Based on a Verse by Verse Bible Study led by Br. Frank Shallieu in 1975
The following is a verse by verse study on the book of Ezekiel. We will only be typing up the last 7 chapters—which are the Temple chapters and will have application in the Kingdom Age (Millennial Age). The descriptions given are of the yet future topography as you will see as the study progresses. Many think these verses are strictly spiritual, but we will find as we go through the study that they are both spiritual and literal. The actual audio of these studies will also be available. The typed version is not an exact duplicate of the audio, as some things were left out of the typing because of relevance and wording was changed to make it easier to read. The original study in 1975 was a live and interactive study. We hope that all will receive a blessing from these studies and as they are very difficult chapters and require fortitude to complete them.
May the Lord overrule anything said amiss and may He add a blessing.
Eze 40:1 In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.
Verse one introduces the time setting of this prophecy as it was originally given to the prophet. When did he have this vision? At what time?
A: Fourteen years after the temple was destroyed.
Alright, in other words at the time he was taken or transported in vision to this and he saw eventually a temple there—at that time actually there was no temple. The temple had been destroyed.
Notice the time of the year. “in the beginning of the year”, this would be the spring or Passover season. The tenth day of the month was the day that the Passover lamb was selected to be slain. It was secured on the tenth day and slain on the fourteenth day and eaten on the fifteenth day in the evening.
Question: In Ezekiel’s statement here is he saying his captivity began 617BC? When he says the fourteenth year after the temple was smitten would be 592BC. He is also saying it was the twenty-fifth year of our captivity.
Answer: Jehoakim’s captivity was in the first year of Zedekiah. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah the city was smitten. So when you subtract eleven from twenty-five that leaves fourteen. Which is the fourteenth year after the city was smitten. So it would be still 606BC. Jehoakim was taken captive in the first year of Zedekiah who was the last king.
Again, when he had this vision there was no Solomon’s temple.
“And the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.” In what way was the “hand of the LORD” upon him?
A: Carried him away in vision.
How was he carried away?
A: By the lock of his hair.
We can presume that, because this had happened before in Ezekiel 8:3. He was taken by the lock of his hair and transported there between heaven and earth.
“And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven…’
And therefore the hand of the LORD would be pretty dramatic in more ways than one. Not just merely the power of the Lord in a figurative sense but it was even dramatized in this initial experience he had and in an earlier verse, the first verse of the eighth chapter. Notice it says that the “hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.” Then this form of the hand came forth—this is describing how it came upon him. There was a visible experience he had that there was a form of a man’s hand which was God’s hand in this figurative sense. And grabs him by the lock of his hair and lifted him up. We would presume another thing that Ezekiel probably had a pretty full head of hair.
He is in captivity, north of Israel and he is carried by the hand of the Lord. He would get the experience of jet travel. He gets the sensation that he is leaving where he is, the destination is Israel on a particular mountain there. To get that sensation, he would have some sort of experience in getting there. Presumably this experience in the fortieth chapter is very similar to the eighth chapter.
We see in the second verse that this is a vision that he had. It was not a literal hand that took a hold of him, nevertheless that he had the sensation, so real was it that it reminds you of what Paul said when he was taken up to the third heaven. He didn’t know whether he was literally taken up there and given an unusual vision or whether he just thought he was taken up there. He says that he doesn’t know which it was. It was so real that it might just as well have been literal.
Eze 40:2 In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.
Notice this is a very high mountain. What mountain is that?
A: Mount of Olives?
No, this mountain where he is taken he sees the framework of the city on the south. In other words this is the future temple site of Ezekiel. He is taken to the site where Ezekiel’s temple will be built. And he sees a framework of a city on the south. What is on the south? Ophal. The old old city of Jerusalem, David’s city was south of the Temple Mount. It’s never been built, even now. It has very very few dwellings on it.
What we now call the old city of Jerusalem is really the temple mount which was a portion of the old city in David’s day because while it was built in Solomon’s day, David purchased the field, which was the threshing floor, which was immediately north of the city for the future site of the temple. His son Solomon actually built the temple there later on.
