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INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 41
In this chapter the divine and illustrious Person, the prophet's guide, brings him to the temple itself, and gives the dimensions of the posts and doors, both of the holy and the most holy place, Ezekiel 41:1, then of the wall of the house, its side chambers, the winding about to them, and the doors of them, Ezekiel 41:5, next of a building before the separate place, its doorposts, narrow windows, and galleries,
Ezekiel 41:12, after that each of the ornaments of the house are described, Ezekiel 41:18, then the altar of incense, Ezekiel 41:22, and the chapter is concluded with observing the decorations and lights on the doors, porch, and side chambers of the temple and sanctuary,
Afterward he brought me to the temple,.... Having measured the porch into it, its posts, and gate. This is the body of the building, which was the "frame" of a city first shown, the principal fabric; for hitherto he had been only measuring the outward and inner courts, and their gates, and what were in them; but now he is come to the house itself, called a temple; by which not only particular Gospel churches are called, 1 Corinthians 3:16, but the Gospel church state in general, Zechariah 6:12, and especially as in the latter day; so the Philadelphian church state, which represents the spiritual reign of Christ, or the glory of the latter day, is called the temple of my God, Revelation 3:12, which will be a holy temple to the Lord where he will dwell in a gracious manner, and be worshipped in spirit and in truth; and here his glory will be seen; it will be built up of precious and costly stones, even living and lively ones; a spiritual house to offer up the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise: and, as in the material temple or holy place stood the candlestick and table of shewbread; here the light of the Gospel will burn clearly; and Christ the bread of life be held forth in the ordinance of the supper; where, as at a table, saints shall have intimate fellowship with him:
and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side these were the posts of the door of the temple, and stood on each side of it, on the north and south; and this was the thickness, six cubits or a reed each, three yards and a half; this was the frontispiece of the door of the palace of the King of kings:
which was the breadth of the tabernacle; the tabernacle of Moses; that is, these posts, or this frontispiece, were as broad as the whole tabernacle of Moses was; which had eight boards in the breadth, each board being a cubit and a half, made twelve cubits, just the breadth of these two posts, Exodus 26:16, this shows how far superior the Gospel church is to the old synagogue; how larger is the one, and the entrance into it wider, than the other. Some understand by "the tabernacle" the upper lintel, of the same breadth with the posts; and was in a recurve, and as a covering to the door; so the Jewish commentators, and others that follow them.
And the breadth of the door was ten cubits,.... The temple door: great care is taken to observe and give the dimensions of the doors and gates of various places; to put us in mind of Christ the door and gate into the church, and into fellowship with God: this was as broad again as the door of Solomon's temple; for that was but the fourth part of the wall of it, five cubits, 1 Kings 6:1:
and the sides of the door were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other side; the side walls of the door, both on the north and south, were five cubits each; which, with the ten, the breadth of the door, made twenty; and is just the breadth of the temple or holy place afterwards given:
and he measured the length thereof forty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits; that is, the length of the temple from east to west, and the breadth of it from north to south, were of this measure; which exactly answers to the dimensions of Solomon's temple, a figure of the Gospel church, as this; see 1 Kings 6:2.
Then went he inward,.... Through the temple or holy place he had measured, to the holy of holies:
and measured the post of the door two cubits; this was the door into the most holy place; there was one in Solomon's temple; but in the second temple there was none; but two rails instead of it, which were rent at the death of Christ; and two cubits was the thickness of the post, on which this door was shut:
and the door six cubits, and the breadth of the door seven cubits; this door was a two leaved one; each leaf consisted of three cubits broad, and the post in the middle on which they shut one cubit broad, which made seven: though some think that the side walls of the door are meant, as in Ezekiel 41:2, which were each seven cubits; and the breadth of the door, six cubits, made twenty cubits; which was the breadth of the most holy place, as answering to the breadth of the holy place, as in the next verse.
