Questions about specific scriptures

ID #1017

I've been struggling to understand Ezekiel's temple vision (Ezekiel 40- 48 ) and the sacrifices that seem to be predicted in the Millennium (Ezekiel 43:13, 27; 45:15, 17, 20). How do you understand these things?

This is a difficult question.  But I believe this description is of the temple in the millennium.  Sacrifices are described as being resumed, but they seem to be sacrifices of worship and not attonement.  The best explanation I have seen on this topic is on the post-tribulation website  I have made a copy of that webpage and pasted it below:

Sacrifices in the Millennium?

Isa 56:7
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Question: When in the history of the world has the Temple been a "house of prayer for ALL PEOPLE?" Answer: NEVER! One might argue that the word "people" in Isaiah 56:7 does not necessarily have to mean everyone, but could refer to all of Israel. However, we find Jesus interpreting this passage a bit differently, when he cast out the merchants from the Temple.

Mark 11:17
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. (KJV)

Here the word "nations" is the Greek word "ethnos" [from which we get "ethnic"] which is the word normally translated "Gentiles" in the New Testament. So, according to Jesus, Isaiah's prophecy predicted a future time when the physical Temple would be a place of prayer for ALL NATIONS [Gentiles]. The only possible fulfillment of this prophecy, that I can see, is a physical Temple in Jerusalem during the Millennium [as Zechariah 14 describes, where all nations will come to keep the festivals]. I don't see how one could claim this is an allegory, when it is clear that Jesus is referring to the stone Temple in Jerusalem while interpreting Isaiah's prophecy!

The Temple built during the tribulation will be defiled by the Antichrist. When Jesus returns, it will not only be cleansed, but rebuilt entirely on a much grander scale. The Temple in Ezekiel 40-48 is the Millennial Temple, and the Temple that Isaiah [and Jesus] had in mind, as well as Zechariah. According to Ezekiel, this Temple will be on a much larger scale than any previous Temple, much larger than the present Temple Mount will support.

There is some controversy about the interpretation of Ezekiel 40-44, and whether this grand Temple should be understood literally. Some object to the idea of any Temple, whether Millennial or not. But, one of the clearest passage on the fact of a "Millennial Temple" is Zechariah 14. Notice the clear referrence to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Millennial Temple AFTER the battle of Armageddon.

Zech 14:1-11&16-21
1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.
11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. ...
16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations [GENTILES] that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

The fact is, this passage clearly says that there will be a Temple AND sacrifices, as well as GENTILES coming to keep the Feast of Tabernacles AFTER the battle of Armageddon, when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives with "all His saints."

Different Kinds of Sacrifices

As to the alleged problems created with passages such as Heb. 10, where Christ's atonement is "once for all," and there is no need of further sacrifice for sins, one must recognize that not all sacrifices were "atonement" sacrifices. Technically, the atonement sacrifice was done only once a year, on the "Day of Atonement." On the 10th of Tishri, the high priest took the blood and entered into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled the Ark of the Covenant. This is clearly what Hebrews has in view when referring to Christ's atonement being "once for all."

Heb 9:22-28
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

It is clear, by the referrence to the priest entering the Temple once a year with blood, that this passage is speaking of the "Day of atonement."

The Feast of Tabernacles [Zech 14] and the Passover [Ezekiel 45] will be celebrated in the Millennium. But NOT the Day of Atonement. Notice the Festivals that will be cellebrated in the Millennium in the following passage. And notice the absence of Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement.

Ezek 45:21-25
21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
22 And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.
23 And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering.
24 And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah.
25 In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.

The "Passover" was a one day feast that began the seven day "Feast of Unleavened Bread" [Lev. 23]. So, in the above passage, since the "Passover" continues for 7 days, it is clear that the entire Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits festivals are being kept. However, what is not mentioned is Pentecost, which was 50 days after the Sunday [Firstfruits] following Passover. Also, of the feasts of the 7th month, Trumpets [Tishri 1], the Day of Atonement [Tishri 10], and the Feast of Tabernacles [Tishri 15-21], only Tabernacles is mentioned. The question is, why? I believe at least part of the answer is that the "atonement" was fulfilled in Christ. Jeremiah makes it clear that the "Day of Atonement" will NOT be celebrated in the Millennium.

