It Is for the Prince
"O worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness: fear
before Him, all
the earth. Say among the nations that Yahweh reigneth: the world
also shall be established that it shall not be moved"—Psa. 96:9-10
THESE thoughts are based upon bro. Sulley's exposition of the last nine chapters of Ezekiel. Bro. Sulley's book is one of the few basic books on the Truth that we should study thoroughly. It was the product of many years of investigation and labor.
Ezekiel's Temple is a difficult subject. Many in the past had struggled to get a coherent picture from it, but none had succeeded. Bro. Sulley presents a consistent exposition. It fills all the required necessities, and it is in full harmony with the Truth. In fact, it very materially assists in giving body and substance and vividness to the Gospel.
There are today, unhappily, strong movements in other groups to try to break down and discredit this whole concept. A recent one applies it all to the days of Nehemiah: a pitiful, negative, dogmatic effort that at least does serve the useful purpose of emphasizing the beauty of the Truth by contrast. Another new theory thinks the service and worship of the nations of the world will be merely voluntary. More than ever it is important that we study, and keep clear, and defend the basic scriptural picture as presented by our pioneers.
None of us has any time to waste on nonessential, worldly, passing things, on mere self-pleasing activities. There is infinitely too much to be learned, and to be faithfully defended. The strength of a fellowship depends on the depth of the intelligent scriptural understanding of all its members. Life is very, very brief. We have absolutely no time to waste on present things.
If we hope for salvation—a few saved from the billions cast away—we must devote our lives to making ourselves a prospective part of the Cherubim of Glory which underlie and give meaning to all Ezekiel's visions. It is of the deepest significance that they rest not day and night from saying—"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!" (Rv.4:8).
Holiness is the essence of the purpose of God—
"Without holiness shall NO MAN SEE THE LORD" (Heb. 12:14).
The common conception of holiness is that it is theoretically beautiful and desirable, but too high for humans, and inconsistent with pleasure and enjoyment and having a good time. Until we learn that holiness is the only happiness, the only true pleasure and enjoyment: until we, by diligent scriptural study, get out of babyhood and infancy, and mature to the realization that anything not related to God is empty folly, and that anything out of harmony with pure divine holiness is ugly and dirty and repulsive—until we learn this, we are no fit candidates for the Cherubim of Glory. They forever rejoice in God: they rejoice in nothing else. They have no time for anything else.
The quality of pleasure varies according to mental development. A baby enjoys a rattle, a young child enjoys playing in the mud and comic books. As we grow naturally, we advance a little beyond the rattle, mudpie and comic book stage, but not very much, as we see from the adult world's amusements. Most of mankind are content with this meager advance beyond puerility. But the Word of God studied and meditated upon can carry us to much higher and fuller levels of pleasure and satisfaction, related to the beauty of holiness.
* * *
Bro. Sulley's basic picture is very satisfying. He presents a building that is ideal for the purpose intended: a vast, open structure of massive but delicate masonry latticework and archways, filled in and canopied over by thick, verdant greenery—a vivid contrast to man's increasingly horrible and artificial monstrosities.
This building will have all the freedom and healthiness and beauty and freshness of open-air living, with none of its bareness or disadvantages. Trees purify the air naturally and noiselessly and effortlessly. This building will host a continuous flow of millions. Living greenery everywhere, ventilation everywhere, and pure, clear, running water everywhere—are its primary characteristics. A perfect site for the Feast of Tabernacles, or "Booths," to which all nations go (Zech14:16). The curse will be removed. The greenery will be free from all today's pests and problems. The weather will always be ideal.
Bro. Sulley gives the basic outline, but he is quick to point out that this is the most important building in all history, that it is designed directly by God's infinite wisdom unlike anything ever before, that Ezekiel's description is very limited and elementary: and that therefore while man can humbly suggest the general unrevealed details, as bro. Sulky does, to give us something to visualize as we picture the activities there, still man cannot possibly begin to imagine the building in its full divine beauty as it actually will be. Bro. Sulley cautions us that the details and decorations and much of the layout are merely suggestive, and that we must just take them as a faint hint of the real beauty to be revealed.
