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Ezekiel 42-43 Listen
1 Then he brought me forth into the utter court, the way toward the north: and he brought me into the chamber that was over against the separate place, and which was before the building toward the north.
2 Before the length of an hundred cubits was the north door, and the breadth was fifty cubits.
3 Over against the twenty cubits which were for the inner court, and over against the pavement which was for the utter court, was gallery against gallery in three stories.
4 And before the chambers was a walk of ten cubits breadth inward, a way of one cubit; and their doors toward the north.
5 Now the upper chambers were shorter: for the galleries were higher than these, than the lower, and than the middlemost of the building.
6 For they were in three stories, but had not pillars as the pillars of the courts: therefore the building was straitened more than the lowest and the middlemost from the ground.
7 And the wall that was without over against the chambers, toward the utter court on the forepart of the chambers, the length thereof was fifty cubits.
8 For the length of the chambers that were in the utter court was fifty cubits: and, lo, before the temple were an hundred cubits.
9 And from under these chambers was the entry on the east side, as one goeth into them from the utter court.
10 The chambers were in the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, over against the separate place, and over against the building.
11 And the way before them was like the appearance of the chambers which were toward the north, as long as they, and as broad as they: and all their goings out were both according to their fashions, and according to their doors.
12 And according to the doors of the chambers that were toward the south was a door in the head of the way, even the way directly before the wall toward the east, as one entereth into them.
13 Then said he unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, which are before the separate place, they be holy chambers, where the priests that approach unto the LORD shall eat the most holy things: there shall they lay the most holy things, and the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; for the place is holy.
14 When the priests enter therein, then shall they not go out of the holy place into the utter court, but there they shall lay their 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.
15 Now when he had made an end of measuring the inner house, he brought me forth toward the gate whose prospect is toward the east, and measured it round about.
16 He measured the east side with the measuring reed, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about.
17 He measured the north side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about.
18 He measured the south side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed.
19 He turned about to the west side, and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed.
20 He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place.
Here we have another chapter of millennium temple dimensions. These temple grounds take up a lot of space! "How much space?" you might ask. When we look at Ezekiel 42:15-20, we see - unless you're reading from the NIV translation. The editors of the NIV could not believe that the temple grounds were over one mile square, so they changed "reeds" to "cubits" in these verses to make it a mere 875 feet on all four sides rather than a little over a mile on all four sides. Incidentally, they made this change based upon their deductive reasoning only; there are no Hebrew manuscripts that support "cubits" replacing "reeds." "What reasoning did they use?" you might further ask. Well, one of the contentions for those who go for cubits rather than reeds (a reed is approximately 10 feet as defined in Ezekiel 40:5) is that there is not a space flat enough to build a one-mile square temple facility. In reply, I ask this question: When has something like creating a big flat spot ever been a problem for God? Furthermore, we know from the Book of Revelation that major volcanic and earthquake activity take place around Jerusalem during the the last half of the tribulation. The way I see it, that sufficiently serves as God's big earth mover. This I know, if God says the temple grounds are over a mile square, where could I possibly get the authority to discount that as too big of a feat for God? We'll see later in Ezekiel 47 (see notes) the land God gave Israel is reapportioned altogether as compared to Joshua's assignments.
Here's another note about Ezekiel's Temple worth considering. When the exiles returned to Jerusalem under the Persians and rebuilt the temple (535 B.C.), why did they not go ahead and build it to Ezekiel's specifications. They revered the prophecy of Ezekiel. If they believed that these temple grounds described by Ezekiel were only 875 feet square, they could have rebuilt it right then on the existing temple mount. I'm convinced they recognized that the Hebrew manuscripts indicated the existing temple mount was not large enough to house a one square mile temple facility at that time. Logistically, they did not have the real estate to build such a facility, so they stuck with restoring the old facility. One more thing if you're wondering - the Hebrew word for cubit ("ammah") is not even similar to the word for "reed" ("qaneh"). And...Ezekiel's usage of both measuring designations is meticulous in chapters 40-48.
The glory of the Lord fills the temple (Ezekiel 43:1-12)
1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:
2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.
3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.
4 And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.
5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.
6 And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.
7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.
8 In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.
9 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.
10 Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.
11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
12 This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.
Ezekiel has the vision of the glory of the Lord filling the new millennial temple. There's the description in verse 2, "And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory." Ezekiel identifies this glory of the Lord here in verse 3 as that which he saw in Ezekiel 1 (see notes) when he received the vision alongside the Chebar River. Incidentally, when the tabernacle was dedicated in Exodus 40 (see notes) and Solomon's temple in I Kings 8/II Chronicles 5 (see notes), the Shekinah Glory filled each of these dwelling places of God.
13 And these are the measures of the altar after the cubits: The cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth; even the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about shall be a span: and this shall be the higher place of the altar.
14 And from the bottom upon the ground even to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth one cubit.
15 So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward shall be four horns.
16 And the altar shall be twelve cubits long, twelve broad, square in the four squares thereof.
17 And the settle shall be fourteen cubits long and fourteen broad in the four squares thereof; and the border about it shall be half a cubit; and the bottom thereof shall be a cubit about; and his stairs shall look toward the east.
18 And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.
19 And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering.
20 And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.
21 Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary.
22 And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock.
23 When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish.
24 And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
25 Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish.
26 Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves.
27 And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel goes into some detail giving a description of the altar in the millennial temple and the cleansing sacrifices that will be necessary - just like in the old days with the tabernacle and Solomon's temple. Notice that the Zadok priests are pressed back into action for this. (Click here to see the summary on I Chronicles 6 regarding the significance of Zadok.) Now you might wonder, "Why the sacrifices at all?" They will serve as a memorial of the way things were. We know that sacrifices never eliminated sins; only Christ is capable of doing that. The Old Testament sacrifices previewed Christ's sacrificial death. The millennial sacrifices are, likewise, memorials of Christ's sacrificial death.
Notice other passages where sacrifices are to be offered during the millennium:
- Isaiah 56:7 (see notes) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
- Jeremiah 33:17-18 (see notes) For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
- Ezekiel 40:41-42 (see notes) 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. 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.
- Ezekiel 44:11(see notes) Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
- Ezekiel 46:24 (see notes) Then said he unto me, These are the places of them that boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people.
- Zechariah 14:21 (see notes) Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
- Malachi 3:3-4 (see notes) And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
As we said, these sacrifices will be offered as memorials and not as sin coverings. It is interesting, though, that the blood never loses its significance during the millennium.
This altar will be very large - about thirty feet or so square at the base and approximately 20 feet high. Compared to the original altar that was 7.5 feet square and 4.5 feet high, this is huge by comparison. I should once again remind you that this is the millennial temple; when the New Heaven and New Earth are created in Revelation 21:1 (see notes), there will be no temple in the New Jerusalem, the new center of all worship. Revelation 21:22 says, "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."