If you are struggling with these last nine chapters of Ezekiel, you’re not alone. So much is different here from what we have come to know in the rest of the Old Testament. The Temple is larger than ever before. The distribution of land is different from what we have known. The sacrifices are different, and who offers them is different and the priesthood is different.
What is going on?
The problem is likely in how we are reading this book.
If you are reading, wondering when all this will take place, perhaps a different perspective will help. Remember that Ezekiel is speaking (and writing) for the exiles. He, and they, know they will return. And when they do, things must be different.
First off, God must be central to their nation. Second, because of their past, and their sins, they must keep a respectful distance, and remember why. Third, the reigning monarch must be a leader in spirituality. Note that it is the Prince who is now responsible for bringing the offerings on the special days. He is also responsible for the protection of the holy space – his land encircles it. So much does his responsibility lie in focusing the people on the presence of the Lord, that he is virtually removed from the normal work of kings, and certainly removed from the accumulation of wealth and the power that accompanies it.
As Israel thinks about a return to the homeland, God, through Ezekiel, makes it plain: the glorious future he has in store for them is dependent on their giving Him priority. That truth is eternal, and not hard to understand.