At times he gives alternate suggestions; and we can legitimately formulate our own, within the basic pattern. But until we have fully studied and mastered bro. Sulley's book, it would be presumption to question or discount individual details. Bro. Sulley, like bro. Thomas, took scriptural detail very seriously, neither ignoring anything, nor conveniently spiritualizing it away.
The Truth of God is a thing of realities: beautiful, satisfying, divinely-appointed realities: not like the vague and hazy vaporizings of the world's manmade religions. Truly, mortal man can never begin to conceive of the full glories of the immortal state, and we must wisely ever remind ourselves of this. But when God has graciously given revelation and a glimpse of things to come to build our faith upon, it is our wisdom to seek to comprehend them. This is vital food for the spiritual mind, without which it cannot grow, and become strong, and overcome and cast out the earth-groveling mind of the flesh within us all. We shall be what we fill our minds with.
Bro. Sulley's exposition both makes many scriptures more plain, and gives them deeper meaning and reality and beauty. Such as—
"I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever" (Psa.23:6).
This is not only a House of Prayer for all nations, but it is the central dwelling place and assembling place and working place of the Multitudinous Christ. "They shall serve God day and night in His Temple" (Rev. 7:15)
Note the night as well as the day. There will never be darkness here. It will be ever brilliant with the effulgence of the Glory of God. There will be no weariness to those who serve Him in immortal strength. "The 144,000 on Mt. Zion, who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth" (Rev. 14).
The apex and holiest spot of this Temple is Mt. Zion, from which the Word of the Lord goes forth through the Multitudinous Christ to all the subservient, worshiping earth.
More and more, as we meditate on this subject, we perceive that this glorious building, this divine Workshop of the Spirit, this House of praise and worship and rejoicing, this University whose student body is the whole world and whose curriculum is Divine Truth—is the living heart-center of all millennial activity and purpose.
"The Lord shall inherit Judah, His Portion in the Holy Land" (Zech.2:12).
The Holy Oblation just about coincides with Judah's ancient area.
"I will give them the Valley of Achor (Trouble) for a door of hope" (Hos. 2:15).
This is where Achan sinned and was slain and brought trouble on Israel—the first and the typical troubler—profane, godless person—among them as they enter the Land of Promise. The way of the pilgrims to the Temple will follow the line of this valley, running west from the top of the Dead Sea, along the border between the Zadok portion and the Levite portion. In those pure and godly days to come, the Achans will be quickly singled out and destroyed.
"In this mountain—this Mt. Zion—shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow" (Isa.25:6).
This house will be a vast banqueting hall, serving 100s of 1000s at a sitting, joyful, honored guests at the table of the Lord. The peace offerings of grateful thanksgiving will furnish abundant flesh, the first fruits will provide the fullness of the fields and gardens, the greenery of the Temple walls will hang thick with grapes and figs, and the surrounding trees by the river will yield all manner of fruit.
So many prophecies similarly dovetail beautifully into this foundation picture of the House of Prayer, with all its rich blessings for redeemed mankind. These are the things to which we must give all our hearts and minds. We have no time for passing rubbish that perishes with the using, taking its empty-minded devotees with it.
* * *
The Waters. Water is the symbol of life, natural and spiritual. Men are probing for life on Mars, and all we hear is that water is the key. If they can find dampness in the soil, they can hope for signs of life.
In this great House of Prayer, water flows everywhere: a pure, special, divinely-provided stream. It issues forth in tremendous, copious abundance from under the holy Altar on the top of the central hill (D on bro. Sulley’s Plate II), and flows "down" (47:11) to bring blessing and health and life to wherever it goes. Its flowing down from the Altar is one of the evidences that the Altar is on a central raised height. In describing the Altar, it is said that the—
"Top of the mountain . . . shall be most holy" (43:12).
