Notes on Ezekiel 41

Ezekiel 41  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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It has, I confess, struck me much that our prophet speaks nothing of gold or silver in his prediction of the future temple. It is notorious how prominent is the use of each in the tabernacle of old, and how characteristic of Solomon's building was the use at least of gold. Why is this? A few suggestions on the divine idea of each may be helpful; but we must take care, not only that it be truth that we own, but how we use it.
Gold, then, seems to be regularly used in scripture as symbolic of divine righteousness; and this in the aspect, not of earthly judgment, which vindicates Him (this is rather set forth by brass), but of what we draw near to on high. Hence we see the difference between the altar of burnt-offering and that of incense, while the fullest illustration of the gold appears in the ark with its mercy-seat of solid gold. Silver we see in certain parts of the tabernacle, as in the sockets for the boards and the pillars, with their hooks and fillets also. It typifies grace, being the ransom-money of Israel. Hence we see the propriety of silver as well as of gold in that which figures the tabernacle for the people passing through the wilderness, of gold (and not silver) characterizing the heavenly city in Revelation 21, while neither is named by the prophet in his description of the millennial sanctuary we have now before us. It is not that one can doubt that gold is implied here also, but this only makes the absence of all express account of it more striking.
On the chapter little need be said for my present purpose. The prophet is brought from the outer precincts to view the house itself. “And he brought me to the temple; and he measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, the breadth of the tabernacle. And the breadth of the door [was] ten cubits, and the sides of the door five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other side; and he measured its length, forty cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits” (vss. 1-2).
Next we look within. “Then went he inward, and measured the posts of the door, two cubits, and the door six cubits, and the breadth of the door seven cubits. So he measured its length twenty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits, before the temple; and he said to me, This [is] the most holy” (vss. 3-4).
“After this he measured the wall of the house, six cubits, and the breadth of a side-chamber four cubits, round about the house on every side. And the side-chambers [were], one over another, three and thirty times; and they entered into the wall which [was] on the house, for the side-chambers round about, that they might be fastened on, but they were not fastened on the wall of the house. And as one wound upward it became continually wider for the side-chamber, for the row of chambers went more and more upward round about the house; therefore the breadth of the house [was] greater upward; and so they went up, the lowest to the highest, by the middle. And I saw the height of the house round about; the foundations of the side-chambers a full reed of six great1 cubits. The thickness of the wall which [was] for the side-chamber without [was] five cubits and that which was left, the place of the side-chamber, belonging to the house. And between the chambers is a breadth of twenty cubits about the house all round. And the doors of the side-chambers [were] toward the place 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. And the building that was before the separate place at the end westward [was] seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building [was] five cubits thick round about, and its length ninety cubits. So he measured the house, an hundred cubits; and the separate place, and the building with its walls, a hundred cubits long; and the breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, a hundred cubits. And he measured the length of the building over against the separate place which was behind it, and its galleries on the one side, and on the other side, one hundred cubits, with the inner temple, and the porches of the court, the door-posts, and the latticed windows, and the galleries round about on their three sides, opposite to the doorposts, a wainscoting of wood all round, and from the ground up to the windows, and the windows were covered. Over above the door, even to the inner house and the outer [a wainscoting], and on all the wall round about, within and without, by measures. And [it was] made with cherubim and palm-trees, a palm-tree being between two cherubim, and a cherub had two faces; and a man's face was towards the palm-tree on the one side, and a young lion's face towards the palm-tree on the other side; [it was] made through all the house round about. From the ground to above the door the cherubim and the palm-trees were made in the wall of the temple. The temple had four-cornered posts; and the front of the holy of holies, the appearance [was] as the appearance” (vss. 5-2l). It will be observed that the symbols used here express judicial power and victory: how appropriate to the millennial day needs not to be argued.
In verse 22 we read that “the altar of wood [was] three cubits high, and its length two cubits; and its corners, and its top-piece, and its walls [were] of wood; and he said to me, This [is] the table that is before Jehovah.” This identification of the altar with the name of the table on which the show-bread was set before the Lord is remarkable; and the reader can compare Malachi 1:7, 127Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. (Malachi 1:7)
12But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. (Malachi 1:12)
“And the temple and the holy of holies had two doors. And the doors had two leaves, two turning leaves, two for the one door, and two leaves for the other. And [there were] made on them, on the doors of the temple, cherubims and palm-trees, as [were] made upon the walls, and a thick plank-work [was] upon the face of the porch without; and latticed windows and palm-trees on the one side, and on the other side, on the sides of the porch, and on the side-chambers of the house and the thick planks” (vss. 23-26). It is thus a wholly different measure of access to God from what we know who estimate the sacrifice of Christ according to its value in heaven and thus enter through the rent veil. For Israel, though surely redeemed, the barrier will be set up again.
1. To the root of the hand; or, as some say, under ground; as others, by the joining.