfect balancing of the different parts in relative proportion and harmony. The constantly recurring square of 100 cubits, the whole sanctuary space being comprised of 25 such squares, and the preponderance of the numbers five and ten in the measurements, are suggestive in the light of what these numbers mean in Scripture. Such exactness of measurement and attention to detail as we find here must have as an underlying principle the harmonious arrangement of every part and relation as affecting both the buildings and the personnel of the Sanctuary. What do these things teach us? In the perfect balancing of every part we see how with God there is nothing of unevenness or undue proportion. Every element and feature of His character is in perfect adjustment and harmonious manifestation. It is found in its moral and spiritual display in Jesus, and it will be in constant manifestation before all created intelligences throughout eternity when God is "all in all." Further, it exhibits to us that there is perfect harmony, absolute precision, and perfect balance in His relation to the whole universe, or to the individual, in His every act, and in all His ways of wisdom, power, grace and love, in perfect holiness. The knowledge of this shall engage us for all eternity, when we shall no longer see through a glass darkly, but face to face, and known even as we are known. Then we shall say in a way impossible to us now, "O depth of riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counsellor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be rendered to him? For of Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things: to Him be glory forever, Amen" (Rom. 11:33-36) .

As previously mentioned, five and ten are here the prominent basic numbers of measurement. We have become familiar with the first as signifying how the weak creature and the Almighty God are brought together, an accomplishment possible only through grace, so that it is a number we find identified with the blessing of redemption. In its common division of four and one (4+1) it suggests the thought of the world and man, in his own natural weakness, under the gracious yet absolute government of God. It leads us, therefore, to the idea of responsibility on the part of the creature in his relation to God as sovereign over all. These things in display become a wonderful testimony (2) to the Divine fulness (3) — 5 as 2+ 3. Such thoughts fit in admirably with the "visions of God," which close Ezekiel. For they treat of the time when the new covenant in its gracious work, founded upon redemption, shall be made good in all its blessing to Israel, and the sovereignty of God and His perfect administration of government shall be exercised over all creation, in which indeed there shall be a visible display of the Divine characters in the righteous reign of Christ — the fifth universal kingdom (Dan. 2).

In the 25 (5x5) squares of 100 cubits which comprise the sanctuary enclosure we have these things intensified. This intimates that their concentrated expression is found in the plan and ordinances of the Sanctuary, the holy of holies of the earth. This number (25) is also prominent in other parts of the vision (Ezek. 40, 45, 48.).

In the 100 cubits so constantly repeated we have 5x20 (5x4, or 10x2 or 10 +10). The latter number (20) appears in the holy and most holy places, also other adjacent parts, and must therefore be of some importance. The first division of this number (5x4) would suggest the truth of five intensified by universal application, four being the number of creation. This, indeed, will be the great lesson of the Millennial reign, that dispensation of the fulness of times, and the redemption of the purchased possession, accompanied as that will be with the manifestation of the sons of God. For the measuring of the other two possible divisions of the number twenty, we must first think of the meaning of ten, for it, too, appears as fundamental to the divine plan and order here revealed. In brief, it presents the perfection of divine government in the ordering of relations both Godward and manward (5+ 5), as, for example, we see in the ten commandments, and this as manifesting in fulness (3) the Divine perfections (7) (10=3+ 7), which, on the other hand, constitutes the witness (2) of the bringing together in grace of the weak creature and the Almighty God (5) in active display (10=5x2). That from this, ten should be expressive of full responsibility (as also of judgment, since it relates to the accomplishment or non-accomplishment of responsibility), is easily understood, and finds illustration in Scripture. All of these things will be given. fullest manifestation in the Millennium. To this the abundant testimony of the prophets concerning its characteristics bears witness. It is not, therefore, surprising that this number should play such an important part in the plan of the Sanctuary, which is the heart of the administration and manifestation of this glorious kingdom as established on the earth. Twenty, then, as the product resulting from the use of two, may suggest to us the competent testimony which will be given at that wonderful epoch to the things of which we have just spoken. Further, 100 is a dominant factor throughout, and so stamps the essential meaning of ten upon the whole arrangement here spread out for our contemplation. Well may we say that a perfect symmetry governs everywhere.

There is minute care and great exactness shown in making this plan and in defining the relations of the several part's. This is also true as to the ordinances of service for the Prince, priests, Levites and people. All this is surely designed to press upon heart and conscience God's intense interest in the important truth presented in this great picture.

A fourth general principle, which stands out prominently, is the permanent memorial of sacrifice, maintained in the presence of the revealed glory. It is not sacrifice rendered with a view of obtaining salvation, but sacrifice in view of accomplished salvation, which has been blessedly developed for us in Ezek. 36 — 39.

Before closing this general survey, it may be well to speak of some remarkable omissions. In the order of feasts Pentecost is not mentioned. This, as we know, presents distinctively Christian truth which, being fully accomplished in the Church — no longer on the earth at the time this vision contemplates — is fittingly omitted from the feasts celebrated in the Millennium. There is no allusion to the ark. Is not this because of the more wondrous throne of glory which the prophet sees first in the visions of God which open the book, and which later he sees entering the House in the same form? This abides forever, filling the House (Ezek. 43:3-7). Every truth that the ark and mercy seat symbolize is found expressed in an intensified form in this remarkable chariot of the Divine glory, and over all is "the appearance of a Man." All mention of any High Priest is omitted. This would seem to find its explanation in that when Christ bears the glory, sitting and ruling upon His throne, He is spoken of as "a Priest upon His throne" (Zech. 6:12-13). From this passage we may also gather a suggestion as to why so much of seeming importance, needful for the construction of this great Sanctuary, such as measurements of height and details of style and treatment of both the exterior and interior of buildings and courts, is not given. Messiah, says Zechariah, "shall build the temple of Jehovah: even. He shall build the temple of Jehovah." When He unrolls the completed design, and all that is needed is added to what was given to Ezekiel, then shall it be said, as once before when only the type of the glory was filling the eyes of the Queen of Sheba, "Behold, the half of the greatness of Thy wisdom was not told me." There is no king mentioned. Again Zechariah gives us the answer: "And Jehovah shall be king over all the earth. …the nations …shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of Hosts, and to celebrate the feast of tabernacles" (Zech. 14:9, 16, 17).

In contrast to these omissions, we have "the Prince," who has a unique and highly favored position. It is his privilege to occupy the eastern gate at which the glory of Jehovah entered. To him the offerings of the people are given, and by him administered in providing for the ritual of sacrifice. It does not appear that the people bring sacrifices of themselves, but that it is the Prince who gives all for the prescribed ritual, including the daily burnt offering (Ezek. 45:17). The people are spoken of as simply worshipping at the times of offering by the Prince, but the act of offering is his, the priests and Levites acting in their respective capacities. He thus fills a representative position on behalf of the people in the matter of specific offerings, while in all of these the people may be considered as having their part, since, in the first instance, they present their offerings to the Prince (Ezek. 45:13-17), and join in worship when he offers. It would seem also that he occupies a representative position for God toward the people, since he is privileged to commune with Jehovah at the East Gate.

Finally, we may note that the omission of very much concerning the interior decoration, and the details of furniture, all so fully presented in relation to both the tabernacle and the first temple, only the more gives prominence and throws emphasis upon the great fundamental idea which it must be evident fills the whole vision. We have sought to show that this is the holiness of Jehovah. "Thou, son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be confounded at their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern." The mind and purpose of God are revealed to His people that they (and we too) may rightly judge both themselves and their history in the light of the revelation, and also acquire the needed wisdom to correct and direct all their ways. The things written aforetime were written for our learning.

It may be helpful to give in tabulated form the contents of these chapters. This will aid us in getting a comprehensive view of the whole subject.

Subdivision 3 (Ezekiel 40 — 48).

The Glory dwelling in the Restored Land.

The principal subjects are:
The new Temple buildings, the entry of Jehovah into the House, the great altar, and the service of consecration (Ezek. 40 — 43).
The ordinances regarding the personnel of the Sanctuary-priests and Levites (Ezek. 44).
The ordinances regarding the provision for the priests, Levites, and Prince, with his special responsibility to provide for the ritual in the Temple (Ezek. 45:1-17).
The ordinances regarding special and daily services in the Temple — the feasts, sabbaths, new moons, and offerings of the Prince (Ezek. 45:18 — 46:24).
The river issuing from the Temple (Ezek. 47:1-12).
The boundaries of the holy land, and the privileges granted to strangers who sojourn among the tribes (Ezek. 47:13-23).
The divisions of the land (Ezek. 48).

Section 1 (Ezekiel 40, 41).

The Sanctuary, the holy of holies, where the glory will dwell.
1. (40:1-4) The occasion of the vision.
(1-3) The time, place, and communicator.
(4) The eyes, ears, and heart to be engaged.
The testimony to be given.
2. (40:5-47) The Gates and Courts: the precincts of the House.
1. (5-27) The first court: the place of general assemblage.
(5) The wall.
(6-16) The Eastern Gate.
(17-19) Chambers, Pavement, and measurement of Court.
(20-23) The Northern Gate.
(24-27) The Southern Gate.
2. (28-46). The inner court: and its gateways: the place of separation for priestly service.
(28-31) The Southern Gate.
(32-34) The Eastern Gate.
(35-37) The Northern Gate.
(38-43) Chambers for washing the burnt-offering.
Four tables for slaying the burnt, sin, and trespass offerings.
Eight tables for the sacrifices.
Four tables for the instruments.
Double hooks for sacrificial purposes.
(44-46) Chambers for the priests, keepers of the charge of the House, and keepers of the charge of the altar.
3. (47) The Altar: the divine centre.
3. (40:48 — 41:4). The House itself into which the visible glory shall enter.
1. (40:48-49) The porch.
2. (41:1-2) The holy place.
3. (41:3-4) The most holy.
4. (41:5-11). The chambers around the House: the encompassment of divine fulness realized through accomplished creative sovereignty (3x10x3, 90 chambers in all).
(5-7) Their construction and relation to the house.
(8) The elevation of 6 cubits.
(9-11) Adjacent spaces and way of entrance to chambers.
5. (41:12-14) The separate place: God in government maintaining holiness, according to the fulness of the divine measure (10x10).
(12) The building to the west.
(13, 14) The two squares of 100 cubits each occupied by the two previously described buildings.
6. (41:15-26) Interior details: symbolic of Messianic triumph.
1. (15-21) General character: all established by measure in glory and righteousness.
2. (22) The altar of wood: fellowship.
3. (23-26) The doors: the manner of entrance.

Section 2 (Ezekiel 42).

The arrangements provided to preserve the service of the Sanctuary in separation from defilement.
1. (1-12) The chambers before the separate place.
2. (13-14) The purposes served by these chambers.
3. (15-20) The established separation of the whole sacred enclosure.

Section 3 (Ezekiel 43).

The glory of Jehovah filling the House.
1. (1-12) The place of the throne, glorious in majesty and holiness.
1. (1-6) The glory itself.
2. (7-11) The place of the throne — the seat of government.
3.  (12) The mount of holiness.
2. (13-17) The altar — the place of sacrifice.
3. (18-27) The offerings at the sanctification of the altar and the priests — the place of worship.
(Note, The people and their rulers are reproved and corrected,

Section 4 (Ezekiel 44).

Regulations concerning those who minister in the Sanctuary.
1. (1-3) The supremacy of Jehovah: regulations regarding the Eastern gate, and the Prince's privilege to use it.
2. (4-14) The judgment and holiness which become His House: regulations regarding service in keeping the gates, and slaying the sacrifices; those who shall not be permitted to serve, and the Levites who are to minister in these ways, with the reason for their exclusion from the priesthood.
3. (15-31) The priests: the features of their place and portion as sanctified unto Jehovah. They minister at the altar, are to be only sons of Zadok; their garments, their marriage, their service as teachers and judges, their preservation from defilement, their maintenance, are subjects of regulation.
(Note, The people, Levites and priests are reproved and corrected, 6-13).

Section 5 (Ezekiel 45, 46).

Divine government exercised in the apportionment of the land, and the establishment of ordinances for worship and service.
1. (45:1-8) The division of the land in which the Lord's claim is given first place.
The portion for the priests 25,000x10,000
The portion for the Levites 25,000x10,000 25,000x25,000.
The portion for the City 25,000x 5,000
The portion for the Prince
2. (45:9-12) Justness in practical dealings required by Him whose ways are full of mercy and truth. Regulations as to weight, measure, and coinage.
3. (45:13 — 46:15). The materials for, and the order of, worship.
1. (13-17) The gifts of the people: these are rendered to the Prince whose charge is to provide for the sacrifices.
2. (18-25) The yearly feasts.
(a) The offerings to cleanse and atone for the House.
(b) The passover and feast of unleavened bread.
(c) The feast of tabernacles.
3. (46:1-7) The sabbaths and new moons.
4. (8-10) The manner of entrance and exit.
5. (11) The regulation as to the meal-offering.
6. (12) The Prince's free-will offering.
7. (13-15) The daily burnt-offering.
4. (46:16-18) Warning against oppression.
5. (19-24) Guarding the holy things.
(Note, Princes are reproved and corrected, Ezek. 45:8-12 and Ezek. 46:16-18).
(Note the prominence of the Prince throughout this section).

Section 6 (Ezekiel 47:1-12).

The victory over curse.
The waters of continual refreshment and blessing flowing forth from the Temple.

Section 7 (Ezekiel 47:13 — 48:35).

The perfect land, for "the Lord is there."
1. (47:13-21) The boundaries of the land.
2. (22, 23) Care for the stranger.
3. (48:1-7) The tribes north of the sacred oblation.
4. (8-22) The sacred oblation: the universal centre of glory, government, and worship.
5. (23-29) The tribes south of the sacred oblation.
6. (30-35) The gates of the city.
7. (35) The name of the city.

Subdivision 8 (Ezekiel 40 — 48).

The Glory dwelling in the Restored Land

Section 1 (Ezekiel 40, 41).

The "Sanctuary, the holy of holies," where the glory will dwell (Ezek. 45:2-4).

Our attention is first called to the Sanctuary and its various precincts, the dwelling-place of the divine glory during the Millennial kingdom. These two chapters contain a description of the gates, courts, and buildings which make up what will be the most sacred and glorious place in all the world. From it the power and blessing of God will flow forth to the ends of the earth. Here we have, as it were, the very heart of that golden age, from which will go forth those streams of life which will remove the blight of the curse, make the desert blossom as the rose, and bear to every rank of creation the revivifying touch. A great paean of praise will rise from the delivered creation thus brought into the liberty of the children of God, when the First-begotten shall have been brought again into the world, to whom universal homage shall be paid, His enemies having been made the footstool of His feet.

1. In order of time this is not the last prophecy of Ezekiel, that given in Ezek. 29:17 being two years later (see Notes, p. 176). But this great vision is the only one that could fittingly close the book. The glory revealed to the prophet at the beginning, and which he saw a little later leave the defiled temple soon to be laid in ruins, he now sees returning to that greater and more wonderful earthly dwelling-place, spread out before him so that he may describe it to the house of Israel.

In this there is a note of victory. It assures us of God's ultimate victory over evil, apart from which the glory could not return. It teaches us that there is a divine limit to the progress of evil. The tide of wickedness may rise so high as to seem to overwhelm the power of God and administer defeat to Him; but in the 'end, in the fulness of the time, when all has been accomplished which He had in mind, and which He indeed has been working out through all the turbulent scenes of human sin and strife, He moves to the closing act, the day breaks, the dark shadows of night flee away, and the mastery of His hand over all, even in the darkest hour of the past, is seen as in retrospect, the course of history is reviewed in the light of the glory. What a comfort for faith! How good to know the living God! He does not slumber or sleep. He abides faithful, no word of His can fail. "Have faith in God."

This vision was given, Ezekiel says, "In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity." The fact that morally and spiritually it alone fittingly closes his book, though not the last communication given to him, seems to imply that the very year itself in which this vision is given bears a lesson to us. Why the twenty-fifth year? Is it not because as 5x5 it suggests how fully God (1) and the creature (4) are brought together, and this in fivefold power and blessing? Thus the thought is emphasized, intensified, for us; and need we wonder at this when it is the time that the creature shall be delivered from the bond of corruption and be brought into the liberty of the glory? Then with the glory in the land there shall spread to earth's remotest bounds the blessing of Messiah's reign in righteousness, the time when the Son of Man shall sit upon His throne and administer the government which will then rest upon His shoulder.

The time is still more definitely stated as "in the beginning of the year, the tenth of the month." Considering Ezekiel's priestly place, and that the civil year, which was reckoned to begin with the first of the seventh month of the sacred year, was a late innovation among the Jews, having no relation to the divine economy with which the whole order of things here revealed has to do most intimately, it would appear certain that we are to think of that beginning of the year as referring to that spoken of in Exodus in connection with the Passover. This was the beginning of the year according to God's order, and this would be first in the heart and thought of the prophet. Is it not just the light of redemption and deliverance from bondage that we might expect to illumine our entrance upon the glorious vista of earth's golden age, of which this Sanctuary is the spiritual centre? What a word for downtrodden Israel to consider when pondering this book of their captivity prophet! All that that memorable event meant for them is to find its superlative accomplishment in the period to which this vision belongs. Then it is the tenth of the month when the lamb was taken to be kept up to the fourteenth day. This brings into view the blessed Person by whom alone all that is in prospect can be accomplished — Christ, who as a lamb without spot or blemish, has made peace by the blood of His cross; Christ who as the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world; the Lamb who is so prominent in the book of Revelation, in which so much is given as to the circumstances and events relating to the period to which this vision shows the consummation.

Finally, we are told that this vision was given in the 14th year after the city was smitten (see Chronological Chart, Appendix), when the temple was burned, and the walls of the city broken down by order of Nebuchadnezzar, but in fulfilment of the divine decree (2 Chr. 36:11-21). Here again are we not to expect to find some note of comfort? Fourteen (7x2), testimony (2) given to the complete reversal of the ruin, and the bringing in of perfection (7), upon which the dark cloud of failure and ensuing judgment shall never fall again. Well may Haggai, as he looks beyond the insignificant temple of the restoration in his day, seeing as with the eye of God the glory of the Millennial temple, which Ezekiel describes, break out in prophetic ecstasy and say, "For thus saith Jehovah of Hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith Jehovah of Hosts. The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith Jehovah of Hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, saith Jehovah of Hosts; and in this place will I give peace, saith Jehovah of Hosts."

Here we may digress, and think of another temple which lies in ruin, the walls of whose separation and protection have been broken down — the house of God which is the Church of the present time. As set up on the earth its history presents a sad spectacle, much of which may be found similar in character to that of Israel, for whatever is committed to the hands of men, though established in perfection at the beginning, suffers the same sorrowful blight. But, blessed be God, His Word teaches us in constantly recurring measure, by precept and example, in type and history, that the cycle must return to perfection, not so much like a circle returning to its beginning on the same level, but as lifted up on the line of perfection to a higher level than the point of beginning, revealing greater glory, from which flashes forth to the universe a knowledge of God not to be apprehended in any other way. So the latter glory of God's "spiritual house" shall be greater than the former, when the Church shall be presented faultless in the presence of God's glory, the temple of eternal praise throughout the generation of the age of ages (Eph. 3:21). So too with creation — once there was a garden of Eden on the earth, then the earth shall be as the garden; once only one nation knew the blessing of a theocracy, then the whole world shall know it when "Jehovah shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Jehovah and His name one;" once only part of Israel knew God, then all shall know Him in themselves (Heb. 8:11, New Trans.), for all Israel shall be saved when the Deliverer comes out of Zion. There is a glorious prospect wherever the eye of faith turns to contemplate the mystery of God's will, the consummation of which is the universal gathering into one under the hand of Christ our Saviour and Lord. In Him we have obtained an inheritance. We are His joint-heirs. Truly in the blessing of life and the glory of eternity we receive of His fulness, grace upon grace. Wonder of wonders that we should be called into the fellowship of God's Son!

The prophet was under the hand of Jehovah, and He brought him to the place of this vision. No other hand, no other guide, could bring him and open his eyes to see what are "the visions of God." It is good to have this assurance of how he is brought to see. The divine seal is thus put upon all. They are visions of God, signifying that God is the Giver. It is the genitive of origin, or efficient cause.

The location is definitely given. God brought Ezekiel into the land of Israel. These visions have to do with the whole nation, with the land when in possession of all the tribes, restored, united, blessed, all enemies smitten down, all internal conflict over. The prophet's vantage ground is a very high mountain. This can be no other than Jehovah's "holy mountain, the mountain of the height of Israel," where Israel shall serve Him (Ezek. 20:40-44). It is that mountain of Jehovah to which all the nations shall flow (Isa. 2:2-3), beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, the city of the great King (Ps. 48:1-3).

Question has been raised as to whether what Ezekiel sees is to be taken in a literal or ideal sense. There would be little profit in following the arguments on either side. All is expressly stated to be in vision, yet assuredly it must be a true picture, setting before us that which will be given actuality in all its parts in the time to which these visions belong. Great physical changes are intimately connected with the establishment of the Kingdom.

The prophet's approach is evidently from the north, since what he sees is on the south. It seems that he is brought by the way of the north from which came the great enemies of Israel, the way too by which they were carried into captivity. Now it is the return from all of that, with no enemy any more to swoop down from the north quarters, but judgment having brought in righteousness, a peaceable habitation is found. (Compare Isa. 6; Isa. 49:12; Jer. 37:1-9; Jer. 23:7-8).

Upon the high mountain Ezekiel sees what resembles the building of a city — that is the group of buildings which is described in the following chapters.

The prophet now sees a man standing in the gate, presumably the north gate of the sacred enclosure, for it would seem that he goes from this station with the prophet to the east gate (ver. 6), which is measured first. The man had the appearance of brass. It is the same metal as that used in the tabernacle and Solomon's temple, which is, more correctly, copper. It is familiar to us as the symbol of strength (1 Kings 4:13; Job 40:18; Judges 16:21), protection (1 Sam. 17:5-6), unyieldingness in good or evil (Jer. 18; 15:20; Isa. 48:4), and judgment (Lev. 26:19; Deut. 28:23; Micah 4:13). As it could be highly polished and reflect images it was used for mirrors (Ex. 38:8). Such mirrors were used to make the laver of the tabernacle which held the water of cleansing for the priests. This last connection links it with the Word of God, of which the water is the well-known type. The characteristics of the copper are found in that Word which endureth forever, which is settled forever in heaven, and cannot be broken but must be all fulfilled, and makes all manifest even as the light, another figure of the Word (1 Peter 1:25; Ps. 119:8-9; John 10:35; Matt. 5:18; Heb. 4:12-13; Ps. 119:105). The character of God as a God of holy judgment, unchanging, enduring, and searching, all as revealed in His immutable Word, is the lesson of the copper. And this cannot fail to carry our thoughts to Him who is called the Word of God, who abides the same yesterday, today and forever, whose goings forth have been from eternity, and who is both the wisdom and power of God. With Him all the glory of God stands associated, and it is not strange then to find this metal prominent in the visions of God which open this book in which also the human form predominates. We find it also in the description of the glorious Person Daniel sees (Dan. 10:5-6), and John later (Rev. 1:15), both presenting the Lord Himself. Added to all this Ezekiel tells us that the glory of Jehovah which he saw returning to the new temple (Ezek. 43) had the appearance of the vision he had previously seen. Thus what the brass, or copper, symbolizes has a prominent place in the manifestation of God's glory.

The man has in his hand a cord of flax and a measuring reed. He is prepared to measure. In fact it is with this labor that he occupies the prophet as he guides him through the courts and around the buildings of the Sanctuary. This work of measurement is prophetically significant. See Zech. 2 and Rev. 11; Hab. 3:6. It suggests God's care and interest; every thing relating to His purposes and promises is important. Then it may well signify that God has risen up to take possession it is the assertion of His title. Every false claim set aside, all that usurped possession removed, all shall be established according to the measure of truth and righteousness.

From ver. 5 we learn that the measuring reed in the man's hand was a reed of six cubits, each being a cubit and an hand-breadth, which means, if our conclusion is correct (see Appendix), a cubit of four palms or hand-breadths. We have learned that six expresses the thought of the limit imposed by God upon man. It is associated with evil, as in the case of Goliath, the Beast of Rev. 13, and Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous image. Yet if it is linked with evil in full manifestation, it is just in this connection we find God overcomes and makes the wrath of man to praise Him. He gains the victory. David fells Goliath, and the Son of Man coming in His glory destroys the Beasts and sets up His everlasting kingdom. On the sixth day of Gen. 1 Adam is brought in to subdue and rule over creation, suggesting thoughts of mastery and government. Just such thoughts cluster around this measuring reed of six cubits. When God asserts His title to the earth, destroying those who have destroyed it, it will be in the way this number suggests. But it is by the arm and hand of a Man that this will be accomplished, and four (the four hand-breadths of the cubit here specified) is the number of man and creation, the Man Christ Jesus, the appointed Heir of all things, the One who will subjugate all things to Himself according to the purpose of God.

The man now addresses the prophet. The visions of God require the concentration of every faculty — the eyes, ears, and inner man are all to be called into exercise. The things of God claim our undivided attention. We yield ourselves imperfectly to the divine requirement, and so fail in spiritual perception and intelligence. God's hand brought His servant into the midst of these wonderful scenes that all that pertained to them might be shown to him by divine guidance, and then he was commissioned to make it known to the house of Israel. This is the way of divine grace. These visions of God have to do with the time when Israel will be brought under the new covenant which is grace not law. But it is upon this principle that we are now blessed. Out of the land of our captivity to sin and Satan the hand of God brings us to the mountain-top of spiritual blessing. He has brought us there to be wholly taken up with our glorious heritage, and then to be ministers of its bounty to others. May our eyes, ears, and hearts be applied to all that the Holy Spirit, who searches the deep things of God, is ever ready to make plain to us. It is His delight to take the things of Christ and show them unto us.

2. (1) First of all the prophet beholds a wall on the outside of the house. The lesson of the measuring reed we have already suggested; it seems introduced here rather than in ver. 3 so as to link it with the fact that this encircling wall is one reed high, one reed broad — a reed of six cubits, equivalent to 7.2 feet, our measure. We see at once that this wall is not for protection against enemies, it is too low. Its significance is other than that of a bulwark to resist assault. The fundamental idea here expressed is that of separation, the wall teaches that the enclosed space is sanctified, set apart, to Jehovah, and this according to the symbolism of the number six. It preaches the exclusion of all that defiles. This wall is as broad as it is high, being in fact foursquare, for perfect equality in every direction marks the holy requirements of God as to both the separation from and judgment of evil. Seven steps lead up to the outer court level. This may suggest to us that the way of approach to these holy precincts of God's presence must be according to the perfection of Him who declares His character in this wall of separation. He must be sanctified in all those who draw near to Him.

This first court is the place of general assemblage. For worship the people must go within. The wall is too high for any outside to observe what is going on within, and entrance must be in the prescribed way, and as ascending the seven steps of the gate-building. Both the way of our approach to God, and the character which pertains to it, are ordered by Him and must be according to what He is in Himself. This underlies the truth of redemption and all that flows out of it. This outer court, as determined by the various measurements given later, is evidently a square of 500 cubits. In our general observations on this vision attention has been called to the very large place given to five as a factor of measurement, and its significance, with that of those numbers in which it occurs, has been considered.

{Verse 16: Heb., closed, i.e., not opened like ordinary windows. Usually windows were openings filled with lattice-work. Might be rendered "latticed windows.'' — (J. Bloore)}

We now come to the east gate, which is really a large building 25 cubits broad by 50 cubits long (i.e., 30 feet by 60 feet). It is described in detail; the other gates conform to it. This gate-building is in several respects the most important of all. It is on the axis of the temple; by it the glory of God enters (Ezek. 43); it is shut and no one permitted to enter it because "Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it;" the Prince is privileged to eat bread in it before Jehovah, but he must enter by the porch and go out by the same way, there is no passing through it (Ezek. 44:1-3). The plan in the Appendix will help us to understand the relation of the several parts of this structure. The arrangement of these gate-buildings with their six guard-chambers appears designed to emphasize the divine provision to preserve the sanctity of the house. It evidences special care to exclude all that would profane these holy precincts. The careful attention given to detail must impress upon all concerned God's care for the holiness of His dwelling-place, thus reminding the people of their own gross negligence and departure in the past, as a result of which they so wickedly defiled God's house. This is pressed upon them in the ordinances given in Ezek. 44:4-14.

If then the wall speaks of exclusion, limiting entrance to the court by the gate-buildings, they certainly instruct us as to that watchfulness ever necessary to guard against the intrusion of what would defile, or not be according to the requirements of Jehovah. All must answer to the claims of His holiness. By these structural forms He was preaching against those abuses and idolatrous evils which prince and priest had allowed to traverse the court of His house, and even be set up within its walls. It was like saying to them in a parable of stone, "Holiness becometh My house forever."

Only one feature of decoration is mentioned — the palm. It is the symbol of beauty (Cant. 7:7) of righteousness, prosperity and fruitfulness (Ps. 92:12-14); of salvation and victory (Rev. 7:9); of kingly glory (John 12:13); and its extensive use in the first temple identifies it with the kingdom and glory of which Solomon's reign is typical (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35; 1 Kings 7:36; 2 Chron. 3:5). These are the characteristic features of the Millennial age. Then palm branches were used at the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:15) — this feast typifies the time of peace and rejoicing which shall come when our Lord shall have established His kingdom upon earth, and Israel shall come into her possessions, and flourish amid Jehovah's blessings in the land. Its inclusion of the eighth day suggests the new beginning under grace, the day of the new covenant in which the nation will then stand and abide forever. The constant, steady growth of the palm tree through all seasons symbolizes constancy, perseverance. Certainly the palm sets forth perfectly the character of the time to which these visions belong, and most suitably adorns these buildings.

This outer court, with its east, north, and south gate-buildings, extends around the temple itself and the altar-court on three sides, and to the west there are additional buildings, with flanking chambers to north and south of the temple, and a gateless wall, In every direction the sanctity of the house is guarded, an arrangement manifestly different from that of the first temple, as Ezekiel 43:7-8 clearly intimates.

Around this court, and abutting the gate-buildings, there is a pavement with chambers, which probably extended from the gate-buildings to the kitchens, or boiling places, situated in each of the corners of the court. No chambers, it would seem, are located on the west side; they are rather ranged along the court wall on the other three sides. These chambers would be for the people when feasting upon their offerings. The word here used for chambers is different from that for the guard-rooms, or lodges, in the gate-buildings. It suggests a rather spacious room. In 1 Sam. 9:22 it is rendered parlor, a room in which thirty persons could be accommodated at a feast. It is probable that these chambers were arranged in six groups of five each.

We may be little able to interpret many of the details given as to these buildings, but it is noticeable that certain numbers stand out prominently, and these may at least suggest lessons which fit in with the time to which these visions of God unmistakably point.

(2) The prophet now enters the inner court by the south gate, and is successively taken to the east and north gates. In connection with the last there is the provision for the work of sacrifice. In addition there are two cells for those having charge of the house and the altar, situated in the court itself, one near the north gate, and one near the south gate.

The gate-buildings are not materially different from those already described. They have eight steps, one more than the others, so that the level of the inner court is the height of these eight steps above that of the outer court. This may be the reason why the pavement of the outer court is referred to as the lower (ver. 18).

Within this inner court the priests performed their service with respect to the altar and the house. The garments in which they ministered within these precincts must be laid aside before they go out to approach the things of the people (Ezek. 42:14).

It seems significant that the work of sacrifice is connected with the northern gate. In Scripture the north is associated with judgment. From that quarter the stroke falls upon both Israel and Judah. The word itself, tsaphon, properly means "the hidden," "the dark," and is only used of the north as a quarter gloomy and unknown. The idea of darkness thus associated with it fits well with that of judgment. And in this connection we cannot fail to think of the darkness of Calvary, the outer darkness of eternal doom, and the gloomy darkness in which wicked angels are kept. Darkness, too, is the term used to describe man's state away from God, alienated by wicked works, and darkened in his understanding. Certainly in the moral and spiritual application, it is in relation to the north, speaking symbolically, that we need to learn the truth of sacrifice. Here then at the north gate of the inner court, the court of the altar, we have all provided for the accomplishment of this work, whether it be the burnt-offering, sin-offering, or trespass-offering.

(3) We come now to the altar, the actual centre of the whole sacred enclosure,* standing at the centre of the inner court which is measured 100 cubits each way. Details and dimensions of the altar are given later (Ezek. 43:13-17). Here it is mentioned to show its relation to the whole. It is the divine centre upon which every line of approach converges, east, north, and south. It surely stands as an abiding memorial of Christ and His sacrifice. This is central to all the blessing and glory in which Israel and the nations will participate, as indeed it is in regard to the whole universe (Col. 1:19-20). It will ever remind those who throng the courts of the Lord's house of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Upon the Mount of Transfiguration His death was the subject of converse. That scene set forth the glory of the kingdom of God come in power, and when it has actually come that death will not be forgotten. The peerless glory which will then invest Him will not hide the truth of that redemption by blood upon which all action in power is based.

{* See Appendix.}

In the next sections we have the description of the two courts, each 100 cubits square, in the first of which the house itself is located, and in the second, another building the purpose of which is not stated. Thus there is a series of three squares, each of 100 cubits, following each other toward the west, the first being the court of the altar already considered.

{Ezek. 40:49 The LXX reads twelve. This seems the most likely measure considering the general symmetry of number and plan, which see. — (J. Bloore).

Or, according to the reading of the LXX, "by ten steps they went up to it." If this is correct, as is probably the case, then note the three sets of steps — 7 to the outer court, 8 to the inner court, and 10 to the house. — (J. Bloore).

41:3 It seems probable that the LXX is right in considering this measurement to refer to the wall on either side of the entry (see plan). — (J. Bloore).}

3. Now we are brought to consider what is called the house. This building over all is 60 cubits from north to south, and 100 cubits from east to west, with an open space of 20 cubits on three sides — north, west, and south. Successively, the porch, the holy place, and the most holy are measured. The plan shows the arrangement along with the surrounding chambers.* We may notice the terms used. The whole building is called "the house," of which the porch is the first part described. The next part is called "the temple," which is 40x20 cubits; this is the holy place. The third compartment is "the holy of holies," 20x20 cubits. Connected with this building are chambers surrounding it in three stories — 30 of these to each story, 90 in all.

{*See Appendix.}

To the west another building is located, having walls of 5 cubits' thickness, and measuring on the outside 80x100 cubits. The principal measurements are then enumerated (vers. 12-15a).
(a) — The house, 100 cubits long.
(b) — The separate place (20 cubits), and the building (80 cubits), total, 100 cubits.
(c) — The breadth of the house, 60 cubits, with the separate place, 20 cubits on each side, making the total breadth at the east end of these two squares 100 cubits.
There follows (vers. 15b-26) an account of certain interior features and details of ornamentation.

4. In the temple of Solomon the dimensions are similar. The holy and most holy places are the same size, but the porch was 20x10 cubits, here 20x11, but the LXX gives 12; There too the height was given, but Ezekiel does not mention it. The side chambers are mentioned as five cubits, but Ezekiel specifies four. The account in 1 Kings 6 may help us to better understand the structure of the side chambers. These were in three stories also, and increased in breadth one cubit, the dimensions being 5, 6, and 7 cubits. This means that the wall of the house receded with each story, so forming a resting-place for the floor beams, these beams not being let into the wall but bearing upon the ledge of one cubit formed by the receding wall. It is noticeable that no wall thicknesses are given in Kings or Chronicles. On the other hand the rich embellishment of Solomon's temple is dwelt upon, its gold and precious stones; but of such details Ezekiel makes no mention, in fact the only material referred to is wood. This seems to indicate that at least one purpose is to impress upon us the massiveness and stability of these structures, rather than beauty of detail and adornment, while the arrangement of courts — increasing in height from the level beyond the outer court to the level of the house, and these courts with their gates so surrounding the Sanctuary as to guard it from all contamination with what was common, or would defile — seems designed to enforce the rebuke and admonition given in Ezek. 43:1-12.

Perhaps the dimensions themselves may yield us some helpful lesson. Five and ten appear as basic numbers in so many of the measurements often intensified by the use of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, that the general lesson seems to be that of divine sufficiency (1) identified for blessing with creature weakness (4), in the full accomplishment of every divine requirement (10). This will be manifest in the kingdom and glory. Practically all the digits by which all numbers are expressed are used in varying relations throughout this complex of buildings, suggesting how that day will be characterized by divine measure ruling in the most far-reaching manner. But in no instance is eleven. used as a factor. Twelve appears in the measure of the altar, and is a factor in certain measures noticed a little later. Here we may find it in the breadth of the house, which is, including the free space on each side, 60 (5x12) cubits, but this may be also 6x10. All the multiples and the sums found by adding the measurement of different parts together are divisible by five or ten. There are no uneven multiples, or such as would leave a fraction when divided. All produces the sense of evenness, unity, harmony, stability, and so in the moral sense equity, righteousness, peace, sanctification, amid which the service and worship of Jehovah is carried out and the divine government exercised. As we consider these things and their spiritual import we understand why, "Many peoples shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." The city of that day is, as Ezekiel shows us, a part of the great oblation, and Isaiah 60 is a wonderful description of it. The house, too, is spoken of, "I will beautify the house of My magnificence" (ver. 7).

