Ezekiel’s Temple and the Members of the Body (3)
Special Lecture on Ezekiel’s Temple (4)
Speaker: Reverend Philip Lee
Service: Moriah, 2nd Service
Date: September 6, 2020
Members of the body
The church is the body of Jesus Christ, and the body has many members. The human body has many members such as hands, feet, eyes, nose, and ears. Likewise, these members of the church which is the body of Jesus Christ are the saints or the believers (Col 1:18; 24; Eph 1:23). Also, the saints are the members of the body of Jesus (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 6:15).
Ezekiel’s temple is also the body of Jesus Christ and uses many words that reflect members of our physical body to remind us that we the believers must constitute the body of Jesus Christ as members. This reflects on how we are the members to enter into Ezekiel’s temple, and that we must respect one another and be united with one another. So far, we have examined the measurement standards in Ezekiel’s temple which are portrayed through the length of the arm and hands or the handbreadth (Ezek 40:5). Likewise, we learned there is a “river of life” that flows out from the threshold of the sanctuary that reaches the ankles, knees, and loins (Ezek 47:3-5).
We also learned that the base of the altar of burnt offering is portrayed as the “bosom,” and around the base, there is an edge that portrays the “lips.” Therefore, we can see that Ezekiel’s temple uses various words of the human body to express the aspects of Ezekiel’s temple. This signifies that we are the essential members of the body of Jesus Christ which is His church.
Side chambers around the sanctuary
The side chambers around the sanctuary are equivalent to the “ribs” of the human body (Ezek 41:5-7). The word “side chambers” is one word in Hebrew: צְלָעֹת (tsela) which refers to the “ribs” on our sides. Why are the side chambers portrayed as “ribs?”
First, the side chambers signify God’s protection. Organs inside the human body are protected by the ribs. Likewise, the side chambers in Ezekiel’s temple surround all three sides of the sanctuary and are very essential and provide much protection and strength around the sanctuary. In the Book of Daniel, the beast that resembles a bear with three ribs in his mouth symbolizes Persia and the three ribs refer to three nations; Babylon, Libya, and Egypt (Dan 7:5). Persia actually attacks these three nations by breaking their ribs and conquers them. Thus, breaking of the ribs signifies the destruction of the nation and because the side chambers surround all three sides of the sanctuary, it signifies protection from our God.
Secondly, “ribs” represent the love of God. When God created Adam and created the woman, He took a rib from Adam to make Eve (Gen 2:21-23). Adam then confessed, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. This is an utterly beautiful expression of love towards Eve. As a married couple, they are one flesh. This is why it’s natural for a man to love a woman. When a man loves a woman, he loves himself because they are “one flesh” (Eph 5:28, 33). Thus, ribs actually signify what is cherished the most. When God named the side chambers, He used a word that represented the “ribs” of the human body. This tells us that God cherishes and loves the sanctuary the most. Likewise, we must be such people who are loved and cherished by God.
Who can receive the blessings of the ribs?
God expressed the side chambers as ribs. Therefore, our lives must be the lives like that of side chambers. The chambers actually often portray a place of prayer; likewise, we must be people with chambers of prayer (Matt 6:6). We must have this chamber of prayer by going into our “inner room” and pray to our Father who is in secret. We must carry the burdens and the many issues in our lives into our “inner rooms,” the side chambers, and pray and become more intimate with God. We must seek our Father first of all with our problems before seeking other people and professionals. And when we seek our Father who is in secret, Jesus will guarantee our Father will surely reward and answer us.
In times of war or natural disaster, the “inner chamber” is like a storeroom for emergency food and where the food is prepared. We must always have emergency food prepared for times of crisis. Likewise, we must do the same with the Word. We must not live by bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (John 6:63). Therefore, during times of emergencies, we may prepare physical food. But fundamentally, we must prepare the food for relief called the Word of God for days are coming when there will surely be a famine, and this famine will not be a famine for bread or thirst for water but for hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).
Conclusion: In the end time, the “two witnesses” will finish their testimony, and afterward, the beast will make war with them and kill them (Rev 11:7). Currently, we are able to hear the Word of God and worship online. However, a time is coming when God’s proclamation of the Word will be completely cut-off and even online worship and hearing of the Word will cease (Amos 8:11). This is why we must prepare the “storeroom” of the Word.
As Christians, we believe in a progressive eschatology meaning that there is a beginning and an end, and judgment will come. Thus, if God created this world, then there would surely come a day when this world is judged. God spoke and created the world and everything in it was created by the Word of God (Gen 1:1-3; Heb 11:2-3). Likewise, in the end, the world will be judged by the Word of God (2 Pet 3:7). If we love and yearn for the Word of God and hold onto the Word of God, will God’s Word judge us? The answer is "no"; so we must not be afraid of the end time. What we must be afraid of is drifting away from the Word of God by not reading or keeping the Word of God. Therefore, those who reject His Word will be judged (John 12:48). For the saints who have received the Word of God, the Word will not judge them in the last days. What a great hope this is! Those who read and hear the Word of God are the blessed people who have the Word (Rev 1:3). Thus, when we prepare with the Word by reading, hearing, and keeping the Word of God in obedience, we can live.