So he measured the length thereof twenty cubits,.... That is, of the most holy place, from east to west; which was the measure of it in Solomon's temple, 1 Kings 6:20:
and the breadth twenty cubits before the temple: that is answerable or according to the breadth of the temple or holy place; which was also twenty cubits in breadth: this stood at the west end of it, and was equal in breadth to it; see 1 Kings 6:2:
and he said unto me, this is the most holy place; the divine Person in human form said to the prophet, take notice of this building; this answers to the most holy place in the temple. This was an emblem of the most holy and perfect state of the church on earth; it represents the New Jerusalem church state, that holy city, and into which nothing shall enter that defiles; and, as in the most holy place, the divine Shechaniah or majesty of God dwelt; so here will dwell in person the God-man and Mediator, the head of the church, our Lord Jesus; whose tabernacle will now be with men, in this perfect state, raised from the dead, and he will dwell among them: and as this most holy place in its dimensions is a foursquare, so is the holy city described; denoting its stability and perfection; see Revelation 21:2.
After he measured the wall of the house six cubits,.... Or a reed, three yards and a half thick: this was the wall of the holy of holies, or which divided that from the holy place, and was not in the second temple; or rather the wall of the temple, the whole house or building, both of the holy place, and of the most holy, which were contiguous: such a strong wall is the Lord to his church, and especially will be in the latter day, when salvation will be for walls and bulwarks against all enemies, and to preserve from all hurt and danger, Isaiah 26:1, the New Jerusalem also will have a wall great and high, and made of a precious stone, Revelation 21:12:
and the breadth of every side chamber four cubits round about the house on every side; or, "of every rib" y; as ribs are to the body, so were these side chambers or buildings to the fabric, as Ben Melech observes, who interprets them of beams: adjoining to the above wall were chambers all around the holy place and the most holy on each side, north and south; for there could be none on the east, that being the entrance into the holy, and so into the most holy place; and the floor of these chambers were four cubits, or two yards and a foot broad; that is, those of the lower storey: these were for the priests, where they lodged, and laid up and ate their most holy things, and put their garments in which they ministered; see Ezekiel 42:13, and design, as the chambers everywhere do, particular congregated churches; where such as are made priests to God by Christ have a place, and communion with God in holy things; and appear in the righteousness of Christ, and in the beauties of holiness.
y הצלע "costae", Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius.
And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in order,.... There were three stories of them, and thirty in every storey, in all ninety; there were such chambers round about Solomon's temple, and so many stories of them, though their number is not expressed, 1 Kings 6:5, but Josephus z says they were thirty, and one above another, three stories of them, as here. Some think twelve were on the north side, twelve on the south, and six on the west; or fifteen on the north, and fifteen on the south. The Misnic doctors a say there were thirty eight in the second temple, fifteen on the north side, fifteen on the south, and eight on the west. The Targum is,
"the chambers were chamber over chamber thirty three, eleven in a row;''
and so some b understand it, that they were in all but thirty three, eleven in the first storey, as many in the second, and the same number in the third; and place them four in the north, four in the south, and three in the west, so Starckius; but the first account seems best. This denotes the number of churches in Gospel times, especially in the latter day; when there will be large conversions, and room enough for all the converts: and as there are many mansions in heaven for all the saints; so there will be room enough in the New Jerusalem, the more perfect state of the church on earth, to hold the whole palm bearing company, whose number no man can number; and all the nations of them that are saved, who will walk in the light of it, Revelation 7:9:
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 beams of the floors of those side chambers rested indeed upon the wall of the house which was built for them; but were not inserted into it, or laid in it, as we see in some buildings; but there were projections or buttresses in the wall, or what are called narrowed rests, 1 Kings 6:6 or rebatements of the breadth of a cubit, on which they were laid and rested; and so it was in the upper stories, as in the lowermost; there being an abatement of a cubit in the thickness of the wall in each storey, as in the following verse. This shows the firmness of this spiritual building resting upon such a wall and such buttresses as God himself is to it;
1 Kings 6:6- :.
z Antiqu. l. 8. c. 3. sect. 2. a Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 3. b Lipman. Tzurath Beth Hamikdash, sect. 69. fol. 10. 1.
And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers,.... These chambers, as they rose up in stories one above another, were larger and larger; those in the middlemost storey were larger than those in the lower storey by a cubit; so much being taken out of the thickness of the wall, to make the rests or rebatements for the beams of the floor to rest upon, by which so much was gained in breadth for the chambers; and those in the upper storey, for the same reason, were a cubit broader than those in the middle, and two cubits broader than the lowermost; the floor of the first and lower storey was four cubits broad, Ezekiel 41:5 the floor of the second five cubits; and the floor of the third or uppermost six cubits. The wall of the temple at the bottom was six cubits thick, Ezekiel 41:5, at the middlemost storey five cubits; and at the uppermost four: and all this may denote the enlargement of the church of Christ, as it comes nearer the heavenly state; the present state of the church may be signified by the lower storey, where the chambers are narrowest; the state of the church in the latter day glory, or spiritual reign of Christ, by the middlemost, when it will be enlarged; its converts being very numerous, Isaiah 49:19 and the New Jerusalem church state by the uppermost storey; which city or state will be very large, and next to heaven, or the ultimate glory; see Revelation 21:16. The "winding" that went upwards to the side chambers were winding stairs, which went up from one storey to another, higher and higher; see 1 Kings 6:8. The Misnic doctors say c, that in the second temple these winding stairs went from one side of the temple to the other, from the north east to the northwest; by which they went up to the roofs of these chambers and to the upper room over the sanctuary. These may signify the various afflictions and tribulations, trials and exercises, in which the Lord leads his people, and by which the churches of Christ pass from one state to another:
for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: not on the outside, but within; properly round about the chambers, which are here called the house:
therefore the breadth of the house was still upward; became broader and broader, as it rose up higher and higher:
and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst; from being only four cubits broad in the lowest storey, it became five cubits in the middlemost, and from thence six cubits in the highest.
c Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 5.
I saw also the height of the house round about,.... Not of the temple itself, but of the chambers, and the three stories of them, which went round about it; and particularly the height of the highest storey, which yet is not given: it could not be so high as the temple itself; for then there would have been no room for windows to let in light into it:
the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits; not of the lowest storey of them, for that was but four cubits broad, Ezekiel 41:5, nor of the middlemost, which was five; but of the uppermost, which was six; and these were cubits of the largest size, a hand's breadth larger than the common cubit, and made one full reed, or three yards and a half; see Ezekiel 40:5, these foundations signify the same as the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem; and which are no other than the one foundation Christ, ministerially laid by his twelve apostles; and who is the only foundation of his church and people, and is a sure one, Revelation 21:14.
The thickness of the wall, which was for the side chambers without, was five cubits,.... This is the outward wall of the chambers, north and south, which was five cubits thick, made of stone;
and that which was left was the place of the side chambers that were within; this was a void space, not built upon, which was before the chambers that stood within it; and was a space to walk in for those that dwelt in the chambers, or to go in from chamber to chamber; which also was five cubits in breadth, as appears from the next verse. This may denote the communion of churches, and the members of them one with another.
And between the chambers was the wideness of twenty cubits,.... Not the side chambers before mentioned, as if there was the space of twenty cubits between each chamber; for another word is used; more probably the meaning is, that between the side chambers, or the void space before them of five cubits, and the chambers which were in the court facing them, was such a wideness of twenty cubits:
round about the house on every side; on all sides of the temple, where the above chambers were, west, north, and south.
