| The book of Ezekiel describes a future Temple its makeup and service with great detail. Ezekiel was trained as a priest before his freedom was taken and Jerusalem trodden down, her inhabitants taken captive. God commissioned Ezekiel as a prophet, a spokesman for God, so he served that commission in the Babylonian exile with a unique priestly perspective. Ezekiel is called "the father of Judaism" because of his influence on worship without the Temple. It was however, Ezekiel and the heart of the Israelites who looked forward to fellowship with the Lord through worship in the Temple. It was Ezekiel who prophesied the method of worship for the millennial Temple. Worship that is significantly different than that prescribed for Mosiac Temple worship. This final article describes worship for Ezekiel's final chapters.|
Worship In the period before the Mosiac Law, worship was primarily a spontaneous act involving individuals like Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3-4), Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (Gen. 22:5), Isaac (Gen. 26:23-25) and Jacob (Gen. 35:1-7). Worship involved a blood sacrifice, a right heart, and devotion to the One True God. It involved the killing of an animal, no doubt reflecting the act of the Lord who provided a covering for Adam and Eve whose disobedient act brought sin to the human race through the fall. The bloody act reflecting the death that resulted from the fall and a sober reflection of a holy, just, yet merciful God. A God who so loved the world that He provided a way for mankind to call it like it is – a way for sinful mankind to come before a holy, just God to confess the greatness of God and the sinfulness of self. To confess – to call it like it is!
Worship always involves God's word and acknowledging the truth of who He is – the Creator of the all things. He has so graciously written down His word for us to know, His word that pierces our hearts resulting in praise and song as we recognize how great and awesome a God He is. As we acknowledge for His works, provision and goodness to His creation. The Hebrew word for worship is the verb shachah meaning "to bow down." The idea is one of reverence as one comes into the presence of the holy God who is the omnipotent creator of the universe. The psalmist puts millennial worship into perspective when he writes:
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! 2 Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious. 3 Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name." Selah (Psalm 66:1-4)
Worship in the Mosiac Law Period Worship during the Mosiac Law involved the word of God (2 Chr. 6:4-11; Neh. 9:3-38), songs of praise and music, (1 Chr. 16:6, 42-43; 2 Chr. 5:13; Ps. 150), public prayer (Deu. 26:15), public testimonies, and blood sacrifices and offerings. There were special days and feasts, all of which required that the worshiper worship the One True God and Him only.
Worship during this period involved the institution of the Tabernacle then Temple. A detailed method is laid out describing how the chosen sinful tribe was to properly approach a holy God; worship that was uniquely different from any other tribe of the earth. Mosaic Worship served to further set God's chosen people apart from the world with dietary, clothing and even manner of life requirements that all spoke to the people revealing the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God.
The Lord Himself fulfilled the Law (Matt. 5:17), thus abolishing the ordinances of the Law (Eph. 2:14-15). He completed what it pointed to (Heb. 8:5-6; 9:11-15, 23-28), bearing its curse on the cross (Gal. 3:13) thus ending its burden (Rom. 7:4-6; 10:1-5; Gal. 3:24-25) and giving us freedom from it (John 8:31-36; Gal. 5:1).
Worship in the Church Age During the Church age blood sacrifices are not required. Instead, the believer is to observe the communal meal which memorializes the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Christ. A new body of believers is formed in the Church which is made up of both Jew and Gentile. The Word of God is prominent in worship, along with songs of praise and music. Public prayer and testimonies are also part of the worship of our Lord God – the Only True God.
Worship during the Millennium During the millennium, worship will again involve blood sacrifices. The Lord Himself will teach us His Word and praise, song and music will return to the Temple. In the millennium the Lord will be Israel's God and they will be His people (Ezek. 36:28). Not only will Israel rejoice in the salvation of the Lord, but Gentiles will celebrate the great work He has done as He judges the world for rebellion against the Lord and His people Israel and His Church. The world will acknowledge the Lord and Him only.
The Temple in the Millennium A large portion of the prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 40-48 deals with the temple, its structure, priesthood, ritual, and ministry. This should not be overlooked since the Temple will be the central place of the millenium! The place where the Lord Himself will dwell!
The Temple will not just be a place of worship for Israel, but Gentiles will partake in its ministry. In citing Isaiah, Jesus tells Israel that God's house will be a house of prayer for all the nations (Isa. 56:7; Mark 11:17).
The Location. In the first place, the Temple is located in Israel proper, but not necessarily in the city of Jerusalem that we know today. Though a city will be located outside the Temple proper. The land in view in Ezekiel 40-48 is the land given to the tribes where the land is finally divided up and distributed to the tribes (Ezek. 45). This is in fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant (cf. Gen. 12, 15, 17), and in particular, the Land Covenant (cf. Deu. 30). The Lord calls the land of Judah "Holy Land" making it the unique place of promise (cf. Zech. 2:12-13). Each tribe is to receive a section of land, but the first part is to be set aside for the Lord. It is called a holy section of land for the priests to minister (45:1).
The area for the holy sanctuary will consist of (a) the Temple, (b) a place for the houses of the priests, and (c) a place for the Levites in chambers in the sanctuary. This same idea of dividing the land up for the tribes is the same as was intended in Joshua's day according to lot, where the Levites did not receive a portion of land but was instead given cities to dwell in (Num. 35:2; Josh 21:2). However, the uniqueness of the millennium finds the place for the priests and Levites localized and particular to the Temple.
In addition, just adjacent to this holy area will be located property for the city, a holy district for the whole house of Israel (45:6). A special place for the Prince will be allocated on both sides of the city.
Structure of the Temple. The structure of the millennial temple is unique in its organization and decoration (Ezek 41). The structure has various gates, east, north and south (but no west gate). It has various chambers and archways leading to the various areas. The structure's three stories contain chambers on each level. The Temple has an alter in front of the holy place, and a holy of holies. But, this temple does not have a veil, an ark, or a high priest. The walls are lined with carved cherubim and palm trees. Each cherubim has two faces, the face of a man faced the palm tree, while the face of a lion faced the other palm tree (41:18-19).
