WORSHIP MATTERS TO THE LORD AS SEEN IN HIS PRECISE DESIGN OF THE RESTORED TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM IN THE LAST DAYS
Lamar Cooper: H. Parunak has noted a chiastic structure to chaps. 40–42, centering around the description of the inner court. After the introduction to the vision in 40:1–4, Ezekiel’s angelic tour guide begins his tour outside the temple (40:5–16). Then they move into the outer court (40:17–27) and finally into the inner court and the focus of the tour (40:28–41:26). Ezekiel and his guide then move back through the outer court (42:1–14) and out of the temple (42:15–20).
40:1-4 – Introd.
C. 40:28 – 41:26
The restoration of the temple would be a significant step in the reestablishment of Israel’s national and spiritual identity (cf. 37:26–27). The departure of the glory of God that he had reported in chaps. 10–11 along with the final destruction of Jerusalem were difficult theological problems that superseded the physical, political, social, and economic circumstances. The vision of the restored temple was a statement of affirmation about the future of the nation. The magnitude and magnificence of the temple and its complex indicated that Ezekiel clearly foresaw the restored community as supplanting that of David and Solomon. The temple of the last days would be a source of blessing and a lamp of truth to the whole world. The restored temple represents God’s desire to be in the midst of his people and suggests his accessibility to them and desire to bless them (see, e.g., 48:35; Rev 21:3–4; 22:1–4).
Douglas Stuart: Hope is the focus of these last nine chapters—hope in spite of the depressing realities of captivity in Ezekiel’s day, hope based upon the revealed plan of God to move His people into a new age of blessing and close relationship to Himself.
David Thompson: Size of the Millennial Temple
1) The tabernacle was 30 by 15 feet.
2) Solomon’s temple was 60 by 30 feet.
3) This Millennial Temple is 70 by 35 feet.
It stands to reason that when Jesus Christ reigns in Jerusalem, His temple will be a step up from all previous temples, which these dimensions suggest.
Thomas Constable: Many take this passage as a prophecy, set in the apocalyptic literary genre, that anticipates a literal fulfillment in the future. Some of the descriptions have symbolic significance as well as literal reality, and some teach spiritual lessons. Nevertheless, the revelation concerns a future temple, worship, and physical changes in the Promised Land when Israel, not the church, dwells there securely (i.e., during the Millennium). This is the reading of the text that seems most consistent with the rest of the book and the rest of Scripture.
(40:1-4) INTRODUCTION TO THE VISION
A. (:1) The Timing of the Vision
“In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year,
on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was taken,
on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me
and He brought me there.”
Thomas Constable: Ezekiel dated the vision that comprises the final portion of the book as coming to him on April 19, 573 B.C., more than 12 years after his immediately preceding messages (cf. 33:21- 22). This is the final dated prophecy in the book, but not the last one that Ezekiel received chronologically (cf. 29:17— 30:19). Ezekiel located this prophecy in time using two points of reference, in relation to the beginning of the Exile and in relation to the fall of Jerusalem. Perhaps he dated it so precisely because what this vision describes has been hard for many readers to accept at face value. Nevertheless the prophet affirmed that the Lord did indeed give it to him at this specific time.
If this vision came to Ezekiel on the tenth day of the first month of Israel’s religious calendar, their month Nisan (Abib), as seems likely, it arrived just before the Jews began preparing for Passover.
Lamar Cooper: Zimmerli notes the dominance of the number twenty-five and its multiples in this passage (v. 1). He believes that by using this number Ezekiel was calling to the attention of the captives in Babylon that they were halfway to the next Jubilee Year still another twenty-five years away.
Isaiah 61:1–4 used the Jubilee Year as a symbol of the dawn of the messianic age. He portrayed the Jubilee Year as a time of release from captivity. Isaiah’s prophecy has long been viewed by premillennialists as an announcement of the millennium. Ezekiel’s use of terms similar to the Jubilee Year lends support to the conclusion that he prophesied the advent of the millennial kingdom and the millennial temple.
B. (:2) The Setting of the Vision
“In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel,
and set me on a very high mountain;
and on it to the south there was a structure like a city.”
C. (:3) The Bronze Man with the Measuring Rod
“So He brought me there;
and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand;
and he was standing in the gateway.”