And the doors of the side chambers were towards the place that was left,.... These opened to the void space before them; that is, those of the lower storey; the others must open to the winding staircase that led down to it:
one door toward the north, and another door toward the south; which is not to be understood as if each chamber had two doors; but either of the two doors, which opened at the top of the staircase to the north and south; or of the doors of those chambers, which were on the north, and opened towards it; and of those that were on the south, that opened to that: indeed the Misnic doctors say d that each chamber had three doors; one to the chamber on the right; another to the chamber on the left; and a third to the upper chamber: and in the north east corner were five doors; one to the chamber on the right; and one to the upper chamber; a third to the winding stairs; a fourth to the little gate; and the fifth to the temple; these signify the free entrance of men into the churches of Christ in the latter day, whose gates shall be opened to let in the righteous nation; and shall stand open continually, that the forces of the Gentiles and their kings may be brought, Isaiah 26:2 and in the New Jerusalem there are gates, east, west, north, and south, even twelve of them, and at them twelve angels; and which gates shall not be shut day nor night, Revelation 21:12:
and the breadth of the place that was left was five cubits round about; the void space that was left before the side chambers; see Ezekiel 41:9.
d Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 3.
Now the building that was before the separate place,.... The "separate place" is the holy of holies, which was separated by a vail under the second temple, and by a wall as in this, and the first from the holy place: "before or over against" which was a building, as it is rendered, Ezekiel 41:15, a new building, not before taken notice of: and it was situated
at the end toward the west: or "sea" e, the Mediterranean sea, which lay west to the land of Canaan. The meaning is, that this building was to the west of the temple, at which end stood the holy of holies, and this near to that: what building is here meant is not easy to say, there being nothing in the first or second temple which answered to it: it seems to be a new building; and what the mystical sense of it is cannot be easily guessed at. Cocceius thinks, that as the holy of holies signifies the heavenly or more perfect state of the church on earth, this, being over against it, or behind it, as in Ezekiel 41:15, may design heaven itself, the happiness and glory of the saints treasured up and reserved there:
it was seventy cubits broad; Jerom seems to have the same mystical sense in view; since he observes, that after labours and perils, and the floods and shipwrecks of this world for seventy years, we come to enjoy the eternal rest:
and the wall of the building was five cubits thick round about; which may answer to the vast gulf fixed between the godly in heaven, and the wicked in hell; so that there is no going the one to the other,
and the length thereof ninety cubits; there are no outgoings to this building, as Hafenrefferus f, a German divine, observes; so that those that are brought into it shall ever remain in it, which is the case of the saints in heaven.
e הים "ad mare, Piscator; obversa mari", Cocceius, Starckius. f Apud Starckius in loc.
So he measured the house, an hundred cubits long,.... The whole temple, the parts of which he had measured; and this is the sum total:
and the separate place, and the building, with the walls thereof, an hundred cubits long; these are the several parts of the house or temple: the "separate place", the holy of holies, the building, the sanctuary or holy place; which, with the walls thereof, made a hundred cubits in length from east to west, thus; the thickness of the wall of the east porch, six cubits; the passage through the porch, eleven cubits; the wall between the porch and the temple, six cubits; the temple or holy place, forty cubits; the wall between that and the most holy place, two cubits; the holiest of all, twenty cubits; the thickness of the west wall, six cubits; the chambers at the end of it, four cubits; and the outer wall of them, five cubits; in all a hundred cubits: for this cannot be understood of the separate place, and the building before it, or rather behind it; since the separate place, or holiest of all, was twenty cubits, and the building ninety cubits; besides the thickness of each wall, five cubits a piece; in all a hundred and twenty.
Also the breadth of the face of the house, and the separate place toward the east,.... The whole front of the temple, the holy and most holy place, which looked to the east: and was measured from north to south,
an hundred cubits: which some reckon thus; the breadth of the temple twenty cubits; the thickness of the outward walls, twelve cubits; the side chambers, eight cubits; the walls of these chambers, five cubits on each side: the breadth of the void space, five cubits on each side; and twenty cubits round about the house; so that the length and breadth of this structure was the same, and made a perfect foursquare, as the city of the New Jerusalem is said to be, Revelation 21:16.
And he measured the length of the building over against the separate place,.... Which was ninety cubits, as appears from
Ezekiel 41:12, when measured by itself:
which was behind it; that is, behind the separate place, or holiest of all, at the back of it, at the west end. Noldius g renders the words, "he measured the length of the building before the separate place, and behind it"; or its back part, as the Syriac, and interprets it thus; that he measured the building or the porch which was before the temple, that is to the north; and the porch opposite to it, that is to the south: this "building" behind it, with the Jews h, is the same with Bethchaliphoth i, or the house of knives, which the priests used in sacrificing:
and the galleries thereof on the one side, and on the other side, an hundred cubits; as the above is the length of this building from east to west, this is the breadth of it from north to south; the breadth of the building itself was seventy cubits, Ezekiel 41:12, and the galleries on the north and south sides of it, and the thickness of the walls, which were five cubits each, made thirty more; in all a hundred cubits; which is equal to the breadth of the temple, as in the preceding verse: these galleries, or balconies, or porticos, supported by pilasters, design places for the saints to walk in, converse, and commune with one another; and where Christ the King of saints is held forth, and seen in his beauty and glory; see Zechariah 3:7:
with the inner temple, and the porches of the court; or, "and the inner temple" k, c. that is, and he also measured the inner temple or holy of holies, with all the porches, chambers, and their walls, and with all the spaces and appendages to it, which were of the same measure see Ezekiel 41:15.
g Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 104. No. 521. h Lipman. Tzurath Beth Hamikdash, sect. 50. i Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 7. k וההיכל הפנימי "et templum interius", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Starckius.
The door posts and the narrow windows,.... Of the inner temple or holy of holies; for this is what is last mentioned; of the door posts of it, see Ezekiel 41:3, in the holy of holies, both in Moses's tabernacle, and Solomon's temple, were no windows; Jehovah dwelt in thick darkness, 1 Kings 8:12, but in this inner temple, or the more perfect state of the church on earth, there will be much light: these windows are said to be "narrow", that is, without, but broad within; and let in a great deal of light, which, though not discerned by those without, yet comfortably enjoyed by those within; and will be so great, that there will be no need of the sun or moon; Christ the Lamb will be the light of this state; and the nations of the saved and their kings will walk in the light of it, Revelation 21:23:
and the galleries round about on their three stories; these seem to be the same with the side chambers, which were three storey high, and were on the three sides of the house, west, north, and south; see Ezekiel 41:6:
over against the door, cieled with wood round about: with cedar wood, as the Targum: or, "answerable were the doors cieled with wood" l; door, for doors; that is, the doors of these side chambers, which answered to one another, were lined with cedar wood; all which doors, door posts, windows, and galleries, were severally measured:
and from the ground up to the windows; from the bottom of the floor of the most holy place up to the windows, which were above the third storey of the side chambers, he measured also:
and the windows were covered; either by the jetting out of the side chambers, so that they could not well be seen in the courts below; or they were lattice windows with such small holes as at a distance were scarcely discernible; or were covered with curtains within; or being very narrow on the outside, though broad within, looked as if they were covered; denoting how impenetrable the glories of this state are to those that are without, Revelation 22:15.
l נגד הסף שחיף עץ סביב "contra uniuscujusque limen, stratumque ligno per gyrum in circuitu", V. L. Capellus.
To that above the door, even unto the inner house,.... The meaning is, either there were such windows as before described above the door of the eastern gate, that led into the holiest of all, and even unto the inner house, or holy of holies: and without; and to all the side, chambers that were built without it:
and by all the wall round about within and without; both within the holy place, and without, in the places adjoining to it, on all sides, west, north, and south; or all were cieled with cedar wood, that it might be more capable of being ornamented, either with gold, or with the decorations mentioned in the following verses: or the sense is, that all these were measured exactly: for it follows, "by measure"; or to all these "were measures" m; the dimensions were taken; every thing in the Gospel church state, whether in its less or more perfect state, will be all according to rule and measure.
m מדות "mensuras accepit", Munster; "in omnibus mensurae [monstratae sunt]", Tigurine version.
And it was made with cherubim and palm trees,.... That is, all the wall of the house round about was ornamented with these, even both of the holy and of the most holy place; with these the curtains of Moses's tabernacle, and the vail that divided between the holy and the most holy place, were decorated; as also the walls, both of the sanctuary and oracle, in Solomon's temple, Exodus 26:1. The former, according to the commonly received notion, were an emblem of angels; the latter of true believers, or holy upright men: why these are called palm trees, Exodus 26:1- :,
so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; these were so placed all around, that there was first a cherub, next a palm tree, and then a cherub again, and so on; and if angels and saints are meant, and that notion could be supported, which some have given into, that the number of men redeemed by Christ is the same with that of the angels that fell, and their places are filled up by them; this would serve to illustrate it, particularly as these were all around the walls of the most holy place; a type of heaven, as here of the New Jerusalem state; that as there was a cherub and a palm tree, a cherub and a palm tree, throughout all the house, so an angel and a saint, an angel and a saint, throughout all the mansions in the holy city, and in the heavenly glory:
and every cherub had two faces: which, by what follows, were the faces of a man, and of a lion. The "cherubim" Ezekiel saw in his first vision had four faces, Ezekiel 1:10 and so these must be supposed to have, though only two were seen; because these were carved or painted on the walls, so that the hindmost faces, those of the ox and eagle, could not be perceived.
So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side,.... The cherubim in this verse are the same with the living creatures this prophet saw by the river Chebar, and which he knew to be the cherubim, Ezekiel 10:20 and the same with John's four beasts or living creatures in Revelation 4:7 and he being the last that wrote concerning them, gives the clearest account of them; and by which the best judgment may be formed about them; and from which it appears that they are men redeemed by the blood of Christ; and as they are on the one hand distinguished from angels, so on the other from the four and twenty elders, or common Christians, Revelation 4:8 and plainly design the ministers of the word, and who are everywhere to be understood by them: their having the face of a man shows they are men, and have to do with men, and should be humane, kind, and tender, knowing and understanding as men; Revelation 4:8- :, and their face being
towards the palm tree shows that they should be upright and sincere in their doctrine, ministry, and conversation; that they should bear all weights and pressures laid upon them patiently; and rise up heavenwards in their affections and desires, and in their expectation of help and assistance in their work, and triumph in Christ, through whom they are conquerors; the palm tree being an emblem of these things:
and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side; this face of the cherubim denotes the strength of Gospel ministers they have from Christ to do their work, defend the Gospel, withstand gainsayers, and support the weak, and bear with their infirmities; as also their boldness, courage, and intrepidity, in preaching the Gospel of Christ without fear of men; of this their face, and the other two not mentioned here, Revelation 4:8- ::
it was made through all the house round about; that is, the cherubim and palm trees were carved or portrayed in the form and order here described throughout the holy of holies, as Jarchi interprets the house; and signifies that Gospel ministers shall have a place, and peculiar honour done them, in the New Jerusalem state, who will be particularly rewarded then, Revelation 11:18.
From the ground unto above the door,.... From the floor of the holy of holies to above the door of it to the east, where was the entrance into it; or from thence to the cieling, as the Septuagint version: "were cherubim and palm trees made"; either in rows one above another, quite up to the place mentioned; or they were made so large, that each cherub and palm tree reached from the ground to above the door, or to the cieling:
and on the wall of the temple: that is, they were not only thus placed in the holiest of all; but in the temple, or holy place on the wall of it all around; and shows, that in the state of the church in the latter day, which this part of the building represents more especially, will be great numbers of Gospel ministers, who will faithfully and uprightly preach it to men; see Daniel 12:4.