When the temple was built there, this whole complex, where David had his palace and where the old city was and this new temple complex that Solomon built was the old city at the time of the Kings. But as time went on and there was a destruction made, the city was built up again as well as the temple after the captivity. It wasn’t built the same way anymore. They used the same temple site. Now the city was built slightly north of the temple and west.
Question: Is Ophel the area to the right of the Wailing Wall?
Yes, if you are standing in front of the Wailing Wall, and go to the right, down over the cliff, that is Ophel down there below, it is lower. So that when you look up, going up to Zion, you would be looking dramatically upward at that time.
Now when it says the city will be built upon its own heaps, it’s not the present Jerusalem. Two thirds or more of Jerusalem today is New Jerusalem which is all west of the old city. It’s Israeli. Built by the Jews. And the old city, even that is west of the temple.
Where Herod’s citadel is and so forth, there was a big valley there call the Tyropoeon Valley. Which was more effective as a gulch or trench, very deep and it wasn’t until later on –on this side of the temple, on this side of the valley the city eventually developed and grew. There was wall built and that enclosed the whole and that was known as the old city of Jerusalem. Then what happened in the modern colonization of Israel the building took place outside that wall on the west side. So you have the King David hotel, the YMCA and all those buildings that are all in the new city. They are outside the wall on the west side. In the New Jerusalem, when it says the city would be built upon its own heaps the emphasis should not be laid upon what we now know as Jerusalem, that it is going to be built the same way. What we do know is that it is going to incorporate what once was ancient Jerusalem, which has never been built since, which is a very unusual thing.
Footnote: (5) Tyropoeon Valley The rugged Tyropoeon Valley separates Mount Moriah from Mount Zion and was spanned by bridges, most notably Zion Bridge, connecting the royal palace on Mount Zion to the Temple. A fragment of an arch of this bridge, called “Robinson's Arch”, was discovered by historian Edward Robinson in 1838
So now in Israel you have three parts:
1) The present modern city of Jerusalem
2) Then what we call the old city of Jerusalem, which includes the temple and a lot of other dwellings within a wall.
3) Then there is the old old Jerusalem.
The old old Jerusalem is not inhabited to all practical effects and this is the part that is going to be in the new arrangement. That old old city is due south of the temple. So that is going to be rebuilt up.
Now there are some interesting things here. How high is this mountain?
A: “Very high.”
Is the present mountain on which the city of Jerusalem is high? You wouldn’t call it very high would you?
A: You mean Mount Moriah?
Yes, Even though it is high, you couldn’t describe it as very high, because it isn’t.
Comment: The Mount of Olives over looks it.
Yes it is overlooking it, so it is higher.
The place Ezekiel is being taken is where the temple is. This is after the earthquake and after the land has been lifted up. Remember it tells in Zechariah that there shall be an earthquake round about the city about thirty miles and that whole area is going to be lifted up.
Zec 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
All that we think is stable land, is floating. We are sitting on a floating continent. Both the water and the dry land are both moving, both fluid. The land is a lot more in contrast stable than the water with its waves and so forth that we think it is. The Lord set a degree that the water has a fixed boundary, therefore the Land also by default has a fixed boundary. But the whole is on a floating molten base, which slips. That is what they call the continental land mass drift. Instead of continents like we have today, Australia, Africa, and America they have other divisions. Which are quite different in some respects where it shows the land underneath the water and those contents now are considered from a completely different aspect. They are separate units and they are the ones that are slipping. The slipping causes earthquakes a lot of times.
The Jordan Rift Valley goes right on the boarder of the city of Jerusalem When David Ben-Gurion was the first Primer of Israel—they forbid construction on the hill because they were afraid of the shifting of that rift which would lay it all waste. So they ceased building in that area at that time, but then later developed that area because of the prime conditions there and that is near the Mount of Olives which is a stones throw away.
