EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE WILL NEVER BE BUILT
EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE IS NOT A FUTURE TEMPLE
Ezekiel’s Temple is not a future temple. It was a temple that should have been built by the Jews when they returned from the Babylonian captivity. This article gives the reasons for this conclusion.
Ezekiel describes a temple that will have: animal sacrifices, mandatory circumcision: 44:9, separation between Jews and Gentiles: 43:10&11, a return to owning slaves: 46:17, a Temple only for the Jews: 43:10&11.
Because this vision of the Temple (40-48) follows the vision of the final regathering of the Jews and the battle of Gog and Magog (36-39) it has led many to believe it is in the future; but Ezekiel 40 does not follow 36-39 chronologically. This has led to confusion about the Temple being in the future. There is a 13 year gap between ch. 39 and ch. 40, see 32:1
ANIMAL SACRIFICES HAVE BEEN PUT AWAY FOREVER
The idea that there will be a future temple with animal sacrifices is flatly contradicted by everything written in the Epistles. (The Law was still in effect in the Gospels and Acts is a transitional book.)
One of the first books of the Bible that really interested me as a young Christian was the Book of Hebrews. I have read it in excess of a hundred times and studied it through in Greek, looking up every word in its occurrence in the New Testament. The book of Hebrews is a warning to Jews who had suffered persecution because they had become Christians. They were thinking about returning to the Temple and Judaism to escape persecution. The writer of Hebrews warns them that by doing this they would be rejecting Christ’s once for all sacrifice. He tells them that the animal sacrifices have been put away forever and that Christ’s sacrifice was the only sacrifice available to put away sins. Animal sacrifices were no longer valid and the old system would soon vanish away. The Temple would soon be destroyed and the customs of Moses changed.
Here is just one example from Hebrews: 10: 6-14 “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure. Then said I, See, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do your will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, See, I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From now on expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
The explanation for this problem is that the sacrifices are only “memorial” sacrifices. Yet Ezekiel plainly says they are sacrifices for guilt and sin: e.g., 43: 19-26 and 45: 17,22.
THERE IS NO MENTION OF EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Hebrews 8:8,9: ‘Behold, the days come when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.’ That new covenant has not yet been made with the nation of Israel, but only with the true Israel of God. Nor can it be made with the Jews until they say ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.’ But when that covenant is made, it will be ‘not according to the covenant ratified with animal sacrifices and associated with tabernacle service that I made with your fathers….’ But what Ezekiel describes is a re-institution of those very things. Therefore his code is not for Israel in the day when at last they receive the blessings of the New Covenant in Christ. “
EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUILT BY THE RETURNING JEWS
THE KEY TO THE VISION
The key to this vision of the Temple is found in these verses:
Eze. 43:9-11 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
These verses tell us that if the Jews thoroughly repented and were ashamed of all their sins; this temple could be realized when they returned from the Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel and the captive Jews were not interested in some distant Temple far in the future. They wanted to know what kind of Temple awaited their return. The destruction of Jerusalem and the first Temple is the context of the vision. 40:1 . What about Jerusalem? What about the temple? Will they be rebuilt?
THE JEWS ENDEAVORED TO FOLLOW EZEKIEL’S INSTRUCTIONS WHEN THEY RETURNED FRON BABYLON
Rabbi Sholoma Yitzchaki
“The second ascent to the Holy Land of Israel during the time of Ezra was meant to be like the first entry through Joshua—to come about by force and through a miracle. This is what the Talmud states, bringing proof from the verse where it states twice [the words] “cross over,” “Your people cross over, O G-d, until this nation that You have acquired crosses over.”
This building would have been fit for them then, when they emerged from exile, had there been an everlasting redemption. However, their sin caused this not to happen for their repentance was not suitable. In other words, they did not resolve to stop sinning. Therefore, they were freed only through the sanction of Cyrus and his son. Some say that their sin in Babylon was that they stumbled regarding gentile women.”
Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin
“Indeed, when the Rabbis referred to the second Temple period, they would say it was a partial redemption only. For not only were the Jews still under foreign rule, but the second Temple also lacked some key components—including the Holy Ark. However, even though the second Temple did not have the everlasting quality of the Temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy, the builders did incorporate certain parts of the prophecy into its construction.”
“The temple described by Ezekiel should have been built by the new colonists; the customs and usages which he orders should have been observed by them; the division of the country should have been followed by them. That the temple did not arise out of its ruins according to his model, and that his orders were in no manner obeyed, was the fault of Israel. How far were they behind the orders of their first lawgiver, Moses? What wonder, therefore, that they as little regarded their second lawgiver, Ezekiel?”
WHO IS THE PRINCE?
There is a Prince mentioned in the Temple vision that some say is Jesus or a resurrected David, but, he has a wife and family: 46:16,17, he is subject to death : 46:17,18, he must be warned against oppression: 45:8; 46:18, goes no further than the court of the priests: 46:2, offers sacrifice for sin: 45:22; 46:10-12.
