A City Whose Builder and Maker is God


Let's take our text from I Kings 5:17-18, "The king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house".

And I Kings 6:7, "The house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building".

A perfect type of the House of the Lord, assembled from lively stones gathered throughout the nations, soon to be united in the first resurrection.

In the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 119:141, Brother Branham said, "The Jews have now been returning back for about forty years, about the same time that it took to run out to the destruction of the temple. It's taken about forty years to come back until they REINSTRUCT another temple".

To the average Joe this may seem like a slip of the tongue, but I believe Brother Branham was inspired to say REINSTRUCT rather than reconstruct, because I believe Ezekiel's Millennium Temple depicts God's earliest dealings with Israel to the fulfillment of the six-fold instructions the angel Gabriel gave to Daniel and the restoration of the Kingdom in the Millennium. It is a symbol for their instruction in righteousness rather than plans for erecting a physical structure.

The vision in Ezekiel 40-48, reveals the blueprint of a restored Israel in the Millennium. It shows the Temple of God, the place of His revelation to Israel, in Shiloh.

Shiloh is about twenty miles north of Jerusalem where Joshua set up the tabernacle after they entered Canaan. Israel, the father of the patriarchs had prophesied, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (that's Messiah, what we're about to speak on) come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be".

When there remained yet seven tribes which had not received their inheritance, Joshua sent three from each tribe out from Shiloh to describe the landmarks, and he divided the land before the Lord in Shiloh. A perfect type of the new division in Ezekiel which will be apportioned either side of Shiloh.

Ezekiel was typed by Moses who received the Law and instructions for the Tabernacle of Witness (Exodus 25:9, 40) on Mount Sinai and was forbidden to enter the Promised Land but taken to Mount Abarim to view it from afar (Numbers 27:12-13; Deuteronomy 32:48-52; 34:4). And like King David who received from God the plans for the Temple he never saw completed (I Chronicles 28:11-19). In Ezekiel 40:2, the prophet was transported to the top of Mount Zion, where from a distance of almost 2,600 years, he, like Moses, is allowed to see the Land about which all of his preaching has centered, but only in an inspired vision, he is not allowed to settle there. He saw a future Israel restored to covenant with God symbolized by the Millennial Temple.

When we read the Book of Ezekiel, we should see the nature of Moses and Elijah, because God uses these anointings of His Spirit to inspire two prophets to Israel during Daniel's Seventieth Week. Their ministry will restore Israel to the Kingdom, bringing his vision to fulfillment in the Millennium. First the 144,000 will be restored to the Old Testament faith, away from Rabbinical Talmudism and other man-made ideas. Then their seven Trumpet mysteries will expound prophecies fulfilled through the past 2,000 years, unlocking the Door to the PRESENT Truth.

Note the parallels between Moses and Ezekiel.

Numbers 28-29 deal with the liturgical calendar and the rules of sacrifice; so do Ezekiel 45:18-25; 46:1-15, and many other passages within the context of architectural description.

As Numbers 32 and 33:50-56 regulate the allocation of land, so do Ezekiel 47:13 - 48:29, where Israel is restored to tribal order. Numbers 34:1-15 gives the boundaries, so does Ezekiel 47:13-20. Numbers 35 speaks of the land-grant to the Levites, the Levitical cities, as Ezekiel 45:1-6 and 48:13-14 define their portion in the land.

Numbers 36 gives laws about the right of inheritance, resuming the narrative immediately preceding the command to Moses to climb the mountain (Numbers 27:1-11). This is akin to Ezekiel 46:16-18.

Like Sinai, Ezekiel's Zion stands for programmed revelation Israel must fulfill. Sinai in Israelite tradition is the great source of their knowledge of obligation to God. Zion represented a source of security in a troubled world, where God revealed Himself to Israel assembled under the blood. The thought of Sinai on the other hand, is a source of inner tension which dispels the complacency of rest and the easy conscience.

Observance of the Law was an acceptance of Divine sovereignty (Deuteronomy 33:4-5). In contrast stands Messiah who is not connected with the gift or performance of the Commandments but was an act of pure grace, to which only humble gratitude in faith can be the response. Covenant-loyalty merited Light but the people did not keep the covenant, so God gave them Laws on Mount Sinai they could not keep, and which would therefore condemn them (Ezekiel 20:25-26). It is essential to keep this tense relationship between self-works of the Law, and Messianic grace in mind, in approaching the program of restoration of Ezekiel 40 - 48.

