Archive for December 27th, 2013

Ezekiel 40

Ezekiel 40 has the prophet receiving yet another vision from God – this time about the building of the temple.  It will be the theme for the next half dozen chapters, as God reveals clearly to Ezekiel how the temple is to be built.  You might call this chapter to be about the prophet with a measuring stick as it is filled with details of how the building should come together.  Once again, he says “the hand of the Lord was upon me”.  Often the word of the Lord came to him, but this time it appears to be a bit different.

If you recall the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, he is taken and shown his life in the past.  Ezekiel tells us that he is taken by the Lord and shown what the temple should be like in the future.  “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel”.  God doesn’t just give Ezekiel a vision this time.  It is more powerful than a dream.  Ezekiel experiences the temple and its details first hand.

We could get all wrapped up in the cubits and the reeds (a reed is six long cubits) but it doesn’t connect with my simple brain.  Throughout these chapters, Ezekiel gives 318 precise measurements using 37 unique words according to scholars.  This is one very defined temple plan.  This temple is different from the one that Ezekiel described in chapters 8-11 which was the temple of his day.  This one refers to the temple yet to come, and the amazing thing is the divine perfection of the measurements.

It is a very beautiful design, and God is meticulous in measuring each and every key area.  The design in this chapter talks to the gates that open to the temple, the outer area, the inner area and the rooms for the priests.  Before Ezekiel went into the temple, he had to see the place of sacrifice. A person can only worship God properly after God has forgiven that person’s sins. Sacrifices were necessary so that God would forgive the people’s sins. This principle is still true today. People cannot achieve a right relationship with God by their own efforts. They can only humbly confess their sins to God, repent, and receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ today.  But the principle of sacrifice is still true.  The change from Ezekiel’s day is that Jesus went to the Cross as the sacrifice for all mankind.  All we have to do is receive His gift of grace.

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