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©Michael Player

Chapter 40:1-5 (ESV)

Posted on April 08, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 40:1-5 (ESV) - In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was struck down, on that very day, the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me to the city. In visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel, and set me down on a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south. When he brought me there, behold, there was a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway. And the man said to me, “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.”

And behold, there was a wall all around the outside of the temple area, and the length of the measuring reed in the man's hand was six long cubits, each being a cubit and a handbreadth in length. 

Question to consider: Why do You think the Lord had Ezekiel describe this vision to the exiles?

This final vision was given to Ezekiel about fourteen years after the fall of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (the twenty-fifth year of their exile). Ezekiel had been charged with describing or acting out so many difficult and frightening visions of judgment and destruction, it must have been exciting for him to be able to announce the ultimate defeat of their enemies and the good news that God would once again dwell among the whole house of Israel in peace. There has been no earthly temple created according to the specifications given in this vision. Those who believe that Christ has not yet begun the millennial reign mentioned in Revelation 20, speculate that this temple will be built on earth when Christ returns to set up this kingdom.

If you’ve gone through my studies for any length of time, I have instead argued that the New Testament authors and apostles believed the ascension of Christ in the opening chapter of Acts marked the beginning of this reign, and that Luke proved it by his accounts of Pentecost, the vision of Stephen, the miracles of the apostles, and the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. 

The author of Hebrews argued that Christ is the high priest of the heavenly temple not built by human hands, and that His blood was the perfect sacrifice that makes the covenant of Moses obsolete. Peter spoke of Christ as the cornerstone of this temple, and the saints as its living stones and royal priesthood. I believe this vision in Ezekiel describes this heavenly temple and not something that would be built after the defeat of Gog and Magog. According to Revelation, the defeat of Gog and Magog after the final battle will spark the new heavens and the new earth in which there will be no temple.

If the city had already been destroyed fourteen years before this vision, then the city to which Ezekiel was brought I would argue was the heavenly Jerusalem, and the high mountain could have been the heavenly Mount Zion mentioned in Hebrews 12:22-24. The measuring rod used by the one sent to show Ezekiel this temple was not a regular cubit but a long cubit. A regular cubit was six handbreadths in length. A long cubit was seven handbreadths in length which seems appropriate for measuring heavenly structures.

The rest of chapter 40 dealt with the description and measurements of the courts and gates. The most remarkable thing about them is their uniformity. If the different gates and courts were originally set up according to the importance of those who entered and occupied them, the New Covenant temple had no such distinctions. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for reconciling us to You in Christ and giving us an equal inheritance in Your kingdom. Help us to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ as one people and give us a desire to invite others into Your wonderful kingdom. Amen.

Please note: I don’t plan on going through each element of Ezekiel’s vision because, honestly, a lot of it won’t mean that much to us since we haven’t lived in an era in which the temple existed.