Ezekiel 40 - 48 tell of the birth of the ideal political STATE, in which sins are structurally excluded by the Temple's design, as they are by the new birth (Ezekiel 36:26). To compliment this inner transformation, Ezekiel presents an external structure or legalistic mechanism for the reform of the STATE, reminiscent of the Law from Sinai, and intended to counter whatever in Zion encouraged the king to drive himself out of the Presence of God.

As we read through Ezekiel 40-48 we are shown the pattern for the Temple and instructed in certain laws and ordinances pertaining to it, including the duties of priests and sacrificial feasts. At this time I am not in a position to expound all of these symbols. As they should be understood in an illustrative not literal sense, I mention the following points:

1. Christ's atonement nullified the Old Testament sacrifices (Hebrews 9:11-15; 10:1-4, 18) which, like the story represented in the symbols of Ezekiel 40-48, were primarily for instructive purposes, and had no redemptive quality.

2. The system of the old economy was provisional and a type only. It was not to be restored for believers. "Before faith came, we were kept under the Law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Galatians 3:23-25).

And Colossians 2:16-17, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the substance (or body which casts the shadow) is of Christ".

Ezekiel 40:1, "In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, in the tenth day of Nisan, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither".

The tenth of Nisan was the day of preparation for Passover. "Speak unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, 'In the tenth day of this month each family shall take a lamb, (or if the family is too small for the lamb, let him and his next door neighbour share it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it from the sheep, or the goats: And keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening'" (Exodus 12:3-6).

On this night, God delivered Israel from Egypt, the day on which our Lord was crucified. This is the time of year when the Gentile dispensation will end. The Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread Israel rejected long ago will usher in the first resurrection, the manifestation of the Sons of God, and the translation, followed by Daniel's Seventieth Week.

You'll remember in Revelation chapter 1, John, who represents the end-time Bride, was caught up in the Spirit into the Lord's day which is Daniel's Seventieth Week, and shown a preview of the Son of Man coming in judgment. Ezekiel sees the same thing.

Ezekiel 40:2-3, "In a vision He brought me into the land of Israel, and set me upon Mount Zion, on the south side of which was a city. He brought me there, and I saw a man, whose appearance was like brass, holding a line of flax (for long measurements), and a reed (for shorter measurements); and he stood in the Temple gate". (One rod or reed is about 12 feet).

The task of measuring is important as it is a verification against an Absolute specified in a set of plans (Zechariah 2:1; Revelation 11:1; 21:15). When I was a Royal Arch Mason we were given drawings against which to fashion masonry for King Solomon's Temple. To be accepted for its position in the building, the finished ashlar had to match the diagram and be perfectly square. Here Israel is being cut and shaped by the prophetic Word, or instructed as to his position in the Kingdom by revelation of God's Temple. It is Israel's seven Trumpet mysteries being preached under the Feast of Trumpets by their two witnesses.

The Temple and the Royal Grant - Israel's Spiritual and natural inheritance - are measured before Ezekiel. It's a vindication of the Davidic and Abrahamic promises. Until Israel recognizes his place in the Word, he can not receive his inheritance.

Isaiah and Paul foretold Israel would have eyes that see not, and ears that hear not until the last Gentile predestinated to the Body of Christ is born-again. So we know the fulfillment of this vision comes after the end of the Gentile dispensation because the angel tells Ezekiel to see with his eyes and hear with his ears, and understand in his heart - or match It with God's Word. Faith.

Ezekiel 40:4, "And the man said to me, 'Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you are brought here so that I might show them to you: declare all you see to the house of Israel'."

Ezekiel 43:10, "Son of man, describe the Temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern". Or compare the shortfall of their own lives and the lives of their forefathers by its Standard. "His blood be upon us and upon our children...".

Ezekiel 40:5-16 describes the wall, gate and guard rooms or lodges. What first meets his eye is the thick wall surrounding the Temple precincts. These walls have no military purpose but are to separate the Temple from the profane use.

