Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Ezekiel 44:1-31): It’s hard to remember that this is still a vision, because it reads to be actual interactions, which in God’s case, it probably is? Anyway, when I read this, I just think about all these sacrificial rules and cleansing customs and think, “how long will they last?” But, God has banned the Levites that influenced the Israelites into idol worship and God only allowed the faithful Levitical priests from Zadok to minister inside the Temple. So, God essentially cleansed the line of priests. I still wonder how long it will last.
A. Zadok’s line (Zadok himself was the first High Priest in Solomon’s temple, 1 Kings 8) would serve for many years after this date, and rabbinic traditions of the modern era (i.e. AD) note the role his dynasty played in the priesthood for centuries. One of the central characters of Ezra/Nehemiah — Joshua the High Priest — is of this line.
Q. (45:1-8a): So, God is instructing His temple to be built on a vacant piece of land?
A. When the nation is restored under Persian kings (coming soon!), the land God is describing will be “donated” to this cause. It will not be “vacant,” but will be repurposed for the rebuilding of the nation, beginning with the Temple. I would quickly add that that Temple that they will build is NOT what is being described here, for reasons that will be revealed later.
Q. (46:1-15): This ceremony is so regimented and formal, a vast difference from how I worship the Lord. This “properness” will change in the NT?
A. You might feel very differently about how “you” worship if you were from a more liturgical tradition of the Church (say, Catholic or Anglican). Perhaps the way to think about the change in the NT is that God gave us a freedom in the blood of Christ that we can use to glorify Him in whatever way we see fit. Now there is not just one “proper” way to worship God, but many. We will see the way that Paul lays out this argument in the Book of Galatians.
Q. (46:11-12): So far in their diets, I have can recall just hearing about meat, flour, oil, wine and figs. Did they eat much fruits and veggies? How come they are not included in the offerings?
A. The priests’ families could grow those themselves on the limited land that they had, and trade for the rest. Since fruits and vegetables were not capable of shedding blood (obviously), they were not a part of the sacrifice system, which is primarily what this passage is concerned about. Be careful about applying our own considerations of proper nutrition onto people living nearly 3000 years ago, they had no concept of nutrition, just survival. I’m sure vegetation was a part of their diet (wheat and grains in particular), but I don’t think it was a primary concern for them.
Q. (46:18): God is really putting an emphasis on the leaders, the “princes,” to be just to the people. That’s nice to see!
A. God was presenting the desire to see His people put aside the mistakes of the past, and the corruption of the leadership was a big one. That had to go! Being a just ruler was the only way God would accept this type of leader.