The new temple (part 3)

Within Ezekiel’s description of the new temple and its walls was the mention of a building that appeared to be empty. Ezekiel said, “Now the building that was before the  separate place at the end toward the west was seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick round about, and the length thereof ninety cubits” (Ezekiel 41:12). Ezekiel’s measurement of the cubit was about 21 inches. Translated into inches, the dimensions of the building were 1470 inches (122.5 ft) wide by 1890 inches (157.5 ft) long, and the walls were 105 inches (8.75 ft) thick. In total, there would have been about 19,000 sq ft of space in the building, about as much space as 10 average-sized houses today.

The west building was located behind the main temple structure, in between the temple and the western wall. This building was situated in such a way that it would have blocked the entrance to the west gate unless the gate actually led into the building and would have to be passed through in order to reach the temple. I can only speculate as to the purpose of the west building because Ezekiel didn’t record any details about its furnishings or relationship to temple activities. It is possible the empty building was intended to be a conference room of sorts where the leaders of God’s kingdom could meet and discuss their plans for the day, week, or month ahead.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the west building to understand was its location directly in front of the west gate. It doesn’t make sense to have a building blocking the western entrance. Perhaps the west building wasn’t actually intended to be a building, but an enclosure similar to a backyard. With that in mind, it could be that it was used as a place to meet and greet or have private fellowship with a select portion of the population. My guess is that it was intended to be a private fellowship hall for those that were invited guests of the prince mentioned in Ezekiel chapter 44.

During the last supper, Jesus said to his disciples, “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom” (Luke 22:29-30). The Greek word Jesus used for kingdom, basileia (bas – il – i´ ah) is properly translated as royalty. What Jesus was saying was that when he became king, his disciples would be treated as royalty. In other words, they would have special privileges and access to him that others did not.

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