Ezekiel 40

Ezekiel 40 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence

Chapters 40-48 begin a new and final division in the book of Ezekiel in which the prophet receives a vision of a new temple (40-43), a new service of worship (44-46), and a new Promised Land (47-48).  Just as Moses was taken up on a high mountain by God and given the blueprints for the holy tabernacle in the book of Exodus, so now Ezekiel is given the dimensions for a new temple, a heavenly one.  This vision is given in fulfillment of the covenant promises that God had made in Ezekiel 37:26-27 when God promised Israel to set His sanctuary in their midst forevermore that He might be their God, and they might be His people.

In these three chapters (40-42), the prophet is shown the design and dimensions of the new temple and then watches the glory of the Lord fill it in chapter forty-three signifying a reversal of what took place in chapters 8-10 after the Lord had examined the first temple, noticing all of the abominations carried out within its gates and consequently withdrawing His Shekinah glory from it.  Although the details of this particular chapter aren’t thrilling for the average American reader, they certainly were for a priest like Ezekiel and for his original auditors who were very familiar with the dimensions of the original temple.  In this vision, an angel of the Lord is holding in his hand a linen cord and a measuring reed to reveal something of the size and glory of this new structure.  First he measures the walls of the temple which are ten feet tall as well as ten feet thick making them impenetrable to anything unholy.  Then he measures the thresholds and vestibules of the gates, the side rooms in the walls, the many chambers in the outer and inner courts of the temple as well as the tables used to prepare sacrifices.

In Ezekiel 43:10-12, the Lord reveals why all of these dimensions are given in detail.  He tells Ezekiel to describe the temple to his people that “they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and in measuring the design of the temple, its statutes and laws that they might observe all its laws and carry them out.”  Thus the vision of a restored temple was to give them hope of restoration as well as to lead to their repentance and renewal as the people of God to walk in holiness.  The greatest revelation concerning this new temple and city is given in Ezekiel 48:35 where we are told that the name of the city for now on shall be called “The Lord is there.”

When the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon they rebuilt a temple unto the Lord, but it was nothing like this new temple in terms of its dimensions or glory.  In fact, we never actually see the Shekinah glory cloud fill the second temple as it had the original structure.  So we are meant to look forward to a greater temple than the one standing during the time of Herod, one that is filled with God’s glory.  So it should not surprise us when Christ says of himself in Matthew 12:6 that something greater than the temple is here, or that apostle John testifies in John 1:14 saying, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son.”  With the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s ascension into heaven, we now have become the dwelling place of God, the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit, filled with his glory.  Thus, we are not looking for another earthly temple to be built or for any sacrifices to be renewed.

And so at the end of the New Testament, in Revelation 21-22, the apostle John receives from an angel of the Lord a vision of a New Jerusalem similar to Ezekiel’s, but one that is much fuller in detail.  Instead of three gates, we see twelve gates that always remain open day and night showing that there is no fear from any enemies and that it now has open access to all the nations of the world.  But in that city there will be no particular building that serves as a temple, for the whole city shall be holy unto the Lord and nothing unholy shall ever enter into it.  And similar to Ezekiel’s vision, we are given John’s vision to restore our hope in a better country where the Lord dwells with us continually and to spur us on toward holiness and godliness as we await the return of Christ to usher in this glorious reality.