The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion;
The LORD has sworn ... "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek" (Psalm 110:1a & 4, NIV).
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all (Genesis 14:18-20).
"... there was something very significant in the appearance in the midst of the degenerate tribes of Canaan of this king of righteousness, and priest of the true God of heaven and earth, without any account of his descent, or of the beginning and end of his life; so that he stands forth in the Scriptures, "without father, without mother, without descent, neither having beginning of days nor end of life." Although it no means follows from this, however, that Melchizedek was a celestial being (the Logos, or an angel), or one of the primeval patriarchs (Enoch or Shem), as Church fathers, Rabbins, and others have conjectured, and we can see in him nothing more than one, perhaps the last, of witnesses and confessors of the earthly revelation of God, coming into the light of history from the dark night of heathenism; yet this appearance does point to a priesthood of universal significance, and to a higher order of things, which existed at the commencement of the world..." (C.F. Keil, The Pentateuch, KD, Vol.1, p.133).
Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? (Amos 9:7).
"Melchizedek's strategic role in this account shows us that God was working with and through other people while he was directing Abram's course. The text does not explain how God led these special people" (John E. Hartley, Genesis, NIBC, p.150).
"Another example of a priesthood regarded as legitimate, although not of the levitical line, is found in Jethro, the Midianite priest who becomes the father-in-law of Moses. Although this does not enter our author's argument, it does contain the idea of a priesthood such as Melchizedek's being somehow acceptable to God" (Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews, NIBC, p.105).
As noted below, "Abram's story prefigures the experience of Israel". Compare then the parallel placements of the gentile priests Melchizedek and Jethro in the respective narratives, prior to entering into covenant; this may then provide a type for the future for the renewed covenant:
And they [the Gentiles] shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD (Isaiah 66:20-21).
"Then comes the most stunning statement of all: "I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites" (66:21). While we cannot be absolutely certain of the antecedent of "them" in this statement, the most obvious one is "the nations." If this is correct ... this is the strongest statement in the book that the election of Israel is not for Israel but for the world. That understanding is furthered by 66:22-23, which speaks of the entire human race coming to worship God. This is the goal of all that God has done on earth - that we, his creatures, have fellowship with him" (John N. Oswalt, Isaiah, NIVAC, p.697).
"This thought is so shocking that it can only have been intentional. It is of the same order as saying that a eunuch or a foreigner is a servant of God (56:5-6). It flies in the face of the teaching of the Torah. Not even every member of the house of Israel could be a priest, much less any Gentile! This word from the Lord can only herald one who is greater than Moses, who can fulfill the Torah by breaking it (see Jesus' teaching concerning the Sabbath, Matt 12:1-14), one who can extend the election of Israel and Levi to the farthest limits of earth. Nothing else could as effectively symbolize the breaking down of the barrier between Jews and Gentiles..." (John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah Chapters 40-66, NICOT, p.690).
Ada R. Habershon in her book The Study of the Types shows from the "Word of God," by its comparisons and contrasts, how "in remarkable a manner the Priests and Levites were a type of the Church" (p.181).
It follows then that the Church - Jews and Gentiles - become a type for Israel in the Millennium. Select Gentiles may be "Levites" and 'settle' in the area set aside in God's portion for the Levites (Ezekiel 45:3-5; 48:9-12). Other select Gentiles will have allotments in the tribal areas.
"You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance," declares the Sovereign LORD (Ezekiel 47:21-23, NIV).
"Ezekiel does not promise landholding rights to all foreigners. The ger's identification with Israel must be demonstrated by residing, and fathering children while residing among the Israelites. These qualifications are intended to distinguish between other foreigners residing temporarily in Israel and proselytes, and to guard the sanctity of the holy community now resident in the holy land" (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-48, NICOT, p.718).
And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land (Genesis 12:10).
And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold (Genesis 13:1-2).
"Abram's story prefigures the experience of Israel. Abram functions as the father of Israel in more than a genealogical way; Israel story plays out Abram's story. Yet the author portrays the Egyptian's more positively here; indeed throughout Genesis, the Egyptians appear in a positive light (see chaps. 39-50), which seems remarkable, given what is to come in Exodus..." (Terence E. Fretheim, The Book of Genesis, NIB, p.429).
It would follow that the Jebusites under Melchizedek would be 'righteous' at the time of Abram, but by the time of Israel's emergence as a great people, the Egyptians and the Jubusites have fallen from grace. Typology suggest a link with the fall of the king-priests of Salem and Satan.
[For the understanding that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Christ, when the LORD said He would "go down now, and see" what was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah, was He going down from Jerusalem or from heaven; were the men/angels accompanying the LORD from Salem or had they come from heaven via Salem?].
"While tradition has not preserved any other information about Melchizedek, his service as Abram's priest has immortalized him as the model of a priestly messiah..." (John E. Hartley, Genesis, NIBC, p.150).
... He [Jesus Christ] has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him (Hebrews 6-120-7:1).
"In order to draw out the significance of Christ's being acclaimed as perpetual high priest "after the order of Melchizedek," our author goes back from his text, Ps. 110:4, to the only other place in the Bible where Melchizedek appears, the story of Abraham..." (F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Hebrews, Revised, NICNT, p.156).
Ps. 110:4 will be looked at after the 'heavenly' dispensation.
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually (Hebrews 7:3).
