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Ezekiel: Chapter 40

Setting

Ezekiel 40 marks the next dramatic time in Israel's history following the seven years of tribulation, which is the building of the millennial temple and the establishment of the Lord's first 1,000 years of His eternal reign over the world, Psalms 2:6-12.  The events during the millennium are all about our Lord Jesus Christ and His reign.  These chapters in Ezekiel focus on the millennial temple where the Lord will physically reside:

Today during the church age there is no centralized place of worship as there will be during the millennial reign of Christ.  In comparison between the church age and the future millennial reign of Christ, the body of Christ (the church) is:

  • The temple of the living God, there is no centralized worship center, 2Corinthians 6:14-18
  • A building fit together for God to be a dwelling by His Spirit, Ephesians 2:19-22
  • Godís workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do, Ephesians 2:6-10

However, the end of the church age is marked by its rapture to be with the Lord for evermore.  As a result of the rapture of the church prior to the tribulation and on through the tribulation and the millennial reign of Christ:

In the future with the church removed from this world, and during the tribulation and beyond:

  • The Lord is calling out sealed servants of the God from the tribes of Israel, Revelation 7:3-8
    • The results of their work is the multitude of believers who are martyrs for Christ who will have died following the rapture and through the great  tribulation until the return of Christ with His saints, Revelation 7:13-17
  • The nation of Israel will become what God intended from the Mount Sinai, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation after the seven years of tribulation, Exodus 19:6
  • During the millennium, many gentiles will be grabbing at the hem of a Jewís robe asking to go with him because they heard God is with the Jews, Zechariah 8:23

At the conclusion of the tribulation, the battle of Armageddon, the whole of earth will be in a dire state, with the world's population decimated, Isaiah 24:6, the entire environment polluted and destroyed, Isaiah 24:11-13, and the light from the sun, moon, and stars significantly reduced, Matthew 24:29.  

The timeframe for the beginning of this section of Ezekiel is the end of the seven years of tribulation. Many events will have concluded simultaneously at that endpoint in time:

  • The pouring out of the 7th bowl of Godís wrath on the world, Revelation 16:17-21
  • The cup of Godís wrath given to the destruction of commercial Babylon, Revelation 18
  • The battle of Armageddon with the 200,000,000 man army, Antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:17-21
  • Satan is bound in chains in the abyss for 1,000 years, Revelation 20:1-3
  • Jesus Christís return placing His feet on the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:3-4

To better understand the horrible situation at the end of the tribulation, the reader is encouraged to review Isaiah 24.  The world as we know it will not exist; the population will be decimated and not enough survivors in just numbers, not to mention the knowledge, skill, understanding or access to maintain or run the worldís transportation, information, energy, or utility infrastructures will exist.  The environment will be so polluted that there will be no mass transportation or ability to move people about, particularly to move skilled people to Jerusalem to help build the new city and temple of the Lord.  So how all this will happen that is described in Ezekiel 40-48 is described by the prophet Zechariah who received Godís word on this matter, Zechariah 6:9-14.  First, the Lord instructed that gold that arrived from the exiles of Babylon be fashioned into a crown and put on the high priest Joshua.  Then Joshua was told that:

  • The Branch (the Lord Jesus Christ) will build the temple of the Lord
  • He will be clothed in majesty
  • He will sit and rule on His throne
  • He will be a priest on His throne
  • There will be harmony between the two offices, King and Priest

In addition, the Lord's kingdom will be established as seen in Isaiah 25, Israel will then be restored to the Lord, Isaiah 25, the great blessings of the Lord will be poured out upon Israel, Isaiah 26, and the complete healing of the land and the people is seen in Isaiah 61:2b-11 and Isaiah 65:18-25, in the land of Israel.  And despite the harsh conditions in the world at the beginning of the Lordís reign, there will be those from far away who will come to help build the temple of the Lord, Zechariah 6:15.  How can this happen?  Recall that the Lord will send His angels to bring His people to witness His glory entering the temple, Mark 13:26-27.