More likely, this Prince would have been a man like Zerubbabel if they had repented and followed Ezekiel’s instructions.
EZEKIEL – THE SECOND LAWGIVER
“Israel, back from Babylon, needed a new code. They had no ark, no mercy seat therefore no Day of Atonement, no holy fire therefore no sacrifice. Lam. 2:6-9.The urim and thummim used by the priests could not be found. This is a new revelation for them emphasized by 40:4; 44:5; 43:10,11. In Ezekiel’s twenty-fifth year in Babylon 13 years after his previous prophecies about the valley of dry bones, he received a final vision. He saw a new Jerusalem and a new temple. Bear in mind, Ezekiel received this vision before the second temple was built in Jerusalem. His visions began with the destruction of the first temple; it is fitting that his visions end with the construction of the second temple.”
BACK FROM BABYLON THEY FOLLOWED EZEKIEL VERY LARGELY
The hints in Ezra and Nehemiah which connect their new temple with that described by Ezekiel are interesting and instructive.”
DIMENSIONS OF THE TEMPLE IN CYRUS DECREE IS IDENTICAL TO EZEKIEL’S
” In Ezra 6:3 the details of the decree of Cyrus include the actual dimensions as given by Ezekiel — central sanctuary 60 cubits long and 60 cubits high. These are the identical measurements which are to be deduced from Eze. 41:2,4.”
SECOND TEMPLE ACCORDING TO THE COMMAND OF GOD AND CYRUS
“Further, Ezra records that when the temple was finished, “they builded and finished it according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, etc.” 6:14. What command of God is referred to here? There is none to which reference can be made except Ezekiel 40-48.”
NO PRIVATE DWELLINGS IN JERUSALEM ACCORDING TO EZEKIEL’S PLAN
“It is useful also to recall that Ezekiel’s scheme required that Jerusalem be developed as a sanctuary area one mile square — approximately the size of the ancient city. There was to be no rebuilding of the business or residential area of the city, but instead Ezekiel planned another city called Jehovah-Shammah south of Jerusalem.”
“Apparently at this time other cities were being or had already been built, but not so the civilian part of Jerusalem Neh. 11: 20. This is a very extraordinary and significant fact. Similarly, as Ezekiel had planned for the Levitical ministers to have cities to dwell in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem Eze. 45:5 Septuagint, so under Nehemiah ‘the singers builded themselves villages round about Jerusalem’ Neh. 12:29. Yet ‘the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded’ 7:4.”
“Indeed, the few who were now dwelling in the city did so ‘that in the night they may be a guard unto us, and may labor in the day’ 4:22.”
HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH, AND MALACHI RECORD THE FAILURE OF JEWS
“But the people of Israel were unable to carry the project through to its culmination. Their own efforts were halfhearted.”
When the Jews returned from their exile in Babylon, and they began to build a new temple, we see that, though initially excited to rebuild Jerusalem, had actually become worse by the time of their return from the exile. Ezra 9.6 They were more interested in their own houses than the Temple. God sent at least three prophets Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi to them, to warn them to repent, turn back to the Covenant, and build the Temple.
“They broke the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13.15-18 They married pagans. Nehemiah 13.23-27″
THE PROMISED LAND WAS DESCRIBED BUT THEY FAILED TO POSSESS IT TOO
Some say that God would not spend so much detail on a Temple that would never be built, but a large part of the book of Joshua has many details about the Promised land that was never fully realized either.
“After Moses died, God told Joshua that he would be leading the Children of Israel across the Jordan River into the “Promised Land.” God reminded Joshua where the geographic boundaries were. For a detailed description of the boundaries, from landmark to landmark, read Numbers 34:2-18. The Promised Land would encompass over 300,000 square miles.”
THEY TOO BEGAN, BUT DID NOT COMPLETE
The “Promised Land” never fully became the “Possessed Land.”
The most that the Israelites ever possessed was about 10%., a mere 30,000 square miles.
As Christians, every promise in the Bible is given to us to possess, but do we possess every promise in the Bible? How many of God’s promises have we made our own by conquest? They are given to us but we must take possession of them and make them our own.
Unfortunately, the Church, like Israel, has failed to claim the possessions given by the Lord.
EZEKIEL’S VISION WILL BE REALIZED IN THE NEW JERUSALEM
God’s plans never fail. What Ezekiel envisioned will one day be realized in the New Jerusalem where you will find many similarities with Ezekiel’s Temple vision.
Eze. 40:2 In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.
Rev. 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
But, the New Jerusalem will be for all nations, not just the Jews; the gates will never be shut, there will be no Temple, no slaves, and no animal sacrifices.
Note: Some parts of Ezekiel’s vision were not to be taken literally but figurative, e.g. the river from the Temple. 47:1-12
By: Mike Clinton, Hiawassee Ga., Oct.1, 2013
HERE IS A VIDEO OF WHAT THIS TEMPLE WOULD LOOK LIKE IF IT WERE BUILT TODAY:
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