Christian Churches of God

No. 292

 

 

 

FAQs on Ezekiel Chapters 36-48 and the Sanctification

of the Temple

(Edition 2.0 20020301-20080101)

The text in Ezekiel 36-48 is a prophecy for future days and covers the millennial system under Jesus Christ. The entire world will do what Ezekiel says is to be done in the millennial system at Christ’s return. The instructions there are reiterations of the Law of God and, except for the implementation of the sacrifices, are binding on the Christian Church today in its application of the Law of God.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright © 2002, 2008 Wade Cox)

 

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This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 


FAQs on Ezekiel Chapters 36-48 and

the Sanctification of the Temple

 


Introduction

Texts

Ezekiel 36:17-19 says that when Israel was in its own land they defiled it by going their own way and by their doings, and God scattered them among the heathen and they were dispersed through the countries according to their way and according to their doings.

 

Ezekiel 36:24-38: God says He will restore Israel, putting a new spirit within them and they will again obey God and the land will be healed, and the people of the world will know God did it. The healing of the land will take place on the word of Christ at his return.

 

Q1. What or who is Israel?

 

Answer: The nation of Israel consisted of a series of tribes comprised of the sons of Jacob, who became known as Israel. The tribe of Judah is only one of the tribes of the nation of Israel. In the Pentateuch at Numbers chapter 10, the tribes of Israel were: Judah, Issachar and Zebulun in the Eastern sector, Reuben, Simeon and Gad allocated to the Southern sector, Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin in the Western sector, and Dan, Asher and Napthali in the Northern sector, around the Tabernacle of God. The tribe of Levi was in the centre immediately surrounding and responsible for the Tabernacle. The tribe of Joseph had been split into two half-tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, allowing Levi to concentrate on the Temple as the thirteenth tribe.

 

After the deaths of David and his son Solomon, the nation of Israel was split into two with the ten tribes being in the northern part of Canaan, and their capital at Samaria. Judah and part of Levi and Benjamin remained in the south, loyal to Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

 

The ten tribes in the north were idolatrous and went into captivity to Assyria in 722 BCE, and were moved north of the Araxes River in Mesopotamia, and remained there until the second century of the current era and the fall of the Parthian Empire. These tribes were the majority of the tribes of Israel. At the fall of the Parthian Empire, the tribes moved north-west into the areas of Western Europe and across into the British Isles, where they joined the other elements of the tribes who had moved there long before.

 

Judah went into captivity to the Babylonians ca. 597 BCE and was restored to the Holy Land by decree of Cyrus and subsequent monarchs (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)). They remained there until after the ministry of the Messiah, and were dispersed after the fall of the Temple in 70 CE, in accordance with the Sign of Jonah.

 

From the ministry of the Messiah and the issuing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost 30 CE, the nation of Israel became a spiritual force, and the Temple of God became an edifice of living stones. These living stones comprised also of the Gentile nations became the expanded nation of Israel allotted to the tribes by spiritual direction and revealed in the First Resurrection.

 

After the return from the Babylonian captivity under John Hyrcanus, the tribes of the Edomites were subjugated and became part of the Jews in the land of Judea. After the dispersion of the Jews from 70 CE in 740 CE the Gomerite tribes of the Ashkenazi were added to Judah by conversion to Judaism in the southern Russian Steppes.

 

Thus not all Jews are Israelites and not all Israelites are Jews. With the conversion of the Gentiles, Israel is an expanded physical and spiritual entity encompassing the blessings of Abraham through the birthright promises given to the tribes.

 

In Ezekiel we see a further reallocation of the tribes around the Temple (see below).

 

The explanation of the children of Abraham and the sons of Israel is also covered in the paper Lazarus and the Rich Man (No. 228).

 

Q2. Has any restoration of Israel taken place yet?

 

Answer: There have been a number of restorations of Israel over time. Every time Israel fell into idolatry and apostasy they were sent into captivity and then restored on repentance (see the papers Samson and the Judges (No. 73); Gideon’s Force and the Last Days (No. 22) and Josiah’s Restoration (No. 245)). This restoration occurred in the Exodus and then under the Judges. For its repeated idolatry, Israel was then sent into captivity outside of the Promised Land in 722 BCE, under the Assyrians, and they remained north of the Araxes. They formed the Parthian horde until they all moved into Europe in the second century of the current era to join others of their numbers and groups in Western Europe and the British Isles (see the paper The Unitarian/Trinitarian Wars (No. 268)).

