I have been studying Ezekiel and have been fascinated by the Ezekiel 40-48 temple. I have grown up in great Bible believing and preaching churches, yet cannot remember any teaching on this, so began digging in and researching. It is said that 25% of the Bible pertains to end times prophecy. That’s an astounding amount! We know from passages like Matthew 24 and Luke 21 that we are now nearing the end, so studying in greater detail what is to come, to my mind just makes sense! I found the following article to be helpful (link below) with understanding the purpose of the reinstatement of temple sacrifices, and in getting a visual of the Ezekiel 40-48 temple. Please continue reading my notes before going to the link, as there are several important Biblical distinctions (differences of opinion) to bear in mind before reading his commentary. Much of what he teaches is very helpful, but there are a few points he makes that I am not sure line up with scripture.
The first of his assumptions that I am concerned about is his interpretation of “naos” or temple. I do not think his interpretation of naos is accurate, and so I believe there is likely a third temple that will be built (not an uncommon belief among Biblical scholars) prior to this millennial temple of Ezekiel. I tend to think his assumption that Ezekiel is describing the millennial temple here is correct. Here is a link to blueletterbible.org and their list of all other times the word “naos” was translated temple in scripture. Notice, that the word naos is commonly translated as the physical temple, rather than the temple of the Holy Spirit in us. This fact leads me to believe that indeed the antichrist will be in a physical temple and have sacrifices performed for him, as most Christians have learned.
One question I still had after reading this piece came from Ezekiel 43:6-6-7,
“I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, 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 people of Israel forever.”
God says that He will place His throne FOREVER, if our translations are correct. This is the verse that has confused me most as I study the Ezekiel temple, and try to reconcile that in my mind with the Revelation 21-22 description of the New Heaven where we will be the temple of God eternally, and there will no longer be any temple in the city of Heaven. I believe the Bible is 100% true, whether I understand the prophecies or not, but my desire is to understand what God has spoken and chosen to tell us. Again, I went to blueletterbible.org and did a word search to see the original word and its definition for Ezekiel 43:7’s “forever”. The word is ‘owlam. There are several meanings for ‘owlam. One is forever. The first definition given, however, is “long duration”, while another definition is “perpetual”. Either of these definitions could fit well within the understanding of the Ezekiel temple being the millennial 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth temple. My mind was put at ease!
As I have studied Ezekiel, I have been hit with one of the wildest prophecies in scripture, found in Ezekiel 37, the prophecy of the dry bones. Interestingly Netanyahu mentioned recently that this prophecy has been recently fulfilled with the rebirth of Israel. He also believes, however that the Ezekiel temple will be the 3rd temple. He also is not addressing the Old Testament prophecies from the standpoint of believing the entire Bible, and teachings we have from Jesus.
I tend to believe that the prophecy of the dry bones may not be figurative, but may indeed be literal, meaning the prophecy is still to be fulfilled. What would stop the mighty God we serve (who raised many people from the dead, even giving this power to his disciples) from raising the Jewish dead to life again. I look forward to seeing in the future if this is indeed literal, or simply figurative, but I definitely will not be surprised if it is literal, after all! I wonder if these will be the ones who populate the millennial age? Time will tell. If the dry bones are literal, it would be in perfect keeping with David’s reinstatement as King of Israel. As the afore noted article states:
“Jeremiah 30:9 also speaks about king David reigning as king of Israel at the time when God brings back His people from captivity saying: ‘They shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will RAISE UP for them.’ Isaiah 55:3-5 says that David will be a future ‘leader and commander for the people’ at a time when God makes an ‘everlasting covenant with you… for He has glorified you.’”
What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is the God I serve is by far big enough to bring this about and it is in no way outside the scope of His possibility!
The Bible teaches that the 1,000 millennial year reign will not begin until after the tribulation period and judgment. In the graph section of the article it shows the millennium between 2,000 AD and 3,000AD. While I will not be at all surprised to see this be close to accurate, I do not believe we will know until it begins the years. I do agree that it is likely to be soon, though. Eagerly looking up!
“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28 ESV