What has the Lord given to the faithful in Ezekiel’s extended vision of a great worship space that has never been built? Is it symbolic of the New Testament temple of the Holy Spirit? If so, why is it so detailed, leaving the reader with the reasonable thought that this facility should be built?
The revelation contained in these chapters came from God and was surely for the benefit of His children in the days of Ezekiel. These chapters are also for the church in every era as we make good use of every Word of God preserved for us in the Old and New Testaments.
As we continue Ezekiel’s tour into the outer court toward the perimeter wall, we are given the dimensions and orientations of the “chambers” and “galleries” that the prophet beheld. We are told the number of stories in the structure, and the “thickness of the wall of the court.” We hear of dedicated rooms for sacrificial activities that were reserved for the Levitical priests.
Finally, the angel leading the tour measures the entire area. It is a perfect square, 500 cubits (about 830 feet) on every side with “a wall around it.” The purpose of that dividing line between the inside and the outside tells us so much about the sacred life of Old Testament religion—to “make a separation between the holy and the common.”
While this amazing center of Old Covenant devotion has never been built, it was set before the exiles as a goal and a present spiritual help. The Lord was not finished with the Jews. He had a future for them.
For those New Testament believers who, like the Jews during the exile, may be discouraged with the providence of the Almighty, we have a healthy yearning that goes far beyond the construction of even the most glorious cathedral. Jesus is our temple, and He is greater than anything that people could ever build. As we read from the four gospels in our covenant assemblies all over the world, we should meditate on the reality of our reigning Messiah, rather than on the most sacred place in a rebuilt Jerusalem. We have a wonderful home in His resurrection body that no one can ever destroy again.
Even now, the old distinctions between Jew and Gentile have largely been eclipsed by a new dividing line between the church and the world. What about the former ways of God who set the Jews apart from all the other people groups on the face of the earth? Jesus Himself has become “our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14) Jews and Gentiles have been brought together through faith in Christ, who is not only the King of the Jews, but also the King and Head of the church.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O God in Heaven, when we are brought to Your temple above, where will we will live, and how will we serve You there? We know that we will be as priests forever. Even now we are among the priesthood of all who believe. What will it be like for us to be in the secure company of holy men and angels? In Your house above there are many mansions. Each chamber must be like a great estate in its holiness and glory. We look forward to the provision of holy garments for our life above. We have already been clothed with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. May that gift bring us confidence and humble boldness in Your service today. We thank You for the great blessings You have so richly bestowed upon us.