Before we begin our look at the temple spoken of in Ezekiel Chapter 40-48 we need to answer the question as to why?
Why should we study about a relic from the Jewish age, especially about a building, a temple which was never built?
As Christians shouldn’t we rather concern ourselves with those things pertaining to the Gospel age, on the things which are, and on the things which shall soon come to pass? (Rev 1:19) Ah! Yes, but that’s precisely what we will be doing in our examination of Ezekiel’s Temple, you see this temple plays a prominent role in mankind’s future.
Now there is much debate amongst scholars as to whether Ezekiel’s temple and its various rites and services not much unlike the Tabernacle and its various services are to be considered literally or figuratively.
The Tabernacle as you know was an actual or literal structure, as were its services, but its true importance was in what it symbolized, for as you know the “blood of bulls and goats” which constituted the typical Day of Atonement sacrifices could never in reality take away sins (Heb 10:1-4), nevertheless the Tabernacle both in types and in shadows depicted the true means by which the at-one-ment or atonement between God and mankind was to be made, specifically by means of the “better sacrifices” (Heb 9:23), which would follow. Likewise the tabernacle revealed to us “a new and living way” (Heb 10:19, 20) opened by our Lord, a “narrow way” by which those willing to fully submit themselves to the Lord, willing to take up their cross and follow in His footsteps might gain life, and not just any life, but life inherent, immortality, the divine nature.
Moses built the typical tabernacle following God’s directions and so too Jesus following the Father’s directions is in the process of building the true tabernacle (Heb. 8:2; 9:11). Note: even the typical Tabernacle was referred to as “the Temple of the LORD.” (See 1 Sam 3:3)
The Tabernacle picture was but a temporary one, which well represents the body of Christ this side of the Vail as they “tabernacle” in their earthen bodies of clay awaiting the completion of their trial, and their ultimate change from earthly bodies to spirit bodies. The tabernacle as you recall ultimately gave place to the temple, the temple picture represents the church in its glorified condition.
“Solomon’s Temple was likewise once the “house of God”, but it became defiled (2 Chron 36:14). The defilement was a responsibility of both the priesthood and the people. Solomon’s Temple pictures the Temple of the Gospel Age, (the nominal spiritual house or temple,) which being defiled has since been rejected of the Lord (Rev 18:1-4). Thus another Temple is needed in the future: Ezekiel’s (the Third) Temple.” (The Book of Ezekiel, Page 62)
So once again, is this temple literal or symbolic?
Ezekiel’s Temple, which was never built, is a vision of Christ and the faithful church (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 3:16), it foreshadowed the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom on earth and the blessing of fleshly Israel and the whole world during the thousand-year kingdom of Christ when restitution blessings flow to all the willing and obedient. In fact everything pertaining to Ezekiel’s Temple its general construction, the duties of the Prince, the Levites, and the Priest are all connected to the Lord’s kingdom when fully established.
The fact that it was never built (by human hands) is because of what it represents, it is a picture of the Church, God’s workmanship Eph 2:10 (NOT man’s workmanship). Speaking of the New Jerusalem, John writes “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb (i.e. THE Christ, head and body) are the temple of it” (Rev 21:22).
Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house that you will build for me? And where is the place of my rest? (Isa 66:1)
“The true House or Temple of the Lord, the Third Temple if you will, Ezekiel’s Temple is even now in the process of being erected, but not by human hands, but by the Lord himself, “Behold The Man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.” (Zech 6:12)
All the various houses built for the Lord by the hands of men have since been reduced to ashes, but this last Temple is eternal for it is the Lord’s workmanship, built by his own hand.
“God’s temple is THE Christ, Jesus the Head and the Church his body (1 Pet 2:4, 5; 1 Cor 3:16, 17; Rev 3:12) of this temple it is written that it cannot be said “Lo here, or lo there” for it is a spiritual temple unseen to the natural mans eyes.” (Brother Meggison’s Notes, Page 730)
Having we believe shown the reason, the true reason why Ezekiel’s Temple was never “physically” constructed, we would like to suggest that this in no way prevents it from actually being built, perhaps sometime in the distant future, perhaps as an everlasting memorial to the Lord, a monument depicting the kingdom of God similar to how the Great Pyramid depicts the Divine Plan of the Ages. Perhaps mankind will visit this great monument in similar fashion as pilgrims make yearly journeys to Mica, NOT to offer sacrifices mine you, but to offer praises and glory to the Lord for all his goodness.
Now as for those who suggest that its various rites and services (i.e. blood sacrifices) will likewise be performed, we think not, the one sacrifice “once for all” depicted by the great altar in the midst of the temple representing our Lord’s great ransom sacrifice should prove more than sufficient in this capacity, there will be no need of animal sacrifices anymore, this we hope to explain in more detail as we examine more the particulars of Ezekiel’s Temple, besides we are assured that during the Millennium “nothing shall hurt nor offend in God’s kingdom of glory and peace”, peace will not only come to man, but to the brute creation as well.
“As the earth was part of man’s original estate, it too shared in the curse pronounced upon Adam: “…cursed is the ground for thy sake…” (Gen 3:17) In fact, “…the whole creation groans and travails in pain together…” (Rom 8:22) but, God has promised the restitution of all things provided by the sacrifice of Christ (Rom 8:19-23, Acts 3:20, 21), the entire work of the thousand year reign will consist in the restoring and making glorious God’s footstool.”
Continued with next post.