"The words which follow present an outstanding example of the argument from silence in a typological setting. When Melchizedek is described as having "neither father nor mother, without a genealogy," and having "neither beginning of days nor end of life," it is not suggested that he was a biological anomaly, or an angel in human guise. Historically Melchizedek appears to have belonged to a dynasty of priest-kings in which he had both predecessors and successors. If this point had been put to our author, he would have agreed at once, no doubt; but this consideration was foreign to his purpose. The important consideration was the account given of Melchizedek in holy writ; to him the silences of Scripture were as much due to divine inspiration as were its statements. In the only record which Scripture provides of Melchizedek - Gen. 14:18-20 - nothing is said of his parentage, nothing is said of his ancestry or progeny, nothing is said of his birth, nothing is said of his death. He appears as a living man, king of Salem and priest of God Most High; and as such he disappears. In all this - in the silences as well as statements - he is a fitting type of Christ; in fact, the record by the things it says of him and by the things it does not say has assimilated him to the son of God. It is the eternal being of the Son of God that is here in view; not his human life. Our author has no docetic view of Christ; he knows that "our Lord has sprung from Judah" (v.14). But in his eternal being the Son of God has really, as Melchizedek has typically, "neither beginning of days nor end of life"; and more especially now, exalted at the right hand of God, he "remains a priest in perpetuity." Melchizedek remains a priest continually for the duration of his appearance in the biblical narrative; but in the antitype Christ remains a priest continually without qualification. And it is not the type which determines the antitype, but the antitype which determines the type; Jesus is not portrayed after the pattern of Melchizedek, but Melchizedek is "made conformable to [like, NIV] the Son of God"" (F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, NICNT, pp.159-60).
["The terms "without father" and "without mother" (apator, ametor) are used in Greek for waifs of unknown parentage, for illegitimate children for people who came from unimportant families, and sometimes for deities who were supposed to take their origin from one sex only" (Leon Morris, Hebrews, EBC, Vol.12, p.630].
Melchizedek and the Levitical priests exercised their 'priesthood' on the earth, in Salem/Jerusalem.
If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven... (Heb 8:4-5).
"It occurs to the writer that some confusion might arise in his readers' minds over the co-existence of two orders of priesthood. He proceeds, therefore, to show that the priesthood of Jesus was not established on earth. The main point he is making is the impossibility of Jesus fulfilling the conditions either in genealogy, or in the precise nature of the gifts, which are stipulated in the Mosaic Law. This leads into his thesis that the superior priesthood is that which operates in heaven, not on earth... it should be noted that although his high-priestly work is in heaven, his offering up of himself took place on earth. The earthly ministry must be regarded as the preparation for the heavenly work..." (Donald Guthrie, Hebrews, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, p.172).
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation (Hebrews 9:11, NIV).
For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence (Hebrews 9:24, NIV).
"It is not into any material sanctuary that Christ has gone as his people's high priest, but into the presence of God in heaven. One who is personally "holy, free from guile and defilement" (7:26) is at home and acceptable in the presence of God. But he appears now in the presence of God not only on his own behalf but on the behalf of others, and those other are sinners. If sinners are to appear before God, even by proxy, through the representation of a sinless high priest, they must be cleansed from sin, or else the very presence of God would be polluted. And this cleansing Christ has effected, so that he can minster on his people's behalf in "the true tabernacle" which no human hands have erected. The earthly sanctuary and the priestly ministry associated with it were but faint foreshadowings of the spiritual priesthood as his people's representative" (F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, NICNT, pp.229-30).
To emphasize this point:
"Christ entered ... "into heaven itself," which is to be defined as the place of God's dynamic presence, which was only foreshadowed by the rear compartment of the tabernacle [see below]. Elsewhere in Hebrews the writer uses the plural form ... "heavens"; only in v 24 does he make use of the singular to denote the highest heaven in which the true sanctuary as the dwelling place of God is located... The appearance of Christ in the presence of God ... "on our behalf," provides assurance that his saving action possesses eternal validity and will secure for his people unhindered access to God as well..." (William L. Lane, Hebrews 9-13, WBC, p.248).
Priests with Christ, the high-priest
I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD." Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem. That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel (Psalm 122:1-2, 4, NIV).
But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (Hebrews 12:22).
"As the earthly Zion was the meeting point for the tribes of the old Israel, so the heavenly Zion is the meeting point for the new Israel... If the movable tabernacle in the wilderness was constructed according to the pattern of the sanctuary on high, so the temple and city of Jerusalem were material copies of eternal archetypes" (F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Hebrews, NICNT, pp, p.356).
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple... For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them... (Revelation 7:15 & 17).
"The presence of a temple in heaven is frequently mentioned in Revelation... The heavenly temple is mentioned in early Jewish literature as the location of God (T. Levi 5:1; 18:6). God dwells in the heavenly holy of holies (T. Levi 3:4), where bloodless sacrifices are made (T. Levi 3:5-6)" (David E. Aune, Revelation 6-16, WBC, pp.475-6).
"John's vision ... leaps ahead to a scene in heaven after the Great Tribulation has run its course and views the glorified Tribulation saints as being in God's presence, at rest from their trials, and serving him continually" (Alan F. Johnson, Revelation, EBC, Vol.12, p.485).
"The worship of God in the heavenly temple by heavenly beings continues unending (4:8), and the righteous will eventually become full participants in this unceasing worship (3:12)..." (David E. Aune, Revelation 6-16, WBC, p.475).
"That this throng serves God day and night (7:15, cf. 4:8) reminds us that the saints are a kingdom of priests (1:6; 5:10), doing what priests and Levities did in the temple courts (1 Chron. 9:33; Ps. 134:1)" (Craig S. Keener, Revelation, NIVAC, p.245).
The Church as a part of her reward, is to serve in the 'heavenly' holy of holies.
Therefore, brothers, since by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place , that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22, NIV).
"The author has thus summarized what has been accomplished through Christ's work, and he now exhorts his readers to take advantage of it. The first exhortation is let us draw near (NIV adds to God). This is the spiritualized language of the temple cultus, meaning now to come into God's presence through things such a worship and prayer" (Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews, NIBC, p.164).
At present the saints come into the presence of God through Christ, worship and prayer. But in the future the saint will literally come into the presence of God, that is, they will literally enter into the 'heavenly' holy of holies - the "rear compartment".
In Revelation it also states that the 'saints' will "reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10). Unfortunately some make the assumption that reigning "on the earth" implies being on the earth. But compare the modern parallel of the 'reigning' Queen of Australia that does not live in Australia.
The other part of the reward of the Church is to 'reign', as kings, from the, front compartment - the 'heavenly' holy place, on/over the earth.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7b, NIV).
The lampstand, among other things, represents the 'tree of life' and Jesus Christ. The ark picture God in the 'holy of holies' - the lampstand pictures Christ, the light of the world, in the 'holy place' - the paradise of God.
On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers (1 Kings 6:29, NIV).
From the floor to the area above the entrance, cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall of the outer sanctuary. And on the doors of the outer sanctuary were carved cherubim and palm trees like those carved on the wall... (Ezekiel 41:20, 25, NIV).
(Could the twelve loaves of the bread of the presence picture the future reward of the "twelve tribes" (James 1:1) of the "Israel Of God" (Galatians 6:16) in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6 - a prolepsis)?).
When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us," be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite... and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel (Deuteronomy 17:14-15, 20, NIV).
Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance? (1 Sam 10:1, NIV).
"... Samuel anoints Saul with oil, kisses him, and announces that Yahweh has anointed him as the "leader" (nagid) over his people Israel. The use of oil is a symbol of the spirit of Yahweh in several OT passages (Isa. 61:1, Zech. 4:14), and anointing oil represents the empowerment of Yahweh.
"The sacramental act of anointing is a ritual of inauguration, which designates an individual for a specific office consecrated by Yahweh... Prior to Samuel's anointing of Saul, the ritual was restricted in the Old Testament to the tabernacle and its priests. This marks Israel's new monarchy as a divine institution on a level of the priesthood. Here also, anointing stamps Saul with a special character and privilege because of a unique standing before God" (Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, NIVAC, p.164).
David and Zion
The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there... David captured the fortress of Zion... David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David... (2 Samuel 5:6-9, NIV).
And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake" (2 Samuel 5:12).
"When centuries later, Jerusalem fell into David's hands and became his capital (2 Sam. 5:6ff), he and his heirs became successors to Melchizedek's kingship, and probably also (in a titular capacity at least) to the priesthood of God Most High" (F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, NICNT, p.124).
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north (Isa 14:13).
In the future the 'greater' David, Jesus Christ, will 'capture' the heavenly Zion and will sit on Satan's throne. God's throne is located in heavenly Moriah. In both the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem there are two thrones - palace and temple thrones.
(The Kings of Babylon are type and antitype, similar to the Immanuel's earlier in Isaiah: "So we are contending, Isaiah predicted the coming of a boy who would be a sign from God to his contemporaries and who would foreshadow Christ, in whom the terms of the prophecy - abstracted from its historical situation - would be fulfilled in fullest measure" (Geoffrey W. Grogan, Isaiah, EBC, Vol.6, p.64)).
Zion's Davidic Dynasty
Go and tell my servant David... When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body... I will be his father, and he will be my son (2 Sam 7:5, 12a &14a, NIV).
"In the ancient Near East the relationship between a great king and one of his subject kings, who ruled by his authority and owed him allegiance, was expressed not only by the words "lord" and "servant" but also by "father" and "son." The Davidic king was the Lord's "servant" and his "son" (2Sa 7:5,14)" (Kenneth Barker, General Editor, NIV Study Bible, Note on Psalm 2:7).
"In a totally unique way ... each Davidite stood in this relation of son to his God. Yet it is not said that any single Davidite would ever realize purely or perfectly this lofty concept of divine sonship. But should any person qualify for this relationship, he would also need to be a son of David" (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Towards and Old Testament Theology, p.152).
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One (Hebrew "Messiah" or Greek "Christ")...
"I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD? He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father" (Psalm 2:2, 6-7, NIV).
"Divine sonship (2:7) is a characteristic ... often associated with Jesus, and through him we can claim it for ourselves (John 1:12-13). Yet almost a thousand years before Christ (e.g., 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 2:7), the Davidic kings of Israel were already claiming to be sons of Yahweh..." (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.102)
"Psalm 2 is the first example in the Psalter of the category of Psalms known as "royal psalms" - compositions primarily concerned with the human kings of Judah who understood themselves to be uniquely authorized and empowered as Yahweh's adopted sons..." (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.102).
Psalm 2 introduces "the covenant relationship between Yahweh and the Davidic kings who ruled from Jerusalem. This psalm establishes the authority of the Davidic kings and cautions worldwide submission to him as part of Yahweh's plan for the whole earth" (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.108).
"At the heart of the covenant is the concept of sonship; the human partner in the covenant is son of the covenant God, who is father. This covenant principle of sonship is a part of the Sinai Covenant between God and Israel. The covenant God cares for Israel as a father cares for his son (Deut 1:31) and God disciplines Israel as a father discipline a son (Deut 8:5). The focus of the Sinai covenant is the relationship between God and nation; in the covenant with the house of David, the focus is narrowed to a relationship between God and king, but the concept of sonship is still integral to this covenant" (Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50, WBC, p.67).
"The background of this relationship is clearly the Davidic covenant described in 2 Samuel 7:4-16. There, as here, Yahweh describes his relationship to the Davidic kings in terms of sonship (2 Sam 7:14). Such sonship with God would have imparted to the kings special powers and privilege as well as the responsibility to mediate justice and equity to all God's people and to lead them in the way of true faith" (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.111).
"I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD? He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father" (Psalm 2:6-7, NIV).
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee (2 Samuel 7:14-15).
"What is "terrifying" in these words is not the enthronement of Jerusalem's king but "I have installed" (the Hb. text makes this emphasis clear). The intimidation that Zion's king possesses stems not from an earthly military but from a heavenly King" (Craig C. Broyles, Psalms, NIBC, pp.45-46).
"This divine oracle ... serves as a warning to the nations' kings but also a reminder to Jerusalem's king. His authority is not autonomous or absolute; it is derived authority (cf. 20:6-7, 9; 21:1, 13). The king is now enthroned in Jerusalem sits under the One "enthroned in heaven" and on his "holy hill"" (Craig C. Broyles, Psalms, NIBC, p.46).
"To make plain that Jerusalem's king is (merely) Yahwah's agent, the king now speaks, publishing the decree of the LORD. By themselves the phrases, you are my son and "today I have begotten you" (Hb. ... NIV I have become your Father), might imply a genetic relationship between the Israelite king and God, especially in the ancient Near East. Within the horizon of the OT, however, this language points to adoption. First, these phrases issue from a legal decree. Second, they have become a reality only today, that is, the day of the king's enthronement. Third, this decree echos the Davidic covenant: "I will become to him a father and he will become to me a son" (2 Sam. 7:14; more clearly than the NIV, this literal translation ["today I have begotten you"] shows that language is metaphoric). The point of this metaphor is to show that Yahweh would punish disobedient Davidic kings, not disown them as he had removed Saul. The king certainly enjoyed a privileged position with Yahweh (though note Exod. 4:22; Deut. 14:1) but he is not deified. The remarkable revelation in the NT, however, is that the fulfillment of 2:7 exceeds the original expectation. What was originally a figure of speech has become a literal historical reality" (Craig C. Broyles, Psalms, NIBC, p.46)
"This reference to a single king clearly alludes to the Jerusalem dynasty of Davidic kings, who are understood here as uniquely Yahweh's kings... The whole psalm shifts at this point to an exposition of the grounds of enduring world rule for the kings of Judah based on the covenant between Yahweh and David" (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.111).
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession (Psalm 2:8, NIV).
"The idea of world domination expressed in 2:8 is not derived directly from 2 Samuel 7, which focuses primarily on an enduring, just rule of God's people of Israel and Judah. The submission of the kings of the earth to the Davidic monarch also appears in Psalm 72:8-11 - another royal psalm that reflects the official ideology of the Jerusalem monarchy... the "official line" of these Davidic kings was their right to rule all the earth by Yahweh's authorization and support..." (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.112).
The king as the "son" of God "may freely ask for an extension of his rule, because it fits within God's planned universal rule. The father graciously grants to his son the promise of worldwide rule as his "inheritance." Since God is the Ruler of the world, he authorizes the Davidic king to extend his kingdom to "the ends of the earth" (Willem A. VanGemeren, Psalms, EBC, Vol.5, p.70).
"The nations are to become the king's "inheritance" (nabalah). Most often this word describes the tribal allotments of the Promised Land or the whole land as the inheritance of the combined nation. Here, however, the vision of the Davidic monarchs expands to include as their divinely given inheritance the "end of the earth"... Obviously, this ideology of the divine gift of the lands of the nations would have legitimate territorial expansion during the monarchical period, although Israel and Judah never experienced complete fulfillment" (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.112).
"With the demise of the monarchy in the Babylonian Exile the situation changed. Since there was no longer a presiding king, these psalms with their exalted view of anointed human leadership became the source of hope for future restoration of Yahweh's purpose of Israel and Judah. The "Anointed One" - Messiah - was the rightful descendant of David, who would in God's own timing restore the monarchy, defeat the nations and accomplish worldwide dominion envisioned in Psalm 2 and 72" (Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p.114).
God established David as King, and his dynasty, in Jerusalem. David therefore was fulfilling the 'kingly' role of Melchizedek. But what about Melchizedek's other role of priest?
And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen (1Ch 15:27).
"... with proper procedure and great rejoicing, the ark made its way up Mount Zion. David led the procession, clothed in the priestly linen ephod, and sacrificing and dancing before the Yahweh. When the ark was safely ensconced in the tabernacle, David and the Levites offered up burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before Yahweh, thus attesting to the covenant union which existed between Yahweh and Israel. Neither the chronicler nor the author of Samuel mentions a priest in the whole course of sacrificing. Clearly David saw himself a priest and was accepted by the people and the Levites as such. His sacerdotal role is seen also in his appointing of the religious personnel to the tabernacle (1 Chron. 16:4-6). These were led by the Levite Asaph at Jerusalem and by Zadok the priest at the Mosaic tabernacle at Gibeon (1 Chron. 16:37-39). That no mention is made of a priest at Jerusalem may imply that David himself fulfilled that responsibility at least initially (or that Abiathar did so)" (Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), p.266).
"During the time of the Israelite monarchy, kings occasionally officiated at priests (cf. 24:25; 1 Kings 8:64; 9:25). At the same time, however,
we must note that the instances where the king's personal action is beyond question are all very special or exceptional: the transference of the Ark, the dedication of the altar or sanctuary, the great annual festivals. Ordinarily, the conduct of worship was left to the priest (2 K 16:15). Anointing did not confer on the king a priestly character ... he was not a priest in the strict sense. (de Vaux, AIs, p.114)" (Ronald F. Youngblood, 1 & 2 Samuel, EBC, Vol.3, p.874).
A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath (Ps 110:1-2, 4-5).
