Scripture reading – Ezekiel 41; Ezekiel 42

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Our consideration of the Temple of the Millennial Kingdom continues by describing its outer and inner sanctuaries (Ezekiel 41-42). Rather than belabor the dimensional details (height, length, breadth), I will highlight the various aspects of the Temple grounds, including the walls, doors, courtyards, buildings, and the Temple itself.

The Outer Sanctuary of the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 40:48-41:26)

The heavenly messenger led Ezekiel up the steps and through the portico of the Temple (Ezekiel 40:48-49) and into the outer sanctuary (Ezekiel 41:1-2) that measured 70 feet long and was 35 feet wide (Ezekiel 41:2).

The Inner Sanctuary – “The Most Holy Place” (Ezekiel 41:3-5)

The inner sanctuary was a perfect square, measuring 35 feet by 35 feet. Unlike the Tabernacle and the earlier Temples (Solomon’s and Zerubbabel’s, built after the Babylonian captivity and Herod’s Temple), the Millennial Temple did not have a veil that separated the inner sanctuary from the outer sanctuary.

Other Details of the Temple (Ezekiel 41:6-26)

Ezekiel noticed that there were side rooms that stood three stories, with 30 rooms on each floor (Ezekiel 41:6). Connecting the floors was a winding staircase that extended from the ground floor to the upper floors (Ezekiel 41:7). The foundation of the Temple was elevated, and stood 10.5 feet high (Ezekiel 41:8). There was a separate building at the west end of the Temple whose use was not identified (Ezekiel 41:12). The measurement of the Temple was 175 feet square (Ezekiel 41:13-15).

The Décor of the Temple

The Décor of the Temple (Ezekiel 41:16-21)

The walls, floor, and ceiling were covered with wood, as were the long, narrow windows (Ezekiel 41:16-17). The walls of the Temple were made of paneled wood (Ezekiel 41:17) and carved with an alternating pattern of cherubim and palm trees (Ezekiel 41:18-20).

Before going further, let’s discuss the missing veil. Beginning with the Tabernacle and continuing through the Temple era, two veils separated the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Its purpose was to prevent men from seeing or entering into the presence of God lest they die (Exodus 26:31-35). However, the Gospels reveal that when Jesus Christ died on the Cross, the veil of the Temple was torn from the top to the bottom. Why? Christ’s sacrifice removed the barrier between God, Who is Holy, and sinners (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; Romans 5:1-2; Hebrews 10:19-23; 1 Peter 3:18).

The Furniture of the Temple (Ezekiel 41:21-26)

The inner sanctuary of prior Temples (except Herod’s Temple) and Moses’ Tabernacle were furnished with the Ark of the Covenant. Upon the Ark’s Mercy Seat were two cherubim that faced one another (all gold-plated, Exodus 25:10; Exodus 37:1-9). This was the place of God’s presence on earth. (There is much debate concerning the Ark and its contents after the destruction of the Second Temple, and there is no indication that it was present in Herod’s Temple.)

Only a wood altar was found in the most holy place of the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 41:22). Its use may be for burning incense, and it measured 3.5 feet square and stood 5.25 feet tall. Replacing the veil of the earlier Temples were doors that served as a panel between the outer and inner sanctuary (Ezekiel 41:23-24).  Carved cherubim and palm trees decorated the doors. Carved wood panels decorated with palm trees covered the narrow windows (Ezekiel 41:25-26).

Buildings for the Priests

Ezekiel 42 – Buildings for the Priests (note Ezekiel 40:44-46)

Located in the Temple’s outer court and against the wall of the inner court were buildings for priests. We are given the buildings’ dimensions, described as standing three stories tall (Ezekiel 42:2-3b). The upper floors of the buildings were narrower than the first, making room for walkways (Ezekiel 42:4-6). A wall separated the priests’ building from the outer court (Ezekiel 42:7-9). On the Temple’s south side was a second building for the priests, and its dimensions were identical to the first (Ezekiel 42:10-12).

The Purpose of the Priests’ Buildings (Ezekiel 42:13-20)

The buildings used by the priests provided a place for them to prepare for their Temple ministries. Described as “holy chambers” (Ezekiel 42:13), they were used by the priests to prepare to minister before the LORD. Food offerings were also stored and eaten in the “holy chambers” (Ezekiel 42:13).

In addition, the priests used the “holy chambers” as changing rooms. There, we read, the priests were to change out of the “garments wherein they minister; for they are holy; and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people” (Ezekiel 42:14). The priests were not to wear their priestly robes outside the Temple complex. They were also not to wear the clothes of their secular lives when ministering for the LORD in His holy Temple.

Our Scripture reading concludes with the angelic messenger leading Ezekiel out the east gate, where he measured the wall that surrounded the Temple area. It was perfectly squared, with the north, south, east, and west walls being 5,250 feet long (Ezekiel 42:15-20). The outer wall of the Temple complex provided a separation between the world and the LORD and His holy Temple.

Closing thoughts –

The veil of the Temple reminds sinners that the LORD is holy and may be approached only through Jesus Christ. The veil remained present in the Temples until Christ Himself, through His death, burial, and resurrection, became the veil through which humanity might pass into God’s Holy presence.

The author of Hebrews wrote, “19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest [Jesus Christ] over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19–22).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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