 

Judah was sent into captivity under the Babylonians in the sixth century (ca. 597 BCE), but later restored, as we see in the Bible texts from the decrees of Cyrus and subsequent Persian kings, and under Ezra and Nehemiah (see the paper Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)). They remained in the Promised Land until the end of the prophetic time covered under the Sign of Jonah. They were sent finally into captivity and dispersion from 70 CE as foretold by prophecy. The paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13) deals with this aspect.

 

The restoration of Judah began to take place with the taking of Palestine in the First World War by the British Commonwealth forces and the declaration of the Jewish Homeland by Lord Balfour in 1917. This commenced the restoration of Israel in the Last Days and will be finalised with the coming of the Messiah (see the paper The Oracles of God (No. 184)).

 

Section 2

 

The Resurrections and the Restoration

 

Ezekiel 37 deals with the vision of the resurrection of the people and the joining of Israel and Judah, and the return of Israel to the lands given to their forefathers. They will be one nation and David will rule over them.

 

Q3. Is this resurrection of Ezekiel 37 the First Resurrection of all the elect who have died over the past centuries?

 

Answer: The resurrection depicted in Ezekiel 37 refers to the restoration of Israel and the Promised Land, and occurs from the First Resurrection. It occurs in Scripture prior to the joining of Israel and Judah, once again because it is Messiah that accomplishes that task finally at his return.

 

It also shows that the entire resurrection is physical and involves the translation of the resurrected elect in conformity with other Scripture. Everyone who has ever died will be resurrected as a physical person prior to their translation at whatever stage of development they are placed within the Plan of God.

 

Q4. Does the joining of Judah and Israel take place during this resurrection? If not, when will it occur?

 

Answer: The joining of Israel and Judah takes place after the conversion of Judah and at the coming of the Messiah.

 

Section 3

 

The Battles of Gog and Magog

 

Ezekiel 38-39 deals with the battles of Gog, Magog and other heathen nations against Israel, and the resulting punishments. 

 

Q5. We know that these nations arise against Israel at the end of the Millennium. Does this mean that it is a dual prophecy and these battles occur both at the beginning and the end of the Millennium?

 

Answer: The wars of Gog and Magog are twofold. They occur at the beginning of the Millennium, during the vials of the wrath of God mentioned in Revelation chapter 16, to exalt God in the eyes of the world and to display His wrath to the nations. There is also another war of the nations in Revelation 20:7-10. This is at the end of the Millennium and deals with the same groups that try to destroy God’s people and the Temple of God.

 

Q6. If there are two wars, one at each side of the Millennium, do the same punishments, plagues etc. occur on both occasions?

 

Answer: The Bible seems to indicate that God destroys them, but the text on the last war is silent as to the means. We can only deduce from the generic nature of the text in Ezekiel 38 that the same methods are used to deal with them on each occasion.

 

Ezekiel 39 is definitely set at the beginning of the Millennium. Thus we are speaking of two wars: one at the beginning and one at the end.

 

Section 4

 

The Temple

Ezekiel 40–43 describes the Temple.

 

Q7. Is this the Temple that will be built and operate throughout the Millennium?

 

Answer: Yes. The Temple described in Ezekiel is millennial and the practices there will be carried out in the millennial system. The Temple is both physical and spiritual.

 

Q8. Will the sacrifices be re-instituted? If so why?

 

Answer: One of the most puzzling aspects of this prophecy relates to the fact that only the morning sacrifices are carried out here. The prophecy deals with the fact that the sacrifices in the Temple system pointed towards Christ and the Church. The sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ, but they pointed towards the Church as the full first-fruits of the wheat harvest at Pentecost. They were represented by the Feast and New Moon sacrifices as the 144,000, and the evening sacrifices pointed towards the Great Multitude (see the paper The Harvests of God, The New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120)). These are part of the First Resurrection. Yet there is another aspect that the Great Multitude, represented by the morning sacrifices, are not harvested until after the First Resurrection, and so represent another aspect of the Temple system, which Temple we are.

