Ezekiel 40:1–16 (NKJV)
40:1 In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the Lord was upon me; and He took me there. 2 In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city. 3 He took me there, and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze. He had a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand, and he stood in the gateway.
4 And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you; for you were brought here so that I might show them to you. Declare to the house of Israel everything you see.” 5 Now there was a wall all around the outside of the temple. In the man’s hand was a measuring rod six cubits long, each being a cubit and a handbreadth; and he measured the width of the wall structure, one rod; and the height, one rod.
After the renewed promise of restoration in the previous chapter, the Lord proceeds to describe the new temple that would be built in Jerusalem after the Israelites came home. The setting is a very high mountain that overlooked a city, which contained the temple. The guide had a measuring rod and a line of flax, similar to a modern tape measure. The rod was for short measurements and the flax for longer measurements.
6 Then he went to the gateway which faced east; and he went up its stairs and measured the threshold of the gateway, which was one rod wide, and the other threshold was one rod wide. 7 Each gate chamber was one rod long and one rod wide; between the gate chambers was a space of five cubits; and the threshold of the gateway by the vestibule of the inside gate was one rod. 8 He also measured the vestibule of the inside gate, one rod. 9 Then he measured the vestibule of the gateway, eight cubits; and the gateposts, two cubits. The vestibule of the gate was on the inside. 10 In the eastern gateway were three gate chambers on one side and three on the other; the three were all the same size; also the gateposts were of the same size on this side and that side.
11 He measured the width of the entrance to the gateway, ten cubits; and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits. 12 There was a space in front of the gate chambers, one cubit on this side and one cubit on that side; the gate chambers were six cubits on this side and six cubits on that side. 13 Then he measured the gateway from the roof of one gate chamber to the roof of the other; the width was twenty-five cubits, as door faces door. 14 He measured the gateposts, sixty cubits high, and the court all around the gateway extended to the gatepost. 15 From the front of the entrance gate to the front of the vestibule of the inner gate was fifty cubits. 16 There were beveled window frames in the gate chambers and in their intervening archways on the inside of the gateway all around, and likewise in the vestibules. There were windows all around on the inside. And on each gatepost were palm trees.
The Eastern Gate has significance in worship. The Eastern Gate is where the Messiah will enter when He sets up His rule. The sun rises in the East. It has prominence among the other gates. If you visit Jerusalem today, you will notice that the Eastern gate to the old city is bricked up, a provision from several Muslim or Ottoman leaders (Muslims in 810, Saladin in 1187, Ottoman leader Suleiman the Magnificent in 1541) in anticipation of the Jewish Messiah coming in that gate to take Jerusalem. This gate is very near the location of the temple of the Lord. It was described first because of its religious significance.
What can this mean for us today? Give honor and reverence to the place where the Lord comes in to meet you. Make sure it is prepared for Him, honors Him. Too often we treat our devotional time with carelessness or frivolity. God longs for us to reverence Him and prepare ourselves and our sacred spaces for Him. While we may not be restricted to a temple any longer in which to worship and commune with our God, we should still honor our sacred spaces, like the church buildings and our own personal altars. Give Him and the place where you meet Him honor!