A Detailed Look at Ezekiel’s Temple Vision: Ezekiel 41 Commentary

The 41st chapter of Ezekiel contains a remarkably detailed vision of a temple. As we study this temple vision, we gain insight into God’s plans for His dwelling place among His people. In this commentary, we will examine the key elements of Ezekiel’s temple and consider their significance.


In Ezekiel 40-48, the prophet Ezekiel records an extensive vision of a temple. This section provides the longest single passage focused on one topic in the entire Bible.[1] God gave Ezekiel these detailed temple plans to encourage the Jewish exiles who felt distant from their homeland and God’s presence. This vision reminded them that God still dwelled among His people and had a wonderful future planned for them.

Ezekiel 41 picks up in the middle of a guided tour of this temple complex. After seeing the outer walls and gates (Ezekiel 40:5-47) and the outer court (Ezekiel 40:48-41:15a), Ezekiel enters the temple sanctuary. The remainder of chapter 41 describes the sanctuary’s interior.

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Key Takeaways on Ezekiel 41

  • The design of Ezekiel’s temple emphasizes God’s holiness and distance from sin yet also His desire to dwell among His people.
  • The three sections of the temple represent increasing levels of exclusivity and holiness as one moves toward the inner sanctuary.
  • The dimensions and contents of the temple symbolize God’s perfection, completeness, and intricate care for His dwelling place.
  • As Ezekiel tours the temple, he emphasizes precise measurements, indicating that this vision reflects an actual building plan.
  • God fills this temple with reminders of His glory, from palm tree carvings to the light of His presence.
  • Ezekiel’s temple provides hope of restoration and a future reign of holiness, justice, and God’s presence.

In the commentary below, we will explore Ezekiel 41 verse-by-verse to understand the key features and significance of this temple vision. Studying this passage carefully allows us to share in Ezekiel’s awe at the meticulous planning of God’s dwelling place. It also stirs our longing for God’s presence, holiness, and justice to fill the earth.

b A Detailed Look at Ezekiel's Temple Vision: Ezekiel 41 Commentary

Commentary on Ezekiel 41

Ezekiel 41:1-2 – The Sanctuary’s Entrance

Then he brought me to the sanctuary and measured the doorposts, six cubits wide on one side and six cubits wide on the other side—the width of the tabernacle. The width of the entryway was ten cubits, and the side walls of the entrance were five cubits on this side and five cubits on the other side; and he measured its length, forty cubits, and its width, twenty cubits. (Ezekiel 41:1-2, NKJV)

After completing his tour of the temple courts, Ezekiel’s guide brings him to the entrance of the inner sanctuary. This opening leads from the inner court into the holy place and Most Holy Place.

The sanctuary entrance has monumental doorposts, indicating the greatness of the God who dwells inside. The passage measures the doorposts as six cubits (about 10 feet) wide on each side. Later, in verse 3, it provides the door’s width as 10 cubits (about 17 feet).

The entryway’s total width of 20 cubits contrasts with the tabernacle’s 10 cubit entrance (Exodus 26:16-17). This wider doorway emphasizes the large numbers of worshippers who will one day enter God’s temple. The passage also measures the entry hall’s sidewalls (5 cubits wide) and total length (40 cubits).

These precise dimensions underscore that Ezekiel saw an actual building plan in this vision. God designed His dwelling place down to the smallest detail, showing His meticulous care. This passage should stir awe at God’s grandeur and precision.

Ezekiel 41:3-4 – The Interior Rooms

He went inside and measured the doorposts, two cubits; and the entrance, six cubits high; and the width of the entrance, seven cubits. He measured the length, twenty cubits; and the width, twenty cubits, beyond the sanctuary; and he said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.” (Ezekiel 41:3-4)

Proceeding into the sanctuary interior, Ezekiel’s guide provides more exact measurements. He notes the width of the inner doorposts (2 cubits), the height of the entrance (6 cubits), and the entrance’s width (7 cubits).

These proportions match those of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 6:2-3). Though larger overall, Ezekiel’s temple maintains the same basic interior dimensions. This connects it to Israel’s past traditions while also exceeding former glory.

Verse 4 clarifies that the first room inside the entrance is the Most Holy Place, where God’s presence dwelt. Its dimensions, 20 x 20 cubits, form a perfect square. The Most Holy Place symbolizes God’s heavenly dwelling, so its symmetrical proportions reflect His flawless perfection.

