dawn of a new day September 2 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Ezekiel 43:18–46:24

A New Day

A new day is often a sign of hope. Christians, we have been forgiven, freed from the prison of our sins, saved by God's grace, and given a glorious hope. It is a new day. How should we then live? That is the question God answers for the exiles in Babylon in the 5th Century before Christ, and the answer is similar to what God expects of us today—He wants us to live differently.

When the nations of Israel and Judah were in their land, they became very wicked and idolatrous, more so than all the nations they had displaced to claim their inheritance. God gave them hundreds of years to turn from their sins and change, but they kept getting worse and worse. Finally, God used Assyria and Babylon to remove them from their land. Now, it was just a place of charred rubble and their temple was gone.

The survivors are in exile and in despair. In God's grace He shares with them a plan for a glorious temple, if they will only do one thing—genuinely repent. This is amazing grace. Can they go back to their land and live as they did before? No! God will not allow it. They need to re-establish some good godly habits and do them with devoted hearts. The LORD instructs Ezekiel,

Say to the rebellious house of Israel, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Enough of your detestable practices, O house of Israel! In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant. Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary.”

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites” (Ezekiel 44:6-9, NIV).

Foreigners with their foreign gods and detestable practices lured Israel and Judah into sin. They are not allowed to go into God's sanctuary unless they become circumcised spiritually (spiritually converted) and physically (circumcision was a sign of identification with God's people).

Furthermore, the leaders of the people, who had stolen land from their rightful owners for their own profits, must cease this evil practice. They must behave with honesty and justice (Ezekiel 45:9-10).

There are also some consequences for a Jewish tribe who led the nation astray. God gives Ezekiel these instructions:

“The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin. They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them. But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the house of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin,” declares the Sovereign LORD.

“They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their detestable practices. Yet I will put them in charge of the duties of the temple and all the work that is to be done in it.”

“But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood,” declares the Sovereign LORD (Ezekiel 44:10-15, NIV).

A mystery person in the new city and temple is the prince. He will offer sacrifices for himself and the people as a priest, and worship God. He will occupy a special position and have special access through the same eastern gate that the presence of God will enter. He will also father children and be given land for an inheritance. Who is this prince? Ezekiel 37:24-25 identifies him as David, former renowned king of Israel, a man after God’s own heart. If this Scripture is taken literally, then David will be resurrected from the dead to once again live a human life, capable of sinning and fathering children.

A problem exists with this interpretation, however, because like Moses and Elijah, David is in his glorified state. Why would he leave that to become human again? Although a literal interpretation is always possible because God is in control, it seems more reasonable that there will be a prince like David in the same way that John the Baptist is likened to Elijah. Perhaps he will be a human descendant of David.

It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths—at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel (45:17, NIV).

Israel will no longer offend God by bringing blemished or maimed animals for sacrifices to the LORD. The offerings will be just as God requires and will be accepted by Him.

Lessons to Live By

  • Like the Israelites, when we are cleansed from our sins it is a new day for us. God wants us to live differently. He still wants us to go to church and participate, but He wants us to do it because we love Him.
  • God wants us to change our minds and habits so we will live to please Him and receive His blessings (Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-14).

If you wish to inquire into the meaning of the offerings mentioned in today's Bible reading, go to more...

Focus Verse

Romans 6:13 (NIV)

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

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