The temple is surrounded by an area called the separate place which surrounds the temple on all sides except the east where the porch is located. Dr. Pentecost notes, "It is noteworthy that in all the description there is no mention of an ark, or mercy seat, or veil, or cherubim above the mercy seat, or tables of stone. The only article of furniture described is the table or altar of wood (41:22) that answers to the table of shewbread, that which bespeaks communion with God." (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 515)
Purpose. The purpose of the Temple is given by Unger as (1) "To demonstrate God's holiness (42:1-20). This is the pervading theme of the entire book and especially so in the purpose and details of the kingdom temple (cf. 43:10). The holiness of the Lord is further emphasized by the principle of separation. At the very outset the wall separating the courts and temple from all that is introduced (40:5). The cell buildings, 42:1-14, are called holy and have a similar function of separation. The established separation of the whole enclosure is set forth, 15-20. (2) To provide a dwelling place for the divine glory (43:1-17). Ezekiel sees the return of the glory to take up residence in the temple's holy of holies during the kingdom age, as he had seen its departure before the fall of the city in 586 B.C. (cf. 9:3; 10:4; 11:23-24). 'This is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever.' (3) To provide a center for the divine government (43:7). 'This is the place of My throne' (cf. Isa. 2:2-3; Mic. 4:2). The theocratic administration throughout the vision is stressed. (4) To perpetuate the memorial of sacrifice (43:18-27). This sacrifice, of course, is not rendered with a view of obtaining salvation, but it is commemorative of an accomplished redemption maintained in the presence of the revealed glory of God." (Merrill Unger, Unger's Bible Handbook, p. 380)
As can be seen, the millennial Temple brings the glory of the Lord back and all Israel will worship the Lord in peace. It is there that He will fulfill all His promises of righteousness in both manner of true worship and government. His earthly kingdom reign is displayed in all it's splendor and glory in the Temple on the hill - Zion.
The Lord in the Millennium Central to the millennium is the Lord Himself. The Lord will return physically, a bodily return in the same way that He ascended into heaven (cf. Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:30; Rev. 1:7). He will return in His resurrection body! The prophet Isaiah speaks of the millennial character of the Lord like this:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
In the millennium the whole world will worship the Lord God:
It will be in that day that all the world will go up to the mountain of the Lord to worship Him. Notice what the prophet Zechariah says, "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zech 14:16)
It is clear that not only will Jesus return to re-establish the Davidic Kingdom (Amos 9:11-12; Ezek. 37:24-26; Luke 1:33-33; etc), but bring spiritual revival to Israel (Jer. 31:31-34; Rom. 11:26-27).
The Theocratic Kingdom. The uniqueness of the millennial kingdom is that Christ will act as King in the promised Davidic Kingdom. Dr. Chafer writes:
"Every Old Testament prophecy on the kingdom anticipates His kingly office: (a) Christ will yet sit on the throne as David's heir (2 Sam. 7:16; Ps. 89:20-37; Isa. 11:1-16; Jer. 33:19-21). (b) He came as a King (Luke 1:32-33). (c) He was rejected as a king (Mark. 15:12-13; Luke 19:14; cf. Gen. 37:8; Ex. 2:14). (d) He died as a King (Matt. 27:37). (e) When He comes again, it is as a King (Rev. 19:16; cf. Luke 1:32-33)." (L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol 3, p. 233).
The Lord's Kingdom reign is made clear in the New Testament! Dr. Couch writes, "The New Testament proclaims loud and clear that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Messiah! When Christ's birth was announced to Mary the angel said: 'He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of Him father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.'" (Luke 1:32-33) (Mal Couch, For the Cause of Zion, p. 123)
The character of the age is found in Isaiah 11:4, "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked."
The Extent of His Rule is Over the Entire Earth His rule is over the entire earth. It was God's intent from the beginning of the creation of man that the earth should be ruled over by man. Adam sacrificed his right to rule when sin entered the human race. God's purpose, however, is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In Psalm 2:6-9 God declares His purpose to set His king in Zion who will have as His possession 'the uttermost parts of the earth." (John Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, p. 301)
The Satisfaction of His Rule Over Israel Israel was not satisfied with the their theocratic rule. They wanted to be like the rest of the nations who had kings (1 Sam. 8:4). The book of 1 Samuel describes the destruction of the priestly family of Eli and the general downgrading of worship in Israel and her demand for a king. This was seen as a rejection of the Lord by the people (1 Sam. 8:7), so they get a king – Saul, a powerful, handsome Benjamite. A king who lacked devotion to the Lord and sought advise from a witch.
The Lord, however, will return and rule Israel in a just and proper way. He alone will show Israel what a true King is like in a theocratic rule where both Priest and King are joined in a Malchizedekian priesthood that will last forever (Gen. 14:18; Heb. 5:6; 6:20; 7:1-28; Ps. 110:4).
The Character of the Kingdom The kingdom will be characterized by righteousness. This is the ethical part of a legal system. Not only does a kingdom have a land (the whole earth), a people (all the people of the earth) it also has a law – the law of the land. This law is marked by Christ who is not only the law-giver, but the judge who will deal righteously in that day. Sin will not go unpunished! Those who are in open rebellion will be put to death (Isa. 66:20, 24; Zech. 14:16-19). Dr. Walvoord writes, "While it is obvoius that even under the rule of Christ there will arise from children born in the millennium those who merely profess to follow the King without actually being saints, the true character of these is manifested at the end of the millennium in the final revolt. Meanwhile they will be forced to obey the King or be subject to the penalty of death or other chastisement." (Walvoord, p. 302)
Holiness The central characteristic of the kingdom age is holiness, righteousness and knowledge. Isaiah 11 describes the millennial reign of the Lord. A time when "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Isa. 11:9). The Hebrew word used for knowledge used in Isaiah 11 reflects a complete knowledge, a complete understanding and is particular to the knowledge of God.
Righteousness Another characteristic of the Lord in the millennium is the glory of the Lord or the Shechinah Glory. Not only will the Shechinah Glory be in the Holy of Holies, but will be a wall of fire around Jerusalem (Zech. 2:4-5). All flesh will see it in that day (Isa. 40:5).
The Word of God The Lord Himself will teach the world from His holy mountain (Isa. 2:3).
And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war. (Isa. 2:3-4)
Ezekiel records, "His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory." (Ezek. 43:2).
Life centers around the Lord. He is the Bead of Life. "The orthodox [Jew] also made a connection with the coming of the Messiah and the bread coming out of heaven. They said 'that in the days of the Messiah the treasury of manna will again descend from on high.' Christ spoke of Himself as similar to the manna. He said that He Himself was 'the living bread' that came down out of heaven. He said however that He is not like the manna which was only temporary fod. The Jews who ate that finally died, but those who partake of Him as the living spiritual bread 'shall live forever' (John 6:51-58)." (Mal Couch, For the Cause of Zion, p. 127)
The Manner of Worship After a proper consecration of the altar (43:18-27), worship may begin. The attitude of the millennium is holiness, peace, security, joy, and gladness, because the prince of peace reigns on His throne (Isa. 32:16-20; 35:5-10; 51:3; 55:12-13; 61:10-11), and because of what He has done for His name's sake (Isa. 66:5; Ezek. 20:9).
Isaiah puts it this way, "I will greatly rejoice, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord Jehovah will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations" (Isa. 61:10-11).
This attitude is not only held by the Jew of that day, but by the gentle who will also share in the great joy of the day. Micah points out, "…many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem…" (Micah 4:1-2).
