Last week, in Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 6, we discovered that the alcoves or porches in Ezekiel’s temple are there to remind us that we do not need to be afraid of anything, because God is our refuge, our shelter from any type of storm that is thrown our way!
Today’s lesson takes a look at the meaning and importance of the wall surrounding the temple:
“I saw a wall completely surrounding the temple area. The length of the measuring rod in the man’s hand was six long cubits, each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth. He measured the wall; it was one measuring rod thick and one rod high.” (Ezek 40:5 NIV)
Every temple mentioned in the Bible had a wall. For the wilderness tabernacle, it was a curtain: “All the curtains around the courtyard were of finely twisted linen…” (Ex 38:9-17 NIV) Solomon’s temple also had a courtyard and a wall (See 2 Chron 4:9), and now, Ezekiel’s temple was to also have a courtyard surrounded by walls.
And not just any wall, but ones that are about three meters (one rod) high AND three meters (one rod) thick! Now that is one massive wall!
In Biblical times rooms were often cut into walls. In large cities people actually lived in the walls: “So [Rahab] let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.“ (Josh 2:15-16 NIV). In the case of Ezekiel’s temple, the walls held porches for the people (see Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 6) and alcoves for the guards (See Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 8).
One last point of note about the walls in Ezekiel’s temple is that special hooks hung from them: “And double-pronged hooks, each a handbreadth long, were attached to the wall all around.” (Ezek 40:43 NIV)
So just what is the significance of this massive wall with its alcoves and porches and hooks that surrounded Ezekiel’s temple?
First of all, walls were, and still are, used for separation. The walls around all of the temples of the Lord separated God’s Holy temple from the world. This is what the walls of Ezekiel’s temple mean for us today as well. We are the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. We, too, need to have “walls” to separate us from the world. We may not have physical walls as did the temples of old, but we need to have spiritual walls. We need convictions. We need to stick to our beliefs and never be swayed. Paul warns us of this: “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 second important lesson to be learned from the walls of Ezekiel’s temple is protection. Let’s remember that with the building materials and technology of Ezekiel’s day, the thicker the wall, the stronger it was felt to be, and this wall was 3 meters (10 feet) thick! The walls of ancient cities were built to protect the city, and in the same way, the walls of Ezekiel’s temple should serve to remind us of the divine protection that we and the church are under: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” (Ps 34:19-20 NIV). Remember, no matter what happens, as long as you are in the Lord, as long as you reside under His wings, as long as God’s Spirit is in your living “temple”, there is nothing that can separate you from the Love of Christ (See Rom. 8:37-39)!
The third important point to be learned from the walls of Ezekiel’s temple is that walls are put to good use. In this case, porches and guardhouses are carved into them, and hooks are even fastened upon them. In our homes today, walls serve as anchors for hanging curtains, pictures, supporting fireplaces, etc. When we are in Christ, and we are under His divine protection, those walls are not oppressive. Instead, the walls that separate us from the world can be used as things of beauty! They can be used as the framework for the exquisite creations that God is forming us to become!
Enough to ponder, but do ponder this: The walls of Ezekiel’s temple serve to remind us that as Christians who are in the world, we are separate from the world. We need to have strong convictions and stick to them. They also serve to remind us that God is our protection, that nothing can separate us from the love of God. And finally, they are there to be a framework for the work of art, the piece of beauty that God is molding each of us into.
Join us next week for another important lesson from Ezekiel’s temple: Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 8: The Guard
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 .
(To access the entire “Lessons From Ezekiel’s Temple” mini-series, please click here.)