EZEKIEL 40:1 – 42:20 and REVELATION 6:1–17
Ezekiel is now going to be shown a vision of the New Temple. Ezekiel had unique encounters with the Lord. His visions often came when the hand of the Lord would come upon Him and bring him to a designated place. In this instance, he is brought in the Spirit to Jerusalem atop a very high mountain. Like the Apostle John, Ezekiel was given extraordinary visions of future events. He also had the ability to see with the eyes of the Lord as to what men were doing in secret (Eze 8). He was a prepared human vessel who came to know the heart of God and as a prophet was able to express the prophetic voice of the true and living God. The revelation he is about to be given here is that of the millennial temple. He is seeing beyond his day, which will include the restoration period post Babylon. He is looking into the millennium.
The date of Ezekiel’s vision can be pinpointed to April 10th, 572 BC. The construction of this millennial temple will begin 7 years after the 2nd coming of the Lord. In the previous chapter, we saw a period of 7 years that will be required for the burning of all weapons left in the land brought forth by the heathen armies. There will also be a period of 7 months to bury the men of Gog. We can also calculate the temple being built over a period of 7 years which was the time frame required for the construction of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 6:38). The vision that Ezekiel is being shown will be a literal temple that will be built in the millennium. As the vision progresses over the next few chapters, we will see that it is indeed a literal temple that will be constructed.
It may also be good to do a brief review of the various temples or tabernacles that are seen throughout the Word of God. First you have Moses Tabernacle (Exo 25:8). This temple existed from the time of Moses upon Mt. Sinai until the time of Solomon’s temple. 2) The Tabernacle of David. It was the resting place for the Ark of the Covenant and it symbolises the place where the Lord chooses to dwell. It is the place that features the king/priest element of Christ. 3) Solomon’s Temple, which stood from the 4th year of his reign until the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. 4) The restoration Temple, which came into being after the Babylonian captivity. It existed from 536 BC until its destruction in 63 BC. 5) Herod’s temple and the New Testament church round out the temple or tabernacle dwelling places of God. This then leads us to Ezekiel’s temple of which he is now being shown.
The primary purpose of Ezekiel’s Temple is to show forth the ways of God throughout the millennial period. The Levitical law will be lived out in its fullest expression seeing that Jesus will be in the temple ruling with a Rod of Iron. It is not just a series of rules and regulations but it will be lived out in holiness and righteousness. The Levitical Law of the Old Testament pointed the way to Christ. In the millennium, the lawgiver Himself will be among men. God’s righteous rule will be manifest throughout the earth.
The measurements of this new temple are given in verses 3-5. The prophet is then shown the East Gate and the Outer Court in verses 6-16. The east gate is significant because it is the gate the Lord will come in and out of. It is where the glory of God is seen and where it comes in (Eze 43:1-3). One of the titles given to the Lord is that of the Son of righteousness (Mal 4:2). The sun rises from the east each and every morning. Creation helps to give instruction as to the ways and purposes of God. A more exhaustive study could be done with regard to all the measurements of the various gates and the measurements that are given. For example, the distance between the entrance of the east gate to the inner porch is 50 cubits. The number 50 speaks of jubilee and it speaks of release and deliverance. It speaks of the Restoration of that which was lost. The Levitical Law that substantiates this is Lev 25:8-13. All the measurements have meaning and it is worthy of studying them out. The millennial period will be one of Rest and one of Restoration. The Outer Court is referred to in verses 17-31. There is an interesting number that you will find mentioned on numerous occasions as it pertains to Ezekiel’s temple. The number 100 occurs 19 different times. The Lord wants us to be 100-fold Christian’s. This is His standard and it is what qualifies for the millennium. There will be the 30 fold and the 60 fold but it is the 100 fold the Lord is after. God is glorified when we bear much fruit. In studying these truths as it relates to the millennial temple we find that the cost is very high. The standards are high just as it is in ruling upon Mt. Zion.