From the level of the inner court the house with its encompassing chambers is elevated a full reed of six cubits. To reach this higher level there seems to have been 10 steps, if the reading of the LXX is accepted. Thus seven steps led up to the outer court, eight to the inner court, and ten to the house. This suggests perfection in new covenant relation according to the fulness of divine requirements — in all 25 steps (5x5) in three sets, the latter speaking of full manifestation according to the power of the Spirit and the truth of resurrection.

5. The house is surrounded on three sides — north, west, south — by what is called the separate place, a space of 20 cubits, making three sections of court each measuring 100x20, and so having an area of 2,000 square cubits, or a total of 6,000. The extreme measurement of the house is 60x100, or the same total area of 6,000. This makes a total for this part of the sacred enclosure of 12,000 square cubits, which equals 12x10x10x10. Here we observe how 12 appears as an important factor; and the frequent use of three, which enters into six and twelve, and of ten, whether in multiplication or addition is worthy of notice. They appear in these areal measurements, in the number of chambers in the outer court (30), in those surrounding the house (30 in each of the three stories), and in the three successive squares of 100 cubits each, equalling 300x100. Then in the area of each of these we have a fourfold use of ten, the area being 10,000 square cubits or 10x10x10x10, and this repeated three times. Thus we find three multiplied by two or four, giving us six or twelve, intensified by ten used once, twice, thrice, or in fourfold power. These basic numbers in their multiplied form cannot fail to impress any one who has given a little attention to their significance in Scripture. They teach us how divine fulness in complete manifestation (3) is exercised in government (12) according to every requirement Godward and manward (10), and this in realized victory over evil (6), as a result of which the Creator and His creature are brought together under the administration of Christ into harmonious relation to the praise of His glory (5). This general lesson appears stamped upon this whole arrangement. All is measured and ordered to set forth divine perfection, the basis of which is the reed of six cubits of four hand-breadths each, making in all 24, or 12x2, for it will be the full testimony (2) to the perfection and order of divine government (12) set up on the earth, and this under the hand of man — the Man Christ Jesus. "All was by measure."

6. (1) As to the interior we are told of it being wainscoted with wood, ornamented with cherubim and palm trees, alternating, and each cherub having the face of a man and the face of a young lion. The significance of the palm tree we have already considered. This is now combined with the symbolism of the cherubim. Both are evenly distributed; there is perfect balance, symmetry rules throughout. From the scriptures in which the cherubim are mentioned they appear as "supports or guardians of the throne of God in His absolute righteousness and judgment," and "seem clearly to represent the divine attributes of righteousness and its execution in judgment, which is the basis of all true government, human or divine, the only guarantee of the stability of that which is beneath its sway. The throne of iniquity can have no fellowship with the God of righteous judgment (Ps. 94:20). Therefore God will overturn until the righteous Ruler comes who loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity (Ezek. 21:27; Ps. 45:6-7). Such a throne can alone be 'forever and ever;' and this Ruler is the Melchizedek, 'King of righteousness and King of peace,' David's Son and yet his Lord, who sits at God's right hand till His enemies are made His footstool (Ps. 110:1-2). In view of such a Ruler the people may well tremble and bow in heart to Him in the day of His grace ere His judgment fall; and yet when He takes His power to reign, the earth shall rejoice and be glad. For Him His whole creation waits in hope, for then will the children of God be manifested in their liberty of glory and creation be delivered from its present bondage" (Rom. 8:21-22). The living creatures of the earlier vision of God's majesty and glory are called cherubim in chapter 10, and there too we see them associated with the work of Judgment. But while there they have four faces, here in the sanctuary only two are mentioned, those of the ox and eagle being omitted. This emphasizes the lesson of the other two, that of the man suggesting intelligence combined with all the tender and gracious affections of human nature to which the face is the index by means of both look, word, and feature; and that of the lion denoting majesty of bearing, fearless and irresistible in authority and power. These features will characterize the government of God in the day of the kingdom and glory, and surely they find there superlative manifestation in Him who then will rule — in Him who is both the Man Christ Jesus and the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

(2) The altar of wood, called "the table which is before Jehovah," seems from this to have been placed on the central axis of the temple, and so in line with the doors of the holy of holies, the dwelling-place of the glory soon to enter. Of this only two dimensions are given, the height three cubits, the length two cubits, although the LXX adds that it was two broad, making it foursquare. This makes it appear quite different from the table of showbread in the tabernacle. It seems to be more like the golden altar of incense, both as to its form and location, yet the difference is very evident in that wood is the only material mentioned, and it is called a table as well as an altar. Little can we say about this, except that the thoughts of worship and communion combine in this the only article of furniture mentioned. The fact that it is only wood prohibits the actual offering of sacrifice such as the burning of incense, and nothing is said of bread being placed upon it. Perhaps its dimensions may afford a lesson. By comparison it is four times the area of the altar of incense made for the tabernacle, and twice that of the table, being also twice its height; the altar was two cubits high, this altar-table is three. Three is the number of full manifestation, of the Trinity, and particularly of the Spirit, and of resurrection; two is the number of testimony and communion, in both of which what three speaks of is revealed and enjoyed. These precious thoughts are combined as it were in this altar-table, and if we are permitted to link with it the altar and table of the tabernacle, then all that it speaks of centres in the perfection and fragrance of Christ — His Person, work, and the results, as found in life, fellowship, and acceptance — all as set forth in the incense and the bread of presence; and furthermore all of this found in manifest union, only in intensified form, as the enlarged dimensions may indicate, in the day of the kingdom and glory. It will be the dispensation of the fulness of time when all shall be gathered together in one under Christ to enjoy the accomplished reconciliation of all things, even the things on earth and in heaven. They will then be reconciled in manifest glory to the fulness of the Godhead, resting as this does and ever will be seen to do, upon the work of the sacrifice whose abiding memorial will be seen in the great altar which stands at the very centre of this Millennial Sanctuary. It will be the day pictured for us in Ps. 96 — 100, and also in the Hallelujah Psalms 146 — 150. Compare Isa. 32:15-18; Isa. 33:5-6, 20-22; Isa. 35:1-2; Isa. 41:17-20; Isa. 55:12-13.

It is hardly possible to pass without notice that with all the detailed description of arrangement and measure here given, there is no mention made of many features prominent in the first temple and the tabernacle. At once we think of the candlestick, incense altar, veil, ark, censer, and all the many related vessels of service, with the wealth of spiritual instruction they afford. No mention is made of brazen sea nor laver, nor do we read of the lavish use of gold, as in the house built by Solomon. When we consider that Moses received the pattern of the tabernacle from God (Ex. 25:8-9), and that the pattern of all the house and its furnishings David "had by the Spirit," by Jehovah's hand upon him "instructing as to all the work of the pattern" (1 Chron. 28:11-12, 19, New Trans.), the omission of so much in Ezekiel's vision cannot fail to impress us. Though we may be little able to explain it, this difference serves to bring out into greater prominence what we have considered the chief lesson of this vision, in view of Ezekiel's earlier prophecies and the several rebukes given in the final chapters.

(3) The prophet turns to look at the doors of the temple and sanctuary. The brief description is sufficient to show that they are similar to those of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:31-35), but here seemingly it is not so much the doors themselves which are of importance as the relation in which we find them. The altar-table just described being on the central axis of the temple, the prophet now notices the doors of both parts of the house, in direct line with it. Across this line of approach to the presence of the Glory, soon to be seen entering the inner chamber, lies this altar-table with its combined lesson if we have read it aright, of worship and communion. The only station for such holy service is in direct line with the opened Sanctuary. Through its unfolded doors the outshining light of the indwelling Glory would illuminate the altar-table, and shed forth its rays along the central line of its abode, passing through the doors at the porch to fall upon the great altar — "the hearth of God." As we think of what is associated with this manifestation of the Divine Presence in the kingdom and glory, how fitting to be reminded of the cherubim and palm trees, whose meaning we have already considered!

But why are there doors? May they not witness to God's absolute right to shut out from His presence, if occasion require? There are two doors to each opening, and evidently two turning, or folding, leaves to each door. Thus the numbers two and four appear, and they may speak of witness-bearing toward the creation, and such a witness as the carved cherubim and palm trees indicate. The truth to which they witness orders, controls, as it were, the way of approach to the Divine Presence. And though the service and privilege of entering the house pertain only to the priestly family, the lessons of its parts and arrangements are not only for their instruction, but that the people themselves may know Jehovah as thus revealed (Ezek. 44:23).

But may we not also think of Christ in this connection? The figure of the door He applies to Himself, as we know. By Him there is entrance into full salvation. He, as having become Man, is the abiding witness of all that the cherubim and palm tree symbolize, and to all creation, to which He stands as Firstborn and the Image of the invisible God. Only by Him is there access to the altar-table and the indwelling Glory. He may give access, or be as a closed door shutting out forever. He may be the Saviour or the Judge, for to Him has been committed all in relation to salvation and judgment.

A brief reference to the porch calls attention to its portal (or threshold), its windows, and the decoration, which in this case, as in that of other surrounding chambers (Ezek. 40:16), was simply the palm tree. The cherubim is rather associated with the house itself, and the interior in particular. There is an alternative rendering, not without good authority, for the latter part of ver. 25 — "And there were wooden planks upon the front of the porch without." If this is accepted the close of ver. 26 should read, "and the planks," instead of, "and the portals." These planks would then also have palm trees carved upon them as upon the surrounding walls — work which would all be in low relief. Thus the approach to the outer doors of the house would be over these carved planks. The word here rendered "wooden planks" is the one used where death by hanging on a tree is mentioned (Gen. 40:19; Deut. 21:22; Joshua 10:26; Esther 2:23; Esther 5:14) . Moreover, it is by the tree cut down and fashioned to the proper form that this path of approach to the doors is made. Is it too much to draw from this a suggestion of the Cross? By it indeed, in any case, the way has been made, whether for us or Israel, by which access is possible. It introduces, as it were, to that path upon which falls the light from the opened Sanctuary. And where more than in the Cross is manifested the symbolic meaning of the palm tree, both to the glory of God and the blessing of the whole creation!

Before leaving this section let us revert for a moment to some of the dimensions of the house, in particular those of the three entrances which the plan shows to be as follows:
Porch entrance, 14 cubits = 7x2.
Temple entrance, 10 cubits = 5x2.
Entrance to the Holy of Holies, 6 cubits = 3x2.

Two the number of testimony and fellowship, and distinctly of Christ Himself as the second Person of the holy Trinity, rules throughout in this threefold entrance to the place of the divine glory. As threefold it implies fulness, and this as found manifested in what 7, 5, and 3 teach us, and that is perfection, but this found in the grace which has effected the union of the Creator and the creature (4+1), and this in relation to the fulness of the Godhead itself (3). And let us remember that what leads up to this from the court in which the great altar of sacrifice stands is a flight of ten steps, signifying — shall we not say? — that every requirement of the divine righteousness both Godward and manward has been perfectly met, and this, as we know, in the Person and work of Him of whom that very altar perpetually speaks — CHRIST. I may remark too that if the plan of the house is examined* it will be found that the wall-posts of these entrances are in this same fundamental ratio, only in reverse order, that is 3, 5, 7. Again in the dimensions of the Porch, Holy Place, and Most Holy we see how two rules with ten as the number multiplied, as also in the open space of 20 cubits which surrounds this structure. One more feature which gives prominence to the house with its side chambers is the foundation upon which it rests, which is "a full reed of six cubits" above the level of the surrounding court including that of the altar, and projects five cubits from the outside walls of the building (see Appendix). Six, as the number which speaks of the divine limit to evil, and of mastery over it, and of the subjugation of all things to God, is the fitting measure for the foundation of His house of glory. Notice too that it says a full reed; there will be no coming short in what this measure of six cubits means. And it extends out five cubits all around the house, for all is realized in the blessedness of that grace which reigning through righteousness brings God and man together to share in and enjoy the triumph and the fruits of the old Serpent being smitten, his head crushed by the blessed and glorious Man whose heel he in malice and enmity had bruised at the Cross. How heaven and earth will sing His triumph! The redeemed creation will join as one to adore the Lamb.

{*See Appendix.}

Section 2 (Ezekiel 42).

The arrangements provided to preserve the service of the Sanctuary in separation from defilement

1. Two cell buildings are now described. They are located on the north and south sides of the separate place, and are three stories high. Again the familiar factors, 3, 5, and 10, are prominent in the measurements.

2. The special purposes of these buildings are then stated. They are called holy; in them the priests eat the most holy things; to them is brought the priests, portion of the offerings; then after entering into the holy place the priests must only pass out by going through these buildings. In them they change their garments, laying aside the holy linen in which they minister in the inner court or the house before going into the outer court to the people (ver. 14; Ezek. 44:17-19). This is to avoid hallowing the people with their garments. The details of the sacrifice and the ordinances as to priestly service will occupy us later. Here the point is that all must be kept in its proper separation from all contact with the common, thus insisting upon the essential holiness of all pertaining to the inner courts, temple buildings, and priestly place.

3. Finally, after all of the inner house has been measured, the prophet is brought out by way of the east gate and into a large space, four-square, of 500 reeds on each side, enclosed with a wall of which the dimensions are not given. This appears as the extreme outer line of separation "between that which is holy and that which was common." This would form a great square of 3,000 cubits, in the centre of which would be the Sanctuary square of 500 cubits.

This whole concept presents a rebuke to and correction of the laxity and loss of the just consciousness of the great difference between Jehovah and Israel. The prophet shows this was entirely absent from the life of the nation, so that rulers and people had violated the sanctity of the temple, even introducing idolatrous worship. They had grievously failed to maintain His holiness in separation from evil. By these courts and gates, and wide open spaces which surround them, Jehovah is signifying by concrete example the truth of His surpassing glory, absolute pre-eminence, and essential holiness.

{Verse 15. Not the gate itself, as the following dimensions show, but the enclosure, or with the LXX, "the plan of the house." This measurement appears to be along the wall referred to in Ezek. 40:5. — (J. Bloore).}

Section 3 (Ezekiel 43).

The glory of Jehovah filling the house

1. (1) The house and its holy precincts having been viewed in their entirety, the prophet is now called to see that which alone can give character to the whole — the entrance of the divine glory. He is brought to the east gate. In his earlier visions he had beheld the glory of God leave the defiled temple by way of the east gate, and take its stand upon the mountain which is on the east of the city — the Mount of Olives (Ezek. 11:22-25). He who is the perfect and eternal embodiment of all that this vision of glory sets forth symbolically also left the house of His day desolate, and as He sat on the Mount of Olives, looking over the rejected city, He unfolded the course of future events until the day when He shall stand upon that same mount on. the east, bringing the glorious dawn of that day which shall be ever bright with the light and healing of the Sun of Righteousness (Matt. 24; Zech. 14).

Along the path of exit the glory now returns to fill the house. It is "the glory of the God of Israel… and the glory of Jehovah." Then all that those Names mean shall be found fully accomplished — Israel one nation, new born in fellowship with the Eternal, according to the new covenant, and in the power and blessing of the outpoured Spirit.

(2) Of old the cherubim were set and the flame of the flashing sword, east of Eden, to guard the way of the tree of life. Curse had come, none could claim right to life; from God alone could it come. Only in the place of His presence could it be found, but inexorable righteousness, inflexible holiness, and incontrovertible judgment stood guard. He who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" — the Tree of Life — bowed His blessed head to bear all and answer to all required by the divine glory, that the way might be opened to the poor sinner who draws near in the value of His precious blood. Now in the glory supported by the cherubim our attention is called to the figure of a Man. There indeed He ever was as foreknown before all ages, and so He is seen in the visions of God before the time of manifestation had come. This is one of the many foreshadows of the Incarnation, but now we know that He has actually appeared. Henceforth He, not apart from, but as identified with, all that the cherubim symbolize, stands at the very entrance of life, and He is ever found all along the way as He is its glorious and eternal end — "Christ our life."

Of old the cherubim stood at the closed Garden of delight, and looked out on a cursed earth and a fallen race, but in the day of Ezekiel's vision they shall bear the divine glory into its earthly resting-place (ver. 7), to look out upon an earth from every part of which the joyful song of deliverance shall be rising, every note blending and uniting in one universal Hallelujah.

No wonder the light of Jehovah's glory shone forth to announce the birth at Bethlehem, and that out of the midst of its brightness the angelic choir chanted its anthem of glory and pleasure over the Child born and the Son given upon whose shoulder the government shall be, and whose name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace, the increase of whose government and peace shall never end, upholding all with judgment and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. Again that glory invests Him on the holy mount; as a cloud it receives Him ascending from Olivet; in it He shall come with all the holy angels to take His kingdom; and of the heavenly city, enlightened with the glory of God, He, the Lamb, is the Lamp.

God comes in this glory, with majesty and awe-inspiring utterance, and with light reaching to earth's remotest bounds. The prophet assures us that he is seeing again the vision which appeared by the river Chebar (Ezek. 1; see notes), in the presence of which then and now he falls prostrate. Brought into the inner court, he sees that the Glory fills the house. Then he is personally addressed by some one speaking before the house, and he finds a man standing beside him. The Glory, majestic in appearance, mighty in speech, far reaching in its effect, has been seen to enter the Sanctuary, and now in the familiar accents of human speech Jehovah communicates His word. He speaks first of rest, and that forever in the midst of His redeemed earthly people. What He had said to Solomon after the dedication of the first house had been fulfilled in Israel's long history of shameful departure, scattering, and judgment, yet it was also true as then declared that His eyes and heart were perpetually upon that house, the place of the soles of His feet, and the returning Glory proves that He abides faithful.

Rest can only be realized where He sets up His throne. The curse comes to Satan, to angel, to man by defiance of its holy claim, by resisting the righteous rule of an ever-loving, wise, holy and glorious Creator. The blessing of every creature is found only in submission, and if this is not accomplished through grace it must be through power, the Shepherd's rod must become the rod of iron.

If the throne suggests the divine government as connected with the indwelling glory, the expression, "the place of the soles of My feet," introduces the thought of worship (Ps. 99:5; Ps. 132:7). In that day there will be no other throne-house in Israel. The Prince of whom we read later evidently does not occupy the same position as former kings. They had assumed absolute right to the throne, and had acted in shameful disregard of Jehovah's revealed will. Instead of acting as Jehovah's vicegerents, they had practically ignored His supremacy, neglected or rejected His Word, and made their own will paramount. In this evil course they were followed by the people and the priesthood. Idolatry came to prevail throughout the land, and even invaded the temple precincts, defiling the house itself. When the time of Ezekiel's vision has come, all such conditions will have passed forever. This change is declared to the prophet. Neither the people nor their kings will defile Jehovah's holy name any more. Because of their abominations (compare 2 Kings 16:14-15; 2 Kings 21:4-7; 2 Kings 23:11-12; 2 Chron. 33:4-7) His anger had consumed them; but then Israel's time of suffering will be accomplished, her iniquity will be pardoned, having received double for all her sins (Isa. 40:1-2). Israel as a nation new born, upon whom the Spirit has been. poured out, will dwell safely under the shadow of the Almighty. With the majesty of the glory will be the beauty of holiness. So the purgation of ver. 9 is essential to Jehovah's dwelling in the midst of them.

