Ezekiel 41



(I would like to preface this section by saying that this is way above me but

it is in God’s Word and must have a purpose – I know that Moses was

commanded to make the tabernacle just like he was told {Hebrews 8:5} and

that it had great symbolism and significance.  I say the same for Solomon’s

temple and this one revealed to Ezekiel CY - 2009)



The present chapter continues the description of “the house,” and falls into

four subdivisions.


Ø      The interior of the temple, or the holy and most holy places  (vs. 1-4);

Ø      the wall and the side buildings (vs. 5-11);

Ø      the gizrah, or separate place (vs. 12-14);

Ø      the projecting portions of the temple building (vs. 15-26).



The Interior of the Temple (vs. 1-4)


1 "Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts,

six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other

side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle.  The temple. הַהֵיכָל frequently

applied to the whole building (II Kings 24:13; II Chronicles 3:17; Jeremiah 50:28;

Haggai 2:15; Zechariah 6:14-15), is here used of the nave of the temple, the

holy place, as distinguished from the holy of holies (compare I Kings 6:5, 17;

7:50). Schroder alone of commentators holds by the extended meaning.

The measuring began from the east wall of the holy place. The posts

(אֵילִים), as in ch. 40:9, the corner pillars on each side of the

entrance, measured six cubits broad, whereas those of the porch measured

only five (ibid. v. 48). The phrase, The breadth of the tabernacle;

or, the tent (הָאהֶל), has occasioned difficulty. Hitzig, Ewald, and Smend

propose to substitute for הַאֹהָל the word הָאָיִל (“post”), which might in

itself be unobjectionable, only no such device is required to render the

clause intelligible. It is sufficient to understand the phrase as signifying that

the measurements noted had a special relation to the entire breadth of the

temple, here styled “tabernacle,” or “tent,” to indicate the covered portion

of the edifice, which, in this respect, and in respect of its being the place of

meeting between Jehovah and Israel, resembled the ancient sanctuary of

the wilderness.



The New Temple (v. 1)


Ezekiel is a priest (ch. 1:3). It is natural that his thoughts should

run on the lines of his professional occupations, and travel to the familiar

haunts of his old life. Thus we find that with him the picture of the

restoration centers in a glorified temple, just as to Isaiah the statesman of

war-times it appears as an era of unparalleled peace (Isaiah 11:6), and

as to Daniel the minister of a foreign court it appears as a kingdom

conquering the great world-empires (Daniel 7:27). The happy future is

so rich and wide and manifold that it has room for all of these prophecies.

Each prophet may conceive it in his own style. We must combine all their

various visions if we would gain anything like a complete idea of its

character, and even then we shall fail, for “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,

neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath

prepared for them that love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). Let us now

consider the special suggestiveness of the restored temple. We know that a

new temple was built on Mount Zion. But the very building of it enshrined

large ideas concerning God’s great and perfect restoration of His people.


  • THE PRESENCE OF GOD. The temple is more than a place of

assembly. It is a house in which God dwells. The tabernacle in the

wilderness was called the “tent of meeting,” i.e. the tent in which God

meets man. There is no temple in John’s new Jerusalem, because GOD


is a temple. The Christian Church is growing into a great, temple for the

dwelling of God. God dwells now in the midst of His people. This is

their highest privilege.  The dwelling of God in heaven constitutes its bliss.


  • HOLINESS. The temple was sacred. It had its holy place reserved for

the priests, and its holy of holies into which only the high priest could

enter, and he but once a year. Even the court of the congregation was

strictly confined to Jews, and for a Gentile to enter it was accounted a

dreadful profanation — as we see in the case of the attack of a mob on

Paul, on the ground that he had been a party to such a profanation

(Acts 21:28). Now God calls His people to holy living. They are to be

all priests, with free access to His presence (Hebrews 4:16). Their

holiness is to be real and spiritual, not ritual and ceremonial like that of the

priests of Israel. The sanctity of the Church is just the holiness of the lives

of her members. It is not the church that sanctifies the worshippers, but

the worshippers who sanctify the church.




Ø      There were sacrifices in the temple. Christ is our Sacrifice, and He is in

His Church. The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper commemorates that one

supreme sacrifice. We have now to offer our bodies as living (not slain)

sacrifices (Romans 12:1).


Ø      There was service in the temple. Levites as well as priests worked there.

It was a busy scene of activity. Christ’s people are all priests and Levites.

They are not called to gaze at a spectacle, but to take an active part in the

work of the Church.


Ø      There was praise in the temple. The sons of Korah and their later

representatives made its walls resound with loud, if not always with what

we should call sweet, music. The Christian life should be as a glad psalm

of praise.


2 "And the breadth of the door was ten cubits; and the sides of the

door were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other

side: and he measured the length thereof, forty cubits: and the

breadth, twenty cubits." The breadth of the door, i.e. of the opening from

the porch, was ten cubits; whereas the door into the porch was eleven cubits

(ch. 40:49). This would have the effect of rendering the door into

the holy place more conspicuous. The sides (or, shoulders) of the door

according to Kliefoth, “the side walls,” from the door to the corner pillars;

according to Keil, the shoulders lay behind the pillars — were five cubits

on the one side, and five cubits on the other; i.e. were as broad as the

posts of the porch. The length of the holy place, forty cubits, and the

breadth, twenty, were the same as in the Solomonic structure. The entire

frontage of the holy place was 20 cubits of interior breadth + 12 (2 x 6)

cubits, as breadth of pillars — 32 cubits; or, otherwise, 6 + 6, for the two

pillars, 5 + 5 for the sides, and 10 for the door opening = 32 cubits in all.


3 "Then went he inward, and measured the post of the door, two

cubits; and the door, six cubits; and the breadth of the door, seven

cubits."  Then went he inward; i.e. into the most holy place. As this

could not be entered even by a priest, but only by the high priest once a

year (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16:17; Hebrews 9:7), Ezekiel

was left without, while “the man” announced to him in succession the

measurements of the adytum, as these were taken. First, that of the post of

the door (the singular for the plural, meaning the post on either side of the

doorway) two cubits. Next, that of the door itself, which is given first as

six and second as seven cubits. Kliefoth and Keil take the six as the height

and the seven as the breadth of the entrance into the holy of holies; but as

no other measurement of height occurs throughout this description, Dr.