Though the world situation is in shambles, it will be healed and the Lord will rule over the world as King of kings.

  • The kingdom of Jesus Christ will have begun and never end, Daniel 2:42-44
  • The environment is completely ruined, the ability to travel will be destroyed, no infrastructure will have survived to support what we take for granted today, and the world's population will have been decimated, but the Lord will call His elect from around the world, Matthew 24:29-31
  • This is the time when the lambs will be separated from the goats, Matthew 24:32-46
  • Israel will experience the great blessings of the Lord, and enjoy the fruits of His presence, Isaiah 60:18-62:12
  • The temple will be built, the center of the world government will be there, and Jesus Christ will rule, Isaiah 9:6-7, Zechariah 6:12-15, Psalms 2:4-9
  • The land of Israel will be transformed like Eden, Ezekiel 36:33-38

Ezekiel is looking forward beyond the seven years of tribulation to the time that the Lord will return unto His chosen people, Israel, and establish His 1000 year reign over the world.  Ever wonder what the world will be like during the millennial reign of Christ?  The last eight chapters of Ezekiel are devoted to describe the characteristics of the temple, the distribution of the land among the tribes of Israel, the reinstitution of the priestly office and a form of the sacrificial system and feasts.  Though much of the description in the latter chapters of Ezekiel may appear to be dry with all of the detail and measurements, one can imagine the tremendous amount of life, celebration, noise, song, and worship as evidenced in the vision of the apostle John in Revelation 4 and Revelation 5.  The scene in heaven which occurs after the rapture of the church and the beginning of the seven years of tribulation is one that could be replicated on earth during the 1,000 year reign of Christ, Revelation 4:9-11, and Revelation 5:8-14.  

This is also a time period where not only is Christ reigning over the earth with his seat of government in Jerusalem, but the world will consist of groups of people different than the mankind has ever experienced throughout history.  There will be the survivors of the tribulation period who will repopulate the world. Then there will be those who return with Christ in their resurrected bodies; the raptured saints of the church (who are the bride of Christ) and the tribulation saints who were killed by the anti-Christ. Then there will be the resurrected Old Testament saints as described by Daniel, Daniel 12:1-3.  More is discussed on this subject on another page on this site, the timelines for Matthew 25.

The millennial reign of Christ is a time when the covenants and promises made to Abraham and his decedents by the Lord will be fulfilled that are yet to be completed.  As described in the book of Hebrews and elsewhere, the Old Testament saints looked forward to the time when these promises would be fulfilled, such as the promise of the land to the seed of Abraham, though it did not occur during their physical lives on earth. Hebrews 11:8-10, Hebrews 11:13-16.

Finally, the millennial temple will be the last of the temples where mankind will worship the Lord. The others were:

  • The tabernacle that Moses built was patterned after the one he saw in heaven
    • The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle when it was dedicated
  • The temple David designed and Solomon built
    • This is the second time that the glory of the Lord filled the temple at its dedication
    • This was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar on his third campaign against Jerusalem
    • The temple was rebuilt by the Jews who returned to the land with Ezra after 70 years of captivity
    • This temple was upgraded by Herod
    • The temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans
  • There will be a tribulation temple built
    • This temple will be destroyed with the pouring out of the 7th bowl judgment and the return of Christ on the Mount of olives
  • The Millennial temple will be built following a similar design that David constructed
    • this will be the third time that the glory of the Lord will fill the temple
  • After the first 1,000 years of the Lordís eternal reign, and following the great white throne judgment, the New Jerusalem and the Tabernacle of God will descend from heaven to above the earth and be with men

There are many passages interlaced throughout scripture that describe the life and times of the millennial reign of Christ, but the following is a sampling which the reader is encouraged to review Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11:1-5, Micah 4:1-5, and Zechariah 14:20-21.