Ezekiel 41:5-11 – The Side Chambers

Next, he measured the wall of the temple, six cubits. The width of each side chamber all around the temple was four cubits on every side. The side chambers were in three stories, one above the other, thirty chambers in each story; they rested on ledges which were for the side chambers all around, that they might be supported, but not fastened to the wall of the temple. As one went up from the lowest chamber to the highest by way of the middle story, there were offsets in the wall all around in relation to the side chambers, so that one could go all the way around the temple without entering the side chambers. Each story was wider all the way around, corresponding to the offsets in the wall; and the structure increased story by story all around the temple, ascending by offsets in the wall. The doorposts of the side chambers were toward the outer court; there was one doorpost facing north and another doorpost facing south; and the width of the open space was five cubits all around. (Ezekiel 41:5-11)

Moving outward from the Most Holy Place, Ezekiel next examines attached side chambers. These rooms likely provided storage for the priests.

The text carefully notes the side chambers’ width (4 cubits) and arrangement into three stories. Rather than connecting directly to the temple walls, these rooms rested on ledges with a 5 cubit wide space between them and the main building.

This buffer zone ensured holiness increased toward the center of the temple. As Ezekiel toured the chambers’ three stories, they expanded in size higher up, creating a tiered external wall. The passage describes sloped elevations and stairways between levels so priests could access all rooms.

The detailed logistics show God’s attentive care in maximizing usable space. Even the side rooms suited His glory and the needs of His servants.

Ezekiel 41:12-14 – The Western Chambers

The building that faced the separating courtyard at its western end was seventy cubits wide; the wall of the building was five cubits thick all around, and its length ninety cubits.

So he measured the temple, one hundred cubits long; and the separating courtyard with the building and its walls was one hundred cubits long; also the width of the eastern face of the temple, including the separating courtyard, was one hundred cubits. (Ezekiel 41:12-14)

After completing his tour around the inner rooms, Ezekiel views the chambers on the temple’s far side. The passage measures these western chambers as 70 cubits wide (about 120 feet). Their exterior wall measures 5 cubits thick (about 8.5 feet).

Verse 13 then provides the total length of the temple proper and attached buildings. At 100 cubits (about 170 feet), the complex stretches impressively from its eastern entrance to the far west chambers.

Despite the temple’s grandeur, these dimensions make it smaller than Solomon’s temple at 60 cubits high, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits long (1 Kings 6:2). But Ezekiel’s visionary temple exceeds all earlier sanctuaries in holiness, reflecting God’s perfect standards.

Ezekiel 41:15-20 – Interior Decoration: Palm Trees and Cherubim

He measured the length of the building behind it, facing the separating courtyard, with its galleries on one side and on the other side, one hundred cubits, as well as the inner temple and the porches of the court, their doorposts and the beveled window frames. And the thresholds, the beveled windows and the galleries all around on their three stories, opposite the threshold, were paneled with wood from the ground to the windows—the windows were covered— from the space above the door, even to the inner room, as well as outside, and on every wall all around, inside and outside, by measure.

And it was made with cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Each cherub had two faces, so that the face of a man was toward a palm tree on one side, and the face of a young lion toward a palm tree on the other side; thus it was made throughout the temple all around. From the floor to the space above the door, and on the wall of the sanctuary, cherubim and palm trees were carved. (Ezekiel 41:15-20)

These verses describe beautiful interior details that increase the sanctuary’s glory. Wood paneling covers the walls, etched with carvings of cherubim and palm trees.

The cherubim figures symbolize God’s majesty and judgment. The abundant palm trees depict beauty, comfort, and God’s provision. Together, they remind worshippers of God’s twin attributes of holiness and grace.

Cherubim once hovered above the Ark of the Covenant in Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 6:23-28). Their symbolic presence connects Ezekiel’s vision to the original tabernacle. The figures’ two faces also recall the four-faced cherubim in Ezekiel’s earlier visions (Ezekiel 1 & 10).

Intricate wood carvings cover walls, doors, and windows. This artwork unified the temple’s worship spaces, focussing attention on God’s presence. The lavish but purposeful decoration displays excellent craftsmanship to honor God.

Ezekiel 41:21-22 – The Sanctuary’s Interior Architecture

The doorposts of the temple were square, as was the front of the sanctuary; their appearance was similar. The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits. Its corners, its length, and its sides were of wood; and he said to me, “This is the table that is before the LORD.” (Ezekiel 41:21-22)

These verses continue describing the sanctuary’s furnishings, starting with the squared doorposts and wall edges. This angular style contrasts with the curved columns and capitals typical of Hebrew architecture (1 Kings 7:15-20). However, it matches descriptions of the future New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:16).

The passage then shifts to the altar of incense, called here the “table before the LORD.” In Solomon’s temple, this altar was gold plated (1 Kings 7:48). The simplicity of Ezekiel’s wooden table fits the prophetic setting, when gold and precious materials were scarce. Despite its plain materials, this altar still facilitates worship and prayer.

Ezekiel 41:23-26 – The Sanctuary Doors

The temple and sanctuary had two doors. And the doors had two panels apiece, two folding panels: two panels for one door and two panels for the other door. Carved on them, on the doors of the temple, were cherubim and palm trees, like those carved on the walls. A wooden canopy was on the front of the vestibule outside. There were beveled window frames and palm trees on one side and on the other, on the sides of the vestibule—also on the side chambers of the temple and on the canopies. (Ezekiel 41:23-26)

Like Solomon’s temple, Ezekiel’s sanctuary has two doors leading into the innermost room. These double doors consist of two panels each that fold together. They display the same decorative cherubim and palm trees as the inner walls.

A wooden canopy tops the exterior entrance to the temple, resembling a small roof or awning. This provided shelter for priests and worshippers entering and exiting. More palm tree carvings adorn the vestibule walls and side chamber ledges.

These details emphasize God’s presence throughout the temple. The natural palm tree motifs express life and beauty wherever priests walked. They point to the fruitfulness of life with God.

The Significance of Ezekiel’s Temple Vision

Ezekiel 41 concludes a guided tour of the expanded temple’s exterior and interior. This vision clearly made a strong impression on Ezekiel. The passage precisely documents each measurement, proportion, and architectural feature.

By examining the temple blueprint alongside Ezekiel, we gain insight into God’s meticulous care for His dwelling place. What significance does this detailed vision hold for God’s people? Let’s reflect on key lessons from Ezekiel’s temple.

A Dwelling Place Set Apart for God’s Holiness

Ezekiel’s temple separates increasingly holy spaces, like a series of filters that screen out sin and reflect God’s flawless purity. The outer wall and courts keep out Gentile foreigners (Ezekiel 40:5-27). The inner court admits only purified Israelites (Ezekiel 40:28-47).

The temple building is accessible only to priests, and only they enter the Most Holy Place (Ezekiel 41:1-4). This gradation teaches that no one tainted by sin can survive God’s holy presence. Yet God graciously provided rituals cleansing from sin so He could dwell with His people.

A Reminder of God’s Presence and Glory

By touring this spectacular temple, Ezekiel saw a powerful vision of God’s presence returning to a cleansed Israel. The construction recalls Solomon’s temple where God’s glory once filled the Most Holy Place (1 Kings 8:10-11). Through this vision, God assured Ezekiel that He would again dwell gloriously among His repentant people.

Centuries later, God kept this promise by sending His Son, Jesus, as Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus’ body was the ultimate dwelling place of God on earth (Colossians 2:9). Today God’s Spirit lives powerfully in those who trust in Christ. One day, we will inhabit the dazzling New Jerusalem, and “the tabernacle of God is with men” (Revelation 21:3).

A Promise to Restore and Purify God’s People

The elaborate temple symbolized Israel’s future restoration. For Ezekiel’s original audience, this vision provided hope that God would resurrect the failed nation. Though they had experienced destruction and exile because of sin, God still had a wonderful plan to dwell among them again in a purified land.

This vision remains relevant today as a promise that God will recreate the heavens and earth into a perfect sanctuary for His presence (2 Peter 3:13). For now, He is purifying for Himself a holy people, the Church (Titus 2:14). His indwelling Spirit is progressively renewing our hearts until one day Christ presents us blameless before God’s presence (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

A Call to Holiness

Ezekiel’s vision presents a temple cleansed from all ritual impurity and sin. As the passage highlights the building’s holiness and symmetrical proportions, this sends a strong message. God’s desire to dwell among His people depends on their moral purification.

For Christians today, this temple calls us to examine our lives and allow God’s Spirit to remove sin. God longs for His Church to reflect His holy character. As believers walk in holiness, God’s presence and glory fill our corporate worship. The promise of future perfection with God should motivate us to pursue personal holiness.


Journeying through Ezekiel’s temple with the prophet gives us insight into the heart of God. We see His extravagant love lavished on every precise detail of His dwelling place. We sense His holiness and moral perfection expressed in spaces set apart from sin. We feel His longing to live among His people when they repent and walk in righteousness.

While Ezekiel 41 describes a future physical temple, today God dwells in human hearts by His Spirit. Through Christ’s sacrifice, God has opened a way for moral imperfect people to enter His holy presence. As we place our faith in Christ, God purifies our hearts to become His holy dwellings. Captivated by God’s glory, may we pursue greater Christlike virtue until we inhabit the perfect temple of the New Jerusalem.

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