Ezekiel 44-45:12 (Contemporary English Version)
The East Gate Must Remain Closed1The man took me back to the outer courtyard, near the east gate of the temple area. I saw that the doors to this gate were closed. 2The LORD said:
I, the LORD God of Israel, came through this gate, so it must remain closed forever! No one must ever use it. 3The ruler of Israel may come here to eat a sacrificial meal that has been offered to me, but he must use only the entrance room of this gate.
People Who Are Not Allowed in the Temple4Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the temple. I saw that the brightness of the LORD's glory had filled the temple, and I immediately bowed with my face to the ground.
5The LORD said:
Ezekiel, son of man, I am going to give you the laws for my temple. So pay attention and listen carefully to what kind of people are allowed to come in the temple, and what kind are not. 6Tell those rebellious people of Israel:
I, the LORD God, command you to stop your evil ways! 7My temple has been disgraced, because you have let godless, stubborn foreigners come here when sacrifices are being offered to me. You have sinned and have broken our solemn agreement. 8Instead of following the proper ways to worship me, you have put foreigners in charge of worship at my temple.
9And so I, the LORD God, say that no godless foreigner who disobeys me will be allowed in my temple. This includes any foreigner living in Israel.
The Levites Are Punished
The LORD said:10Some of the Levites turned their backs on me and joined the other people of Israel in worshiping idols. So these Levites must be punished! 11They will still be allowed to serve me as temple workers by guarding the gates and by killing the animals to be sacrificed and by helping the worshipers. 12But because these Levites served the people of Israel when they worshiped idols, I, the LORD God, promise that the Levites will be punished. They did not stop the Israelites from sinning, 13and now I will no longer let the Levites serve as my priests or come near anything sacred to me. They must suffer shame and disgrace for their disgusting sins. 14They will be responsible for all the hard work that must be done in the temple.
Rules for Priests
The LORD said:15The priests of the Levi tribe who are descendants of Zadok the priest were faithful to me, even when the rest of the Israelites turned away. And so, these priests will continue to serve as my priests and to offer the fat and the blood of sacrifices. 16They will come into my temple, where they will offer sacrifices at my altar and lead others in worship.
17When they come to the inner courtyard, they must wear their linen priestly clothes. My priests must never wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in this courtyard or in the temple. 18Even their turbans and underwear must be made of linen to keep my priests from sweating when they work.19And before they leave to join the other people in the outer courtyard, they must take off their priestly clothes, then place them in the sacred rooms and put on their regular clothes. a] That way, no one will touch their sacred clothes and be harmed. b] 20Priests must never shave their heads when they are mourning. But they must keep their hair properly trimmed and not let it grow too long. 21They must not drink wine before going to the inner courtyard.
22A priest must not marry a divorced woman; he can marry only a virgin from Israel or the widow of another priest.
23Priests must teach my people the difference between what is sacred and what is ordinary, and between what is clean and what is unclean. 24They will make decisions in difficult legal cases, according to my own laws. They must also observe the religious festivals my Law requires and must always respect the Sabbath.
25Touching a dead body will make a person unclean. So a priest must not go near a dead body, unless it is one of his parents or children, or his brother or unmarried sister. 26If a priest touches a dead body, he is unclean and must go through a ceremony to make himself clean. Then seven days later, 27he must go to the inner courtyard of the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. After that, he may once again serve as my priest. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
28I myself will provide for my priests, and so they won't receive any land of their own. 29Instead, they will receive part of the grain sacrifices, as well as part of the sacrifices for sin and sacrifices to make things right. They will also be given everything in Israel that has been completely dedicated to me. c]30The first part of every harvest will belong to the priests. They will also receive part of all special gifts and offerings the Israelites bring to me. And whenever any of my people bake bread, they will give their first loaf as an offering to the priests, and I will bless the homes of the people when they do this. 31Priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that has been killed by a wild animal.
The LORD's Sacred Land
The LORD said:1When the land of Israel is divided among the twelve tribes, you must set aside an area that will belong to me. This sacred area will be eight miles long and six d] miles wide. 2The temple will be on a piece of land eight hundred forty feet square, and the temple will be completely surrounded by an open space eighty-four feet wide. 3-4I will give half of my sacred land, a section eight miles long and three miles wide, to the priests who serve in the temple. Their houses will be in this half, as well as my temple, which is the most sacred place of all.
5I will give the other half of my land to the Levites who work in my temple, and the towns e] where they will live will be there. 6Next to my sacred land will be an area eight miles long and two miles wide. This will belong to the people of Israel and will include the city of Jerusalem.
Land for Israel's Ruler
The LORD said:7-8The regions west and east of my sacred land and the city of Jerusalem will belong to the ruler of Israel. He will be given the region between the western edge of my land and the Mediterranean Sea, and between the eastern edge of my land and the Jordan River. This will mean that the length of his property will be the same as the sections of land given to the tribes.
This property will belong to every ruler of Israel, so they will always be fair to my people and will let them live peacefully in the land given to their tribes.