The posts of the temple were squared,.... Or, were "foursquare" n; the two posts on each side the door, the lintel and the threshold, made a square; the posts themselves were not round, as pillars, but flat and square; and the upper part was not arched, as in some buildings, but square. Jarchi says he had heard that the posts of Solomon's temple were foursquare; but that is not certain; however, these were. The Vulgate Latin version renders it "four cornered"; as doors formerly were: this was the ancient way of building, as Philander o observes; almost everything in this wonderful building was foursquare; denoting the firmness, stability, and perfection of all things in it:
and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other; that is, the front of the holy of holies was like that of the temple; they both had the same appearance, though one was larger than another. The posts of the one were squared, even as the posts of the other; showing that the same is the way of entrance into the Gospel church and into the New Jerusalem church state, and even into the heavenly glory, which is Christ; and, whether in the less or more perfect state of the church on earth, there are the same precious faith, and love, and communion, though different degrees. The Targum is,
"and the face of the house of the propitiatory; and its appearance as the appearance of its glory;''
which Jarchi interprets, as the appearance of the throne of glory, seen by the prophet at the river Chebar, Ezekiel 1:26.
n רבעה "quadratus", Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. o Not. in Vitruvium de Architect. l. 4. c. 6. p. 153.
The altar of wood was three cubits high, and the length thereof two cubits,.... This was the altar of incense, and was typical of Christ in his intercession and mediation. It was made of "wood"; that in the tabernacle of Moses was of shittim wood, a kind of cedar; and that in Solomon's temple was of cedar, Exodus 30:1 and may signify the human nature of Christ, in which he mediates and intercedes; which is excellent as the cedars: fair and beautiful, strong, durable, and incorruptible: though its original is of the earth, as wood: or was made of a woman; of the earth, earthly; but produced without sin. This altar, both in the tabernacle and temple, was covered with gold; as it was fit it should be with some hard substance that would bear incense to be burned on it; and therefore was called the golden altar, Exodus 30:3 and so the altar at which our Lord officiates as Mediator and Intercessor is called a golden one, Revelation 8:3, which may denote the deity of Christ, that gives virtue to his mediation; or the glorification of his human nature in heaven, in which he ministers; and also the preciousness of his intercession, and the duration of it. The incense burnt on this altar may signify both the mediation of Christ, which is pure and holy, though for sinners; large and frequent, continually made, and very fragrant and acceptable; and the prayers of the saints which are offered up on this altar, which sanctifies them; and through the much incense, which perfumes them, whereby they ascend up to God, and are sweet odours to him, being fragrant and fervent, pure and holy. This altar in the tabernacle of Moses, and probably in the temple of Solomon, though its dimensions there are not given, was foursquare,
Exodus 30:2 very likely so was this; and indeed the Septuagint version adds,
and the breadth two cubits; which, being the same with its length, made it foursquare; and so may point at the firmness, unchangeableness and perfection of this part of Christ's priesthood, his intercession, which is true of the whole of it, Hebrews 7:19 and it may be observed, that the altar here was a cubit longer, and a cubit broader, as well as a cubit higher, than the Mosaic one, Exodus 30:2. Kimchi says this altar was not like to that which Moses or Solomon, or the children of the captivity, made; it was larger than any of them; which shows that the intercession of Christ our high priest is larger and more extensive than that of the priests under the law; they offered incense only for the people of Israel: but Christ, as he is the propitiation, so the advocate for Gentiles, as well as Jews; though not for the whole world of men, yet for the world of the elect; and of all blessings of grace and glory for them, 1 John 2:1 and, moreover, that under the Gospel dispensation there would be more praying souls, and more use made of the Mediator, of his name, blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and intercession; and a greater spirit of grace and supplication poured out, especially in the latter day; hence we read of Christ's much incense, John 16:23:
