account was given of the porch of the house in the close of the foregoing
chapter; this brings us to the temple itself, the description of which here
given creates much difficulty to the critical expositors and occasions
differences among them. Those must consult them who are nice in their
enquiries into the meaning of the particulars of this delineation; it shall
suffice us to observe, I. The dimensions of the house, the posts of it (ver.
1), the door (ver. 2), the wall and the side-chambers (ver. 5, 6), the
foundations and wall of the chambers, their doors (ver. 8-11), and the house
itself, ver. 13. II. The dimensions of the oracle, or most holy place, ver.
3, 4. III. An account of another building over against the separate place,
ver. 12-15. IV. The manner of the building of the house, ver. 7, 16, 17. V.
The ornaments of the house, ver. 18-20. VI. The altar of incense and the
table, ver. 22. VII. The doors between the temple and the oracle, ver.
23-26. There is so much difference both in the terms and in the rules of
architecture between one age and another, one place and another, that it
ought not to be any stumbling-block to us that there is so much in these
descriptions dark and hard to be understood, about the meaning of which the
learned are not agreed. To one not skilled in mathematics the mathematical
description of a modern structure would be scarcely intelligible; and yet to
a common carpenter or mason among the Jews at that time we may suppose that
all this, in the literal sense of it, was easy enough.
Vision of the Temple.
1 Afterward he brought me to the temple, and
measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad
on the other side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle.
2 And the breadth of the door was ten cubits; and the sides of the
door were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other
side: and he measured the length thereof, forty cubits: and the breadth,
twenty cubits. 3 Then went he inward, and measured the post of
the door, two cubits; and the door, six cubits; and the breadth of the door,
seven cubits. 4 So he measured the length thereof, twenty
cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said unto
me, This is the most holy place. 5 After he
measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every
side chamber, four cubits, round about the house on every side.
6 And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in
order; 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. 7 And there was an enlarging,
and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about
of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth
of the house was still upward, and so increased from the
lowest chamber to the highest by the midst. 8 I saw also
the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were
a full reed of six great cubits. 9 The thickness of the wall,
which was for the side chamber without, was five cubits: and that
which was left was the place of the side chambers that were
within. 10 And between the chambers was the wideness of
twenty cubits round about the house on every side. 11 And the
doors of the side chambers were toward the place that was
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.
We are still attending a prophet that is under the guidance of an angel, and
therefore attend with reverence, though we are often at a loss to know both
what this is and what it is to us. Observe here, 1. After the prophet had
observed the courts he was at length brought to the temple, v.
1. If we diligently attend to the instructions given us in the plainer parts
of religion, and profit by them, we shall be led further into an
acquaintance with the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Those that are
willing to dwell in God's courts shall at length be brought into his temple.
Ezekiel was himself a priest, but by the iniquity and calamity of the times
was cut short of his birthright privilege of ministering in the temple; but
God makes up the loss to him by introducing him into this prophetical,
evangelical, celestial temple, and employing him to transmit a description
of it to the church, in which he was dignified above all the rest of his
order. 2. When our Lord Jesus spoke of the destroying of this temple,
which his hearers understood of this second temple of Jerusalem, he spoke of
the temple of his body (John ii. 19, 21); and with good reason might he
speak so ambiguously when Ezekiel's vision had a joint respect to them both
together, including also his mystical body the church, which is called the house
of God (1 Tim. iii. 15), and all the members of that body, which are living
temples, in which the Spirit dwells. 3. The very posts of this temple,
the door-posts, were as far one from the other, and consequently the door
was as wide, as the whole breadth of the tabernacle of Moses (v.
1), namely, twelve cubits, Exod. xxvi. 16, 22, 25. In comparison with what
had been under the law we may say, Wide is the gate which leads into
the church, the ceremonial law, that wall of partition which had so much
straitened the gate, being taken down. 4. The most holy place was an exact
square, twenty cubits each way, v. 4. For the new Jerusalem is
exactly square (Rev. xxi. 16), denoting its stability; for we look for a
city that cannot be moved. 5. The upper stories were larger than the lower, v.
7. The walls of the temple were six cubits thick at the bottom, five in the
middle story, and four in the highest, which gave room to enlarge the
chambers the higher they went; but care was taken that the timber might have
fast hold (though God builds high, he builds firmly), yet so as not
to weaken one part for the strengthening of another; they had hold, but not in
the wall of the house. By this spreading gradually, the side-chambers
that were on the height of the house (in the uppermost story of all)
were six cubits, whereas the lowest were but four; they gained a cubit every
story. The higher we build up ourselves in our most holy faith the more
should our hearts, those living temples, be enlarged.
Vision of the Temple.
12 Now the building that was before
the separate place at the end toward the west was seventy cubits
broad; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick round
about, and the length thereof ninety cubits. 13 So he measured
the house, a hundred cubits long; and the separate place, and the building,
with the walls thereof, an hundred cubits long; 14 Also the
breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east,
a hundred cubits. 15 And he measured the length of the building
over against the separate place which was behind it, and the
galleries thereof on the one side and on the other side, a hundred cubits,
with the inner temple, and the porches of the court; 16 The door
posts, and the narrow windows, and the galleries round about on their three
stories, over against the door, cieled with wood round about, and from the
ground up to the windows, and the windows were covered;
17 To that above the door, even unto the inner house, and without, and by
all the wall round about within and without, by measure. 18 And it
was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm tree was
between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces;
19 So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one
side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it
was made through all the house round about. 20 From the
ground unto above the door were cherubims and palm trees made, and on
the wall of the temple. 21 The posts of the temple were
squared, and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one
as the appearance of the other. 22 The altar of wood was
three cubits high, and the length thereof two cubits; and the corners
thereof, and the length thereof, and the walls thereof, were of wood:
and he said unto me, This is the table that is before the LORD.
23 And the temple and the sanctuary had two doors. 24 And the
doors had two leaves apiece, two turning leaves; two leaves
for the one door, and two leaves for the other door. 25
And there were made on them, on the doors of the temple, cherubims
and palm trees, like as were made upon the walls; and there were
thick planks upon the face of the porch without. 26 And there
were narrow windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other
side, on the sides of the porch, and upon the side chambers of the
house, and thick planks.
Here is, 1. An account of a building that was before the separate place
(that is, before the temple), at the end towards the west (v.
12), which is here measured, and compared (v. 13) with the measure of
the house, and appears to be of equal dimensions with it. This stood in a
court by itself, which is measured (v. 15) and its galleries, or
chambers belonging to it, its posts and windows, and the ornaments of them, v.
15-17. But what use was to be made of this other building we are not told;
perhaps, in this vision, it signified the setting up of a church among the
Gentiles not inferior to the Jewish temple, but of quite another nature, and
which should soon supersede it. 2. A description of the ornaments of the
temple, and the other building. 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 vi. 29. Each cherub is here said to have two faces,
the face of a man towards the palm tree on one side and the face
of a young lion towards the palm-tree on the other side, v. 19.
These seem to represent the angels, who 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. And in the assemblies of
the saints angels are in a special manner present, 1 Cor. xi. 10. 3. A
description of the posts of the doors both of the temple and of the
sanctuary; they were squared (v. 21), not round like pillars;
and the appearance of the one was as the appearance of the other. In
the tabernacle, and in Solomon's temple, the door of the sanctuary, or most
holy, was narrower than that of the temple, but here it was fully as broad;
for in gospel-times the way into the holiest of all is made more manifest
than it was under the Old Testament (Heb. ix. 8) and therefore the door is
wider. These doors are described, v. 23, 24. The temple and the
sanctuary had each of them its door, and they were two-leaved,
folding doors. 4. We have here the description of the altar of incense, here
said to be an altar of wood, v. 22. No mention is made of its
being over-laid with gold; but surely it was intended to be so, else
it would not bear the fire with which the incense was to be burned, unless
we will suppose that it served only to put the censers upon. Or else it
intimates that the incense to be offered in the gospel-temple shall be
purely spiritual, and the fire spiritual, which will not consume an altar of
wood. Therefore this altar is called a table. This is the table that is
before the Lord. Here, as before, we find the altar turned into a table;
for, the great sacrifice being now offered, that which we have to do is to
feast upon the sacrifice at the Lord's table. 5. Here is the adorning of the
doors and windows with palm-trees, that they might be of a piece with the
walls of the house, v. 25, 26. Thus the living temples are adorned,
not with gold, or silver, or costly array, but with the hidden man of the
heart, in that which is not corruptible.