"Oracles concerning the Messianic King-Priest. This psalm (specifically its two brief oracles, vv. 1,4) is frequently referred to in the NT testimony to Christ. Like Ps 2, it has the marks of a coronation psalm, composed for use at the enthronement of a new Davidic king. Before the Christian era Jews already viewed it as Messianic. Because of the manner in which it has been interpreted in the NT - especially by Jesus (see Mt 22:43-45; Mk 12:36-37; Lk 20:42-44), but also by Peter (see Ac 2:34-36) and the author of Hebrews (see especially Heb 1:13; 5:6-10; 7:11-28) - Christians have generally held that this is the most directly "prophetic" of all the psalms. If so, David, speaking prophetically (see 2Sa 23:2), composed a coronation psalm for his great future Son, of whom the prophets did not speak until later. It may be, however, that David composed the psalm for the coronation of his son Solomon, that he called him "my Lord" (v. 1) in view of his new status, which placed him above the aged David, and that in so doing he spoke a word that had far larger meaning than he knew. This would seem to be in more accord with what we know of David from Samuel, Kings and Chronicles" (Kenneth Barker, Gen. Editor, The NIV Study Bible, Note on Ps 110, p.906).
"This verse [v.4] opens up the question of whether Israel had a sacerdotal kingship. From the priestly law it appears that there is a clear distinction between Israel's three theocratic officers: king, prophet, and priest" (Willem A. VanGemeren, Psalms, EBC, Vol.5, p.699).
And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts (2 Samuel 6:17-18).
"However, David was dressed as a priest (2 Sam 6:14), was in charge of the sacrifices (2 Sam 6:17-18), and gave a priestly blessing to the people (2 Sam 6:18). This was also true of Solomon (1 Kings 8:14, 55, 62-64), as his authority extended over the high priest (1 Kings 2:27, 35)..." (Willem A. VanGemeren, Psalms, EBC, Vol.5, p.699).
So Solomon removed Abiathar from the priesthood of the LORD, fulfilling the word the LORD had spoken at Shiloh about the house of Eli. The king put Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in Joab's position and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest (1 Kings 2:27, 35, NIV).
"The irrevocable oath [of Psalm 110:4] is none other than the what the Lord has promised to David pertaining to his dynasty (2 Sam 7:13; Pss 89:3, 28-29, 34-35; 132:11). David had shown a deep concern for the Lord's dwelling place; and with the divine appointment of Jerusalem as the focal point of his earthly rule, the Lord made great promises to David (see 132:13-18). Here the Davidic king serves as God's priest "in the order of Melchizedek"... The Davidic king is after the order of Melchizedek only in so far as the sacerdotal kingship is concerned. He is charged with responsibility over the true worship of the Lord..." (Willem A. VanGemeren, Psalms, EBC, Vol.5, p.699).
"... what God stood for in heaven, David was appointed to be as a symbol and pledge of God's kingdom on earth...
"Here, the palmist combined priesthood and royalty in the Messiah. For just as the whole nation had been constituted a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, so now the Davidic monarchy was made a priest-king, after one named Melchizedek, whose history and life parallelled the older man of promise, Abraham..." (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Towards an Old Testament Theology, pp.161-162).
Hope for the Future
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:30-32)
"The [110th] psalm broaches themes that powerfully overshadow the Israelite king and enfold him in the massive embrace. They express much of the high theology of Judean kingship. But, like Saul's armor, they give an impression of being too big for the recipient, especially as the Davidic monarchy wore on and wore out. Doubtless each [good?] king received them by faith and bequeathed them to his successor with the hope that the divine promises of v 1 would eventually come true. With the eclipse of the Davidic dynasty the psalm lived on as an expression of faith in God's ultimate fulfillment of king-centered purposes for Israel and as a cultic counterpart to eschatological oracles of kingship in the prophetic books. Like the other royal psalms, it became in the postexilic canonical Psalter a witness to the restoration of the dynasty, guaranteed by Gods "forever," and so a witness to Israel's messianic hope. The novelty of the NT is simply its claim that Jesus is the messianic king promised in the royal psalms" (Leslie C. Allen, Psalms 101-150, WBC, p.118).
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment (mishpat) and righteousness (tsedaqah) in the land (Jeremiah 33:14-15).
It would appear, at first reading, that God is going to send Jesus Christ back to the earth to restore Israel and Judah to the Promised Land, sit on the "throne of David" in Jerusalem/Zion, and "execute judgement and righteousness" as He reigns over Israel and to "the ends of the earth".
Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him (1 Chronicles 29:23, NIV).
And she [the Queens of Sheba] said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom: Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment (mishpat) and justice (tsedaqah) (2 Chronicles 9:5-8).
God is going to send Jesus Christ back to the earth, but only for 3½ years, to complete the second half of the 'seventieth' week prophecy of Daniel 9.
Just as Christ set up Israel the Church over 3½ years - the first half of the 'seventieth' week - Christ will return to set up Israel the Kingdom over a similar time span.
The inauguration of the Church Age and the Kingdom/Millennium Age follows a similar pattern:
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:1-2).
And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house (Ezekiel 43:2, 5).
Jesus Christ ruled Old Covenant Israel, through the Davidic King-Priests, as the 'Word of God' and in the future He will rule Renewed Covenant Israel, through Davidic King-Priests, as the 'Son of God'.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually (Jeremiah 33:16-18)
"Monarchy and priesthood were the two bases of OT theocracy. When these appeared to be in the most danger of extinction in Jeremiah's day, we find their continuance couched in sure and irrevocable terms. What is affirmed of the monarchy in v.17 is promised the priesthood in v.18. The Levitical priesthood is assured a permanent ministry (cf. the promise to Phinehas in Num 25:13). As legitimate priests, they will serve the Lord..." (Charles L. Feinberg, Jeremiah, EBC, Vol.6, p.592).
