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


Complements and Insights - C


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Chapter 6

Complements and Insights (Part D)

(Part C)
Go to Chapter Part: A B C D  Comments: Leitmotifs   Temples

The temples

In the third encounter

    This encounter takes place approximately one year after the first one, which means about 591 B.C. At the outset we learn from Verse 3 of Chapter 8 that Ezekiel was flown to the temple of Jerusalem. As the story unfolds, temple courts or their gates are mentioned four times in the following verses and their site descriptions:  [p.105] 

Chapter 8, Verse 3:

gateway of the inner court

Chapter 10, Verse 5:

outer court

Chapter 10, Verse 19:

east gate of the temple

Chapter 11, Verse 1:

east gate of the temple

    The majority of translations and commentators consulted agree with the above descriptions. With regard to Chapter 10, Verse 19, and Chapter 11, Verse 1, where none of the translations contains a detailed description of the site, the commentator in Reference 6 shows that the first verse speaks of the inner court, while the latter verse means the outer court (Reference 6, pp. 55, 56).

    From the history of the temple we know that it was destroyed in 586 B.C., that is, five years after the event discussed here. According to the text, Ezekiel was landed in the temple of Solomon. It is therefore quite interesting that Solomon's temple—as a glimpse at the map (Reference 4, p. 1311) will show—had only one wall and no outer courts! This is explicitly acknowledged in Reference 4, p. 619, under letter K it reads: "Solomon's temple had no outer court and was separated from his palace only by the single wall of the inner court."

    This surprising development is underscored by a discrepancy in the description of the terrain. In Chapter 9, Verse 2, we read that the "men came from the direction of the upper gate." The above-mentioned map, on the other hand, shows the building of the temple on a hill; the north gate of the temple of Solomon was therefore situated lower. In this context it is relevant to quote Reference 6, page 47, which contains the following commentary: "This may be identical with the gate built by King Jotham. It was situated in the north-east and received its name because it stood higher than the rest of the temple court." Thus the problem of the terrain is balanced, in a way, by a counterstatement; but now we are confronted with the question of the direction in which that gate lies. The commentator, moreover, seems uncertain, because he writes: "This may be," so that, in the final analysis, the location of the gate still remains in doubt.

    Finally, this group of questions also includes the remarkable passage in Chapter 11, Verse 23, which says that the landing took place "upon the mountain which is on the east-side of the city." Someone who knew Jerusalem as well as Ezekiel did would not only as a matter of course know the name of that mountain—the Mount of Olives—but would certainly have used this familiar name in an equally matter-of-fact way had he really wanted to refer to that mountain, especially in speaking to people who like himself were perfectly familiar with the area. We remember in this connection that Ezekiel never fails to mention his community of exiles "by the river Chebar."

    As a preliminary summary we can therefore establish that the description of the temple does not agree with the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem and also that a mountain is identified not by its name but by its location.

    We take the first step toward a clarification of this confusing situation by trusting Ezekiel's often proven gift of observation and lucidity of mind—in other words, we accept his description as accurate and correct. The conclusion which naturally follows therefrom precisely coincides with what he says: he was in a temple and he did see a mountain, but the temple was not in Jerusalem and therefore the mountain was not the Mount of Olives. For the second step we use the view developed and substantiated in the next section of this book, namely that Ezekiel's book in the form which has come down to us was not written by him. At the time it was written, the. temple of Solomon had been destroyed for decades. The return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile began in the year 538 B.C., that is, fifty-nine years after their deportation. The probability that at that time anyone was still alive who had seen Solomon's temple and knew it from personal observation is extremely low. An editor of Ezekiel's book could therefore in good faith and with the best intentions have seen the temple of this encounter in the general religious context and could have placed it in Jerusalem.

    These are the first steps of perhaps many which may have to be taken; because the answer has not yet been found to the question where Ezekiel really had been.  [p.107] 

In the fourth encounter


       Complements and Insights (Part D)