Entering by seven steps, he passes through the massive Eastern gateway, measuring and describing the structure. The pillars of the gatehouse were decorated with palm trees. Palm trees signify fruitfulness (Psalm 92:12-14); salvation and victory (Revelation 7:9), and regal glory (John 12:13). Palm trees are characteristic of the Millennium Age, of which Solomon's reign was typical, the sanctuary and holy of holies representing the paradise of Eden and Presence of God whence man had been expelled (I Kings 6:29, 32, 35; 7:36; II Chronicles 3:5).

Palm trees were used in the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh day of which prefigures the Millennium (Leviticus 23:40; Nehemiah 8:15; Zechariah 14:16-20).

There were inner and outer gateways in the east, north and south. Six in all. The number of man is impressed on their structure. The gates are not military in function, having no towers, but were primarily to ward off impurity from the holy region. And each gate leads to a progressively higher area in three stages to the porch or entrance to the Temple. Like justification, sanctification, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost.

As the Capstone has five sides and completes the pyramid of the Bride (which without It has six), Israel's parousia anoints the Most Holy, when they see the Glory. This is not a temple of stone but of converted hearts (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16). The Temple becomes the 144,000, when Christ, our Headstone is unveiled in their hearts by the ministry of the two olive branches of Zechariah 4:1-14.

The guiding angel now brings Ezekiel into the outer court, about which was a pavement and thirty rooms set apart for the use of people during festivals. He measures the outer and identical inner gateways. In the four corners of the outer court are kitchens for the people (but these are not described until chapter 46:21-24). He climbs to a higher level by eight steps and walks through the large gateway into the inner court where he views the arrangements made for preparing sacrifices as well as certain rooms set apart for priests.

Ezekiel 40:48-49, "Then he brought me to the PORCH of the Temple, and measured each post of the porch, five cubits on either side: and the width of the gate was three cubits for each leaf. The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits; and he brought me by its steps; and there were two pillars on the posts (as bases), one on either side of the entrance".

The nave or Holy Place is next described, "Afterward he brought me to the holy place of the Temple, and measured the pilasters, six cubits broad on the each side. The ten cubit door was the width of the tabernacle or Temple and its leaves were five cubits on each side. The length of the room was forty, and the breadth, twenty cubits" (Ezekiel 41:1-2). Next, the Most Holy Place, "Then he went inside the inner room ALONE, and measured the post of the door, two cubits; and the doorway, six cubits; and the breadth of the entrance, seven cubits. He measured the length of the inner room, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits; and he said to me, 'This is the most holy place'."

This is larger than Solomon's Temple; the silver and gold so prominent there and in the Tabernacle are not mentioned here. Around the north, west and south sides of the Temple are rooms in three stories, thirty on each floor. Palm trees decorated the exterior of the Temple; alternate cherubim and palm trees graced the holy place and the holy of holies.

West of the Temple is a building whose functions are nowhere explained. North and south of the Temple in the inner court are two blocks of three storey buildings, one twice the length of the other. The larger is used by the priests for eating (Ezekiel 42:13), the shorter for dressing rooms (Ezekiel 42:14). They must change their clothes before going to the outer court which is open to the public. Next to these are priests' kitchens (but they are not described until Ezekiel 46:19-20). The angel measures the walls of the Temple enclosure in the same order as the angel William Branham, seen by the apostle John, measures the walls of the new Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:15-20; Revelation 21:13). Each side of the Temple enclosure measures 500 cubits. The wall which was intended to protect the sanctity of the temple and its court is, in the new Jerusalem, the 144,000, likened to eunuchs who serve and protect Christ and His Bride who are the Temple (Revelation 21:22).

Now that the Temple has been described, it is necessary to show that it is accepted by God. This will be accomplished by the manifestation of the glory as at the dedication of the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 40:34-35), the dedication of King Solomon's Temple (I Kings 8:10-11), Jesus' adoption on the Jordan, and the inauguration of the Church in the upper room. The Shekinah glory was never mentioned in connection with the restoration of the Temple by Zerubabbel. The anointing of this human Temple of the 144,000, will be the entry into their hearts by faith of Jesus Christ, the glory of God, with His Bride.

