Ezekiel’s temple is a most challenging passage of the Bible for me; the measurements and details can make my head spin as I try to imagine the structure being described. Plowing through these difficult passages can yield gems like this one:
“You shall appoint as the property of the city an area five thousand cubits wide and twenty-five thousand long, adjacent to the district of the holy section; it shall belong to the whole house of Israel. 7 “The prince shall have a section on one side and the other of the holy district and the city’s property; and bordering on the holy district and the city’s property, extending westward on the west side and eastward on the east side, the length shall be side by side with one of the tribal portions, from the west border to the east border. 8 The land shall be his possession in Israel; and My princes shall no more oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel, according to their tribes.”
Ezekiel 45:6-8 (NKJV)
I see several principles here:
1. Civil government (the prince(s)) have a portion appointed by God. Thus civil government is a legitimate sphere ordained by God and as such has a rightful claim to taxes from the citizens (Romans 13:7). “…The prince shall have a section…”
2. Civil government does not and should not own everything, and in particular it does not own the land of the citizens. “…they (the princes) shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel…” The “princes” were to have a portion, and they were to leave the portion belonging to the citizens alone.
3. When civil government functions as if it owns all the land, it is oppression: “…My princes shall no more oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel…”
Today the civil government thinks it owns all the land, even that which is deeded to its citizens. The citizens rent the land from civil government, making payment in the form of property taxes. Should a citizen fail to render to civil government its rent (property taxes) that property will eventually be taken away from the citizen by the usurping landowner (civil government). According to the Scriptures, this is oppression, and is unlawful.