 

The consumption of meat is regulated during the Temple period and the pots are holy to the Lord. The Tithe system will ensure that there is always enough for the Sabbaths of the Lord to provide for all in the nation. This is explained in the Prince’s Levy in Ezekiel chapter 45. The provision of the meat levy at the Feasts is explained in Zechariah 14:16-21.

 

The translation of Zechariah 14:16-21 in the New Revised Standard Version carries the actual meaning by the use of the term rendered Canaanites in the KJV text, and says that: “There shall no longer be traders in the house of the Lord of Hosts on that day”.

 

Q9. Are these sacrifices simply a reminder of the sacrifice of Christ, or do they have more significance?

 

Answer: The whole aspect of these sacrifices deals with the restoration of the system of worship in Israel, and to show that the system given by God was just and correct. The killing of all meat required a blood debt and was atoned for in being part of the Temple system. Once again the priesthood will take charge of all animal slaughter.

 

The question of atoning for sin as a debt will also be restored with the Law. These aspects are covered in the series The Law of God (No. L1).

 

The system as applied within God’s Calendar, and the livestock provided ensure that the correct functioning of the system takes place and the Festivals are able to be kept with adequate resources.

 

Running the Temple

Ezekiel 44 deals with the running of the Temple.

 

Q10. Who can enter the Temple?

 

Answer: The entry to the Temple is regulated.

No one except the Prince can enter by the outer gate facing east. He and only he enters by the east gate and goes out the same way.

 

Others enter by another gate and go out by the opposite gate, i.e. from the south to the north. Only foreigners in Israel who are circumcised of heart and flesh shall be able to enter the Temple.

 

The Levites who went astray after idolatry shall bear their punishment. They shall minister in the sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the Temple and they shall slaughter the burnt offerings and shall attend to the people. Because they caused Israel to stumble, the Levites shall not come near God as priests, but they shall be appointed to keep the Temple and its regulation.

 

In other words, the Levites who do not form part of the elect, either in the 144,000 or the Great Multitude, will not appear before God in Spirit, but will serve in the physical system.

 

The Zadokite priesthood is able to go before God because they were faithful in Levi. Thus we are dealing with two separate sections of the priesthood, where only the faithful of Levi attain to the First Resurrection. Thus the just shall walk by faith, and the sons of Levi are divided into the faithful and the unfaithful. Only the faithful of the ages and those in Christ go before God. Thus the priesthood of Melchisedek transcends Levi, where not all Levi are of Melchisedek and not all Melchisedek are of Levi – Melchisedek was not being determined by lineage, being without father and without mother. The twelve tribes are listed in Revelation chapter 7. They show that Levi is one of the tribes and part of a larger priesthood of Melchisedek, with all being allocated as members of one of the tribes.

 

Q11. What are the duties of the Levites and Priests?

 

Answer: The unfaithful are restricted to the physical duties of the Temple system. They perform the slaughter and the distribution there. They keep charge and do its chores.

 

The faithful enter the Sanctuary. In other words, the Spirit-begotten sons of God are able to come before God in ministry as spirit beings. This text is a total condemnation of the Levitical priesthood that failed to accept Messiah, and also of the Melchisedek priesthood that failed to uphold their place and thus failed the First Resurrection.

 

The faithful priesthood is responsible (as kings and priests, Rev. 1:6) to perform certain duties before God. They have a responsibility to officiate (2Chr. 8:14) in the (spiritual) Temple of God.  Among these duties is prayer (Joel 2:17) for the people, even this whole nation – see Q22. They are to set a personal example (Lev. 10:8-10); and to know the Law (Mal. 2:7) well enough to teach it to the nation (Lev. 10:11). God has consistently had a few people through the centuries who have been faithful in keeping these and other duties.  This will take on new and added meaning at the coming of Messiah.

 

Q12. What are the apparel, behaviour, sacrifices and judgments of the priesthood?

 

Answer: The faithful priesthood enters the Inner Court wearing linen vestments. This has two meanings.

 

The faithful priesthood alive in the Millennium performs the functions of the Messiah in the rituals of Atonement.

 

The holy ones of the elect who succeeded enter in linen before God, as the Messiah entered on his acceptance as the Wave-Sheaf Offering (see the paper The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b)). Thus the elect shall see God as sons of God, and make atonement for Israel and the nations brought into it, as its priests and kings.

