22 Dec. Ezekiel 40:1-31

22 Dec. Ezekiel’s vision of the Second Temple

“It was the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year [573 BC], on the tenth day of the month. It was in the fourteenth year after Jerusalem was captured [in 587BC]. On that same day I felt the power of the LORD, and he brought me to Jerusalem.”

“In the visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel and put me down on a very high mountain. On the south of the mountain there were some buildings that looked like a city. He took me closer to the buildings, and I saw a man who looked as if he were made of bronze, standing in the gateway. He had a cord made of linen and a stick in his hand, both for measuring.”

“The man said to me, ‘Human, look with your eyes and hear with your ears. Pay attention to all that I will show you, because that’s why you have been brought here. Tell the people of Israel all that you see.’”

“I saw a wall that surrounded the Temple area. The measuring stick in the man’s hand was 3 metres long. So the man measured the wall, which was 3 metres thick and 3 metres high. Then the man went to the east gateway. He went up its steps and measured the opening of the gateway. It was 3 metres deep…”

“The man measured the width of the entrance to the gateway, which was 5 metres wide. The width of the gate was about 6.5 metres…”

“Then the man brought me into the outer courtyard where I saw rooms and a pavement of stones all around the court. Thirty rooms were along the edge of the paved walkway. The pavement ran alongside the gates and was as deep as the gates were wide…”

“The man measured the length and width of the north gateway leading to the outer courtyard… Then the man led me south where I saw a gateway facing south. He measured its inner walls and its porch, and they measured the same as the other gateways.”

“Then the man brought me through the south gateway into the inner courtyard. The inner south gateway measured the same as the gateways in the outer wall… Carvings of palm trees were on its side walls, and its stairway had eight steps.”

        (Ezekiel 40:1-6,11,17-18,20,24,28,31)

 

 

In today’s passage, Ezekiel, writing in 573BC, had a vision of the restored Temple of the LORD in the newly-rebuilt Jerusalem after the exile ended. This Second Temple was actually constructed about fifty years later, between 525BC and 516BC.

In Ezekiel’s vision, the Temple was surrounded by a wall. Gateways on the east, north and south sides led to the outer courtyards of the Temple. Further gateways and steps on the eastern, northern and southern sides of the outer courtyard led up to the inner courtyard (see Ezekiel 40:1-49).

The three-storey Temple building was situated on the western side of the inner courtyard, with an altar in front of it. Steps led up to the entrance porch, past the annexe to the Holy Place and on to the Most Holy Place itself. The Temple rooms were panelled with wood, carved with palm trees and winged cherubim (see Ezekiel 41:1-26). Buildings providing accommodation for the priests were situated to the north and south of the main Temple building (see Ezekiel 42:1-14).

There are few records of the Temple as it was completed in 516BC by the exiles who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel and Joshua in 525BC, and this Second Temple was considerably extended and modified by Herod the Great in 23BC. However, the broad pattern laid out in Ezekiel’s vision can be clearly recognised in the detailed descriptions of the Temple recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus shortly after its destruction by the Romans in 70AD.

The photo shows a model of the Second Temple, taken in the grounds of the Holy Land Hotel in Jerusalem.

You can read more about the design and layout of the Second Temple @ The Bible Journey | The completion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem


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