Feinberg: The brass was actually copper with the symbolic significance of strength (I Kings 4:13; Job 40:18), unwavering steadfastness (whether in good or evil, Jer. 1:18; 15:20; Isa. 48:4), and judgment (Deut. 28:23; Lev. 26:19; Micah 4:13). The line of flax was for the longer measurements; the reed was for the shorter. The task of measuring was important (cf. Zech. 2:1; Rev. 11:1; 21:15). Some interpret the work as the pronouncement of God of His title to all that is involved, but the emphasis in each instance appears to be a delineating of that which belongs to God.
D. (:4) The Command to Take In the Vision and Declare it to Israel
“And the man said to me, ‘Son of man, see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you; for you have been brought here in order to show it to you. Declare to the house of Israel all that you see.’”
I. (40:5-16) THE SURROUNDING WALL AND EAST GATE
A. (:5) The Surrounding Wall Outside the Temple
“And behold, there was a wall on the outside of the temple all around,
and in the man’s hand was a measuring rod of six cubits,
each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth.
So he measured the thickness of the wall, one rod; and the height, one rod.”
Thomas Constable: A normal cubit was the distance between the tip of a person’s middle finger and the end of his elbow, about 18 inches (Deut. 3:11). A handbreadth was about three inches. A long cubit was about 21 inches long, the length of a normal cubit plus a handbreadth. Since each of the cubits of the man’s measuring rod was a cubit and a handbreadth, it seems that the cubits in view in these dimensions were long cubits (cf. 43:13). Six long cubits (one rod) equals about 10 feet.
Leslie Allen: The ostensibly human figure is a supernatural being, as his radiance indicates (cf. 1:7; Rev 21:17): his role will be to guide, measure and interpret. His equipment is a rod (lit. “reed”) for short measurements and a tape for longer ones (cf. 47:3). The vision is explicitly related to the exiles: its purpose was to crystallize Yahweh’s promises of restoration given through Ezekiel.
Iain Duguid: It is highly significant that the first thing the prophet sees on his tour is a wall surrounding the whole temple area (40:5). Walls have as their purpose regulating and defining space; they are there to mark territory as “inside” or “outside” and to regulate access to the “inside” space. Nor is this wall a minor obstacle; it is some ten and a half feet tall and ten and a half feet thick, providing a solid dividing line between the “holy,” the area of the temple itself, and the “profane,” the area outside. The function of this wall as a wall of separation between these two realms is apparent from the fact that the wall’s height is mentioned, a dimension not provided for the other spaces. A wall depends on its height and thickness for its effectiveness in keeping people out, so these dimensions take on a particular importance.
If the wall is too thick to be broken and too high to be scaled, its effectiveness in restricting access will depend on its gates. But what gates this wall possesses! The three sides that permit access (there is no entry on the west side) are dominated by massive fortress-style gatehouses, almost forty-five feet wide and ninety feet deep (40:13, 15). The defensive nature of these gates is underlined by the fact that they have a portico or vestibule not on the outside, where one would expect it (and where it is on the inner gatehouses) but on the inside.
B. (:6-7) The Threshold of the East Gate
“Then he went to the gate which faced east, went up its steps, and measured the threshold of the gate, one rod in width; and the other threshold was one rod in width. 7 And the guardroom was one rod long and one rod wide; and there were five cubits between the guardrooms. And the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate facing inward was one rod.”
C. (:8-9) The Porch of the Gate and its Side Pillars
“Then he measured the porch of the gate facing inward, one rod. 9 And he measured the porch of the gate, eight cubits; and its side pillars, two cubits. And the porch of the gate was faced inward.”
D. (:10-16) The Guardrooms and the Side Pillars
“And the guardrooms of the gate toward the east numbered three on each side; the three of them had the same measurement. The side pillars also had the same measurement on each side. 11 And he measured the width of the gateway, ten cubits, and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits. 12 And there was a barrier wall one cubit wide in front of the guardrooms on each side; and the guardrooms were six cubits square on each side. 13 And he measured the gate from the roof of the one guardroom to the roof of the other, a width of twenty-five cubits from one door to the door opposite. 14 And he made the side pillars sixty cubits high; the gate extended round about to the side pillar of the courtyard. 15 And from the front of the entrance gate to the front of the inner porch of the gate was fifty cubits. 16 And there were shuttered windows looking toward the guardrooms, and toward their side pillars within the gate all around, and likewise for the porches. And there were windows all around inside; and on each side pillar were palm tree ornaments.”
Thomas Constable: There was a total of six guardrooms in the gate complex, three on each side of the main hallway, and they were all the same size. . .
