Comparing the two temples
May 02, 2016
The key given to us in Revelation 11:1, 2 is the fact that a reed of 42 handbreadths is equal to 42 months of time. That means each handbreadth is the equivalent of one month.
What, then, are the two kinds of cubits? It is plain that a sacred cubit of seven handbreadths represents seven months, while a regular cubit, being only six handbreadths, represents just six months of time. It takes seven months to complete all of the feast days from Passover to the feast of Tabernacles. Hence, a sacred cubit, which is used to measure the temple and all spiritual things, always encompasses the feast of Tabernacles; but the regular cubit, used by the world for ordinary life, portrays ignorance of the feasts of the seventh month: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.
In this seemingly insignificant (and confusing) difference between the two cubits, then, we see that all teaching, prophecy, and spiritual growth—anything that measures spiritual things—must include or acknowledge the feasts of the seventh month. Those feasts are part of God’s standard of measure. Without them, a person is “regular” or “ordinary,” even if they have experienced the justification of Passover and the infilling of the Holy Spirit of Pentecost.
The reed that is used to measure the temple in Revelation 11:1 is defined specifically in Ezekiel 40:5 KJV, which says, “a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth.” That is, a reed is “six great cubits” (Ezekiel 41:8 KJV) or “six long cubits” (NASB).
The Timing of Ezekiel’s Temple Revelation
In order to understand the instruction given to John to measure the temple, we must compare it with the temple measurement shown earlier to Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s revelation of the temple was imparted to him on the 19th Jubilee of Israel since they had crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land under Joshua.
As I showed in Secrets of Time, Israel was supposed to enter the Promised Land at the feast of Tabernacles in the year 2450 (years from Adam). This was the 50th Jubilee from Adam, a Jubilee of Jubilees (50 x 49). However, because the people believed the evil report of the ten spies, their entrance was delayed another 38½ years. So instead, they crossed the Jordan at the time of Passover in the year 2488.
If they had entered the land in the year of Jubilee, their Sabbath years and jubilees would have matched the Creation Jubilee Calendar. However, because they were 38 years late, their Sabbath years and jubilees were dated from their Jordan crossing but did not overlay with the Creation Jubilee Calendar.
Samaria, the capital of Israel, fell to the Assyrians in 721 B.C. This date was Israel’s 14th Jubilee (the year 3174) since their Jordan crossing. A century later, Judah fell to Babylon in 604 B.C., but Ezekiel dates his prophecies according to the year of King Jehoiachin’s exile (Ezekiel 1:1, 2). Jehoiachin was taken captive to Babylon in the year 597 B.C. Ezekiel began to prophesy in the fifth year of his exile, that is, the year 592, which (he says in verse 1) is also “the thirtieth year.” That is, the thirtieth year of the 17th Jubilee cycle was the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s exile.
This is the key to understanding the chronology of that time. The prophecy of the temple came to Ezekiel twenty years later “in the twenty-fifth year of our exile” (Ezekiel 40:1), which would have been the 50th year (30 plus 20) of that Jubilee cycle—that is, it was their 18th Jubilee.
Furthermore, Ezekiel dates his temple revelation as being “at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month.” The beginning of the Hebrew year was in Tishri, the seventh month on their calendar. Hence, this revelation was given on the Day of Atonement, or, in this case, the day that the trumpet should have been blown to signal the start of the Jubilee year.
The prophet tells us that this 18th Jubilee (573-572 B.C.) was the 25th year of captivity, as well as the 14th year since the fall of Jerusalem in 586. So Ezekiel received his revelation on the tenth day of the seventh month in September 573 B.C. (the year 3322 from Adam). By this time the temple had been destroyed, and a second temple would not be completed until March 515 B.C.
The temple was completed in the year 3380 from Adam, and in September of that year—the start of the new Hebrew year—was the 69th Jubilee on the Creation Jubilee Calendar dating from Adam. This was when Haggai prophesied on the seventh day of the feast of Tabernacles (Haggai 2:1), suggesting that perhaps that temple would be glorified by the presence of God the following day, even as Solomon’s temple had been glorified on the eighth day of Tabernacles a few centuries earlier. The glory did not come to that temple, of course, because Ichabod had already been pronounced upon that place as had occurred even earlier at Shiloh. The glory would be reserved for a greater temple made of living stones.
Yet all of this gives us the context of Ezekiel’s temple revelation on the 19th Jubilee from Israel’s Jordan crossing.
The Measurement of Ezekiel’s Temple
In Revelation 11:1, John was given a reed and told to “measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it.” The temple and altar cannot be separated from “those who worship in it.” The fact that the temple can be measured shows that it was a limited size. By extension, it indicates that it included only a limited number of worshipers.
By contrast, the outer court was not to be measured, “for it has been given to the nations.” This implies that “the nations” were not true worshipers, and so they could not be measured by the divine standard (sacred cubit). For this reason, they were in need of the light of the word from the two lampstands which represented the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3, 4. We will say more about this later.