So back to the very high mountain. Ezekiel is now in Israel, the temple of Solomon is destroyed. He is seeing a different setting. It is the same place, but now it is a very high mountain and the framework of a new city—not even the city that is there now in our day. He is seeing the city as it will be in that day—The Millennial Day—the Kingdom. Not only does the Lord give the measurements of Ezekiel’s temple, but also of the city. How the city will be built is all laid down in certain patterns. He is viewing it as it will be in the future, but the Lord in this particular aspect of the vision first focuses on the temple, but then will immediately focuses in on the city. So if we discard the temple as being literal, then we have to discard the literal city.
The fortieth chapter is a beginning of a series of visions which start with the temple, which is the most important, the kernel of the new capital, then the city, then the adjoining land around the city where they will raise crops and who they will be for. And where the Priests, Levites and the Princes stay and then the rest of the nation of Israel. So again if you discard the literal temple, you have to discard the whole seven chapters of Ezekiel. And you also have to discard the literal fish in the Dead Sea and Mediterranean Sea (it says it would have fish as the Great Sea, exceeding many, and the Great Sea is the Mediterranean.) this is all one big prophecy. People don’t think of it as one big prophecy and will enthuse over the literal aspect of the vision which is only really an extension of the vision he is having.
Ezek 47:10 (CEV) From En-Gedi to Eneglaim, people will fish in the sea and dry their nets along the coast. There will be as many kinds of fish in the Dead Sea as there are in the Mediterranean Sea.
There will be fish one day living in a large portion of the Dead Sea. An extremity of the sea will be left to salt and for the exploitation of the minerals.
You come to something like this, this is a tremendously important vision. We come to the door and we do like Peter, we blunder right in. And we miss ninety nine out of a hundred details. We say wow this is a wonderful vision and go right on. We need to stop right on the threshold here and see the whole setting. He is in Israel on a very high mountain.
Now we can see that some of these scriptures that we only spiritualize, which is true, but they are also literal. Like where it says Zion would be exalted above the surrounding hills, it would be lifted up, so this harmonizes with Zechariah 14:10. Another scriptures says it will be exalted (Isa. 2:2; Mic. 4:1) We only think of it as figuratively exalted, but the executive rulership of the Kingdom will reside there and therefore we think of this lifting up only in a figurative sense. Now we see the beauty of this in that the city is on the south and the temple is on the north. If he sees the city on the south the temple has to be in the north. Theoretically when the city is built, that is the proper layout. The temple represents the spiritual.
The executive orders in the real sense of the word not only come forth from Jerusalem will come forth in even a more stringent way from the temple. The voice of the Lord will be heard in His holy temple. The voice of the Lord will be heard in His holy temple, so you would have a capital city, the capital of the capital city is the temple. The most important building in the holy city. That would represent God from the North as well as Jesus and the Church from whence the Law goes forth.
“… for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” Isa_2:3, Mic 4:2
The south emphasis the earthly aspect, a civil aspect, and that is the city.
We have been spending a lot of time on this one detail, but I think it is well worth it. We have been reading these verses for fifty years and we just skip over them like there is nothing there, but they are tremendously packed.
Just because we have a prejudice that no literal temple will be built and we don’t’ realize this prejudice is robbing us from mediating on God’s Word.
Eze 40:3 And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.
Eze 40:4 And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.
God Himself brought him there originally by the hand in this vision. He is getting the sensation of travel which is very real.
Now he noticed a man that looks like brass. Brass is a symbol of perfect humanity or justified humanity.
In the Tabernacle the altar was made of brass (or copper) and the Levites could not handle that,
only the priests. The posts around the court also were made of brass. There were copper pins and receptacles for those posts—that didn’t represent the person in the world, who believe in Christ but have not made a consecration. The only ones who can properly and righteously hold for the righteousness of Christ are those who have made the stand themselves.
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. Psa 50:16-17
So what we are trying to say is this man is a justified minister in the flesh as shown by the copper. It is these keys of understanding that help us keep on the right track in interpretation, which if we are diligent in using will unlock truths as they are due to be seen.