The height of the doorframes surrounding the main gate was 60 cubits (100 feet). This may seem extraordinarily tall to modern readers, but imposing gates were common in the great cities of antiquity. . .
Palm trees were symbols of beauty, fruitfulness, salvation, glory, and the millennial age (cf. Lev. 23:40; 1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35; 7:36; 2 Chron. 3:5; Song of Sol. 7:7; Ps. 92:12-14; Neh. 8:15; Zech. 14:16-21).
Lamar Cooper: The gates are a foreshadowing of the accessibility God gave to all people through Jesus, who presents himself as the door by which one can enter to God and be saved (see John 10:9–21). The choice of three gates for this temple rather than four or more may suggest a deeper significance of the means of access God provides for humans to approach him, since God manifests himself in three ways to the human family as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
II. (40:17-27) THE OUTER COURT
A. (:17-19) The Chambers and Pavement
“Then he brought me into the outer court, and behold, there were chambers and a pavement, made for the court all around; thirty chambers faced the pavement. 18 And the pavement (that is, the lower pavement) was by the side of the gates, corresponding to the length of the gates. 19 Then he measured the width from the front of the lower gate to the front of the exterior of the inner court, a hundred cubits on the east and on the north.”
B. (:20-23) The North Gate
“And as for the gate of the outer court which faced the north, he measured its length and its width. 21 And it had three guardrooms on each side; and its side pillars and its porches had the same measurement as the first gate. Its length was fifty cubits, and the width twenty-five cubits. 22 And its windows, and its porches, and its palm tree ornaments had the same measurements as the gate which faced toward the east; and it was reached by seven steps, and its porch was in front of them. 23 And the inner court had a gate opposite the gate on the north as well as the gate on the east; and he measured a hundred cubits from gate to gate.”
C. (:24-27) The South Gate
“Then he led me toward the south, and behold, there was a gate toward the south; and he measured its side pillars and its porches according to those same measurements. 25 And the gate and its porches had windows all around like those other windows; the length was fifty cubits and the width twenty-five cubits. 26 And there were seven steps going up to it, and its porches were in front of them; and it had palm tree ornaments on its side pillars, one on each side. 27 And the inner court had a gate toward the south; and he measured from gate to gate toward the south, a hundred cubits.”
Douglas Stuart: Why all this elaborate gate and guard structure? Why locate all the entrances as far away as possible from the Most Holy Place? The reason is the desire for controlled access, symbolizing the fact that God’s people must be pure. Unbelievers will not be allowed to pollute God’s house in the new age.
III. (40:28 – 41:26) THE INNER COURT AND THE HEART OF THE VISION
A. (40:28-37) The Three Gates
1. (:28-31) South Gate, Guardrooms, Side Pillars and Porches
“Then he brought me to the inner court by the south gate; and he measured the south gate according to those same measurements. 29 Its guardrooms also, its side pillars, and its porches were according to those same measurements. And the gate and its porches had windows all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 30 And there were porches all around, twenty-five cubits long and five cubits wide. 31 And its porches were toward the outer court; and palm tree ornaments were on its side pillars, and its stairway had eight steps.”
Lamar Cooper: Each gate leading to the inner courtyard had eight steps instead of seven (vv. 31, 34, 37). The use of the number eight was considered in rabbinic literature to have messianic overtones. The eight steps typologically pictured the Messiah as a means of access to the inner court and sanctuary, therefore the presence of Yahweh.
2. (:32-34) East Gate, Guardrooms, Side Pillars and Porches
“And he brought me into the inner court toward the east. And he measured the gate according to those same measurements. 33 Its guardrooms also, its side pillars, and its porches were according to those same measurements. And the gate and its porches had windows all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 34 And its porches were toward the outer court; and palm tree ornaments were on its side pillars, on each side, and its stairway had eight steps.”
3. (:35-37) North Gate, Guardrooms, Side Pillars and Porches
“Then he brought me to the north gate; and he measured it according to those same measurements, 36 with its guardrooms, its side pillars, and its porches. And the gate had windows all around; the length was fifty cubits and the width twenty-five cubits. 37 And its side pillars were toward the outer court; and palm tree ornaments were on its side pillars on each side, and its stairway had eight steps.”
B. (:40:38-43) The Sacrifice Preparation Rooms
“And a chamber with its doorway was by the side pillars at the gates; there they rinse the burnt offering. 39 And in the porch of the gate were two tables on each side, on which to slaughter the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering. 40 And on the outer side, as one went up to the gateway toward the north, were two tables; and on the other side of the porch of the gate were two tables. 41 Four tables were on each side next to the gate; or, eight tables on which they slaughter sacrifices. 42 And for the burnt offering there were four tables of hewn stone, a cubit and a half long, a cubit and a half wide, and one cubit high, on which they lay the instruments with which they slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice. 43 And the double hooks, one handbreadth in length, were installed in the house all around; and on the tables was the flesh of the offering.”
Daniel Block: The tour of the temple grounds is temporarily suspended as two particular features are singled out for more careful scrutiny. Indeed, these paragraphs lack all the elements that have characterized the account so far. Although the dimensions of the table are given, there is no reference to the guide, let alone his measuring activity. The general symmetry of the narrative to this point is abandoned as the focus shifts from structural features of the complex to a particular piece of furniture, to a series of rooms occupied by cult personnel, and then to the role of a special class of priests. Indeed, if vv. 38–46 were deleted the account of the tour would read like a continuous narrative. Nevertheless, this segment should not be discounted as inauthentic or the work of later hands. From v. 45 it is evident that these observations were made during the course of the tour. Indeed, the insertion lends realism to the account. As anyone who has been led around a new site by a tour guide knows, the leader often pauses along the way to describe a particular feature with greater detail, thereby adding both understanding and interest to what could otherwise become routine.
Thomas Constable: The presence of animal sacrifices in the millennial system of worship has troubled many readers. The Book of Hebrews teaches that Jesus Christ was the superior sacrifice who replaced the sacrifices of the Old Covenant (Heb. 7—10). The best explanation seems to be that in the Millennium there will be animal sacrifices, but they will look backward to Christ’s sacrifice even as the sacrifices of the Old Covenant looked forward to His sacrifice. They will be like the Lord’s Supper is for Christians, a memorial of Christ’s death. The Lord’s Supper, of course, will cease to be observed when the Lord comes for His church at the Rapture (1 Cor. 11:24, 26). . .
There could be other reasons for animal sacrifices in the Millennium besides serving as memorials, namely: cleansing from the defilement of sin and demonstrating obedience to Christ. Another reason will probably be to bring people together for fellowship and feasting to the glory of God. There are several other passages that refer to sacrifices in the Millennium (cf. Isa. 56:7; 66:20-23; Jer. 33:18; Zech. 14:16- 21; Mal. 3:3-4).
C. (40:44-47) The Priests’ Quarters
1. (:44-46) Function
“And from the outside to the inner gate were chambers for the singers in the inner court, one of which was at the side of the north gate, with its front toward the south, and one at the side of the east gate facing toward the north. 45 And he said to me, ‘This is the chamber which faces toward the south, intended for the priests who keep charge of the temple; 46 but the chamber which faces toward the north is for the priests who keep charge of the altar. These are the sons of Zadok, who from the sons of Levi come near to the LORD to minister to Him.’”
2. (:47a) Measurements = a Perfect Square
“And he measured the court, a perfect square,
a hundred cubits long and a hundred cubits wide;”
3. (:47b) Altar
“and the altar was in front of the temple.”
D. (40:48-49) The Temple Portico
“Then he brought me to the porch of the temple and measured each side pillar of the porch, five cubits on each side; and the width of the gate was three cubits on each side. 49 The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the width eleven cubits; and at the stairway by which it was ascended were columns belonging to the side pillars, one on each side.”
E. (41:1-12) The Temple Sanctuary
1. (:1-2) The Nave
“Then he brought me to the nave and measured the side pillars; six cubits wide on each side was the width of the side pillar. 2 And the width of the entrance was ten cubits, and the sides of the entrance were five cubits on each side. And he measured the length of the nave, forty cubits, and the width, twenty cubits.”
2. (:3-4) Doorway
“Then he went inside and measured each side pillar of the doorway, two cubits, and the doorway, six cubits high; and the width of the doorway, seven cubits. 4 And he measured its length, twenty cubits, and the width, twenty cubits, before the nave; and he said to me, ‘This is the most holy place.’”
Iain Duguid: The temple building is a tripartite structure, comprising portico, outer sanctuary, and inner sanctuary, whose architecture focuses attention on the inner sanctuary, that is, “the Most Holy Place” (41:4). This is the only square space within the temple building itself, and it is reached by passing through three openings of increasing narrowness. The door from the inner court into the portico is fourteen cubits (almost twenty-five feet) wide; the door from there into the outer sanctuary is ten cubits (seventeen feet) wide, while the door into the inner sanctuary is a mere six cubits (ten feet) wide. This design feature underlines the sanctity of the Most Holy Place, a sanctity so great (even before the return of God’s glory!) that Ezekiel himself is not permitted to enter it. Instead, he remains outside, while the guiding angel goes in alone and measures it (41:3–4).
