Ezekiel 40-43: Ezekiel’s Vision of the Temple

Ezekiels Temple Overview

God commands Ezekiel to pay attention to a temple vision

The man said to me: “Son of man, look closely, listen carefully, and pay attention to everything I show you, for that is why you were brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything that you see.”
– Eze 40:4

The Wall All Around

Ezekiel's Temple Measurements

  • The temple building has a ~1500 m long and wide wall around it. (Eze 42:16-19)
  • The purpose of the wall is: “to make a division between what is holy and what is for common use” (Eze 42:20)

The Outer Courtyard

Ezekiel's Temple Outer Courtyard

  • The outer courtyard can be reached through 3 gates
  • A north, east and south gate. The east gates leads straight in the temple
  • All gates are identical in size (Eze 40:24)
  • 30 Dining rooms in the outer courtyard to likely eat communion sacrifices (Eze 40:17)

  • The 30 m heigh gate reminds of the high standards of pure worship. 

  • Palm tree figures at the gates like in Solomon’s temple (Eze 40:16; 1Ki 6:35)

The wall carvings of palm trees in the entryways of the temple show that only those who are morally upright are allowed to enter. (Psalm 92:12) This teaches us that our worship is acceptable to Jehovah only if we are upright.
w07 8/1 p. 8-p. 11 par. 8 Highlights From the Book of Ezekiel—II

Guard Chambers

  • 6 guards would guard the entries (Eze 40:10)

The Inner Courtyard

Inner Courtyard Overview

  • Distance between outer gate and the inner gate is ~50 m (Eze 40:23)
  • Only sons of Zadok where assigned to minister in the inner courtyard (Eze 40:46).
    Which means not all Levites were allowed to serve there but only the faithful descendants of Zadok. 
  • The size of the inner and outer gates is the same (Eze 40:32)
  • Inner Courtyard ~50 m wide and long (Eze 40:47)
  • 7 stairs of outer gate (Eze 40:26) and 8 stairs for inner gate (Eze 40:31)

  • The inside of at least the Inner North Gate is different to the Outer North Gate: 2 stone tables outside at the entrance and 8 more in the inside of the gate (on each side 4) for slaughtering the sacrifices (Eze 40:39-42)

The Temple Area

    • There are 3 floors of 30 chambers around the temple (Eze 41:6). 
    • The width of the chambers is getting each floor wider (Eze 41:7).
    • The visualization above misses a narrow walkway (Eze 41:9, 11). Some scholars place this walkway between the temple wall and the chambers and others outside the champers which may look like a balcony. Further the outside wall of the of the chambers (apparently for all 3 floors) is defined as ~ 2,5 m (Vers 9). As the chambers on each floor are wider and wider (Eze 41:7), apparantly the outside wall is not straight but in stair form (which may make the whole building look like a reverse pyramid). 

    • The temple sanctuary is not square but ~ 10 m wide and ~ 50 m long (Eze 41:2)

    • A wooden altar which symbolizes the “table that is before Jehovah” (Eze 41:22)

    This like resembled the “altar as a place for burning incense” (Ex 30:1) . 

    A special incense was burned on this altar twice daily, in the morning and in the evening … The position of the altar of incense was within the tabernacle just before the curtain of the Most Holy so that it is spoken of as being “before the ark of the testimony.
    – it-1 pp. 81-86 Altar

    Interesting that in the Book of Revelation incense is connected with the prayers of anointed Christians. 

      Another angel, holding a golden incense vessel, arrived and stood at the altar, and a large quantity of incense was given him to offer it with the prayers of all the holy ones on the golden altar that was before the throne. 
      – Re 8:3

      Also, Paul mentions the “table of Jehovah” when encouraging his brothers to stay away from any form of “idolatry”.

        You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of “the table of Jehovah” and the table of demons. 
        – 1Co 10:21

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