The Priests It is the Temple that serves as the focal point of worship in the millennium. This, after all, is the place where the Lord's glory will be. The Temple will have a proper order to it. There will be priests that are descendents of Zadok, a particular branch of the Levites that will be responsible for the alter and sacrifices, who personally come near and minister to the Lord (40:45-46; 43:19; 44:15). They are to stand before the Lord to offer the fat and blood (44:15). They are allowed to enter the sanctuary, and when they enter the inner court they are required to wear special linen garments – no wool (44:17), (a) linen turbans on their heads (44:18), and (b) linen trousers on their bodies (44:18). No clothes that contain sweat are allowed. And when they leave the sanctuary to see the people they are to change garments leaving the garments in the holy chamber (44:19). In addition, their hair shall not be long nor shaved (44:20), and neither are they allowed to drink wine when they enter the inner court (44:21). They may have only one wife who is Jewish and was a virgin or a widow of a priest (44:22).
The priestly duties are (a) to teach the difference between holy and unholy, clean and unclean (44:22-23), (b) to act as judges (44:24), and (c) shall live holy lives, observing appointed times and days. They shall not come near dead bodies except in the case of a family member (44:25). They shall have no possessions for God is their possession (44:28), and they shall eat the best that is reserved for them (44:29-30). The priests are to eat of the holy offerings presented (a) the grain offering; (b) the sin offering; and (c) the trespass offering. In addition, they are to observe the ordinances of the alter which include sacrificing burnt offerings and sprinkling blood on it (43:18).
The Levites The Levites will be in charge of the temple, a ministry of guarding and maintaining the temple but are excluded from priestly service (40:45-46). They will be gatekeepers of the house (44:11), and will slay the burnt offerings for the people (44:11). They shall not be as priests but keep charge of the temple for its works (44:13-14).
The Temple Singers There will be singers present with a chamber just for them but not much else is said of their ministry in the millennial Temple (40:44). It may be the case that their function, selection, and duties did not change from what was known in Ezekiel's day. That is, singers were selected from the among the Levites (1 Chron. 9:33; 15:16). David himself spoke to the chief Levite to appoint singers along with and psalms, lifting these up with joy (1 Chron. 15:16; cf. Ps. 84). Possibly sons of Heman, Asaph, Ethan, and Jeduthun (1 Chron. 15:19; 2 Chron. 5:12). Possibly numbering more than one hundred and fifty (2 Chron. 5:12). Their instruments were cymbals, harps, trumpets, and instruments of music (2 Chron. 5:13).
The Prince There is the Prince who will serve a special place in the Temple and act as priest. This is an apparent new position in the Temple, acting something like a governor-priest whose ministry is to insure proper measures and organization of Temple feasts and services (45:9-17). Though the identity of the Prince is not disclosed, most identify him as the resurrected David or a descendent of David who will have sons (46:16). If this is not the resurrected David, where then does one find David in the millennium? The East gate is shut permanently except on rare occasion because the Lord entered that gate with all His glory. Only the prince may be at the gate. He is allowed to enter by the archway and eat there.
Concerning the prince, Dr. Grant writes, "He seems to occupy an intermediary place between the people and the priesthood, since he is found among the former in their seasons of worship, not among the priests, nor privileged to enter the inner court, yet drawing nearer than the people themselves, since he may worship in the inner east gate which opens upon the inner court, while the people worship in the outer court as gathered at the door of this gate." (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 523)
The Prince is to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offering at the feast, New Moons, Sabbaths and appointed seasons (45:17). The Prince functions as an overseer of Temple services.
The east gate is only to be opened on the Sabbath and New Moon at which time the Prince is to perform the offerings (46:1-8). The North gate is for the people (46:9). They are to enter on the appointed feast days by the north and exit by way of the south. The South gate is also for the people (46:9). They, likewise, are to enter the south and exit by way of the north.
There shall be presented daily burnt offering to the Lord (46:13). The burnt offering shall be a lamb of the first year without blemish and a grain offering also presented every morning. These are said to be "a perpetual ordinance" (46:14).
The People and Idols One interesting item to point out is that no foreigner shall enter the Lord's sanctuary, either uncircumcised in heart or flesh (44:9). There is some disagreement as to who the uncircumcised in flesh are. The verse is literally "every foreign son, uncircumcised of heart or uncircumcised of flesh shall not come into My holy place." While Kiel & Delitzsch believe the foreigner to be gentiles, Raschi believes the use of the word "son" implies they are Jews who "had fallen into heathen idolatry." (Kiel & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament) The point is made clear in its context. Ezekiel explains clearly that they are both the heathen that Israel had brought into the sanctuary and Jew who followed the heathen into idolatry:
5 The LORD said to me, Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say to you concerning all the statutes of the house of the LORD and concerning all its laws; and mark well the entrance of the house, with all exits of the sanctuary. 6 You shall say to the rebellious ones, to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD, Enough of all your abominations, O house of Israel, 7 when you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to profane it, even My house, when you offered My food, the fat and the blood; for they made My covenant void—this in addition to all your abominations. 8 And you have not kept charge of My holy things yourselves, but you have set foreigners to keep charge of My sanctuary. 9 Thus says the Lord GOD, No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the sons of Israel, shall enter My sanctuary. 10 But the Levites who went far from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, shall bear the punishment for their iniquity. (Ezek. 44:5-10)
The Lord is recalling the generations of Israel that had mixed foreign worship. Shortly after the First Temple was built by Solomon, God says, "
6 But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, 'Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?' 9 Then they will answer, 'Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this calamity on them.' (1 Kgs. 9:6-9)
Dr. Prices writes, "The seeds of the Temple's destruction were first sown when Solomon established multiple centers for idolatrous worship. His political marriages had a part in this – as part of his contractual agreement, Solomon had to provide for the worship practices of his 1,000 foreign wives and concubines (1 Kings 11:1-3). (Price, pp. 70-71)
There will never again be idols in the House of the Lord - no more foreign objects of worship. There will be only one God and He is the Lord!
The People - Israel The people will rejoice, sing and be of one mind:
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the LORD restores Zion. 9 Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. (Isa. 52:8-9)
National Israel will be saved, the covenant made with Abraham and expanded with the Land, Seed and New covenants (cf. Gen. 12, 15; Deu. 30; 2 Sam. 7; Jer. 31) will be fulfilled in the millennium, "My Spirit" and "My words" will never depart (Isa. 59:21).
Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost summarizes Israel in the millennium: Israel will become the subject of the King's reign (Isa. 9:6-7; 33:17, 22; 44:6; Jer. 23:5; Mic. 2:13; 4:7; Dan. 4:3; 7:14, 22, 27). In order to be subjects, Israel, first will have been converted and restored to the land. Second, Israel will be reunited as a nation (Jer. 3:18; 33:14; Ezek. 20:40; 37:15-22; 39:25; Hos. 1:11). Third, the nation will again be related to Jehovah by marriage (Isa. 54:1-17; 62:2-5; Hos. 2:14-23). Fourth, she will be exalted above the Gentiles (Isa. 14:1-2; 49:22-23; 60:14-17; 61:6-7). Fifth, Israel will be made righteous (Isa. 1:25; 2:4; 44:22-24; 45:17-25; 48:17; 55:7; 57:18-19; 63:16; Jer. 31:11; 33:8; 50:20, 34; Ezek. 36:25-26; Hos. 14:4; Joel 3:21; Mic. 7:18-19; Zech. 13:9; Mal. 3:2-3). Sixth, the nation will become God's witness during the millennium (Isa. 44:8, 21; 61:6; 66:21; Jer 16:19-21; Mic. 5:7; Zeph. 3:20; Zech. 4:1-7; 4:11-14; 8:23). Seventh, Isreal will be beautiful to bring glory to Jehovah (Isa. 62:3; Jer. 32:41; Hos. 14:5-6; Zeph. 3:16-17; Zech. 9:16-17).
Finally, Israel will rejoice as the Lord dwells with them in a place where His holy name will never again be defiled:
He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever. And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their harlotry and by the corpses of their kings when they die, 8 by setting their threshold by My threshold and their door post beside My door post, with only the wall between Me and them. And they have defiled My holy name by their abominations which they have committed. So I have consumed them in My anger. (Ezek. 43:7-8)
The Feast Days of Old The feast days are special days the Lord set aside for Israel to observe and they serve to point forward to specific figures concerning the Lord. Some of these feasts will continue in the millennium but others will not. Here is how all the feasts are figured.
The Spring Feasts The spring feasts are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost.
Passover. Passover was the first of the spring holy days and the first of three annual pilgrimage feasts required by all Jewish males to celebrate at the Temple in Jerusalem. Passover commemorated the historical deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Death passed over the one who placed the blood of the lamb over the threshold of the door. The feast foreshadowed redemption through the crucifixion of the Lamb of God - Jesus Himself who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Feast of Unleavened Bread. The day after Passover begins the week long feast of Unleavened Bread. During the week the nation is to do no work. On the first and last days the people are to offer sacrifices. The feast emphasized Israel's separation from the world. It also foreshadowed the sinless humanity of Jesus, or theologically - the impeccability of Jesus. Jesus is called the bead of life (John 6:35). It is because He was sinless in His humanity that He was the only possible acceptable sacrifice, once for all.
Feast of First Fruits. The Feast of First Fruits is celebrated on the day after the Sabbath following Passover. "Worshipers brought the first sheaf of barley into the Temple, and the priest waved it before the Lord. Then the priests threshed the barley, ground the grain into flour, and offered it to the Lord as a grain offering along with a quart of wine. The first fruits symbolized divine blessing and were a guarantee that the harvest would be bountiful." (Robert Dean in Tim LaHaye, Ed Hindson gen, ed., The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy, p. 108)
The feast foreshadowed Christ as the First Fruits of the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20). Like the feast, the resurrection of Christ guarantees the harvest that is to follow.
Pentecost. Fifty days after First Fruits is the feast of Pentecost (The Feast of Weeks). The third annual pilgrimage feast that celebrated the wheat harvest and God's provision. The central feature of the day was the offering of two loaves of bread for the people from the firstfruits of the wheat harvest. It was a day of thanksgiving in which free-will offerings were made. The feast represented the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit under the terms of the New Covenant.
Fall Feasts The fall feasts are the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles.
Feast of Trumpets. The new moon of the seventh month marked the beginning of Rosh Hashanah – the civil new year. It was also called Yom Terua "the day of sounding" and hence referred to as the Feast of Trumpets. The day marked the high holy days in Judaism as the Day of Atonement follows ten days later. It is a day of retrospection, prayer, and repentance. It is said that on this day God judges all men for their deeds and decides who shall live or die, prosper or suffer adversity (Wycliff Bible Dictionary, p. 604). The Feast of Trumpets anticipates the future regathering of Israel.
Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur ("day of covering") is not a feast but a solemn day and represented the atonement offered for the high priest, the people, and the sanctuary. This day was a day of fasting and after offering a young bullock for a sin offering for himself and his house, the high priest presented the two goats, cast lots over them, one marked for Jehovah, the other for Azazel (scapegoat). The goat marked for the Lord was slain and the scapegoat was brought forward, the high priest, laying hands upon it, confessing over it all the sins of the people, then it was sent into uninhabited wilderness. The two goats were looked upon as one offering. The Day of Atonement foreshadowed the national repentance of Israel at the Second Coming.
Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles also called the Feast of Booths, or Ingathering occurred when the harvest was finally in and the people rejoiced that all was complete. The feast lasted seven days. The people gathered fruit and dwelt in booths made of branches and tree foliage to commemorate the complete provision of God and their wilderness wanderings when their fathers dwelt in temporary shelters. Sacrifices were more numerous during this feast than at any other, consisting of 189 animals for the seven day period. When the feast coincided with a sabbatical year, the law was read publicly to the entire congregation at the sanctuary (Deut. 31:10-13). The booths were dismantled on the last day, and on the eighth day a holy convocation was observed. The feast is a memorial of Israel's redemption from Egypt and foreshadows her regathering and restoration at the Second Coming.
The Feast Days of the Millennium There will be a limited set of feast days celebrated during the millennium. Absent will be the feast of Pentecost, First-Fruits, Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement. There will be: The New Year's Feast (Ezek. 45:18-20), Passover/Unleavened Bread (Ezek. 45;21-24), and the Seven Day Feast of Tabernacles (Ezek. 45:25). Included as feasts is the Sabbath days and New Moons.
New Year's Feast. The New Year's Feast is something new. It involves the first day of the first year and also the seventh day of the seventh month. Hence, this feast involves the first month of both the civil and religious calendar! It is to be performed on the first day of the first month where a young bull without blemish is to be sacrificed and the sanctuary cleansed. On the seventh day of the seventh month a young bull shall be sacrificed to cleanse the people, that is, "for anyone who has sinned unintentionally or in ignorance. Thus you shall make atonement for the temple" (Ezek. 45:20).
We see in the millennium a combining of the civil and religious systems as they come together in a theocratic kingdom where the Lord will reign in a unique Melchizedekian priesthood.
Passover/Unleavened Bread. This feast lasts for seven days and starts on the fourteenth day of the first month. But it also includes a feast week on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. The details are as follows:
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. 22 On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering. 23 During the seven days of the feast he shall provide as a burnt offering to the LORD seven bulls and seven rams without blemish on every day of the seven days, and a male goat daily for a sin offering. 24 He shall provide as a grain offering an ephah with a bull, an ephah with a ram and a hin of oil with an ephah. 25 In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month, at the feast, he shall provide like this, seven days for the sin offering, the burnt offering, the grain offering and the oil. (Ezek. 45:21-25)
The Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles is slightly different than that from the Mosiac system. There is a difference in the number of offerings and no eighth day. The feast is mandatory for both Jew and Gentile. Those who do not send a representative to Jerusalem for this feast will not receive rain (Zech. 14:17).