In dropping down to verse 31 we read of their being 8 steps that lead into the inner court. There is the connotation of righteousness as we see palm trees at the posts. These 8 steps can be linked to the exhortation of Peter where he lists 8 steps to an overcoming Christian life (2 Pet 1:5-7). Each of these steps builds upon the other until the summit is reached consisting of agape love. The gates of the inner court are referenced in verse 32-38. This is then followed by a listing of 4 tables as seen in verses 39-47. These tables are for burnt offerings. The next revelation given is that of a porch and the fact that there were 10 steps that led up to it (vs 48-49).This is significant because of its reference to the Law. Here we have a picture as to the fulfilling of the New Covenant which is the Law of God being written upon the fleshly tables of the heart.
In closing this first chapter, regarding the Millennial Temple let us review some key points. There were many key areas of symbolism seen in Moses Tabernacle and it is no different with Ezekiel’s. One of the primary truths seen is that of the progression required. In entering the temple there first need to be the taking of 7 steps (vs 26). These 7 steps can be equated with the 7 things that God hates as seen in Proverbs 6:16-19. The entering in to the inner court had a requirement of 8 steps (vs 31). These steps can be equated to the 8 steps to righteousness that Peter speaks on in his last letter (2 Pet 1:5-7). If we are to going to be among those who enter into the holy of holies there are yet 10 more steps required to be taken. This speaks of the Law and the reality of the New Covenant. To summarise, the truths surrounding Ezekiel’s temple is actually the fulfilment of the Levitical law. It is God making his Tabernacle with men. This brief summary is but a small scratching of the surface of the many truths that can be unveiled. The revelation of this temple will be built upon in the ensuing chapters.
The floor plan of the inner portion of the temple is given in verses 1-11. There are many numbers given which may help to give some insights into the functioning of this temple in the Millennium. The first number given is 6 as it relates to the posts of the temple. 6 is the number of man speaking of the fact that it is for the benefit of man only. Jesus became man and as the Son of man has provided us access into this inner portion of the sanctuary. This entrance is not just for any man but those who had the Law established in their inward parts as well as those who appropriated grace. These attributes are seen in the numbers 5 and 10, which constitute the measurements of the door. It is glorified man that will have the privilege of entering into the inner courts.
The floor plan dimensions of the temple are 40 cubits long by 20 cubits wide. The number 40 speaks of suffering and trials while the number 20 speaks of maturity. This gives added insight into the spiritual quality of those who will have this privilege of access. As we give a brief review of these qualifications, we are coming to know more of what it will take to qualify for the first resurrection. One can understand how Paul would cry out in being a partaker of the first resurrection. So should we! There is a purpose for seasons of suffering in this life. It was through suffering that the Lord learned obedience (Heb 5:8). Once again the apostle Paul counted it a privilege to be acquainted with the fellowship of His sufferings so that he could know and understand him in greater measure (Phil 3:10).
The maturity of a believer often times comes at a price when a vessel of wrath is raised up against him. The price of this level of relationship with the Lord is very high and it often comes through bearing His reproach while enduring seasons of suffering. Once this life has passed there will be no more suffering. I am not suggesting that we ask the Lord to bring suffering our way but rather cry out for the grace to ensure and embrace those times when it (suffering) comes. If our heart is truly, after all that God has for us there will be times of suffering. The measurements of the Holy place are given in verse 4. Once again, we have the number 20 which speaks of maturity. There are many other portions of the temple mentioned with their accompanying measurements. Each and every measurement can present to us a spiritual truth to help give greater clarity and insight into the qualifications of ruling and reigning with Christ in the millennium. Another note to consider is that there was a veil of separation between the Holy Place and Most Holy Place. This is one of the more significant differences between the Tabernacles of Old (with the exception of David’s) and the millennial temple. God the Son, the one who died on the cross tore the veil of separation and now dwells together with man in this beautiful millennial structure. The Millennium is really the fulfilment of the symbolism seen in Moses Tabernacle. It is the Lord as opposed to the Ark of the Covenant (which was figurative of Christ) that now dwells with man. This is why there has to be an understanding and appropriation of the priesthood. Let us not forget the verse that depicts the reign of believers in the millennium.