(3) This lesson may be learned from the vision of the house (vers. 10, 11). It is sealed by the law of the house which decrees the whole limit of the top of the mountain to be most holy (ver. 12).

2. We pass from the vision of the entering glory of Jehovah to consider the detailed measure of the altar, which stood at the centre of the whole enclosure, and directly before the house. God looks out, as it were, from the place of His rest upon that which presents the basis of all blessing and glory — the place of sacrifice. It stands as a memorial bearing witness to Christ. He is the true Burnt Offering, whose sacrifice of perpetual efficacy is being recalled by every offering presented upon this altar.

Not all is perfectly clear as to its construction. It appears to be two cubits higher than that of the first temple, and eight cubits less in length and breadth. Ezekiel's altar is 12x12 cubits.* Its principal dimensions are 18, 16, 14, and 12 cubits. The one common divisor of these numbers is two, which, as often remarked, speaks of competent witness, fellowship, and particularly of Christ. Dividing the measurements we obtain the numbers 9, 8, 7, and 6. Thus we have the complex idea of fullest manifestation (9=3x3) in the power of the Spirit and the glory of resurrection (3) and this in new covenant, new creation relations (8) into which all creation (4) will then be brought, according to perfection and rest (7), crowned of necessity with mastery over evil (6). This last is the topmost part of the structure, and it is foursquare, 12 cubits each side (4x3) — the number of divine government exercised throughout creation according to the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Christ, to which fulness all things in heaven and on earth are reconciled in the power of the blood of the cross by which peace has been made. Such seems to be the lesson of the altar if we are permitted to interpret it in the number-symbolism of Scripture.

{*See Outline Elevation of Altar. Appendix.}

Since God has abounded toward us in all wisdom and intelligence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, we may now rejoice in the knowledge of these precious and holy themes. They give comfort and confidence as we pass on in touch with a groaning creation which we know will be brought into the reality and blessing of Christ's glory. God has given to us knowledge of His counsel, so that while it is still night for the world we may walk in the light of day. This is to have its practical effect upon us, for we are not of the night but of the day. It should lead us to walk through the world as not of it, not influenced by the spirit of this age, but as sober and watchful, wearing the breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation — that salvation for which we wait and which will be realized at the coming of the Lord. Not only so, but when the redeemed creation will be enjoying the accomplishment of all that we now know to be God's purpose and which gives cause for present rejoicing in the Lord, we shall be with Him, sharing as the Body with the Head in all the various features of that glorious kingdom, not in an earthly but heavenly relation. And though we shall then be in the glory and around the throne forever, we will never fail to look at and consider the place of sacrifice, viewing it then from the inner Sanctuary. The Lamb shall be seen in the midst of the throne.

3. The ordinances of the altar are now given. They relate to its establishment as a place of worship where the priests shall offer the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings of the people. In this there is an abiding witness to their acceptance by Jehovah (ver. 27).

As already pointed out, this altar stands at the very centre of the sacred enclosure. The worshippers in the outer court, and "the Prince" who came in among them or sat in the east gate, would have attention and interest focused upon this great altar, and, as we may say, the glory of God in the house would look toward it. It would ever stand before the eyes of all as of fundamental importance to the blessing and welfare of the people, affording visible expression of their acceptance and the ground upon which the glory could abide among them.

These ordinances are given in view of the day when they shall make the altar, a word of comfort and assurance to the remnant in the land of their captivity that the time would come when the nation would again be restored and the divine centre for worship be set up. With this prophecy before them it is not surprising to see that those who return from Babylon to the land of their fathers first built the altar.

The altar has a twofold purpose — to offer burnt-offering and sprinkle blood. The burnt-offering signifies full acceptance, the sprinkled blood, accomplished expiation. That offering all goes up to God as an odor of sweet smell, and the shed blood tells of judgment borne, vindicating the righteousness of God and answering to the holiness of His nature. The perfect service and obedience symbolized in the offering satisfies His heart, and the blood suffices to meet all the requirements of His throne. The altar too sanctifies the gift, and thus all combines to set before us the preciousness and perfection of the Person and work of Christ.

Then the priests of Zadok's seed are to minister at the altar. Zadok fills a prominent place in the history of Israel, being high priest in David's and Solomon's reigns. He remained faithful to David during Absalom's rebellion, and with Nathan the prophet espoused the cause of Solomon when Adonijah sought to secure the throne David being of one mind with them instructed Zadok to anoint Bathsheba's son (1 Kings 1:8, 26, 32-45). Zadok thus stands as representative of the priesthood in association with the king of God's choice, and with the kingdom as established by Him in David's seed — type of Christ. Zadok descended from Eleazar (1 Chron. 6:50-53), Aaron's third son, who succeeded to the high priesthood upon his father's death. We have already seen that this is a lesson of resurrection (see notes, Num. 21). Eleazar being a type of the resurrection priesthood of Christ, his association was with the new generation who were to enter the land, suggesting Israel as new born, to whom under new covenant relation will be given possession of the land and the fulfilment of the promise. Fittingly, then, the seed of Zadok fill the priestly place in the glorious Millennial day.

There are seven days of consecration, on the eighth and thereafter the regular services may be performed. In the seven we have the perfect basis laid for abiding worship which is of new creation character and in the grace of the new covenant.

If the divine glory has found its resting-place in this shrine of holiness, the plan and order of which is expressive of the divine character, then for the people to be able to draw near in their place and enjoy the blessings of acceptance and fellowship with that glory, the altar and its service are essential. Only on the ground of sacrifice which presents the truth of atonement and purification can man make his approach to the dwelling-place of God. Thus the altar stands related to the people themselves and their place with God. It stands as identified with what they are, and they being sinful, makes atonement for it necessary to purify and consecrate it. In what is accomplished for it, the people see, as in an object lesson, what is accomplished for them.

It is not hard to see in this a picture of precious truth regarding Christ and His people. He in His grace identified Himself with them, and so what they were in themselves made it necessary for Him to be the sacrifice, bearing as in their place the very judgment they deserved. Thus He accomplished atonement that they might know identification with Him in the acceptance of the sacrifice He made. Of that one offering by which all who are sanctified are perfected — we now, Israel in the future, and all who believe — these sacrifices are the significant type, as in the future day they will be an ever-witnessing memorial. If our blessed Lord took our sins upon Himself, He also endured the smiting by which atonement was made, so that coming from under the curse which He took for our sakes He can stand before God's glory, and appear in His presence on our behalf, even — may we say? — as the great altar stands before the house in which the glory dwells. Now in the place He fills we read our own acceptance and privilege in fellowship with the glory itself, together with the glory of redemption and the blessing of salvation.

Sin and burnt offerings are made for seven days. These present two aspects of atonement by which reconciliation is effectual and access procured. Sin is fully dealt with in judgment, and that as carried out in the burning in the outside place — the place where Jesus suffered that He might sanctify the people with His own blood. This was accomplished according to the will of God to which He rendered perfect obedience, offering Himself without spot in the power of the eternal Spirit. So we find what is toward man in his dire need as a sinner, but for the eternal satisfaction of God in respect to all that he deserved as being such a creature; and then what is toward God to His eternal glory, the one accomplished righteousness of the Man Christ Jesus, obedient even unto death, but for our eternal blessing as accepted in the abiding perfection of such fragrance as God alone can fully appreciate. Thus are we redeemed from destruction and crowned with loving-kindness.

There is the young bullock in all the energy and power of fresh, new life, neither aged nor blemished — type of the Perfect Servant who came only to do God's will. The he-goat speaks of the sinner's Substitute; the ram is the symbol of devotedness even unto death. The salt, the preservative power of holiness and the sign of the covenant, is that which secures beyond possibility of failure. And then the sprinkled blood of the salted sacrifice, the precious blood, effects expiation and the forgiveness of sins according to the holiness of God and the perfection of the offering.

Let us not leave this section without linking its three parts together — the glory, the sacrifice, and the worship of the redeemed people. As being a third section it suggests manifestation, the fulness revealed, and that is given in a threefold way, as just remarked. Is not the order here that which characterizes Christian blessing also? First, Christ in whom the glory all centres, in whom the fulness dwells, must be in His rightful place, that of being at the right hand of the Majesty on high in the heavenly Sanctuary, the true holy of holies. There He entered, saluted of God as priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Then the measure of the altar could be given, the truth of the wonderful work in all its varied parts be told out, be given manifestation in the testimony rendered in its due time. This brings out the meaning of the new place, its worship, the acceptance known and enjoyed in the light of the fulness now revealed. The place of Christ in glory, the testimony to His blessed Person and work in redemption and the place of His people as identified with Him, constitute the threefold cord of revealed truth which none can break.

Section 4 (Ezekiel 44).

Regulations concerning those who minister in the Sanctuary

1. Now that all as to the Sanctuary and altar has been set in order we are given the regulations concerning the ministers of the Sanctuary. It is not surprising that in this connection we are again reminded of the divine glory, and also to find that there is an abiding witness to its entrance into the House and to the essential pre-eminence of Jehovah, in that none, not even the Prince, is to enter by the east gate through which Ezekiel saw the Glory enter.

In the past kings, priests, and people had fallen into the evil of treating Jehovah as though He was altogether like one of themselves. In their rebellion and idolatry He had become but one God among many, even though they might give Him first place in their Pantheon. In the theocracy of the future there shall be one Jehovah and His name one. His absolute supremacy will be acknowledged by all, and the evil of idolatry will be banished from the earth. So the majesty and distinctive glory of Jehovah is emphasized by the shutting of the East Gate by which He entered His House; no one may enter or go out by that gate.

Here a dignitary is introduced who has not been mentioned before — the Prince. He is privileged, as no other person, to occupy the porch of the east gate, sitting there to eat bread before Jehovah. But he does not pass through the gate, he enters by the porch and goes out by the same way. Thus the special sanctity of this gate would be impressed upon all, and particularly upon the Prince himself, reminding him of his subordinate place; the closed gate and the limited privilege of this person who appears to be the highest secular dignitary in the nation, teaching all of the supreme place of Jehovah. We may notice that the porch is at the end of the gate-building toward the west, facing the altar and the House.

This important personage, the Prince, is apparently one of the nation, not Christ Himself: his sons are spoken of (Ezek. 46:16) and he offers a sin-offering for himself (Ezek. 45:22). It seems clear that he occupies a representative position, yet neither the same as that of the high priest, of whom Ezekiel does not speak, nor that of the king as formerly known in Israel. He is not accorded the privileges nor the power of either. He seems to occupy an intermediary place between the people and the priesthood, since he is found among the former in their seasons of worship (Ezek. 46:10), not among the priests, nor privileged to enter the inner court, yet drawing nearer than the people themselves, since he may worship in the inner east gate which opens upon the inner court, while the people worship in the outer court as gathered at the door of this gate (Ezek. 46:2). But he is responsible to supply the various offerings at the feasts, the new moons, the sabbaths, in all the solemnities of the house of Israel, and he is therefore the recipient and holder of what the people offer for these occasions; and thus too the priesthood would look to him for the provision needed to carry on the national worship (Ezek. 45:13-22). Then he is given his own special portion in the land, and he is enjoined not to take any of the people's inheritance (Ezek. 45:7-8; Ezek. 46:18; Ezek. 48:21-22). The Oblation and the Sanctuary are spoken of as in the midst of the Prince's portion.

These considerations show that the Prince occupies quite a unique place in the history of Israel. It serves to emphasize the absolute character of the theocracy as to both kingly and high priestly rule. They are vested in the Messiah Himself, not in any mere man. Priests and kings of the past may have been types, but now the Antitype has come — the substance has replaced the shadow. This world to come of which this vision treats will not be in subjection to angels, but to Him to whom all things have been made subject according to God's purpose, even Jesus (Heb. 2:5-10). Angelic hosts will then attend the Son of Man (Matt. 13:41; Matt. 24:31; Matt. 25:31; John 1:51; 2 Thess. 1:7).

Returning to our chapter, we see then in the closure of the east gate a standing object-lesson teaching the sanctity and preeminence of Jehovah, showing that none, not even Prince or priests, are to be thought of as approaching in any measure an equality with God such as free access at the same gate might be construed to imply. Still in the privilege of the Prince to partake of a sacrificial feast in the porch of this gate we get an intimation of the connection of the saved nation and the glory of God which has hallowed this gate in a special manner, for in his place he is doubtless representative of the nation. His communion, and so that of the nation as seen in him, is with God whose glory entered by that gate and now dwells in His House in their midst — a holy, happy, salutary lesson.

We see too that all the worship would be conducted with faces westward. This furnishes an instructive contrast to what the prophet had seen in the entry of the temple as recorded in chapter 8 — twenty-five men with their backs to the temple and their faces toward the east, worshipping the sun. In their evil course they had reversed God's order. In how many things it is found that man's thought is the very opposite of God's, the sad consequence of departure and alienation through sin. How evident it is also that Satan's constant aim is to induce the creature to turn its back upon God and have an idol of his own which is always another creature, for fallen man will have his god to be like himself, and groping in the moral darkness into which he has fallen he deifies his own lusts and passions and makes their gratification the chief feature of his worship. Every step of God's advancing revelation through the ages has been to undo this lie which has wrapped itself around the heart and mind of man, blinding him to' the light which he learns to hate because his deeds are evil, while for the same reason he loves the darkness. That revelation reached its meridian splendor in the coming of the Son, and now it is known beyond all possible question that in God is no darkness at all, that indeed He is light and love, not darkness and hate. He is One whose thoughts are as high above man's as the heavens are above the earth. This lesson, to learn which brings the creature into its right place and therefore its real blessing, seems clearly suggested to us in what Ezekiel sets forth.

2. The prophet is now brought before the House by way of the north gate. This was the gate of sacrifice, as we have seen. Is not this significant? For only by the way of sacrifice can we be brought before the glory of God. This he beholds filling the House, and bows low in worship. Then Jehovah reveals to him the ordinances which follow, after which he is taken to view other parts of the sacred enclosure.How suggestive the order — sacrifice, worship, revelation.

It is instructive to note that the communication of these ordinances of service and worship, including the allotment of the heave-offering, the feasts and special solemnities, with instruction as to the ways of righteousness which become those who draw near to God, should be given in the light of the glory and in close relation to where the work of sacrifice is performed. Three important truths are thus brought together — the glory of God who is the Holy One, the work of redemption as set forth in the sacrifices, and the holy ways which are to characterize God's people. Peter, setting before us. God's holy character and government, enjoins us to walk in holiness and fear, forasmuch as we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:14-19). Redeeming love in Christ has given perfect answer to the light which God is, in which all that we are and have done is searched out and manifested, and which according to holiness God must judge. Thus we who believe are made fit for the portion of the saints in light, and as thus accepted by God we are privileged to enter the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus. This being so, we are under the responsibility to behave ourselves according to the holy requirement of God our Father. Here His. government over us comes in, and only the more so since He has abounded toward us in such riches of grace.

God claims the attention of the whole man (ver. 5) — heart, eyes, ears; and note, it is the inner man first. The heart stands for the inner springs of man's being and life. As from this organ of our physical frame the blood goes forth to energize the whole of the body's wonderful structure, returning to it to be again prepared for continued work in the circulatory system, so in the spiritual realm we have, as we may say, man's spirit and soul, the sea of his intellectual and emotional faculties which are manifested in his course of life. These are claimed by God, and as being under His control (other control can only result in spiritual death) there goes forth into the spiritual sphere, into all its paths of movement, of circulation, of feeling and emotion, that vital energy which makes us fit vessels for divine service. Then our vision (the eyes) will be full of that light which shines from the innermost Sanctuary enlightening the inner man; and one Voice will be heard, whose accents falling upon the multitudinous strings of our spiritual ears, send those vibrations of divine speech and harmony through our being which bring the desired response to the Master.

The prophet is told to mark well, literally, "set thine heart to," what Jehovah is making known. This is called for in view of the service he is to perform, that of communicating God's mind to the people. It is well for us to remember that such occupation with what God may give is ever essential for the carrying out of any commission He may call upon us to fulfil. Purpose of heart is the necessary qualification for any servant of the Lord. One may possess much learning and great natural ability, be attractive in person and eloquent in speech, and yet useless, because the heart is not right, its purpose not formed in the secret place with God. If the inner man is under the power of divine things it is certain that the members of the outward man will be yielded in happy service to the holy and perfect will of God. God looks upon the heart, not upon the outward appearance, which may easily deceive.

The prophet is called to give whole-hearted attention to Jehovah's Word. Apart from this he could not rightly perform his mission. Nor can we know how to rightly number our days and apply our hearts to wisdom apart from such attention to the Word of God. It alone provides a thorough furnishing of the man of God for every good work. Let us feed upon it, walk by it, preach it, serving others out of its treasuries, into which we daily enter with believing and worshiping hearts. Our hearts should stand in awe of that Word, while having joy in it as those who find great spoil (Ps. 119:161-162).

Jehovah first reproves the house of Israel for their evil ways. They had forgotten His holy claims and defiled His house with their abominations. In view of this He established the ordinances which follow. By them they will be kept ever mindful of the past and of His own holiness, to safeguard which from all unlawful intrusion insures to them the fullest blessing and His own proper glory.

In earlier chapters of this book the prophet has told of Israel's abominations (e.g., Ezek. 8, 11), and many times have they been referred to as rebellious. Here they are so spoken of for the last time. This then is a word for the people of Ezekiel's day, for when this new temple is built they will be no longer of such a character. This shows that God intended the new order of things to be established in the future, which the prophet was making known, to have a present effect upon the ways of the people. As they learned what God purposed for the day of glory, they were to already separate, themselves from past evils, which had come in through gross carelessness as to His honor and holiness. This, it may be said, is consistently God's purpose in revealing the future. Those to whom it is revealed are responsible to walk in its light. God's purpose as to future judgment or glory is His call to us to conduct ourselves now in a manner accordant with the revelation granted, and so to be witness to those around us of what we know is sure to come. This is the path of faith, for faith believing God's testimony enters into fellowship with Him as to His purposes, and then judges of the present in the light of that secret which faith possesses, and which becomes its strength and comfort while waiting in the present. Thus we know that the day of the Lord is coming upon the ungodly world. It is not only a day of judgment but also the time of established righteousness and peace which Christ will bring in, and in which we shall have our part and place with Him. We are of the day, and not of this world's present night. Hence we are to walk now as those who are of the day, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation — salvation out of the world which goes on to wrath (1 Thess. 5). Whatever God has revealed in His prophetic Word is by no means for the gratification of curious minds, but so that he who believes it may walk with God in the present. By doing this we find practical deliverance from this present evil age, not being conformed to it, but transformed by the renewing of our minds in daily fellowship with God through His word of truth. So now Jehovah makes known by Ezekiel the order of things to obtain in the new Sanctuary and its service, that the people may learn therefrom and let the past suffice to have wrought abomination and rebellion.

