The Spaceships of Ezekiel
Are there Flying Saucers in the Bible?


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 619


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Keywords: Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, history, Middle East, religion, Ezekiel, Roman Catholicism, prophecy, Christianity, Old Testament, Judaism, Protestantism, biblical prophets, Tanakh, Hebrew  Scriptures





Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture

Ezekiel article page 619 


XLIII-XLVI The New Cult— Yahweh now enters his temple and prescribes how he is to be worshipped there. 1. The Theophany. 2. The Altar of Holo. causts. 3. Prince, Levites and Priests. 4. Offerings. 5. Feasts and Sacrifices. 6. Inalienability of Prince's Domain. 7. Kitchens.


XLIII 1-12 The Theophany— Ezechiel in a vision sees Yahweh solemnly enter his New Temple by the eastern gate. Conducted into the inner court the prophet beholds the glory of the Lord and hears his voice (not an angel's voice DV). Yahweh will dwell for ever among his people. They shall no more profane his holy name by their infidelities, by the corpses of their kings, buried usually in the southern part of the temple hill but sometimes in the palace garden, and by the palaces of their kings separated only by a wall from the sacred edifice. Solomon's temple had no outer court and was separated from his palace only by the single wall of the inner court. Ezechiel is ordered to promulgate the plan and measurements of the New Temple and the laws now revealed to him by which temple service must be regulated. 7. Supply after 'son of man') thou hast seen (LXX) and omit by the high places', a dittography.


13-27 The Altar of Holocausts and its Consecration—The Altar is assumed to have been of stone. Underneath was a socle, measuring, outside the altar which fitted into it, a cubit in breadth and height. The altar proper consisted of 3 square blocks placed one on top of the other. The lowest was 16 cubits square and 2 high, the middle 14 cubits square and 4 high, the topmost—the altar surface—12 cubits square and 4 high. Cf. § 278c. The altar had horns or projections at all four corners. At the base of all three blocks was a border or rim half a cubit in height. These rims probably formed channels for the reception of the blood. The ascent to the altar was by steps at the E. side. The consecration lasted seven days. On the first day a young bullock was the sin-offering. Its blood was poured on the four horns, on the four corners of the middle and lowest blocks and on the border of the socle round about. The body was burnt outside the sanctuary. After the expiation ceremony a bullock and a ram were offered as holocausts. Similar offerings were made on the following days except that a he-goat was the sin-offering. Not Ezechiel but the priests instructed by him were the consecrators. The salting of the holocausts, not pentateuchal, is noteworthy; cf. Mk 9:49.


XLIV 1-31 Prince, Levites and Priests— The prince is the vicegerent of Yahweh who is king of the new theocratic state. Among his privileges is a special place for sacrificial meals, the eastern gate of the outer court. As this gate can never be opened because Yahweh entered by it the king must enter the court by another gate and thus attain the inner entry of the eastern gate. An allusion to a gate of Marduk's great temple in Babylon, only opened twice a year, is generally assumed. Many of the Fathers see in the gate through which God alone passes a figure of our Lady's perpetual virginity. The Israelites are reproached for having permitted foreigners and uncircumcised persons, whom they employed in an inferior capacity as temple servants, to enter and profane Yahweh's sanctuary. The Nethînîm, inferior temple servants of foreign origin, must be replaced by a particular class of Levites, namely, those who formerly exercised sacerdotal functions but are now degraded in consequence of idol worship and infidelity to Yahweh. To these are committed the guardianship of the gates, slaughter of the victims and menial offices in general. They must not discharge the functions or enjoy the emoluments of the priesthood.  n  The priests are no longer all the male descendants of Aaron but a particular class of them, the descendants of Sadoc. Aaron left two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar. Abiathar, high-priest in David's time, was descended from Ithamar. His disloyalty led to the transfer of the dignity to the loyal Sadoc, a descendant of Eleazar, 3 Kg 1:26, 35. The fidelity of Sadoc and his descendants in the service of Yahweh'at a time of general apostasy is the motive of their choice as priests in the New Temple. Most of the obligations of the priests will be found in the Pentateuch, sometimes however imposed exclusively on the high-priest whom Ezechiel entirely ignores. Their garments, worn only in the inner court, are of linen. They neither shave their heads nor grow their hair too long. They abstain from wine when serving. Their wives must be Israelites and either virgins or widows of priests. They teach and judge the people. They must avoid association with corpses except in specified cases of very close blood relationship involving subsequent purification. They have no part in the land of Israel but live on the offerings made by the people to Yahweh. Meal offerings, sin-offerings, guilt-offerings, ban-offerings and first-fruits are specified.



3. 'Only the prince shall', etc. 8. 'kept the ordinances': 'taken charge'. 10. 'and have borne': 'shall bear'. 13. 'by the holy of holies': 'most holy.' The most holy things, were the meal, sin and guilt offerings, 42:13. 15. 'But the Levitical priests [omitting 'and'], priests of the tribe of Levi'.19. 'Sanctify': practically = pollute. Contact with sacred things was forbidden. 26. 'cleansed': 'made unclean'.29. Insert the meal ofering after 'eat'. 30. The terûmāh or tribute (DV 'meats') was a special offering levied on all fruits and amounting in rabbinic times to a fiftieth of the harvest. 31. The food prohibition applied to people as well as priests.


XLV 1-17 Offerings— The land assigned to priests, 493a Levites, city and prince is first specified, then the prince's obligations and further emoluments. A portion of land 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 broad is first measured. The half of this enclosing the sanctuary and a vacant space of 50 cubits all around it is for the priests, the other half for the Levites. South of this is a space 25,000 cubits long and 5,000 wide for the city. East and west of the entire space already measured, 25,000 cubits square, is the portion of the prince. It extends to the Mediterranean on the W. and the Dead Sea on the E. The ample provision made for the prince is designed to correct the ancient abuse by which monarchs arbitrarily appropriated tribal territory. The prince must not oppress his subjects and must exercise a special control over weights and measures. The shekel was the standard of weight, the bath of liquid, the ephah of dry measure. The prince receives from the people a sixtieth part of their wheat and barley, a hundredth part of their oil and a two-hundredth part of their flocks. In return he must provide all public offerings and sacrifices.


1. 'ten': 'twenty' (LXX). 4. 'suburbs': 'free spaces'; after 'houses': 'and for their pasture lands'. 5. 'twenty chambers cities to inhabit' (LXX). 6-7. The separation of the sanctuary is the tract of land reserved to temple, priests and Levites. 7. 'sea': 'west.'9. 'confines': 'exactions.'12. The mine was 50 shekels (LXX) more probably than 60 (MT). 15. 'of those that Israel feedeth': 'as offering; of the families of Israel' (LXX). 17. 'and the sacrifices': 'and the offering'.


XLV 18-XLVI 15 Feasts and Sacrifices— Two feasts of expiation on the first of the first and seventh months replace the Yôm Kippûr. The blood of the sin offering, a young bullock, is poured on the corners of the altar blocks, on the doorposts of the hekal and on the gateposts of the inner court. Pasch and Tabernacles are celebrated on the dates assigned by the law but the sacrifices offered are different and are accompanied by offerings of an ephah of meal and a hin of oil. There is no mention of the paschal lamb, barley firstfruits and booths or of the feast of Pentecost. The Sabbath and New Moon feasts are next considered. On these days the eastern gate of the inner court is left open and the prince has the privilege of assisting on the threshold at the sacrifices, invisible to the people, in the outer court. The rule that those who