3. (:5-7) Side Chambers
“Then he measured the wall of the temple, six cubits; and the width of the side chambers, four cubits, all around about the house on every side. 6 And the side chambers were in three stories, one above another, and thirty in each story; and the side chambers extended to the wall which stood on their inward side all around, that they might be fastened, and not be fastened into the wall of the temple itself. 7 And the side chambers surrounding the temple were wider at each successive story. Because the structure surrounding the temple went upward by stages on all sides of the temple, therefore the width of the temple increased as it went higher; and thus one went up from the lowest story to the highest by way of the second story.”
4. (:8-11) Raised Platform
“I saw also that the house had a raised platform all around; the foundations of the side chambers were a full rod of six long cubits in height. 9 The thickness of the outer wall of the side chambers was five cubits. But the free space between the side chambers belonging to the temple 10 and the outer chambers was twenty cubits in width all around the temple on every side. 11 And the doorways of the side chambers toward the free space consisted of one doorway toward the north and another doorway toward the south; and the width of the free space was five cubits all around.”
5. (:12) Separate Building
“And the building that was in front of the separate area at the side toward the west was seventy cubits wide; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick all around, and its length was ninety cubits.”
David Thompson: Now in these verses, we are given dimensions to a different building which is behind the Temple building. Its dimensions are 70 cubits wide or 122 ½ feet wide by 90 cubits long or 157 ½ feet long with a wall that is 5 cubits or 8 ¾’s feet thick. We are not told exactly what the purpose will be for this building. It is possible it will be used to dispose of things pertaining to the sacrifice, but the purpose is not stated.
F. (41:13-26) Auxiliary Buildings
1. (:13-15) Square Measurements
“Then he measured the temple, a hundred cubits long; the separate area with the building and its walls were also a hundred cubits long. 14 Also the width of the front of the temple and that of the separate areas along the east side totaled a hundred cubits. And he measured the length of the building along the front of the separate area behind it, with a gallery on each side, a hundred cubits; he also measured the inner nave and the porches of the court.”
2. (:16-26) Paneling, Adornments and Carvings
“The thresholds, the latticed windows, and the galleries round about their three stories, opposite the threshold, were paneled with wood all around, and from the ground to the windows (but the windows were covered), 17 over the entrance, and to the inner house, and on the outside, and on all the wall all around inside and outside, by measurement. 18 And it was carved with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, and every cherub had two faces, 19 a man’s face toward the palm tree on one side, and a young lion’s face toward the palm tree on the other side; they were carved on all the house all around. 20 From the ground to above the entrance cherubim and palm trees were carved, as well as on the wall of the nave. The doorposts of the nave were square; as for the front of the sanctuary, the appearance of one doorpost was like that of the other. 22 The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits; its corners, its base, and its sides were of wood. And he said to me, “This is the table that is before the LORD.” 23 And the nave and the sanctuary each had a double door. 24 And each of the doors had two leaves, two swinging leaves; two leaves for one door and two leaves for the other. 25 Also there were carved on them, on the doors of the nave, cherubim and palm trees like those carved on the walls; and there was a threshold of wood on the front of the porch outside. 26 And there were latticed windows and palm trees on one side and on the other, on the sides of the porch; thus were the side chambers of the house and the thresholds.”
Douglas Stuart: Also, there is the interesting symmetry of the temple itself. Add up all the key measurements in the chapter, particularly verses 13–26, and you find that the temple building and its separating courtyards (as in v. 14) formed an area one hundred royal cubits (175 feet) square. This was no haphazard structure, built up as the years went by as many Canaanite and other Near Eastern temples undoubtedly were. This was the divinely given temple of the future, all in order, perfectly ready for God to dwell among His people and they to have access to Him.
Finally, note the beauty of it all. This building was decorated in a manner befitting its role as the symbolic earthly house of the one who is “altogether lovely.” Wood paneling covered most of the interior (vv. 15–16)—and that in an area of the world where wood was incredibly expensive and not normally used in decorative architecture. Intricate carvings also adorned many surfaces (vv. 17–20), featuring palm tree designs that suggested the oasis atmosphere so delightful in the Near East, and cherub designs (essentially like double-faced winged sphinxes) that suggested the heavenly guardianship of the temple and its holy places (cf. also Ezek. 1). Even the doors were double folding doors (hinged in the middle) so that they were of more elaborate than usual construction (v. 24). An elevated foundation support structure on the outside surrounded the whole building (v. 8), adding to its mass and stability, and protecting its lower, most accessible level, from unauthorized penetration (cf. 1 Kin. 6:6).