Although these visions belong to a time still future, we see by the ministry of reproof and correction given in this chapter and the previous one (Ezek. 43:7-11; Ezek. 44:6-13), relating to the people and their rulers, both civil and religious, that God always has a present object in view in the revelations He gives. He brings the past into contrast with the future, that in the present practical sanctification may be realized in ceasing to do evil and learning to do well. Isaiah first describes the glory of the Millennial state, and then admonishes the people, saying, "House of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of Jehovah" (Isa. 2:1-5).

In the first place provision is made to guard the Sanctuary from such profanation as had entered its precincts in the time of the kingdom. The evils that Jehovah rebukes had come in through unholy alliances with idolatrous neighbors, and by having hired foreigners to keep the charge of the gates. Such a state of things was aided by the close proximity to the temple of the king's palace, so that the corruption of the royal house first seeped into the sacred enclosure of the first temple and then flooded it with wickedness, as in the days of Ahab and Manasseh. Balaam was made to give God's thought concerning His people: "Lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations;" and he it was who later did his best to accomplish their mixture with the wicked nation of Moab. He could not curse, but becoming acquainted with God's purpose, and being an enemy, he sought their overthrow by subtlety (Num. 31:16). He snares them into evil associations, and God must deal in judgment. From this we learn what is meant by the doctrine of Balaam, and it shows one of the great wiles of the devil against which we must be on our guard. His constant effort is to effect mixture where God's express mind is separation and purity. The admixture of Israel with the nations in her later history wrought her ruin, and brought the judgment of the Captivities and desolation. The admixture of the world and the Church, a greater evil, has wrought a correspondingly worse ruin. Scripture has especially warned us of this evil (2 Cor. 6:11-18), so disastrous, whether in the individual or corporate sphere.

In this connection we may well consider Rev. 2:14. It is one of those many instances in Scripture in which the things written afore-time for our admonition are taken up and made of present application. The doctrine of Balaam consisted, as we have seen, in the counsel he gave, directing the women of Moab and Midian to seduce the people of Israel into association with them in their idolatrous festivities, with which there was a practice of gross moral evil. Israel was caught in the snare of those friendly advances, which had behind them the enemy's purpose to destroy the character of God's people as called to "dwell alone," in separation to God, whose holy ways and worship had been revealed to them. Doubtless, the seduction was intended to deprive Israel of her distinctive position and favor with God, which Balaam had been forced to proclaim. God's thought was that His people should be separate from all the abounding evil of the nations. Balaam's doctrine was that a mixture should be effected between them. Fleshly lusts and false religious activities were the instruments used.

This history has been repeated in the relations established between the Church and the world. In the apostolic period idolatry touched every sphere of life. As a result, the early Christians of necessity withdrew largely from all the social and festive activities in which moral evil abounded, and in which they had formerly taken part (1 Peter 4:1-4). This brought against them much persecution and evil-speaking. In those days, to partake of the idol sacrifices came to signify the recantation of Christianity.

But things changed; the world became friendly and sought association with the Church, who, like Israel, was snared into evil practices. The doctrine of mixture prevailed. This destroyed the true character and testimony of the Church in the world. Expansion by compromise with the idolatrous world became the policy of its leaders. Features and practices of heathendom were incorporated into its life, both publicly and privately. But today we do not think of this, because idolatry has passed away. Nevertheless it has its lesson for us. This same principle of mixture assailed the returned remnant in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, and wrought and caused them much sorrow. It is one of our great dangers, if not the greatest. The idol-feasts, with their open immorality, are not around us today; but there are still idols to keep from, and fleshly lusts from which to turn away. With the light and knowledge we have, whatever displaces God, or represents Him as different from what He is known to be as revealed in Christ, or that changes His truth, cannot be followed without some form of moral failure resulting. Truth refused, perverted, or neglected, is accompanied in some degree with moral laxity and spiritual decrepitude.

3. Returning to our chapter we find that the Levites, except the family of Zadok (ver. 15), are appointed to keep guard and do the service of the house, but are excluded from the priestly office. In the government of God they are shut out from this higher place because of their previous history. They had followed the people into idolatry, and were a stumbling-block of iniquity instead of resisting the incoming evil and instructing the people in the laws of the covenant under which they stood in relation to Jehovah. God requires that which is past; and in His ways of holy government such departure from His revealed and known will must be remembered in judgment, though those subject to it are personally safe. The day of loss and reward is certain, and this God's grace does not set aside. The future will bring out results which flow from the past, for as we sow we reap. If our work is good we shall receive reward, if bad we shall suffer loss, though we ourselves are saved. This solemn lesson is seen in the case of the Levites. The past and its lessons would thus be kept before them as they fulfilled their service, and be a constant reminder to all the people of the nation's past sin, in which the Levites had joined, ministering to them before their idols.

The same principle of righteous government finds illustration in the priests of Zadok's line. They had remained faithful when Israel departed from Jehovah, and now in the day of Messiah's kingdom they fill the nearest place. Past faithfulness meets its reward. Having previously spoken. of Zadok's place in the nation's history, we may without further remark consider the details now given regarding the priestly office.

The difference between the Levites and the priests is that the former stand before the people and minister to them, while the priests minister to Jehovah, stand before Him, and enter the Sanctuary. The holy privilege of going into God's presence and of fellowship with Him at His table is characteristic of the priestly place.

There are twelve features in the regulations of this section, falling into four groups of three each. All have to do with the service and walk, in which there is to be a manifestation of truth and holiness in keeping with their Sanctuary privileges.
1. Regulations regarding their place and service in the Sanctuary.
1 Their sacred charge (ver. 15a).
2 Their holy service in this charge (vers. 15b, 16).
3 Their holy garments (vers. 17-19).
2. Regulations regarding their habits and relationships.
1 Their hair — moderation, no extremes (ver. 20).
2 Their abstinence — sobriety (ver. 21).
3 Their marriage — purity (ver. 22).
3. Regulations regarding their service toward the people.
1 Their work of teaching (ver. 23).
2 Their work of judgment (ver. 24a).
3 Their responsibility to observe and care for the order of divine worship (ver. 24b).
4. Regulations regarding their separation from defilement.
1 As to the dead (vers. 25-27).
2 As to inheritance (ver. 28).
3 As to their food (vers. 29-31).

The Sanctuary, then, is in their charge. This brings to them an access that others do not share, and with it a ministry peculiarly their own. The fat and the blood are specially mentioned, and then the table, for communion can only follow that of which the former elements speak.

The fat and the blood were especially reserved from all the offerings as being God's own portion. Compare Lev. 7:22-27. The fat is spoken of as the food of the offering, and as burnt for a sweet savor (Lev. 3:16). It stands for that which is entirely consecrated to God in all that pertains to both the will and the energy of life, which is all given up to Him, even as the fat is all consumed on the altar. In this connection it is of interest to note, as another has done, that the word for ashes used in reference to the sacrifices "literally means 'fat.' This has been thought to be because of the burning of the fat upon the altar, which would thus saturate the ashes. Be that as it may, the word is significant and suggestive. Ashes are the witness that the fire has done its work, the witness of an accomplished and accepted sacrifice. So we read in the margin of Ps. 20:3, 'The Lord turn to ashes thy burnt sacrifice,' translated 'accept,' in explanation of the text. This witness of an accepted sacrifice is not a sign of sorrow, for which the word [generally translated 'ashes'] is used, [as also for] showing the emptiness and vanity of things (Esther 4:1, 3; Job 2:8; Job 42:6; Isa. 61:3, etc.; Isa. 44:20). There is nothing worthless in connection with the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"The ashes of the sacrifice were first put on the east side of the altar, toward the sun-rising; they were then removed to a clean place outside the camp (Lev. 4:12; Lev. 6:10-11). Our blessed Lord's body, after He had yielded up His life to God on the cross, was kept absolutely inviolate. The piercing of the spear was in fulfilment of Scripture, and furnished the evidence that He had actually died. But 'a bone of Him shall not be broken' (John 19:33-37). So that precious body: ('A body hast Thou prepared Me,' Heb. 10:5) was not suffered to be treated as that of a criminal, but was judicially handed over to those who loved Him, wrapped in fragrant and costly perfume, and laid in a new grave hewn out of the rock (John 19:38-42; Luke 23:52-53). Does this not show in reality what was suggested in the 'fat ashes?'… The same unyielding judgment that had dealt with Him on the cross now demanded the fullest honor to Him, in judicial testimony to the acceptance of His sacrifice. The east side of the altar, the side of the sunrise, where the ashes were placed, is not only the witness of accepted sacrifice, but the pledge of resurrection. All this was ever before the Lord. He always linked His resurrection with His death (Matt. 16:21). The ashes thus would speak of God's acceptance of Christ's sacrifice, giving full assurance to the believer of his acceptance." — Lectures on the Tabernacle, pp. 439-441, by S. Ridout.

This is an acceptance connected, therefore, with all the preciousness to God of which the fat speaks. So we may say the fat speaks of our blessed Lord Himself in His unreserved and perfectly acceptable devotion to God's holy will, for the accomplishment of which He yielded up all the strength of His holy and perfect life in the work of the cross. Are not those words of Ps. 22 significant of this? "Like water I am poured out, and My bones are all disjointed: My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast laid Me in the dust of death… I may tell all My bones: they gaze, they stare upon Me."

What other language could more vividly depict the utter yielding up of all strength, of all fatness, in the work of sacrifice under the stroke of judgment? Truly this is the food of the offering, and a sweet savor to God. In it He finds His special portion and eternal delight.

Then there is the blood, it speaks of life, but laid down under judgment, given upon the altar to make atonement. No one was permitted to eat blood (Lev. 3:17; Lev. 17:10-14; Lev. 19:26). Life essentially belongs to God, man has forfeited all claim to it through sin; but in connection with the sacrifices it speaks of Christ who became a Substitute for sinful men, and that the judgment sin required has been executed upon Him. As put upon the altar it declares the truth of acceptance, and provides the basis of worship for God's people; as put upon the gate it marks the way of access into that blessing, and as put upon the House itself it shows what permits God to be with and dwell among His people, for it fully cleanses and atones in relation to all that would defile (Ezek. 43:20; Ezek. 45:19-20). The precious blood of Jesus cleanses from every sin. That precious blood gives us our access, for we are made nigh by it; it gives us our acceptance, for we are taken into favor in the Beloved in whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of offences; it enables God who is just to justify the ungodly who believe in Jesus; and in virtue of His work He will present His redeemed people faultless in the presence of God's glory so that He will be found dwelling among them for eternity.

The next regulation refers to the clothing of the priests for entrance into God's presence. They must be clothed in linen garments. No wool was permitted, nothing that would promote the exudation of nature, for this can have no place in His presence. That stands identified with man's toil as a sinner (Gen. 3:19). Linen we are familiar with as a symbol of righteousness, and of the righteousnesses of the saints, as in Rev. 19:8. Whether we think of it in reference to our standing before God, what we are made in Christ, or the practical life of the believer, it is that which alone suits the holy presence of God. Such in fact are the garments of praise which should ever invest us as a holy priesthood. This alone rightly manifests His character, and on our part alone marks us as truly representing Him. Righteousness is the first feature of the kingdom of God (Rom. 14:17). He who loves us and has washed us from our sins in His blood, has made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father (Rev. 1:5-6); and hence we are to follow righteousness (2 Tim. 2:22). We are to avoid evil, do good, seek and pursue peace, "because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears toward their supplications; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who shall injure you if ye have become imitators of that which is good? But if also ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye; but be not afraid of their fear, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord the Christ in your hearts" (1 Peter 3:11-15). The righteous Lord loveth righteousness.

In no one like to the Lord Himself was the truth of the linen fully and perfectly displayed. So He is our example that we should follow in His steps.

Righteousness, we may say, is acting according to the place in which God has set us. As His righteousness in Christ, we are to be followers of Him as dear children. Thus in these verses we have been considering, we get first the place and its privileges (15, 16), then the responsibility to be clothed as befits that place, and to guard all as sanctified to the Lord.

In the second group of regulations, three important principles appear. That as to the hair shows how moderation is to mark those who present Jehovah's offerings. They are to avoid extremes on the one side or the other. Neither undue severity nor fleshly looseness is to characterize their ways.

Hair occupies an important place in Scripture. In the case of the Nazarite it signifies lowly dependence upon God, the only proper creature-attitude, with withdrawal from the things of the flesh and its stimulus, so that action is not under such influences. In 1 Cor. 11 it is used to show the relative place of man and woman in the divine order of creation — the short hair of the man indicating his headship and responsibility to rule, the long hair of the woman that of her place of dependence, yet helpfulness, without which the man is not complete. Thus we may see in it a sign of separation in devotedness to God, all that we are brought into subjection to His will, and so of obedience to His order for us in whatever sphere of relation we may be placed. It is evident that there may be that extreme asceticism which does dishonor to God's creature, or on the other hand the turning of the grace of God into dissoluteness. It is needless to remark that neither is of God. It is the avoidance of such extremes that seems suggested in this ordinance as to the hair. It counsels true-hearted devotion to God in accordance with the obedience His Word enjoins, so that fleshly extremes are avoided on both sides.

Abstinence from wine in connection with their service in the inner court well accords with what we have just considered. It "plainly covers all fleshly stimulus, which prevents clear discernment of what is or is not according to the mind and nature of God. For us also who are called to walk in the light of God's presence continually, this is not a casual, but a constant rule. The impulse of nature needs the restraint of Christ's yoke; even where, as the apostle says, things are lawful to us, we must still not be brought under the power of any (1 Cor. 6:12). And how easily do they acquire power!" It means the avoidance of all worldly, carnal methods, the love of the things of the world, in all that constitutes our place in worship and service as a holy and royal priesthood called to show forth the excellencies of Him who has brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We are to be controlled by that sober judgment which is formed in the Sanctuary. The psalmist might envy the ease, prosperity and power of the wicked when not in the current of God's thoughts, but when he went into the Sanctuary then understood he their end (Ps. 73). It is to such sobriety that the apostle exhorts — a sobriety of a spiritually sound mind, fleshly desires and passions held in restraint, the habits of life well regulated with discretion and moderation. Compare 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8; Titus 2:4, 6, 12; Rom. 12:3; 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Cor. 5:13, sober, soberly, or sober-minded; Titus 2:2, temperate; ver. 5, discreet.

In the ordering of the marriage relation the purpose is to preserve purity of association. It comes as an added guard against yielding to the mere dictates of passion, or to acting in a careless, loose manner in forming the most sacred and important relation of human life. Compare Lev. 21:7-14.

Thus in every way the habits and relationships of the priests are to constitute a good witness for God. The priest is to "show out of a good conversation his works with meekness and wisdom" (James 3:13). "But as He who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation" (1 Peter 1:15). Of course, we know that "conversation" means manner of life, and not merely our speech, though that is of itself an important factor.

The third group of regulations treats of priestly service toward the people. Let us not forget this order. To rightly fill priestly responsibility, to serve others in the work of teaching and judgment, we must first regulate our individual lives in accordance with the revealed mind of God. Here, as we know, Samson broke down, and how many another since his day! The apostle well understood this principle, and declares, "I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest after having preached to others I should be myself rejected." This gives us a sober guiding principle. To love this present age results in forsaking the path of true service, as Demas did (2 Tim. 4:10); that is only a form of self-love which refuses to give place to that love which would make Christ everything and all; in other words, to henceforth live unto Him who loved us and died for us, so that the life we now live in the flesh has Him for its supreme object. Plainly to know how to discern for ourselves, and so teach others the difference between the holy and profane, the clean and unclean, we must live in the light of the Sanctuary and know how to use its balances. And again what else can fit for the judgment of that which is in controversy? Those who thus serve and would lead others to obey the divine order must themselves observe God's holy laws and statutes, thus setting the example of obedience thereto. This is their responsibility, the foundation upon which the superstructure of priestly service must be built. When this is not so we may see the consequences depicted in the case of Eli's sons (1 Sam. 2:12-30).

In the last part of this section we return to what relates to the walk of the priests. First, as regards defilement from the dead. Compare Lev. 21:1-6. To be connected with it in even the permitted cases defiles, requiring proper cleansing and the presentation of a sin-offering. Thus death becomes the remedy for the defilement which death brings in as the penalty of sin. To this the cross bears witness. But it is clear that general or promiscuous defilement was to be sedulously watched against. There is defilement in death because it is the penalty of sin, and what we have here is given as an evidence of what is suited to God's presence. The priestly place is viewed in that relation. Into His presence death and its defilement cannot come. Sin is inextricably linked with it, and so even Christ is forsaken when dying under its judgment. Only His death avails to bring poor helpless man into the life beyond its touch. And He so perfectly and completely met all the issues raised by sin and death that He could sit down in the presence of God — a witness, indeed, how all is removed from before God through that one sacrifice. Upon this depends all the exercise of power to take away sin by, judgment. So we may learn from this regulation that the one who enters God's presence must be free from the touch of death, from the defilement it causes. As redeemed by the precious blood of Christ we are made free, and stand identified with the glorious resurrection-life of our Saviour and Great High Priest. Our priestly place as linked with Him is in the power of indissoluble life. The present practical effect of this is to be a godly care to avoid unnecessary contact with what death stands for — sin and its fruits; while when this comes in we must remember what becomes His presence, the cleansing which restores the disturbed communion and service. The governing principle is, "I will be sanctified in them that draw near to Me."

The subject of inheritance is next treated. "I am their inheritance … I am their possession." The priests have no inheritance, no possession in Israel. Compare Num. 18:20; Deut. 10:9; Deut. 18:1. Is this a deprivation? Can it be that to be an heir of God, to have Him as one's inheritance and possession? Rather it expresses the highest possible place of nearness and blessing in which what God is becomes the portion of those so blessed. What more than this gives God His rightful place? The whole man is lifted up to Him in whom all his resources are found, from whom all his expectation must come. It reminds us of the Christian place — heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ, who is the appointed Heir of all things, and He in whom we have obtained an inheritance into which we are brought according to the riches of His grace and to the praise of His glory. Now we joy in God, and rejoice in hope of His glory. Our city is of His building, our kingdom is of His preparation and giving.

Finally, the food of the priests is virtually all that is offered to Jehovah by the people — His portion becomes their's.

"Because of the anointing, the most holy things were given them to eat, which was a special privilege of the priests. The same thing is true with regard to us. Whatever is precious in the offering of Christ, in every point of view — in His life and in His death; in that bread come down from heaven, contemplated in His life of devotedness and grace here below; and in His death for us — all is the food and nourishment of our souls, in that communion with God in which we ourselves are kept in our priesthood. The priests alone ate the holy things, and they ate them in a holy place. It is only in the sense of the presence of God, and under the efficacy of that oil which is not poured on flesh, that we can truly realize what is precious in the work of Christ" (Synopsis, Vol. 1, pp. 261, 262).

Section 5 (Ezekiel 45, 46).

