In the closing verses of the foregoing chapter, an account was given of the porch of the Temple in Ezekiel’s vision; and now this chapter brings us to the Temple itself. We are still following the prophet, who is under the guidance of the angel that is showing him this Temple; and therefore, we study with reverence and pray for the Holy Spirit to bless our learning, even though we may not be able to fully comprehend every physical detail that we meet with.
After the prophet had observed the courts, he was brought to the Temple itself (verse 1) – showing us thereby that if we diligently attend to the instructions given us in the plainer parts of religion, then we shall be led further into an acquaintance with the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven. Those who are willing to dwell in God’s courts shall surely be brought into His Temple (Ps. 65:4).
The doorposts of this Temple were far apart from each other, forming a doorway that was as wide as the entire width of Moses’ Tabernacle (verse 1). This doorway immediately reminds us of Jesus’ words in the Gospels, when He said, “I am the door!” And the wideness of this entryway teaches us that easy access to the Father has been opened up for by our Savior Himself, through Whom we must come to Him. The famous allegory-writer, John Bunyan, had something important to say about this wide doorway. These are his words: “Now, some may object, and say, ‘Since the way to God by these doors was so wide, why doth Christ say the way and gate is narrow?’ Answer: The straitness, the narrowness, must not be understood of the gate simply; but because of that cumber” – or baggage – “that some men carry with them, that pretend to be going to heaven. Six cubits! What is sixteen cubits to him who would enter in here with all the world on his back?” In other words, the doorway of entry is wide in the sense that it is freely accessible to all who wish to enter; but it is very, very narrow in the sense that we must leave all the things of the world behind us, for the gate is not sufficiently wide for us to bring them with us.
The Most Holy Place – the throne-room of God, so to speak – was in the shape of an exact square. Likewise, the heavenly New Jerusalem is also exactly square (Rev. 21:16); and this denotes its stability, for we look for a city that cannot be moved.
The upper stories in this Temple were larger than the lower (verse 7). The thick wall of the bottom story provided a “foothold” for the floor-beams of the second floor, since the walls of that second floor were slightly narrower. And the same was true in relation to the second and third floors; the floor-beams of each successive story were held up by the recess in the top of the walls of the one below it. By this design, the chambers that were along the outer walls of the Temple grew larger from floor to floor. This teaches us that the higher we are built up in our most holy faith, the more should our hearts – those living Temples – be enlarged!
This chapter provides a description of the ornaments of the Temple. The walls on the inside, from top to bottom, were adorned with cherubim and palm trees – placed alternately, as in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6:29). Each cherub is here said to have two faces – the face of a man toward the palm tree on one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side (verse 19). The angels have more than the wisdom of a man and the courage of a lion; and in both, they have an eye to the palms of victory and triumph which are set before them, and which they are sure of in all their conflicts with the powers of darkness.
The posts of the doors of the Temple and of the sanctuary were squared (verse 21) – not round, like pillars. In Solomon’s Temple, the entryway into the Most Holy Place was narrower than that of the Temple; but here, it was just as large as the front doorway – for under the Gospel, the way into the presence of God is made more manifest than it was under the Old Testament (Heb. 9:8); and therefore, the door is wider. These doors – and also the windows – were adorned with palm-trees as well, so that they might be one-of-a-kind with the walls of the house (verses 25-26). As for Christ’s living temples, they are not adorned with gold, silver, or costly array; but rather, with the hidden man of the heart, which is not corruptible.
We have here a description of the altar of incense, which is said to be an altar of wood (verse 22). No mention is made of its being overlaid with gold; and this teaches us that the incense that is to be offered in the Gospel-Church shall be purely spiritual, and the fire shall also be spiritual – and thus it will not consume an altar of wood. Therefore, this altar is called “the table that is before the Lord”; for since the Great Sacrifice has now been offered, all that we are to do is to feast upon the Sacrifice at the Lord’s Table!
Lord Jesus, we praise You as the one and only Way, Truth, and Life – both for our entrance before God here in grace, and also into His heavenly Temple hereafter in glory! Amen.
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