Currey regards “six” as the distance from “post” to “post,” and “seven” as

the actual width of the door, each post projecting half a cubit beyond the

hinge of the door, which opened inward. Ewald and Villalpandus, after the

Septuagint, read, “the entrance six cubits and the flanks of the entrance seven

cubits;” and these figures, 7 + 6 + 7, certainly make up the breadth of the

interior; only it is impossible to extract this meaning from the Hebrew

without tampering with the text.


4 "So he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits; and the breadth,

twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said unto me, This is the most

holy place."  The holy of holies was an exact square of twenty cubits, as in

the temple of Solomon (I Kings 6:20), and to the measuring-man, who had

turned himself round, lay along the whole breadth of the temple or holy place.



                                    The Most Holy Place (v. 4)


Holiness is an idea which admits of gradual precision and elevation. There

is a very simple and primitive meaning of the term, which it would ill

become us to despise and ridicule, inasmuch as it was preliminary and

preparatory to a more spiritual conception. At the same time, we should do

discredit to our Christian training did we not strive to rise to a higher and

nobler conception of holiness than that which obtained among, and was

sufficient for, a people in an early stage of spiritual culture. In the temple

at Jerusalem there was a holy place, and a holy of holies, or, in the

language of Ezekiel, the most holy place. An effort may be made to reach

and to explain the several ideas which together made up the peculiar

sanctity of the most sacred place of the Jewish temple.





by the distinction between the sacred and the profane — a distinction

which may, in the highest stage of spiritual culture, be transcended. Men

have to be taught by their senses; and the separation of a certain spot, a

certain building, a certain portion of a building, from all around,

contributes to the formation of the idea of sanctity. This might not be

necessary in a world where no sin exists; but in this world, where sin has

reigned, and where sin still so largely prevails, the evil has impressed itself

on men’s minds as normal, and the pure and Divine as exceptional. Hence

the consecration of sites, and temples, oracles, and holy places.




ceremonial and sacrificial dispensation established by Moses, with all the

observances of the Levitical Law, may justly be regarded as instructive and

disciplinary, in the first place for Israel, and then for all mankind. Those

who looked upon the temple and its sanctuary could not but be reminded

that here was the peculiar dwelling-place of a holy God. The degrees of

holiness attaching to the several parts of the sacred edifice, culminating in

the sanctity of the most holy place, were fitted to elicit the spiritual

apprehensions, the reverence, the devotion, the penitence, of those who felt

themselves in the presence and under the training of the all-holy God. To a

certain extent every Israelite not specially disqualified might draw near to

Jehovah; the priests were suffered and required to approach still nearer to

the shrine; but the high priest alone was permitted, and that only upon a

special occasion, to enter the most holy place. Such arrangements and

provisions were admirably adapted to educate the Jewish people in the idea

and in the practice of holiness.




OF THE MOST HOLY PLACE. In the holy of holies was performed the

especially solemn and sacred service in which, upon the Day of Atonement,

the high priest alone was suffered to take part as the representative of the

people of the covenant. On that occasion the federal relation of Israel was

conspicuously set forth. To the pious Jew the contents of the holy of

holies, the vestments of the officiating high priest, the blood of atonement,

must all have possessed a very special and very sacred interest. And that

interest centered in the idea of reconciliation between JEHOVAH and the

chosen nation — reconciliation rendered necessary by the sins of the

people, and by the perfectly holy character, the perfectly righteous

government, of God. Consecrated to this use, the inmost sanctuary was

naturally invested with a sacredness altogether unique.




Reconciliation naturally led to fellowship. The enlightened Jews doubtless

took a spiritual view of the Divine presence, and sympathized with the

sublime language of Solomon at the dedication of the temple: “Will God in

very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of

heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!”

(I Kings 8:27)  Still, it was by means of this temple, its priesthood and its

services, that the Jewish nation generally were, by Divine appointment and

intention, made familiar with the possibility and privilege of fellowship with

THE ETERNAL!  It was inculcated upon them that such communion was

only possible in virtue of the condescension and compassion of THE

MOST HIGH, and that there was needed on their part, in order to the

enjoyment of the privilege, a peculiar preparation, a spiritual cleansing.

The thoughtful and devout Jew learned, by means of the temple services,

to form such an idea of God as led him to seek a spiritual discipline. He

knew that the sacrifices in themselves were insufficient, and that the

sacrifices required by the Searcher of hearts were spiritual, consisting in:


Ø      humility,

Ø      penitence,

Ø      faith, and

Ø      obedience.


Those thus prepared might draw near unto God, and God would draw

near unto them.




CHRIST. In order to understand the symbolical, and indeed typical,

character of the holy of holies, and of the ministration therein performed by

the Jewish high priest, it is important to study the ninth chapter of the

Epistle to the Hebrews. In that portion of Scripture is as authoritative and

lucid explanation of the spiritual meaning of the central scenes and

observances of the Jewish economy. It is shown that the shadow was in

Christ superseded by the substance, and that in the new and spiritual

dispensation we have the fulfillment of ancient promise. The transactions

which, on the great Day of Atonement, took place within the holy of holies

prefigured and adumbrated the great events by which, not Israel only, but

humanity as a whole, was reconciled to JEHOVAH!   For when Christ

expired upon the cross the veil of the temple was rent in twain (Matthew

27:50-51); and thenceforth, through the rent veil of Christ’s humanity:



Ø      the alienation of the human race from God was abolished; and,

Ø      perpetual communion was provided between a gracious Father

and His restored and accepted children.


The most holy place into which through Christ we have access is nothing

else than:


Ø      the favor,

Ø      the fellowship, and,

Ø      the love of God.



