Last week, in Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 3, we discovered that as temples of the living God, we are not our own. We have been bought with a price and set apart for sacred purposes, and as a result, we need to start living holy lives that honor the God who dwells in us. Today’s lesson takes a look at the meaning and importance of the temple decorations:
“The faces of the projecting walls were decorated with palm trees.” (Ezek 40:16 NIV); “From the floor to the area above the entrance, cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall of the outer sanctuary.” (Ezek 41:20 NIV)
There is also reference to the fact that Solomon’s Temple was decorated in a similar fashion: “On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers.” (1 Kings 6:29 NIV), and as you continue to read through Ezek 40 and 41, you will find 11 references to things in Ezekiel’s Temple being decorated with palm trees, and three references to things being decorated with palm trees interspersed with Cherubim.
It is, first of all, interesting that such minute detail would be recorded. Secondly, it is also interesting that the object chosen to decorate the temple with would be palm trees. Finally, it is interesting that though most of the temple is decorated with just palm trees, two parts are decorated with palm trees AND cherubim.
Why palm trees? Why Cherubim?
King David makes reference to Palm Trees in Ps 92: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.” (Ps 92:12,13 NIV)
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible suggests that palm trees tend to grow more strongly when under stress. This would suggest that we, when “depressed with the burden of affliction”, likewise grow more strongly. 
This idea is also hinted at in the book of Revelation: “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Rev 7:9-10 NIV).
The fact that the saints are holding palms in their hands would indicate their victory and triumph over their spiritual enemies. 
Friends, we are told that we, also, have victory over our spiritual enemies: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:57 NIV).
But though we CARRY victory in our hands, as symbolized by the saints carrying palm branches, we don’t always LEAD victorious lives! Why? Because we tend to forget that victory is ours. God gives us the image of the palm tree engraved upon the posts of our spiritual temples, to remind us of our victory in Jesus!
But why are the palm trees sometimes intermixed with images of Cherubim?
One possible explanation is that the images of Cherubim help us to remember that we are not battling alone. When we forget that it is Jesus who gives us the victory, we tend to look to our frail, weak human efforts, and we become discouraged. This is the time that we need to remember the promise of Ps. 91: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (Ps 91:11-12 NIV)
Friends, this is the beautiful image that is given to us in Ezekiel’s temple: When the devil throws dirt, when he succeeds in making us forget that we have victory in Jesus, we can look into the temples of our hearts where we can find reminders, in the images of the Cherubim and the palm trees, that we WILL prevail! Victory is ours, and where human efforts fail, God sends His angels!
Enough to ponder, but do ponder this: In Christ, we have been given VICTORY! But when we forget this, we need to remember that there are Cherubim carved between the palm trees in the temple of our hearts. We need to remember that God will command His angels to keep us in all our ways!
Join us next week for Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 5: Temple Gates
God bless each of you as you seek to draw closer to Him!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .
 On 1 Kings 6:29: from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.
 On Ezekiel 40:5-26: from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.
(To access the entire “Lessons From Ezekiel’s Temple” mini-series, please click here.)