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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 40

Verses 1-49

We want to get into the study of Ezekiel tonight, and right off the top I would like to confess to you that of all of the Bible and the passages in the Bible, I understand this the least. I do not pretend to have a full and complete understanding of Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48. In fact, I have greater difficulty with these passages than I do any other section of the Bible. And because I do lack personally in an understanding of this section, I do find it extremely difficult to minister from this particular section of the scriptures. I can't wait till I get back and get into the book of Daniel. And when we return, we'll take... your next assignment will be Daniel the first six chapters. And I can hardly wait to get into Daniel, because that I understand. Now, Ezekiel up to this point I have, I feel, a pretty good grasp and understanding of it, but beginning tonight with chapter 40 and going through the end, I get lost. I don't understand it completely. And to help in understanding, because he is describing the new temple that is to be built. Now, from the description of this temple, it will be a temple that will be built during the Kingdom Age after the return of Jesus Christ. This will not be the temple that will be rebuilt during the... in the very near future under the decree that is made by the antichrist. But this is yet future.

Now we passed out diagrams for you by which we have sought to more or less draw a diagram for you of this new temple that is to be built. Notice that basically it is square and the outer walls of this temple are five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits broad. Now, this is the building itself. Outside of this there is the wall that is five hundred reeds. Now, to help you understand, we get into cubits, reeds, and we're into types of measurements that are not familiar with us. According to the definition, the cubit here is a cubit plus a span, the cubit that he measured with, which would be the cubit is the length from your elbow to your fingertips and the span, of course, is from your thumb to your fingertip. So, the length from your elbow to your fingertip about eighteen inches plus the span gives you about twenty-four inches. So you're dealing with cubits of twenty-four inches. Now as you look at this diagram again, you notice this outer wall of the building would then be about a thousand feet, five hundred cubits, which would make it about a thousand feet, which means that that is a fairly good size building comprising a hundred thousand square feet within the perimeters of the building.

So then you notice this inner court. That inner court is a hundred cubits square, which would mean about two hundred feet square. So again, you begin to get the size of this building. It is quite large indeed. An inner court, two hundred feet, this building from wall to wall is about a hundred and eighty feet. So you add another twenty feet and the same distance back and you have the inner court here, which is about a two-hundred-foot square.

So that helps you then to get the overall, idea of the overall size of the building. It is quite a large building, the new temple that will built. Plus the wall that goes around it at five hundred reeds. A reed is five of these cubits, which would be ten feet in length. So the wall around the whole thing would be almost a mile square. Now, at the present time in Jerusalem, there is no area where this could be built, especially on the temple mount. The temple mount that was vastly enlarged by King Herod is nowhere near a mile square. In fact, the whole old city of Jerusalem is just about a mile square.

So when Jesus returns, and prior to the return of Jesus Christ there are to be many cataclysmic events. The book of Revelation, for instance, describes a tremendous earthquake that is going to jolt Jerusalem so that a tenth part of the city will be destroyed. This plus the other cataclysmic events that are described in the book of Revelation, the present situation of Jerusalem, with the earthquake, and of course, when Christ returns there will be a great cataclysmic event in that the Mount of Olives will be splitting in the middle and a new valley will be formed, and no doubt with the new valley that is formed and this great shaking of the earth, a new mountain will be shoved up. And this mountain will be called Mount Zion and it will be very high in the sight of all of the earth according to the prophecies that are in Isaiah and in Jeremiah. So that the new temple will be built then upon this new Mount Zion, and thus the large area that is devoted for the temple. But you see the diagram here of the buildings themselves. And thus, as you go through Ezekiel beginning with chapter 40, as Ezekiel is taken by the Spirit and is shown this new temple of God.

In the twentieth year of our captivity, [which would have been the year 572 B.C.], in the beginning of the year [which would have been April], the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither. In the visions of God he brought me into the land of Israel, he set me upon a very high mountain, by which was the frame of the city on the south ( Ezekiel 40:1-26.40.2 ).

So there is a very new high mountain that rises up there in Israel in the area of Jerusalem.

And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and with a measuring reed; he stood in the gate. And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I will show you; for to the intent that I might show them unto thee you have been brought here ( Ezekiel 40:3-26.40.4 ):

So he meets the man who introduces himself and says, "Now, pay careful attention to all these things I'm going to show you, because for this purpose you've been brought here."

and then declare all that you see to the house of Israel ( Ezekiel 40:4 ).

So in these passages we are dealing in the Kingdom Age and with the house of Israel. We are not dealing with the church. And really this temple that is to be built and its worship is not related to the church, but it is related to Israel in the Kingdom Age. And so it is to be related to the house of Israel.

Now behold there was a wall on the outside of the house round about, in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long [the cubit is about eighteen inches, ten feet] by the cubit and a handbreadth [so about twelve feet]: he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed. Then he came to the gate which looked toward the east ( Ezekiel 40:5-26.40.6 ),

Now you notice down on the bottom of your diagram we've drawn here the gate towards the east. We've only drawn three steps; there are seven steps leading up into that gate. And the gate itself becomes a corridor, because on either side you have these rooms that go along and then the area known as the pavement, sort of a porched portico, arched, porched area that is in the pavement there. And it describes the porch and the arches and the various carvings of the cherubim that are upon these arches and on these posts.

Now, I'm not going to try to go through and follow this all with you. It gets very laborious, and therefore I'm going to allow you that opportunity if you so desire to get the thing in your mind to take the diagram that we have prepared for you and as best you can, follow it through, read it out, and see if you can more or less figure this whole thing out.

You have the inner court in verse Ezekiel 40:27 toward the south. Now you'll notice that there are gates that come in on three sides. Both into the outer court area here and then in three more gates corresponding with the outer gates into the inner court area. Those steps coming into the outer court area are seven steps upward. Coming into the inner court there are eight steps. So you are coming from a lower plane, rising to a higher plane, and then the temple house is yet on a higher level. So the whole thing is ascending up. But you have the three gates, no gate to the west. But there are gates to the east, to the north, and to the south, but none coming from the west. And so you come in through these gates into the outer chamber and then up through the steps into the inner court.

Now, only a certain group were allowed on into the inner court--those that were making the sacrifices themselves. You'll find the altar of burnt offering in the middle of the inner court, and then on the west side you find the temple house itself and the holy place within the temple house. The holy place being twenty by twenty, or about a forty-foot cube area.

Now, as you go into these measurements, you'll find that they are, many of them, in multiples of twelve, which I'm sure has some significance. But just what the significance is I cannot tell you for sure. Because I don't know. There's a lot of things that people can read into things. I would rather not read things into it, but just read it as it is and that which I understand tell you; that which I don't understand just let you know that I don't understand it, what its significance or whatever. But I've noticed in going through many multiples of twelve.


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 40". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.