Sacred Places (v. 4)


“This is the most holy place.” There has always dwelt in the minds of men

a feeling that some places are peculiarly sacred. Unfortunately, there has

been no small amount of superstition connected with this feeling, which

should be discouraged in others and should be resisted in our own case.

We should strongly insist upon the truth, and carefully cultivate the

conviction, that if some places have a peculiar sanctity, it is that “ever,

place may be holy ground “to us; that we may find God everywhere and in

everything; that we may worship and serve Him in every sphere and on all

occasions whatsoever. Still, the feeling rests on a basis of truth. We know

that there was a “most holy place.”


  • IN THE ANCIENT TEMPLE. Within the veil was “the holy of holies,”

into which none but the high priest might enter, and he only once a year,

and then only with the blood of the slain goat. God might only be

approached by men as they were purified from sin; and this the careful

graduation of access to Him clearly symbolized. That inner chamber of the

temple was the most sacred spot on earth, because there God manifested

His presence as nowhere else. But there were very holy places indeed:


  • IN THE LIFE OF OUR LORD. He was the living Temple when He

was with us; for was not God manifest in Him far more truly and

importantly than He was present “between the cherubim” in the luminous

cloud? There were three places which, in the experience of Jesus Christ,

may be said to be “most holy”:


Ø      the upper room in Jerusalem, where He “sat down with the twelve”

to that sacred meal, and delivered that discourse of priceless value

to mankind (John 14.);


Ø      the garden of Gethsemane, where He passed through the great agony;



Ø      the “place which is called Calvary,” where the great sacrifice was

offered for the sins of the world.


  • IN OUR OWN BUILDINGS NOW. We find such in those

sanctuaries or in those chambers which are closely associated with our

converse with THE MOST HIGH.   Apart from and independent of any

act of formal “consecration,” the place where we gather together to worship

God, the place where we hold holy and happy fellowship with Christ, the

place where we listen with eager mind and fervent spirit to His Divine truth,

this is hallowed ground to us; these are sacred spots which we tread

reverently, where we feel near to God, which will always be peculiarly dear

to our hearts.


  • IN OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. There are certain very solemn

and sacred experiences through which the God of our life “makes us to

pass, of which we may truly say that they are “most holy.” Of these we

have instances in:


Ø      The time of separation, of loneliness, when we first find ourselves cast

upon God for guidance and for fellowship.


Ø      The day of desperate grief, of overwhelming sorrow, when men can do

nothing for us, but God everything.


Ø      The hour of very special privilege, when we feel the nearness of Christ,

the excellency of His salvation, the power of the world to come, the

influence of the Holy Spirit; when we feel that we stand before the open

gate of the kingdom of God.


Ø      The occasion of great opportunity, when it is in our power to make

some great sacrifice for others or to render some valuable service to them

or to speak faithfully and effectively for Jesus Christ.




                         The Wall and Side Buildings (vs. 5-11)


5 "After he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth

of every side chamber, four cubits, round about the house on every

side."  The measuring commenced with the wall of the house, i.e.

with the outer wall, which, beginning at the pillars (v. 1), enclosed the

temple on its south, west, and north sides. Its great thickness, six cubits,

corresponded with and even surpassed the colossal proportions of

architecture in the ancient East. The walls of Solomon’s temple, though

not mentioned in either Kings or Chronicles, could hardly have been less

than four cubits thick (see I Kings 6:6), and were probably more

(Schurer). Like the Solomonic (ibid. vs. 5-10), the Ezekelian temple

had side chambers, which, like those of the earlier building, served as

storehouses for priests’ clothing, temple utensils, and temple treasures

(I Kings 7:51; II Kings 11:2; II Chronicles 5:1), and measured four cubits

broad in the clear.


6 "And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in

order; and they entered into the wall which was of the house for the

side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had

not hold in the wall of the house." The side chambers were three, one over

another, and thirty in order; literally, side chamber over side chamber, three and

thirty times; which means that they were ranged in three stories of thirty each;

in this, again, agreeing, as to number and position, with the chambers in

Solomon’s temple (see Josephus, ‘Ant.,’ 8:3. 2). It is not needful to alter

the text, as Bottcher, Hitzig, Havernick, and Ewald propose to do, in order

to make it read, with the Septuagint, “chamber against chamber, thirty and

(this) three times,” on the ground that אֵל and not עַל is the preposition,

because in Ezekiel אֵל often stands for עַל (ch. 18:6; 31:12; 40:2). How

the chambers were arranged along the three sides is not stated; but most

likely there were twelve threes on each of the longer sides, the north and

the south, and six threes on the shorter or western side. Like the chambers

in Solomon’s temple (I Kings 6:6). those in Ezekiel’s were not

fastened to “the wall of the house,” i.e. of the temple proper; the only

question is whether they were built against the temple wall, as Kliefoth,

Keil, Smend, and Schroder suppose, or, as Ewald and Dr. Currey seem to

think, against another wall, five cubits thick (v. 9), which ran parallel to

the temple wall, and which, having been built expressly for the support of

the side chambers, might properly enough be said to be “of the house,” i.e.

belonging to it. In the former case the chambers would doubtless be

fastened to the temple wall by means of “ledges,” “holds,” “rebates,” as in

the temple of Solomon: in the latter case, as Ewald translates, there would

be “a light passage between the wall of the house and the side chambers




7 "And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to

the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still

upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house

was still upward, and so increased from the lowest chamber to the

highest by the midst."  In the side chambers an enlarging took place as

they went up, i.e. the floorage of the second story exceeded that of the first,

and the floorage of the third that of the second; though how this was effected

can only be conjectured. If the chambers were built against the temple wall,

then probably the wall at each story went in, say a cubit or a cubit and a

half from the outside, so as to admit the beams; or, if the chambers were

built against an outside wall, a similar recession of the wall from the inside

may have taken place. In either ease, the (interior) breadth of the house,

i.e. of the side chambers, would be upward, and would increase from the

lowest chamber to the highest by the midst. Plumptre, after Kliefoth,

suggests that the increasing size of the chambers in the three stories may

have been due to projecting galleries. Ewald, taking “house” as “the

temple,” supposes that it gradually became bigger. i.e. broader, as it rose,

which could be the case only if the side chambers were built against the

temple wall, and the increased width of the stories was scoured By

projecting galleries or corridors. Greater obscurity attaches to the second

clause, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers, which

the Authorized Version and some expositors regard as an indication that

Ezekiel’s temple had a spiral staircase like that in Solomon’s temple (see

I Kings 6:8); and probably some such mode of passing from story to

story did exist in Ezekiel’s temple; yet the clause, when properly rendered,

does not refer to this. The Revised Version reads, “And the side chambers

were broader as they encompassed the house higher and higher; for the

encompassing of the house went higher and higher round about the house;

therefore the breadth of the house continued upward; and so one went up

(most likely by a spiral stair) from the lowest chamber to the highest by the

middle chamber.”


