I already know that these last chapters are going to be the hardest for me. But here we go. (12/08) The prophet Zechariah seems to declare that Jesus will build this temple.
Zech. 6:12-13 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of
hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Ezek. 40:1 In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.
Ezekiel received this message after being in captivity for 24 years, 14 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. This is also a good place to note that I believe this is the description of a real temple, with real measurements that will be in use during the millennial kingdom when Christ reigns as King of kings for 1000 years.
Ezek. 40:2 In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.
Ezek. 40:3 And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.
Ezekiel is transported by means of a vision to a very high mountain in the land of Israel. As he looked toward the south, he could see a city being built; this would seem to indicate that he was positioned north of the city. There he saw a man who had “the appearance of brass”; this seems to indicate that he had a great tan or had dark skin. I think the prophet is saying that his appearance was striking and distinctive. The man is holding a line (twine or thread) of flax (linen (i.e. the thread, as carded)) and a measuring reed/stick. JFB indicated that the line was for making longer measurements and the reed for shorter. The man was standing at the gate to the city.
Ezek. 40:4 And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.
Ezekiel is instructed to pay careful attention to everything he saw and heard. He is to report in detail all that he sees to the people of Israel.
Ezek. 40:5 And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man’s hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed.
Ezek. 40:6 Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad.
Ezek. 40:7 And every little chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad; and between the little chambers were five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within was one reed.
The chapter begins looking toward a city, now the focus centers on the construction of “the house,” which context will prove to be the temple in Jerusalem. Measurement is first made of the wall surrounding the temple complex. Point is made that the measuring reed is 6 cubits + 1 hand breadth (the span of your fingers). A cubit was determined as the length between the elbow and the wrist (18-20 inches generally speaking). Commentators disagree as to the exact dimensions, but a total of 21-23” is generally referenced as the distance for the cubit + hand. The wall is as tall as it is thick—both measurements equating to about 10.5 feet. Evidently they walked around the wall to enter at the eastern gate and ascended the stairs. Verse 6 mentions two thresholds for the gate. I would assume that he is saying that entrance from outside the walls of the temple court and the entrance to the inner court from that same gate are the same after walking the 10.5’ width of the gate. From the inner court you would see that there were a series of square chambers (10.5’ x 10.5’) with 5 cubits separating each chamber. It would seem to me that these chambers are built into the wall surrounding the temple complex. It would seem that after entering the gate proper, there was a porch that extended into the courtyard.
Ezek. 40:8 He measured also the porch of the gate within, one reed.
Ezek. 40:9 Then measured he the porch of the gate, eight cubits; and the posts thereof, two cubits; and the porch of the gate was inward.
Ezek. 40:10 And the little chambers of the gate eastward were three on this side, and three on that side; they three were of one measure: and the posts had one measure on this side and on that side.
Ezek. 40:11 And he measured the breadth of the entry of the gate, ten cubits; and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits.
Ezek. 40:12 The space also before the little chambers was one cubit on this side, and the space was one cubit on that side: and the little chambers were six cubits on this side, and six cubits on that side.
It would seem that the porch was the same size as the chambers. Verse 9 seems to indicate that the porch extended 8 more cubits; the support posts were 2 cubits thick. There were three small chambers of equal size (6 cubits x 6 cubits) on each side of the porch with one cubit between each chamber.
I’m not going to stress out about what I don’t understand at this stage. I’m just going to forge ahead and try to understand as much as possible. I found a link to reference Lambert Dolphin at www.templemount.org/ezektmp.html and through his article to the site of a man he recommends as one quite knowledgeable on this subject—Paul Jablonowski. His website is: www.sonstoglory.com/ThirdTempleEzekielsMillennialTemple.htm
I will refer to both along the way.
Ezek. 40:13 He measured then the gate from the roof of one little chamber to the roof of another: the breadth was five and twenty cubits, door against door.
Ezek. 40:14 He made also posts of threescore cubits, even unto the post of the court round about the gate.
Ezek. 40:15 And from the face of the gate of the entrance unto the face of the porch of the inner gate were fifty cubits.
Mr. Jablonowski diagrams this to show a length of 50 cubits from the outside of the courtyard wall to the posts supporting the exit of the gate area into the courtyard with a width of 25 cubits from the back walls of the side chambers on each side of the gateways. His diagram looks reasonable to me, but I could never have come up with it on my own.
Ezek. 40:16 And there were narrow windows to the little chambers, and to their posts within the gate round about, and likewise to the arches: and windows were round about inward: and upon each post were palm trees.
The chambers have windows that look toward the posts and the arches. The NLT painted a picture of narrow, recessed windows. The support posts are decorated with images of palm trees. Wikipedia notes that the palm tree represents peace and plenty in Judaism.
Ezek. 40:17 Then brought he me into the outward court, and, lo, there were chambers, and a pavement made for the court round about: thirty chambers were upon the pavement.
Ezek. 40:18 And the pavement by the side of the gates over against the length of the gates was the lower pavement.
Ezek. 40:19 Then he measured the breadth from the forefront of the lower gate unto the forefront of the inner court without, an hundred cubits eastward and northward.
Ezekiel now enters the outer court which it would seem is completely paved. It would seem that there are 30 chambers that are seen as being built into or next to the wall around the courtyard. Point is made that some of the pavement is designated as lower. It would seem that from the inside of the Eastern Gate entry to the temple mount to the entry gate to the inner court would measure 100 cubits.
Ezek. 40:20 And the gate of the outward court that looked toward the north, he measured the length thereof, and the breadth thereof.
Ezek. 40:21 And the little chambers thereof were three on this side and three on that side; and the posts thereof and the arches thereof were after the measure of the first gate: the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits.
Ezek. 40:22 And their windows, and their arches, and their palm trees, were after the measure of the gate that looketh toward the east; and they went up unto it by seven steps; and the arches thereof were before them.
Ezekiel sees 3 chambers on each side of the gate. He states that the gate area in the north is identical to the one on the east. He also states that you ascended to the Northern Gate area by means of 7 steps.
Ezek. 40:23 And the gate of the inner court was over against the gate toward the north, and toward the east; and he measured from gate to gate an hundred cubits.
It would seem there were also 100 cubits encompassing the courtyard area between the inner and outer northern gates and between the inner and outer eastern gates.
Ezek. 40:24 After that he brought me toward the south, and behold a gate toward the south: and he measured the posts thereof and the arches thereof according to these measures.
Ezek. 40:25 And there were windows in it and in the arches thereof round about, like those windows: the length was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits.
Ezek. 40:26 And there were seven steps to go up to it, and the arches thereof were before them: and it had palm trees, one on this side, and another on that side, upon the posts thereof.
There is also a Southern Gate by which one can enter the temple courtyard. This gate area is identical to those of the east and north. It would seem that one descended into the courtyard by seven steps from all three gate areas (east, north and south).
Ezek. 40:27 And there was a gate in the inner court toward the south: and he measured from gate to gate toward the south an hundred cubits.
Ezek. 40:28 And he brought me to the inner court by the south gate: and he measured the south gate according to these measures;
Ezek. 40:29 And the little chambers thereof, and the posts thereof, and the arches thereof, according to these measures: and there were windows in it and in the arches thereof round about: it was fifty cubits long, and five and twenty cubits broad.
Ezek. 40:30 And the arches round about were five and twenty cubits long, and five cubits broad.
Ezek. 40:31 And the arches thereof were toward the utter court; and palm trees were upon the posts thereof: and the going up to it had eight steps.
The courtyard area between the outer and inner gates of the south is also designated to be 100 cubits. Ezekiel is then taken up eight steps into the inner courtyard through the south gate. It seems that the gates to the inner court are the same as those that allow entry to the outer court except that they faced outward rather than inward.
Ezek. 40:32 And he brought me into the inner court toward the east: and he measured the gate according to these measures.
Ezek. 40:33 And the little chambers thereof, and the posts thereof, and the arches thereof, were according to these measures: and there were windows therein and in the arches thereof round about: it was fifty cubits long, and five and twenty cubits broad.