Divine government exercised in the apportionment of the land, and the establishment of ordinances for worship and service

{Verse 1 'breadth': It may be better to read here 20,000 with the LXX. This is preferred by Keil, Davidson, and others. It seems to make ver. 3 more intelligible. "Of this measure [or, out of this measure, i.e. the 25,000x20,000]" they were to measure 25,000x10,000 for the priests, and in this the sanctuary was located. Thus the previously mentioned allotment of 500x500 plus 50 cubits all around was in this portion given to the priests. Ver. 5 tells us to whom the remainder of the 25,000x20,000 was assigned, namely, the Levites who received a portion equal in size to that of the priests. Both these portions are called holy in Ezek. 48:10, 14, thus agreeing with Ezek. 45:1 if read with the LXX — "This shall be holy [the 25,000x20,000] in all the borders thereof round about." The adjoining possession of the city is not called holy. — (J. Bloore)}

1. The apportionment of the land and the arrangement of the heave offering, which includes the Sanctuary, we have already considered. Little more need be added here, except to notice that it is the Lord's portion that is specially in view. The tribal portions are stated in Ezek. 48. It is given first place, and the order in which the parts of this heave offering are mentioned emphasizes the Lord's pre-eminence. That of the priests and Levites comes first, for what has to do with the Sanctuary is of chief importance. This is the more evident since the priests, portion is first mentioned, although the central division of this offering from the land.

Ver. 8 shows how moral considerations govern throughout. The possession given to the Prince has in view the correction of past abuses when those who ruled in Israel appropriated for themselves the possession of others, as in the case of Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21). Naboth's refusal was based on the Lord's word. His mind as to the change of possession had been given in Num. 36:7-9. The inheritance was not to remove from tribe to tribe, but each one was to cleave to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers; and provision was made to redeem any possession that had been sold because of poverty (Lev. 25:25-28). The book of Ruth affords us precious lessons in this connection. God's care that each of His people should have preserved to him the allotted inheritance, teaches us the unchangeable character of His giving (for all was determined by lot which He disposed), and that there is an individuality which He designs should be preserved in the inheritance. Thus the person and his portion in the land as allotted of God (Num. 33:54; Joshua 14:2; Num. 36:2-3; Prov. 16:33) are so identified in His mind that no separation is to take place — individuality, distinctness and abiding character are involved in this. Israel lost her inheritance, and the land reverted to Him who had given it and who claims it as His. But Israel is to be brought back, and the land will be again divided by lot according to this vision of Ezekiel. Then shall its apportionment to the redeemed people abide according to the purpose of God.

Abuses such as that of Ahab's were decried by the prophets (Isa. 5:8). Micah pronounces, "Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! When the morning is light they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away; and they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage" (Micah 2:1-2). Hosea says, "The princes of Judah are become like those that remove the land-mark" (Hosea 5:10; see Deut. 6:21; Deut. 19:14). The oppression of the ruling classes had grown in evil from the days of Solomon. Ezekiel found the princes of the land "like wolves ravening the prey to shed blood, to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain" (Ezek. 22:27). The prevalence of such oppression finds confirmation from many passages in the prophets, and these show how deep and vile was the corruption — religious, moral, and civic — which destroyed the life of both kingdoms (Israel and Judah) until there was no remedy, the unsparing stroke of judgment must fall. How good to know that the day of restoration shall not be darkened by this evil — "My princes shall no more oppress My people."

The lesson of this history is patent. With departure from God's order and the ways of truth and righteousness which His Word directs, oppression, tyranny, and violence come in as the means to establish man's unrighteousness and its evil brood. This marks the line of Cain at the very beginning, and human history bears its sad and solemn witness to the inevitable consequences of rejecting the revealed knowledge of God, whether in the individual, the family, the Church, or the nation. Under this incubus creation groans, and will continue to do so until He comes whose rod of iron shall smite, breaking in pieces the oppressor, bringing liberty to creation and freeing the nations from the shackles in which sin and Satan's power have bound them.

2. In the light of that coming day when the last blow of the oppressor's cruel will shall have fallen, and his terror cease from the earth, the prophet calls for that response in his day which would be in accord with the evident mind of God.

The admonition of these verses reaffirms the ordinances of the Law (Lev. 19:15, 35, 36; Deut. 25:13-15) . In the Proverbs we are assured that a false balance, divers weights and measures, are an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 11:1; Prov. 20:10); and by Micah He denounces the prevailing injustice scant measure, deceitful weights. Amos also exposes the same wickedness (Micah 8:4-7).

Isaiah 5:10 makes clear that both liquid and dry measure are mentioned by Ezekiel, the bath being the former and the ephah the latter. The homer is made the standard for both, a measure approximately estimated at 11 bushels, or 90 gallons.

As to weights, the shekel is to be that of the Sanctuary, twenty gerahs (Ex. 30:13; Lev. 27:25). The latter part of this verse is difficult to understand. The maneh is usually taken to equal fifty shekels; here it seems to be sixty, that is, 20+25+ 15; but if this is so, the reason for giving it in three parts is not apparent. Kiel inclines to consider the text corrupt; but Hengstenberg and Hitzig suppose a maneh of threefold value, but evidence for this is lacking. If the talent is correctly estimated as 60 maneh, the statement here seems at variance with Ex. 38:25-26, an analysis of which gives the following result: 603,550 persons gave each half a shekel. This would give 301,775 shekels, deducting the 1,775 leaves the 300, 000, which would be equal to the 100 talents, these being taken as sixty manehs each, requires each maneh to equal fifty shekels (100x60x50=300,000). This is true of the later Jewish weight system. The passage remains obscure. Some critics suggest the adoption of the LXX as read in the Alex. MS., "Five (shekels) shall be five, and ten shekels ten, and fifty shekels shall be your maneh," meaning that all shall be genuine of equal and full weight. This at least is in accord with the moral significance of the context.

This insistence upon judgment, justice, honest measure and weight, may serve to remind us of the character of the Millennial age. It is the time when righteousness shall reign and all conform to the divine standards (Ps. 45; Isa. 11:1-5; Isa. 32:1-5, 16-19; Isa. 33:5-6; Isa. 60:17-18; Isa. 61:10-11; Jer. 33:15; Dan. 9:24).

3. Here what relates to the worship of the people — their gifts, the feasts, and other regulations — is given in seven sub-sections. First, we considered the place of the Sanctuary (vers. 1-8) then ways of holiness and truth enjoined (vers. 9-12); and now the order of worship, the manner of approach to God. This teaches us that right ways in practical life are the garments which must first invest those who are to be worshipers. The removal of evil and the following of righteousness must characterize those who offer their gifts to God. Of this the fine white linen in which the priests are clothed for service is the symbol. Apart from the accompaniment of obedience and practical righteousness, God can take no pleasure in mere outward observances and lip worship (Isa. 1:10-17; Matt. 15:7-9). He desires mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings (Hosea 6:6). Obedience is better than sacrifice. God looks upon the heart, His searching eye penetrates the mask of outward appearance, and what He desires of His people is that they should do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:7). This order, namely that of practical righteousness preceding activity in worship, fits well with this as a fifth section — the number that speaks of responsibility to maintain and be exercised in godliness as under the government of God with whom relationship has been established through grace. This principle holds good for us as well as Israel. This the Epistles abundantly teach. The marvelous grace which they reveal as ours only obligates us to answer the more fully to the righteous and holy requirements of Him whose love and grace we now know. The hands that are lifted up to Him are to be holy hands, the sacrifices of our lips confessing His name are to be yielded up from hearts true in their purpose for His glory, the out-breathing of lives yielded up to obedience in sincerity and truth — our bodies presented as living sacrifices.

(1) Let us now consider the various features of the order of worship. First we have the gifts of the people. These consist of wheat, barley, oil, and lambs, in the measure and proportion stated. All is given to the Prince from all the people of the land, and he is to supply the various offerings at the yearly and monthly feasts, on the sabbaths, and in all the solemnities. These gifts have their significance. As to the lamb little remark is needed, we are so familiar with it as the type of Christ, the Lamb of God. Oil is the well-known symbol of the Holy Spirit; this is associated with the oblation of an ephah presented with the various sacrifices. The cereals too we think of in relation to Christ, the Bread of Life (wheat), while also the food of the poor and humble, to be which He Himself entered into humiliation (barley). Barley was, and still is, to some extent, the food of the poor (Ruth 2:17; 2 Kings 4:42; John 6:9, 13). Its connection with Gideon makes it a type of those who are despised and of lowly condition. Then wheat is the figure used by the Lord in reference to His people, those really His whom He will gather into His barn. It thus becomes a symbol of what is true and genuine as the result of the divine work. Such alone are acceptable to God. On the other hand the barley may suggest the humble station of those who become God's people, and the lowly place they must take to enter into blessing with Him. To be converted man must become as a little child. It is to the babes that the Father makes His revelation of the Son. To the poor the gospel is preached, and "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Not many mighty, not many noble are called; but the despised and those of no account in the eyes of the world become God's peculiar treasure.

But aside from these suggestions, this heave-offering from all the people teaches the recognition of God's goodness and bounteous giving from the lowest to the highest, from the least to the greatest form of blessing (barley, wheat); realized in the power of the Spirit (oil), and redemption (the lamb). This should be true of all God's people, whether the form of blessing be earthly or heavenly.

Terumah, the word for heave-offering, means a sacrifice or gift offered up, that is, as raised or lifted up in presentation for acceptance, and as such devoted to Jehovah's service. In the Law the right shoulder is the usual heave-offering, the type of service, and that the most efficient, for the right shoulder is the one best able to bear the burden. It is the term applied to the gifts of Israel for the tabernacle, and in that connection we learn what God's mind is as to the inward state of those who offer: it is heart-willingness, the spirit of being wholly yielded up to God in devoted service, the inner attitude answering to the outward act as the gift is heaved or lifted up. Here in Ezekiel it is specially connected with the oblation which accompanies the sacrifices mentioned in these regulations (Ezek. 45:24-25; Ezek. 46:5, 7, 11, 14, 15); and then with two forms of offering, the burnt and peace-offerings, the latter being always mentioned in the plural, which thus emphasizes the ideas of thanksgiving and fellowship so prominent in those offerings (Lev., Notes.). Since the gift of lambs is only mentioned in the heave-offering of the people, and later in the sacrifices of the sabbaths and new moons and the daily burnt offering (Ezek. 46:3-5, 13-15), it would seem that the people are particularly associated with these occasions. We may conclude that the other animals of sacrifice, the bullocks, rams, and he-goats, are of the Prince's own providing, though in doing so he doubtless fills a representative place. In one case this is specifically stated (ver. 22). Yet that the people are identified with all these sacrifices may be seen in that an oblation accompanies each supplied out of the cereal-offering of all the people. The sacrifices for the purgation of the House (vers. 18-20) appear rather to be the responsibility of the priests, though the indefiniteness of the address — "Thou shalt" — may leave it open to question.

(2) Now the yearly feasts are stated; and first the offerings to cleanse and atone for the House. Two occasions are mentioned, on the first and seventh of the first month. This is a remarkable deviation from the Levitical order. The great day of atonement is not mentioned, and these two occasions in the first month seem to take its place. The bullock only is offered, whereas in Lev. 16 there are the bullock and two goats, as well as the two rams for burnt-offerings. Yet the object in view is similar, cleansing and atonement respecting the House and those who err. We hear of no ark or mercy-seat, as of old, upon which the blood is sprinkled; but the blood is put upon the posts of the House, upon the altar, and the posts of the gate of the inner court. Which gate is not specified, though most likely the north gate was meant, for here the work of preparing the sacrifices took place.

The omission of not only the day of atonement, but also the offering of firstfruits, Pentecost, and the blowing of trumpets, is significant. In fact, at the time to which the vision of Ezekiel applies, all these will have been accomplished. The resurrection of Christ, the formation of the Church, and the regathering of Israel answer to them, while all that the day of atonement typified, including its application to Israel (Lev., Notes, p. 344), will have also found its fulfilment.

Evidently these sacrifices which open the year cannot be considered in the same light as those of old. These point back to the basic work of redemption at the Cross, as those of the past pointed forward to it — those anticipated it, these memorialize it. At the same time they constitute a continual reminder of God's holiness, which must take notice of the least departure.

Next in order comes the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread. Here there are also marked differences from the Mosaic order, which required for each of the seven days two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs, and an oblation of fine flour mingled with oil, graded for each (Num. 28:19-21). Ezekiel requires seven bullocks and seven rams for each of the seven days, and no lambs. In both cases there is also the daily sin-offering of one he-goat. The oblation is one ephah for a bullock, and one for each ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah. In addition there is on the first day a bullock for a sin offering for the Prince and all the people, a feature not included in Numbers. The significance of this feast has been fully given in its place (Exodus, Notes), and in considering the offerings in Leviticus the spiritual meaning of the animals of sacrifice has been adequately stated. Here, then, let it suffice to notice that the offerings required are much richer than under the Law. This emphasizes the fulness of obedience in service (bullock) and consecration (ram). The omission of the lambs would concentrate attention upon. the one lamb of this feast — the Passover lamb, and so upon Christ, the Lamb of God.

The third, and last, yearly feast is that of tabernacles. Referring again to Numbers (Num. 29:12-34) we find here an entire change, and on the whole a simplified ritual, since it is to be the same as at the previous feast of unleavened bread. The eighth day appears omitted also, for its significance finds fulfilment in the establishment of the kingdom with its glorious new beginning of righteousness, peace, and rest for Israel, the nations, and creation itself.

(3) The ordinances which relate to the weekly and monthly feasts — sabbaths and new moons — are now given. In connection with them a distinctive feature appears in regard to the east inner gate. This is closed for the six working days, but opened on the sabbath and the day of the new moon. At this open gate Prince and people worship (vers. 2, 3). The Prince is distinguished by alone having permission to enter its porch, and standing there to worship during the offering of his sacrifices. This brings these acts of worship into line with the great altar, and the entrance of the House, immediately before the indwelling glory.

Again comparing Num. 28:9-15 we see there are marked differences.

Sabbath: Two lambs, with their oblation of two-tenths parts of fine flour mingled with oil, and the required drink offering.
New Moon: Two bullocks, one ram, seven lambs, with their graded oblations. One goat for a sin-offering.

Sabbath: Six lambs, one ram, with an oblation of an ephah for the ram, and that for the lambs is left to the Prince's generosity: and oil, a hin for an ephah.
New Moon: One bullock, one ram, six lambs, with an oblation of an ephah for a bullock, and for the ram, and for the lambs according to the Prince's generosity: and oil, a hin for an ephah.

This new order of sacrifices gives greater prominence to the sabbath, while the greatly increased oblation in all cases may signify the increased fruitfulness and prosperity of those Millennial days; and the emphasis on the sabbath suggests that what it means for the earth and creation is then blessedly realized in the righteousness, peace, rest and abundant blessing of the kingdom. The enlarged oblations which answer to the meal-offerings of old, and are typical of Christ's Person in its human perfection, may well speak of the enhanced appreciation of Him in that day when He will no longer be One having no beauty that He should be desired. Of Him then will it be sung, "Thou art fairer far than the sons of men: grace is poured into Thy lips. …Thy throne, O God, is forever and aye; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is an even sceptre." The larger proportion of the oil intimates the greater fulness of the Spirit, and so of apprehension. The offerings are increased threefold, for there is full realization through redemption of the victory of good over evil (6) in the sabbath-keeping of that coming day.

As to the differences on the feast of the new moon we can say little. The monthly return of the moon speaks of constant renewal under the good hand of God, and that of course of the creature, weak and nothing in itself, ever dependent upon the sufficiency and ministry of the Creator; like the moon, in itself nothing, and getting all its light from the great source of light and power, the sun. It has its special reference to Israel, but yields its lessons also for the Church and the individual (Numbers, Notes, p. 498). The bullock and ram must still speak of service and consecration, but in the victory of known redemption.

(4) Certain directions as to the times of public worship follow. First, the Prince cannot enter the inner court. He comes into the porch of the east gate, which is at the outer end toward the court of general assemblage, and goes out the same way. This shows that he is not privileged to pass through the gate.

The people are to enter by one gate and leave by the opposite one. Only two gates are available for them, the north and south, for the outer east gate was perpetually closed. This rule of the Sanctuary is, in effect, "Let all things be done fittingly and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40). We have referred to the meaning of the north when considering that gate. The south affords another lesson. To go southward is to go toward Egypt — the land of the serpent, with its lure for the flesh, and its bondage too, though with this may be found a measure of ease and pleasure which gratifies the natural man. Abram travelled there to escape the famine and the exercise of dependence upon God alone. We are kept by His power through faith, not sight, but that means a path of both exercise and discipline. Relaxing influences are found in the south; they may be pleasant for a season, but there too we experience the burning heat which parches the earth and destroys fruitfulness. "How many have found the hot breath of worldly prosperity the destruction of spiritual fruit." In the tabernacle it is suggestive to find the table of the showbread on the north side, for the truth of communion is what we need and get there, where also we learn how through sacrifice judgment is forever removed so that our darkness is turned to light. But on the south side of the 'tabernacle, opposite the table, the candlestick was placed, for as we walk in the light of the Spirit we do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh — the south does not attract. Instead we bear the fruit of the Spirit, of which the motif used in designing the candlestick plainly speaks. Spiritually speaking, we need to pass through both the north and the south gates, for thus the altar and the House come into view and their lessons are impressed upon us.

(5) The oblation, or meal-offering, is now specially emphasized by repeating its measure in relation to the sacrifices. Typical of Christ in His perfect humanity it brings Him before us as the Son of Man, the One in whom full, perfect and holy Manhood is united with full Deity, for in Him the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily. It is fitting that that which speaks of Him in this character should receive prominence in these visions of Ezekiel, for they refer to the time of the kingdom of the Son of Man, when He as that will take up His great power and reign, possessing Himself of the inheritance of which He is the appointed Heir.

(6) This next ordinance shows the distinctive place of the Prince. The east gate is opened to him whenever he presents his freewill offering. It seems clear that he fills a representative place, and this being so may not his special privilege suggests the preeminent place of Israel as compared with other nations who come up to the mountain of Jehovah's House?

(7) Finally, the daily burnt-offering is prescribed. In contrast to the Levitical order it is offered in the morning only. The oblation is increased from one-tenth to one-sixth, and the oil from one-quarter of a hin to one-third.

4. Further warning against oppression is given, and the purpose expressed that each preserve his own inheritance. This latter feature is guarded in the regulation concerning the division of the Prince's inheritance. It must remain in his family, so that a portion given to a servant reverts to him in the year of jubilee, or liberty.

5. In this concluding part we are told about the kitchens for the priests and for the people. The care to keep what is priestly from the people is meant surely to maintain a sense on both sides — with the priests and people — of the sanctity of the service of Jehovah, so guarding against all undue familiarity, as a result of which in. the past so much had crept in to defile the courts of Jehovah's house.