The details of the water's course within the Temple are not given. It will be so arranged that it will be available wherever it is needed, both to beautify and to fructify, and also for utility and convenience. Abundant water is an essential requisite for any great assembly. And running water in great quantities will he necessary for the priestly ablutions and the washing of the huge number of sacrifices.
Partly the water runs underground, for it issues from the Temple from under the gateways. Bro. Sulky's conclusion was that it comes out on the north, west, and south sides, under all the gates, though the main flow of it is on the north and south sides. As it issues forth, it flows eastward, deepening as it goes. Ezekiel measures successively from the west end. At 1000 cubits it is ankle-deep; at 2000 knee-deep; at 3000 (the east end of the building) it is to the loins; 1000 cubits east of the building it is too deep to ford, requiring swimming. This last measurement would seem to show that it is augmented after it leaves the building, indicating it possibly issues from the east gates also. To enter the building, all must pass through the cleansing waters: the deeper for preliminary baptism, the shallower for the necessary repeated washing of the feet, the cleansing of the daily walk. In this, the waters will serve both a natural and a spiritual use. We can be sure feet-washing will be convenient and pleasant, dress in those wiser days being completely different from today's foolish and artificial styles and fashions.
From the building, the water continues to flow east to and even somewhat beyond the Jordan valley, for Joel (3:18) says it will water the valley of Shittim, which is east of the Jordan at the north end of the Dead Sea, where Israel encamped for the final months before entering the land. Here Moses delivered the farewell speeches to Israel that comprise Deuteronomy.
Eze. 47:9 clearly says in the original "two rivers" (see margin). This is north and south of the Temple—a mile apart. The wording of that verse seems to indicate they stay separate in their course eastward—perhaps diverging from each other somewhat to north and south. And Zech 14:8 appears to give the same picture that they stay separate—
"In that day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them toward the former sea (the Dead Sea: east: front); and half of them toward the hinder sea (Mediterranean: west: back)."
The most natural meaning of this would seem to be two separate rivers, one reaching the Dead Sea, and one reaching the Mediterranean by flowing east to the Jordan, then north up the Jordan valley, then west to the Mediterranean somewhere in the north of the land. Whether there is a water connection between in what is now the Jordan valley we are not told. There would automatically be such if the land stayed the same as now; but we are told there will be great physical convulsions in the land, so the present geography is not a dependable guide. The whole 50-mile-square area of the Holy Oblation is to be lifted up with a valley surrounding it north, east, and south (Zech.14:10).
The word for "oblation" all through these chapters in speaking of the Holy Oblation of the land, is that which in Leviticus is translated "heave-offering" as applied to sacrifices—something "lifted-up" as an offering to God. So there is a deeper meaning to this lifting up of the land than mere geography. It is lifted up from the surrounding territory as a special offering to God.
The northern waters find their way to the Mediterranean, so the water level will be at least just a little above that of the Mediterranean. If we look at a map of Palestine that shows land levels in different colors, we shall see that with present geography that would create a lake averaging about 10 miles wide from a point north of the Sea of Galilee to well south of the Dead Sea. This would be a pleasant and beneficial transformation of the present hot Jordan valley and the stagnant, lifeless Dead Sea. The slope of the Jordan bed would have to be reversed by the south end being raised when the Oblation is raised, so the water would flow north. It could be raised enough so the two rivers would stay separate, with an open land passage to the east.
It is a question whether the southern waters will flow beyond the Dead Sea right through to the Red Sea. Bro. Thomas suggests they will. Bro. Sulley did not think so, mainly on the basis of the fact that the marshes around the south part of the Dead Sea will not be healed, but be given to salt (Eze.47:11). This, however, could easily be accomplished by raising a land ridge that would cut off the marshes from the through flow of the water. Bro.Sulley also felt Isaiah's words:
"Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities. Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation .
"There the glorious Lord (Yahweh) will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby" (Isa. 33:20-21).
—rule out the idea of Jerusalem being a busy crossroads of commerce. Truly they do. Such would not be fitting. But the context seems to refer the expression more to a guarantee against any alien armed intrusion, such as Jerusalem had known for so long. There will be a waterway via the Mediterranean to the West: it would seem appropriate there be a similar one via the Dead Sea and the Arabah to the East. Though it will be a quiet headquarters of worship and authority, rather than a busy center of merchandise, still vast hosts must continually come there from both East and West; and water always has been, and doubtless will continue to be, the world's best highway for mass transport and transportation.
At present, mountains ring Jerusalem on the east, obstructing any potential waterway, but when Christ stands upon the Mt of Olives on his way to relieve the city from the Gogian hosts, that mountain cleaves in the midst on an east-west line, half of it moving north and half south (Zec.14:4), and—"There shall be a very great valley."
The expression "a very great valley" indicates a tremendous movement of the mountain halves, and consequent disturbance of the surrounding land. It would seem that the lifting-up of the 50-mile-square Holy Oblation will occur in this same convulsion, and will, in the providence of God, be greatly destructive of the enemy hosts, swallowing them up like Dathan and Abiram. It is in the valley of Jehoshaphat beside Jerusalem that Joel (3:11-14) says God will assemble the hosts of the nations to judge them. And the King of the North, when he hears troubling tidings, rushes back from Egypt and sets his headquarters in the glorious holy mountain. He is there destroyed, and all his hosts (Dan.11:43-45).
Certainly a great "shaking" of this area will be necessary to clear it of all the superstitious rubbish that now pollutes: Moslem, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish.
It would appear, too, most likely that this tremendous upheaval and disturbance in the land of Israel will be the occasion and inauguration of the convulsions throughout the earth that will bring down "every high tower" and all the proud and lofty works of men. Certainly such dreadful monstrosities of man's pride and folly as the ugly, useless Toronto Tower and the dark, towering steel money-grubbing canyons of New York must be swept away, to be replaced by sound, sensible, God-glorifying structures. Most of the large buildings of Detroit, the dazzling pride of a mere 50 years ago, are now decaying, outmoded and tarnished eyesores. So will it be with all man's ugly creations when the new, clean, pure, wholesome order of living begins, every man under his own vine and fig tree (Mic.4:4).
The Temple is an entirely different kind of building: of health, beauty, and true utility, in harmony with the environment It will doubtless be the foundation pattern for the wise architecture of the future.
The Kingdom Age will be ushered in by cataclysmic, worldwide destruction of life and property. This is sad but necessary, as it was in the time of the Flood, so that all human filth and corruption can be swept away, and an entirely new, clean, fresh order can begin. The Kingdom of righteousness cannot be built on rotten, shaky, corrupt human foundations. Psa.46 declares—
"The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered His voice, the earth melted. Come, behold what desolations He hath made in the earth."
The context of this psalm clearly shows it to be millennial. And Isa. 30:25 speaks of—"The day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall."
And Is. 66:16, again in an unmistakably Last Day context—"By fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many."
Again, Isa. 2, the Lord shall—"Arise to shake terribly the earth."
And so says Haggai (2:6-7). We must think of these events on the universal scale of the convulsions of the Flood.
Bro.Sulley thought that the drying up of the marshes of the Dead Sea for salt would in all probability bring Sodom and Gomorrha, now covered by shallow water at the south end of the Dead Sea, to the surface again. Similarly, the waters flowing north, and the lake thereby formed, would completely submerge Bethsaida, Capernaum and Chorazin under 100s of feet of water, in judicial fulfillment of the words of Jesus (Mt. 11: 21-24). And to complete the picture Jesus gives there, bro. Sulley felt it likely the northern stream would enter the Mediterranean at Tyre, restoring it to its ancient importance as the "entry of the seas." Isaiah prophesies (23:18) that in the last days the merchandise and hire (labor) of Tyre shall be for them that dwell before the Lord. This would be so if Tyre were the Temple's seaport.
