The Sacred “Inner” Space Between (Eph 3:16): Church as Revelation of God's Reconciling Mystery and Its Potential for Church Growth Outcomes (4b of 5)
III. Implications from Solomon’s Temple Dedication and Other OT Temple Texts (B)
The semantic range of esō (inner), Solomon’s temple, and Ezekiel’s future temple.
The sematic range of use of esō (inner) plays a corresponding role throughout the temple building project and in the restoration of the temple as envisioned by Ezekiel. Although the New Testament use of esō as in Eph 3:16c, what is easily noted is that the use of esō, esōtatos, and esōteros is prevalent (widely used) in the 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, as well as Ezekiel’s vision of the future temple, to describe the construction, design, furnishings, and direction of its structure and temple items. The esō-terms can refer to many parts, entrances, or directions within the temple structure and furnishings, but yet, it should not escape our notice that the inner court and the most holy place share in this words use as well.
The temple construction and the Solomonic temple dedication prayer have numerous parallels, word-links, and conceptual association with both Paul’s Ephesians 2 “one new man” context and his Ephesian 3 prayer that references the “inner man.”
The conclusion and consequence of the temple prayer and building is glory-filling
1. The event or consequence concluding construction of the temple was God filling the temple with his glory (presence, spirit, cloud). Another parallel, actually a type-antitype (an anti-parallel), is the reference that the glory filling the temple prohibited access, which is ironically reversed in the “one new man” and the mysterious consequence of Messiah Jesus’ work referred to in Ephesians 3. These texts indicate the equal and free access to the Father by believing Gentiles and believing Jews. We should see this in light of the redemptive results referred to in Ephesians 1: v. 6, to the praise of the glory of His grace; v. 12, to the praise of his glory; v. 14, to the praise of his glory. The same result occurs in Ezekiel at the conclusion of the restoration of God’s eschatological temple, namely the glory fills the temple.
2. The temple measuring language also finds its way into the Ephesians 3 prayer: see 1 Kgs 6:1-6; 2 Chron 1-5; cf. Ezek 40-47.
Ezekiel’s new temple vision
There is a strong link between Ezekiel’s restoration chapters (37-48) and the Ephesians 2 “one new man” and Paul’s Ephesians 3 prayer:
1. Ezekiel 43:5 (LXX), καὶ ἀνέλαβέν με πνεῦμα καὶ εἰσήγαγέν με εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τὴν ἐσωτέραν [And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.] The glory of God plays a key role, first in its departure in Ezekiel 1 and, then, in its return in chapter 43. Additionally, in Ezekiel 1 and 8, the prophet’s vision includes his “glimpse of part of the heavenly temple.”
2. Measuring language: The dimensions given in the Ezekiel visions all seem to be God’s heavenly temple rather than a temple in Jerusalem, as Ezekiel 43:12 suggests in referring to “the top of the mountain.”
Ezekiel takes nine chapters to show specific measurements for this future eschatological temple. G.K. Beale recognizes this same connection to the eschatological temple in Revelation 21 (“its length and width and height are equal”) and the measurement language in 1 Kings 5:17; 6:20–22; 7:9–10, even noting the dimensions of the “holy of holies” in 1 Kgs 6:20 ( length . . . and the breadth . . . and the height” of the holy of holies were equal in measurement).
3. The inner reference in Ezekiel’s description of the restored, future temple
4. The dwelling language (not lexical, but conceptual):
5. The glory filled the inner court/temple/house (with an antecedent to the wilderness tabernacle).
The overall effect of the restoration and measuring of God’s people and, as well, his temple is to assure the exiles God will bring about his promises, his remedy for the condition of exile. Beale points out, the “theophany of Yahweh in his heavenly temple was intended to reassure the prophet that the faithful among the exiles were still related to the true heavenly temple, though the old one had been decimated.” Measuring demonstrated surety of the vision and God’s abilityto bring it about.
Zechariah 6:11–15 and the future temple. Zechariah 6 combines a wide range of themes found in Chronicles (Kings), Ezekiel, and, as well, Ephesians concerning the (future) temple: The Branch-Son-temple-builder and those “far off” come to rebuild the temple.
Isaiah 11, the Spirit, and Messianic wisdom. Interesting, in Isaiah 11 the Spirit of the Lord rests upon the Branch (Isa 11:2), that is, “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding” (πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ συνέσεως), a word combination rarely used, is strongly associated with temple-building. The Ephesian parallels should be noted in Paul’s Ephesian prayers (1:10, 17; 3:10). Additionally, “wisdom” and “knowledge” is associated with the design and construction the temple (2 Chron 1:11, 12; 2:7, 12, 13). Paul connects wisdom (Eph 5:13) and Spirit in Eph 5:18, continuing to infer the corporate, local congregation reference to “inner man.” Eph 5:18 is a temple-filling (be filled in Spirit; note the plural) reference, similar as Paul’s prayer that the Ephesian congregation “be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (3:16b).
 Note the LXX utilizes esō, esōtatos, and esōteros with little lexical difference, save whatever the context is implying.
 1 Macc 9:54 (“the inner court of the Temple,” τῆς αὐλῆς τῶν ἁγίων τῆς ἐσωτέρας)
 G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004), 337.
 Jason Eric Beals, “National Restoration and the Divine Dwelling Place in Ezekiel 37:15–28,” Masters thesis (Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, CA, April 2013), 12. Also see Schmitt and Laney, “Messiah’s Coming Temple.” Also Ralph Alexander, “Ezekiel,” 6:943-96; Cooper, Ezekiel, 349-428.
 G. K. Beale, “Eden, the Temple, and the Church’s Mission in the New Creation,” J. Ev. Theol. Soc. 48/1 (March 2005) 5-31.
 An interesting OT text in light of Paul’s words of prohibition (And do not get drunk with wine . . .) and the (likely) temple reference (i.e., πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι, be filled in Spirit) in Eph 5:18.
 See Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, 337.
 Also Daniel 2, 7, the heavenly powers, and the whole earth. Christ’s expanded rule over the cosmos exercises authority over both the earth and the heavens: this makes total sense, namely the role of the temples where to illustrate and provide the means to appease both the earthly rulers and the heavenly deities who control the life upon the earth. The reference to “heavenly places” points to a cosmological mission, as Paul’s prayer implies, becomes localized in Ephesus through his body, his fullness in that place. The Daniel 7 “Son of Man” is linked in language and concept to the Ephesians 2 “one new man” (and Dan 7-8 present the one-and-the-many concept between the Son of Man and the saints of the Most High).
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.