Ezekiel 39-41

Good morning! Today’s passage is Ezekiel 39-41, and much of it will make an architect’s heart go pitter-patter, for it contains dimensional information about a restored temple in a new Jerusalem that God is set to establish. The rest of us might find some of the descriptive details boring, but they deliberately connect Ezekiel’s vision to earlier descriptions of the tabernacle in the Torah, the temple that Solomon built, and the restored Jerusalem at the end of the book of Revelation.

First though, Ezekiel 39 picks up where we left off yesterday. This chapter continues the discourse in chapter 38 against Gog, the ruler of Magog (both identities are “transhistorical”, as my study Bible puts it). God will lead this powerful, intimidating adversary on a wild goose chase for Israel, ultimately exhausting the army and leaving it to the mercy of the elements. The army against Israel is so great that when it has been defeated, wood from the weapons they carried will give fire to Israel for seven years’ time! Roving burial parties will cover the bodies of Magog’s warriors even seven months after its defeat. While the details of Magog’s defeat are gruesome, they would sound like good news among Ezekiel’s audience, exiled and awaiting deliverance.

In chapters 40 and 41, Ezekiel’s focus turns to the new temple which will be built in a reconstituted, reconfigured Israel. Ezekiel has a vision of a superhuman figure measuring the walls of the new temple. Everything is impressively sturdy and proportional. (If anyone has access to an especially helpful visual rendering, please share it!) For those familiar with the book of Revelation, you might recognize this as another area where the two books intersect. John the seer in Revelation has a vision of the “new Jerusalem”, and some of those details resonate with the intricate measurements given here. Temple sacrifices will again become a central part of worship in the restored Jerusalem, if Ezekiel the prophet-priest has anything to say about it. The other intricate details—each access point into the temple, the holy sanctuary itself, its altar and wall coverings—might cause our eyes to glaze over a bit. Keep in mind the big picture: as Ezekiel will finish out this book describing all the practices of an idealized and restored Israel, worship of God in a glorious temple is first and foremost in his mind. Happy reading!

Read Ezekiel 39-41.

Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Ezekiel 42-45. Thanks for reading!

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