The Seven Steps

 Ezekiel 40:6 “Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and he went up the stairs thereof…”

 In Ezekiel 40:22 and 26 we are told that there are seven steps going up to the gates in the northern and southern sides of the Temple. The specific size and shape of the steps are not given, but the number of steps is important. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection. The Temple opens as the Millennial Age begins—the seventh thousand year—the Kingdom Lord Jesus Christ and his saints. Each step is an ascent and will be a reminder to the saints that there were stages of development in the brother or sister who is accounted worthy to enter the heavenlies with Christ. These lead to the wall on the outside of the house.

The Wall

 Ezekiel 40:5 “And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man’s hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed.”

 The wall is the outside of the house and thus forms an integral part of the house. It measures 1 reed broad (the thickness of the wall) and 1 reed high. It is a foundation wall on which the building is built. The length of the wall equals 500 reeds. (The size of the reed in modern measuring units was described in the previous article, Volume 1 pages 189, 190.)

Ezekiel 40:6 “Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad.”

 The Gates

 The Hebrew word for “gate” means “to cut, split or divide”. It is an opening (a break in a wall) or an entrance (an opening in a wall). But a gate is not just an opening in a wall. It consists of an entrance, posts, chambers etc. The understanding of the construction of the gate is the key to the understanding of the whole of the building.

The gate of a building is like the eye of a body, for it reflects the character of the building in which it exists (cp. the Ishtar gate of Babylon in Ezekiel’s day). The bulk of chapter 40 is occupied with the descriptions of the gates. There is more than one gate in the wall (v18). When Ezekiel speaks of the “east gate”, he refers to all gates on the eastern side.

The number of gates is not given, but structural calculation could indicate the possibility of eleven per side (if there is a gate alongside each corner tower) or nine (if there is no gate at the towers). This is based on the fact that Ezekiel traversed three sides of the outer court (east, north and south) and had seen thirty chambers (v17). This would give ten chambers on each side of the house.

Ezekiel 46:9 “But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.”

 Movement into and out of the Temple will be orderly. The law of movement of worshippers will ensure the absence of congestion. One gate per side would be totally inadequate. This is “a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 13:17). We assume that the west side, about which little is written, is the same as the other three sides. A characteristic of prophecy is economy of words. Since the building is square, a separate description of all four sides would be superfluous (cp Ezekiel 41:21 “the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other”).

All the gates are identical. Later accounts reinforce the first description. Therefore the pattern is established at the east gate.

Ezekiel 40v11 “And he measured the breadth of the entry of the gate, ten cubits; and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits.” The word “length” has the meaning of height. (For example, we say “the length” of curtains for a window).

The size of the doors is majestic.

 The Little Chambers

 Ezekiel 40:7 “And every little chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad; and between the little chambers were five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within was one reed.”

 Once inside the gate, Ezekiel came to the little chambers. The floor space of each little chamber is 1 reed square. There are three on either side of the gate opening.

We are not told what they are used for. There are six at each gate. Six is the number of man and therefore for the benefit of man. Since there is no mention of staircases in the description of the building, it has been suggested that these areas could be lift chambers to allow access to the floors above.

The spaces between the little chambers are 5 cubits. These are the widths of the bases (pedestals). The bases support the pillars of the building.

Ezekiel 40:12 “The space also before the little chambers was one cubit on this side, and the space was one cubit on that side: and the little chambers were six cubits on this side, and six cubits on that side.”

 The word “space” speaks of a boundary structure. It is a special architectural feature, such as a screen, and is one cubit thick.

Ezekiel 40:16 “And there were narrow windows to the little chambers…”

 The Hebrew word for “windows” is derived from a root word meaning “to perforate”. Hence we have the idea of some open lattice work. The RV has “windows of fixed lattice work”.

 Ezekiel 40:13 “He measured then the gate from the roof of one little chamber to the roof of another: the breadth was five and twenty cubits, door against door.”

 The Porches

 Ezekiel 40:8 “He measured also the porch of the gate within, one reed.”

 This porch applies to the area by the entrance steps. One reed equals the cross section measurement of the foundation wall, which is therefore the width of this porch.

Ezekiel 40v9 “Then measured he the porch of the gate, eight cubits; and the posts thereof, two cubits; and the porch of the gate was inward.”

 This porch is at the inside end of the gate. The posts are 2 cubits square at the base plus 8 cubits between the posts to the large pillar.

The Palm Trees

 Ezekiel 40:14 “He made also posts of threescore cubits, even unto the post of the court round about the gate.”

 The posts of three score cubits (60 cubits) are the palm tree pillars (v16), 60 cubits per pair, which sit upon the surbases (posts of v10) at the side of the gate.The pillars are described as palm trees (v16) because of their ornamental appearance. Since the measurement describes a pair of pillars, each palm-like pillar is 30 cubits high. The palm tree grows by springs of water and lives 80–100 years. It grows straight, with foliage and fruit at the top. It will still produce fruit in old age.

What a fit symbol for those who are upright in heart and for those who set their affection on things above (Psa 92:12).

From the tops of the pillars, arches (v16) stretch across the gateway. Arches are symbols of strength. Not one pillar is unattached.

Brethren and sisters are pillars of the ecclesia today upholding the Truth. The symbol will be seen in the Temple. Pillar joined to pillar—the Saints bound together as One—one with Christ—Immortal.

Christ has left on record a promise to each one of us: “him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God” (Rev 3:12).