 

The tithe system will be enforced and the priesthood will administer it (Ezek. 44:28-31).

 

Section 5

 

Allocation of Land to the Tribes

Ezekiel 45 deals with the restoration of Israel, with the specific tribal areas of land being described in chapter 48.  As shown above, this chapter is preceded by a description of the Temple that is to be built. This Temple appears to be a construction that takes place following the return of Christ, and instructions are given as to the government of the people and the Temple.

 

Ezekiel 45:1 states that when the land is divided by lot for Israel’s inheritance, then an oblation is to be offered to the Lord. This oblation consists of portions of land of specific dimension. The next few verses deal with the sanctuary itself, its size, areas for the homes of the priesthood, the Levites, and the Prince.

 

Q13. When we now have a priesthood of the Order of Melchisedek, who are the Levites and why have they been reintroduced?

 

Answer: The language of the Bible deals with the Levitical priesthood that failed and the physical functioning of the Temple. There is a division in the priesthood and the Order of Melchisedek is not mentioned here. We know the faithful of Levi are placed within the 144,000 and the Great Multitude of Revelation chapter 7. The Book of Hebrews tells us what the Order of Melchisedek is under Christ. The Prince is mentioned, and the allocation of areas for the priesthood is laid out in both symbolic and literal dimensions. We can take these allocations in two ways and develop lessons from this prophecy in the same two ways.

 

Q14. Who is the Prince in this context? Is the Prince Christ or is it David? As there is land set aside for him, one would think this would be David, as Christ is a spirit being and can manifest himself at will.

 

Answer: It is both, in that Christ is King of Israel and David rules under him. We are all of the Household of David and shall be as elohim and the Angel of the Lord at our head. Namely, we shall be gods, as Jesus Christ, in the Millennial Restoration. The City of Jerusalem shall be the centre of our administration of the planet, and we will rule as Satan and the demons should have ruled the Earth but failed (cf. Zech. 12:8).

 

Section 6

 

The Sacrifices of Atonement

Ezekiel 45:13-16: This is an instruction regarding the sacrifices of cereal and oil offerings, plus one sheep from every 200 – for all appointed Feasts, New Moons and Sabbaths – to make atonement for the house of Israel. This is provided by the people for the Prince. At verse 17, the Prince’s part is to provide burnt offerings and meat offerings and drink offerings for reconciliation for the House of Israel (cf. the paper Tithing (No. 161)).

 

Q15. This appears to be specific instructions following the return of Christ to reconcile the people to God?

 

Answer: The offerings made under the Prince’s levy are to provide for the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts, and these days will be Sabbaths to the Lord in Israel. Under the tithe system, all Israel will be able to eat before the Lord regardless of circumstance. It is the responsibility of the Prince to provide this levy. Thus the physical rulership of Israel will take place on an ongoing basis.

 

Section 7

 

Cleansing the Sanctuary

Ezekiel 45:18: In the 1st day of the 1st month a young bull was sacrificed to cleanse the sanctuary.

 

Q16. Is this the 1st day of the 1st month of the 1st year of the 1st Jubilee period under the direct rule of Christ, with Satan having been confined and no longer ruler of the world?

 

Answer: Yes. The whole millennial system will take place as and from the First day of the First month of the first year of the millennial Jubilee. It is for this reason that Christ comes, but he comes earlier and Satan’s time is cut short. If he did not come there would be no flesh saved alive. By coming early the Passover is kept on time and not delayed (see the concepts in the paper The Seven Great Passovers of the Bible (No. 107)).

 

Q17. This instruction appears to be given in order to cleanse and sanctify the newly built sanctuary?

 

Answer: The cleansing of the sanctuary is required under the Law, and was carried out by Messiah from the New Year in the year of his sacrifice to show us what is required from the New Year to the Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread.

 

Atonement for the Temple

Ezekiel 45:20: The same offering on the 7th day is to be provided for the ignorant and erroneous. So shall you make atonement for the Temple.

 

Q18. This seems to imply that it is an initial sanctifying of the newly built Temple, and the newly gathered-together people who need to be taught again the Commandments and statutes of God and how to implement them?

