Ezekiel Chapter 40: Messiah's Millennium Temple

Introduction to Ezekiel 40-48

  The next portion of Ezekiel, Chapters 40 to 48, is an area that is not often covered in Christian literature because it can seem confusing.  The reason for this confusion is a lack of understanding of the time-period to which the text refers.    The events of these chapters refer to a future time, following the tribulation period.  The period of Ezekiel 40 to 48 refers to events taking place in the Millennium.  The Millennium[1] will be covered in more detail below; for now, let us understand the Millennium as a 1000-year period of time (Mille-thousand, Annum-Years) which follows the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 

         First, we need to clear up some areas of confusion people have regarding the division between Ezekiel 36-39 and Ezekiel 40 to 48.

 The Tribulation

 The events of Ezekiel 38 and 39, the invasion of Gog from the land of Magog, takes place before the tribulation period.  The tribulation period is a seven-year period also known as Daniel’s 70th Week and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.  According to Daniel’s 70 weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) the beginning of the Tribulation starts when Israel makes an agreement with the world or nations to build the Temple on the site known as the Dome of the Rock.   After Israel attains victory, through God’s intervention between the nations, Israel builds the Temple in an attempt at obedience to the Lord.

Israel’s problem of obedience is not the lack of a Temple, it is the refusal of the nation to accept the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Israel builds the Third Temple hoping it will bring about the events of Ezekiel 40, which calls for a Temple being built following the defeat of the armies of Gog.  Put yourself in Israel’s shoes, a massive army from the north comes against you, along with other nations including Iran, Libya, Ethiopia and others and they lose, because God intervenes.  You, like the rest of the world, read about the events in Ezekiel written over 2600-years ago, how do you respond?  Well, you read the next chapter, Ezekiel 40 where you have the plans for a Temple!  What are you waiting for; you build the Temple as the sages said would happen after the defeat of Gog.   Remember, Haggai and Zechariah called for the completion of the Temple; why not now after the defeat of these Gentile armies?

This begins the tribulation period known as Daniel’s 70th Week.  The events of the tribulation are described in Revelation chapters 6 through 19.  The temple does not bring Israel peace from the nations, Israel’s only hope is the Messiah. The nation needs to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is exactly what happens in the tribulation; the nation calls out to Jesus in desperation exactly as Jesus foretold.


37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets .....38 "See! Your house is left to you desolate;

39 "for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'     "Matthew 23:37-39

 Finally, at the end of the Tribulation, the nation turns to Jesus Christ as the nations once again gather as in the past and all hope seems lost (Ezekiel 38-39).  Zechariah, who lived 520-years before the birth of Jesus, told of this day when the nations would surround the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  

9 "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. Zechariah 12:9-14 

During this time, the nation cries out to Jesus to return as He promised in Matthew. It is at this point that Jesus returns with the armies of Heaven as described in the book of Revelation and Zechariah.  

3 Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. 5 ..........................Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.  Zechariah 14:3-5 

The Return of Christ and the Judgment of the nations 

The return of Jesus is not a great time for everyone; we are told the nations mourn His coming because they will be judged.  Israel also weeps as described in Zechariah 12:10-14, their mourning is one of sorrow for having rejected and killed, “the one whom they pierced”, the Messiah, when he came the first time.  Jesus returns with power and glory at His Second Coming to establish His Kingdom on Earth.

The Second Coming occurs only after Israel “the nation” comes to a saving knowledge of the Messiah, fulfilling the words of Jesus.  Jesus describes this event in Matthew 24 and 25.


29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the otherMatthew 24:29-31

 31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  Matthew 25:31-32

 In these verses Jesus describes the transition from the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of God.  Notice that Jesus returns in power and glory with ALL the Holy Angels and the nations are brought before the throne of the Son of Man.  As a shepherd separates sheep and goats the nations will be divided. This division of people, survivors of the tribulation, is to determine who will enter the Millennium.  Those on the right, the sheep, will enter into the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ, while those on the left, the goats, are the lost that will be cast into everlasting fire.