Daily Service, Weekly Sabbath and Monthly New Moon Service. Along with the feast days will be the daily service (45:13), weekly Sabbaths (46:3) and monthly New Moon (46:3) services which all involve a blood sacrifice with gain and oil offerings. Though, there is no mention of a wine offering, indicating the absence of the aging process as people will live as long as in the days before the flood, where 100 years is seem as young (Isa. 65:20).
There is the voluntary burnt and peace offering prepared by the prince which is prepared as it is on the daily Sabbath offering.
Gentile Worship Gentiles who survive the Judgment of the Gentiles for their treatment of Israel are the ones who will enter and populate the gentile nations in the Millennium. Dr. Fruchtenbaum says, "These are the sheep Gentiles who, because of their faith shown by their pro-Semitism, will be able to participate in and populate the Kingdom." (Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 493).
In the Millennium, the Lord will be the center of Gentile attraction as they seek Him (Isa. 11:10), as He is the light to them (Isa. 49:5-7). They will be subject to the King and receive justice from Him (Isa. 42:1) in His reign. All the kings of the Gentiles will worship Him (Isa. 49:7). It is clear that even the offerings of the Gentiles will be accepted upon the Lord's alter (Isa. 56:4-5). In fact, Gentile inclusion in the Temple worship is said to be brought by "the children of Israel" to the house of the Lord (Isa. 66:18-24). The Gentiles will come to worship on the Sabbaths and New Moons (Isa. 66:23) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16-19). And for those who transgress against the Lord will die and their bodies and be seen (Isa. 66:24). For those who do not pay obligatory tribute on the Feast of Tabernacles will have their rain withheld from them for a year (Zech. 14:16-17).
Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. (Isa. 56:7)
Healing Waters Flowing under and out from the Temple toward the east will be flowing water (Ezek. 47:1-2). The water flowing forms a river that runs to the sea, and by the time it reaches the sea its waters are healed (Ezek. 47:9). The waters will flow into the sea which Unger identifies as the Dead or Salt Sea "whose poisonous waters will be healed (2 Kg. 2:19, 22; Isa. 11:6,9), making it teem with life." (Merrill Unger, Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 1598). "And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live" (47:9). But, its swamps and marshes will not be healed and given over to salt (47:10-11), showing that the kingdom age will not be sinless – though sin will be greatly restrained!
Along with the healing waters are the healing trees. These trees grow along the bank of the river and seem to be of diverse species that bear fruit for food that do not fail, leaves that will not wither providing medicine. They bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary (47:12).
This healing waters reflects the fact that the curse will be lifted during the millennium. Dr. Walvoord wrotes, "Another important factor in the millennium is the fact that the curse which descended upon the physical world because of Adam's sin apparently is lifted during the millennium." (John Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, p. 317)
The removal of the curse brings long life, their labor not hindered by the curse and the Lord will hear our voice (Isa. 65:17-25).
Conclusion Worship in the Millennium will be presented at a Temple whose presence is glorified by the Lord Himself. The worship will consist of a sincere heart which sings the praises of the Lord. There will continue to be a distinction between Jew and Gentile. Even among the Jew, certain ones will be commissioned to perform priestly duties, certain ones maintenance duties, and a special prince who will perform special duties on special days.
The reinstitution of the sacrificial system instituted in the millennium will have some features similar to the Mosaic system along with some brand new laws. Dr Fruchtenbaum writes, "For this very reason, the sacrificial system of the Millennium must not be view as a reinstitution of the Mosaic system, because it is not. It will be a brand-new system that will contain some things old and some things new, and will be instituted for an entirely different purpose."( Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 460)
But joy, peace and righteousness will reign in the Kingdom for the Lord as He will be presiding as Priest and King. Healing waters will flow and healing trees will provide medicine and food without fail. Dr. Benware says, "The millennial kingdom will be a wonderfully spiritual time. First and foremost, the risen, glorified Lord Jesus Himself will be present. This fact alone sets this period apart from all others. Then the apostle John saw this glorious Lord, he could do nothing but prostrate himself before Him. Certainly this will be the response of all the subjects of His kingdom." (Paul Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy, p. 333)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Posted by Scofield Prophecy Studies at 8:30 PM
Monday, January 12, 2009
|In the previous article the subject of hermeneutics and Biblical interpretation was examined in light of Ezekiel's Temple. In this article some of the physical and procedural characteristics of Ezekiel's Temple will be examined and compared with other Jewish temples in history.|
The Temple is seen as real and literal in the Messianic Millennial Kingdom not only by Ezekiel who was a prophet during the exile, but through the pre-exilic prophets: Isaiah (Isa. 2:3; 60:13), Jeremiah (Jer. 33:18), Joel (Joel 3:18), Micah (Mic. 4:2), and the post-exilic prophets Haggai (Hag. 2:7-9), and Zechariah (Zech. 6:12-15; 14:16, 20-21).
One can measure a major period of Temple history by the Babylonian exile because Israel's Temple was destroyed. So the prophets immediately before the exile are called the pre-exilic writing prophets. The prophets of exile are the exilic writing prophets and the prophets after the exile are the post-exilic writing prophets.
The pre-exilic prophets often prophesy against the nation's lack of reverence and adultery in the Temple then turn to speak of a day when worship in the Temple will be pure containing worshipers who possess a pure heart.
Exilic prophets again speak of the nation's failure in worshiping the only true God, so the Temple was removed from them. But they also speak of a period when a new Temple will be built.
The post-exilic prophets speak of the lack of the presence of God in the rebuilt Temple, but God will shake the heavens and earth and a new Temple will return with the presence of God.
The Meeting Place of God Before sin entered the world, the Lord met with Adam in the Garden. There was no separation, God met and talked to man without separation. After the fall the world changed drastically as Eden, that unique place where God dwelt with man was placed off limits (Gen. 3:24). A physical separation occurred and the special relationship between God and man was broken, never to return again until the Millennium.
Some 2,500 years later, after God chose a particular people and that people was taken into Egyptian bondage and released, God directed man to build a temporary structure in the form of the tabernacle. The word tabernacle comes to the English from the Latin tabernaculum "a hut," "tent." The Hebrew is mishkan meaning "a dwelling place," or simply "dwellings," and has its Biblical roots in the portable tent that God directed Moses to construct in all it's detail as the Israelites traveled in the desert (Ex. 25). The Tabernacle was the dwelling place of God (cf. Ex. 40:34-35). The details of which are said to be patterned after that of heaven (Heb. 8:5). The Tabernacle is called the "Tent of Meeting" (Num. 4:25) and the "Tent of the Testimony" (Num. 9:15), both descriptions of the special place where God communes with man.
It is during their sojourn in the desert with the Tabernacle that God separated Himself from man by means of the curtain of the Holy of Holies and a great cloud which contained His glory, the Shechinah Glory. This great cloud directed Israel through her time of judgment wondering in the desert. The promise to enter the Promised Land was denied them because of their sin.