Outline of this chapter

Verses Topic
1-4 The beginning of the vision
5-16 Measurements of the Temple's outside wall
17-27 Measuring the Temple's outer court
28-47 Measuring the Temple's inner court
48-49 Measuring the Temple's vestibule

The beginning of the vision    Chapter Outline     Top

In Ezekiel 40:1, the timeframe of this vision is given as the time of Passover, a most significant celebration in the nation of Israel.  It begins on the 10th day in the first month on Israel's religious calender.  That day is when an unblemished lamb one year old is selected by a household and taken care of until the 14th of the same months.  At that time the lamb is slain, it's roasted over fiver and completely consumed and it's blood is put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the homes where the lamb is eaten.  Any meat left is fully burnt.  It is the time when the nation celebrates its deliverance from Egypt and were redeemed by the Lord, Exodus 12:1-11.  This entire process is all about Jesus, His death and attonment for sins by the shedding of His blood.  This will be the time when the nation of Israel will celebrate its deliverance from the tribulation, just as when they were delivered from Egypt during their exodus to their promised land.  This is the time when the Lord will greatly bless them, and all nations will know that they and their descendents are blessed by God, Isaiah  61.  

The time period when this vision occurred is during the Babylonian captivity, and the Israelites had been removed from their land for 14 years after the third conquest of King Nebuchadnezzar against Judah, and the complete destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple.   Well into the desolation of the area of Judah, the temple, and cessation of temple worship, the Lord returned Ezekiel in a vision to the land he remembered, but Ezekiel only remembered the city in ruins.  

There is a tremendous jump in time in Ezekiel 40:2, during the vision that God gave to Ezekiel.  He was placed on top of a very high mountain by which he observed a city.  This is quite significant since the timeframe is immediately following the seven years of tribulation and the battle of Armageddon.  Following the great destruction of the world, the land of Israel by the Antichrist, the False Prophet and Satan,  the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His first 1,000 years of His eternal reign here on earth.  He heals all things and in particular sees that Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth.  People will once again sit in the streets that will be filled with children playing there.  The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew, Zechariah 8:1-13.  

There will be more information concerning this city in a later chapter of Ezekiel, but its location is south of the temple area that is being measured by this bronze being.  An interesting point is that the temple is not within the city walls as has been the case in the Israel's past.  Instead, it is outside of the city's walls and is to its north.  The graphic to the left is provided as an illustration of what Ezekiel may have seen.   In addition, the following schematic provides a simple view of the scene as described by Ezekiel.  It appears in these first two verses that Ezekiel is positioned to the south and outside of the temple walls and is able to view the city to the south.

The time period that Ezekiel is viewing this city was immediately after the seven years of tribulation, and the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ.  Ezekiel will now see the full manifestation of God's purpose for the children of Israel, as they will become the priests of God to all the Gentile nations, Isaiah 61:6.  Note that at the end of the tribulation great topographic changes will occur on the surface of the earth, and Jerusalem will be broken into three parts, Revelation 16:18-21.  So what Ezekiel remembered prior to the destruction of the city and its temple by King Nebuchadnezzar, is replaced by this vision millennia in the future relative to the Ezekiel's day. The relevance of the Passover to this vision is the hope and restoration of the children of Israel to their land and the future establishment of the place of worship. The years of Israel's captivity to Babylon were not yet at their halfway mark when this vision was given to Ezekiel. The Lord has not, nor will He never forsake His people, even in judgment. He has provided them encouragement in these chapters that they will once again have a temple to worship the Lord, to be His people, and all the great blessings from that relationship. The mountain that Ezekiel is on is the new Temple area, as will be seen in these last remaining chapters in Ezekiel, and the city to the south is Jerusalem

In Ezekiel 40:3-4, Ezekiel observes a man with a peculiar appearance.  His body looks like it was bronze, which is how the Lord's feet are described by the Apostle John in Revelation 1:15, where brass is associated with judgment.  According to Psalms 2:7-12, the Lord will judge the world with an iron scepter during this time period of His thousand year reign over this world.  This bronze being, sent by the Lord to measure the millennial temple, has a measuring line and reed.  He also explains to Ezekiel to record all that he sees, hears, and observes the bronze man perform.  This report is intended for Israel, as this is the occasion when a complete reparation between the Lord and His people Israel will be consummated.  Remember, this is where the saints of God will be spending much of their time in the millennial reign of Christ. This is the center of the worldís activities at that time!  As a side note, compare the extensive content that is spent describing the millennial temple in contrast to the only two verses on the tribulation temple, Revelation 11:1-2, where the Apostle John was given the measuring instruments, but nothing was recorded. The temple during the tribulation period does not appear to have survived the through the end of the tribulation period. Rather, it would have been destroyed and the temple presented in Ezekiel will be constructed near the same location, built by those who are far from Jerusalem. Zechariah 6:12-15.

Measurements of the Temple's outside wall    Chapter Outline     Top

The measurements and descriptions provided in these last chapters in Ezekiel have not yet been realized, and will not until the millennial reign of Christ.  In considering the dimensions of the future temple, there is some disagreement concerning the equivalent measure of a cubit with the measures of our present age.  There appears to be a range in the equivalent measure from as low as about 15 inches to as much as 22 inches for the cubit.  An average measure could be considered as 18 inches, and a handbreadth as 3 inches.  Rather than convert the measurements to the U.S. standard of feet and inches, the dimensions provided in this site will remain as cubits and a handbreadth.  It will be left to the reader to calculate the size to modern standards of measurements.  In addition, it is also instructive to compare the dimensions of this temple with those of Solomon.  It is much larger to support the worship of many more people than what King David had designed, and King Solomon built.

To help visualize the Millennial Temple as described and measured in these chapters of Ezekiel, there is an additional resource on the web where the reader can obtain more detailed information concerning the millennial temple at the website, the sonstoglory.com.  Photographs of a physical model are presented with descriptions of each part, and the associated verses in the book of Ezekiel.

From Ezekiel 40:5 to the end of the chapter, the bronze man measures the dimensions of various parts of the frame of the temple that was set before Ezekiel.  The Apostle John experienced a comparable vision when seeing the New Jerusalem descend from heaven to the new earth.  Like Ezekiel, the Apostle John is taken to a great mountain to view the new Jerusalem, and he described all that he saw, Revelation 21:9-11.  However, the temple John described is different than the millennial temple as described by Ezekiel.

An analogous occurrence is found in the book of Exodus, when God revealed the pattern of the heavenly tabernacle to Moses.  At that time, the Lord instructed Moses to construct the earthly temple according to all of the patterns he saw.  This was the tabernacle that was born on the shoulders of the priests of Israel as they marched through the wilderness, Exodus 26:30.  The difference between these last two events is that neither Ezekiel nor his peers were charged with the construction of this temple as Moses was.  Ezekiel was only to record what he heard and saw.  The building of the temple was meant for another generation, which will enter into the millennial reign of Christ.

The graphical representation shown above of the future temple in Ezekiel's vision is provided to help visualize the Millennial Temple as described and measured in these chapters of Ezekiel.   The graphic above is of the view from outside of the temple area in an oblique view from the eastern gate looking toward the temple itself.  The graphic below provides an overview of the gates, walls, courts, temple, brazen alter, and other artifacts that are revealed to Ezekiel.

These last chapters in the book of Ezekiel provide a great insight on the center of the world during the Millennial reign of Christ.  During His reign, the world will desire to know the details of Jerusalem and the millennial temple.  Christians today can envision the millennial temple of Christ, and the division of the land of Israel through these remaining chapters of Ezekiel. We can sense the activity of the people living in those areas, their practices in worship, and social structure through these passages.  This will be a unique time in world history in which Christ in His glory will be ruling the world from His throne in the temple, north of Jerusalem.

