Chapter 41:15-26 (ESV) - The inside of the nave and the vestibules of the court, the thresholds and the narrow windows and the galleries all around the three of them, opposite the threshold, were paneled with wood all around, from the floor up to the windows (now the windows were covered), to the space above the door, even to the inner room, and on the outside. And on all the walls all around, inside and outside, was a measured pattern. It was carved of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Every cherub had two faces: a human face toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side. They were carved on the whole temple all around. From the floor to above the door, cherubim and palm trees were carved; similarly the wall of the nave.
The doorposts of the nave were squared, and in front of the Holy Place was something resembling an altar of wood, three cubits high, two cubits long, and two cubits broad. Its corners, its base, and its walls were of wood. He said to me, “This is the table that is before the Lord.” The nave and the Holy Place had each a double door. The double doors had two leaves apiece, two swinging leaves for each door. And on the doors of the nave were carved cherubim and palm trees, such as were carved on the walls. And there was a canopy of wood in front of the vestibule outside. And there were narrow windows and palm trees on either side, on the sidewalls of the vestibule, the side chambers of the temple, and the canopies.
Question to consider: What does the rising smoke of incense represent in the church?
If you went through my study in Genesis, I mentioned in the story of Jacob’s vision of a ladder to heaven that within the ancient Jewish commentaries on the books of Moses (the Targum), the two angels that destroyed Sodom traveled with Jacob and went up the ladder to proclaim to the other angels that Jacob was the one whose likeness was on the throne of glory. At the time, I mentioned that if the tradition were true, I wondered if it was the image of Christ who would be Jacob’s distant son.
In light of the images of the cherubs and palm trees in the nave, I wonder if this was the reference. Unlike the cherubs with the four faces in the earlier vision who supported the throne, these images could very well have been those of our incarnate Lord who was called the Lion of Judah. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the donkey, people waved palm branches and laid them down on the road along with their cloaks saying, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” and shouting “Hosanna!” which means “Save us!” So the image of palms along with those of the Lord makes sense, for the Lord is our salvation and our peace.
Ezekiel was a priest but not the high priest so we’re never given a glimpse inside the Holy of Holies. However, we do see the table that is before the Lord in the Holy Place. Rather than a table for sacrificing animals, the size of the table before the Lord was more akin to the table of incense in the Jerusalem temple. As I mentioned yesterday, I believe this temple is depicted as the heavenly temple not built by hands where the Lord serves us as our great king and high priest.
We never see the Holy of Holies because only Christ goes in there to intercede for us with the Father. If we consider the table before His throne in similar fashion to the altar of incense, it could represent our prayers rising up to the very throne of the Lord.
Dear Lord, thank You for receiving our prayers and interceding for us with the Father. Help us to put our faith and trust in You to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Amen.