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©Brett Dolezal

Chapter 43:13-27 (ESV)

Posted on April 12, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 43:13-27 (ESV) - These are the measurements of the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth): its base shall be one cubit high and one cubit broad, with a rim of one span around its edge. And this shall be the height of the altar: from the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits, with a breadth of one cubit; and from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits, with a breadth of one cubit; and the altar hearth, four cubits; and from the altar hearth projecting upward, four horns. The altar hearth shall be square, twelve cubits long by twelve broad. The ledge also shall be square, fourteen cubits long by fourteen broad, with a rim around it half a cubit broad, and its base one cubit all around. The steps of the altar shall face east.”

And he said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord God: These are the ordinances for the altar: On the day when it is erected for offering burnt offerings upon it and for throwing blood against it, you shall give to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who draw near to me to minister to me, declares the Lord God, a bull from the herd for a sin offering. And you shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the ledge and upon the rim all around. Thus you shall purify the altar and make atonement for it. You shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and it shall be burned in the appointed place belonging to the temple, outside the sacred area. And on the second day you shall offer a male goat without blemish for a sin offering; and the altar shall be purified, as it was purified with the bull. When you have finished purifying it, you shall offer a bull from the herd without blemish and a ram from the flock without blemish. You shall present them before the Lord, and the priests shall sprinkle salt on them and offer them up as a burnt offering to the Lord. For seven days you shall provide daily a male goat for a sin offering; also, a bull from the herd and a ram from the flock, without blemish, shall be provided. Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and cleanse it, and so consecrate it. And when they have completed these days, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer on the altar your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, and I will accept you, declares the Lord God.”

Question to consider: What do you think life will be like in the kingdom of heaven?

Today’s passage provided details of the altar that was part of the inner court in front of the steps leading up to the vestibule of the temple. It was given a consecration ritual much like the Bronze Altar of the earthly tabernacle and temple. The ones who were considered worthy of the task were those Levitical priests who were from the family of Zadok who were considered worthy to minister before the Lord.

Admittedly, this passage, and the text moving forward is difficult to frame in our modern understanding. Ezekiel communicated these things to his fellow Israelites in terms they could understand. I’ve been arguing that the reign of Christ in the heavenly temple began the week before Pentecost. In the prayer Jesus gave to the disciples, we pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In heaven, the Lord rules over the heavenly angels and the saints who have gone to be with Him. On earth, we submit to the Lord as diplomats in a world engulfed in the darkness of sin and rebellious spirits.

We get glimpses of Christ’s work in the heavenly kingdom through passages like Hebrews 9:24-28, “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” The end of Zechariah describes the nations going up to worship the king, “Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.” (Zechariah 14:16)

Those living in the heavenly kingdom appear to worship, to do memorial offerings like the one in today’s passage, to eat feasts, and to perform their called vocation. It would appear that there are animals in heaven if there are still memorial offerings and feasts. Zechariah 14:20 described horses with bells on them that say “Holy to the Lord” which mean that they are no longer used for war. When people ask me what I think the heavenly kingdom is like, I preface it with Paul’s words in being caught up to paradise, that he “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:4) So we already know it is going to be more amazing than we can comprehend. Most of our earthly lives are spent dealing with the effects of sin, and it is exhausting. Imagine what life will be like to be able to love one another and serve the Lord with the gifts and talents He has given us, not being bogged down by sin or worry or fatigue.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for these glimpses into what Your kingdom is like. May it give us comfort to know that those who have gone on to be with You are getting to live in a kingdom such as this. Help us to be Your ambassadors in the world and to spur one another on toward holiness. Amen.