Ezekiel's Temple - Ezekiel 40
Ezekiel's Temple vision prophesied of the end of the Levitical Musicians. Josephus agrees that they were illegal and helped destroy the temple - again. The temple was the capital of a secular state and not the capital of a spiritual religion. The events of the temple did not prevent a walk of righteousness and justice with God through study of Scripture and prayer.
The nation of Israel rejected God's Covenant of Grace or Spiritual Kingdom within 40 days of pledging to keep it. As punishment God gave them the Book of the Law to govern a Secular Nation. Later,
They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Deut 32:17
During the period of the Judges they continued to reject a Spiritual Relationship with God:
And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord, and served not him. Judges 10:6
The elders demanded that they have a king like the nations. When they persisted after being warned about a Secular Nation, God gave them a king because they had already rejected God in their heart:
And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 1 Samuel 8:7
God did not destroy Israel but permitted a Secular State to keep a tiny remnant alive because through them would come Messiah -- a Prophet like Moses.
Samuel continued to warn Israel but He made it clear that they were no longer a Spiritual Kingdom but a secular temple-state just like the other nations. As such the king worshipped for the secular state but not for the people. In time,
Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. 2 Kings 17:18
Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. 2 Kings 17:19
And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. 2 Kings 17:20
For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. 2 Kings 17:21
Jesus, in Matthew 23:29f and Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:14-16 show that Israel never repented and this is why Jesus spoke to them in Parables and Paul used "difficult speech."
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Acts 2:29
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; Acts 2:30
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. Acts 2:31
Therefore, believers are in the true, spiritual kingdom of Christ and not in the secular, physical kingdom of David who is dead along with all of his priests.
Now, look back to Jerusalem: ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
The Secular - Civil Capital at Jerusalem ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
After God gave Saul as a "visual aid" and destroyed him for taking the credit, David was selected to be a secular king over a secular nation: he was not God's spiritual representative.
After everyone had been conquered, David had a host of Levitical warrior musicians on his hands. He took them to Jerusalem
David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service: 1 Chronicles 25:1
Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king. 1 Chronicles 25:2
All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the kings order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman. 1 Chronicles 25:6
Solomon understood that the Temple was the "king's chapel" and it was not the place where God choose to meet people.
He also knew that God's sanctuary was at Gibeon and not in Jerusalem. Therefore, that was the religious center where God met the people:
Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers. 2 Chronicles 1:2
and Solomon and the whole assembly went to the high place at Gibeon, for God's Tent of Meeting was there, which Moses the LORD's servant had made in the desert. 2 Chronicles 1:3
But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 1:4
Moreover the brasen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the Lord: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it. 2 Chronicles 1:5
When he was ready to dedicate the temple Solomon called it the house of the Lord. However, while praying he asked:
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built 2 Chronicles 6:18
Spiritual Worship of the Congregation: ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
The house, therefore, became a place toward which the people could pray and God would hear from heaven:
Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: 2 Chronicles 6:19
That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place. 2 Chronicles 6:20
Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive. 2 Chronicles 6:21
Dediciation rituals for the temple of the like the nations kingdom:
Therefore, the animal sacrifice with instrumental noise was to dedicate the physical temple, the capital of the Israelite nation who has lost the immediate presence of God still available in the Tabernacle.
And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 2 Chronicles 7:5
- And the priests waited on their offices: ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
- the Levites also with instruments of musick of the Lord, which
- David the king had made to praise the Lord,
- because his mercy endureth for ever,
- when David praised by their ministry; and
- the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood. 2 Chronicles 7:6
This was not congregational worship because: ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat. 2 Chronicles 7:7
Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt. 2 Chronicles 7:8
And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 2 Chronicles 7:9
This is the Holy Spirit telling us that God did not live in the Ark of the Covenant. Rather, God ordained the tent of meeting which was part of the Tabernacle as the place where He would meet certain people in the person of the priests still in Gibeon:
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15
- And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land,
- in those days, saith the Lord,
- they shall say no more, ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
- The ark of the covenant of the Lord: ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
- neither shall it come to mind: ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
- neither shall they remember it; ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
- neither shall they visit it; ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
- neither shall that be done any more. Jeremiah 3:16
In summary, the "Tent of Meeting" which travelled was symbolic of the spiritual place where God met the people through the priest.
The Ark of the Covenant came to stand for Jerusalem where David believed that God was in the "box" and certainly would live within the house he would build.
The Tabernacle has been moved to heaven and the Ark has been forgotten as the human symbol of God's presence.
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Hebrews 9:11
The Levites with music served before the Ark of the Covenant. That Ark no longer exists and now that believers are priests of God we can all come boldly before the Throne of God rather than being forcefully kept away by the religion of the Ark -- the religion of the musical Levites.
The Idealized Temple. ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
Ezekiel began to write a parable of the Jews in exile. They would have to worship without the physical temple but could live in relationship with God in a spiritualized or idealized temple.
We should note that when Ezekiel seems to be flying around on a magic carpet by the Spirit's power, he is "in the spirit" like John and is seeing visions from God.
In Ezekiel Chapter 40 God begins to describe an "idealized temple." The Levites are demoted:
And the chamber whose prospect is toward the north is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar: these are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the Lord to minister unto him. Eze.40:46
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. Eze.44:10
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. Eze 44:11
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, saith the Lord God, and they shall bear their iniquity. Eze 44:12
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. Eze 44:13
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. Eze 44:14
It shall be for the priests that are sanctified of the sons of Zadok; which have kept my charge,
- which went not astray when the children of Israel went astray,
- as the Levites went astray. Eze.48:11
Remember that David left the Zadoks at Gibeon where the Tabernacle and the altar of God existed and where he met with Solomon but to which David could go. He took the musicians and the Ark of the Covenant to the secular capital. This would lead to may brushes with idolatry right in the seculat temple:
But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
that kept the charge of my sanctuary ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
when the children of Israel went astray from me, ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
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, saith the Lord God: Eze.44:15
They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge. Eze 44:16
And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. Eze 44:17
They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat. Eze 44:18
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. Eze 44:19
Zadok served as high priest over the religious institution under both David and Solomon. When Absalom rebelled, Zadok sided with David. And when Adonijah sought to be king after David, Solomon was selected because he was a typical earthly king.
This means that the entire Levitical serving class was demoted except the family of Zadok. This outlaws the Levitical Musicians so popular in modern restorations of Jewish ceremonial legalism.
Instrumental Music Alfred Edersheim Notes that:
Properly speaking, the real service of praise in the Temple was only with the voice. This is often laid down as a principle by the Rabbis. What instrumental music there was, served only to accompany and sustain the song. Accordingly, none other than Levites might act as choristers, while other distinguished Israelites were allowed to take part in the instrumental music. The blasts of the trumpets, blown by priests only, formed--at least in the second Temple--no part of the instrumental music of the service, but were intended for quite different purposes.
Even the posture of the performers showed this, for while the Levites stood at their desks facing towards the sanctuary, or westwards, the priests, with their silver trumpets, stood exactly in the opposite direction, on the west side of the rise of the altar, by the 'table of the fat,' and looking eastwards or down the courts. On ordinary days the priests blew seven times, each time three blasts--a short sound, an alarm, and again a sharp short sound (Thekiah, Theruah, and Thekiah *), or, as the Rabbis express it, 'An alarm in the midst and a plain note before and after it.'
* Inferring from the present usage in the Synagogue, Saalschutz (Gesch. d. Musik bei d. Hebr.)--Thekiah, Theruah, Thekiah )
According to tradition, they were intended symbolically to proclaim the kingdom of God, Divine Providence, and the final judgment.
The first three blasts were blown when the great gates of the Temple--especially that of Nicanor--were opened.
Then, when the drink-offering was poured out, the Levites sung the psalm of the day in three sections.
After each section there was a pause (probably marked by the term Selah), when the priests blew three blasts,
and the people worshipped. ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
This was the practice at the evening, as at the morning sacrifice.
On the eve of the Sabbath a threefold blast of the priests' trumpets summoned the people, far as the sound was carried over the city, to prepare for the holy day,
while another threefold blast announced its actual commencement.
On Sabbaths, when, besides the ordinary, an additional sacrifice was brought, and the 'Song of Moses' sung--not the whole every Sabbath, but divided in six parts, one for every Sabbath,--
the priests sounded their trumpets additional three times
in the pauses of the Sabbath psalm. ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
Josephus notes in Antiquities 20:5. ezekiel's temple, ezekiel 40,
"But when Albinus heard that Gessius Florus was coming to succeed him, he was desirous to appear to do somewhat that might be grateful to the people of Jerusalem;
so he brought out all those prisoners who seemed to him to be most plainly worthy of death, and ordered them to be put to death accordingly.
But as to those who had been put into prison on some trifling occasions, he took money of them, and dismissed them;
by which means the prisons were indeed emptied, but the country was filled with robbers.
6. Now as many of the Levites, which is a tribe of ours, as were singers of hymns, persuaded the king to assemble a sanhedrim, and to give them leave to wear linen garments, as well as the priests
for they said that this would be a work worthy the times of his government, that he might have a memorial of such a novelty, as being his doing.
Nor did they fail of obtaining their desire; for the king, with the suffrages of those that came into the sanhedrim, granted the singers of hymns this privilege, that they might lay aside their former garments,
and wear such a linen one as they desired; and as a part of this tribe ministered in the temple,
he also permitted them to learn those hymns as they had besought him for.
Now all this was contrary to the laws of our country, which, whenever they have been transgressed, we have never been able to avoid the punishment of such transgressions.
When the temple was completed king Agrippa, like David with all of those unemployed Levitical Singers under the commanders of the army, had trouble. The people wanted the work to continue. They even proposed that the cloisters from the time of Solomon be torn down, stone by stone, and be rebuilt -- real make-work.
he denied the petitioners their request about that matter; but he did not obstruct them
when they desired the city might be paved with white stone.
He also deprived Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, of the high priesthood, and gave it to Matthias, the son of Theophilus, under whom the Jews' war with the Romans took its beginning.
The Catholic Restoration of Levitical Singers
The following words from the "Motu proprio" have, however, caused a great deal of uncertainty: "With the exception of the melodies proper to the celebrant at the altar and to his ministers,
which must always be sung only in Gregorian chant and without the accompaniment of the organ,
all the rest of the liturgical chant belongs to the choir of levites; therefore, singers in church, even when they are laymen, are really taking the place of the ecclesiastical choir."
On the same principle it follows that singers in church have a real liturgical office and that, therefore, women, as being incapable of exercising such office, cannot be admitted to form part of the choir or of the musical chapel.
Whenever, then, it is desired to employ the acute voices of sopranos and contraltos, these parts must be taken by boys, according to the most ancient usage of the Church.
But the Holy Father speaks here (as in the beginning) of the choir of levites, among whom laymen may be included, and declares soon after these quoted words that it is becoming for them to wear the ecclesiastical habit and surplice. But our ordinary lay choir represents not only the congregation, but also the official choir, without wishing to play the role of "levites";
for this reason it is not stationed in the sanctuary, and no one would think of proposing that its members, like acolytes, should wear the ecclesiastical habit. The lay choir is simply a substitute for the absent chorus cantorum, in the liturgical sense, as is the nun for the absent acolyte when she supplies from a distance the responses to the celebrant during the celebration of Mass.
In general, it is now-a-days impossible to do entirely without polyphonic music.
It constitutes a welcome means of giving splendour to feast-days, but is a source of danger if over-indulged in.
The organ must be subordinate to the singing, must support and not drown it.
The purely vocal style is the ideal of the Church.
The papal choir, the Sistine, has always excluded instrumental music.
"The first step toward the decadence of genuine Catholic church music
was the introduction of orchestra instruments.
Their character and independent use have imparted to religious expression a sensuous charm, which has proved very detrimental, and has affected unfavourably the art of singing itself.
The virtuosity of instrumentalists provoked imitation on the part of singers, and soon a worldly and operatic taste held full sway in church.
Certain parts of the sacred text, e. g. the 'Kyrie Eleison', became a vehicle for operatic arias, and singers trained for Italian opera were engaged as church singers
Because the Pope presumes to be the Vicar of Christ or actually Christ to the present world, to attempt to worship with instruments in the presence of the Pope was considered equivalent to attempting to worshiping Christ with instruments.
The restoration of the Levitial "Musical Worship Team" fails to appreciate that the introduction of the Levites into priest-like roles in the temple as capital of the secular like the nations Monarchy which led to grave problems with all such "teams" and this led to the corruption of the entire Israelite nation. They were outlawed and helped destroy the temple for the final time as they "piped" to try to force Jesus into the effeminate singing and dancing of Dionysus.
Catholicism reintroduced the entire sacrificial system including Priests, Levitical singers and even the sacrificial system where they offer up Jesus over and over.
Because Protestant "Anti-ism" has turned into "Any-ism" it is natural that they adopt the Catholic practices and use as proof-texts the secular nation under the Hebrew kings.
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