Geographically, Tyre would be the logical place for the waters to enter the Mediterranean. There is a valley to it, and it is just about in line with the northern end of the lake that would be formed by filling the Jordan valley to the level of the Mediterranean.
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Now, the Prince and the Eastern Court: the most interesting and significant part of the subject. The Prince is unquestionably Christ. Sound brethren have had no doubt on this from the beginning. It is obvious beyond question to all who understand the Truth. Bro. Thomas so applies it in Elpis Israel as a self-evident fact (p. 297, 1910 edition).
First of all, if the Prince isn't Christ, then Christ—who is the heart and center of the whole picture—doesn't appear at all. This is impossible. Secondly, of itself, and even more so in the light of other Scriptures, an individual introduced into the center of the Temple picture without any explanation, as "THE Prince," cannot be other than Jesus. Modern usage of the term "prince" may take some of the force away. Scripturally used, "prince" meant the Supreme Ruler, the Principal, the Head, the Chief—of whatever was being considered. It was not a secondary title, as it is today.
Christ is "Messiah the Prince"(Dn. 9:25). He is "Prince of the kings of the earth" (Rv.1:5)—the superior of all kings. He is "Michael the great Prince" who stands up to deliver Israel at the Last Day (Dan. 12:1). He it is whom God hath exalted to His right hand—the place of highest majesty—to be a "Prince and a Savior" (Acts 5:31).
And thirdly, the very first mention of the Prince in Ezekiel's Temple chapters is in itself conclusive (44:2-3)—
''The East gate shall be shut … no man shall enter by it, because Yahweh Elohim of Israel hath entered by it … It is for the Prince.''
For 'hath entered,' Rotherham has 'doth enter,' which is both more accurate and more significant. The East gate is that by which Yahweh Elohim doth enter, it is for the Prince, no man shall use it.
The fact, too, that the East Portion of the Temple is associated with the Prince, both here and later, and not with the people generally, is another proof he is Christ, the High Priest. (His brethren, of course, are included with him in all). The Mosaic Tabernacle and the Temples all faced east. East was the front, the side of honor and preeminence. Here originally dwelt Moses the great Mediator, and Aaron the first High Priest. Here, in Tabernacle and Temple, was the main entrance—the only entrance—into God's House. East is Sun's Rising.
On every sabbath and new moon, the worship is centered around the Prince, who leads it (46:1-7). Likewise he leads the worship on the great yearly festivals of Passover and Tabernacles (45:21-25). Mosaically, this was the work of the High Priest, and none else. There can be no High Priest but Christ.
The Prince possesses the central royal portion of the land, the site of the Throne of David. The Holy Oblation and the Temple are IN his Portion. His portion is the same as God's: Judah, "His portion in the Holy Land" (Zec. 2:12).
The highest priesthood in this Temple, the heart-center of the rulership of the Kingdom, must be immortal (1 Cor. 15:50). Where are they in all this service, if they be not the Prince and the Sons of Zadok?
Let us then briefly consider what we are told concerning Ezekiel's Prince. The first reference is 44:2-3, already quoted—
"No man shall enter by the East Gate because Yahweh Elohim of Israel doth enter by it. It is for the Prince."
Yahweh Elohim is God manifested in Christ and the Saints. The East Court is exclusively for them. Verse 3—
"The Prince shall eat in it (the East Gate, or Gates) before Yahweh."
There is no difficulty in Christ as Yahweh eating before Yahweh. He is both the manifestation of God, and the Son of God. Before men, he bears the Name of God: before God, he is the ever submissive Son. Similarly, the Christ-Priest offered the Christ-Sacrifice on the Christ-Altar. There is no difficulty in his simultaneous fulfillment of many different types and shadows, for all converge in him.
