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Free Bible Version - Ezekiel

Ezekiel 44

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1The man took me back to the outside gate of the sanctuary that faced to the east, but it was shut.
2The Lord told me, “This gate will stay shut. It is not be opened. No one is allowed to come in through it, because the Lord, the God of Israel, has passed through it. So it will stay shut.
3The prince himself is permitted to come and sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the Lord. He is to come in through the gateway's porch and leave the same way.”
4The man took me to the front of the Temple through the north gate. As I looked, I saw the glory of the Lord filling his Temple, and I fell with my face to the ground.
5The Lord told me, “Son of man, concentrate! Keep your eyes open! Listen carefully to everything I tell you about all the regulations and laws of the Lord's Temple. Pay close attention to the Temple entrance and all the exits of the sanctuary.
6Tell those rebels, the people of Israel, that this is what the Lord God says: I've had more than enough of all your disgusting sins, people of Israel!
7As well as all your other offensive practices, you invited unconverted, pagan foreigners to come into my sanctuary. You made my Temple unclean even while you offered food to me, the fat and the blood. You broke my agreement.
8In addition you have not taken care of my sanctuary as you were required to, but instead you employed others to look after my sanctuary for you.
9This is what the Lord God says: No unconverted, pagan foreigners are allowed to enter my sanctuary—not even a foreigner who lives with the Israelites.
10The Levites who abandoned me when Israel turned from worshiping me and went off to follow their idols will experience the consequences of their sins.
11However, they will serve in my sanctuary, supervising the Temple gates and working in the Temple. They will slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices brought by the people and be there to serve them.
12But because they served the people in front of their idols and encouraged the people of Israel to sin, I held up my hand to promise on oath that they would experience the consequences of their sin, declares the Lord God.
13They are not allowed to come near me to serve me as priests, and they are not to touch anything I regard as holy or most holy. They will have to experience the shame of the disgusting sins they committed.
14However, I will put them in charge of all Temple work and everything that needs to be done there.
15It is the Levitical priests, descended from Zadok and who took care of my sanctuary when the Israelites abandoned me, are the ones to come near to me and minister before me. They will stand in my presence to offer me fat and blood, declares the Lord God.
16Only they are allowed to enter my sanctuary and approach my table to minister before me. They will do what I say.
17When they come in through the entrances of the inner courtyard, they shall wear linen garments. They must not wear any woolen clothes when they serve at the entrances of the inner courtyard or inside the Temple.
18They shall wear linen turbans on their heads and linen underwear. They are not to wear anything that makes them sweat.

19When they go to the outer court where the people are, they must take off their priestly clothes they wore when they were serving, and leave them in the holy rooms. They are to put on other clothes so that they don't carry holiness to the people with their clothing.
20They are not permitted to shave their heads or let their hair grow long; they must have a proper haircut.
21No priest shall drink wine before he enters the inner courtyard.
22They are not to marry a woman who is a widow or divorced; they can only marry a virgin of Israelite descent, or a widow of a priest.
23They are to teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, and explain to them how to distinguish between what is clean and what is unclean.
24They are to serve as judges in legal cases, and base their decisions on my laws. They are to follow my instructions and regulations regarding all my regular religious festivals, and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.
25A priest must not make himself unclean by going near a dead body. However, if it's his father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or a sister that's not married, then he may do so.
26Afterwards, once he is purified, he must wait for seven days.
27Then when he enters the sanctuary, going into the inner courtyard and ministering there in the sanctuary, he has to present his sin offering, declares the Lord God.
28Regarding their share of the land, I will take care of them. You are not to give them any property in Israel, because I will provide for them.
29They are to eat the grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. Everything brought by the people of Israel and dedicated to the Lord will be theirs.
30The best of all the firstfruits and all your offerings are for the priests. You shall give the first loaf you bake to the priest, so that your home may be blessed.
31The priests are not permitted to eat any bird or animal found dead or killed by wild beasts.”