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
Thus saith the LORD; if ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me (Jeremiah 33:20-22).
"What has been stated in 31:35-37 as a guarantee of the new covenant is now used to illustrate the certainty of the continuance of the monarchy and priesthood. The greater the promises, the stronger the assurances that they were to be fulfilled. The certainty of the prophecies is riveted in God's order in nature, and the prophecies themselves are linked with the unfailing regularity of the natural order (vv. 20-21). A nullification of the covenant is as impossibility. Just as the covenant with Noah (cf. Gen 8:22) is kept, so the covenant with David (cf. 2 Sam 7) and that with Levi (Num 17) will also be kept. Moreover, the Lord adds a promise of a great increase in the descendants of David and the Levities (v.22); what was originally stated of the entire nation is here specifically applied to them (cf. Gen 15:5; 22:17)" (Charles L. Feinberg, Jeremiah, EBC, Vol.6, p.592).
"The identification of the leadership of the community as royal and priestly, as political and religious, goes back to the earliest period of the monarchy when priests were key figures alongside, but under the king" (Patrick D. Niller, The Book of Jeremiah, NIB, p.826).
The millennial prince/nasi and priest
Then said he unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, which are before the separate place, they be holy chambers, where the priests that approach unto the LORD shall eat the most holy things: there shall they lay the most holy things, and the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; for the place is holy (Ezekiel 42:13).
"... the absence of any mention of the high-priest in the document in which we should mostly predict its occurrence is troubling, and the laws of priestly marriage and the extension of the concept of the Holy of Holies, although ambiguous in intent, cannot be easily brushed aside. In this connection, note that the very architecture of the Temple of the coming era reflects a division of the clerical personnel into only two categories (e.g., 40:45-46; 45:4-5; 46:19-24); there is no counterpart here to the ceremony of Yom Kippur... in which only Aaron may go behind the veil in the sanctuary (Lv. 16:1-6). No quarters are reserved for the high-priest. There are, however, special places for the nasi (Ezeki. 44:1-3; 46:1-3), who ... occupies center stage in the Temple. All this suggests that the school of Ezekiel hoped not for a diarchy of Davidid and Zadokite such as was to emerge after the return from Exile (Zc. 3), but for a community so fundamentally liturgical and sacral in nature that the Davidid ... could only be a liturgical figurehead like the high-priest ... without the ... sacerdotal character. Ezek. 40-48 hoped not for a restoration of the monarchy, but for the restoration of the monarch, who is now redefined according to his deepest and truest function as the servant of God, one devoted to the divine service, to liturgy. He was to be what Aaron is in P's theology, the foremost organ of the congregation before God. The nasi is a figure in Zion painted in the colors of Sinai, which in priestly circles signified God's inauguration of a liturgy acceptable to him (Lv. 9:24). The retention of the high-priesthood in such a community would be redundant and a perhaps a denial of the redemption which was to yield such a community..." (Jon Douglas Levenson, Theology of the Program of Restoration of Ezekiel 40-48, (Missoula, Scholars press, 1976), p.143).
The prince and the outer gate
Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. 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, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. 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 (Ezekiel 44:1-3).
"From the inner court Ezekiel is taken to the outer court, near its east gateway. He is able to glimpse its closed doors at the far end of the long corridor of the gate house... The shut doors, defying their natural purpose, were to be commemorate the initial point of the divine re-entry into the temple area. Though in a public place, the east gate thus shared the special sanctity of the temple itself and was off limits to the people" (Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, p.260).
"But there is more to this gate. The prophet is unexpectedly introduced to a new figure, the nasi'... in his first appearance in the Ezekiel Torah, he is a cultic figure, one signaled out and authorised to eat before Yahweh in the sacred gate..." (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, p.615).
"If here the prince is allowed to sit in the vestibule of the gate structure [G], which is orientated inwards in the direction of the westwards-facing temple building, in order to eat there his sacrificial meal... then this renders the eastern gate structure ineffective as a gate. It acquires a function of a cultic room. The prince, as the most distinguished member of the lay congregation, is accorded the privilege of eating his meal in the gate structure which has been sanctified by Yahweh's entry" (Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2, p.441).
"... the identification of the prince as a descendant of David is lacking... although it is hard to imagine that Ezekiel had a different dynasty in mind. Why is that? Because in Ezekiel's vision there is another central royal figure, the Lord himself reigning in the temple. The past abuses of the monarchy will be done away with, legislated out of existence by a rearrangement of the land and by specific commands to the future monarch; but the monarch himself remains as a representative of the people. He remains in place, but only as the vassal of the Great King, God himself" (Ian M. Duguid, Ezekiel, NIVAC, p.523).
"The prince must mean the civil ruler under MESSIAH. His connection with the east gate (by which the Lord had returned to His temple) implies that, as ruling under God, he is to stand in a place of peculiar nearness to God. He represents Messiah, who entered heaven, the true sanctuary by a way that none could... he holding the place of God in political concerns, as the priests do in spiritual..." (A.R. Fausset, Jeremiah - Malachi, JFB, Vol.2, Pt.2, p.368).
(Map adapted from John B. Taylor, Ezekiel, TOTC, p.273). (Unit of measurement either 'cubits' or 'rods').
The prince's possession
The prince will have the land bordering each side of the area formed by the sacred district and the property of the city. It will extend westward from the west side and eastward from the east side, running lengthwise from the western to the eastern border parallel to one of the tribal portions. This land will be his possession in Israel. And my princes will no longer oppress my people but will allow the house of Israel to possess the land according to their tribes (Ezekiel 45:7-8, NIV).
"The estates of the head of state extend in two large blocks on either side of the sacred reservation and city land. The size of this property and its positioning reflects the pre-exilic links with temple and city. The distancing from the temple, like that of the city, symbolizes a loosening of the dangerous bonds, in order to accentuate the holiness of the temple. Yet in the clustering of all three elements within the reservation, there is a clear echo of the theological significance that the two "secular" elements had in Judah's traditions... In social and doubtless by implication political terms there is also a statement of the prestige, status and power possessed by the head of state. Quietly but firmly a negative note is also being sounded, as explicitly in 45:8, 9: the head of state, already richly endowed, was not to trespass upon tribal property" (Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, p.284).
This is the special gift you are to offer: a sixth of an ephah from each homer of wheat and a sixth of an ephah from each homer of barley. The prescribed portion of oil, measured by the bath, is a tenth of a bath from each cor (which consists of ten baths or one homer, for ten baths are equivalent to a homer). Also one sheep is to be taken from every flock of two hundred from the well-watered pastures of Israel. These will be used for the grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the people, declares the Sovereign LORD (Ezekiel 45:13-15, NIV).
All the people of the land will participate in this special gift for the use of the prince in Israel It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths - at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel (Ezekiel 45:16-17, NIV).
"These verse [16-17] represent an added note clarifying the role of the nasi' in these teruma offerings. While active participation in the ritual of the cult is excluded, here he is presented as its patron and guardian. The citizens of the land are accountable to him for the manner in which they respond to these obligations. As for the prince, he must make them available to the priest at the national festivals (haggim): the new moon festivals (hodasim), the sabbaths (sabbatot), and all other celebrations. Furthermore, he must provide the victims/produce for all the sacrifices...
"Under this constitution, the nazi' plays a critical part; he is guardian and patron of the cult. The size of the tracts of land allocated for him reflect the importance of his role. These territories provided him with land where flocks presented to him could graze and the grain and oil could be stored, until they were required for presentation in the sanctuary" (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, pp.659-60).
Purification of the Sanctuary
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In the first month on the first day you are to take a young bull without defect and purify the sanctuary. The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, on the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar and on the gateposts of the inner court. You are to do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance; so you are to make atonement for the temple (Ezekiel 45:18-20, NIV).
"Ezekiel's instructions regarding sacrificial procedure are quite detailed, but by no means comprehensive. They appear to supplement the instructions in the Pentateuch (especially Leviticus).
"If so, it would appear that Ezekiel's purgation of the temple in the spring is to supplement, rather than replace, the annual Day of Atonement on the 10th day of the 7th month (Lev 16)" (Roy Gane's answer to a hypothetical question asked of him by Future Watch; Roy Gane is the author of Cult and Character - Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement, and Theodicy).
"... vv 18-20, announces an annual ritual of decontaminating the inner sanctuary area... it is a counterpart of ... [the] great day of Atonement ceremony in Lev 16, but here the rite takes place in the spring, at the start of the year" (Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, p.266).
"It was also the millennial prince's duty to purify the temple sanctuary. On the first day of the first month (Nisan) of the ecclesiastical year, the prince ("you"), as leader, would bring a sin offering of a young bull without defect in order to purify the temple sanctuary (v.18); cf. Lev 16:16, 33; 22:20). This was necessary because of mankind's sin that would defile the temple's holiness (v.20b)... This would be repeated on the seventh day of the month (v.20a)...
"18,20 In both verses the main verbs are in the second person singular, with the exception of ... (kippartem "you are to make atonement"), which is second person plural. This clarifies that it is the prince who actually makes the offering, though in doing so he represents all the people. When he makes atonement for the temple, the people also purify the temple through his representation" (Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel, EBC, Vol.6, p.984).
And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering (Ezekiel 45:22, NIV).
"... the nasi is to play a leading role. Whereas Exod. 12-13 presents the original Passover as a family affair, led by the household, Ezekiel charges the national head of state with responsibility for the celebration. The requirement that he provide the sacrificial animals codifies what seems to have been the custom for some time.
"As royal patron of the Passover, Hezekiah had initiated the celebration, resolved problems of timing, issued the decree for national participation and spiritual renewal, interceded on behalf of the people, encouraged the Levities and provided the animals (2 Chr. 30). Cf. Josiah's similar role decades later...
"On the day of the Passover, the prince is to provide for himself and the people a bull for a purification offering (hatta't). This shift parallels the change in the nature of the sacrificial victims. Whereas the function of the original Passover was apotropaic, to ward off Yahweh's lethal actions, and subsequent celebrations provided annual reminders of the original event, in the Ezekielian ordinance the memorial purposes of the Passover are overshadowed by the purgative concern...
"Through the Passover celebration, the temple complex becomes sacred space and the Israelites become a holy people. In this newly constituted theocracy the role of the nasi is pivotal. As the patron and guardian of the cult, he bears the responsibility for the sanctification of the temple and the nation..." (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, pp.665-67).
The prince, the Sabbath and the inner gate
Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening
And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish.
Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering or peace offerings voluntarily unto the LORD, one shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, as he did on the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate (Ezekiel 46:1-2, 4, 12).
"Closure and limited access to the head of state are predicated of both the outer (44:1-3) and inner east gates. Since the outer east gate could be approached via the other outer gates, it was kept permanently closed. However, in the case of the inner gate [G] , it had to be opened, if the head of state was to have access, since there was no other point of entry, the inner court being off limits to all but priests (cf. v.8). The closure of both gates was to commemorate Yahweh's entry through them when he came to take up permanent residence in the new temple" (Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, p.267).
"Now we learn that some activity is to transpire in the gate structure of the inner court as well [as the outer court gate]. Yahweh's instructions begin with a statement of principle: on workdays the eastern gate of the inner court is to remain shut. Only on the Sabbath day and on the new moon is it to be opened...