Who enters the Millennium?

According to scripture, two groups of people will be alive during the millennium; resurrected and non-resurrected people.


 The people who survive the tribulation and enter the millennium cross into it without resurrected bodies.  Therefore, they will be able to get married and have children; they will also be able to repopulate the earth.   This point is clear in both the Old and New Testaments. We know there will be nations in the Millennium; who will populate these nations?  People born during the 1000-years will repopulate the earth after God renews it from the destruction of the tribulation.  According to Jesus, most people on the earth will die during this period. 

21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.  Matthew 24:21-22

 Also during this period, Israel will receive the blessings of obedience that is promised in Deuteronomy (28:1-2).  Israel will be chief among the nations as the Messiah, the God of Israel, will rule from Jerusalem, the capital of the Earth.  The throne of God will be the 4th Temple, established on the Temple Mount.  The population of the earth will explode during the millennial period as the very nature of the earth changes and death becomes a rarity.  Later in Ezekiel the location of the tribes of Israel are identified in relation to Jerusalem. Additionally, Zechariah describes that people will still have the choice to worship God or not worship during the Millennium:   

 16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.  Zechariah 14:16-17

 People who are born in the Millennium still must come to salvation through faith.  At the end of the Millennium, Satan is freed to test the nations, specifically those born in the Millennium.  As in the past, those who are saved will reject Satan, those who are lost will follow Satan and listen to his lies; they will rebel against God who will judge them.  These nations will include the descendents of the Gog and Magog alliance.  Satan lies will test the nations who will have lived in peace and prosperity during the reign of Christ on the Earth.


7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.  Revelation 20:7-9


The Resurrected


What about the people who trusted Jesus and were killed during the tribulation? What happens to them?

This picture is very clear in both the Old and New Testaments in relation to the saved who have died during the tribulation and before the return of Christ.  They will rule and reign with Jesus in the Millennium, during this period the faithful will be rewarded for their faithful service. 


Old Testament Saints


In the Old Testament both Job and Daniel look forward to the Resurrection.  Job proclaims he will see God in his flesh, with his own eyes, after his body is destroyed.  Daniel is told he will awake from the dust of the earth to his inheritance at the end of days.

 25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!Church  Job 19:25-27

 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.13 "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days."  Daniel 12:2-3,13


The Church Age Saints


In the gospels, Jesus explains about the role of those who are saved and then die;  how they will have a role in His Kingdom.  He specifically describes the role of the disciples during this period, how they will rule over the 12-tribes of Israel in the resurrection.  His promise is by extension to all those who follow Him.


28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 "But many who are first will be last, and the last first.  Matthew 19:28-30


The promise of blessings is made to His servants throughout the gospels, specifically in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the Parable of the Mina (Luke 19:12-28).  In the parable of the mina the servants are given charge over the cities of the kingdom, while in the parable of the talents they are made “rulers over many things”.  The point is that the master goes to claim a kingdom in a far and distant country and then he returns to reward his faithful servants.


Tribulation Saints


If the rapture occurs before the tribulation, what happens to those who die during the tribulation? What if they are saved after the rapture?  The book of Revelation promises those who die for the Lord will rule and reign with the Lord.  When Jesus returns those who were killed in the tribulation, both Jews and Gentiles, will also receive resurrected bodies. Thrones, which indicate positions of authority, will be assigned to those killed for their faith in Christ.


4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  Revelation 20:4

 Third Temple or Fourth Temples


The third Temple is built at the start of the Tribulation. When Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation, a fourth Temple will be constructed by Jesus, the Glory of the Lord. Jesus will rule and reign from this Temple over the earth.  Where the Mercy Seat used to be will be the throne of Christ, as the nations submit to His rule. Jesus will be King over the Earth, Jerusalem will be His capital city and the Temple His throne.


10 "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the Lord.11 "Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 12 "And the Lord will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem Zechariah 2:10-12 

16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Zechariah 14:16


Why a priesthood and sacrifice?