Israel's Rulers Must Be Honest9The LORD God said:
You leaders of Israel have robbed and cheated my people long enough! I want you to stop sinning and start doing what is right and fair. You must never again force my people off their own land. I, the LORD, have spoken.
10So from now on, you must use honest weights and measures. 11The ephah will be the standard dry measure, and the bath will be the standard liquid measure. Their size will be based on the homer, which will equal ten ephahs or ten baths. f] 12The standard unit of weight will be the shekel. g] One shekel will equal twenty gerahs, and sixty shekels will equal one mina.
- Ezekiel 44:19 take off their priestly clothes. . . put on their regular clothes: See 42.14.
- Ezekiel 44:19 no one will touch. . . and be harmed: Ordinary people were forbidden to touch anything that was sacred. If they did, it was believed they would somehow be harmed.
- Ezekiel 44:29 that has been completely dedicated to me: This translates a Hebrew word that describes property and things that were taken away from humans and given to God. In the early history of Israel, such things often had to be destroyed (see Joshua 6.15-19).
- Ezekiel 45:1 six: One ancient translation; Hebrew "three."
- Ezekiel 45:5 the towns: One ancient translation; Hebrew "the twenty rooms."
- Ezekiel 45:11 the homer. . . ten ephahs. . . ten baths: A homer was either a dry or a liquid measure and equaled about five bushels or fifty-five gallons; an ephah would be about a half bushel, an a bath would be about five and a half gallons.
- Ezekiel 45:12 the shekel: The shekel was about four-tenths of an ounce.
1 Peter 1:1-12 (Contemporary English Version)
1 Peter 11From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
To God's people who are scattered like foreigners in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
2God the Father decided to choose you as his people, and his Spirit has made you holy. You have obeyed Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood. a] I pray that God will be kind to you and will keep on giving you peace!
A Real Reason for Hope3Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on. 4God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.
5You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. b] Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. 6On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. 7Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns. 8You have never seen Jesus, and you don't see him now. But still you love him and have faith in him, and no words can tell how glad and happy 9you are to be saved. That's why you have faith.
10Some prophets told how kind God would be to you, and they searched hard to find out more about the way you would be saved. 11The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen. 12But they were told that they were serving you and not themselves. They preached to you by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. And their message was only for you, even though angels would like to know more about it.
- 1 Peter 1:2 sprinkled with his blood: According to Exodus 24.3-8 the people of Israel were sprinkled with the blood of cows to show they would keep their agreement with God. Peter says that it is the blood of Jesus that seals the agreement between God and his people (see Hebrews 9.18-21).
- 1 Peter 1:5 the last day: When God will judge all people.
Psalm 119:17-32 (Contemporary English Version)
17Treat me with kindness, LORD,
so that I may live
and do what you say.
18Open my mind
and let me discover
the wonders of your Law.
19I live here as a stranger.
Don't keep me from knowing
20What I want most of all
and at all times
is to honor your laws.
21You punish those boastful,
from your commands.
22Don't let them sneer
and insult me
for following you.
23I keep thinking about
your teachings, LORD,
even if rulers plot
24Your laws are my greatest joy!
I follow their advice.
25I am at the point of death.
Let your teachings
breathe new life into me.
26When I told you my troubles,
you answered my prayers.
Now teach me your laws.
27Help me to understand
and I will think about
your marvelous deeds.
28I am overcome with sorrow.
as you have promised to do.
29Keep me from being deceitful,
and be kind enough
to teach me your Law.
30I am determined to be faithful
and to respect your laws.
31I follow your rules, LORD.
Don't let me be ashamed.
32I am eager to learn all
that you want me to do;
help me to understand
more and more.
Proverbs 28:8-10 (Contemporary English Version)
8If you make money by charging
high interest rates,
you will lose it all to someone
who cares for the poor.
9God cannot stand the prayers
of anyone who disobeys
10By leading good people to sin,
you dig a pit for yourself,
but all who live right
will have a bright future.
Verse of the Day
“Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.” - Colossians 3:15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
American advertising executive and television personality, Donny Deutsch wrote, “My philosophy is to always find the smartest people you can. Hire people smarter than you.”
A Joke for Today
One day in the Garden of Eden, Eve called out to God... "Lord, I have a problem!"
"What's the problem, Eve?”
“Lord, I know you've created me and have provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, and that hilarious comedic snake, but I'm just not happy."
"Why is that, Eve?" came the reply from above.
"Lord, I am lonely. And I'm sick to death of apples."
"Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."
"What's a 'man,' Lord?"
"This man will be a flawed creature, with aggressive tendencies, an enormous ego and an inability to empathize or listen to you properly. All in all, he'll give you a hard time.
But, he'll be bigger, faster and more muscular than you. He'll also need your advice to think properly. He'll be really good at fighting and kicking a ball about, hunting fleet-footed ruminants, and not altogether bad in the sack."
"Sounds great," says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow. "What's the catch, Lord?"
"Yeah, well.... you can have him on one condition."
"What's that, Lord?"
"You'll have to let him believe that I made him first."