Section 6 (Ezekiel 47:1-12).

The victory over curse

Brought back to the door of the House the prophet sees waters issue from under its threshold. They flow from the House on the right side, that is, the south, because the prophet stands facing east, or looking toward the altar, so that the south is on his right hand. On the south of the altar he sees the stream flowing eastward. The two east gates being closed he is brought out of the north gate, and led around outside the wall of the outer court to the east gate, and there the water was flowing out on the right side.

The stream is then four times measured at successive points of 1,000 cubits, so that at 4,000 cubits the depth was too great for a man to pass through.

The prophet now traverses the banks of this river, and finds both banks clothed with a luxuriant growth of trees of fadeless leaf and never-failing fruit, supplying medicine and food.

The easterly direction is again noticed (ver. 8), and in addition Ezekiel is told that the river flows into the Dead Sea, healing its waters so that they teem with life, for "everything shall live whither the river cometh." Its waters are waters of life issuing from the Sanctuary of the living God. Only the marshes and pools are not healed; they are reserved as a means of supplying salt.

This whole picture is one that inspires the mind and heart with, the bright anticipation of that blessedness of life which will characterize the Millennial earth. Then creation will bear witness to the power and glory of God in a way man has never known since the fall. But let us range a little through the fields of Scripture, for the lesson of these life-giving waters. This symbol of the river meets us at the beginning in the Garden, and we find it again in the glory-scene which closes the inspired volume. Between these far distant points the references are numerous, teaching us lessons of blessing from God and fellowship with Him.

We go to Eden. There are its four rivers. It will repay us, however to consider a little the whole setting of the wonderful second chapter of Genesis. It furnishes us with features of the Millennial age, which, as the porch to the House, introduces the eternal state, but which being this bears the character of that to which it thus belongs. These visions of Ezekiel, if not giving us the seventh day in the dispensational order, certainly refer to the sixth, and that leads into the sabbath-keeping which remains to the people of God. In the order of creation the sixth day has witnessed the completion of God's work. Suitably it closes with the Head of all set in the place of Lordship over the new scene of blessing. In this we have a type of our blessed Lord, God's Man, to whom all has been subjected, and who will bring all into subjection to Himself. In beautiful sequence to this the seventh day comes in — the day of God's rest. The eternal rest will result from the work of subjugation accomplished by the Second Man, and so He is called "the Father of Eternity" (Isa. 9:6, New Trans.). Of that final rest this first sabbath of the re-fashioned, re-furnished earth is a type. Notice that from this day is omitted the formula constantly repeated on the previous days, "Evening was, and morning was." Is it not as though God would have us understand that in His thought this day should have no end? Blessed be God, that final day will endure eternally. Precious, too, it is to note that on this day God is not occupied with work, or the work done, but with the day. He blesses it, and sanctifies it. Blessed intimation that the eternal day shall have the blessing of God resting upon it with no element of disturbance to intrude.

Three things are mentioned. First, God ended His work — the dawning of the seventh day brought with it the end of His labor. Second, God rested; this is what the day brought in for Him — rest. Third, God blessed and sanctified it. The blessing of the day can alone consist in the delight and satisfaction of God concerning the accomplished work which thus makes rest possible. It is sanctified, in that it is set apart to the enjoyment of this delight and satisfaction. Who shall say what the men sure of these things is to be in that sabbath-keeping of God into which His people shall enter with Him?

Apart from redemption we know man could never enter into and enjoy God's rest. This finds illustration in Israel, who as the one nation brought into relation to God on the ground of redemption, is commanded to observe the seventh day — the sabbath, the observance of which is associated with the thought of redemption as typified in the sacrificial system, and by means of priesthood-relation between God and the redeemed. All this finds its fulfilment, both as to redemption and priesthood, in the Lord Jesus. Thus the true and final rest of God, of which Israel's sabbath was a type, is now sure of fulfilment, and secured for God's redeemed people.

A new subject begins in ver. 4 of Genesis 2, that of the relationships in which the new head of creation is placed, in all of which we see him to be a figure of Christ. We see Him here as Heir of all and Ruler over all, with His consort, the Church, of whom the woman is a type; yet may we not also see here a picture of the Son of Man and His kingdom? Following what is plainly introductory, showing how God has acted in view of man, we get the account of the garden — its location and planting, then the river and its parts (of special interest to us now); and finally man's place, service and privileges in the garden. Many details might profitably engage our attention, but we must confine ourselves to noting that the garden is located "eastward in Eden." Eden means delight; and the east suggests the glory of God. Here too is "every tree pleasant to the sight and good for food" — fullest ministry to satisfy and refresh. In the midst of this the river and its four branches fill an important place. Does it not suggest the ministry of the Spirit from whom alone rivers of living water can flow, and that in a universal character, for all the creation (the four parts), such as shall mark that day to which this whole scene points, including that of Ezekiel's vision, as we have seen? Indeed, Israel can look forward to blessings of the Spirit such as never yet enjoyed. God will put His Spirit within them (Ezek. 36:27), and pour it out upon them collectively (Isa. 44:3), when their time of trial and desolation is over (Isa. 32:15), never to return (Ezek. 39:29). Nor will this blessing be confined to Israel, as Joel plainly predicts, telling us also the time when the outpouring of the Spirit will take place. It will be after God has interposed on behalf of His people, overthrowing the aggressive power of the north, and restoring its fruitfulness to the land. If Eden's rivers then speak of the Spirit and His ministry, let us see what we may learn from a study of them. Should they not teach us the character of His ministry? That we know has for its subject Christ and His things, so this is what comes before us.

Pison, "increase," is first; it compasses the land of Havilah, "anguish," or "travail," where the gold is which is good. Gold is the symbol of God's glory. Increase for eternity has been accomplished by Christ through the encompassment of the land of anguish — the birth-pains of the new creation of which He is the Beginning. There, nevertheless, has been found in all its wealth the glory of God. And if faith now can say, "And the gold of that land is good," how much more in the eternal day! It is added, "There is bdellium and the onyx-stone." The Hebrew word for bdellium means "in trouble," and that for onyx-stone, "their recompense." Here perchance we get a hint of faith's connection with the sufferings of Christ and the glories which follow. It is given to those who find their increase through the anguish of Christ, not only to believe but to suffer for Him; but to suffer leads to being glorified with Him, and so there is both the trouble and the recompense. Both of them bring us in their way into a knowledge of the glory of God.

The second Edenic river is Gihon, "the bringer-forth." It surrounds the whole land of Cush, "terror," or "black." Christ is our Deliverer from the land of our terror and blackness. God in His mercy thus brings out of darkness into marvelous light. If in the first river we read the lesson of the cross from the Godward side — God glorified in Christ — here in the second the enemy is in view. But he is a smitten enemy, all his power has been encompassed, he is annulled, captivity led captive, and now nothing can separate God's redeemed people from His love in Christ Jesus, their Bringer-forth. Thus we can speak of being delivered from the authority of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love. To this end Christ first entered the land of terror and blackness, and came forth as the firstborn from among the dead. Those who believe share in His triumph.

Hiddekel, the third, means "thorn of God." It "goeth in front of Assyria," "a footstep," or "to go forward," and in front lies the thorn of God — the thorn is the significant sign of the curse, which God Himself must bring in because of sin. How man in his every forward move as independent of God, following the inclination of his own will, guided by his own wisdom, meets with the thorn in such a path. Blight falls in some form upon even his greatest and highest achievements, for close by the gourd under which he seeks rest and in which he greatly rejoices, there is the worm which causes it to wither. Then the sultry east wind blows, and man faints. The thorn of God is there. To this creation is subject, and groans. But, thank God, there is deliverance. There is One who has worn the crown of thorn, but who is now crowned with glory and honor. Into His hand all power and judgment has been committed. He has made peace by the blood of the cross. He will remove the blight of sin from creation, and as the Sun of Righteousness chase away all the shadows of its long night, and under His wings of healing grace and power gather all things together in one. Viewing the lesson here from another angle, we may say that because sin and man's ruin brought in the curse, it must be borne, the judgment involved be fully endured, if God's purposes are to go forward to ultimate success. Christ has accomplished the needed work and all is assured. Then it is no wonder that in the fourth place we have Euphrates, "fruitfulness." This is the grand result which shall be made good throughout the length and breadth of the universe.

Are not the features of this picture again before us in Ezekiel? From the house filled with God's glory the river flows out, past the altar of sacrifice where the work of judgment has been accomplished, down to the sea of death, removing its curse, bringing fruitfulness and life where barrenness and death had reigned, for the Deliverer has come out of Zion, and creation sings its Hallelujah. At 4,000 cubits the waters are to swim in — 4x10x10x10, the creature brought into the power and blessing of the full manifestation of the divine order as it relates to God and man (the threefold ten).*

{*In the concluding section of Genesis 2, do we not get a type of all the redeemed creation ranged under the headship of Christ? First we have the counsel of God (ver. 18), then all the animal creation is brought to Adam and he gives them their names. All creation comes into relation to its head, Adam, the figure of Him who was to come, God's Man, the appointed Heir of all things, and the One who as Last Adam is set far above all principality and power and every name named. Notice there are three families mentioned; the cattle, the fowl of the heaven, and the beast of the field. May not this speak to us first of Israel, of whom in the prophets, the domesticated animal is the type; then of heavenly powers; and finally the Gentile nations, of whom the beasts of the field are used in a typical way in Scripture. Lastly we have the man's special helpmeet, suggesting the Church, the Bride of Christ.}

These suggestions may help us to see how important a place the rivers fill in instruction as to the blessings of God. But let us go on. We read of the Israelites after the Red Sea crossing, "They came to Elim; and twelve springs of water were there, and severity palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters." By the way we must pass the bitter waters of Marah — sorrow and trial which the cut down tree cast in makes sweet, but rest is found at Elim where the waters flow, bringing forth abundant fruit and shade realized under the government of God (12=4x3), fully manifest in creative goodness meeting creature weakness, which as realized and bringing us into dependence upon God assures the creature's fullest blessing. Again in this we have the testimony (2) given to God's mastery over evil, the victory of good (6), through His manifest power to bless (12=6x2). Such waters are sweet and unfailing in the joy and provision they supply.

Twice the waters flow from the smitten rock, bringing life and refreshment to Israel's host. On the first occasion the lesson is plainly that of the Cross, by which alone all spiritual blessing is realized. The second time when Moses was told to take the rod of Aaron that budded and speak to the rock, we get a beautiful type of the resources of Christ in resurrection priesthood, through the exercise of which the living waters flow — flow, as we may say, from the throne upon which He sits. No second smiting was needed. In this Moses erred. The one Sacrifice suffices, and in the power of its abiding efficacy, and of life out of death, the waters now flow down from the Sanctuary where He is enthroned. These are still waters beside which He leads, and where the green pastures of blessed ministry and fellowship are found for those who know the Lord to be their Shepherd. Ho will be so known to Israel, and among the nations in that day to which Ezekiel refers.

Then as the Shepherd of Israel He will feed His flock (Isa. 40:11: Ezek. 37:24), for they will no longer refuse "the waters of Shiloah which flow softly" (Isa. 8:6). Of that day no more beautiful description than that of Isa. 35 could be given. "The wilderness and the dry land shall be gladdened; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose… for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and torrents in the desert" ("plain," or Arabah, the same word as in Ezek. 47:8). It is then that "judgment shall roll down as waters, and righteousness as an overflowing stream" (Amos 5:24). Jerusalem shall be a quiet habitation, for there "the mighty Jehovah will be for us a place of rivers" (Isa. 33:21, New Trans.).

These and other passages in the prophets show how the symbol of water is used to express the fulness of blessing and fellowship with God. It is also used of God Himself. Jehovah charges His people with having forsaken Him, "the fountain of living waters" (Jer. 13; 17:13). And the figure in this connection finds beautiful application in the words of the prophet, "Blessed is the man that confideth in Jehovah, and whose confidence Jehovah is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out its roots by the stream, and he shall not see when heat cometh, but his leaf shall be green; and in the year of drought he shall not be careful, neither shall he cease to yield fruit" (Jer. 17:7-8).

In relation to the blessing and glory of the days toward which Ezekiel looks we read, "The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them, and shall lead them to fountains of waters of life, and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes" (Rev. 7:17; Rev. 21:6; see Notes). Indeed the last passage mentioned gives almost the last gospel invitation in the Book of God, and this may well remind us of how this figure of living water is used to express the precious fulness and permanence of God's grace in His Son (John 4), while he who receives from His hand this gift of God becomes a vessel from which shall flow "rivers of living water." "This He said concerning the Spirit, which they that believe on Him were about to receive" (John 7:37-39). Thus we have life from God in the blessed fulness of His grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit presented to us under this figure of water. Truly, it issues out of the Sanctuary, yea, it is the outflow of God, of Christ, of the Spirit. These divine Persons are the Fountains from whence such waters flow, and of whose very being they partake bringing the recipient into the fulness of God. However true it is that only the blessing and glory of Christianity, and so of what is heavenly, fully express the preciousness of this figure, it is also true that the coming age of earth's jubilee will enjoy, in the divinely granted measure, like blessing and fellowship in the power of the Spirit and His ministry as then poured out (Joel 2:28-29; Isa. 44:3; Ezek. 18:31; Ezek. 37:1, 14; Ezek. 39:29).

We must not forget that water is also a figure of the Word of God. So the Lord uses it in John 3 (see Notes, pp. 492 — 494), in John 13, where it is indispensable for communion. In the laver of the Tabernacle we read the lesson of its important relation to all priestly activity (Exodus, Notes, p. 240).

This general testimony of Scripture helps us to see the significance and importance of the river which flows from the Sanctuary in Ezekiel's vision. These thoughts find confirmation as we consider the results of it reaching the Dead Sea — figure as that is of utter barrenness, death, and judgment. The inflow of these living waters so changes all, that life and fruitfulness fill the place of curse and death. Only the stream flowing out from the glory of God, by way of the altar of sacrifice, can transform the wilderness into a garden, overcoming the havoc wrought by sin. Within the limits of the purpose of God "there is nothing — nothing too sunken, too useless, too doomed — but by the grace of God it may be redeemed, lifted and made rich with life." The chief of sinners has been saved, and he is now in glory. Certainly Israel, new-born and blessed with the outflowing stream of life in the Spirit's power will be as different in her moral and spiritual condition from that' of her past history as will be the future physical change of the Dead Sea and its surroundings compared with that of its present existing state.*

{*See Appendix.}

Yet the past must be remembered, the work of judgment must not be forgotten: and this will serve its own purpose. "But its marshes and its pools shall not be healed; they shall be given up to salt" — the witness of the inflexible righteousness and Changeless holiness of the divine nature, acting in both preservative and sanctifying power. Doubtless from this source of supply will come, as of old, the salt used in the temple service.* God's grace is seasoned with salt — the preservative energy of the divine will.

{*"The salt of the Dead Sea was anciently much in request for use in the temple service. It was preferred before all other kinds for its reputed effect in hastening the combustion of the sacrifice, while it diminished the unpleasant smell of the burning flesh. Its deliquescent character (due to the chlorides of alkaline earths it contains) is also noticed in the Talmud" — (Smith's Bible Dictionary).}

Section 7 (Ezekiel 47:13 — 48).

The perfect Land, for "the Lord is there."

1. This final section begins with giving the boundaries of the land. These are essentially the same as those given in Num. 34:1-15. There is the difference that in Numbers the southern boundary is given first, whereas here we begin with the north. In both cases the Jordan forms the eastern line, the settlement of the two and a half tribes east of the river being a departure from the original plan. This is not given any place in the final arrangement, all the tribes being given their inheritance west of the Jordan.

We may note that Joseph is given two portions — Manasseh and Ephraim. This fulfils Gen. 48:5-6; and according to 1 Chron. 5:1, the birthright forfeited by Reuben was given to the sons of Joseph. Since he has two portions the number of the tribes remains twelve, although Levi is not counted, his inheritance being part of the heave-offering.

2. In addition to prescribing the division of the land to the tribes, the strangers who have settled themselves among them and begotten children among them are to receive inheritance with the tribes. The word for "stranger" here is different from that used in Ezek. 44 where the word signifies "sons of the alien," or "foreigner," really those brought in through Israel's unholy mixture with the evil nations around. Here it is one who, though not naturally one of the tribes, has cast in his lot among them. Such are to be as the home-born, and have their inheritance by lot in the tribe in which they live.

3-5. We next have the order of the tribes, first those north of the heave-offering (1-7), then that offering itself is described (8-22), followed by the tribes to the south (23-28). It will be of interest to compare the relations of the tribes as first settled in the land, and this final disposition.  Joshua 13 — 21 give in detail the first allotment of the inheritance, and this has been fully considered in its place. Here it seems only needful to emphasize the relation of the tribes to one another.

First, in bringing Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh from the east side of Jordan* an element of division is removed which formerly existed in the nation, and a feature not originally a part of God's order. Thus national unity and solidarity are established — divided interests and natural barriers overcome.

{*Compare the map of Canaan with that of the new arrangement. See Appendix.}

Reuben formerly separated from Judah by the expanse of the Dead Sea is now situated next to him. Benjamin who stood between Judah and Ephraim is removed to the south, bounding on that side the holy heave-offering. Manasseh, once divided, is now united and placed immediately north of his brother tribe, Ephraim. Asher, Naphtali, and Dan remain in the north, but Zebulun and Issachar are located in the south, and with them, Gad, who was formerly east of the Jordan. The division of Dan disappears. Simeon remains in the south.

It is noticeable that Judah and Benjamin, the tribes that remained faithful to David's house, are honored by nearest relation to the glorious centre of the Messianic kingdom. "Them that honor Me will I honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed."

Now let us see what spiritual instruction may be gathered from this new arrangement of the tribes. They are in two groups, one of seven and one of five. It seems evident that we must seek the lesson in this very division, and consider them in the order of a first and second to which the numbers seven and five apply respectively. Group one should yield us truth suited to that number, and also seven; group two, what suits that and five.