One of the biggest objections people have to a Millennium Temple is the Jewish Priesthood and Sacrifice described in Ezekiel.  If Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, if He is our sacrifice and High Priest, why would there be a priesthood and sacrifice in the millennium? 

This is a very valid question.  First, we must remember the method of salvation is the same from the fall of Adam even through the Millennium.  Salvation is by faith, obedience follows faith. Jesus, Paul and John quote Habakkuk on this verse.

 "Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4


In the Millennium, billions will be born and they will visibly see the evidence of God; yet in the end we will find many did not believe because they did not have faith.  The presence of God in Jerusalem and the Temple will be there to remind those born in the Millennium of the goodness and sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the sins of humanity.  Much in the same way, when we take Communion, the bread is a memorial to Christ’s broken body and the wine a memorial to the shedding of His blood.  The Passover was a foreshadowing of the coming sacrifice while communion is a reminder; it will be the same in the Millennium.

This reminder will not be for the resurrected saints, but for those born in the Millennium.   Because the knowledge of God will exist throughout the earth, people will still need to come to a “saving knowledge”; through Israel the nations will come to know the Lord of Israel.


22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the Lord.' 23 "Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." ' " Zechariah 3:22-23

 After the first Temple was destroyed by Babylon, Ezekiel was taken to Jerusalem in a vision to view the Millennium Temple. God is reassuring Ezekiel that the Temple will one day be restored, God is not done with the nation of Israel.  Here, Ezekiel is given a glimpse of when the Glory of the Lord, the presence of God, will rule and reign from Jerusalem.

In chapters 40 and 41 Ezekiel gives a tour of the courtyard and buildings surrounding the Temple, he then continues his tour inside the Temple.  He is taken there by an angel described as a bronze man who accompanies him.

 Ezekiel has a vision of the 4th Temple


Ezekiel 40
1 In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the Lord was upon me; and He took me there. 2 In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city. 3 He took me there, and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze. He had a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand, and he stood in the gateway. 4 And the man said to me, "Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you; for you were brought here so that I might show them to you. Declare to the house of Israel everything you see." Ezekiel 40:1-4


The twenty-fifth year: The date is 573 B.C., the month is either the first month or the seventh month since the Jewish New Year biblically was Nisan, the first month.  Later, the seventh month became the month the New Year was celebrated. So the date is either April 28th, 573 B.C. or October 22nd, 573 B.C.

Very high mountain:  Ezekiel is taken from Babylon back to Jerusalem. At this point, Jerusalem is a destroyed city; the armies of Babylon tore down the walls and the Temple in 586 B.C., 14-years earlier.  Ezekiel is in the spiritual realms, seeing Jerusalem in the future. The mountain of God is where the nations will go to learn about Him in the Millennium (Isaiah 2:3).

There was a man: This man is an angel who will be Ezekiel’s guide, explaining what he is seeing and what is taking place. He is not identified, but a similar angel is seen in Zechariah also with a measuring instrument in his hand, measuring Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:1-8).  John, in Revelation, is also taken to Jerusalem; here again is an angel who gives him a measuring rod for the Temple (Revelation 11).

Appearance of bronze:  Ezekiel clearly sees a man, but his description lets us know this is no ordinary man.  Daniel also describes angels as men, using human terms. 

you were brought here:  Ezekiel is our eyewitness, the angel describes and explains as Ezekiel writes the words down so we can understand what is taking place.


Description of the Temple Courts

Wall Outside
5 Now there was a wall all around the outside of the temple. In the man's hand was a measuring rod six cubits long, each being a cubit and a handbreadth; and he measured the width of the wall structure, one rod; and the height, one rod. Ezekiel 40:5

 Wall all around: Ezekiel now describes a wall surrounding the Temple compound of the Millennium Temple.

Six cubits long: The measuring rod the angel has is six “long cubits”.  A normal cubit is 18 inches; a long cubit includes a handbreadth, making it 21 inches.  So the rod was 10.5 feet long.

width...height:  The height and width of the wall around the Temple area was 10.5 feet high and 10.5 feet wide, one rod.