Ezek. 40:34 And the arches thereof were toward the outward court; and palm trees were upon the posts thereof, on this side, and on that side: and the going up to it had eight steps.
This description mirrors that of the south gate.
Ezek. 40:35 And he brought me to the north gate, and measured it according to these measures;
Ezek. 40:36 The little chambers thereof, the posts thereof, and the arches thereof, and the windows to it round about: the length was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits.
Ezek. 40:37 And the posts thereof were toward the utter court; and palm trees were upon the posts thereof, on this side, and on that side: and the going up to it had eight steps.
This description mirrors that of the southern and eastern gates.
Ezek. 40:38 And the chambers and the entries thereof were by the posts of the gates, where they washed the burnt offering.
Ezekiel is now told that by the posts at the entries of each gate to the inner court were the designated areas for washing the burnt offerings.
Ezek. 40:39 And in the porch of the gate were two tables on this side, and two tables on that side, to slay thereon the burnt offering and the sin offering and the trespass offering.
Ezek. 40:40 And at the side without, as one goeth up to the entry of the north gate, were two tables; and on the other side, which was at the porch of the gate, were two tables.
Ezek. 40:41 Four tables were on this side, and four tables on that side, by the side of the gate; eight tables, whereupon they slew their sacrifices.
Ezek. 40:42 And the four tables were of hewn stone for the burnt offering, of a cubit and an half long, and a cubit and an half broad, and one cubit high: whereupon also they laid the instruments wherewith they slew the burnt offering and the sacrifice.
Ezek. 40:43 And within were hooks, an hand broad, fastened round about: and upon the tables was the flesh of the offering.
There are a total of 8 tables positioned at the northern gate to the inner court upon which will be slain the burnt offering, sin offering and trespass offering. The tables are made of stone that had been cut into 1.5 cubit squares and are one cubit high. These tables were equipped with the instruments needed for killing the offerings and sacrifices. The indication is that there were hooks to hold these instruments.
At first I thought this meant that this setup was at all the gates to the inner court, but Ezekiel seems to single out the northern gate. JFB made the following informative notations.
“This does not apply to all the gates but only to the north gate. For Leviticus 1:11 directs the sacrifices to be killed north of the altar; and Ezekiel 8:5 calls the north gate, ‘the gate of the altar.’”
Lev. 1:11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
Ezek. 8:5 Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.
Ezek. 40:44 And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; and their prospect was toward the south: one at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north.
The CJB states:
Ezek. 40:44 ¶ Outside the inner gate, in the inner courtyard, were rooms for the singers, one facing south alongside the north gate, and one facing north alongside the east gate.
Young states it this way:
Ezek. 40:44 And on the outside of the inner gate [are] chambers of the singers, in the inner court, that [are] at the side of the north gate, and their fronts [are] southward, one at the side of the east gate [hath] the front northward.
I was completely surprised to note that several translations refer to the east gate as the south gate. I looked at the Concordance for the NIV and noticed that a completely different word was used, so I am assuming the difference is in the source text.
Ezek. 40:45 And he said unto me, This chamber, whose prospect is toward the south, is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house.
Ezek. 40:46 And the chamber whose prospect is toward the north is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar: these are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the LORD to minister unto him.
These verses seem to indicate that there are only 2 chambers being referenced; verse 44 was confusing as to that point. The chamber that faces south is for the priests that take care of the temple proper. The one that faces north is for those priests who minister at the altar, specifically identified as the sons of Zadok. The reason this family has been chosen for this privilege is stated in chapter 44:
Ezek. 44:15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
Ezek. 44:16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
These kinds of verses always “wow” me. God is completely knowledgeable of our ancestry. After all these thousands of years, the sons of Zadok are going to be blessed due to the faithfulness of their ancient ancestors. This certainly gives one pause regarding how our actions are impacting our own children and grandchildren. Are we benefiting them or hindering them regarding their future service for the Lord?
Ezek. 40:47 So he measured the court, an hundred cubits long, and an hundred cubits broad, foursquare; and the altar that was before the house.
Ezek. 40:48 And he brought me to the porch of the house, and measured each post of the porch, five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that side: and the breadth of the gate was three cubits on this side, and three cubits on that side.
Ezek. 40:49 The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits; and he brought me by the steps whereby they went up to it: and there were pillars by the posts, one on this side, and another on that side.
The inner court seems to measure 100 cubits square. The altar is in front of the Temple proper. I would assume at the northern end based on verses 39-43 above.
Ezekiel is then taken to the porch of the Temple. The supporting posts are measured as 5 cubits square. The gate or door is 3 cubits wide on each side; that gives me a picture of a double door. The porch is 20 cubits long and eleven cubits deep. Ezekiel had to ascend to the porch using steps. Two pillars are mentioned at the end of verse 49, which immediately brings to mind the two named pillars of Solomon’s temple—Joachin and Boaz. I’m not sure, however, how to separate a post from a pillar. Mr. Jablonowski’s diagram pictures them positioned on each side of the doorway into the temple proper.
One of the first questions that comes to mind as you read this chapter is concerning the reason God chooses to reestablish the sacrificial system. Under the Old Testament Law the sacrifices pointed to the coming Savior and His provision for us as the spotless Lamb of God Who died to provide forgiveness of sin. Under the New Testament period of grace we are reminded of that provision through participating in communion, the Lord’s Supper. I have most often heard it taught that the sacrificial system of the millennial kingdom will point back to the provision of Messiah.
My mind took a little different direction. In both periods the sin of mankind has dominated the culture of the world and the need for a Savior was obvious. Although men will still possess a sin nature, in the millennial kingdom the Lord will be ruling with a rod of iron.
Rev. 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
In other words, Jesus as King will not allow sin to dominate the world again. He will not be tolerant or politically correct. Not only that, Satan will be bound and not allowed to influence men with lies, deceit and oppression. The reinstituted sacrificial system will vividly portray the truth that man’s sin required the death of the spotless, innocent Son of God to provide man the gift of salvation. I think one who is living in a world that is dominated by the good and not the bad, one in which even the animals get along with one another and pose no threat to man, would need that vivid reminder of the terrible consequences of his sin. This would especially apply to the nation of Israel, since not one Jewish person will choose to reject the Lord during the whole kingdom age.
Jer. 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer. 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer. 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jer. 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Rom. 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Rom. 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Though the sacrificial system provides a vivid reminder of the death of our innocent Savior, that is all it is—a reminder. There is no way that we can truly comprehend the pain and suffering He endured in that act of unconditional love—all because of “my” sin.
(5/10) I downloaded an article by John Whitcomb called “Christ’s Atonement and Animal Sacrifices in Israel.” He posited that the sacrifices would have much the same purpose as they did under the Old Covenant. He quotes the following from Jerry Hullinger as quoted in Bibliotheca Sacra 163 (Oct-Dec 2006).
“The fundamental rationale of the mosaic sacrificial system [was] the presence of the divine glory. The Mosaic system was instituted in Leviticus subsequent to the descent of the Shekinah in Exodus 40:34-38. Because of the communicability of uncleanness, the purity of God’s presence needed to be protected. Fittingly, as Ezekiel envisioned a future temple in the millennial kingdom with the resident glory of God [Ezekiel 43:2-7; 44:1-4], he saw the necessity of sacrificial blood once more because of the presence of nonglorified individuals who can be a source of communicable contamination.”
This seems to be supported in the following verse: Ezekiel 44:23 “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
Obviously, I hadn’t thought about it in this specific context before. I think the purpose for these sacrifices probably includes all of the following:
Į To remind mankind of the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice to atone for the sin of all who will accept Him as Lord and Savior.
Į To emphasize the need for purity before God.
Though all Israel will be saved in the millennium; they will not be sinless. The sacrificial system will be a constant tangible reminder of their need to strive for holiness and purity in obedience and service to God. These thoughts go hand-in-hand with the thoughts expressed by Paul Jablonowski as quoted in my closing comments on chapter 45.