The following are the measurements that are taken by the bonze man of the outer wall portion of the millennial temple.  The measurements begin outside of the temple area then work inward toward the temple:

  • Ezekiel 40:5 - measuring the outside wall
  • Ezekiel 40:6 - measuring the eastern gate, its threshold and its stairs
  • Ezekiel 40:7-16 - measuring every chamber, porch, gate, posts, and windows, and observing that upon each post were inscribed palm trees

There are likely many fascinating aspects of all the detail provided concerning the measurements and the inscribed drawings.  However, it is not the intent of this site to delve into all the detail, as it would greatly expand the size of this site and this page.  There are other sites and books referenced on this web site on the reference page, which is provided to the reader if desired.

Measuring the Temple's outer court    Chapter Outline     Top

The measurements continue as the bronze man brings John inside the temple area, into the outer court.  The immensity of this place is already evident, but it is interesting to consider the volumes of people that this place is built to accommodate, and the shear openness of the grounds.  Too, the detail that is provided to Ezekiel, and the care of which all aspects of the Lord's worship during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ are phenomenal.  

From the graphic above, it is evident that there are four main aspects to the millennial temple, the outer wall, the outer court, the inner court, and the temple itself.  There are many other objects identified within or on these main parts of the temple, such as the brazen alter, the kitchens, the artwork, the priests living quarters, et cetera.  Now that the outer wall and the eastern gate have been measured, Ezekiel's attention and presence is now inside the outer court.

In Ezekiel 40:17-27, records that there were again chambers, that the outer court was paved, and lower than the paved area within the porticos.  Within the outer court were three other porticos that provided entrance to the inner court.  As with those that were along the three walls of the temple area, these porticos to the inner court likewise had windows, arches, and engraved palm trees.   The walkway through these porticos to the inner court were also elevated, and steps leading up into them.  There is a great amount of symmetry to this future temple, with gates facing each other from the outside to the outer court, and from the outer court to the inner court.  The gates are located on the east, north and south faces of the temple's inner court.

Measuring the Temple's inner court    Chapter Outline     Top

Next Ezekiel is led into the inner court through the south gate, Ezekiel 40:28.  Again, the bronze being measures a number of the parts of gate leading into the inner court, similar to the other measures already taken.  Here he measures the little chambers, posts, and arches, Ezekiel 40:29-30.  Ezekiel also observed that there were palm trees engraved upon the posts, and there were eight steps leading into the southern portico, Ezekiel 40:31.  

Once inside the inner court, the measuring continues, Ezekiel 40:32, beginning with the inside gate.  Thereafter, the attention is toward the little chambers, posts, arches, windows, and the palm trees engraved on the posts, Ezekiel 40:33-34. This process is repeated when Ezekiel is brought to the north gate, where many measurements are made, Ezekiel 40:35-37.

In Ezekiel 40:38, there is a reference of the chambers by the posts of the gates, where the washing of the burnt offerings occur.  In Ezekiel 40:39-43, there are four tables on the porches, two tables on each side of a porch, where the offerings were slaughtered for the burnt offering, sin offering and the trespass offering.  All of the tables are made of stone, and of similar measures.  The flesh hooks and their measure are also provided.  

In Ezekiel 40:44-46 the interest is directed toward the chambers, one is for the singers in the inner courts on the side of the north gate, facing toward the south gate, and another on the side of the east gate facing west, toward the temple.  These chambers were also for the priests who were in charge of keeping the temple and the alter.  This is also the time when the sons of Zadok of the tribe of Levi, who are segregated from the other priests of Levi.  The sons of Zadok are those who alone approach near to the Lord to minister to Him.  The other families of the tribe of Levi are not allowed this privilege.  The priests who tend the temple are to enter from the south gate are of the tribe of Levi.  The priests of the line of Zadok tend the alter and come near to the Lord to minister to Him, are to enter from the north gate.

Measuring the Temple's vestibule    Chapter Outline     Top

In Ezekiel 40:47-49, the inner court and the temple is measured.  Ezekiel of brought to the porch to the temple, and as before the porch, posts, pillars are all measured.  To this point, what is presented is a magnificent structure that is full of symmetry and beautiful design to facilitate the worship of a great many people.  As more is studied in these remaining chapters, more of the temple, the worship practices, process and the division of labor among the priests will be explored.


Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014

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