And behold, a wall on the outside of the house round about
The first thing that presents itself to the view of the prophet, after the sight of the architect or chief builder, is a wall encompassing this strange and wondrous building; which was like the frame of a city, as before observed: this wall was five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad; see ( Ezekiel 42:20 ) , now this wall was both for separation and protection; that it was for separation is certain from ( Ezekiel 42:20 ) , it was to separate between the sanctuary land the profane place; that is, between the church and the world: the people of God were always a distinct and separate people; they were so from eternity, are so in time, and will be so to all eternity; they were distinguished from others by the everlasting love, of God; by his eternal choice of them, and taking them into the covenant of his grace, in consequence of it; and by the redeeming grace of Christ, who has redeemed them out of every kindred, people, and nation; and by the efficacious grace of God, in the effectual calling, by which they are separated from the world, and become a distinct people from them; and so they will be in the resurrection morn, and in the day of judgment, and in heaven for evermore: and what separates and distinguishes them is not any native goodness in them, nor any good thing done by them; but the purpose and grace of God, like a wall built firm and sure; not upon the works of men, but the will of God; and is unalterable and eternal; a wall that can never be battered down: it is this by which the church is enclosed as a vineyard and garden, to which it is sometimes compared, because separate and distinct from the waste, common, and field of the world; as here to a building encompassed by a wall, and divided from it: the church of Christ in all ages does or should consist of persons gathered out of the world, separated from it by the grace of God; but in the latter day it will more visibly appear to consist of such: it will be openly distinguished from the world, by the purity of its doctrines; by the faithful administration of ordinances; strictness of its discipline, and by the holy lives of the members of it; these, by the grace of God, will be a wall of separation round about it, to keep out profane persons and things; moreover, a wail is for protection, preservation, and safety; and such a wall the Lord himself will be to his people; he will be round about them, on their side, and on every side of them: yea, a wall of fire to enlighten, warm, and comfort them, and to consume their enemies, ( Zechariah 2:5 ) he will be a wall about his church in his love to them, with which he encompasses them; and which is built, not on their loveliness, love, or obedience, but upon his sovereign will and pleasure; and the dimensions of which, its length, breadth, height, and depth, are unmeasurable: it is a wall impregnable; it can never be broken down, and secures from all enemies whatever; and so he will be in his power, by which his saints are kept as persons in a garrison, or any fortified place well walled about, and which is invincible; to which may be added salvation by Jesus Christ, which will be for the walls and bulwarks of the city and church of God in the latter day, to which belong the prophecies in ( Isaiah 26:1 ) ( 40:18 ) , which salvation flows from the love of God; is secured by his purpose; established in his covenant; wrought out by Christ, and is an everlasting one; and is the firm security and safety of his church and people now, hereafter, and to all eternity: and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the
cubit, and an hand breadth;
as in ( Ezekiel 40:3 ) and this being the measure used in taking the dimensions of the whole building, it was proper it should be explained what it was, before they are taken, and the account given: it consisted of six cubits; but then as these differ, there being a common cubit, and a sacred or royal one, it was necessary it should be clearly pointed at, as it is; by observing that these cubits were to be understood of a cubit and a hand's breadth; the common cubit were eighteen inches, a foot and a half, or half a yard; and a hand's breadth were three inches; so that this measure consisted of three yards and a half. Some indeed are of opinion that the hand's breadth is to be added only to the six cubits, and not to each of them; but the text is clear and express that these cubits were by or according to a cubit and a hand's breadth. So the Targum paraphrases it,
``and in the man's hand measuring reeds, one of which was six cubits by a cubit, which is a cubit and a hand's breadth;''and this is confirmed by what is said in ( Ezekiel 43:13 ) , the cubit is a cubit and a hand's breadth;
to which may be added, that such was the royal cubit at Babylon, where Ezekiel now was, according to Herodotus F17; who says,
``the royal cubit is larger by three fingers than that which was usually measured with, or the common cubit;''in this way Jarchi and Kimchi understand it; though they make the common cubit to be but five hands' breadth, or fifteen inches, and this six hands' breadth, or eighteen inches: what this mystically signifies, (See Gill on Ezekiel 40:3), so he measured the breadth of the building one reed, and the height one
not of the whole building of the house or temple, but of the wall before mentioned; the breadth or thickness of which was one reed, or three yards and a half; and the height of it was the same; denoting the great security, safe protection, and strong defence of the church of God.
F17 Clio, sive l. 1. c. 178.