Last week, in Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 5a, we discovered that the gates of Ezekiel’s temple teach us that the only reason we have been given the privilege of becoming temples of God’s Spirit is becomes of Jesus’ Blood, Jesus’ Sacrifice. He made the way, and through Him we have access to the presence of God, Himself! Today’s lesson takes a look at the meaning and importance of the different temple gates:
“Then he went to the gate facing east. He climbed its steps and measured the threshold of the gate; it was one rod deep.” (Ezek 40:6 NIV); “Then he measured the length and width of the gate facing north, leading into the outer court.” (Ezek 40:20-21 NIV); “Then he led me to the south side and I saw a gate facing south.” (Ezek 40:24 NIV).
Though these are just three of the 40+ references to gates in chapters 40-48 of Ezekiel, since the angel of the Lord began his description of gates with the East Gate, here is where we will begin as well. Please note that the ideas presented in this devotional come from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. See reference .
If you go back to the description of the building of the tabernacle, in the book of Exodus, the description that served as a model for all of the temples, you will note that the holy of holies is in the west end of the temple. Interestingly, it can be noted that the heathen of the day worshipped towards the east . Why then, did the angel of God began his measuring at the east gate?
When we give our lives to Christ, it is as if everything we ever learned is picked up and turned around 180°. You see, the life of a Christian is supposed to be set apart: “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.” (Ps 4:3 NIV); “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom 12:2 NIV)
The Kingdom of God is about as opposite as you can get from the mentality of this world. Jesus outlines this nicely in the Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you …” (Matt 5:43-44 NIV).
Therefore, the fact that the angel of God begins at the East gate, the gate opposite the Holy of Holies, reminds us that we are set apart from the world, that we must now remember to think in Heavenly ways instead of worldly ways.
The angel of the Lord then led Ezekiel to the north gate: “Then he measured the length and width of the gate facing north, leading into the outer court. Its alcoves – three on each side – its projecting walls and its portico had the same measurements as those of the first gateway.” (Ezek 40:20-21 NIV). Notice that this is identical to the description set out for the East gate, and if you read vs. 24, you will find that the description of the south gate is also identical.
Now God could have said, “And the north and south gates were identical to the east gate”. But He didn’t. He went on to describe them in every detail. If you read through the descriptions of the Solomon’s temple in Kings and Chronicles, and of the tabernacle in the wilderness in Exodus, you find the same exact attention to detail.
Because God takes special notice of things. He is a God of details.
What does this mean for us today?
Just this: God not only notices every detail of your lives, but He created them! The same detail He uses in describing a temple to be built, He uses when describing our own lives! “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Ps 139:13-16 NIV)
The exact description of these gates, repeated three times, reminds us that there is nothing hidden from God’s eyes: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb 4:13 NIV)
He knows the beginning from the end. He knows when we pass through hard times that there IS a way out! And this is the message to us today from the exact measurements of the gates of Ezekiel’s temple.
Enough to ponder, but do ponder this: The gates described in Ezekiel’s temple, in their exactness and their order, help us to remember two vital truths: God’s ways are totally opposite from the ways of the world, and God always knows what we are going through. He saw it from the beginning, and He sees the way out. No matter what it is that we are going through, we can trust Him to get us through!
Join us next week for another important lesson taught us by the descriptions of the gates of Ezekiel’s temple, Lessons From Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 5c: Why do we Need Gates on All Sides?
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 .
 (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.)