8 "I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of

the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits."

explains that “the house” did not stand upon the level ground, but,

like many temple buildings in antiquity (see Schurer, in Riehm’s

Handworterbuch,’ art. “Tern. pel Salerno”), upon a height — or, raised

basement (Revised Version) — round about, which agrees with the

statement in ch. 40:49 that the temple was approached by means of

a stair. In consequence of this, the foundations of the side chambers were a

full reed of six great cubits; or, of six cubits to the joining (Revised

Version); “six cubits to the story” (Ewald); literally, six cubits to the

armpit. This can hardly mean six cubits each equal to the distance from the

elbow to the wrist, which would be a new definition of the length of the

reed; but as Havernick and Kliefoth propose, must be taken as an

architectural term indicative of the point where one portion of the building

joined on to another. Accordingly, by most interpreters the six cubits are

considered to be a statement of the height of the ceiling above the floor in

each story, which would give an elevation of eighteen cubits for the three

stories; but probably they mark only the height of the temple and side

chamber basis above the ground. Kliefoth includes both views, and obtains

an altitude of twenty-four cubits from the ground to the temple roof.


9 "The thickness of the wall, which was for the side chamber without,

was five cubits: and that which was left was the place of the side

chambers that were within."  The thickness of the wall, which was for the side

chambers on the outside, is next mentioned as having been five cubits, i.e. the

same as the breadth of the wall of the porch (ch. 40:48), but one cubit

thinner than that of the temple (v. 5). The clause which follows is

obscure. By that which was left, the Authorized and Revised Versions

understand the place of the side chambers that were within — or, that

belonged to the house (Revised Version) — without intending to assert

that the whole space left, which was five cubits (v. 11), was occupied by

the side chambers, which were only four cubits broad (v. 5). Accepting

these measurements, Kliefoth and Keil regard the free space as a walk of

five cubits broad on the outside of the side chambers. Ewald, and Dr.

Currey, in the ‘Speaker’s Commentary,’ place the five cubits between the

temple wall and the side chambers.


10 "And between the chambers was the wideness of twenty cubits round

about the house on every side.  Ewald and Smend, following the Septuagint,

combine vs.; 9 and 10 thus: “And that which was left between the side chambers

of the house and the cells (along the inner court wall) was twenty cubits round

about the house on every side.” Interpreters who reject this combination of the

verses explain v. 10 as a statement of the distance between the outside wall of

the side chambers and the cells of the inner court. Between the two lay the

wideness of twenty cubits; i.e. a free space of such breadth on the north,

south, and west sides of the house.


11 "And the doors of the side chambers were toward the place that was

left, one door toward the north, and another door toward the south:

and the breadth of the place that was left was five cubits round about."

The place that was left has been differently explained (see

above on v. 9); but on any hypothesis the side chambers opened on the

free space towards the north and towards the south, g.s. one row of

chambers was entered by a door from the south, another by a door from

the north. The corridor into which the chambers opened — whether

between them and the house (Ewald, Currey) or between them and an

outside wall (Kliefoth, Hengstenberg, Keil) — was five cubits broad. Thus

the whole breadth of the temple court can be obtained.


  • The breadth of the court


Ø      Breadth of the house ….……………….20 cubits

Ø      Breadth of wall………... 6 × 2 cubits = 12 cubits

Ø      Breadth of chambers, …..4 × 2 cubits =  8 cubits

Ø      Breadth of chamber wall, 5 × 2 cubits = 10 cubits

Ø      Breadth of corridor, …… 5 × 2 cubits = 10 cubits

Ø      Breadth of free space, …20 × 2 cubits = 40 cubits

   Total ... 100 cubits


  • The length of the court


Ø      The length of the house .... 60 cubits

Ø      The temple wall …………....6 cubits

Ø      The chambers ………………4 cubits

Ø      The chamber wall ………….5 cubits

Ø      The corridor……………….. 5 cubits

Ø      The space towards the west  20 cubits

       Total ... 100 cubits


The “house” was thus one hundred cubits square. The porch of the

house was reckoned as belonging to the inner court (ch. 40:48).



    The Separate Place (vs. 12-14)




12 "Now the building that was before the separate place at the end

toward the west was seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building was

five cubits thick round about, and the length thereof ninety cubits."

The building that was before the separate place. The word

הַגּזְרָה, occurring only in this chapter, and translated “separate place,” is

derived from a root signifying to “cut off,” and here denotes a space behind

the temple on the west, which was marked off from the rest of the ground

on which the temple with its courts and chambers stood, and devoted most

likely to less sacred purposes. Behind Solomon’s temple lay a similar space

(II Kings 23:11; I Chronicles 26:18), with buildings upon it and a

separate way out; and as the name gizrah appears to convey the notion of

something that required to be kept apart and removed from the sacred

precincts, the opinion of Kliefoth is probably correct that “this space with

its buildings was to be used for the reception of all refuse, sweepings, all

kinds of rubbish — in brief, of everything that was separated or rejected

when the holy service was performed in the temple, and that this was the

reason why it received the name of ‘the separate place.’ The dimensions of

this building were:


Ø      the breadth, seventy cubits;

Ø      the length, ninety cubits;

Ø      the thickness of the wall, five cubits round about.



