Chapter 45:13-25 (ESV) - This is the offering that you shall make: one sixth of an ephah from each homer of wheat, and one sixth of an ephah from each homer of barley, and as the fixed portion of oil, measured in baths, one tenth of a bath from each cor (the cor, like the homer, contains ten baths). And one sheep from every flock of two hundred, from the watering places of Israel for grain offering, burnt offering, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them, declares the Lord God. All the people of the land shall be obliged to give this offering to the prince in Israel. It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.
“Thus says the Lord God: In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a bull from the herd without blemish, and purify the sanctuary. The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and the posts of the gate of the inner court. You shall do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance; so you shall make atonement for the temple.
“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a young bull for a sin offering. And on the seven days of the festival he shall provide as a burnt offering to the Lord seven young bulls and seven rams without blemish, on each of the seven days; and a male goat daily for a sin offering. And he shall provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull, an ephah for each ram, and a hin of oil to each ephah. In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month and for the seven days of the feast, he shall make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, and grain offerings, and for the oil.
Question to consider: Who is the one that provides that which is necessary to make atonement for us?
Ezekiel has been talking about the prince that was to come. I often refer to “King Jesus”, but ultimately the Father is king. Jesus submits to the Father. The idea of “prince” is not a reference to the son of a king, but the one who is given charge to rule. Jesus rules over all the kings of the earth and is the name above every earthly name. The apostle Peter clearly stated, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Isaiah referred to Him as the “Prince of Peace” in his writings meaning that he would be the ruler of peace— the only one who could bring someone into shalom with the Father.
The offering to the prince in today’s text was not to enrich Him but that He should make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel. I would argue that the reference to the “sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings” all points to Himself as the means by which we are reconciled to the Father. In the Lutheran church, we call it the “Service of the Sacrament.” On Sunday mornings the gathering is not so much about us serving God as it is about Christ serving us through His word and sacrament. I know this is very difficult for some to accept, but I would ask you to at least open your heart to this possibility.
For those that know me, you know it is my deepest desire to magnify the name of Christ, and I will always take the position that lifts Him up as the author and sustainer of our faith. I fully believe that our response to these great gifts from the Lord is to cry out to Him in praise and to lovingly and enthusiastically support His work in the world with our time, talents, and treasure.
I think the most difficult part of this passage is the Lord’s words concerning the Sabbaths and feasts and ordinances. For all I know these things are currently practiced in the heavenly kingdom. I don’t think they are to be literally carried out by us today, nor do I think there will be a separate, future, millennium in which these things will take place. The apostle Paul knew about this passage and still wrote this to the Colossians, “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17) If these things were meant as a shadow that pointed to Christ, I believe the Lord spoke of them this way to relate the new kingdom's reality to the people of Israel at that time. I think the most important takeaway from this passage is that it would be the prince who would provide all that was necessary for righteousness.
Dear Lord, thank You for providing us with the things necessary for our righteousness and for all things according to our needs. Please stir up in us a joy to offer our lives in service to You and Your kingdom. Amen.