In his hand he has a line of flax. What is the line of flax for?
A: To make a straight line
At the bottom of that line there is a heavy plum bob. The line is what is being emphasized and not the lead weight on the end. It is used to establish a vertical position that you can then begin to establish a level. In connection with this vertical line he also has another instrument called a measuring reed. Which is like a ruler or yardstick.
So we see a man who is of copper appearance and has a measuring line of flax and the measuring reed. What is significant about line of flax?
A: Flax is used to make linen This is a fine twined linen
Q: What is linen a symbol of?
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
The scriptures tell us that linen is the symbol of righteousness, but they are not so direct on the meaning of the copper. If someone didn’t tell us, we probably would not understand it.
Having this line of flax would indicate what? We are emphasizing the spiritual aspects in this lesson.
A: A standard of righteousness or justice.
Justice is the foundation of God’s throne and in connection with this picture as well. Also he is going to do things with these instruments later, although it emphasizes the reed. It doesn’t mention the line so much, but we do know it is used and will come to that later.
This is a standard which he is measuring, and will be measuring a building. In order to appreciate what he is doing it has to be viewed from that particular aspect.
Q: Where does this man stand?
A: At the south gate.
Q: What does it suggest that he is standing by the gate?
A: That they were judges
That is a good point. It was the custom of judges to sit in the gate. When the people had a legal case of a dispute that would arise. The people would go to the city, the temple, or their local cities and they would go to the magistrate. If it is a civil magistrate, a civil disposition then it would be the city gate. If it is an ecclesiastical interpretation then it would be the temple gate. Therefore the gate became a place of judgment. That is where you would go to have your case heard and a decision to be made.
He is standing at the gate and not sitting, what does this suggest?
He is standing in the gate like a guide and waiting for you to follow him around, and he starts to walk around. Ezekiel accompanied him.
He starts off on a high mountain on the south and the detail narrows in and now we are at a gate with a man standing in the gate. He is brought close to him and now something is going to happen and he can almost anticipate that the man is waiting for him. How very exciting.
Now all of a sudden the man opens his mouth and starts to talk and there comes forth important words. Before anything happens the man gives Ezekiel instructions right away.
“Behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee.” This is really saying pay strict attention and use all your senses to absorb all the instructions that are about to be given. If you put yourself in Ezekiel’s place, what a powerful experience this was. The man tells him that he himself was instructed by God and set for this very purpose to be a guide for this particular tour for Ezekiel.
Ezekiel represents the Church. Not only was Ezekiel to pay strict attention, but he was to declare all that he saw to the nation of Israel. That doesn’t mean they are going to understand it or even that they are going to hear it, scriptures say their ears are dull and not receptive. Nevertheless he was charged with the responsibility when Ezekiel was through with this experience he is going to have and the lessons that are going to be explained, he is to go back to his people and tell them everything that he has seen.
The framework of the city on the south and the very high mountain… I don’t think I am over dramatizing this at all. We should put ourselves in Ezekiel’s place and what a shock it would be to use and what a joy and privilege to have this experience. You would get to remember those details, the problem is many of us a predisposed where our ears and eye are in other directions.
Comment: It would have been some benefit for those living back there.
Yes we will consider it from that standpoint. The Lord’s Word is not only for those that are living down here in our age. The Apostle Paul said that the prophet spoke and declared things that they could not understand but it for us upon whom the end of the ages to come were. That does not mean that when these visions were given they were not intended to have any instructional or inspirational value to the ones that were contemporaries of these prophecies. That isn’t the thought. What the Apostle Paul was saying was that the main point, the main emphasis of the vision is for the spiritual class.
Eze 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.
He says that the building of the wall was six cubits high and deep or broad. Not long because the wall is circuitous, continuous. So it’s not one reed long. But penetrating the wall, where the gate its, which is where he is standing. So he is beginning at once his measurements starting right where he is. Then for the next hour and half lecture it is nothing but measurements. He is just measuring and measuring. It is not our intention now to explain those measurements until if God permits the model is finished. Then we would demonstrate each detail of these measurements, what they represent.