Ezekiel 43:1-2, "Afterward the angel brought Ezekiel to the outer east gate to witness the Lord re-enter the Temple by the way He had departed (as recorded in Ezekiel 10:19; 11:23). And, suddenly the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east: and His Voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shone with His glory".

In order to describe His Coming, Ezekiel describes His Voice and His appearance, which are identical to John's vision of Christ and His Bride coming in WORD Form through the revelation of the Seal and Trumpet mysteries to judge and destroy Rome in the Lord's day in the time of Revelation 18 (Revelation 1:15). The manifestation of the spoken Word in judgment destroys His enemies (Revelation 19:6-15). This is not the return of the glorified Jesus but His parousia to Israel.

Ezekiel 43:3-9, "And the Shekinah was like the vision I saw when I came to foretell the destruction of the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the Temple by the gate facing east. So the Spirit caught me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the Temple. And I heard Him speaking unto me from within the Temple; and the man who had been measuring stood by me". (As the cherubim and the throne chariot with the likeness of a man encircled by a rainbow materialized from the Pillar of Fire (Ezekiel 1:1-28).

The return of the Lord is accompanied by a Message from the Lord from the holy of holies. "Son of man, the place of My Throne, AND My footstool, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever". (This picture of the unity of God and man is described by John in Revelation 21:3-4, not as Temple worship, but as God coming to indwell hearts under pre-eminence. True worship).

Isaiah 66:1-2, "Thus saith the LORD, 'The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that you build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things have My hand made, and all those things have been', saith the LORD: 'but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word'."

Previously the golden plate above the ark between the cherubim had symbolized God's throne and judgment seat (I Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 132:7). Now the heart of man is the place of God's final rest and judgment seat.

"And My holy Name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom (idolatry), nor by the carcasses and monuments of their kings.

In setting their threshold by My thresholds, and their post by My posts, and the wall between Me and them, they have even defiled My holy Name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in My anger. (Whereas in the past, the palace had been contiguous to the temple, separated only by a wall, now the whole of Mount Zion was to be the "holy of holies"). Let them put away their whoredom, and the carcasses of their kings far from Me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever".

Ezekiel 43:10-12 is the KEY to the whole vision of Ezekiel 40-48, which is to move Israel to repentance and a desire for the fellowship they had lost through their sins. Or to fulfill the six fold purpose of Gabriel's instructions to Daniel.

"Son of man, describe the Temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them MATCH their lives to its pattern. And if they are ASHAMED of all that they've done, explain to them the details of its construction, its DOORS and ENTRANCES, and everything about it. And all its ordinances and all their forms, and all its laws: and write it down in their sight, that they may keep all the RULES and DIRECTIONS, and do them.

This is the law of the Temple; The whole area around the top of Mount Moriah shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the Temple".

This instruction was previewed to the end-time Bride in Revelation 11:1-3, "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying,'Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty two months. And I will empower my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth'." (Throughout the Book of Revelation, John represents the end-time Bride who will not see death).

The way of the transgressor is always hard, for only the obedient child of God finds His yoke light and His burden easy. Through the allegory of the Temple, Israel is corrected and discovers the way, and the truth, and the Life.

Christians are pillars in the Temple of our God. We are His Body. The true Church is the Temple of God by His Spirit within us. Everything that went through the Door, Jesus, became a part of that Body or Temple. When God gives us the revelation of the Word and Himself we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets and can not depart.

The Temple is where God revealed Himself to Israel. It symbolized the theocracy. After the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7, it is appropriate that the Bride is seen before God in the Temple with the Lamb in our midst. Israel's parousia reveals Christ and His Bride. Tying this vision to a fuller exposition in Revelation 21:1-6 and 22, we see this is the Millennium, and that the Temple is transformed into Christ. God once revealed Himself to Israel in a stone Temple, now He is revealed in Christ and His Bride, which is the new Jerusalem.

The Temple represents a transition in Israel's revelation of God's threefold purpose as He transforms Himself from the eternal Spirit alone with His thoughts to the manifestation of those thoughts in the flesh of His Kingdom in the unity of God and man. Eventually the Temple will transform itself into God's elect, new Jerusalem.

The angel now instructs Ezekiel on the dimensions of the Sacrifice Altar. We see in its sanctification through a sevenfold atonement, Israel's trumpet revelations. For once the altar is consecrated, there is an entrance for the 144,000 into the Presence. They are ready to receive their PRESENT Truth.