Jer 3:14-17
14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.
17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

The "ark" was only "visited" once a year by the High Priest, when he sprinkled the blood on it, making ATONEMENT for the people. The rest of the time, it simply sat there in the Holy of Holies never seeing the light of day. When Jeremiah says "neither shall that be done any more," he is saying that the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement [Tishri 10] will not be done any more. Then he tells us why! Because, in place of the "ark of the Covenant," the Lord's Throne will be there! In other words, in OT times, the "ark of the Covenant" was TEMPORARY and a SUBSTITUTE for the physical presence of the Lord on His Throne in His Holy Temple! God has been on His Throne in the Heavenly Temple, as described in Revelation. And the Temple on earth was just a copy, or representation of the Temple of God in Heaven [Heb. 8:5]. The "Ark of the Covenant" was the representation of the Throne of God. The priest going into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the Ark was a symbol of Christ's entering the Temple in Heaven with His own blood!

Heb 9:12
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Isn't it great how all this fits together so nicely! In the Millennium, there will be no Priests restricted from entering the Temple except once a year! The Throne of the Lord will be in the Holy place, and the veil will be OPENED! People will have full access to the Lord on His Throne! They will come to Jerusalem to worship, and bring their offerings to the Lord.

The sacrifices offered will NOT be atonement for sin. Christ took care of that once and for all. However, there will be many sacrifices as offerings of praise, and memorials. Actually, this is what the Passover was, a memorial of God's deliverance from Egypt, as well as a prophecy of the crucifixion. And the Feast of Tabernacles was a memorial of the trek through the wilderness, as well as a prophecy of the Millennium! These Festivals will be grand feasts, in memorial of what God has done for us, just as we now keep the "Lord's supper" as both a memorial of the crucifixion, AND a prophecy of the Millennial Kingdom, when we will sit down and dine with Jesus Himself.

Luke 22:15-20
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

You can see both the memorial aspect of the Lord's supper here as well as the prophetic aspect. All of the Festivals are the same way. And, once we are on the other side of the second coming of Jesus Christ, what was "prophetic" will then be "memorial!"

It seems to me that all of the sacrifices mentioned in relation to Ezekiel's Temple would have to be comemoritive, looking back to what has already been acomplished, in the same way we celebrate the crucifixion with bread and wine.

Some might object that any sacrifices of any kind would be blasphemous. But, what were the sacrifices to begin with? Was there any power in them to atone for sins in the first place? The writer of Hebrews says no!

Heb 10:1-4
1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there IS a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

His point is NOT that the sacrifices can no longer atone for sin, once Christ died. His point is clearly that they NEVER COULD atone for sin in the first place! If they could, then there would have been no requirement for it to be done every year. So, even in OT times, the sacrifices were never intended to actually make atonement, but to be a reminder to Israel of their sins on a yearly basis. The sacrifices pointed to Christ. The problem for Israel was that they attached too much meaning to the sacrifices not realizing their PROPHETIC significance, but expecting that there was some merit in the blood of "bulls and goats" that cleansed their sins. So, they rejected the only real atonement for sin.

If the animal sacrifices were never actually "atonement" for sins, and were prophetic in nature, then what is really the problem with a sacrifice that is offered as a memorial of the fulfillment of this prophetic type? Nothing!

Is it a sin to observe the Passover now, to kill a lamb, and eat it with your family remembering God's deliverance from Egypt? Of course not! But, when one recognizes the prophetic aspect of the passover, and how it points to Christ, and one celebrates the Passover in faith, and in worship of Christ, it's meaning is full.

Those who argue that such things are blasphemous on the grounds that Christ died once for all should apply the same principle to the Lord's Supper! Does not celebrating using wine and bread do the same thing? Yes it does! It is symbolism pointing to Christ! Did not Jesus Himself say He would observe Passover with His disciples in the Kingdom?

Luke 22:15-16
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Who is the Mysterious "Prince" of Ezekiel's Temple?

Ezek 44:1-3
1 Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.
2 Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.
3 It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.

Ezek 45:16-17,21-22,25
16 All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel.
17 And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. ...
21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
22 And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.
25 In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.

It will be the Prince's job to officiate the sacrifices and festivals. But, who is this "Prince?" Many pre-millennialists believe it is Jesus. But, I find that idea rather odd. Jesus will be "King over all the earth" according to Zech 14:9. The Prince seems to be leading the worship, not being worshipped himself, as Jesus will be. Actually, Ezekiel gives us the answer, as do some of the other prophets.

Jer 30:7-10
7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.
10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.

Ezek 34:23-24
23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a PRINCE among them; I the LORD have spoken it.

Ezek 37:19-25
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their PRINCE for ever.

Hosea 3:4-5
4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

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Last update: 2008-11-25 17:16
Author: Elbert Charpie
Revision: 1.0

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