The Temple of the Lord Once Israel was in the land, the temporary dwelling place of God was replaced with a permanent structure, but because King David had shed blood he was not allowed to build the Temple of the Lord (1 Chr. 28:3). Instead, his son Solomon would build it in all its glory. And at its completion the Ark of the Testimony was transferred from the Tabernacle to the Temple and the Shechinah Glory filled the house of Jehovah (1 Kgs. 8:10-11; cf. 2 Chr. 5:13-14; 7:1-3).
After Solomon's dedication of the Temple, the Lord appeared to him and the Lord Himself consecrated the Temple and promised to put His name there forever (1 Kgs. 9:3). But He promised that their continued kingship and possession of the land was dependent upon their obedience.
As a consequence of the great sin of the nation, the Shechinah Glory departed Solomon's Temple from the Cherubim on the top of the Ark, over the threshold of the house of God, through the East Gate and finally over the Mount of Olives never to be seen again (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23).
Solomon's Temple was destroyed in 586 BC and rebuilt after the Babylonian Exiles returned to the land. The rebuilding project under the direction of Zerubbabel was met with problems and conflict but was brought to a new revived glory under the direction of Herod in 23 B.C.
The Millennial Temple's Makeup Ezekiel had been given visions that described the destruction of the city and the Temple through a series of "acts." For example, after drawing a map of Jerusalem and detailing the Babylonian battle of the city (Ezek. 4:1-3), he lay on his left side a few hours every day for 390 days, then on his right side 40 days. Thus symbolizing the iniquity of both Israel and Judah with each day representing a year (Ezek. 4:5-6).
Ezekiel's series of symbolic acts spoke of the captivity of the divided kingdom of Judah and Israel and the judgment of the nations of the Middle East at the hands of the Babylonians. Then Ezekiel is given the prophecy of the judgment of Babylon. This takes the reader through some 33 chapters. He then turns his attention to false shepherds and the one True Shepherd and the restoration of a unified nation to the land and the final destruction of Israel's last foes (Ezek. 34-39).
Ezekiel's prophecy of the Temple (Ezek. 40-48) can be dated to about 25 years after their captivity making him about 55 years old. He is a priest and God gives him this last prophecy of the book in order to describe to the people proper worship in their national restoration in the Messianic Kingdom. Once they leave the Babylonian captivity, they do not build Ezekiel's Temple! That is because Ezekiel's Temple is the Millennial Temple and that is how they interpret Ezekiel!
Physical Characteristics There is a vast difference between the Temple described by Ezekiel and that of the other Temples. For example, Temple researcher and archeologist Dr. Randall Price highlights the vast grandeur of Ezekiel's Temple compared to the others. " One of the problems for many who seek to interpret Ezekiel's vision of the Temple literally is the problem of the immense size of the building (compared to the sizes of the First and Second Temples). According to Ezekiel's text, the millennial city of Jerusalem and the Temple will together encompass a 2,500 square-mile area. The portion reserved for the priests and Levites is some 50 miles, while the Temple courts will be one mile square. These dimensions are larger than those of the modern State of Israel." (Randall Price, The Temple and Bible Prophecy, p. 531).
The vast size of the temple has led some to interpret the Temple spiritually since the current physical landscape cannot hold the structures. However, God's work during the Great Tribulation provides ample descriptions of physical changes to the earth and the Temple proper will sit higher than any structure around. That currently is not the case, so the mountains surrounding the temple mount will be split (Zech. 13:4) and the Temple mount will rise (Zech. 14:10).
Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. (Isa. 2:2)
There is no mistaking that "chief" hear means "at the top". This is literally translated, "…the thing being established, the Lord's mountain, the Lord's house, on the top of the mountains, and the thing being lifted up from the hill…"
Physical Size One the greatest differences of the Millennial Temple to the previous temples is the vast size increase. The First Temple was grand at double the dimensions of the Tabernacle and triple the height, it measured 60x20x30 cubits high which converts to feet as about 90x30x45 ft and about 3,500 sq. ft.
The second Temple built by Zerubbabel was probably smaller than the first, but upon its reconstruction under Herod, the Temple dimensions proper were virtually the same size. Its surroundings, however, were larger, providing the Roman governance a strong source of management and control over Jewish worship.
The Millennial Temple's dimensions are given in royal cubits (21 inches compared to 18 inches for a standard cubit). The use of the royal cubit as opposed to a standard cubit is probably due to the fact that at the time of the prophecy they were in captivity in Babylon which is what they would understand and serves to further remove the Millennial Temple from its predecessors.
The immense size of the Millennial Temple's compound is stated to be 500x500 rods (1 rod = 6 cubits; Ezek. 40:5) or 5250x5250 ft (about a mile) or about 1 mile square (Ezek. 42:18). The whole area is said to be 50 square miles (Ezek. 48:20). The text says 25,000 with no units, so most translations add cubits, but the units should be rods not cubits since the individual items within the larger area or district would not fit within the area if it were in cubits.
The Physical Presence of God The Tabernacle housed the Ark of the Covenant and the physical presence of the Lord. The transference of the Ark and the presence of the Lord to the First Temple are recorded in Scripture in 1 Kings. 8:10-11, and 2 Chron. 5:13-14; 7:1-3. But with the sin of the nation the presence of the Lord left the temple (Ezek. 9 &10).
The return of the exiles from the Babylonian captivity saw the rebuilding of the Temple but it lacked five things: (1) the Ark of the Covenant; (2) the sacred fire; (3) the Shechinah Glory; (4) the Holy Spirit; and (5) the Urim and Thummin.
But the Millennial Temple will see the return of the Shechinah Glory. In the same path that the Shechinah Glory left the temple, His presence will return, namely, departing the Holy of Holies to the Inner Court to the Eastern Gate and finally eastward over the Mount of Olives. So it will be that the Lord Himself will return from the east through the East Gate through the Inner Count to the Holies of Holies:
The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4 And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. 5 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 6 Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. 7 And He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. (Ezek. 43:3b-7; cf. Isa. 4:5, 25:6; 66:20; Zech 8:3)
Absent from Ezekiel's Temple is the Ark of the Covenant because the Lord Himself will be there (Jer. 3:16). Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes:
Since God Himself in the Person of the Messiah will be dwelling in and reigning from Jerusalem, there will be no need for the Ark of the Covenant. Furthermore, the Ark of the Covenant contained the tablets of stone that were the embodiment of the Law of Moses. The fact that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect is another reason why the Ark of the Covenant will be missing (Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 460)
The Millennial River Another unique aspect of the Millennial Temple is the river which originates at the Temple, splits, with one branch flowing to the eastern sea (Mediterranean) and the other branch flowing to the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47). The water from this river will heal the waters of the sea and the Dead Sea will become alive with a bounty of fish (Ezek. 47:8-9). The Millennial river is truly unique in that its origin is from the Temple and its nature is true healing.
