Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me to the east gate of the LORD's house, which looks eastward…
I. THE DESTRUCTION OF A CORRUPT PRIESTHOOD. The evil of the priesthood of that city and day is seen in this vision to consist in —
1. Their unhallowed designs and influence. The inventions of the genius of evil are, as they were then, often manifold and deep.
2. Their contempt of sacred things. They actually play about "the cauldron" that Jeremiah had seen in a vision of retribution. Familiarity with sacred things is perilous to men who lose true sacredness of living, for they are tempted to use their wit to cover their shallowness, with regard to themes wherein they should "stand in awe and sin not."
3. Their false security. Their assertion about the Chaldean invasion, "It is not near," illustrates the presumptuousness that ever marks mere professors of piety.
4. Their conformity to evil associations. Whereas the one consecrating cry of all true priesthoods is, "Be ye separate," the histories of all corrupt priesthoods reveal a conformity to the world with which they have to do, that may well be charged against them in the words heard in the vision, "Ye have done after the manner of the heathen."
5. Their liability to terrible retribution. The death of Pelatiah, at the very time when Ezekiel was pronouncing the doom of this priesthood, is an emblem of retribution history records, and prophecy predicts on all the false.
II. THE INDICATIONS OF A MAN BELONGING TO THE TRUE PRIESTHOOD.
1. Open to Divine illumination. As Ezekiel was "lifted up" by the Spirit, and afterwards had that Spirit "fall upon him" — indicating, surely, special contact with the Divine; so there is the promise to every regenerate man "that he shall see heavens opened."
2. Sensitive to impressions from human life. To be Divinely enlightened does not indicate that there will be any functionalism, any stoicism in the man.
3. A wide conscious brotherliness. The cry to the exile, "thy brethren, thy brethren," indicated that not alone in the twenty-five who had fallen, but in the scattered throngs that would be gathered again, he recognised a brotherhood. So our Master has taught us, "all ye are brethren."
4. Commissioned to proclaim inspiring promises. The priestly prophet was to utter as surely as was Isaiah, and every God-sent messenger, a "comfort ye."
III. THE FORMATION OF A TRUE PRIESTHOOD.
I. Divinely collected. God knew where the scattered were, and would gather them again. The eye of God resting alike on all classes and castes, churches and countries, discovers the genuine men. He has been a "sanctuary for a little time" to them in the midst of uncongenial pursuits, hostile circumstances, adverse experiences; but from every such Babylon of evil He will gather them for His sacred work.
2. Divinely regenerated. No words could more forcibly express a complete moral and spiritual reformation than "the words in which the eternal Spirit of Goodness declares, "I will put a new spirit within you, and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh."
3. Divinely adopted. "They shall be My people," etc.
(Urijah R. Thomas.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.
WEB: Moreover the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me to the east gate of Yahweh's house, which looks eastward: and see, at the door of the gate twenty-five men; and I saw in the midst of them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.