Solidity (v. 12)


“The wall of the building was five cubits thick.” This suggests a solid




strong as a castle. Indeed, it was used as a fortress in the time of the

Roman siege of Jerusalem, and was the last part of the city to yield to the

foe. The Church of God is better than an ark on the waters; it is a mighty

fortress, built upon a strong foundation, and strongly protected by the

presence of God. (“Salvation will He appoint for walls and bulwarks.”

Isaiah 26:1)  We need not fear for our spiritual shelter. It will not be

blown away with every wind of doctrine. What Christ has done for us

will stand the hardest strain.



are, indeed, some Christian people whose faith seems to be no better than

the flimsiest summer tent, quite unfit to stand against the least gale of

doubt, temptation, or trouble. But he who is really and earnestly

endeavoring to live the Christian life by the grace of God will find that,

though he is weak, God can make him strong, and build up his spiritual

life into a vigor at which the man himself may well be surprised.


  • THE STRUCTURE OF TRUTH IS SOLID. There is a great deal in

men’s opinions of religion that will need to be swept away by widening

knowledge. But this is not truth. As soon as a real fact is reached, no

granite from Aberdeen can be more hard and firm. When we reach truth

our feet touch the rock, and when we build up our teachings out of truths

they must stand. “Truth is great, and it must prevail.”


  • THE STRUCTURE OF GOOD WORK IS SOLID. Here is the test by

which to reveal showy, worthless work, and to distinguish it from that

which is of real value. There are men who build on the right foundation,

and yet only pile up wood, hay, and stubble. Their work will be burnt,

though they themselves will be saved (I Corinthians 3:12-15). But

when a man with an honest heart toils unpretentiously to build up what is

real and true — to better society, to spread the gospel by it — all on the

foundation of Christ, he may rest assured that his work will stand. Such

work is solid.


  • THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IS SOLID. The Church has stood many

shocks and dangers — temptations and persecutions. Still she endures.

Philosophies, social systems, and political movements have risen and

fallen.  But the Church of Christ has outlived them all. She outlived

the Roman empire and the ancient civilization. She will outlive her

rivals in thought and social movements in the present day.


  • HEAVEN IS SOLID. It is no vague cloudland. Christ spoke of His

Father’s house (John 14:1). Paul contrasted the house not made

with hands, eternal in the heavens, with the present temporary tabernacle

of the earthly body (II Corinthians 5:1). The writer to the Hebrews

shows us Abraham looking “for a city which hath foundations, whose

Builder and Maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).


13 "So he measured the house, an hundred cubits long; and the separate place,

and the building, with the walls thereof, an hundred cubits long;  14 Also the

breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east,

an hundred cubits." Thus the whole breadth of this erection was seventy plus

ten, or eighty cubits; which, with ten cubits of free space on the north and

south sides, make a hundred cubits in all. Its whole length was ninety plus

ten, or a hundred cubits. The entire area was thus once more a hundred

cubits square. At this point, again, a convenient estimate of the whole

dimensions of the temple area may be made.


  • The breadth of the area from west to east —


Ø      The separate place (including walls)………………………. 100 cubits

Ø      The “house” (with free space behind)……………………... 100 cubits

Ø      The inner court …………………………………………….. 100 cubits

Ø      The outer court (the two gates with space between them) … 200 cubits

      Total ... 500 cubits


  • The length of the area from north to south —


Ø      The outer court (the two northern gates with spaces

between them)……………………………………….. 200 cubits

Ø      The “house” (with free space on both sides)………..  100 cubits

Ø      The outer court (the two southern gates with distance

between them) ........................................................... 200 cubits

         Total…500 cubits



The Projecting Portions of the Temple Building (vs. 15-26)


15 "And he measured the length of the building over against the

separate place which was behind it, and the galleries thereof on the

one side and on the other side, an hundred cubits, with the inner

temple, and the porches of the court;"  With this verse begins a summary of

measurements of which some have been already given, while others are new.

Starting from the gizrah, or separate place, this summary mentions that the

man measured:


Ø      the whole length of the erection;

Ø      the length of its “galleries” on the north and south sides; and

Ø      the inner temple with the porches of the court.


The length of the separate place is not stated, that having been already

done (v. 13). The length of the galleries is specified as a hundred cubits,

which shows they extended along the whole side of the building. As for the

nature of these “galleries,” or אַתִּקִים, nothing can be ascertained from the

derivation of the word. The Septuagint renders it in this verse by ἀπόλοιπα -

apoloipa - things left over) in ch. 42:3 and 5 by περίστυλαperistula -  and

στοαί - stoai -  the Vulgate has here ethecas, the Hebrew Latinized, and in

ch. 42. portions. The ethekim were most likely passages or porches running

along both (north and south) sides of the building, and supported either by

pillars or ledges in the wall. The inner temple, which was measured, was the

house which stood between the gizrah and the inner court; the porches

of the court were the gate buildings in the inner and outer courts. Of all

these the dimensions have already been reported, and are not again



16 "The door posts, and the narrow windows, and the galleries round

about on their three stories, over against the door, ceiled with wood

round about, and from the ground up to the windows, and the

windows were covered;  17 To that above the door, even unto the inner

house, and without, and by all the wall round about within and without,

by measure." These two verses introduce several new details.


(1) That the door-posts (rather, thresholds), and the narrow (or, closed)

windows, and the galleries round about on their three stories, were covered

with a wainscoting of wood from the ground up to the windows.


(2) That the windows, whether openings on the first floor (Kliefoth) or

skylights in the roof (Hengstenberg), were “covered,” which may signify,

as Ewald and Plumptre think, that they were not left open, but protected by

a lattice-work of bars or planks; or, as Currey suggests, that they were

wainscoted as well as the space from the ground to the windows.


(3) That nothing was constructed by caprice or at random, but that all

about the building proceeded by exact measurement.


