Ezekiel 40-42
(Plans for a New Temple)
September 7th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

After he had finished measuring what was inside the Temple area, he took me out the east gate and measured it from the outside.

- Ezekiel 42:15 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

The final eight chapters of Ezekiel describe the return of the Glory of the God and the design of a new temple. Chapter 40 begins with Ezekiel reporting that God brought him back to Israel in a vision.

    In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city. He took me there, and I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. The man said to me, “Son of man, look carefully and listen closely and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the people of Israel everything you see.”

    - Ezekiel 40:2-4 (NIV)

Ezekiel and the man with the measuring rod walked around and through the temple as the man measured every wall, gate, room, and table. The man explained the purpose of each room and identified who was allowed into the innermost rooms.

The measurements continued in chapters 41-42. In these chapters Ezekiel observes all the carvings and other designs in the temple.

Reflection and Application

This last group of chapters has been interpreted different ways. In one view it is a literal specification for the rebuilding of the temple after the exile is completed. As a point of reference, please note that a cubit is the length from the tip of the middle finger to the point of the elbow (1), so perhaps half a yard or less than half a meter long. So, for example, the portico was about 4 feet deep. Other experts have inferred that the chapters are symbolic and refer to the birth of Christianity or the end of times.

There may not be a consensus on the intended meaning, so what can we take away? One point is that God has specific plans that he wants fulfilled and specific roles for different people. He also wants us to approach worship with great care and respect. There are a lot of rules defined in these chapters, but what God really wants is our hearts. If our hearts are for him, then we will follow the rules. If we follow the rules without a sincere heart then we are not really with him.

How was Ezekiel able to remember everything he heard regarding measurements in cubits and levels of buildings and other details? One explanation is that the people of this era had good audio memories. They told stories and repeated stories and were not able to write down or read very often, if at all. Therefore, they were probably better at remembering what they heard then we are. Nevertheless, if we hear God giving us specific instructions we must remember and act on them.

How did you imagine the temple as you read about Ezekiel receiving the measurements? You can find a number of creative depictions on YouTube and in other places. For some assistance in this area we recommend you take a look at the 3D animination below from bibliaprints that someone sent to us. It takes you through the temple verse by verse displaying scriptures and measurements as described in chapter 40. It's pretty cool.

"Ezekiel Temple Vision"

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is the length from the tip of your middle finger to your elbow?
    2. What is God asking you to measure today?
    3. What are the rebuilding plans that God has for your life?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, your temple on earth is holy - help us to keep it that way.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns


    (1) Alexander, Ralph, Ezekiel, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1976, p138

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Ezekiel 43-46 (Return of the Glory of the LORD)

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