Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side…
I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. —
1. It is sacred. The selection of portions of time for Sabbaths, of families of men for priests, seems to have been chiefly designed to teach what is meant by setting apart of time or men to high and holy purposes, so that afterwards we may learn how all time and all men may be so set apart. So the setting apart of one building as a temple, teaches how spaces and places and services may be devoted to high and holy purposes. Its rich and its poor, its cultured and its ignorant, its art, its science, its commerce, its festivals, are all to be sanctified.
2. It is conspicuous. This temple stands on a very high mountain, and so standing is of course prominent and widely seen. How true an emblem of the kingdom of God! for goodness, like its Incarnate Pattern and Inspirer, cannot be hid.
3. It is vast. Not only has it many gates and is thus accessible from every quarter, but it is reckoned that the measurements of the temple and land, as seen by Ezekiel, would give a temple larger than all Jerusalem, and a Jerusalem larger than all the land of Canaan. So we have a beautiful indication of the growing influence of the kingdom of God.
4. It is complete. The particularisation of the details of the temple Ezekiel saw, is so minute, that, excepting as we judge it by similar minute particularisations in his other visions, we should be compelled to consider it must be literal. But it is rather an emphatic method of showing Divine knowledge of and care for every, even the smallest detail of the kingdom of truth amongst men.
5. It is sacrificial. Of course we find in the delineation of the temple, altars, and in the ritual for the house, directions for priests and arrangements for slaying animals for sacrifice. And in the great temple of truth and goodness, though now there is no need for sacrifice for sin, since the propitiation for the world's sin has died, there is, and there will ever be, for discipline and for development of the highest life, the many altars of daily self-denials, the high altar of complete self-sacrifice.
6. It is beautiful. Amongst the adornments Ezekiel described, were the cherubim, the symbol of ideal creature life, and the palm trees, the boughs of whose feathery foliage, beautiful in themselves, were the chosen signs of victory. So morally "strength and beauty," the Strength of the sterner and the beauty of the gentler virtues, "are in the sanctuary" of God's kingdom.
7. It is God-inhabited. The return of God to dwell in the temple is the climax of the vision, the crown of all its glory. "We have the mind of Christ." He walks in the midst of the Churches, inspires all, and reigns over all.
II. THE QUALIFICATION FOR HAVING TO DO WITH THIS KINGDOM. With a simplicity and directness that make it very clear even in midst of so strange a vision, there is here proclaimed the condition on which men may have the detailed plan of this future temple given to them. They are to have a glance at the house as a whole, and if they are fascinated with its glory, and begin to glow with the hope of enjoying its privileges, they will surely begin to be ashamed of their own sins. The Divine order and purity and goodness will shame their disorder, impurity, and evil. Then, if they are truly humbled by a sense of God's loving kindness to them in giving them a pledge of His presence in their great unworthiness of it, they become fit to study His designs for their own and the world's salvation. Repentant men are the men to whom, for themselves and for others, are revelations of duty, and inspirations of earnestness and hope.
Parallel VersesKJV: Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle.