Ezekiel 42

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Read Ezekiel 42

The Rooms for the Priests

42 Then the man led me northward into the outer court and brought me to the rooms opposite the temple courtyard and opposite the outer wall on the north side. The building whose door faced north was a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide. Both in the section twenty cubits from the inner court and in the section opposite the pavement of the outer court, gallery faced gallery at the three levels. In front of the rooms was an inner passageway ten cubits wide and a hundred cubits long. Their doors were on the north.Now the upper rooms were narrower, for the galleries took more space from them than from the rooms on the lower and middle floors of the building. The rooms on the top floor had no pillars, as the courts had; so they were smaller in floor space than those on the lower and middle floors.There was an outer wall parallel to the rooms and the outer court; it extended in front of the rooms for fifty cubits. While the row of rooms on the side next to the outer court was fifty cubits long, the row on the side nearest the sanctuary was a hundred cubits long. The lower rooms had an entrance on the east side as one enters them from the outer court.

10 On the south side along the length of the wall of the outer court, adjoining the temple courtyard and opposite the outer wall, were rooms 11 with a passageway in front of them. These were like the rooms on the north; they had the same length and width, with similar exits and dimensions. Similar to the doorways on the north 12 were the doorways of the rooms on the south. There was a doorway at the beginning of the passageway that was parallel to the corresponding wall extending eastward, by which one enters the rooms.

13 Then he said to me, “The north and south rooms facing the temple courtyard are the priests’ rooms, where the priests who approach the Lordwill eat the most holy offerings. There they will put the most holy offerings—the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings—for the place is holy. 14 Once the priests enter the holy precincts, they are not to go into the outer court until they leave behind the garments in which they minister, for these are holy. They are to put on other clothes before they go near the places that are for the people.”

15 When he had finished measuring what was inside the temple area, he led me out by the east gate and measured the area all around: 16 He measured the east side with the measuring rod; it was five hundred cubits. 17 He measured the north side; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod.18 He measured the south side; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod. 19 Then he turned to the west side and measured; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod. 20 So he measured the area on all four sides. It had a wall around it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide,to separate the holy from the common.

Go Deeper

As we’ve already established, this portion of Scripture is some of the most challenging passages to interpret and understand. It’s okay that text is sometimes hard and difficult to comprehend. Let’s lean into what we learn about God from Ezekiel’s tour of this mystical temple. In the previous chapter, an Angel of the Lord provides great detail and description of the temple. In this chapter, we continue and conclude the vision of the temple. Specifically, the chamber rooms of the priests (v. 1-14) and the dimension of the exterior walls (v. 15-20). 

The angelic guide only spoke to Ezekiel four times in the whole site-seeing tour of the temple. In verse 13, he speaks for the fourth and final time. He outlines the purpose for the rooms (they belong to the Priests) and he gives instructions regarding the use for which the rooms were designed. They were to be a place set apart for the holy things: the holy sacrifices and the holy garments of the Priests. 

When God established His people, He was clear regarding the Priests’ commands and requirements for holiness. The call to holiness on the part of the priest is repeated all throughout the Old Testament. They were to maintain holiness in both behavior and dress. The priests wore specific clothing; every part of the holy garment symbolic in its meaning. The garments served as a reminder of God’s holiness. Ministry was not to be done casually or flippantly. So it’s unsurprising that 14 verses give us a peek into holy chambers. The sacred spaces that prepare priests privately for the work they will endure publicly. No one accidentally falls into holiness. Holiness happens in the intimate, purposeful, and private worship and pursuit of God. 

The last five verses of the chapter describe the exterior walls. Verse 20 reads, “…on all four sides. It had a wall around it to separate the holy from the common.” Again, we see purpose in creation. The purpose of the wall was to separate the sacred from the profane—that which is set apart for God and that which is not. 

So, what are we to learn from this chapter of Scripture? One, God’s design and creation is specific, precise, planned, and purposeful. He is attentive to detail. Two, God takes holiness seriously. Those of us who are believers in Jesus (Christians) are consecrated to God. First Peter 2:9 reads, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Like the priests in the Old Testament, our lives are to be set apart as holy. We are called to be holy amidst the common–to be transformed, not conform. Like priests, we too, have been designed with purpose for purpose. We, too, are commanded to clothe ourselves differently than the world around us. We are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience and gentleness (Colossians 3:12). 

All of the Bible points to one thing: The One who rescues and reconciles. Jesus. He is our only hope. He is the only hope. He is the invitation to holiness. Our purpose is to go and make disciples, to make him known. Not sacrificing holiness on the altar of conformity, but rather, in the sacred, private spaces renewing our minds in word and truth so that we may be transformed to be more like Jesus.


  1. What do you learn about God in this passage? Does it matter that God is specific and purposeful in his creation? Why or why not? 
  2. Why was it important for there to be a wall between the common and the holy? 
  3. What does it mean to you to be holy? What would it look like to pursue holiness?

Keep Digging

Click here to see a rendering of the temple in Ezekiel’s vision to give yourself a picture of what it would have looked like! 

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2 thoughts on “Ezekiel 42”

  1. God is a grand architect and master builder, not only of stunning temples but in the lives of those who receive him as Lord. He is setting believers apart as his holy possession, his chosen people and building his church that nothing can prevail against. This royal priesthood gets to join the greatest rescue mission of all time and take the hope of the gospel to the world.

  2. Clothing is what stuck out to me. What kind of “spiritual” clothing do you wear? Do you take off those clothes when you are with worldly friends or do keep on your Godly clothing?
    The other thing that struck me is the layers of the temple. BUT GOD gave us the ability to enter in the most Holy of Holies because of the Holy Spirit within when you become a follower of Jesus. I believe, because it was me, that we sit just outside the Temple doors, so to speak, and sit in our pity parties. This is a slow death with other “Christians” sympathizing. We are to enter in those doors. Stand and boldly proclaim what and how God is working in our lives. Walk in Colossians 3, the chapter “title” is Living as Those Made Alive in Christ. That is us, not sitting outside the doors pitting ourselves and letting others soothe us. Col 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Together as a body of Christ need to help others to get rid of their planks and to put on Love Goggles to see others as God sees us. We need to encourage the body not let them sit outside the Temple doors. Stand with, encourage with Words of God from the Bible, pray with and for them.

    God thank You for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You for helping them and me come through the doors into Your glorious light minutely of this day. Thank You for showing me who and when I can help besides praying with them and for them. God let us all stand in the gap for one another. God I pray for those who are in other countries that need encouragement and Your divine intervention. God bless them with their essential needs and greater things for Your glory.in Jesus name amen

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