Temple Service The differences between the Mosaic and Ezekiel's Temple service are notable. In fact the difference in the sacrifices were so great that the rabbis did not accept Ezekiel into the Hebrew Canon for some time. These differences are noted as follows (see Fruchtenbaum, p. 464):
Priests. (1) Levites, with the exception of the sons of Zadok cannot be priests but can serve as ministers. They cannot serve in the inner court, but can oversee the general operation of the Temple (Ezek. 44:10-14). Dr. Unger notes, "Of all the Levites, only the sons of Zodok (1 Kgs. 2:27), who stood firm to the divinely instituted sanctuary in Jerusalem at the time of Absalom's revolt, will be the type of priests will will be permitted to minister in the millennial Temple, and thus they will be another evidence of the holiness of Israel's worship in that age." (Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 1592).
Dr. Pentecost in his classic volume Things to Come notes, "In a number of passages the existence of a Levitical order is affirmed (Ezekiel 40:46; 43:19; 44:15-31). Yet it is to be noted that the priests who serve are not taken from the whole Levitical line, for the line as a whole was set aside because of their apostasy, but are taken from the sons of Zadok. The Levites are restricted in their ministry to that of guarding and maintaining the temple and are excluded from the priestly ministry" (J. Dwight Pentecost, p. 520-521).
The Prince (Ezek. 45). (1) The prince will have a place in the holy city (Jerusalem). (2) The prince will give burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the feasts, New Moons, Sabbaths and appointed seasons (45:17).
This Prince is described as a highly favored position and unique to the Millennial Temple. He alone can occupy the eastern gate of the Temple. To him the offerings of the people are given, but it does not appear that the people bring sacrifices of themselves. The Prince serves as their representative offering up the sacrifices to make atonement for the house of Israel (45:13-17).
The Prince is not the Messiah, but is from the nation of Israel and has sons (46:16). Most attribute the Prince to resurrected David or one from his line.
Observed Days (Ezek 45). Besides the daily, weekly (Sabbath) and monthly (New Moon) service, the Mosaic Law observed seven feasts including, Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. While Ezekiel prescribes four feasts along with the daily, weekly and monthly services (45:18-20): New Year (Trumpets), Passover, Unleavened Bread (45:21-24), Tabernacles (45:25). More about this in the next article!
Orientation of the Altar. The Mosiac altar had a north-south orientation, while Ezekiel's altar faces east. Dr. Price suggests that the reason for this is so the priests will be able to face in the direction of the Messiah who will be enthroned in the Temple (Price, p. 548).
Consecration of the altar. (1) Mosaic anointed the altar, while Ezekiel had no anointing. (2) Mosaic offered a bullock for a sin offering for all seven days, while the Ezekiel offered a bullock only on the first day. (3) Mosaic offered no goat, while Ezekiel offers goats for the last six days. (4) Mosaic applied blood on the horns of the altar, while Ezekiel applies blood on the horns, the corners, and upon the lower molding round about. (5) Mosaic offered a ram for a burnt offering every day, while Ezekiel offers both a bullock and a ram every day. (6) Mosaic offered a ram for the consecration of the priesthood, while Ezekiel has no ram for the consecration of the priesthood. (7) Mosaic had the Ark of the Covenant, while the Millennial Temple will not have the Ark of the Covenant (Jer. 3:16). (8) With the Mosaic, only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, while in Ezekiel 44:15-16, all priests will be able to enter. (9) Marriage rules of 44:22 were applicable only to the high priest under the Mosaic Law, while in Ezekiel, they apply to all priests. (10) Under the Mosaic Law, the first of Nisan was not a special holy day, but will be under Ezekiel's system. On the annual day of purifying the temple (45:19), the procedures differ in two ways: (i) Mosaic used a male goat, while Ezekiel used a bullock; (ii) Mosaic disposed of the animal outside the camp, while Ezekiel disposed of it inside the camp.
"There is no Ark of the Covenant, no Pot of Manna, no Aaron's rod to bud, no Tables of the Law, no Cherubim, no Mercy-Seat, no Golden Candlestick, no Shew-bread, no Veil, no unapproachable Holy of Holies where the High Priest alone might enter, nor is there any High Priest to offer atonement to take away sin, or to make intercession for the people. There are none of these. The Levites have passed away as a sacred order." (Pentecost, p. 521)
Passover (Ezek. 45:21-24). (1) With Mosaic, Passover was a family affair with the head of the household performing the ritual, with Ezekiel, the Prince will perform the ritual on behalf of the nation. (2) Mosaic Passover was a one day festival, while in Ezekiel it will last seven days. (3) Mosaic Passover offered an unblemished lamb, while Ezekiel offers a bullock. (4) The number of sacrifices offered between Mosaic (Num. 28:16-24) and Ezekiel are different (Ezek. 25:23). (5) The amount of the measure of the meal offering is different between Mosaic and Ezekiel.
Feast of Tabernacles (Ezek. 45:25). (1) There is a difference in the quantity of the offerings (Num. 29:12-34) with Ezekiel. (2) The number of days in the Mosaic Law is different, as Ezekiel does not have the added eighth day (Num. 29:35-38). (3) Mosaic observance is mandatory for Jews only, while Ezekiel requires both Jew and Gentiles (Zech. 14:16-21).
Sabbath (Ezek. 46:4-5). Mosaic Law requires two lambs and a ram (Num. 28:9), while Ezekiel requires six lambs and a ram.
New Moon (Ezek. 46:6-7). Mosaic Law requires two bulls, one ram, and seven lambs, while Ezekiel requires one bullock, six lambs, and one ram.
Daily Offering (Ezek. 46:13-15). (1) Mosaic Law requires two lambs each day, one in the morning and one in the evening, while Ezekiel requires one lamb each day in the morning. (2) The daily meal offering is also different between the two (Ez. 29:40; Num. 28:5).
Are Sacrifices Over? One of the criticisms associated with the Millennial Temple has to do with the question of why would sacrifices be found in the future since Christ came and fulfilled the Law? The answer is found in the fact that before the Law is given, sacrifices are found. For example, an animal gave its life for the coverings of Adam and Eve in the Garden after the fall (Gen. 3:21). The next instance is found in the story of the first two offspring of the earth – Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3-5). It is as though without saying a word mankind knows what is a proper and acceptable offering before the Lord. How Cain and Abel knew about sacrifices is not known – it just appears in history without explanation. One can only guess that the Lord had given them proper instruction and Moses did not have to write this down because his audience understood.
There are various types of sacrifices that were prescribed by Mosaic Law. 1. There is the offering for the purpose of atoning for sin (to cover over sin – Lev. 1:4). These include: (a) the burnt offering (Lev. 1:3-17); (b) the sin offering (Lev. 4:1-5:13); and (c) the guilt offering (Lev. 5:14-6:7). 2. There is the thanksgiving offering that includes (a) the grain offering (Lev. 2:1-16); and (b) the fellowship offering (Lev. 3:1-16).