18 "And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm

tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two

faces;  19 So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one

side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side:

it was made through all the house round about.  20 From the ground unto

above the door were cherubims and palm trees made, and on the wall of

the temple."  As in Solomon’s temple (I Kings 6:29), the

wainscoting was adorned with artistic carving of cherubim and palm

trees, a palm tree and a cherub standing alternately. Each cherub had two

of its four faces exhibited (since four could not be conveniently represented

on a plain surface) — a man’s face (symbolizing the rational creation)

directed towards the palm tree on one side, and a young lion’s face

(symbolizing the irrational creation) turned towards the palm tree on the

other side. This particular style of ornamentation was employed from the

ground unto above the door, which Plumptre interprets as an indication

of the height of the palm trees and cherubic figures, but which probably

meant the same thing as the preceding clause, “through- all the house

round about.” Cherubic figures formed part of the adornment of the

tabernacle curtains (Exodus 26:1; 36:8). (On the nature of the

cherubim and their symbolic significance, see ch. 1:5-10.)



                                    Cherubims and Palm Trees (v. 18)


Ezekiel is here in the midst of his favorite imagery. But as there were no

palm trees in the old tabernacle of the wilderness, nor in Solomon’s temple,

why does the prophet plant them among his cherubim?


  • THE FUTURE WILL BE VICTORIOUS. The old times were times of

darkness, fear, difficulty, and strife. Even yet we are not out of the noise of

the battle, and perhaps a more fierce conflict is gathering. But beyond all

these is the peace of Divine victory assured to the servants of Christ. This

was anticipated by the exultant Galilaeans, who spread palm branches

before our Lord as He rode up to Jerusalem. Now, the vision of the palm

trees should encourage patience and inspire energy. A splendid future is

before us; let us, then, press on with undimmed hope.


Ø      The palm tree is lofty. It shoots straight up and towers above the plain, a

graceful and a conspicuous object. The happy future will be exalted and



Ø      The palm tree bears all its fruit on its summit. It is a high, bare pillar,

crowned with fruit and foliage. Men must climb to reach its treasures. The

victory of Christian experience is not for those who grovel in earthly

mindedness.  (“Set your affection on things above, not on things on

the earth.”  (Colossians 3:2)


Ø      The palm flourishes in the desert. It is the one fruitful tree of the desert.

The victory of Christ over Satan was obtained amidst outward darkness

and despair. His future victory over all evil may be among discouraging

external signs. We need not despair of the human desert if the palm of

Christ is there.


Ø      The palm tree requires water for its nourishment. It will not grow in the

sandy wastes of the Sahara. The victory of Christianity depends on hidden

supplies of the water of life.



tree is in the temple, planted among the heavenly cherubim. It is a bit of

nature surrounded with things never found in nature. Christ’s kingdom

grows upon earth. The people of God are to flourish like the palm tree

(Psalm 92:12). But this prosperity is no mere natural growth of wild

humanity; neither is it the cultivated product of secular education. The

palm tree is not in the well-pruned and tended garden, but in the temple.

It is through religion that we are led on by Christ to victory.


Ø      There is the conquest of evil. The palm tree is planted by the place of

sacrifices — in the temple. We can only hope for a good future when the

wrongs and sins of mankind, which are its greatest evils, are overcome.


Ø      There is dedication to God. The palm tree grows in a holy place. We

must be devoted to God if we would enjoy His smile and favor. The highest

glory will crown the work of the most devoted servant of Christ. At the

monastery of Mar Saba, in the wilderness of the Dead Sea, a palm tree

grows on a shelf of the rock high up a wild, barren cliff, and yet flourishes

there and bears fruit, because — as the monks say — it springs from a

date-stone sown by the saint who founded the monastery. True saints will

grow palms of victory from the hardest lives.




The Significance of the Cherubim (vs. 18-20)


Among the difficulties that attend this question, it seems clear that these

composite forms were intended either to represent the human or the

angelic, not the Divine. The idea of any artistic representation of the Divine

Being in a Hebrew temple is surely quite inadmissible (Deuteronomy 4:15-17).

Making our choice, then, between the human and the angelic, we distinctly

prefer the former, and think that the general idea is that man, when raised to

the highest conceivable condition, when possessed of the greatest variety of

powers, should bring everything he has and is TO THE WORSHIP AND

SERVICE OF GOD!  The fact that, in Ezekiel’s vision, the cherubim had

so large a share in the ornamentation, “made through all the house round

about,” suggests the very close connection there should be between the

finest and highest powers of man and the worship of God. In other places

(see ch.1.) we have a far fuller description of these “living ones,” and there

we have the idea not only of “peerless strength and majesty” suggested by

the “face of a young lion” (v. 19), but also of patient, productive labor

(the ox), and of penetrating vision (the eagle); while the thought of swift

motion is conveyed both by the wings and the wheels of the prophet’s former

vision. Conceive man at his very best, endowed generally with such powers

as he is never or rarely possessed of now; add to those capacities which he

does enjoy those which are borrowed from other nonhuman spheres; and as

he would then be, thus invested, thus enlarged and crowned, the fitting thing

would be for him to be found in the temple, BLESSING AND PRAISING

GOD!   This is so, in several aspects and for many reasons.



high in dignity man may rise, and to whatever commanding faculty he may

attain, it is certain that:


Ø      He will always owe everything he may be or may possess TO THE



Ø      He will be dependent on the providential goodness of God for their

continuance. Thus gratitude and hope should bring him to the sanctuary, to

bless God for bestowing them upon him, and to ask Him to sustain and to

enlarge them.



engagements by which man does some honor to his human nature; e.g.

conversing, reading, discussing, meditating, planning, learning, executing

works of art, composing works of literature, etc. But never does he confer

such honor on himself as when he is worshipping God; then the life of the

living one” reaches its very highest point. To come consciously into the

near presence of God, to hold communion with the Eternal, to hymn his

praise, to dwell in thought upon His nature and His high purposes, to speak

His Divine truth or hear it, to work with Him toward the gracious and

glorious end He has in view, there is nothing we can do, here or perhaps

hereafter, so worthy of, so honorable to, our human nature. Man reaches

the very summit of his manhood when he is engaged in worshipping God.