“Blessed and Holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Rev 20:6)
This chapter will focus on the Holy Chambers and the Outer wall. The first chamber mentioned is that which was given to the priests to function. The measurements given include the numbers 100 (the length of the temple) and 50 which served as the breadth. As discussed earlier the number 100 speaks of the hundred-fold ministry that were required of the priests as well as the jubilee anointing of being set free from every stronghold and bondage of life as represented by the number 50. In verse 4, there is the mention of a walkway measuring 10 cubits, which speaks of the law. The number 10 also has the connotation of trials. These priests fulfilled the law and have been tested and tried. This is why we need to have right doctrine. It helps to provide true perspective in giving the ability to see the bigger picture. There are times when we can be so narrow-minded resulting in our being governed by prevailing circumstances. We can easily dismiss or excuse a trial as something that God would not allow and thereby forfeit an internal work of grace being developed.
In verses 13-14, we see a distinction made regarding rooms and chambers that were set aside for a special order of priests. The north chambers and south chambers were set aside for the priests who will partake of the most holy things. Later in chapter 44 we will see two divisions of priests (The Levites and the Sons of Zadok). The Levites will have a primary ministry unto the people due to their inability to separate the people from their idols. It speaks of a priesthood that were more concerned about pleasing people than God. The Sons of Zadok on the other hand honoured God and willingly upheld His statutes and judgements. These rooms (the northern and southern chambers) would be for the sons of Zadok priesthood. This is yet another reason why we need to put a greater emphasis on the true priesthood. It would be worth pondering on this tremendous privilege that is being bestowed on this group of priests.
This chapter closes with the measurements given for the outer walls of the outer court. The number given is 500 by 500 cubits. We can say that Ezekiel’s Temple is foursquare. This number speaks of divine separation. It is a marked separation between the holy temple and the common life outside its walls. It makes clear that those who will reign with Christ throughout the millennium will be those who have been able to overcome the divided life. This is why the Lord pleads with the church of Laodicea to separate and be on fire for Him. The middle of the road type of Christianity will not qualify one to be a partaker of the millennial blessings and privileges.
In Revelation 5, it was determined that the Lamb of God was deemed worthy to open the book with the 7 seals. In this chapter, we will see the actual opening of the seals and catch a glimpse of what is represented. The opening of these seals represents judgements that will be released upon the earth in the last days. These judgements will be followed by the sequence of trumpet and bowl judgements that will come soon thereafter. These judgements will now put into motion the final stages of the events that will lead up to the 2nd coming of Christ.
As we look at verses 1-2, we see the introduction of the first of the four horses of the apocalypse. It is a white horse with one sitting upon him with a bow and crown with authority to go forth to conquer. What John is being shown is an angel who is a depiction of Christ at the time of the 2nd coming. He will come upon a white horse, as will those who will be accompanying Him (Rev 19:11-14). The purpose of this angel is to go forth with the mission to realign the nations for the last days. In fact, this is what we are seeing happening before our eyes today. The geo-political events of the world are placing nations into various groups. We are seeing alliances being formed that did not previously exist all of which is a fulfilling of this prophesy.
In verses 3-4 the 2nd horse is mentioned which is coloured red. The power given to this horse was to take peace away from the earth. This has been an ongoing reality in recent years. There are many nations at war but even more concerning is the civil unrest seen in nations. Just take a look at the USA today. One wrong word and a city can become unglued. It seems that this Red Horse has been at work for a number of years. His work is preparing the way for the man of sin who will present remedies in areas of peace. A world that is on the brink of nuclear and chemical annihilation will be more than willing to pledge allegiance to one who can solve these major areas of concern.
