The Spaceships of Ezekiel
Are there Flying Saucers in the Bible?


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 618


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Keywords: Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, history, Middle East, religion, Ezekiel, Roman Catholicism, prophecy, Christianity, Old Testament, Judaism, Protestantism, biblical prophets, Tanakh, Hebrew  Scriptures





Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture

Ezekiel article page 618 


ever scarcely suggests the Messias. His liberty is restricted and possible abuse of his authority is forestalled by legislation. On the other hand Ezechiel, unlike Isaias, never depicts the Messias except as a new David. It seems better therefore, while recognizing the difficulty of the problem, to accept the traditional interpretation. In all his prophecies of the restoration Ezechiel seems to visualize the Messianic period.


XL-XLII The New Temple—1. The Outer Court and its Gates. 2. The Inner Court and its Gates. 3. The Temple Buildings. 4. The buildings of the Inner Court. 5. The Dimensions of the Sanctuary. The text of these chapters is often corrupt and unintelligible. In the limited space at our disposal we have confined ourselves to a description of the New Temple. A few of the details are necessarily conjectural.


XL-1-27 The Outer Court and its Gates— Ezechiel is transported in spirit to Jerusalem and ordered to communicate to the house of Israel what is there revealed to him. The date is the 10th Nisan (March-April) 573 b.c. From a high mountain, not determined, he sees the New Temple; cf. Apoc 21:10. An angel in human form, but resplendent, conducts him and takes the various measures with a reed or measuring rod, 6 cubits long, and a cord or tape for longer distances. The wall enclosing the house (usually the temple, here the whole sacred area) was a reed = 6 cubits, in thickness and in height. The cubit however was not the ordinary one of 6 handbreadths but contained 7 handbreadths. Render 5 (after 'six cubits'): 'of a cubit and a handbreadth each'. The ordinary cubit was about 17.7 inches, Ezechiel's therefore about 20.65 inches. As the three gates (N. S. E.) were similar, only the eastern and most important is described. It was an unroofed passage-way with walls or buildings on either side. A flight of 7 (LXX) steps led up to the outer threshold 6 cubits long (the thickness of the outer wall) and 10 cubits wide. This gave admission to a corridor 13 cubits wide, flanked on either side by three lodges or guard-houses 6 cubits square and two pillars occupying each a space 5 cubits  d  long between the lodges. An inner threshold similar to the outer one led thence into a porch which communicated with the court. The porch was 8 cubits long and 20 wide. Two pillars (DV 'fronts') facing each other at the entry to the court added 2 cubits to the porch's length and rows of pillars at the N. and S. sides added 5 cubits to its breadth. The whole structure was thus a rectangle 50 cubits long and 25 wide. The guard-houses had barriers or enclosed spaces on the corridor side and doors on the court side. The whole edifice had also diminishing windows (wider outside than inside) looking out on the court. The pillars in the porch were adorned with paintings or sculptures of palm trees. The Outer Court had 30 chambers, fronted with pillars, 42:6, probably adjoining the outer wall and corresponding to the porticos in Herod's temple, and also a paved space all around, extending as far inward as the gates. The distance from these gates to the corresponding gates of the inner court was 100 cubits so that the outer court was 150 cubits wide on all sides.



XL 28-47 The Inner Court and its Gates— The gates, first described, only differed from the corresponding outer gates in being reached by an ascent of 8 steps instead of 7 and in having their porches not at the inner but at the outer end. Ezechiel, conducted to the E. gate, is next shown the tables on which victims were prepared for sacrifice. Four of these were in the porch, four more outside it in the court, two at each side. They were of cut stone 1 1/2 cubits square and a cubit in height and had knives and other sacrificial implements. They had a border of a handbreadth (LXX; or hooks? MT) and were sheltered from sun and rain. Finally Ezechiel enters the inner court and observes two chambers one beside the N. gate facing S., the other beside the S. gate facing N. These are for the priests, the sons of Sadoc, charged with the service of the altar. The inner court was 100 cubits long and wide. This measure is obscure and probably incorrect. Other indications show clearly that the inner court, including the temple, was 200 cubits long and wide. The altar of holocausts was due cast of the house or temple.


XL 48-XLI 26 The Temple Buildings— Ezechiel's temple like Solomon's had four parts: Vestibule, Hekal (Holy Place), Debir (Holy of Holies), Lateral Building. An ascent of ten steps led to the Vestibule, 12 cubits long and 20 wide. The door, 14 cubits wide, was flanked on either side by a column and a wall 3 cubits long and 5 thick. The door from the Vestibule to the Hekal was 10 cubits wide, the walls on either side were 5 cubits long and 6 thick. The door from the Hekal to the Holy of Holies, entered by the Angel but not by Ezechiel, was 6 cubits wide, the walls on either side 7 cubits long and 2 thick. The Hekal was 40 cubits long, 20 wide, the Holy of Holies 20 cubits long and wide. The lateral building, enclosing the sacred edifice on the N. W. S. sides, rested on a foundation 6 cubits deep and had 3 stories each containing 3 rooms in which the sacred vessels and treasures of the temple were stored. The outer wall was 5 cubits, the inner (that of the temple) 6 cubits thick. Both these walls had their thickness twice diminished by half a cubit to support the floors of the upper stories. Thus the width of the rooms, 4, 5 and  g  6 cubits, varied with their elevation. Two doors in the outer wall on the N. and S. gave access to the lateral building which was bordered by a paved space of 5 and a free space of 20 cubits. The measures given make the temple 100 cubits long and 5 broad. Only by attaching to its breadth the free spaces of 25 cubits on the N. and S. sides can it be regarded as 100 cubits broad. A building 20 cubits due W. of the sacred edifice is next mentioned. It was 90 cubits long and 70 wide and its walls were 5 cubits thick. It probably served as a store room for wood and a shelter for cattle. All the walls of the vestibule, holy place and holy of holies were panelled and the panelling was adorned with alternating palm trees and cherubs. Two faces of the cherubs, those of the man and the lion, were represented in profile. The holy place and the holy of holies had double folding doors, rectangular in shape. The door of the vestibule was apparently a wooden screen. Before the holy of holies was a wooden altar, 2 cubits square and 3 in height, provided with corners or horns. This was undoubtedly not the Shewbread Table, as is often supposed, but the Altar of Incense. The altar of holocausts is also called table, 44:16. Wellhausen excluded the altar of incense from Solomon's temple, but Ingholt has recently shown that the Canaanite temples had their ḥammōnîm or incense altars (cf.Is 17:8), also mentioned by Ezechiel, 6:6.



XLII 1-14 The Buildings of the Inner Court—Two  h  large buildings are described parallel to the temple on its N. and S. sides and separated from it by the free space outside the lateral building. The main building in each case 100 cubits long and 20 wide was separated by a corridor 10 cubits wide from a kind of wing, adjoining the court wall, also 20 cubits wide but only 50 in length. The buildings had 3 stories like the lateral building but diminished in width as they ascended. The entry from the outer court was at the east end. The rooms in these buildings served as dining- and vesting-rooms for the priests who were forbidden to eat sacred meats or wear priestly garments outside the inner court.


15-20 The Dimensions of the Sanctuary—The whole  i  space enclosed by the outer wall was a square measuring 500 cubits (LXX) on all sides. MT has 500 reeds = 3,000 cubits. Some commentators suppose a vast unoccupied space surrounding the temple precincts and safeguarding their sanctity. But the free space all round the outer wall is elsewhere estimated at only 50 cubits, 45:2.