JOY. Of all sources of delight, beginning with the sensuous and rising to

the spiritual, there can be none purer or more ennobling than this.




21 "The posts of the temple were squared, and the face of the

sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other."

The posts of the temple were squared; literally, as for the

temple the doorposts were squared, or “the sanctuary post work of square

form” (Keil). The remaining clauses ought to read as in the Revised

Version, “As for the face of the sanctuary, the appearance thereof was as

the appearance of the temple,” the sanctuary being the holy of holies as

distinguished from the holy place or the house as a whole, The precise

force of the last words, the appearance as the appearance, is supposed

by Kliefoth and Keil to be that the sanctuary door, like that of the temple,

had square pests; by Ewald, that it appeared to be what it really was; by

Plumptre, that the appearance was like that he (Ezekiel) had formerly

described: by Currey, that the appearance in this vision was the same as in

the other visions, and as in the actual temple (compare ch. 43:2).

Something can be said for each of these attempts to elucidate a dark

phrase. Smend and Hitzig, follow the Septuagint in connecting the last clause

of v. 21 with v. 22 in this fashion, “And in front of the holy place was an

appearance like the sight of a wooden altar.”


22 "The altar of wood was three cubits high, and the length thereof two

cubits; and the corners thereof, and the length thereof, and the walls thereof,

were of wood: and he said unto me, This is the table that is before the LORD."

The altar. This was the altar of incense (Exodus 30:1, etc.), which stood in the

holy place in contradistinction to the altar of burnt offering, which was located in

the outer court. The altar of burnt offering in Solomon’s temple was of brass

(II Chronicles 4:1), and in the tabernacle of shittim wood (Exodus 27:1); the

altar of incense in the tabernacle (Exodus 30:1) and in Solomon’s temple

(I Kings 7:48) was constructed of wood overlaid with gold, but in this temple

only of wood. Plumptre, commenting on this, writes, “Possibly Ezekiel shared

the feelings of Daniel (9:25), that the rebuilding would be ‘in troublous times,’

and did not contemplate an abundance of gold as likely to be the outcome

of the scant offerings of an impoverished people.” The dimensions of this

altar in the tabernacle were two cubits high and one cubit long and broad;

in the Solomonic temple, though not stated, they were probably the same

as in the tabernacle; in Ezekiel’s temple they were three cubits high, two

cubits long (and probably two cubits broad). The corners of the altar

were most likely “the horns, or horn-shaped points projecting at the

cornets.” The length. Ewald, Keil, Smend, and others, after the Septuagint,

change into “base,” “stand,” or “pedestal,” on the ground that the length

has been already mentioned, and that one does not usually speak of a

length being of wood; but it does not strike one as peculiarly objectionable

to say that the altar had corner pieces, a length, and walls (or sides) of

wood, meaning thereby to intimate that it was wholly constructed of

timber. When the prophet’s attention had been directed to it, the guide who

accompanied him observed, This is the table that is before the Lord, not

because, as Bottcher conjectured, the altar was regarded as including the

table of showbread, but because in the Law the offerings laid upon the altar

had been spoken of as the bread of God (Malachi 1:7); and because in this

vision table and altar appear to be used interchangeably (see ch. 44:16).




                        The Table that is Before the Lord (v. 22)


There can be no question that by this table Ezekiel intends the altar of

incense, which stood in the holy place, but which, on account of its

sacredness and value, is mentioned by the author of the Epistle to the

Hebrews as part of the furniture of the holy of holies. This altar in the

tabernacle was of acacia wood covered with gold; that in the temple of

Solomon was of cedar wood covered with the same pure and costly metal.

Upon this table was burned, every morning and evening, the incense which

represented the devotions of Israel. Upon the day of atonement the horns

of the altar of incense were touched with the blood of sacrifice. But as no

sacrifice, in the strict meaning of that term, was offered upon it, it seems

appropriately designated “the table that is before the Lord.” Remembering

the symbolical intention of the offering of incense as described in the

Apocalypse, we cannot fail to understand by this table the appointment that

prayer and praise, as an acceptable offering to God, should ever be presented

by the Church through the priestly mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ.


  • A SPIRITUAL OFFERING. The costly and fragrant incense had value

in the sight of God, as representing the spiritual sacrifices with which He is

ever well pleased. Prayer is not only natural to man as a needy and

dependent being; it is enjoined by God as an exercise profitable to man and

as the wisely ordained means of securing spiritual and promised blessings.

Thanksgiving and praise are becoming to those who are ever receiving

from Heaven more than they desire or deserve. We are not to understand

merely verbal offerings, but those which proceed from a devout, grateful,

confiding, and affectionate heart.  (“My son, give me thine heart”

Proverbs 23:26)


  • AN APPOINTED OFFERING. In Exodus 30 we find minute directions

concerning the presentation as well as the preparation of incense. This

service was not an invention of man; it was prescribed by Divine authority.

In the Church it is God’s will that there should be constant presentation

 of devotion“incense and a pure offering” (Malachi 1:11).  From the

altar of Christian hearts such sacrifices are to ascend to heaven. God

will be “inquired of” by his people (ch. 36:37). “Whoso offereth praise

glorifieth God.”  (Psalm 50:23)


  • AN ACCEPTABLE OFFERING. We have abundant testimony in

Scripture to the Lord’s indifference to the merely material gifts of men. If

such gifts are not the expression of faith and loyalty, He disdains and rejects

them. But, on the other hand, nothing is more clearly revealed in Scripture

than the delight of the Supreme in the offering of true and loving and

reverent hearts. This is a “sweet-smelling savor” to Him.


“Vainly we offer each ample oblation,

     Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;

Sweeter by far is the heart’s adoration,

     Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.”


