"Enter His Gates"
I was so intrigued by what I had found in my study of Moses' Tabernacle, that I decided to take a look at Solomon's Temple as well. As you may recall, the plans for the Temple were given by God to King David, while it was left to his son, Solomon, to actually build it. As one might expect, there are many similarities between the Tabernacle and the Temple, which I will discuss later, but I was surprised to find that, like the Tabernacle, the layout of the Temple also seems to graphically prefigure the five principle wounds of Jesus Christ!
The image above is a floorplan of the Temple. By hovering your mouse over the image, you will see a brief description of the various buildings outlined. To create this floorplan, I took the literal dimensions given in the Scriptures and typed those dimensions into my computer program, so that the resultant floorplan was mathematically precise. Below you will find a list of the Scriptures I consulted for those dimensions (using the Revised Standard Version), along with some brief reflections relating to the above image.
500x500 cubit area with 6-cubit-thick wall surrounding
the Temple Square (Ezekiel 42:15-20; 40:5)
Three Outer Gates (East, North, South) measuring 25x50
cubits (Ezekiel 40: 5-27)
O, four beautiful rivers
Psalm 118 draws a strong connection between the Temple's Gates and Messianic hopes:
"The right hand of the Lord does valiantly...
The 50 cubit Lower Pavement and 100 cubit Outer Court (Ezekiel
I wonder if there may also be a symbolic reference here to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who stood at the foot of the Cross with John, the beloved disciple, and with a few other faithful women. Click here to skip to that image and discussion.
Three Inner Gates (East, North, South) measuring 25x50
cubits (Ezekiel 40: 28-43)
Consider how, in the above floorplan, the Southern Inner Gate aligns perfectly with the side wound of our Lord Jesus. Now notice how that lance which pierced the side of Christ, upon entering this Southern Inner Gate, would pass through the Holy of Holies in the Temple. What is the Holy of Holies? The Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord and God, Jesus Christ! Could this be why Ezekiel saw water flowing from the Temple on its Southern side flowing Eastward?
Some will object at this point that the iconic crucifix I've used in this image shows a wound placement which was arbitrarily fixed by an artist, but in the next image I will show that the Shroud of Turin could possibly close that gap in a more scientific fashion (the verdict on the Shroud's authenticity is not yet final).
The 100 cubit Altar Yard (Ezekiel 40:47)
The Buildings to the North and South of the Temple (Ezekiel
42: 1-14; 46:19-24)
Many other models of the Temple place these four kitchens at the outer corners, near or in the Lower Pavement. However, it is not necessary to do so, since Ezekiel only says "corners", not "outermost corners". The interior corners suit the text just as well. Furthermore, geometrically and mathematically speaking, these four corner kitchens fit perfectly into the floorplan as shown above. (Click here to double check my math.) Being only 40 cubits wide, instead of 50 like every other building, allows for a passageway to the Lay Eating Chambers, since Ezekiel specifies that the doors for these chambers were on the East. Since these Lay Eating Chambers belonged to the Outer Court, it is not at all a stretch to see how the above kitchen placement meets the requirements set forth in Ezekiel 46:21-24. One final argument in favor of this positioning is that all of the boiling and eating areas are kept in close proximity to one another, meaning that the boiled flesh wouldn't have to be transported such a distance. (The outermost corner positioning would be awkward, requiring the boiled flesh to be transported 50-100 yards through crowds of people.)
I find it symbolically rich that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ is placed in the midst of buildings that are dedicated exclusively to preparing and eating the Sacrificial Feast. This seems to have striking Eucharistic implications, in keeping with our Lord's "Bread of Life Discourse" in John chapter six. He said, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed..."
As Solomon once sang, "He brought me to His banqueting table, and His banner over me was love."
Finally, from the Catechism, "The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us." (Catechism, 1383)
The 70x90 cubit Building to the West (Ezekiel 41:12-15)
The Temple and Holy of Holies (Ezekiel 40:48-41:26; 1Kings
6-7; 1Chronicles 2-4)
There were side chambers in three stories surrounding the Temple (except for the Eastern Entrance). The first story was 5 cubits wide; the second was 6 cubits wide; and the third was 7. The exterior wall of these chambers was 5 cubits thick. These Chambers were used primarily as the Temple Treasury. The Temple, with its chambers, measured 100 cubits from back to front, and it had a 20 cubit yard around its perimeter, as shown above. Within that yard were 11 brazen wash basins. 10 smaller basins on wheels, for washing the sacrifices, were split between the north and south, and 1 massive brazen laver, for the priests, was on the southwest corner of the yard. In the front of the yard there were 10 steps leading up to the Temple platform.
Now that you understand all the little boxes, lines and circles in the above floorplan, let's consider a few spiritual implications.
The most striking, for me, is that the Holy of Holies aligns with the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus. A lance piercing through that Southern Gate would most certainly penetrate the Holy of Holies, causing that saving flow of blood and water to stream out of the wounded side of the world's Savior. As you will note in the next image, this wound in the Savior's right side may be scientifically corroborated by the Shroud of Turin. Nearing the end of Ezekiel's vision, in chapter 47, he saw water issuing forth from the South side of the Temple, which proceeded Eastward, becoming a raging river that made the entire Arabian desert spring to life with vegetation of every kind. What else can he be referring to other than that sacred and saving flow that issued from our Lord's pierced right side? It's staggeringly beautiful to contemplate!
Think, also, on the meaning of these Treasury side chambers piled high with gold, silver, sacred vessels, and Holy Scriptures. Jesus Christ is the world's truest treasure, the source of eternal redemption and hope! One would do well to go and sell all he has to buy this plot of land.
Finally, remember those mystical furnishings of the Nave. Those 10 seven-lamped Menorahs tell us that Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. Those Tables for the Bread of the Presence tell us that He is the Bread of Life come down from Heaven to feed us with His own flesh and blood. That altar of perpetual incense tells us that He ever lives to make intercession for us as our Great High Priest and that His lovingkindness burns everlastingly.
Would you like to enter into a deeper relationship with
your God and Maker?
Would you like the garden of your spirituality to flourish
Would you like to awaken faith, hope and love in your
I know no other remedy.