This starting is important because he is right at the gate. He has this reed. He measures the wall of the building. Not like a yard, in the tabernacle you have an outer court—this is also an outer court that he is in. He is measuring the outer peripheral area of the outer court when he starts measuring. On this wall there are columns. This wall has a quite good dimension it is the foundation of a whole structure that is on top. This is like a base or pedestal on which the outer peripheral area of the temple structure is built. He is only measuring the pedestal at the bottom, which is one continuous wall with the exception of the perforation where the gate is. He is measuring the bottom one and he is saying it is one reed high and one broad.
Q: What does the measuring read he is using represent?
A: A standard.
The line of flax also represented a standard and that had to do with a line of righteousness, a mark of holiness, justification which is necessary to properly measure certain things. Now the reed is a fixed length. Later on he tells you how long that reed is. This standard is like what we call a yard stick. It’s not like a carpenters ruler that folds up and it’s not telescopic. This reed that he is carrying is a fixed length. This reed elsewhere is in scripture is repeated do you know where?
A: In Revelation.
In Revelation we find it is called a golden reed, here it does not specify it being of gold. There is a little different lesson here. The reed in Revelation was to measure the city. Here the reed is used to measure the temple in the first few chapters.
The Temple of Ezekiel represents what?
A: The Temple Class.
It would represent The Christ primarily. Christ head and body—the Church.
In the book of Revelation the city represents?
A: The Church
In the book of Revelation when it says there will be no temple there (when you read the book of Revelation he is describing the city), there are several reasons why there wouldn’t be one and we wouldn’t expect one. The book of Revelation is symbolic only. It is a book of symbols only.
If the city in Revelation represents the Church, why need to have a temple there if that represents the Church also? It would be an unnecessary duplication, so there is no need. The city is a government it is the Church class in glory. It says it is the Bride.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Ezekiel is different, it is more complex in the sense that it is both literal and spiritual. We have another precedent for this, this is not a new thought. Where is the other precedent?
A: The Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle in the wilderness was literal and spiritual, both. So you can harmonize that it is possible for such a thing to happen and that is the story of Ezekiel. The difference being the Tabernacle emphasizes the literal and spiritual aspects of the Church primarily in the present life. They are Tabernacling or journeying to the Temple condition. The Temple isn’t the journey, it is the finished picture. So it is both literal and spiritual from a future standpoint. The Tabernacle is both literal and spiritual from a past and present standpoint.
So this reed represents a standard. It is a golden reed, and represents a Divine standard. What is the Divine standard?
A: The Bible
That is one thing
A: Christ in you the hope of Glory.
A little more detail. The full stature of a man in Christ Jesus is the technical objective. That the fullness of Christ might dwell in an individual to his capacity. Paul says how he labored that Christ might be formed in you (Gal. 4:19). That one might grow up into a full stature of a man in Christ Jesus ( Eph. 4:13). So this reed represents the stature of a man in Christ Jesus
So when he puts that reed down and starts measuring he is saying: it represents not only Christ as the standard, but what we want to be. We want to be Christ-like and to be of that standard. Anyone who is going to be of that temple class (1 Cor. 3:16)—the pillar in that temple which will no more come in or out (Rev. 3:12). He is a permanent structure. To be of the temple class of the future there are certain requirements. So he puts that reed down, and that requirement is God’s Word and the standard of Christ Jesus, and the application of those principles in the present life and if we diligently pursue them we will be found in this structure. We will be pictured as a part of that complex.
When you come to the Tabernacle gate the first thing you see is the altar. Which is Christ and the sacrifice necessary, before we make another step. Right smack in front of the gate. That is the first lesson. A sinner needs to recognize his own undone condition. And that his only approach to God is in and through Christ.
The man in the gate is laying down this basic principle. That this standard is necessary. Then from that standpoint this building then can have some meaning.
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