  • A PERPETUAL OFFERING. Incense was offered by the Jewish

priest daily — every morning and every evening. Not less frequent should

be the offering of prayer and praise by God’s people-in the Church and in

the home, above all in the heart. There is no cessation of God’s favors;

there should be no cessation of our thanksgivings. There is no intermission

of our needs; there should be no interruption of our prayers. “Pray without

ceasing.”  (I Thessalonians 5:17)


  • A HEAVENLY OFFERING. It is observable that the one altar

mentioned in the Book of the Revelation as existing in the celestial temple

is the altar of incense. The purpose of sacrifice is answered and

accomplished upon earth. There remains no more offering for sin. In

heaven, accordingly, is no altar of sacrifice. But the altar of incense is

imperishable. From it ascend immortally the praises and the prayers of

 the redeemed and glorified. In heaven FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD  

is never suspended; there harps are never unstrung and voices are never



23"And the temple and the sanctuary had two doors.

24 And the doors had two leaves apiece, two turning leaves; two

leaves for the one door, and two leaves for the other door.

25 And there were made on them, on the doors of the temple,

cherubims and palm trees, like as were made upon the walls; and

there were thick planks upon the face of the porch without.

26 And there were narrow windows and palm trees on the one side

and on the other side, on the sides of the porch, and upon the side

chambers of the house, and thick planks."  The doors of the temple and of

the sanctuary form the next subject for description. Again as in the Solomonic

edifice (I Kings 6:31, etc.), the holy place and the holy of holies had two doors;

i.e. each had one door composed of two turning (or, folding) leaves, ornamented,

like the walls of the house, with carvings of cherubim and palms. On the

face of the porch without were thick planks, by which Ewald understands

“foliage” or “leafwork,” but which, with greater likelihood, were either as

Keil renders, “moldings of wood” for the threshold; or “cornices,” as

Kliefoth translates; if not, as Smend suggests, projecting beams to afford

shelter to one standing in the porch; or as Hengstenberg and Plumptre say,

“steps.” The last verse states that narrow or closed (as in v. 16) windows

admitted light into the porch, while carvings of palm trees adorned its walls

on each side. The cherubic figures, Plumptre hints, were absent, because

the porch was a place of less sanctity than the temple. Hengstenberg notes

that the words, “thick planks,” “thick beams,” or “steps,” as he translates,

fitly close this description, “as placing the extreme east over against the

extreme west with which it began.”




The Significance of the Palm Trees (vs. 18-20, 25)


The cherubim and the palm trees were closely associated; both were largely

represented, and they were found in close conjunction: “a palm tree was

between a cherub and a cherub.” Both of them pictured the righteous man

in the sanctuary of God, but while the cherub signified the good man at his

best bringing himself and all that he had as an offering to God, the palm

tree stood for the good man as one who had been made what he was by the

services of the sanctuary; the one was enlarged and ennobled humanity

bringing its offering to God, the other was that same humanity gaining its

goodness and worth from God and from His house. “The righteous shall

flourish like the palm tree,” said the psalmist (Psalm 92:12). And there

is very good reason why that tree should be taken as a type or picture of

the righteous man; there is also excellent reason why the prominence of the

palm tree in the prophet’s vision should picture the truth that man’s

goodness is the fair and excellent result of MUCH COMMUNION

WITH GOD!  Among the resemblances are these:


  • ITS UPRIGHTNESS. Some trees are irregular, they are twisted and

tortuous in their growth; some hug the ground before they rise; but the

palm rises straight toward heaven, it stands upright among the trees. “Like

some tall palm the noiseless fabric grew.” The good man is well figured

here; he is the man who does not stoop, who does not bend and bow

earthward, who stands erect, who moves in one heavenward direction,

who is governed constantly by true and abiding principles. And these he

gains from God and from His house. There, in the sanctuary, he is sustained

in his principles, is reminded of them, gains fresh inspiration to illustrate

and adorn them.


  • ITS FRUITFULNESS. The palm, as a fruit-bearing tree, bearing a fruit

which is remarkably nutritious — for the date will sustain life for a long

time, without any other kind of food — is an admirable picture of the

righteous man. He bears fruit; he is expected to “bear much fruit,”

(John 15:5) and fruit of many kinds: excellency of spirit, love, joy,

peace, long-suffering, etc.;  worthiness of life, — consistency, blamelessness,

practical kindness, etc.;  earnest effort to do good, — patient, prayerful

endeavor to awaken the slumbering, to elevate the fallen, to comfort

the sorrowful, to encourage the feeble, etc. And if he does this, it can only

be by having much to do with Jesus Christ his Lord. He must be a branch

abiding in the vine (ibid.); he must maintain a very close spiritual connection

with Christ; and how shall he do this without the ordinances of His house?


  • ITS BEAUTY. The palm tree lends a great charm to the landscape

when seen standing in clusters upon the heights against the sky; and its

evergreen foliage makes each particular tree an object of beauty. The

righteous man is he whose character is fair, excellent, admirable. When he

is what his Master calls on him to be, and what he actually becomes when

he seeks the strength and refreshment to be found in communion with God,

then the more he is observed the more he is admired. Those qualities are

found in him which are “lovely and of good report” (Philippians 4:8);

he is unselfish, pure, considerate, open-handed, patient, brave, loyal, loving.

His goodness, like the foliage of the palm, grows not near the ground, where

it can easily be soiled and lost, but high up, where lower things cannot

damage or destroy it.


  • ITS ELASTICITY. The fiber of the palm is so elastic that, even when

loaded with considerable weights, it still grows determinately upwards (see

Smith’s ‘Dictionary of the Bible’). The good man may have much to

depress him and to hamper his growth, but if he “dwells in the house of the

Lord,” he will rise, notwithstanding all that would otherwise check him, to

a noble height of virtue and of piety.


  • ITS ULTIMATE TRIUMPH. It does not promise much at the

beginning. “It is rough to the touch and enveloped in dry bark, but above it

is adorned with fruit… so is the life of the elect, despised below, beautiful

above;… down below straitened by innumerable afflictions, but on high it

is expanded into a foliage… of beautiful greenness” (see II Corinthians

4:17; Hebrews 12:11).





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