Worship in Holiness

Ezekiel 40:28–49 (NKJV)

28 Then he brought me to the inner court through the southern gateway; he measured the southern gateway according to these same measurements. 29 Also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways were according to these same measurements; there were windows in it and in its archways all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 30 There were archways all around, twenty-five cubits long and five cubits wide. 31 Its archways faced the outer court, palm trees were on its gateposts, and going up to it were eight steps.

32 And he brought me into the inner court facing east; he measured the gateway according to these same measurements. 33 Also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways were according to these same measurements; and there were windows in it and in its archways all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 34 Its archways faced the outer court, and palm trees were on its gateposts on this side and on that side; and going up to it were eight steps.

35 Then he brought me to the north gateway and measured it according to these same measurements—36 also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways. It had windows all around; its length was fifty cubits and its width twenty-five cubits. 37 Its gateposts faced the outer court, palm trees were on its gateposts on this side and on that side, and going up to it were eight steps.

In this last section of chapter 40, Ezekiel is taken in his vision to the inner court.  He circumspectly observes the north, south, and east gates, measuring them carefully.  This seems to describe the progress of worship that led from a casual observation to a measured approach that takes one deeper into the presence of God.

38 There was a chamber and its entrance by the gateposts of the gateway, where they washed the burnt offering. 39 In the vestibule of the gateway were two tables on this side and two tables on that side, on which to slay the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. 40 At the outer side of the vestibule, as one goes up to the entrance of the northern gateway, were two tables; and on the other side of the vestibule of the gateway were two tables. 41 Four tables were on this side and four tables on that side, by the side of the gateway, eight tables on which they slaughtered the sacrifices. 42 There were also four tables of hewn stone for the burnt offering, one cubit and a half long, one cubit and a half wide, and one cubit high; on these they laid the instruments with which they slaughtered the burnt offering and the sacrifice. 43 Inside were hooks, a handbreadth wide, fastened all around; and the flesh of the sacrifices was on the tables.

He was taken to a chamber where the sacrifices were washed for the burnt offering.  The utensils for offering these sacrifices were described, as well as the tables for their preparation.  This is representative of the fact that worship should be prepared for.  Instead of entering the presence of the Lord casually to offer a sacrifice, the Israelites prepared the sacrifice, and prepared those who would sacrifice.  The tools of worship should be clean and prepared for the act of worship.  The sacrifice itself should be thought out and prepared.  Even the worshippers should be prepared through prayer and sanctification.  God is a God of order and we should take care in our acts of worship to honor Him.

44 Outside the inner gate were the chambers for the singers in the inner court, one facing south at the side of the northern gateway, and the other facing north at the side of the southern gateway. 45 Then he said to me, “This chamber which faces south is for the priests who have charge of the temple. 46 The chamber which faces north is for the priests who have charge of the altar; these are the sons of Zadok, from the sons of Levi, who come near the Lord to minister to Him.”

The Lord describes the chambers for the singers and the priests.  This is one of the passages that supports the idea of vocational ministry.  These singers and priests were provided for by the tithes and offerings, the sacrifices of the people.  They were dedicated to the service of the temple and worship.  Today, we still support vocational ministry, but we also believe in the priesthood of all believers.  No matter what we do, we must be prepared and do what we do with excellence for the glory of God.

47 And he measured the court, one hundred cubits long and one hundred cubits wide, foursquare. The altar was in front of the temple. 48 Then he brought me to the vestibule of the temple and measured the doorposts of the vestibule, five cubits on this side and five cubits on that side; and the width of the gateway was three cubits on this side and three cubits on that side. 49 The length of the vestibule was twenty cubits, and the width eleven cubits; and by the steps which led up to it there were pillars by the doorposts, one on this side and another on that side.

In this last section of the chapter, Ezekiel watches the guide measure the inner court, listing its dimensions and pointing out that the altar was in front of the temple.  While this altar was a sacrifical altar, we must realize today the need to pray and offer ourselves as a sacrifice on His altar prior to entering the presence of the Lord.  As the psalms ask, “Who can ascend to the hill of the Lord?  He that has clean hands and a pure heart.”  When you suppose to worship God, make sure the vessel (your heart and mind) is clean.  God will accept the offering of a clean sacrifice.  Worship Him in holiness and He will be glorified!

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