6 Then he went to the gateway which faced east; and he went up its stairs and measured the threshold of the gateway, which was one rod wide, and the other threshold was one rod wide. 7 Each gate chamber was one rod long and one rod wide; between the gate chambers was a space of five cubits; and the threshold of the gateway by the vestibule of the inside gate was one rod. 8 He also measured the vestibule of the inside gate, one rod. 9 Then he measured the vestibule of the gateway, eight cubits; and the gateposts, two cubits. The vestibule of the gate was on the inside. 10 In the eastern gateway were three gate chambers on one side and three on the other; the three were all the same size; also the gateposts were of the same size on this side and that side. 11 He measured the width of the entrance to the gateway, ten cubits; and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits. 12 There was a space in front of the gate chambers, one cubit on this side and one cubit on that side; the gate chambers were six cubits on this side and six cubits on that side. 13 Then he measured the gateway from the roof of one gate chamber to the roof of the other; the width was twenty-five cubits, as door faces door. 14 He measured the gateposts, sixty cubits high, and the court all around the gateway extended to the gatepost. 15 From the front of the entrance gate to the front of the vestibule of the inner gate was fifty cubits. 16 There were beveled window frames in the gate chambers and in their intervening archways on the inside of the gateway all around, and likewise in the vestibules. There were windows all around on the inside. And on each gatepost were palm trees. Ezekiel 40:6-16


Gateway which faced east:  This is the eastern gate in the Millennium Temple. Before the temple was destroyed, this was the most important gate of Jerusalem.  This gate was also known as the “Golden Gate” and would give someone direct access to the Temple. Today, this gate in the city is sealed and a Muslim cemetery is before it.  This was done by the Muslim conqueror’s to prevent the Messiah from coming through the gate.  This is no doubt a reference to Ezekiel 44. (See Illustration on the first page)

He went up: From this point, Ezekiel gives us a very detailed description of the entrance of the Eastern Gate.  There are two additional gates to the north and south. The western area of the wall has a building that was part of the Temple complex. Each of the gates are identical in description, he describes the interior of the gates and the rooms or chambers of the gates. From his description, we have a very clear picture of what Ezekiel was seeing.


17 Then he brought me into the outer court; and there were chambers and a pavement made all around the court; thirty chambers faced the pavement. 18 The pavement was by the side of the gateways, corresponding to the length of the gateways; this was the lower pavement. 19 Then he measured the width from the front of the lower gateway to the front of the inner court exterior, one hundred cubits toward the east and the north. Ezekiel 40:17-19

 Pavement: On the inside of the outer court is a pavement with thirty rooms (see the above diagram).

Thirty chambers: The purpose of these rooms is not known, they could be used for storage or meeting. 

One hundred cubits: The distance from the interior gateway to the Temple courtyard is 100 cubits or about 175 feet.



20 On the outer court was also a gateway facing north, and he measured its length and its width. 21 Its gate chambers, three on this side and three on that side, its gateposts and its archways, had the same measurements as the first gate; its length was fifty cubits and its width twenty-five cubits. 22 Its windows and those of its archways, and also its palm trees, had the same measurements as the gateway facing east; it was ascended by seven steps, and its archway was in front of it. 23 A gate of the inner court was opposite the northern gateway, just as the eastern gateway; and he measured from gateway to gateway, one hundred cubits. 24 After that he brought me toward the south, and there a gateway was facing south; and he measured its gateposts and archways according to these same measurements. 25 There were windows in it and in its archways all around like those windows; its length was fifty cubits and its width twenty-five cubits. 26 Seven steps led up to it, and its archway was in front of them; and it had palm trees on its gateposts, one on this side and one on that side. 27 There was also a gateway on the inner court, facing south; and he measured from gateway to gateway toward the south, one hundred cubits. Ezekiel 40:20-27

 Facing North..South: The description is the same as the eastern gate except these two gates face North and South. These are the gates to the outer court.


28 Then he brought me to the inner court through the southern gateway; he measured the southern gateway according to these same measurements. 29 Also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways were according to these same measurements; there were windows in it and in its archways all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 30 There were archways all around, twenty-five cubits long and five cubits wide. 31 Its archways faced the outer court, palm trees were on its gateposts, and going up to it were eight steps. 32 And he brought me into the inner court facing east; he measured the gateway according to these same measurements. 33 Also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways were according to these same measurements; and there were windows in it and in its archways all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 34 Its archways faced the outer court, and palm trees were on its gateposts on this side and on that side; and going up to it were eight steps. 35 Then he brought me to the north gateway and measured it according to these same measurements 36 also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways. It had windows all around; its length was fifty cubits and its width twenty-five cubits. 37 Its gateposts faced the outer court, palm trees were on its gateposts on this side and on that side, and going up to it were eight steps. Ezekiel 40:28-37


Inner court through the southern gateway:  Ezekiel is now taken into the gate of the inner courtyard where the priest who ministered before the Lord would go. Ezekiel is taken from the southern gate to the north gateway; Ezekiel gives us the measurements and describes what he sees:


 38 There was a chamber and its entrance by the gateposts of the gateway, where they washed the burnt offering. 39 In the vestibule of the gateway were two tables on this side and two tables on that side, on which to slay the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. 40 At the outer side of the vestibule, as one goes up to the entrance of the northern gateway, were two tables; and on the other side of the vestibule of the gateway were two tables. 41 Four tables were on this side and four tables on that side, by the side of the gateway, eight tables on which they slaughtered the sacrifices. 42 There were also four tables of hewn stone for the burnt offering, one cubit and a half long, one cubit and a half wide, and one cubit high; on these they laid the instruments with which they slaughtered the burnt offering and the sacrifice. 43 Inside were hooks, a handbreadth wide, fastened all around; and the flesh of the sacrifices was on the tables. Ezekiel 40:38-43


Burnt offering: The room in the inner court gateway was used in connection with the sacrifices offered at the brazen altar before the Temple.  These would have been memorial sacrifices to commemorate the work of Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Glory of the Lord, who died as the sacrifice for all humanity. The people born in the Millennium still need to have “faith” in Christ, and His work.  The sacrifices in the Temple are a vivid reminder of what Jesus did prior to the Millennium. 


44 Outside the inner gate were the chambers for the singers in the inner court, one facing south at the side of the northern gateway, and the other facing north at the side of the southern gateway. 45 Then he said to me, "This chamber which faces south is for the priests who have charge of the temple. 46 "The chamber which faces north is for the priests who have charge of the altar; these are the sons of Zadok, from the sons of Levi, who come near the Lord to minister to Him." 47 And he measured the court, one hundred cubits long and one hundred cubits wide, foursquare. The altar was in front of the temple. 48 Then he brought me to the vestibule of the temple and measured the doorposts of the vestibule, five cubits on this side and five cubits on that side; and the width of the gateway was three cubits on this side and three cubits on that side. 49 The length of the vestibule was twenty cubits, and the width eleven cubits; and by the steps which led up to it there were pillars by the doorposts, one on this side and another on that side. Ezekiel 40:44-49

 Outside the inner gate:  Ezekiel now takes us into the inner courtyard and gates.  There are rooms for singers and priests to minister before the Lord.

Zadok:  These are descendents of the priests in the days of Solomon.

The altar was in front of the temple: Here is where the sacrifices were burned.

the vestibule of the temple: Ezekiel, as a priest, was allowed to be in the Temple area.  He is now going to describe the interior of the Temple


[1] The Millennium is Latin  for 1000-years. The period of 1000-years is found in the book of Revelation chapter 20:1-7, where the period is mentioned 6 times.  During this period Satan’s power is removed from the earth, and the Saints, the people of God, rule and reign with Jesus Christ over the nations.  The capital of the Earth is Jerusalem, where the throne of God is established.  The survivors of the tribulation repopulate the earth during this period, the saints rule and reign with Jesus over the nations.  The saints specifically mentioned are the ones who were beheaded for their testimony in the tribulation.