The Third Day of Chanukah
by David Weiss
"Then he brought me back by way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east; and it was shut. 2 Adonai said to me, “This gate will remain shut; it will not be opened, and no one will go through it; because Adonai, the G-d of Isra’el, has gone through it. Therefore, it is to be kept shut. 3 Only the prince, since he is a prince, is to sit there to eat his meal before Adonai; he is to enter through the vestibule of the gate and leave the same way." 4 Then he brought me through the north gate to the front of the house. I looked, saw Adonai’s glory filling the house of Adonai, and fell on my face. 5 Adonai said to me, “Human being, pay attention; see with your eyes and hear with your ears everything I tell you about all the regulations of Adonai’s house and about all its Torah; pay attention to who can enter the house and who must be excluded from the sanctuary." Yechezk'el 44:1-4 (Ezekiel)
Yesterday was the 3rd day of Chanukah, for 5773. It is one of my favorite times of year. We get to slow down each evening - just for a little while - and spend time as a family. We light the Chanukiah candles and we give small gifts each night as well. Last night, after the blessing of the candle, prayer time, and gifts; we watched some videos on Youtube. There can be some strange things on Youtube, but most of what we watched was just fun-to-be-together videos. There are a couple of little girls (Lennon and Maisy) who are 12 and 8 and they have very grown up voices. We also watched Adam Sandler's video - The Chanukah song. It is very silly, and worth the time to just have fun. We do not always take time like we should, and that is what makes it so special during Chanukah.
This passage is very intriguing to me. If you think about it in the full context of the Book of Yechezk'el, it is different than just taking a chapter at a time. I have not read every single chapter, but the L-rd has had me in several chapters for over 2 years - reading them over and over again, to understand the details. At first glance, this passage is like D'varim (Deuteronomy) or Vayikra (Leviticus) with the rules for the tabernacle, or temple. But if you think of them in the context of the whole book, and how much of it is centered on things that will happen during the millennial reign of the Messiah, it gives it an interesting twist. The book starts out with the 4 creatures that Yechezk'el sees in a vision at the River K'var. A couple of years ago, in one of his sermons, our Rabbi compared them to the 4 gospels. With that in mind, if they represent the 4 gospels - which are part of the Kingdom time several hundred years in Yechezk'el's future - then the remaining chapters also seem to be very futuristic.
My point here is that we see a number of elements of the acharit hayamim (end times) in Yechezk'el's writings. Chapter 24 is about judgment of spiritual leaders that will be poured out. Chapter 37 is about the miraculous healing of those in the valley of dry bones - and the millennial reign of David. Chapter 47 is about the 4 streams of healing flowing out of G-d's temple. All around those chapters are other aspects of the millennial world. So if this context is accurate, and we can see all of these things in this chapter that speak of temple life, and in the first century the temple was destroyed, then why does G-d have these instructions on temple leadership here? Part of the answer is that it is not the same kind of temple - there is no literal sacrifice, only on-going worship of G-d.
Rabbi Sha'ul taught us in Romans 12 that true temple worship was offering ourselves as a living sacrifice. Shimon Kefa (Simon Peter) taught us that we are "living stones" being built into a spiritual house and that we will serve as cohanim - priests - in that house. We will all be serving G-d and serving each other. In this context of a spiritual temple for G-d, we read today's passage which speaks of temple life and my belief is that it is speaking hundreds of years in advance as to what that temple life will look like. The verbage which compares to what the first two temples were like, and it shows us a picture of how we will do it together. It starts out here by speaking of an outer gate facing east that only G-d and "the prince" are to use. This is a picture of the temple in Heaven where G-d resides in the real Holy of holies. (Hebrews shows us this allegory as it speaks of Yeshua and all he did as a sacrifice for our sins.)
It is interesting to me that verse 4 mentions that he came through the North Gate, to the front of the house and saw the Glory of the L-rd filling the house . In chapter 47, it mentions that the house (temple) faces east, and in this chapter, it says the east gate is the one only G-d uses. So if they were coming from the north, they would see a glimpse of the throne room as they approached the front of the house. And that is where all the deepest worship takes place - we learn that in Revelation. It is also interesting, as we look at verse 5, that if my understanding is correct - that this is a millennial picture of the temple of G-d - that it still speaks of who can and cannot enter in. Do you realize that during the millennial reign of Yeshua HaMaschiah (Messiah) that there will still be unbelievers on the earth? It says in Revelation, that at the end of the millennium, there will be the great war of Har Meggido. All the enemies of G-d will rise up in rebellion and be destroyed for the last time. Then we will see the time of the New Heaven and New Earth being ushered in.
Live your life today, as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to G-d; so that you may be built up as a living stone in the spiritual house of G-d.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel