The Book of Ezekiel was supposedly written by a Jewish prophet named Ezekiel, who lived in Babylon in 622BC-570BC. During Ezekiel’s life, Babylon conquered Judah, destroyed the Jewish Temple, and exiled many Jews from their homeland. While living abroad, Ezekiel claimed to have received visions from God giving him instructions to build a new temple and new rules for how it should be run. The Book of Ezekiel is his recounting of his conversation with God.
Artist’s rendition of the temple God told Ezekiel to build for Him.
Some Biblical scholars suspect the book was modified by multiple unknown authors at later dates, making it difficult, if not impossible, to know which passages are originals and which have been manipulated. There’s also plenty of evidence within the book itself to suggest it was not divinely inspired. Below is the full text of Ezekiel 43-46, and parts of Ezekiel 48. I’ve highlighted verses in bold that raise doubt about the divinity of the Bible, and I elaborate on them after each section.
Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell face down. The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The people of Israel will never again defile my holy name—neither they nor their kings—by their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings at their death. When they placed their threshold next to my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by their detestable practices. So I destroyed them in my anger. Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings, and I will live among them forever.
The first nine verses of Ezekiel 43 tell us four things about Yahweh. One, He is literally here on Earth, walking around, and sitting on a throne in a private room. Two, He is an angry god who kills disobedient followers. Three, He intended to live among humans, sitting on a stone throne forever. Four, God did not divinely inspire the book of Ezekiel, because Ezekiel’s prophecies never came true. The Jews built a second Temple, but it wasn’t designed to Ezekiel’s specifications, and the Romans destroyed it in 70AD. So much for “forever.”
“Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider its perfection, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple—its arrangement, its exits and entrances—its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations.
“This is the law of the temple: All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple.
“These are the measurements of the altar in long cubits, that cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth: Its gutter is a cubit deep and a cubit wide, with a rim of one span around the edge. And this is the height of the altar: From the gutter on the ground up to the lower ledge that goes around the altar it is two cubits high, and the ledge is a cubit wide. From this lower ledge to the upper ledge that goes around the altar it is four cubits high, and that ledge is also a cubit wide. Above that, the altar hearth is four cubits high, and four horns project upward from the hearth. The altar hearth is square, twelve cubits long and twelve cubits wide. The upper ledge also is square, fourteen cubits long and fourteen cubits wide. All around the altar is a gutter of one cubit with a rim of half a cubit. The steps of the altar face east.”
Then he said to me, “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: These will be the regulations for sacrificing burnt offerings and splashing blood against the altar when it is built: You are to give a young bull as a sin offering to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who come near to minister before me, declares the Sovereign Lord. You are to take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the upper ledge and all around the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it. You are to take the bull for the sin offering and burn it in the designated part of the temple area outside the sanctuary.
“On the second day you are to offer a male goat without defect for a sin offering, and the altar is to be purified as it was purified with the bull. When you have finished purifying it, you are to offer a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. You are to offer them before the Lord, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and sacrifice them as a burnt offering to the Lord.
“For seven days you are to provide a male goat daily for a sin offering; you are also to provide a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. For seven days they are to make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; thus they will dedicate it. At the end of these days, from the eighth day on, the priests are to present your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar. Then I will accept you, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
Yahweh commanded the Jews to prepare an altar where people could burn food for Him to feast on by smearing it with the blood of animals for seven days. From the eighth day onward, the altar would be open for sacrificial business. There’s no mention of God planning on leaving His Temple, coming back to Earth in human form as Jesus, or sacrificing Himself to Himself to eliminate the need for animal sacrifices. According to Ezekiel, Yahweh’s house will just be drenched in blood and soot from burnt flesh forever.
Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The Lord said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it. The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.”
Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple of the Lord, and I fell face down.
Ezekiel 44 reconfirms Ezekiel 43’s claim that God is physically present in the Temple since he entered through a gate. Some people claim the gate is a metaphor, and Jesus is the prince who alone will be able to enter the presence of the Lord. Biblical scholars don’t know who the prince really is, but the rest of the Book of Ezekiel makes it clear he was supposed to be a real person who lived in the Temple, owned land, and made traditional animal and grain sacrifices to Yahweh.
The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations and instructions regarding the temple of the Lord. Give attention to the entrance to the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary. Say to rebellious Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough of your detestable practices, people of Israel! In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant. Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.
This passage reconfirms a common theme in the Bible of God being racist. He didn’t just choose the Jews to be his chosen people to spread His good word to the world. Yahweh viewed all foreigners as second-class humans. In His racist tirade, He also casually reconfirms the purpose of sacrificing animals on an altar: to feed Him with blood and fat.
“‘The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin. They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them. But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord. They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their detestable practices. And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done in it.
“‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord. They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and serve me as guards.
“‘When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen clothes; they must not wear any woolen garment while ministering at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple. They are to wear linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments around their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them perspire. When they go out into the outer court where the people are, they are to take off the clothes they have been ministering in and are to leave them in the sacred rooms, and put on other clothes, so that the people are not consecrated through contact with their garments.
“‘They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed. No priest is to drink wine when he enters the inner court. They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests. They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.
“‘In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges and decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed festivals, and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.
“‘A priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person; however, if the dead person was his father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister, then he may defile himself. After he is cleansed, he must wait seven days. On the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering for himself, declares the Sovereign Lord.
“‘I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession. They will eat the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings; and everything in Israel devoted to the Lord will belong to them. The best of all the first fruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household. The priests must not eat anything, whether bird or animal, found dead or torn by wild animals.
If you’re confused why God would need a brick and mortar house with a blood-stained altar, the final verses of Ezekiel 44 hint at a plausible explanation. Yahweh fires his old priests and gives them grunt work to do around the Temple. He specifically says they can’t have any of His best stuff. Then He promotes another order of priests to serve him fat and blood at his table. They are to wear the best clothes, marry the best wives, act as heads of state, avoid doing dirty work, and even though they’re not supposed to own anything, they get to eat all the best food brought to the Temple by worshipers.
According to tradition, Ezekiel was a member of the order of priests who got demoted. If this is true, then Ezekiel wasn’t writing down instructions that would conveniently benefit him. However, we don’t know if Ezekiel was a real person or if these instructions were added later. The simplest explanation is they were written by someone who planned to benefit from them.
“‘When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to present to the Lord a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy. Of this, a section 500 cubits square is to be for the sanctuary, with 50 cubits around it for open land. In the sacred district, measure off a section 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. In it will be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. It will be the sacred portion of the land for the priests, who minister in the sanctuary and who draw near to minister before the Lord. It will be a place for their houses as well as a holy place for the sanctuary. An area 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide will belong to the Levites, who serve in the temple, as their possession for towns to live in.
“‘You are to give the city as its property an area 5,000 cubits wide and 25,000 cubits long, adjoining the sacred portion; it will belong to all Israel.
“‘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 people of Israel to possess the land according to their tribes.
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have gone far enough, princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Stop dispossessing my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You are to use accurate scales, an accurate ephah and an accurate bath. The ephah and the bath are to be the same size, the bath containing a tenth of a homer and the ephah a tenth of a homer; the homer is to be the standard measure for both. The shekel is to consist of twenty gerahs. Twenty shekels plus twenty-five shekels plus fifteen shekels equal one mina.
Ezekiel, speaking for Yahweh, reconfirms again that the priest class literally comes near God in the Temple. Then He orders a private gated community to be built for the humble priestly class that is bigger than the public area allotted to the rest of the inhabitants of the city.
Yahweh also gives a huge allotment of land to the mystery prince who will rule Israel and specifically orders future princes to use accurate weights and measurements for money and goods. These are secular privileges and duties that don’t fit Jesus’s narratives and that Jesus never mentioned.
“‘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 olive oil, measured by the bath, is a tenth of a bathfrom 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. All the people of the land will be required to give this special offering to 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 festivals of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the Israelites.
“‘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.
“‘In the first month on the fourteenth day you are to observe the Passover, a festival lasting seven days, during which you shall eat bread made without yeast. On that day the prince is to provide a bull as a sin offering for himself and for all the people of the land. Every day during the seven days of the festival he is to provide seven bulls and seven rams without defect as a burnt offering to the Lord, and a male goat for a sin offering. He is to provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull and an ephah for each ram, along with a hin of olive oil for each ephah.
“‘During the seven days of the festival, which begins in the seventh month on the fifteenth day, he is to make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings and oil.
Ezekiel 44:13-25 goes on to specify that the prince will personally offer burnt animals, food, and drinks to Yahweh during Israel’s annual festivals, which implies the prince isn’t Jesus, and Yahweh had no plans of eliminating the need for animal sacrifices.
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The gate of the inner courtfacing east is to be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day and on the day of the New Moon it is to be opened. The prince is to enter from the outside through the portico of the gateway and stand by the gatepost. The priests are to sacrifice his burnt offering and his fellowship offerings. He is to bow down in worship at the threshold of the gateway and then go out, but the gate will not be shut until evening. On the Sabbaths and New Moons the people of the land are to worship in the presence of the Lord at the entrance of that gateway. The burnt offering the prince brings to the Lord on the Sabbath day is to be six male lambs and a ram, all without defect. The grain offering given with the ram is to be an ephah, and the grain offering with the lambs is to be as much as he pleases, along with a hin of olive oil for each ephah. On the day of the New Moon he is to offer a young bull, six lambs and a ram, all without defect. He is to provide as a grain offering one ephah with the bull, one ephah with the ram, and with the lambs as much as he wants to give, along with a hin of oil for each ephah. When the prince enters, he is to go in through the portico of the gateway, and he is to come out the same way.
“‘When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed festivals, 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 they 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. At the feasts and the appointed festivals, the grain offering is to be an ephah with a bull, an ephah with a ram, and with the lambs as much as he pleases, along with a hin of oil for each ephah.
“‘When the prince provides a freewill offering to the Lord—whether a burnt offering or fellowship offerings—the gate facing east is to be opened for him. He shall offer his burnt offering or his fellowship offerings as he does on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he has gone out, the gate will be shut.
“‘Every day you are to provide a year-old lamb without defect for a burnt offering to the Lord; morning by morning you shall provide it. You are also to provide with it morning by morning a grain offering, consisting of a sixth of an ephah with a third of a hin of oil to moisten the flour. The presenting of this grain offering to the Lord is a lasting ordinance. So the lamb and the grain offering and the oil shall be provided morning by morning for a regular burnt offering.
The first half of Ezekiel 46 reconfirms repeatedly that Yahweh requires blood sacrifices, which will be cooked for him by human priests. Take a moment and contemplate how much blood will be spilled in Ezekiel’s Temple. If you could visit this place, you wouldn’t witness an ancient, beautiful, powerful, metaphorical, quaint ritual. You would see a blood-stained slaughter house full of screams, where skinny, poor people give their best food to fat priests guarding an empty room.
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: If the prince makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his sons, it will also belong to his descendants; it is to be their property by inheritance. If, however, he makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, the servant may keep it until the year of freedom; then it will revert to the prince. His inheritance belongs to his sons only; it is theirs. The prince must not take any of the inheritance of the people, driving them off their property. He is to give his sons their inheritance out of his own property, so that not one of my people will be separated from their property.’”
Then the man brought me through the entrance at the side of the gate to the sacred rooms facing north, which belonged to the priests, and showed me a place at the western end. He said to me, “This is the place where the priests are to cook the guilt offering and the sin offering and bake the grain offering, to avoid bringing them into the outer court and consecrating the people.”
He then brought me to the outer court and led me around to its four corners, and I saw in each corner another court. In the four corners of the outer court were enclosed courts, forty cubits long and thirty cubits wide; each of the courts in the four corners was the same size. Around the inside of each of the four courts was a ledge of stone, with places for fire built all around under the ledge. He said to me, “These are the kitchens where those who minister at the temple are to cook the sacrifices of the people.”
The second half of Ezekiel 46 reconfirms repeatedly that the prince and his priests are to have lucrative special privileges and private living areas where the commoners won’t be able to see the opulence God’s “servants” live in. If this doesn’t sound like made-up, self-serving bullshit to you yet, then you must be trying to deny the obvious.
“These are the tribes, listed by name: At the northern frontier, Dan will have one portion; it will follow the Hethlon road to Lebo Hamath; Hazar Enan and the northern border of Damascus next to Hamath will be part of its border from the east side to the west side.
“Asher will have one portion; it will border the territory of Dan from east to west.
“Naphtali will have one portion; it will border the territory of Asher from east to west.
“Manasseh will have one portion; it will border the territory of Naphtali from east to west.
“Ephraim will have one portion; it will border the territory of Manassehfrom east to west.
“Reuben will have one portion; it will border the territory of Ephraim from east to west.
“Judah will have one portion; it will border the territory of Reuben from east to west.
“Bordering the territory of Judah from east to west will be the portion you are to present as a special gift. It will be 25,000 cubits wide, and its length from east to west will equal one of the tribal portions; the sanctuary will be in the center of it.
“The special portion you are to offer to the Lord will be 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. This will be the sacred portion for the priests. It will be 25,000 cubits long on the north side, 10,000 cubits wide on the west side, 10,000 cubits wide on the east side and 25,000 cubits long on the south side. In the center of it will be the sanctuary of the Lord. This will be for the consecrated priests, the Zadokites, who were faithful in serving me and did not go astray as the Levites did when the Israelites went astray. It will be a special gift to them from the sacred portion of the land, a most holy portion, bordering the territory of the Levites.
“Alongside the territory of the priests, the Levites will have an allotment 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. Its total length will be 25,000 cubits and its width 10,000 cubits. They must not sell or exchange any of it. This is the best of the land and must not pass into other hands, because it is holy to the Lord.
“The remaining area, 5,000 cubits wide and 25,000 cubits long, will be for the common use of the city, for houses and for pastureland. The city will be in the center of it and will have these measurements: the north side 4,500 cubits, the south side 4,500 cubits, the east side 4,500 cubits, and the west side 4,500 cubits. The pastureland for the city will be 250 cubits on the north, 250 cubits on the south, 250 cubits on the east, and 250 cubits on the west. What remains of the area, bordering on the sacred portion and running the length of it, will be 10,000 cubits on the east side and 10,000 cubits on the west side. Its produce will supply food for the workers of the city. The workers from the city who farm it will come from all the tribes of Israel. The entire portion will be a square, 25,000 cubits on each side. As a special gift you will set aside the sacred portion, along with the property of the city.
“What remains on both sides of the area formed by the sacred portion and the property of the city will belong to the prince. It will extend eastward from the 25,000 cubits of the sacred portion to the eastern border, and westward from the 25,000 cubits to the western border. Both these areas running the length of the tribal portions will belong to the prince, and the sacred portion with the temple sanctuary will be in the center of them. So the property of the Levites and the property of the city will lie in the center of the area that belongs to the prince. The area belonging to the prince will lie between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin.
Ezekiel reiterates that the prince and priests should be given, not only the best land in the city, but more of it than anyone else, and ownership can never be transferred from the priest’s family line. If you still don’t suspect this book was written by a cult leader trying (and failing) to trick a nation into spoiling him rotten, how much more would a false prophet have to ask for before you question his motives?
“These will be the exits of the city: Beginning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits long, the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel. The three gates on the north side will be the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah and the gate of Levi.
“On the east side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin and the gate of Dan.
“On the south side, which measures 4,500 cubits, will be three gates: the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar and the gate of Zebulun.
“On the west side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher and the gate of Naphtali.
“The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits.
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there.”
The last sentence of the Book of Ezekiel reconfirms one more time, just in case you still think the author is speaking metaphorically, that Yahweh literally lives in a brick and mortar house somewhere in the Middle East. Like most of the Old Testament, The Book of Ezekiel is a train wreck of archaic, barbaric, primitive customs we would laugh at other cultures for believing are divine. If you already don’t believe in some of the nonsense in the Bible, then apply the same common sense to the rest of the book.
If you feel like I’m taking Ezekiel 43-48 out of context by leaving out the first part of the book, watch this dramatic reenactment. It will only strengthen my argument that The Book of Ezekiel is the incoherent ramblings of a primitive religious fanatic making up stories:
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