The Dwelling Place of God

Then he measured the wall of the temple, six cubits thick, and the breadth of the side chambers, four cubits, all around the temple. And the side chambers were in three stories, one over another, thirty in each story. There were offsets all around the wall of the temple to serve as supports for the side chambers, so that they should not be supported by the wall of the temple. And it became broader as it wound upward to the side chambers, because the temple was enclosed upward all around the temple. Thus the temple had a broad area upward, and so one went up from the lowest story to the top story through the middle story. I saw also that the temple had a raised platform all around; the foundations of the side chambers measured a full reed of six long cubits. The thickness of the outer wall of the side chambers was five cubits. The free space between the side chambers of the temple and the 10 other chambers was a breadth of twenty cubits all around the temple on every side. 11 And the doors of the side chambers opened on the free space, one door toward the north, and another door toward the south. And the breadth of the free space was five cubits all around.

12 The building that was facing the separate yard on the west side was seventy cubits broad, and the wall of the building was five cubits thick all around, and its length ninety cubits.

13 Then he measured the temple, a hundred cubits long; and the yard and the building with its walls, a hundred cubits long; 14 also the breadth of the east front of the temple and the yard, a hundred cubits.

15 Then he measured the length of the building facing the yard that was at the back and its galleries on either side, a hundred cubits.

The inside of the nave and the vestibules of the court, 16 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), 17 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. 18 It was carved of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Every cherub had two faces: 19 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. 20 From the floor to above the door, cherubim and palm trees were carved; similarly the wall of the nave.

21 The doorposts of the nave were squared, and in front of the Holy Place was something resembling 22 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.” 23 The nave and the Holy Place had each a double door. 24 The double doors had two leaves apiece, two swinging leaves for each door. 25 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[j] of wood in front of the vestibule outside. 26 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. Ezekiel 41:5-26 ESV

The level of detail in Ezekiel’s vision is staggering. His guided tour of the Millennial Temple was conducted by “man whose face shone like bronze” (Ezekiel 40:3 NLT), who held “a linen measuring cord and a measuring rod” (Ezekiel 40:3 NLT) in his hand. Each time they entered a new area of the temple complex, “the man” provided detailed measurements to indicate the exact dimensions involved. The temple itself, which was the focal point of the entire compound, was an elaborate, multi-storied structure surrounded by three rows of antechambers. There were 90 of these small rooms stacked three stories high along three different sides of the temple. There is no information given regarding their purpose but they would have formed the outer wall of the temple itself. It seems that with each successive story, the rooms became slightly larger in size. 

To the west of the temple was another free-standing building that was roughly 116 feet deep and 150 feet wide. There is no indication as to the nature or purpose of this structure. But from all the details provided, it is clear that this future temple complex is far larger and more complex than any of the previous iterations of the temple. And its dimensions dwarf the original tabernacle used by the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings.

In verses 16-26, Ezekiel records the dimensions and decorative embellishments of the temple’s interior. The walls are paneled in wood and “decorated with carved cherubim and palm trees” (Ezekiel 41:25 NLT).  These images are meant to convey a powerful message regarding the temple’s occupant.

“In these figures aspirations of life and prosperity (palm) and security (cherubim) coalesce. In Israelite thought, the divine resident of this house was the source of both. – Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel

God is the giver of all life and the sole source of man’s prosperity and protection. God had already told Ezekiel that the day would come when He would restore His people to their land and take up residence among them once again.

“I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” – Ezekiel 37:26-27 ESV

God’s house will be of immense proportions and feature beautifully ornate architectural embellishments designed to reflect His divine glory and greatness. Everything about the temple and its surrounding grounds will be striking and attention-getting. This beautiful building will be a showcase of God Almighty and serve as a permanent reminder of His presence and power.

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.