The Holy District

Ezekiel 45:1–8 (NKJV)

45:1 “Moreover, when you divide the land by lot into inheritance, you shall set apart a district for the Lord, a holy section of the land; its length shall be twenty-five thousand cubits, and the width ten thousand. It shall be holy throughout its territory all around. Of this there shall be a square plot for the sanctuary, five hundred by five hundred rods, with fifty cubits around it for an open space. So this is the district you shall measure: twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide; in it shall be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. It shall be a holy section of the land, belonging to the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who come near to minister to the Lord; it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary. An area twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide shall belong to the Levites, the ministers of the temple; they shall have twenty chambers as a possession.

The Lord has discussed the construction of the temple and the service of worship there.  He now moves His attention to the location of the temple by discussing the land area to surround it.  The area would be two strips about 16 miles by 6 1/2 miles, with the temple sitting in one of the areas.  The remaining area in that plot would be for housing for the priests who minister the holy things.  The other plot would be for the Levites, who care for the temple.  This section shows the radiating areas of holy land.  The inmost would house the temple, the next section coming out from the temple housed the priests, the next out from there housed the Levites, and so forth.

“You shall appoint as the property of the city an area five thousand cubits wide and twenty-five thousand long, adjacent to the district of the holy section; it shall belong to the whole house of Israel.

“The prince shall have a section on one side and the other of the holy district and the city’s property; and bordering on the holy district and the city’s property, extending westward on the west side and eastward on the east side, the length shall be side by side with one of the tribal portions, from the west border to the east border. The land shall be his possession in Israel; and My princes shall no more oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel, according to their tribes.”

Surrounding the holy district would be a section that belongs to the people of Israel, and then the prince, or king, would receive a royal section just before the tribal sections.  This will be his only section, and the king will not oppress the tribes or take their land.  The holy district is similar to the reservation system in the United States, where land is set aside as a place for a certain purpose (such as native American tribes).  

In this passage, the Lord sets the limits of political and social authority, making religious or spiritual authority supreme again in Israel.  This is the model for a favored nation.  Putting God first will make a nation superior and blessed.  God, help us to put you first again in all things!

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