It was a grand sight. For Ezekiel and his audience, in a day when no temple existed, it was also a guarantee of great things to come. Israel would be restored. They would one day worship again in the Lord’s house. They would be guests at His divine sanctuary, a place more glorious than they had yet experienced.
Iain Duguid: The only piece of furniture mentioned within the temple building is an “altar” of wood in the outer sanctuary, which is designated “the table that is before the Lord” (Ezek. 41:22). This is presumably the table on which the “bread of the Presence” was laid out before the Lord (1 Kings 7:48). It is mentioned here because it will later be referred to as one of the places at which the Zadokite priests have the privilege of ministering (Ezek. 44:16), a situation that is the necessary corollary of its location in the outer sanctuary, where only they had access.
IV. (42:1-14) THE OUTER COURT AND THE CHAMBERS
A. (:1-9) Gallery of Three Stories with Chambers
“Then he brought me out into the outer court, the way toward the north; and he brought me to the chamber which was opposite the separate area and opposite the building toward the north. 2 Along the length, which was a hundred cubits, was the north door; the width was fifty cubits. 3 Opposite the twenty cubits which belonged to the inner court, and opposite the pavement which belonged to the outer court, was gallery corresponding to gallery in three stories. 4 And before the chambers was an inner walk ten cubits wide, a way of one hundred cubits; and their openings were on the north. 5 Now the upper chambers were smaller because the galleries took more space away from them than from the lower and middle ones in the building. 6 For they were in three stories and had no pillars like the pillars of the courts; therefore the upper chambers were set back from the ground upward, more than the lower and middle ones. 7 As for the outer wall by the side of the chambers, toward the outer court facing the chambers, its length was fifty cubits. 8 For the length of the chambers which were in the outer court was fifty cubits; and behold, the length of those facing the temple was a hundred cubits. 9 And below these chambers was the entrance on the east side, as one enters them from the outer court.”
B. (:10-12) Construction of the Chambers
“In the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, facing the separate area and facing the building, there were chambers. 11 And the way in front of them was like the appearance of the chambers which were on the north, according to their length so was their width; and all their exits were both according to their arrangements and openings. 12 And corresponding to the openings of the chambers which were toward the south was an opening at the head of the way, the way in front of the wall toward the east, as one enters them.”
C. (:13-14) Purpose of the Holy Chambers (North and South) for the Priests
“Then he said to me, ‘The north chambers and the south chambers, which are opposite the separate area, they are the holy chambers where the priests who are near to the LORD shall eat the most holy things. There they shall lay the most holy things, the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering; for the place is holy. 14 When the priests enter, then they shall not go out into the outer court from the sanctuary without laying there their garments in which they minister, for they are holy. They shall put on other garments; then they shall approach that which is for the people.’”
Feinberg: The uses of these chambers were twofold:
(1) for the priests to eat the most holy things there, and
(2) to keep there the sacred vestments when they put them off before going into the outer court to the people
V. (42:15-20) MEASURING THE SURROUNDING WALL
A. (:15) Measuring the Perimeter
“Now when he had finished measuring the inner house, he brought me out by the way of the gate which faced toward the east, and measured it all around.”
B. (:16-19) Measuring Each Side
1. (:16) East Side
“He measured on the east side with the measuring reed five hundred reeds, by the measuring reed.”
2. (:17) North Side
“He measured on the north side five hundred reeds by the measuring reed.”
3. (:18) South Side
“On the south side he measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed.”
4. (:19) West Side
“He turned to the west side, and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed.”
C. (:20) Total Measurement
“He measured it on the four sides; it had a wall all around, the length five hundred and the width five hundred, to divide between the holy and the profane.”
Leslie Allen: The statement of the purpose of the wall in v 20b reveals the sanctity of the temple area as the domain of God. This sphere of the divine was set aside, in the world and yet not of the world, as a colony of heaven.
Feinberg: The entire area was much too large for Mount Moriah where Solomon’s and Zerubbabel’s temples stood. The scheme requires a great change in the topography of the land which will occur as indicated in Zechariah 14:9-11, the very time which Ezekiel had in view.