"Even though the eastern gate to the inner court was to be opened on the Sabbath and the new moon, this did not grant general admittance to the inner court on these occasions. On the contrary, the gate regulations clearly reflect and reinforce the stratification of society...
"Ezekiel prescribes four specific actions for the prince. First, the prince shall enter the gate structure from the outer court through the vestibule... Second, the prince is to stand by the post of the gate... This vantage point enables him, as guardian and patron of the cult, to observe the cultic activity of the priests. But the prince himself is not to ... step out into this most sacred space of the inner court. Third, while the priests present his whole burnt offerings and peace offerings to Yahweh on the altar in the inner court, the prince shall prostrate himself..., an appropriate response of a mortal in the presence of deity. Fourth, the prince is to leave the gate structure. The duration of his stay in the gate is unspecified, but v. 2b suggests the time is limited, since after he has left, the gate must remain open the rest of the day...
"In keeping with the nasi's role as patron of the cult, he is to provide the materials for the Sabbath and new moon festivals" (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, pp.670-72).
"If the prince desired to make a freewill offering of a burnt offering ... or a fellowship offering..., the east gate was to be opened specially for this act of worship and then closed when he finished. This was the only exception to that gate remaining closed throughout the normal six days (v.12). The prince was to present his freewill offerings in the same manner as he made them on the Sabbath" (Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel, EBC, Vol.6, p.987).
"While all cultic activity on the prince's part on these special days, and even when he wishes to bring his offering out of turn, takes place in the gate of the inner court which is normally closed and which is opened only for those special occasions, there occurs again and again the reminder that access to the presence of God is never simply open, available every day equally to men on their own initiative, but is a gracious possibility ordained always afresh by the will of God" (Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2, p.494).
When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate. The prince is to be among them, going in when they go in and going out when they go out (Ezekiel 46:9-10, NIV).
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng (Psalm 42:4, NIV).
"The prince, though separated at other times from his people by his princely position, yet at the solemn feasts is to go "in the midst of them" (v. 10), joining in the great throng of worshipers, at their head, and animating their devotions by his presence and example. Prince and peasant on the same level in worship before God, who is no respecter of persons: yet those in exalted positions, as princes and nobles, exercise a powerful influence over men, and may accordingly be the instruments of great good when they set a godly example before those beneath them. Thus David blended with the multitude that kept holy day, going up to the house of God, and evincing, by his whole bearing, his consciousness that he needed the blessing of the God of his salvation as much as any of his subjects" (A.R. Fausset, Jeremiah - Malachi, JFB, Vol.2, Pt.2, p.376).
Sons and servants
Thus saith the Lord GOD; If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons'; it shall be their possession by inheritance. But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return to the prince: but his inheritance shall be his sons' for them. Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession (Ezekiel 46:16-18).
"Ezekiels ordinance governing the administration of "crown" lands finds no counterpart if the Mosaic Torah. Where Mosaic materials deal with royal abuses, they focus on exploitation of the office of kingship for personal advancement by building up the military, establishing a harem, and accumulating wealth (Deut. 17:14-20), Ezekiel's present concern arises out of abuses common to the Israelite and Judean monarchies...
"Ezekiel addresses the issue from two sides. He secures the permanent ownership of crown lands for the nasi' and his family by presenting two scenarios, both in caustic form. On the one had, he authorizes the prince to present portions of his property to his sons as a gift, thereafter to be considered the sons' property... This transfer presents no problems since the inheritance remains in the prince's family" (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, pp.679-80).
"In an economy where the king typically rewarded loyal service by gifts of land, there would have been a perpetual temptation for the king to acquire ever more land with which to reward his followers. Not so in the new Israel..." (Ian M. Duguid, Ezekiel, NIVAC, p.520).
"On the other hand, should the nasi' wish to award some of his land to his servants... such transfers of ownership are to be temporary. Because the land has passed into the hands of one outside the family, in the year of liberation ... it must return to the prince...
"This prohibition affirms that while Yahweh assigns special roles to some (the nasi' and the priests), he is concerned about the welfare of all Israelites, here affectionately referred to as 'ammi, "my people." As patron of the entire nation and owner of the entire land of Israel, he has established inviolable links between families and specific lands. The aim of this regulation, as expressed in the final purpose clause, is to right past wrongs, warning the nasi' and his sons not to misbehave like the nesi'im described in Ezek. 34:5-6, 21, exploiting their subjects and scattering ... them from their lands..." (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, p.680).
"In this it becomes clear that even for the most powerful man among the people, who, according to the preceding regulations, had the right to represent the whole people in the sacrifice and to approach the sacred sacrificial act more closely than anyone hitherto from the non-priestly class, property was not something to be treated arbitrarily. Even when dealing with his own property, the powerful ruler must remain aware of the fact that this had been given him as a gift from God" (Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2, p.497).
"The prince ... is a vassal of the great king and must behave as such" (Ian M. Duguid, Ezekiel, NIVAC, p.520).
The writer of Hebrews "regards Melchizedek not as a type to be fulfillled, but as a witness to the higher priesthood he finds foreshadowed in the OT" (William L. Lane, Hebrews 1-8, WBC, p.171).
The nasi' "functions as the people's leader in their millennial worship, almost like a high priest, but not having the same role and function" (Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel, EBC, Vol.6, p.974)
The typical Davidic King-Priest, of the earthly Jerusalem, of the Millennium - will be a living witness of the true King-Priest in the heavenly Jerusalem.
"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed (Isaiah 65:20, NIV).
With longer life-spans of this age there may not be that many successions to the throne of the LORD over Israel during the Millennium.