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Ezekiel 41-44




From the web site, Prophet as Artist (http://www.prophetasartist.com)

Here is Lawrence Boadt’s commentary on Ezekiel 40-48….

These [chapters] are written in a prose style that may be from a disciple of Ezekiel but certainly follow the master’s thought. Once the people have returned to the covenant, made possible by God’s power alone and not by their own good will, then he shall give the land its order—a new temple at the center of a renewed nation in which everyone has his or her place. At the center of this vision, parallel to the new heart in the first part of the plan, are life-giving waters that flow from the temple to touch every living thing in the land (Ez 47:1-12). The source of hope and prosperity will be God alone truly worshiped. [Does any of this remind you of the book of Revelation?]

Ezekiel’s importance should not be underestimated. Many modern writers give the impression that he was more interested in legal questions than in the true spirit of the covenant. But this is not true. He shared many of the ideals of Jeremiah and was profoundly influenced by oracles and sermons that came from Jeremiah; but Ezekiel, unlike Jeremiah, was in exile and lived on to speak to a people who had no chance to escape the punishment. He had to face the task of picking up the pieces. His answer was to show that Israel’s entire history had been a failure to heed the everyday living out of the covenant. Israel’s political history had shown how often the chosen people had fallen into injustice and idolatry while claiming devotion to kingly rule and possession of the land. A new way had to be found now that these had been lost, a better way to that the violations and failures would not happen again.

Ezekiel found a key for understanding the new covenant to be written on the hearts of the people in its interior-ness. No longer was religion to be a matter of what the community did externally, but was to be really from the heart. Ezekiel stressed the roles of the Sabbath as a day of rest, reflective meditation on the covenant, personal uprightness, purity, and holiness. The temple and the land would have a place only when people acknowledged that “the Lord is God.” They first must take on the spirit of the covenant, and for that prayer and study would be more important than bloodlines. God would no longer accept people because they were born Israelites; now they must decide for God in order to live (see chapter 18).

Ezekiel’s new vision was priestly insofar as it stressed the union of the moral demands of the covenant with personal devotion to the daily practices of worship in the temple. His program had an important effect on the Priestly school’s arrangement of the Pentateuch which placed the law on Mount Sinai at its center point. In more than one way, Ezekiel was the last of the great prophets and the first of the new priestly visionaries that would create modern Judaism as we know it today.

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