He certainly does not eat bread in the East Court alone. Apart from the fact that he does nothing alone, we have his specific promise that he would partake of the Memorials anew with his brethren in his Kingdom (Mt. 26:29), and that the faithful should eat bread there.
In this first reference to the Prince in the Temple, we have the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Memorials terminate with this joyful reunion, for their purpose is to keep in memory ''until he come," but the Marriage Supper is but the beginning of an endless companionship of never-diminishing bliss.
The next reference to the Prince is 45:7—the Prince's portion is the land to the west and east of the Holy Oblation. Actually, as a later reference shows (48:21-22 RV), the Holy Oblation is considered as part of, or taken from, the Prince's portion.
In 45:13-15, the people of the land (Israel) give a percentage of the grain, oil and flocks—between 1/2% and 1½%—to the Prince "to make reconciliation for them," and (v.17) "It shall be the Prince's part" to prepare and offer the established periodic sacrifices for Israel. He will not of course actually do all the work himself: no leader ever does: but he will head, lead and supervise the immortal priesthood who alone may approach unto God's holy Altar with the offerings.
Some have trouble accepting the fact there will be sacrifices in the Kingdom, and with an immortal Christ having anything to do with them. There should be no difficulty. First of all, there is abundant scriptural testimony, not just in Ezekiel, that there will be sacrifice.
Sacrifice has always been prominent in God's plan of redemption for man. From the Garden of Eden, sacrifices pointed forward for 4000 years. Then for 2000 years the Memorial Bread and Wine—a very similar institution (but suited to a different dispensation)—have been pointing backward, memorializing, keeping in memory.
Clearly therefore God's wisdom has determined that a periodic observance is beneficial and necessary for weak mortal man. Sacrifices were best suited to the national dispensation of the Law of Moses, and the Kingdom is a similar economy—political, national, compulsory and universal: not individual and selective, as at present.
Modern man's chief objection to sacrifice is that he thinks he has developed and matured beyond that kind of ordinance and instruction. The idea humiliates him. He looks down on it as a relic of an earlier, more childish age. But in truth, there has never been an age more spiritually juvenile and retarded, and more in need of being taught simple, basic elementals, than the present. Man is today a little more clever with his Tinker Toys than previous generations, but there is far less wisdom, and very little spiritual understanding. Even untutored savages have had the discernment to recognize the evidence all around them of a power and knowledge greater than themselves: but what benighted superstition was ever more utterly ridiculous than the modern religion of mindless, purposeless, moralless Evolution as the great Creator of all things? What terrible blasphemy to see all the wisdom and beauty of God's glorious handiwork—the evidence He appeals to of His power and divinity (Rom. 1:20)—and to create an idiot god of blind chance to explain it all!
The re-institution of sacrifice, with rigidly-enforced judgments, is exactly what debased and degenerate mankind needs to slowly lead it back to the first glimmerings of holiness and wisdom and spiritual awareness. It will be a long, hard process, because of man's dulled senses, but God will lead him back to cleanness and holiness and spirituality. The sacrifices of the Kingdom will point back, as the ancient ones pointed forward. Those foreshadowed; these memorialize.
Even harder for many to accept is that (45:22)—
"The Prince shall prepare a bullock FOR HIMSELF, and for all the people of the land."
That large number using the name Christadelphian who have never been able to comprehend the central truth of the Gospel that Christ's great victory was over the sin-defiled and sin-motivated flesh he shared with his brethren, have consequently never been able to accept this fact of the Christ-Prince memorially offering for himself in type, as he once actually did. Here is the worm at the core of the modern theories that seek to do away with millennial sacrifice and the Messiah-Prince of Ezekiel. But perceive the Truth as taught by our pioneers, and the picture is both beautiful and necessary.