The Levites chosen to serve before the Lord at the brazen altar are the Zadokites who remained loyal to David in Absolom's revolt. They type the Moses and Elijah who will be loyal to the coming Son of David. These sacrifices are not intended to be propitiatory but retrospective. Through the Levitical offerings, the sacrifices of Israel and they themselves, as well, were accepted by the Lord. This chapter is symbolic.

Ezekiel 44:1-3, "Then the angel brought me back the way of the outer gate of the outer court which faces east; and it was shut. Then said the LORD to me; 'This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut'.

However the prince - because He is the prince - may feast there before the LORD (Exodus 18:12; Luke 13:26); he shall come and go only through the porch or vestibule".

The joys of the kingdom of heaven appear under the figure of a feast because God's purpose is to fellowship with man (Psalm 23:5; 36:8-9; Matthew 8:11; 26:29; Luke 14:15; Revelation 19:9).

As a mark of honor to an Eastern king, no person could enter the gate by which he entered. The glory returned by the Eastern gate and now it is permanently closed, showing in type that he who is born-again is sealed to the day of his redemption and cannot sin (Ephesians 4:30; I Peter 1:23; I John 3:9). But also, that the Body of Christ is complete.

The glory that had departed returned through Israel's revelation of Messiah, Who said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the Life". The prince or "nasi" is Messiah, who is no longer a Priest, but King and Judge. Christ doesn't require the sin offering of Ezekiel 45:22. This sacrifice is not propitiatory but is instructive and symbolic for Israel as the Lord's Supper is for us.

Chapter 44 lays down regulations for preventing any new desecration of the Temple by the prince and to the priesthood - two classes through whom the former pollutions had entered into the House of God.

Ezekiel 44:4, "Then he brought me by way of the north gate before the Temple: and I saw the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face. And the LORD said to me, 'Son of man, mark well, and see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well and set your heart to know who is permitted to enter the Temple, and all those who are excluded from the sanctuary'."

God showed Ezekiel the restored theocracy, State and Temple. John saw not only Israel but the saints of all ages, the whole Lamb's Book of Life coming down from God out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. We learn from Revelation 22 that only those who do not add to or take from the Word are permitted to enter the City, which is the Lamb's Book of Life, God's attributes manifest. A building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens whose Builder and Maker is God.

The City has one casual mention in Ezekiel 48:15, but at the close of the vision it suddenly fills the eye and it is of the City that the closing words are spoken, 'The Lord is there'. The Shekinah glory has moved from Temple to City. If so, there is need of the Temple no longer (Revelation 21;22).

The city and Temple Ezekiel saw were without people - just symbols in a series of visions. Essentially a ground plan and largely abstract. The allotments for the City, the priests, Levites, and tribes are schematic, because the purpose of all this is to emphasize the centrality of the Holy Place, and to illustrate the separation of sacred from profane. A similar thing is done with the division of the land which makes Jerusalem the center of the country.

I believe the location of the Temple outside the City signifies the Christ outside the camp. Because 'God is there', the Temple becomes a spring of life, welling up and spreading beyond the Sanctuary. The blessings of God's blessings in the City cannot be confined to that one place and bring life out of death through all the earth.

Since its no longer the restored remnant of Israel, but the elect from every nation, tongue and kindred, in which the saints of Old and New Testaments are united, in John's vision of Revelation 21, the Temple has vanished and we see only the City. The gates bear the names of the twelve tribes (Ezekiel 48:31-39; Revelation 21:12), and the foundation the names of the apostles of the Lamb (Matthew 19:28; Ephesians 2:20-22; Revelation 3:12; 21:14).

The city has increased from the square of one and a half miles per side depicted in Ezekiel's vision, to one of 1500 miles a side, and become the Mountain Itself, for it is as high as it is broad, and it fills the earth.

And 'the Lord is there' finds its fulfillment in "I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple thereof" (Revelation 21:16-2).

Jeremiah 3:17-19, "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the Name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.

But I said, 'How shall I put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations'? and I said, 'You shall call Me, "My father"; and shall not turn away from Me'." bb971119.htm

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