But as the Bible points out sacrifices were insufficient by themselves, they required (a) a humble and repentant heat (Ps. 51:17; Isa. 66:2-3; Isa. 1:11-16); and (b) a true faith (Heb. 11:4). The result is that the one offering should follow with a life of obedience (1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 40:6-8; Mic. 6:6-8), justice (Mic. 6:6-8); and a desire to do one's best (Mal. 1:6-14). The Lord despises offerings made by the unjust (Isa. 1:10-15; Am. 5:21-24).
10 Hear the word of the LORD, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: 11 "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. 12 "When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.(Isaiah 1:10-15)
Sacrifices in the Old Testament were for atonement (a covering or reconciliation) not expiatory. They did not provide the one offering a means of taking away sins. There was no salvation aspect to the offering, only a temporary atonement - a temporary covering. A covering that was required each year continually (Heb. 10:1-4). But the author of Hebrews says of them that they were "a shadow of the good things to come" (Heb 10:1). That is to say, they pointed to the work of Christ on the Cross (Isa. 53:10-12).
The Church Age has no blood sacrifices The church does not perform blood sacrifices because Christ is our Sacrifice (Heb. 7:26-27; 9:26). Sacrifices have nothing to do with salvation – except that they point to our Lord's sacrifice which served as the propitiation once for all (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 4:10). Jesus Christ is said to be the lamb who was sacrificed (John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7; Rev. 5:6) thus He is Himself the atoning sacrifice (Isa. 53:5; Rom. 3:25; Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 1 John 4:10), but He only had to die once for all.
The Church is a new body made up of both Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:14-16). The church has the Lord's Supper prescribed in remembrance of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Luke 22:14-20). This is truly a unique time since blood sacrifices are found in the earliest of times (Gen. 4), but it is only during the Church age that one does NOT find a blood sacrifice acceptable to the Lord – Temple or not.
Dr. Walvoord writes, "Objections to sacrifices in the millennium stem mostly from New Testament affirmations concerning the one sacrifice of Christ. According to Hebrews 7:27, Christ 'needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself.' According to Hebrews 9:12 Christ 'through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.' A similar expression is found in Hebrews 9:26 where it affirms: 'Now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.' … The millennial sacrifices are no more expiatory than were the Mosaic sacrifices which preceded the cross. If it has been fitting for the church in the present age to have a memorial of the death of Christ in the Lord's Supper, it is suggested that it would be suitable also to have a memorial of possibly a different character in the millennium in keeping with the Jewish characteristic of the period." (John Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, p. 311-312)
The Church age will end then the comes Jacob's trouble - the Great Tribulation. Those who survive and live will enter the Millennium. Though this group will be saved, they will still be in their sinful bodies, and will produce children thus God provides atonement for them in the form of blood sacrifice.
Dr. Price writes, "The church age is not simply the incorporation of Gentiles (Romans 11:11-24,30) into the place of privilege (the "olive tree" of Romans 11:17-24) but the integration of Gentile and Jew in one body under the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 2:14-16). By contrast, the Millennium is an eschatological extension of the Jewish age, which involves the inclusion of Gentiles into an earthly Jewish economy (Isaiah 2:2-3; 56:6-7; 66:18-21) under the theocratic laws of the New Covenant, which includes physical sacrifices at a physical Temple (Isaiah 66:20-21; Zechariah 14:16-18). Therefore, in the present age the church serves as a 'spiritual temple' (Ephesians 2:20-21) with 'spiritual sacrifices' (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16) and spiritual access through Christ to the Heavenly Temple (Hebrews 4:14-16; compare 12:22-24). However, once the church age has run its predetermined course (Romans 11:26), the spiritual temple will be replaced by the physical Temple, in conformity with the return of national Israel to the divine program (Romans 11:27)" (Randall Price, The Temple and Bible Prophecy, p. 546).
The New Testament's unique ordinances are due to the fact that the Church is a mystery (Eph. 3:1-2; 5:29-30), something new (Eph. 2:14-16). As such sacrifices are seen as a personal relationship with God offering our bodies "a living sacrifice, holy (set apart), acceptable to God" (Rom. 12:1). The New Testament saint continually offers "the sacrifice of praise to God," bringing the "fruit of our lips, giving thanks," and bringing deeds of kindness (Heb. 13:15-16; cf. Phil. 4:18).
Jesus foresees a Millennial Memorial In each of the Synoptic Gospels, we read that Jesus takes the cup and pledges that He will drink it again with them in the Kingdom age (Mat. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18; cf. 1 Cor. 5:6-8) (Price, p. 547). When Christ returns, He comes to minister not in the order of Aaron, but in a new order of priesthood (Heb. 7:15) – the Melchizedekian priesthood. The Lord's Supper will terminate with the Second Coming of Christ so this memorial will not be the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:26).
Millennial Sacrifices Dr. Fruchtenbaum identifies four purposes for the sacrificial system in the Millennium. (1) A memorial of the death of the Messiah. "Sacrifices will play for Israel a similar role that Communion plays for the Church." (2) A means of restoring fellowship for the millennial saint. Blood sacrifices were a means of restoring fellowship (atonement means both a "covering" and "reconciliation") for the Old Testament saint who sinned. (3) Ritual cleansing for ritual uncleanness. "Since the Shechinah Glory will be within the Holy of Holies of the Millennial Temple, it would be impossible to approach the Temple compound in a state of ritual impurity and therefore the sacrifices will be for cleansing of ceremonial uncleanness." (4) The privilege of life and physical blessing in a theocratic kingdom. (Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah, pp. 464-469)
Dr. Hullinger writes, "…animal sacrifices during the millennium will serve primarily to remove ceremonial uncleanness and prevent defilement from polluting the temple envisioned by Ezekiel. This will be necessary because the glorious presence of Yahweh will once again be dwelling on earth in the midst of a sinful and unclean people." (quoted in Tim LaHaye & Thomas Ice, Charting the End Times, p. 95)
Conclusion As can be seen by these differences between Ezekiel's Temple and other Temples, the day has not yet come when this Temple and the presence of the Lord with His prescribed ordinances have come to pass. In fact, the immense size of the Temple and City will not even fit on the physical land without God being the foundation layer, reconfiguring the land, making the Temple site larger and higher than the rest of the land.
What a day this period will be when the Lord Himself will teach from the mountain of the Lord. When His promise to Israel that He will be their God and they will be His people living in peace and prosperity will come to pass. A time and place where life in the land will be built upon a righteous government. Where life in the land will be built on proper worship, a true measure of weights, and international governments will never again come against God's chosen nation - Israel. The Temple, its worship, rites and sacrifices all have their center in the Lamb who was slain.
Posted by Scofield Prophecy Studies at 2:29 PM