Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The consecration of the new temple Eze 43:1-11. The glory of the God of Israel must take possession of the new sanctuary, as, in time past, of the tabernacle and of Solomon's Temple. But it is in a different form. The glory was of old veiled in a cloud resting on the mercy-Seat of the ark between cherubim of carved wood. Now the glory appears in the form with which Ezekiel is familiar, in all its symbolic significance (see Eze 1:1 note). A personal and living God enters the sanctuary Eze 43:2, condescending to occupy it, not merely as a fixed dwelling-place, but as a center from where His Power and mercy radiate freely to the utmost ends of the earth. Hence, amidst the detailed preparations of the house no mention is made of the ark or mercy-Seat, so important a part in the former sanctuary. The living cherubim, the firmament and the rainbow of mercy, replace the cherubic figures and the golden chest.
The ark, having been in some way destroyed in Nebuchadnezzars siege, was never replaced. In its stead there was within the veil a flat stone on which the high priest poured the blood on the Day of Atonement.
The gate - This was the eastern gate from the precincts to the outer court.
By this gate the glory of the Lord had departed. See the marginal reference.
The glory of the Lord filled the house - Compare the marginal reference; Exo 40:34-35.
The man - A "man." Probably an angel different from "the man" who had hitherto accompanied the seer. That angel guided, measured, and explained; this is present only to guide.
He said - i. e., God "said." Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate break this verse into two, so as to make the first half the solemn words of dedication. place a full stop after "forever;" the words mark the distinction between the new and the former sanctuary.
The palace of Solomon abutted upon the southern side of the embankment of the temple-platform; there was but "a wall between Yahweh and them." When the kings gave themselves up to idolatry, this vicinity was to the temple a pollution and defilement. Thus it has been conjectured that "the garden of Uzza" in which Manasseh and Amon were buried Kg2 21:18, Kg2 21:26, and on which now stands the mosque of Omar, was on the temple area itself; if so, this would explain the mention of "high places" in connection with the defilement by the "carcases of kings," since the platform of the mosque of Omar at the time of Ezekiel rose to a considerable height above the temple.
Besides this, idolatrous kings of Judah did actually introduce their idolatries into the temple courts themselves (compare Kg2 16:11; Kg2 21:4).
Deviation from the exact rules of the Mosaic ordinances was connected with the transgression of the people. So the restoration, according to the pattern of the Law, was symbolic of their return to obedience.
See also Eze 47:12. This is the law of the ordinance of the new sanctuary. After the consecration, God pronounces the "law" which is to govern the ordinances of the sanctuary (compare 1 Kings 8), first briefly repeating the general rule that the place must be kept holy to the Lord (compare Rev 21:27), and then proceeding to specific ordinances commencing with the altar.
The altar of sacrifice which stood in the inner court, not the altar of incense described Eze 41:22. In the temple of the vision the dimensions differ from those of the tabernacle Exo 27:1, and of Solomon's Temple Ch2 4:1, with a view to introduce definite propositions and symbolic numbers. See Plan L.
The bottom - The base (I) of the altar so called, because it forms with its "border" (K) a kind of socket to receive the "lower settle" (L). It was to be "a cubit" in depth.
The "breadth" is the breadth of that portion of the base which was not covered by the "lower settle."
The higher place - the base, literally back; the base is called the back because the altar rested upon it.
The bottom - The basement just described is now called "the bottom upon the ground." The altar (independently of the bottom) was composed of two stages called "settles," the base of the "upper settle" (M) being less than that of the "lower" (L).
To the lower settle - That is, to the top of "the lower settle," which was to be "two cubits high."
From the lesser settle ... to the greater settle - i. e., from the top of the "lower settle" to the top of the "upper settle," called "lesser" and "greater," because the height of the lower is less than that of the "upper; The breadth" here is the part of the lower settle not covered by the upper settle, projecting one cubit on every side.
The altar ... the altar - See the margin. The two words may denote, the first a square block (N) placed upon the upper settle, the second a slab (O), the thickness of which is not given, from which rose four horns Exo 27:2; and to which it seems probable that the victims of sacrifice were at times bound. Psa 118:27. Why the names Harel and Ariel were used must be conjectural. Mount of God may have been a title naturally given to the place of sacrifice as elsewhere to the place of worship Eze 40:2; Lion of God was a term used for the Holy City itself Isa 29:1.
altar - Ariel was to be an exact square on all sides. Compare Exo 27:1; Rev 21:16.
The settle - The "lower settle" (L), projecting beyond the "upper settle" (M) one cubit on every side.
His stairs - Jewish tradition says that the approach to the altar was by an inclined plane, because to go up "by steps" was forbidden Exo 20:26.
The number "twelve" was symbolic of the twelve tribes, "four," of the earth; "sixteen" is the square of "four," and "fourteen" the double of "seven," the number of the covenant, as being composed of "three," the number of God, and of "four," the number of the world. Thus we have in the altar a special instance of Hebrew symbolism.
The rites here described are not those of the regular service, but those to be observed on the day of dedication. (Compare Lev 8:10 ff; Kg1 8:63 ff; Ch2 7:4 ff, In the tabernacle the priest killed the victims, but Moses sprinkled the blood. In the vision the seer is addressed as though he were to perform the part of Moses.
The seed of Zadok - See Eze 40:46 note.
In the appointed place of the house - A place within the temple-court, but "without the sanctuary" properly so called, that is to say, without the temple and inner court. This was probably the "separate place" (see Eze 41:12).
They shall cleanse - By sprinkling the blood Eze 43:18. Here "they" marks the act as that of the priests. Moses did his part before the priests were consecrated, and the seer could act through them.
There was, on each of the seven days, a burnt-offering of a bullock and a ram, preceded by a "sin-offereng of a bullock" on the first day, and of a "kid of the goats" on the other days.
Salt is here added to the "burnt-offering" to express still more the idea of purification. In the second temple no sacrifice was complete without the use of salt, and the rabbis assert that there was a great heap of salt close to the altar, always ready for use, and that the inclined plane to the altar was kept covered with salt. Compare Mar 9:49.
Consecrate themselves - literally, as in the margin. Lev 8:27. The priests are already consecrated, but the memory of their consecration was thus kept up at the dedication of the altar.
After this inauguration the regular service shall be resumed, and be acceptable unto God (compare Mal 1:11).
The Epistle to the Hebrews Heb. 8-10 helps us to recognize in this vision the symbol of the purification of the Church of God by the cleansing blood of Christ, Victim and priest.