 

Answer: The fast for the sanctification of the simple and the erroneous shows us clearly what our role is in the process of the Sanctification of the Temple and the people. It applies to all who sin and fall short through error and ignorance, and we, by our common approach to God through Christ, appeal for forgiveness and atonement and restoration of our people. We do this yearly in our ritual of recognising the part played by Christ in the Passover, and as our Lord. So also we see Moses prayed for us in order that we were not destroyed in Egypt, and also Samuel and the others who were Judges in Israel prayed for us, as did David and the prophets, and Christ, and then the Church, on an ongoing basis. As they judged Israel so are we made kings and priests in judgment of Israel, under Christ. We pray and fast in intercession for the nation as our predecessors have done before us for our people and for ourselves in being called to the Faith. Understanding this aspect is critical to the Faith and is the least understood aspect of the twentieth century due the negligence of the latter-day priesthood of the Church. This is vital to the restoration of the Faith in the Last Days and should have been done continuously. If the Church had read the Law every seven years, as they were commanded, the matter would not have been lost.

 

Q19. If the elect are the Temple of God in the spiritual sense, and this is a physical Temple, then are not the simple and erroneous those of the House of Israel?

 

Answer: The simple and erroneous are the people who sin no matter what their origin in either the elect or the nation, or the nations that are going to become part of Israel on an ongoing basis.

 

Q20. Are we not currently the simple and the erroneous?

 

Answer: The elect are the chosen of God who are to develop their knowledge of the One True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3). They will err from ignorance or simplicity of mind, but they are given the Holy Spirit that they might be the first called among many brethren. Thus their intervention is vital to the ongoing function of the Church.

 

Q21A. Has not Christ’s sacrifice atoned for us once and for all?

 

Answer: The process has nothing to do with the fact that Christ atoned for us once and for all. Our activities are part of the Church in dealing with our people and bringing them to God. The inability to understand the broader responsibilities of the elect came from the elitist mentality that arose from the isolation of the elect from the society in which they lived. This division led to an inability to understand the intercession required of the Church for the people, and the requirement to lay down their lives for the Faith, on an ongoing basis.

 

Q21B. Moses could go to the mountain but the people could not. He went down from the mount unto the people and sanctified the people (Ex. 19:10-14). In reference to us today, does this imply that only the baptised priesthood can go before the Throne of God while the unbaptised cannot?

 

Answer: The thing to understand here is that there is a sequence of sanctification. The first-born of Israel are sanctified and then Israel itself is sanctified in its entirety, to meet the “face of God”, who we know is Jesus Christ. So it is with us. The Temple is sanctified from the First of the First month, which Temple we are (1Cor 3:16-17). Then we in turn sanctify those outside the Temple on the Seventh day of the First month. God dwells in us as the Temple, through the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19).

 

Q21C. So, we as the Temple of God are the altar of God and can make intercession to God as a form of self-sacrifice to sanctify people who have erred through error and ignorance?

 

Answer: The sanctification process is one of inward cleansing. The Lord sanctifies us (Ex. 31:13; Lev. 20:8; 21:8; 22:9). The altar sanctifies the gift because whatever touches the altar becomes holy (Ex. 29:37). Also, utensils that serve the altar become holy (Ex. 30:29). However, it is the presence of God in the Tabernacle that sanctifies and makes it holy (Ex. 29:43; 40:34-35). So, the presence of God in the elect as the Holy Spirit makes the Body of Messiah as the Temple holy in all its aspects. This makes all who come in contact with it holy.

 

We are sanctified in the Truth in love. Christ sanctified himself for us and we are also to sanctify ourselves in the Truth, which is the word of God (Jn. 17:17).

 

Q22. If the same offering is to be utilised on the 7th day as was offered on the 1st, should this day be kept as a Sabbath? There does not seem to be any other Scripture to indicate that this day should be kept as a Sabbath.

 

Answer: The text says: “you shall do the same on the seventh day as you do on the first day”. The New Year is always a solemn assembly as much as because it is a New Moon as the fact that Psalm 81:3-5 sets it aside as the month that Israel came out of Egypt, meaning the New Moon of the Month of Abib or the First Month of the Year. Therefore, the Seventh of the First month is a solemn assembly.

 

The process of Sanctification is understood by the term used to sanctify.