The measurement of Ezekiel’s temple is the same as in Solomon’s temple. The Holy Place was 40 x 20 cubits (Ezekiel 41:2), and the Most Holy Place was 20 x 20 cubits (Ezekiel 41:4). If we convert these figures to handbreadths, the Holy Place was 280 x 140 handbreadths, covering an area of 39,200 square handbreadths. This number is 800 x 49, so we see that it is built upon the truth of the Jubilee (49). Also, because “Lord” is kurios in Greek, having a numeric value of 800, we see that the Most Holy Place is measured in terms of Christ’s Lordship (dominion) and the Jubilee.
As for the Most Holy Place, which is half the size of the Holy Place, 20 x 20 cubits is 140 x 140 handbreadths, covering an area of 19,600 square handbreadths. This number is 400 x 49, again revealing the Jubilee but linking it to the cross. The tav, which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, carries a numeric value of 400, and it was originally written in the shape of a cross. If you take a cube, such as the Most Holy Place, and collapse its walls, and unfold the top (ceiling) with one of the sides, the result is a cross shaped by the walls and the ceiling.
Ezekiel’s temple used the sacred (long) cubit, whereas Solomon’s temple was measured “in cubits according to the old standard” (2 Chronicles 3:3). Hence, we see a progressive pattern from fleshly to spiritual. Solomon’s temple was built according to the six-handbreadth cubit, while the temple of Ezekiel and John were measured by the seven-handbreadth cubit.
Both temples measured 60 x 20 cubits, but Solomon’s temple was somewhat smaller. Solomon’s temple was measured in “old standard” cubits of 19.8 inches each, so the perimeter of the temple (160 cubits) was 3168 inches. This is also the numeric value of Lord (800) Jesus (888) Christ (1480) in Greek. Hence, even by using the “old standard” length of cubit, Solomon’s temple was a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel’s temple, however, was measured by the longer cubit of 23.1 inches. (If 19.8 inches is six handbreadths, then each handbreadth measured 3.3 inches, which, added to 19.8 is 23.1.) The perimeter of Ezekiel’s temple measures 160 long cubits, which is 3,696 inches. This figure is 528 x 7.
The Hebrew word for inheritance as used in Numbers 34:15 is nachalam (נחלתם). It has a numeric value of 528. Also, “the key” of David, mentioned in Isaiah 22:22 is maphteach (מפתח), which has a numeric value of 528.
David’s name is based on the word “love.” Hence, the key of David (Revelation 3:7), which opens the door for the church of Philadelphia (“City of Brotherly Love”) is LOVE. God is love, and in order to receive the inheritance as co-heirs with Christ, one must be like Him—motivated by love. This not only opens the door to the treasury house of the temple, but such a person is made a pillar in the temple (Revelation 3:12). Isaiah 22:23 says “he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house.”
So we see that the measure of Solomon’s fleshly temple was an expression of Jesus Christ, who came to manifest the glory of God in flesh, but the measure of the spiritual temple in Ezekiel and in the book of Revelation speaks of the key of David giving us access to our Father’s house (temple) as our inheritance.
Measuring the Temple Grounds and the City
Ezekiel 41:13, 14 gives us the measurement of the temple grounds, saying,
13 Then he measured the temple, a hundred cubits long; the separate area with the building and its walls were also a hundred cubits long. 14 Also the width of the front of the temple and that of the separate areas along the east side totaled a hundred cubits.
In other words, the temple grounds were 100 x 100 cubits. This is 10,000 square cubits, or 490,000 square handbreadths. (100 cubits times 7 handbreadths is 700 handbreadths long and 700 handbreadths wide. 700 x 700 is 490,000.)
We may quickly recognize that 490,000 is 49 x 10,000, so it too is built upon the measure of the Jubilee.
Likewise, the measurement of the city itself (i.e., the walls) is said to be 500 reeds on each side (Ezekiel 42:16, 17, 18, 19, 20). The walls were designed “to divide between the holy and the profane” (Ezekiel 42:20). The purpose of the New Jerusalem wall was not to keep people out, but to channel them through the proper gates (doors). Jesus said “I am the door” (John 10:9), and that “he who does not enter by the door… but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1).
In other words, the “holy” ones who gain access to the city are those who come in through the Door (Christ). All others remain “profane” until they come to Christ. The wall, which is the law (boundary) separates the two until such time that every knee bows and every tongue confesses Him as Lord (Isaiah 45:23, 24; Philippians 2:10, 11).
So each wall in this foursquare “city” is said to be 500 reeds in length, or 3,500 cubits, or 21,000 handbreadths. None of these are perfectly divisible by 49, but when we calculate the area of the city enclosed by the four walls, it is 250,000 square reeds, or 12,250,000 square cubits (250,000 x 49). If we calculate the area of the City in square handbreadths, it is 600,250,000 h2, and this is 12,250,000 x 49 as well.
Hence, we see that all of the dimensions of the New Jerusalem, the temple grounds, and the temple itself are built upon the basic unit of 49, which is the Jubilee number. That in turn is built upon the perfect number Seven.
This is the temple that John saw as well. It is not to be interpreted in terms of a physical temple (or city) as in the days of Solomon. We know this by the fact that two different cubits were used, one ordinary and the other sacred, in building the two houses.
This is part 78 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Revelation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones