The Word Made Fresh
1Then he led me to the outer court on the north side and brought me to the rooms across the temple yard facing the building on the north. 2The northside building was a hundred cubits long and fifty wide. 3The inner court was twenty cubits across, and there were rooms above facing the pavement of the outer court. 4In front of these rooms was a hallway on the inner side, ten cubits wide and a hundred cubits long. It could be entered at several places along the north side. 5The upper chambers were narrower because the construction took more from them than from the lower and middle floors in the building. 6They were three stories high, and had no columns like the ones of the lower levels, so they were set back more than the lower and middle sections. 7There was a fifty-cubit-long wall that ran parallel to the rooms toward the outer courtyard. 8The row of rooms of the outer courtyard were fifty cubits long, while those opposite the temple were one hundred cubits long. 9At the base of those rooms was a passage that could be entered from the outer courtyard. 10The width is uniform down the length of the wall of the courtyard.
On the east, across from the open area and building wall, there were rooms 11with a hallway in front of them. They were like the rooms on the north – the same length and width and exits and accoutrements and doors. 12So, the doors that entered the rooms to the south had to be entered through the doorway at the start of the passage from the east.
13Then he said to me, “The rooms on the north side and the rooms on the south side across from the open area are sacred rooms where the priests who serve the LORD can eat the most sacred offerings. That is where they keep the most sacred offerings – the grain, sin and guilt offerings – because the place is holy and set apart. 14When the priests enter the sacred place they may not exit from it into the outer courtyard without putting there the clothes in which they minister because those clothes are holy. They must put on other clothes before they even go close to the areas that are open to the people.”
15When he had finished measuring the interior of the temple compound, he led me out by the east gate, and measured the outer perimeter of the temple area. 16First, he measured the east side with his reed – five hundred cubits. 17Then he turned and measured the north side, also five hundred cubits. 18Then the south side, which also was measured to be five hundred cubits. 19The west side was also measured to be five hundred cubits. 20So, he measured the outer wall that surrounded the temple area. It was five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide. So, the sacred area was separated from the common one.
1-14: The man measures rows of “chambers” on the north and south sides of the temple and adds an explanatory remark that they are the rooms used by the priests — for eating their portion of the sacrifices, for vestments, and for rooms where offerings are recorded.
15-20: The external dimensions of the temple compound are measured, revealing that the area encloses well over half a million square feet. A wall separates the holy (inside the wall) from the common (the city outside). This is an important concept because it illustrates a basic premise of the covenant God made with Israel in the first place: God chose them to be a holy people.
I wonder if many believers today consider themselves to be a holy people. What would that mean in our context with no central temple, which means we are scattered across the earth apart from one another and apart from any central place of worship?