The Most Holy Place

44 On the outside of the inner gateway there were two chambers in the inner court, one at the side of the north gate facing south, the other at the side of the south gate facing north. 45 And he said to me, “This chamber that faces south is for the priests who have charge of the temple, 46 and the chamber that faces north is for the priests who have charge of the altar. These are the sons of Zadok, who alone among the sons of Levi may come near to the Lord to minister to him.” 47 And he measured the court, a hundred cubits long and a hundred cubits broad, a square. And the altar was in front of the temple.

48 Then he brought me to the vestibule of the temple and measured the jambs of the vestibule, five cubits on either side. And the breadth of the gate was fourteen cubits, and the sidewalls of the gate were three cubits on either side. 49 The length of the vestibule was twenty cubits, and the breadth twelve cubits, and people would go up to it by ten steps. And there were pillars beside the jambs, one on either side.

1 Then he brought me to the nave and measured the jambs. On each side six cubits was the breadth of the jambs. And the breadth of the entrance was ten cubits, and the sidewalls of the entrance were five cubits on either side. And he measured the length of the nave, forty cubits, and its breadth, twenty cubits. Then he went into the inner room and measured the jambs of the entrance, two cubits; and the entrance, six cubits; and the sidewalls on either side of the entrance, seven cubits. And he measured the length of the room, twenty cubits, and its breadth, twenty cubits, across the nave. And he said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.” Ezekiel 40:44-41:4 ESV

Ezekiel’s vision of the Millennial Temple included a view of two chambers located just outside the northern and southern inner gates. In Hebrew, these rooms are described as liškâ šîr, which might best be translated as “the chambers of the singing men.”

These would have been members of the tribe of Levi who served as priests in the temple but also functioned as musicians as part of their service to God. The book of 2 Chronicles mentions these men.

And the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and all their sons and brothers—were dressed in fine linen robes and stood at the east side of the altar playing cymbals, lyres, and harps. They were joined by 120 priests who were playing trumpets. The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. – 2 Chronicles 5:12-13 NLT

These men were responsible for providing musical praise to God as part of peoples’ worship.

Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words:

“He is good!
    His faithful love endures forever!”  – 2 Chronicles 5:14 NLT

And the book of 1 Chronicles states that they lived in special rooms dedicated to their use in the temple.

The musicians, all prominent Levites, lived at the Temple. They were exempt from other responsibilities since they were on duty at all hours. All these men lived in Jerusalem. They were the heads of Levite families and were listed as prominent leaders in their genealogical records. – 1 Chronicles 9:33-34 NLT

The Psalms are filled with descriptions of music as a form of worship and singing as a means of praising God for all He has done.

Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let us sing psalms of praise to him. – Psalm 95:1-2 NLT

Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
    break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and melodious song,
with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
    Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King! – Psalm 98:4-6 NLT

And, according to Ezekiel’s vision, this musical expression of praise and glory for God’s goodness and greatness will continue into the Millennial Kingdom.

The praise of God will never cease in the Millennial Kingdom as God’s people express their heartfelt gratitude for all that He has done. And these priests will be accompanied by others who be responsible for maintaining the temple itself as well as all the elements associated with the altar and the sacrificial system. Each priest will perform his duties with joy and gladness so that the temple may function seamlessly and in full compliance with God’s decrees.

And Ezekiel is told that these men will be the descendants of Zadok, who served as a priest during the reigns of David and Solomon. This ensures the prophet that God will miraculously maintain the line of Zadok so that they may serve Him in this future temple.

As the vision unfolds before Ezekiel’s eyes, he is escorted into the actual doorway of the temple itself, through a portico or inner room that opens into the temple proper. As he moves forward into the recesses of the temple, Ezekiel passes through the Holy Place and into the Holy of Holies. With each step, he moves into a progressively smaller space that is meant to focus his attention on the significance of his final destination: The most holy place.  This was the innermost room of the temple where God’s presence was said to dwell above the mercy seat. In Solomon’s temple, this room was highly restricted and off-limits to anyone but the high priest, who could only enter one day out of the entire year, on the Day of Atonement. God had told Moses to warn his brother, Aaron, the high priest, not to venture into the Holy of Holies on any other day or he would face certain death.

The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.” – Leviticus 16:2 NLT

Aaron was given a series of ceremonial tasks to perform so that he might offer a sacrifice on behalf of the people. It all began with his personal purification and included cleansing of the Holy of Holies, the altar, priests, the congregation, and the tabernacle itself. It all concluded with the release of the scapegoat.

“He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land.” – Leviticus 16:21-22 NLT

What makes this so important is that, in the future Millennial Kingdom, there will be no need for the scapegoat because of Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice. He bore the sins of mankind with His death on the cross and provided a permanent means of forgiveness for all those who place their faith in Him. Yet, God told Moses and the people of Israel that His commands concerning the Day of Atonement would be permanent.

“This is a permanent law for you. In future generations, the purification ceremony will be performed by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as high priest in place of his ancestor Aaron. He will put on the holy linen garments and purify the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, the priests, and the entire congregation. This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the Lord once each year.” – Leviticus 16:31-34 NLT

But what makes the future temple so unique is that it will exist as part of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ, who will reign as King over Jerusalem, the land of Israel, and the rest of the world. Because of His sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension, and ultimate return as the King of kings and Lord of lords, there will be no need for future purification of the temple. The scapegoat will be unnecessary. Cleansing from sin will no longer be needed.

The Most Holy Place will be permanently holy. The people of God will be eternally righteous, cleansed, and forgiven. Because God and His Son will take up permanent residence with His people.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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