 

Sanctify, according to the Oxford Universal Dictionary, means to: 1. “set apart religiously for an office or function; to consecrate [a king], 2. to honour as holy, to ascribe holiness to, b. to manifest as holy 3. to consecrate (a thing), to set apart as holy or sacred. 4. To make (a person) holy; 5. to cause to undergo sanctification. 6. To impart real or apparent sacredness to; to give a colour of morality or innocence to; to justify or sanction, now rare or obs. 1606. 7. To make productive of or conducive to holiness or spiritual blessing”.

 

We intercede for the nation and go before the Throne of grace, as we are able to do, to set apart our people in His service. This is perhaps the most important thing we do as a Church all year, and it is not fully understood.

 

We seek forgiveness and mercy in direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God tells us through His servants the prophets that we sanctify the congregation with a fast (Joel 1:14; 2:15-17). We ask God to forgive us and also to become jealous for His people and His land and to make us no more a mockery among the nations. Is this not the most important of tasks?

 

For that reason we fast on the Seventh day of the First month.

 

Q23. So, the 7th of the 1st month is a solemn assembly. Does that mean that we keep it like any other holy day? The text would seem to indicate that another bull would be sacrificed and blood put in the same location, and the reference is to the sacrifice offered on both days that is identical.

 

Answer: The text says we do on the Seventh day as we do for the First. Thus it should be a solemn assembly. Obviously we cannot all be there for the assembly. It is not a Sabbath but it is a repeat of the worship of the First and shows they are interlinked in the Sanctification.

 

Q24. A bull is sacrificed on the 1st, the 7th and the 14th days of the 1st month. Is each bull representative of and pointing to Christ as the Passover sacrifice?

 

Answer: Yes. All these aspects point to Christ as the Passover and the bull of sanctification. It is through this ability in understanding what he did that we as a Church follow his lead in cleansing the Temple and sanctifying the congregation.

 

Q25. What are the spiritual implications of this aspect?

 

Answer: We should be as he is and do as he did. He cleansed the Temple prior to entering it as the Lamb of sacrifice. We also should cleanse the Temple, which Temple we are, in preparation for the Passover. Thus the 14 days of the First month are critical to this cleansing and the sanctification of the nation through our intercession in the name of Christ. God has chosen us to act for Him and Christ in bringing the elect to the Church and judgment. Without the activities of the Church, we would not grow or continue to exist. If correctly performed, the Church will find favour in the eyes of God and will be used by God.

 

The sequence is for the Church from 1 Abib to 14 Abib, and the nation from 15 Abib to 21 Abib, for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Thus the fasting month atones for Israel and the nations called into it progressively.

 

The Passover

Ezekiel 45:21: On the 14th day of the month the Passover is to be kept. This is a seven-day Feast and unleavened bread is to be eaten. It is the Prince’s responsibility to prepare the proper offerings each day, and these are described. The chapter closes with the instruction that offerings for the Feast of the 15th of the 7th month are the same. No mention is made of the intervening Holy Days.

 

Q26. Does this omission imply that those days are no longer going to be observed?

 

Answer: No, it does not. The Feast of seven days is meant to be kept as it has been in all the restorations, and each Feast is kept for seven days. There is no omission. Both Feasts are the same and should be kept seven days to deal with the two aspects of the Church in the salvation of the people. The intervening Holy Days of Pentecost and the days of Trumpets and Atonement do not imply that they are not kept, but rather the text deals with the importance of the seven days and the sacrifice on each day of the Feasts, being done in the same way for each Feast.  These sacrifices represent the leadership in the Church and the Plan of God within the structure of the Calendar and the sacrifices, as leaders of God’s system. This aspect is a study in its own right (see the paper Seven Days of the Feasts (No. 49)).

 

This is a millennial setting. Israel is required to keep the sacrifices and rituals on all the appointed Feasts and Holy Days. It is reiterated for our understanding and emphasis of the Law (cf. Isa. 66:23; Zech. 14:16-19).

 

Q27. Is the sanctification a reminder of the sacrifice of atonement of Christ – not pointing to something in the future as in the Old Testament? Surely there is no need for another sacrifice.

 

Answer: Yes. The sanctification is based on the sacrifice of Christ and the fact that we are now able to go boldly before the Throne of Grace, solely because of his acceptance.

