Posts Tagged ‘temple’

Ezekiel 41

Ezekiel 41 continues the vision of the temple as God reveals it to Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was in the temple building. This building was the most holy building in the entire temple area. The building was not for public use. Only priests could enter it. They could not enter whenever they chose. They entered on the special occasions when they had duties there.  Ezekiel records specifics to the measurements and design of God’s temple.  It is precise and very detailed. The purpose of the temple was for worship which was an expression of love between God and His people.

On behalf of the people, the priests showed their love for God when they carried out their duties in the holy place. But God also showed his love for his people here. He showed his love because his glory was present in the most holy place. Ezekiel entered the holiest room where a normal priest could worship. Ezekiel describes the inside of this room which was not a very large room by modern standards. It was 35 feet wide and 70 feet long. In this room, the priests would worship God.

Ezekiel then moves to a description of the most holy place.  “This is the most holy place”.  It was where God’s presence was. This was the most sacred room in the temple. Ezekiel did not enter this room and he did not describe its contents. Only one man, the chief priest, could enter this room. The ‘man’ who was with Ezekiel did enter this room. That is because this ‘man’ was not human. He was an angel. We know this fact because of his astonishing description. Angels are without sin. So, unlike people, they are able to enter the place where God is present.  We can only approach God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ which covers our sin.

The angel took Ezekiel to see the outside of the temple building. On three sides of the building were small rooms for the priests to use. These rooms were not part of the temple building although they leaned upon it. The building that contained these rooms was on three floors. So it was a high building by the standards when Ezekiel was alive. And although the rooms were small, there were many of them. Ezekiel counted a total of 90 rooms.  It was on a raised platform.  The rest of the chapter contains details of measurements and contents all part of this very special place.

2 Chronicles 3

2 Chronicles 3 describes the building of the House of the Lord by Solomon.  It was a project God gave to David who passed it on to Solomon.  The location was set – “on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” which is on Mount Moriah and where the Lord had appeared to David.  And the plans were set by God and handed down to Solomon.  So all that is left is for the construction to take place.  David hadn’t gotten it done because of the constant wars and battles he was in.  But now Solomon is ready to take on the task.

He begins to build “in the second month of the fourth year of his reign”.  Speculation is that it took that long to get the materials in place and the people assembled for this huge task.  It was no little deal to move timbers from another area, accumulate enough gold and other precious metals and gems to complete the job.  But whatever the case, the time has come and Solomon begins the project.  We find measurements using terms we don’t use today: cubits, talents, shekels and the like.

So how long is a cubit?  It depends as there are different definitions based on the time in history and who is writing about it.  Seems that the one common denominator is that the cubit is defined as the distance from the elbow to the fingertip.  But that obviously depends on whose are we are using as a measurement.  Investigation reveals that the cubit can be anywhere from 17 to 25 inches in length.  Here is a chart of some of the common cubit measurements:

Culture Inches
Hebrew (short) 17.5
Egyptian 17.6
Common (short) 18
Babylonian (long) 19.8
Hebrew (long) 20.4
Egyptian (long) 20.6
Ezekiel 25

 

Whatever measure of cubit we use, the House of the Lord was an enormous project.  The different places in scripture that define the size may in fact use different cubit lengths as the numbers given differ between 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles and Ezekiel.  But it was one and the same building, and a magnificent House of the Lord.

While the cubit is a measure of length, the talent and shekel are measurements of weight.  Again, there are different definitions of what these things are through history.  It was approximately equal to the mass of water to fill a cubic foot and equated to as little as 57 pounds but up to 130 pounds in New Testament times.  So again, it is all over the board.  The shekel is a sub measure of a talent which was divided into 60 mina which was subdivided into 60 shekels.  These numbers don’t mean a lot to us today – but the key is that God had a very specific blueprint and Solomon followed it closely.  Are you seeking God’s blueprint for your life?  He has given a big portion of it to us in scripture.  The question is really whether or not we are living life according to what He has told us!

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