- Ezekiel’s vision of the millennial temple begins with chapter 40. The measurements used are the cubit and the rod. It is estimated that in the Bible a cubit was probably about 17.5 inches. Adding a hand-breadth (as noted in 40:5) made it about 21.5 inches, so the rod in this case is about 10 ½ feet long.
We are told that the wall which was between the gates was one rod wide and one rod high (40:5). The gates were very interesting and complex features, and there were three main gates: on the north side, the east side, and the south side. A schematic of one of the gates will be presented below. We should note that the pillars of the gates were 60 cubits high, which is more than 100 feet.
A remarkable feature of the Ezekiel’s temple is the presence of a great stream of fresh water which issues from beneath the Southern wall of the Temple. Ezekiel describes this river, which divides into two branches and flows Westward into the Mediterranean Sea and also Eastward into the Northern end of the Dead Sea, freshening all the land South of Jericho,
Technical Hebrew terms relating to temples:חומה --- “wall” Ezek. 40:5 each wall was six cubits thick and six cubits high.
אַיִל --- this is a “projecting pillar” (BDB), a pilaster or a buttress, in other words, it is attached to a wall. Term first appears in Ezek. 40:9 as part of the ulam of the gate. In 40:10 they are mentioned together with the guard chambers. In 40:14 these pillars are said to be 60 cubits in height.
עמוד --- This is a supporting pillar or column, i.e. not attached to a wall. In Solomon’s temple, there were two of these (I Kings 7:15-22) and called them Jachin and Boaz. In Ezekiel’s temple, they are in
שער --- the Gate (the gate complex is described in Ezek. 40:6-16; 20-22; 24-31; 32-34; 35-38). Each one had steps leading up to it. 40:11 says the width of the entrance was 10 cubits. From Ezek. 40:21; 25; 30; 36 we know that the gate complex measured 25x50 cubits.
כתף --- Normally means “shoulder,” but is used in Ezek. 40:18, 40, 41, 44; and 41:2, 26 to refer to the walls which are to the sides of the door, and which are therefore part of the structure of the entrance.
סף --- “Threshold” (BDB), but Chabad translates it as “post.” Ezek. 40:6. It was six cubits (one rod), which is doubtless the measurement of the thickness of the wall on which it was located.
תא --- This was a chamber for the guards, and was 6x6 cubits. There were five cubits between the chambers (Ezek. 40:7). This was “between” them in a row on each side of the vestibule. In Ezek. 40:10 we see that there were three such chambers on each side as one proceeded inward. Ezek. 40:12 says there was a border before the chambers of one cubit. Rashi therefore believes they were offset and not in line with the hall leading inward, therefore they were recessed from that hall one cubit, and from the width of the entrance they were recessed two and a half cubits to either side.
אולם --- Beginning in Ezek. 40:8. The ulam of the gate is one rod (six cubits) on the inside, and in verse 9 it is 8 cubits, therefore there must have been separating walls on each side (or in front and behind as one proceeded inward) one cubit thick. Since it was measured after the chambers, it was perhaps interior to them. And it could not have been the hallway between them, because that was 25 cubits wide (between the chambers) and certainly more than six cubits in length. Therefore “hall” as in the Chabad translation cannot be correct, so it must be “vestibule.” That is because there are two separate vestibules mentioned in connection with a single gate. We know there are 50 cubits from the outer to the inner gate on the eastern side, and since the vestibule of the outer gate is said to be 8 cubits in verse 9, and this almost certainly refers to its east-west measurement, the vestibule mentioned in conjunction with the inner gate in verse 15 must be a separate vestibule. Therefore the two are connected by a hallway, and that means that such a hallway is a separate entity from the vestibules and the‘ulam cannot mean “hall.”
מעלות --- “Steps” Ezek. 40:26 tells us there were seven at the south gate, while verse 34 says there were eight steps at the eastern gate, and verse 37 says the northern gate had eight steps
הַגִּזְרָה --- “Separation”
אתוק/אתיק --- “Gallery/porch” eg. Ezek. 42:3
חיק --- normally means “bosom” (“lap” in modern Hebrew), but in Ezek. 43:13,14 it is used to refer to the hollow bottom of the altar.
The schematic of one of the gates