 

There is no need for another sacrifice to atone. We ask for our people in intercession as we are commanded to do.

 

There is no mention of “afflicting the soul” as on the Day of Atonement – only atonement for Israel and the Temple. Therefore, it might be assumed that we do not have to fast. However, when we sanctify the congregation, it is always with a fast and that has been our example through the prophets and the Psalms. It is thus written in our Law (cf. Acts 13:2).

 

Q28. If Christ has already atoned once and for all, does not any attempt on our part to atone now impugn the sacrifice of Christ and be the same as making an offering of the Day of Atonement?

 

Answer: No, it does not. We are commanded to fast on Atonement and Christ atoned for us. Thus by such reasoning our actions on Atonement might be seen as impugning Christ’s sacrifice which it cannot, as it is a command of God forever. In the same way, each Holy Day points toward some activity in the Plan of God, and each sacrifice also pointed toward the entities in that activity. We relive the days to God in memory. In the same way, we commemorate Christ in the Lord’s Supper, meeting on the same night that he was betrayed and we take bread and wine after the foot-washing to commemorate him – not to replace him.

 

Q29. By fasting, we can ask God to help the ignorant and erroneous, but is it stretching Scripture to say we can make atonement for them?

 

Answer: We make intercession for them through the power conferred on us by God through Christ. We do not atone for them.

 

Section 8

 

The Sabbaths and the New Moons

Ezekiel 46 deals with the entry of the Prince on the Sabbaths and New Moons, and the sacrifices on those days.

 

Q30. According to the texts, is the New Moon a working day or a Sabbath?

 

Answer: It is classed as a non-working day with the Sabbaths. There were a greater number of sacrifices on the New Moons than on the Sabbaths.

 

During the Temple period the High Priest entered the Temple on both New Moons and Sabbaths (see below) and there was no trading permitted on the New Moons in ancient Israel. See the papers Frequently Asked Questions: The New Moons (No. 158) and The New Moons (No. 125).

 

The entry of the Prince via the east gate on New Moons and Sabbaths but not on working days confirms this view.

 

The east gate in the wall on the Temple Mount is to this day walled up, waiting for the Prince to enter on his Advent.

 

All Jews, including the Diaspora Jews, celebrated the Sabbaths, New Moons, and annual festivals (E. Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, vol. III.i, p. 144).

 

The High Priest was only obliged to offer the great sin offering on behalf of the nation on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16), otherwise he was completely free to sacrifice whenever he wished. Josephus records that he also offered the daily sacrifice on the week preceding Atonement (Wars of the Jews, v. 5,7). According to Josephus, he also sacrificed on the festive occasions of Israel, namely every Sabbath Day, every New Moon and the New Year which was a New Moon. These sacrifices are not to be confused with the daily grain offering which he was obliged to offer in his own name (Schürer, ibid., vol. II, p. 276).

 

The Princes also sacrificed under the Temple system, and especially later under the Hasmoneans.

 

Section 9

 

The Inheritance of Israel

Ezekiel 47:23 states that it shall come to pass that in whatever tribe the stranger settles, there Israel is to give him his inheritance. This is an important Scripture.

 

Q31. This implies that when the Millennium begins there will be strangers (unconverted people) among the House of Israel that will be accepted within the tribe whose land they are currently living in. Is this a correct understanding and is there more to be understood here?

 

Answer: Yes. The strangers and sojourners among us are allocated to the tribes and will live among us as the nation. This is the same way the mixed multitude came out of Egypt with us in the Exodus, and the Gentile nations in Canaan that were spared became part of Israel.

 

Chapter 47 deals with the healing of the land and the land areas involved.

 

Chapter 48 deals with the tribal areas and the living areas for the Priests, Levites and the Prince.

 

Q32. From the allocations of land, can we know if any of us are already in the land of our inheritance?

 

Answer: The clues as to the inheritance of Israel are to be found in the allocations after the Exodus. A number of tribes received their inheritance outside of Israel and this fact seems to point towards an increased land area. We know for sure that Israel has the surrounding nations joined to them and extends to the Euphrates and the Arabian Desert over Jordan. The sons of Lot, through Ammon, become one again with the sons of Israel.

 

So also we have other inheritance. Our inheritance now through the promises made to Abraham will see the strangers allocated to us as we progress now to the Millennium.

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