Ezekiel 46 & Psalm 102

Ezekiel 46

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. The prince shall enter by the vestibule of the gate from outside, and shall take his stand by the post of the gate. The priests shall offer his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. The people of the land shall bow down at the entrance of that gate before the LORD on the Sabbaths and on the new moons. The burnt offering that the prince offers to the LORD on the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish. And the grain offering with the ram shall be an ephah, and the grain offering with the lambs shall be as much as he is able, together with a hin of oil to each ephah. On the day of the new moon he shall offer a bull from the herd without blemish, and six lambs and a ram, which shall be without blemish. As a grain offering he shall provide an ephah with the bull and an ephah with the ram, and with the lambs as much as he is able, together with a hin of oil to each ephah. When the prince enters, he shall enter by the vestibule of the gate, and he shall go out by the same way.

    “When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead. When they enter, the prince shall enter with them, and when they go out, he shall go out.

    “At the feasts and the appointed festivals, the grain offering with a young bull shall be an ephah, and with a ram an ephah, and with the lambs as much as one is able to give, together with a hin of oil to an ephah. When the prince provides a freewill offering, either a burnt offering or peace offerings as a freewill offering to the LORD, the gate facing east shall be opened for him. And he shall offer his burnt offering or his peace offerings as he does on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he has gone out the gate shall be shut.

    “You shall provide a lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering to the LORD daily; morning by morning you shall provide it. And you shall provide a grain offering with it morning by morning, one sixth of an ephah, and one third of a hin of oil to moisten the flour, as a grain offering to the LORD. This is a perpetual statute. Thus the lamb and the meal offering and the oil shall be provided, morning by morning, for a regular burnt offering.

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: If the prince makes a gift to any of his sons as his inheritance, it shall belong to his sons. It is their property by inheritance. But if he makes a gift out of his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall be his to the year of liberty. Then it shall revert to the prince; surely it is his inheritance—it shall belong to his sons. The prince shall not take any of the inheritance of the people, thrusting them out of their property. He shall give his sons their inheritance out of his own property, so that none of my people shall be scattered from his property.”

    Then he brought me through the entrance, which was at the side of the gate, to the north row of the holy chambers for the priests, and behold, a place was there at the extreme western end of them. And he said to me, “This is the place where the priests shall boil the guilt offering and the sin offering, and where they shall bake the grain offering, in order not to bring them out into the outer court and so transmit holiness to the people.”

    Then he brought me out to the outer court and led me around to the four corners of the court. And behold, in each corner of the court there was another court—in the four corners of the court were small courts, forty cubits long and thirty broad; the four were of the same size. On the inside, around each of the four courts was a row of masonry, with hearths made at the bottom of the rows all around. Then he said to me, “These are the kitchens where those who minister at the temple shall boil the sacrifices of the people.”

(Ezekiel 46 ESV)


Psalm 102

A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.

    Hear my prayer, O LORD;
    let my cry come to you!
    Do not hide your face from me
        in the day of my distress!
    Incline your ear to me;
        answer me speedily in the day when I call!
    
    
    For my days pass away like smoke,
        and my bones burn like a furnace.
    My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
        I forget to eat my bread.
    Because of my loud groaning
        my bones cling to my flesh.
    I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
        like an owl of the waste places;
    I lie awake;
        I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
    All the day my enemies taunt me;
        those who deride me use my name for a curse.
    For I eat ashes like bread
        and mingle tears with my drink,
    because of your indignation and anger;
        for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
    My days are like an evening shadow;
        I wither away like grass.
    
    
    But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
        you are remembered throughout all generations.
    You will arise and have pity on Zion;
        it is the time to favor her;
        the appointed time has come.
    For your servants hold her stones dear
        and have pity on her dust.
    Nations will fear the name of the LORD,
        and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
    For the LORD builds up Zion;
        he appears in his glory;
    he regards the prayer of the destitute
        and does not despise their prayer.
    
    
    Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
        so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
    that he looked down from his holy height;
        from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
    to hear the groans of the prisoners,
        to set free those who were doomed to die,
    that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD,
        and in Jerusalem his praise,
    when peoples gather together,
        and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.
    
    
    He has broken my strength in midcourse;
        he has shortened my days.
    “O my God,” I say, “take me not away
        in the midst of my days—
    you whose years endure
        throughout all generations!”
    
    
    Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
        and the heavens are the work of your hands.
    They will perish, but you will remain;
        they will all wear out like a garment.
    You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
        but you are the same, and your years have no end.
    The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
        their offspring shall be established before you.

(Psalm 102 ESV)

 The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God series...

 

PSALM 102 IS SOMETIMES WRONGLY labeled a penitential psalm. It sounds far more like the cry of a person whose sufferings are unexplained (like those of Job). At the beginning the sorrows are private and personal; later they are eclipsed by a growing concern for Zion. Progress toward Zion’s glory seems slow. This fosters a contrast between the psalmist’s restricted and fleeting “days” (102:3) and the Almighty’s eternal “years” (102:27).

But here I shall focus attention on the final verses of the psalm. Regular Bible readers will recognize that verses 25-27 are quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12, with God addressing the Messiah, in effect giving him divine status. One may well ask how the writer of Hebrews construed the Old Testament text in this way.

The answer turns in part on the fact that the original Hebrew of the Old Testament was composed with what today we call consonants. Vowels were not included. They were added much later —indeed, the most common vowel system was added to the Hebrew text about one thousand years into the Christian era. Usually this presents no problems. Once in a while, however, it is possible to read the Old Testament consonantal text with a slightly different vowel choice, yielding a different meaning. In this instance there is no question at all about the consonants. But the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, shows how those translators understood the Hebrew — and in this passage they understood it exactly as the Epistle to the Hebrews takes it. The traditional vowel placement, preserved in our English versions, understands verses 23-24 much as in the NIV. The thought is parallel to verses 11-12. 

But the LXX and Hebrews read it as follows: “He answered him in the way of his strength, ‘Declare to me the fewness of my days. Do not bring me up [i.e., summon me to action] in the middle of my days; your years are for generations on end. In the beginning you, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth. . . .’” The implication of this rendering is that God is addressing the psalmist, whom God addresses as Lord and Creator. That is how Hebrews takes it. On this view, the entire psalm is messianic, an oracular psalm like Psalm 110 (see vol. 1, meditation for June 17). Try rereading Psalm 102 that way; it makes sense. Compare the use of Psalm 45 in Hebrews 1 (see meditation for September 4): the Davidic king is addressed as God, and this too is cited in Hebrews 1. But even if the traditional Hebrew vowel assignments are correct, the inferences drawn by Hebrews 1 are not far away, though they must be drawn on quite different grounds.