First, the whole number of the tribes, twelve, speaks of manifest divine government over all creation in realized mastery over evil. Since this is divided into two parts, we may think of a full witness being given to this in the perfection and completeness (7) of the position in which God sets His redeemed people — a position of righteousness and blessing in harmony with the divine attributes and sovereignty (1); and then in the fellowship, service, and relationship (2) in which they are placed in happy union with God, God and His creature reconciled (5 4 +1). With these general thoughts before us, let us see what lessons the first group of seven tribes may teach us. They are in order as given us from the north:

1. Dan. 2. Asher. 3. Naphtali. 4. Manasseh. 5. Ephraim. 6. Reuben. 7. Judah.

In Jacob's prophecy (Gen. 49) we read in connection with Dan of Satanic character, the power of evil in manifestation. This can only be met and overcome by Jehovah's salvation, and for this Jacob expresses earnest desire. But despite Dan's evil character the prophetic assurance that he shall judge his people points to restoration and the realization of self-government, as far as the nation is concerned, when the day of the lawless one, the false Messiah, is over — a personage linked with Dan it would seem from this very prophecy. So in Dan's blessing as pronounced by Moses we have suggested the power that overcomes the enemy. His name means "judge," or "judging," and he stands for the spirit of rule which must necessarily be realized through the lesson of self-rule, self-judgment, self-government, and this means the truth applied to the whole man. Little does Dan's history express this, rather is it entirely in contrast to what his character should be. It is this which makes what Jacob yearns for in speaking of him such a necessity — Jehovah's salvation. This alone can meet the condition in which man is found, unable to rule himself (or the creation over which he was set as head at the first), dominated by the evil of his own heart, carried about by every wind of Satanic influence, he shows a character and power like that of the serpent. Self-judgment, self-government alone become possible through submission to another will and power, that of God revealed in Christ. Thus man comes into his true place and dignity — the enemy overcome, mastery through grace secured, the dominion of sin broken as made free by the Son. This is the first step in the cycle of divine blessing and perfection.

It quite naturally leads to the second as expressed in Asher, "the happy," for this man becomes when once reconciled to God by the death of His Son. As thus turned from Satan unto God, he enters the kingdom of the Son of God's love. There he enjoys fellowship with Him, finding in His shadow rapture and rest, His fruit sweet to our taste and His banner over us love (Cant. 2:3-4, New Trans.). Truly of such it can be said, as of Asher, "His bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties" (Gen. 49:20) . Jehovah's salvation brings us the bread of life, the food of the mighty. His blessing is that of living fruit, brotherly fellowship, spiritual power in walk, and divine strength, as we may learn from the blessing of Moses (Deut. 33:24-25). "It is of immense importance that the people of God should be known as a 'happy' people. If 'the joy of the Lord is your strength,' then happiness must have for the soul a large spiritual value. As a testimony to God it can be no less. One of the characteristics of the true 'circumcision,' as given by the apostle, is that they 'rejoice in Christ Jesus:' and his exhortation to the same people is, 'Rejoice in the Lord; and again, I say, Rejoice' (Phil. 3:3; Phil. 4:4). Such joy is one of the best signs that the knowledge of the gospel has reached the heart, and that the life will be governed by it. It is quite true that feelings may be put in a wrong place, as in the first quest of peace they are almost sure to be. There is plenty of need for insisting on the truth that we are not justified by feeling but by faith. Nay, it is certain that the reception of the gospel with immediate joy is made by the Lord Himself a sign rather of stony-ground hearing than of a fruitful reception of the Word (Matt. 13:20). Plowing up must be before the seed can spring up aright; repentance before God will accompany 'faith in our Lord Jesus Christ' where the latter is real and effective. This is all true; yet, on the other hand, it is no less true that the effect of the gospel — the 'glad tidings' — is to produce gladness, and that the apostle prays for believers that 'the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing' (Rom. 15:13). The third character of the 'kingdom of God' he gives, after 'righteousness and peace,' is 'joy in the Holy Ghost' (ch. 14:17) . 'The fruit of the Spirit is' said to be 'love, joy, peace' (Gal. 5:22). 'And not only so, but we joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation' (Rom. 5:11). These passages, of course, define the happiness which they speak of, so that it is impossible to confound it with the mere play of animal spirits, or even the happiness derivable from the hope of salvation. One might have this last, and yet in fact be unsaved. 'Joy in God through Christ' is something perfectly distinct and infinitely higher" (Joshua, Notes, pp. 145, 146). In this connection another lesson may be noticed in Asher following Dan. If Dan speaks of self-rule, self-judgment, we know this means exercise of heart and conscience, and these are essential to the maintenance of a happiness worthy of the name.

This brings us to Naphtali which means "my wrestling," not so much with the idea of this going on but as having reached a conclusion in victory, bringing freedom. It expresses the blessedness of that new place in which man finds himself, as Moses declares of Naphtali, "satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the Lord," so that he becomes as "a hind let loose," all fear removed, and the tongue loosed to give goodly words which are the sacrifices of the lips confessing His name (Heb. 13:15). Is not this the first-fruits of the Spirit, the blessing and triumph of Romans 8? This fittingly fills the third place in the cycle of perfection and completeness.

Following on we come to Manasseh, "forgetting" — not in a mere negative sense, but after the manner of the apostle who was "forgetting the things behind," as absorbed with the glory opened through faith to the vision of his mind and the affections of his heart. Thus for him the rule became, "For me to live is Christ." Naphtali leads us to Manasseh, to that soleness of object and whole-heartedness of life which finds its portion in the things above, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. This is the manner of walk that results from being in the sanctuary where, like Naphtali, we are made "full with the blessing of the Lord."

Is it any wonder that Ephraim, "fruitfulness," comes next? It must, it ever does, in. such a cycle of blessing as we are considering, and since Manasseh and Ephraim are the sons of Joseph we may turn to what is said of him to learn more fully what belongs to them (Gen. 49:22-26; Deut. 33:13-17). Plainly Christ is very much before us in Joseph, and what is the fruit-bearing of the divine life in man but the being conformed to His image, changed from glory to glory by the power and energy of the Spirit's transforming work? The wealth of figure and expression used to tell the portion of Joseph, and so of Manasseh and Ephraim, witnesses to the greatness of the abiding power, grace, and blessing reached as we advance in the knowledge of God's thoughts concerning the perfection and completeness of His redeemed people.

Our course brings us to Reuben with whom the excellency and dignity of sonship in its virgin freshness find expression. Such was man unfallen, fresh from the hand of God; but he showed himself unstable as water; like Reuben he fell. But Moses can say, "Let Reuben live and not die, and let not his men be few." Though worthy of death, the way of life has been opened to sinful man, and now by faith in Christ Jesus he receives that sonship which is of higher order and richer blessing than the dignity lost through sin. It is "according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has taken us into favor in the Beloved: in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offences, according to the riches of His grace." This is victory indeed, so Reuben fitly fills the sixth place.

We end with Judah, "praise." "We find the spirit of praise is that of power — necessarily, because God is exalted in it. It is what the fiftieth psalm challenges on His part from His people: 'Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High… whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me.' It is this which marks the life that comes from God, that it turns back to God again; and the joy of the Lord is ever its principle of strength. A simple lesson, but, oh, that it were learnt! The 'wine' in the portion of Judah is the sign of a joy in which there can be no excess; and the milk may show that here there is not merely stimulus, but nourishment as well, and that in the form in which the merest babe may find it" (Genesis, Notes, p. 129). Throughout Scripture praise is presented as a marked characteristic of God's redeemed people; it brings us to the completeness of that salvation with which we began in Dan. Let us also remember that the spirit of praise is the spirit of obedience, for it is to be rendered with the understanding, with the soul, and with the whole heart in uprightness, the whole man is to be in the power of it, and this means to find God with us, for He delights to dwell amid the praises of His people. When the heart is thus fixed, and God fills it, it will be His throne; His judgments will be known and His Word kept. Then the place of our inheritance will be found in immediate connection with the Sanctuary as with Judah here, his border joins that of the holy heave-offering where the throne-house of Jehovah stands.

In this cycle of blessing we have traced precious truths of God's great love and grace which apply to all who are His redeemed, to all to whom the new covenant is made good, as it is to us now and will be to Israel in that coming day to which Ezekiel's vision refers.

But we must now see what instruction we may gather from the second and southerly group of tribes. There the order is: 1. Benjamin. 2. Simeon. 3. Issachar. 4. Zebulun. 5. Gad.

In the first group of seven we learn the glorious perfection of the position grace gives. It is God's purposes and work whereby new creation is accomplished. This is a real bringing out of darkness into His own marvelous light, and thus we reach the Sanctuary as we move onward from Judah. Passing through its holy precincts we come to this second group which, as a second, we might expect to teach us, as already remarked, lessons of relationship and fellowship regarding the divine life. Being a series of five it should show how God (1) is found with His saved creature (4) for the control of its way, the strength of its life, and the enlargement of its capacity to know Himself through the union thus established in His grace. This of necessity brings into the meaning of this number creature-responsibility and the exercise occasioned by being under the government of God. So from the precincts of the Sanctuary we enter Benjamin, "son of the right hand." This suggests the place of power and privilege in known relationship. Moses declares his blessing, "The beloved of Jehovah shall dwell in safety by Him: He shall cover him all day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders." Here is dearness, nearness, security, the overshadowing of Almighty power, and rest as borne up on the shoulders of infinite love. True as this is in a special way of the Church, it will be Israel's special glory too in the coming age. But all of this for us is connected with the truth of Christ in us, for because we are sons God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, and in this is all our power on earth for the activities of the divine life in fellowship with God whom we now know as Father. It is thus we come to know Christ lives in us, and we not only glory in Him, but we accept Him for ourselves, God having accepted Him for us.

Easily enough we pass to Simeon, "hearing." This suggests communion, Mary's place at the feet of Jesus hearing His word. "Blessed is the man that heareth Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors" (Prov. 8:34). In this Wisdom speaks, but we know that Christ is the wisdom of God, and that He has been made wisdom unto us; and He is the Word. To thus hear is to delight ourselves in Him. It is truly the way of life, and this leads us into what is connected with Issachar.

From Jacob's prophecy we see that Issachar stands for yoke-bearing, though evidently in a slavery that speaks of fleshly indulgence and the vain reward of sin's pleasure for a season. Here, however, we are rather to think of deliverance through grace from such servitude, as coming to the One whose loving voice calls us to hear and find the true rest. Thus coming under His yoke and learning from Him (Matt. 11:29, New Trans.) — the meek and lowly One who stooped to bear our burden and carry our sorrows, even unto death, the death of the cross — we enter a new service, sanctified by the word of truth we have heard and received, finding in this way the true reward, for "If any man will serve Me, him will My Father honor." Issachar means, "There is reward." Thus the blessing of Issachar is realized, for, as Moses declares, he sounds God's call to the peoples to come to "the mountain," surely the mountain of the Lord's house, there to offer the sacrifices of righteousness, a service, a yoke-bearing so different from that of the past, both for Issachar and those to whom he carries the invitation. And this is ever the order according to God, that communion (Simeon) should issue in such service. The heart that is full of the Word must overflow in ministry to others, calling them to the place where the fulness of God is found. Issachar, then in this third place may well speak of walking in the Spirit, sanctified by Him by means of the Word of truth so that we manifest in our walk His fruit. In this our true recompense, "reward," will be found both now and for eternity.

The Lord assures those who take His yoke and learn from Him that they will find rest unto their souls, and so we pass into Zebulun, 'dwelling with," a doing so in intimacy, as Leah's words intimate when giving this name. "For where I am there will My servant be also. Is not this John 14? "If any one love Me, he will keep My word (this indeed is what the communion of Simeon and the service of Issachar involve), and My Father will love him, and We will come and make our abode with him." Because the apostle so well knew this "dwelling with," he could say out of the richness of his experience, "My God shall abundantly supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. What a rich gathering of precious and priceless store this means, and so we end this series with Gad, "a gatherer:" a glorious fifth in which the need of the creature is supplied out of the exhaustless treasuries of the divine glory! Alongside the ever-abiding sufficiency of God we have the two governing principles for His people by which sufficiency is appropriated dependence and obedience. 'Be careful about nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses every understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts by Christ Jesus… What ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you" (Phil. 4:6-9).

Thus we reach Gad, the place of increase, for that thought is associated with the meaning of his name. Our truest and fullest enlargement must be found in being with God, who did not spare His own Son that with Him we might receive all things. It is of His fulness that we receive, and grace upon grace.

6. We are now told about the gates of the city.* They are named after the twelve tribes. It is a city in which all have their part and special interest. All ancient jealousies, all strife for place, are over; unity and concord prevail with each one in his ordered place. What we have just considered will help us to the understanding of the spiritual meaning.

{*See Diagram of the city gates in the Appendix.}

We may note that Manasseh and Ephraim have their gate in Joseph. This permits Levi to have a gate bearing his name. Here, too, the association of the tribal names is different from the order of succession in the land. The prominent lesson here would appear to be in connection with the side on which they occur — north, east, south, or west. In placing the names it seems clear that we are to begin at the west corner of the north side and proceed eastward, so passing around the entire city.

We have had occasion to consider the quarters of the heaven in the book of Numbers in connection with the encampment of the tribes around the Tabernacle (Vol. 1, pp. 388-393). The significance there given we may use here: "The north (tsaphon) means 'what is hidden,' and the reason why the north is called so is because to those living in the northern hemisphere the sun travels through the southern heavens, and the north side of anything is the dark side. Naturally the north itself would be contemplated as the seat of darkness, the abode of gloom and mystery… And this mystery, how it assaults us! From the north come the most frequent attacks upon the land, and from it will come the final attack (Ezek. 38, 39). In the sides of the north the Babylonian apostate makes his seat and utters his defiance of the Almighty (Isa. 14). We must not imagine this to be without significance. Nothing in Scripture is; and it is by putting things together that we perceive a meaning which taken by themselves such things might seem to lack. Certainly in the place of mystery it is that apostasy and infidelity entrench themselves most securely; while upon the forehead of Babylon the Great there is also written 'Mystery.'" Thus the north tells of mystery, the power of evil, the judgment of God, His ways in providence too, which so often awaken exercise and leave man in his wisdom utterly baffled, and, as we have also seen, it is the place of slaying the sacrifice which speaks of the cross with all its horror of great darkness, but through which after all we come into the knowledge of the wisdom and power of God, so the dark shadow is lifted from His face and there is light from Him which "removes all guilty fear and love begets." In this quarter we get Reuben, the excellency of sonship, with which there is the blessed unfolding of the purposes of God, and Judah, for all of this is to the praise of His glory, yea, the glory of His grace, making His people an ever thankful and praising people. They have a triumph-song to sing in the face of the north, for God is for us, and who can separate us from His love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? So we now have Levi, "joined." Forevermore it is Christ and those who are His, His companions, co-heirs, ever together with Him who is the Firstborn among many brethren, the Captain of salvation with His host of sons, all things with Him. Glorious truth! How it thrills the soul and fills the lips with praise "to Him who loves us, and has washed us from our sins in His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father: to Him be the glory and the might to the ages of ages. Amen!"

We turn to the east, which we have already seen is connected with the glory of God. There the sun rises, and this always suggests the idea of joy and blessing with the returning day. But the word for east is qedem, "what faces," or "confronts" you, and thus, as nearly as may be, resembles our word "adversity" from the. Latin, "what is toward" you, only in a hostile manner. The qadim, the "east wind," is the dry and parching wind from the desert, as the west wind is literally the sea-wind, bringing moisture and rain. These two contrary thoughts to us as Christians so suggest one another that there is no difficulty in their connection. He who faces in earnest the evil of the world will have proportionately before him that appearing of Christ which will bring its long disorder to an end forever. The night is far spent, and the day is at hand; blessed be God, we who believe in Him are children of the day; "therefore," says the apostle, "let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Rom. 13:12). In this quarter we have Joseph, beautiful type of Christ in all the lowly grace of His humiliation, and then the surpassing glory of His place at the right hand of the Majesty on high — the sufferings of Him who was separated from His brethren, and the glories that followed. These two things are in their measure true of the redeemed, for they learn to suffer with Him and are glorified together, then shall they be conformed perfectly to His image: here the lessons of Manasseh and Ephraim combine, for in the light of the glory and as absorbed with it, pressing forward to it, we "forget" the adverse and evil world, with the result that the mind of Christ possesses us and we become "fruitful" in the power of the Spirit. Benjamin follows — "Christ in us the hope of glory," so there is present power to overcome: and lastly on this side, Dan who stands for the spirit of rule and judgment. Only do we form a right judgment of the world and of ourselves as we enter into what Joseph and Benjamin speak of, and so too learn how to rule, thereby gaining capacity to rule with Him in the day of glory when the Sun of Righteousness has arisen, bringing an end to all opposition. How good to be familiar with the gate-ways that enter eastward, as well as those of the north.

We have had occasion to speak of the south as indicative of relaxing influences, of the way of the world and the pleasures of sin by which men seek to escape from dependence upon and exercise under the hand of God. But this only brings spiritual drought, the soul is parched and barrenness results. In accord with this the word for south is negeb which means "to be parched," and is applied to the south because of its drought. In this connection we may well think of the discipline of God as exercised over His people, by which they come to know Him better and are made partakers of His holiness and serve Him in righteousness. The patriarchs in their wanderings southward learned these ways of God, and so do we. Here, then, we first have Simeon, "hearing," and we cannot help but think of that word, "Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it" (Micah 6:9). Submission leads into communion, of which Simeon speaks, and this to that obedient, willing service that brings reward (Issachar): then we find the green pastures and still waters whither our Shepherd leads by rod and staff where we rest with Him (Zebulun).

Turning westward we face the sea. "Westward in Hebrew means 'toward the sea.' And the sea is preeminently in Scripture, as in nature, the type of trouble and unrest, which the word itself signifies in the original. We have seen it in the six days' work the type of the evil within us, and which remains in us though regenerate, limited, however, by divine grace. It is the evil, moreover, in the negative rather than its positive aspect, and the west wind, as the sea-wind, differs from the east wind, the wind of the desert, in this way. It comes not to wither, but rather loaded with the moisture that revives and refreshes the earth. This is the answer of heaven to the appeal of man's misery, even though that misery be in a certain sense identified with his sin. As the heaven draws from the bosom of the sea itself the vapors which it pours out again upon the land, so grace is that with which God in sovereign goodness has answered our sin, and the occasion of which has been the very sin itself; for only in a world of sinners could He show grace. How full and exact are these natural types when we come to analyze them." It is just out of this that we are able to gather our increase (Gad, "a gatherer"), and find our genuine happiness (Asher, "happy"), and in our wrestling overcome, finding victory over all the subtle influences of this world's things, learn in fact not to love them, as John speaks, and that our faith is the victory that gets the victory over the world:

Perhaps we should not pass without notice the oft-repeated measurement of each side — 4,500 (45 [5x9] x 10x10) . Here nine appears as an important factor. As being 3x3 it signifies the full manifestation. of what is divine, its complete display. It has been suggested that as the last of the digits it signifies the end or conclusion of a matter. This brings in the idea of perfection and completeness (7), to which competent testimony (2) is given in the display. This fits well with Ezekiel's vision in which we have traced the summation of God's thoughts as to man's blessing in relation with Himself. So in another way it is all that five speaks of added to the four — the number of the creature and creation. This again is intensified by five, making the forty-five, and this whole is multiplied twice by ten — a full and competent witness to the accomplishment of divine order in all relations Godward and manward. This shows us the character of the Millennial metropolis, and the government of the kingdom; this agrees with the general testimony of Scripture. The same thoughts appear in the final measurement, "It shall be 18,000 round about" (18 [9x2] x 10 x 10 x 10).

7. The name of the city Jehovah Shammah — Jehovah is there.