Christ will reign on earth in supreme, visible power and glory: the benevolent benefactor of all mankind—showering good on all.
Therefore, in the light of mankind's historic tendencies and spiritual limitations, what is obviously and absolutely necessary?
It is this: repeated, open, public acts on the part of Christ attributing all glory and honor and power to the Father-Creator. And sacrifice, as it is set up in this world center of authority and worship and pilgrimage, is the ideal method of keeping this clear.
God is supreme. HE must be kept in the foreground. The past redemption of the race at Calvary must be continually kept in memory. Christ must publicly worship God. He must offer sacrifices as a token of submission and dependence, and to memorialize the way in which the Eternal Father was pleased to redeem the world by him.
When we see how the Trinity theory—an almost universal delusion as far as Christendom is concerned—has confused Christ with God, even in his mortal days and now in his absence, we see how vitally necessary it will be to keep the issues clear at a time of his glorious visible power and presence. Man tends to worship what he can see.
And indeed Christ is to be worshiped: but in his proper place in the divine scheme. Therefore sacrifice, and Christ offering it. Sacrifice exalts God, and abases man. Sacrifice accepted gives joy and comfort and assurance to the righteous. Sacrifice rejected—as it will on occasion be—brings exposure of the Achans and Ananiases, and swift justice to the wicked. It is a glorious millennial provision that the righteous will rejoice in the wisdom of, and the wicked will rail at.
In a psalm clearly Millennial and Messianic, Christ says—
"I will give Thee thanks in the Great Congregation" (Psa.35:18).
We can trace this pattern of Christ publicly worshiping God in the Age to Come in many psalms. Christ, as we have seen—
"Prepares a bullock for himself and for all the people" (45:22).
Does it seem fitting that the supreme, immortal Christ offer a joint sacrifice for himself and the mortal people? It will be seen fitting as a beautiful act of Christ's love and God's wisdom, if we see the true picture. These people are now Christ's devoted and loving brethren, even as we consider ourselves today. (We do not here take into account the wicked among them: they are passing and incidental, not part of the true eternal picture. All today are not faithful, either).
How better could Christ manifest his oneness with them, his love for them, and his example-giving submission to God, in leading them in all righteousness, even as he submitted to baptism?
Eze.45:21-25 very interestingly reinstitutes the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, but not Pentecost—the other of the three great feasts of the year. The foundation Passover sacrifice, typifying Christ's great offering, and the joyful, yearend harvest Feast of Tabernacles, typifying the final millennial ingathering, are still both relevant to the peoples of the earth. But Pentecost is the Firstfruits, and has already been fulfilled in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Ch.46 brings us back to the East Gate, or rather focuses our attention on it anew, for we have been there all the time. It is where the Prince meets the people, and officiates on their behalf.
It shall he shut (v.1) the six working days, and opened on the weekly sabbath and monthly new moon (as also clearly on the great yearly feasts). There the Prince shall stand and worship God before all the assembled people in the Tabernacle, who fill the Separate Place with their eyes all turned to this East Gate. (We urge a familiarity with the illustrations in bro. Sulley’s book, in order to visualize these scenes. The Separate Place is the four triangular corners between the square and the round buildings.)
The Ascent to the Altar (AV: stairs 43:17) on the top of the mountain is directly facing the middle East Gate. Up this Ascent all the sacrifices must be conveyed to be consumed by the fire of God upon the summit. Whether the Prince himself ascends the mountain to the Altar on special occasions, we do not know. We are not told. It would seem fitting he should, in sight of the hushed and worshiping multitude. It is the holiest place of all (43:12)—
"This is the law of the house. Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the House."
An ascent thereto would, like a greater antitypical Moses, be a beautiful and impressive enactment of that glorious promise to all who have the wisdom to perceive the beauty of holiness—
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who shall stand in His Holy Place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart"
—G.V.Growcott, The Berean Christadelphian, September, 1976