and the corners thereof, and the length thereof, and the walls thereof, were of wood; that is, the horns that were at the four corners of it; and the top of it, which was its length and breadth; and the sides of it, called its walls, were all of wood, though covered with gold. The mystical sense of which has been given; only it may be observed, that the four corners or horns of it may denote the strength of Christ's intercession; and to which men have recourse, and lay hold on for their relief, even from all parts of the world, east, west, north, and south:
and he said unto me, this is the table that is before the Lord; that is, either the altar before described is the table before the Lord, which he has spread, and where his people feed in his presence; the intercession of Christ being a feast to the faith of saints: or it may be, that the divine guide of the prophet, turning himself to the right hand of the altar, pointed to the table of shewbread, which stood in the same place; and said this or that which stands yonder is the table before the Lord; and which also was typical of Christ, the true bread that comes down from heaven, who is the food of his people; for quality, the finest of the wheat; for quantity, enough and to spare; for savour, such as gracious souls desire always to have; for duration, continual bread, set forth by priests, and only eaten by them; and, like that,
bread of faces, as the shewbread is called p; denoting the intercession of Christ, the Angel of God's presence; and who always appears in the presence of God for his people, bearing on him the names of the children of Israel, to which the twelve shewbread loaves answered. The "table" on which they were set signifies the communion saints have with Christ in his word and ordinances; which are called a feast, of which Christ is the sum and substance; and where, as at a table, he sits and favours them with fellowship with himself; see Proverbs 9:2 The Jews q have an observation upon this text, that it begins with an altar, and ends with a table; and further observe, that, while the temple stood, the altar atoned for a man, but now a man's table atones for him: but this is not a man's table, but the Lord's table; and Christ the sacrifice held forth on this table does indeed atone for a man.
p לחם פנים "panis facierum", Exod. xxv. 30. q T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 55. 1. Chagiga, fol. 26. 1. Menachot, fol. 97. 1.
And the temple and the sanctuary had two doors. Or the house of propitiatory, as the Targum; that is, the most holy place; not two doors apiece, but each had one door, which made two; the door of the temple was ten cubits broad, and the door of the most holy place six cubits, Ezekiel 41:2 showing the door is wider, and more enter into the outward visible church, or less perfect state, even some bad, as well as good, than the door of the Jerusalem church state, or heavenly glory, into which fewer enter.
And the doors had two leaves apiece, two turning leaves,.... Each of these doors had two leaves, which met in a middle post, and might be opened either singly or together, as occasion required;
two leaves for the one door, and two leaves for the other door; two for the door of the temple, and two for the door of the most holy place; or each leaf of both doors had two foldings; as there were two leaves in a door, there were two foldings in every leaf; so that the door might be opened wider or narrower, as was thought fit; denoting the greater number of persons let in, and the greater light and knowledge had, at one time than at another; see 1 Kings 6:31.
And there were made on them, on the doors of the temple,.... Both of the holy, and the most holy place:
cherubim and palm trees, like as were made on the walls; the doors of both places had the same decorations as the walls of each;
:-; and so it was in Solomon's temple, 1 Kings 6:32, a cherub and a palm tree on each leaf, or on each folding of a leaf, according as it would admit of:
and there were thick planks upon the face of the porch without; on the outward front of the porch were some thick wainscot boards, which projected as a cover to the entrance into it; or, as it may be rendered, also on
the thick piece of wood in the front of the porch without r; which, as Starckius thinks, was a large wooden bar, which shut and held in the folding leaves of the door; and on this, or these thick planks, were cherubim and palm trees.
r ועב עץ אל פני האולם מהחוץ "etiam denso ligno in fronte vestibuli extrinsecus", Junius Tremellius "et trabs lignea ante vestibulum erat foris", Starckius.
And there were narrow windows,.... See Ezekiel 41:16:
and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch; upon the posts that were on each side the porch, north and south; Ezekiel 40:16:
and upon the side chambers of the house, and thick planks; that is, there were palm trees upon the side chambers, which were in number thirty, Ezekiel 41:6 and upon the planks also; every part of this fabric within and without were ornamented.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 41". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12