The 3rd horse is revealed in verses 5-6 which is black in colour. His power will be in the area of economic woe and calamity. Have you noticed the fancy new economic terms of recent years like derivatives, monetization of debt and Quantative Easing? These new devices have been tools that have been savagely wrecking the economies of the world. Its total destruction has yet to be felt but it is drawing near. How open do you think the world would be to one who has an economic acumen to solve many of the economic areas of distress that will soon materialize?
The 4th horse is pale in colour and is described in verses 7-8. He has the power to kill with the sword over the fourth part of the earth. He will also be responsible for great hunger and famine. This horse will remove sinners from the earth and will have hell following to bring these sinners into the pit.
Have these horses been already released? There is no denying the similarities that are seen in the earth today with the descriptions that have been given above? We can easily apply the fulfilment for each and every horse but I feel we can conclude that these are only partial glimpses as to what is coming.
The fifth seal is opened as seen in verses 9-11. Here we see the saints who died for the cause of the gospel. These martyrs are crying out for the avenging of their blood that was shed. It also indicates that there will yet be those who will be martyred in the last days. There is something about the shedding of innocent blood for the purpose of God. This was seen at the death of Abel where his blood yet cried out from the earth (Luke 11:51). There appears to be a set number of martyrs that must be fulfilled before God moves in vengeance against His enemies. This is a clear indicator that the 5th seal has yet to be opened. This helps us to appreciate the sovereignty of God, as it is He who determines to be martyred as opposed to those who will be preserved through the tribulation. Of course, we have a part to play by reason of the choices we make but it is God who determines our calling. We should not be in fear but rather rejoice that our loving heavenly Father has all matters under control. If we learn to walk in obedience we come to know of his prevailing grace.
The opening of the 6th seal is seen in verse 12. One of the consistent features of the last days will be that of great earthquakes. Jesus spoke of them as did Isaiah and others (Math 24:7, Isa 29:1-6). There is an increasing number of earthquakes taking place in the world today. The Bible makes clear that the earth will reel to and from like a drunkard because of the violation of God’s Laws (Isa 24:5, 19). The natural order of God’s creation is thrown into chaos whenever sin is on the increase. Is it any wonder that we see an increase of earthquakes in lieu of rampant sin? It appears that what we are seeing today is merely the tremors of greater ones to come. The reference to the sun turning black and the moon into blood is substantiated in Joel 2:30. There has been a season of unique blood moons over the past two years which clearly serves as signs that we are nearing the end of the age. What we have seen in the earth so far are merely signs of the greater release of judgements to come. Perhaps we can say that we have seen mini-seals, precursors of the greater ones to come. In verse 13 there is the scene where stars are falling from heaven. Stars falling from heaven can have a spiritual meaning as we will see in Revelation 12 but here we can safely see them as literal stars. Have you taken note of the many close encounters in recent years with meteors? All it will take is one of reasonable size to hit the earth. The consequences would be catastrophic.
The releasing of the seals appears to be the Lord’s response to the sin and havoc brought upon the world. These series of judgements can be likened to the Lord’s medicine that will help cleanse and purify the earth in preparation for His righteous rule. It is not the Lord’s intention that people would come under the judgements as seen in the constant pleadings of God for people to repent. In the end, it is a choice that people will make. The persistent plea of God now and in the days to come will be that people would come out of the Babylonian system.
Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
This chapter closes with a terrifying scene of destruction as the earth is rolled up like a scroll. The face of the Lord will not be one of gentleness at this time but one of great wrath as He goes forth in judgement. He is the righteous judge who is now going forth in vengeance against sin and those who engage in it. Man has been clever in shielding and covering up his sin since the partaking of the forbidden fruit in the garden however there will be no such places to run at this time. Now is the time to be sober, vigilant and in prayer as these events begin to take shape. What has been seen so far is only the beginning.