And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
The above, Ezekiel 44:23, comes in a chapter where the LORD is giving us instructions on how we should proceed. Per the previous post, it begins by telling of the door now closed, and the prince sitting in the gate eating this bread of life, the word of God that is meant to be expanded and distributed as received. It tells of the restored priesthood, having charge at the gates where they stand ministering. Friends, the prince, and priest are speaking of us, those who have been cleansed (circumcised) from the unclean words and ways (idols) that have led all the world astray. And now that the door is shut, no man can enter without your ministering to them this sanctifying word. This is the subject of Ezekiel 44, as Peter says in 1 Peter 2, as the LORD has led us into His holiness and His royal inheritance.
1 Peter 2
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:
3 If so be you have tasted that the LORD is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the LORD’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward [those who have twisted and perverted truth].
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
25 For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
This is where we stand, and the evidence is your faith that has come by hearing the authentic word of God.
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what says it? The word is nigh you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the LORD Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
10 For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same LORD over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, LORD, who has believed our report?
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes truly, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses says, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Isaiah is very bold, and says, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he says, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Friends, the above is telling our faith showing in the words we speak, showing He is alive in us speaking, and His word brings salvation to (effectually works in) men and nations, by hearing and believing. Abel and Enoch pleased God in this way, each by their words and faith showing belief in Him.
Hosea 6:6 tells of Abel’s sacrifice, which the LORD desires. It also speaks of Cain’s merciless act, which the LORD rejects.
1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto you? O Judah, what shall I do unto you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away [with the sunrise].
5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and your judgments are as the light that goes forth.
6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
The above mention of hewing these men with the prophets, by the words of our mouths, speaks of what is said in Romans 10 above and refers us to the war Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 10:3 thru 6.
2 Corinthians 10
1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
7 Do you look on things after the outward appearance? if any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the LORD has given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
11 Let such a one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.
17 But he that glories, let him glory in the LORD.
18 For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the LORD commends.
Jude describes this time, as Enoch saw it, when the LORD comes with ten thousands of His saints, speaking His word, to convince (to convict) all the ungodly among them, of the error in what they have spoken against Him. He begins this passage by telling of Michael (who is like God), the arch messenger (the supreme example), making it known it wasn’t his speaking, but it was the LORD through his word rebuking.
8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The LORD rebuke you.
10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain [without mercy, killing his brother because his sacrifice was pleasing to God], and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward [preaching for money], and perished in the gainsaying [opposing God] of Core.
12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the LORD comes with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaks great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
17 But, beloved, remember you the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our LORD Jesus Christ;
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20 But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our LORD Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling [harpazo] them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Ezekiel 44 is speaking spiritually of this time, the LORD appearing at the gate, expanding and distributing the loaves, as He did. This is the end of the conversation, the conclusion of our ongoing discussion, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” The chapter is speaking of those who come out from among what is defiled by the dead. Hebrews 12 speaks of our going outside the camp, to meet the LORD, prepared to meet on this battlefield those who have spoken against Him, withstanding their reproach.
As we have seen, this is what the LORD is saying when He speaks of the good shepherd leading us out, as says Isaiah in Isaiah 52:11.
6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that does speak: behold, it is I.
7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, Your God reigns!
8 Your watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
9 Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
11 Depart you, depart you, go you out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go you out of the midst of her; be you clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
12 For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonished at you; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
1 Truly, truly, I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.
4 And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
6 This parable spoke Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spoke unto them.
7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Truly, truly, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep.
13 The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
6 So that we may boldly say, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our LORD Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
23 Know you that our brother Timothy is set at liberty [sent on this mission]; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
1 Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looks toward the east; and it was shut.
2 Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.
3 It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.
4 Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face.
5 And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I say unto you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary.
6 And you shall say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus says the LORD God; O you house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations,
7 In that you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when you offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
8 And you have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but you have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
9 Thus says the LORD God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.
10 And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
12 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, says the LORD God, and they shall bear their iniquity.
13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the Most Holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.
14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.
15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok [righteousness], that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, says the LORD God:
16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
17 And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen [purity] garments; and no wool shall come upon them [they shall not take from the flock], whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.
18 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat.
19 And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.
20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.
21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
22 Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before.
23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my Sabbaths.
25 And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister that has had no husband, they may defile themselves.
26 And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon unto him seven days.
27 And in the day that he goes into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, says the LORD God.
28 And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.
29 They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering: and every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.
30 And the first of all the first-fruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest’s: you shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in your house.
31 The priests shall not eat of anything that is dead of itself, or torn, whether it be fowl or beast.
14 Therefore, behold, the days come, says the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD lives, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
15 But, The LORD lives, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, says the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.
18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable things.
19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto you from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.
1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
3 O my mountain in the field, I will give your substance and all your treasures to the spoil, and your high places for sin, throughout all your borders.
4 And you, even yourself, shall discontinue from your heritage that I gave you; and I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you know not: for you have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
5 Thus says the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD.
6 For he shall be like the heath [his condition plainly seen] in the desert, and shall not see when good comes; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7 Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
1 Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
4 For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
5 This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not.
6 I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.
7 You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder [the sound of light, the voice of understanding]: I proved you at the waters of Meribah [strife and contention]. Selah.
8 Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto you: O Israel, if you will hearken unto me;
9 There shall no strange god be in you; neither shall you worship any strange god.
10 I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt: open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.
15 The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time would have endured forever.
16 He would have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied you.