Time To Study Ezekiel’s Temple

I am a big believer in the utility of Ezekiel’s Temple vision in Ezekiel 40-48 for dealing with those brethren who want to disbelieve what the Bible says while claiming to believe it.  I especially like to call out those who will not be honest enough just to state the obvious truth that they spiritualize the text (as in they claim a concrete depiction of a named entity should be thought of as a spiritual picture of a different concrete entity).  In Ezekiel 40ff. you cannot use the “Apocalyptic” card.  Therefore, those who cannot bring themselves to believe that Ezekiel is really referring to an actual physical Temple, whether they be dispensational or covenant theologians, should be pinned down on these chapters and asked to explain a). what they are supposed to really mean; b). what sort of hermeneutical practice is involved, and c). why on earth did God not simply say what He meant?

Surely these are good questions?

I tried in vain to deal with a gainsayer on these specific issues but to no avail.  He was more interested in telling me what it didn’t mean than what it did.  See:

https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/when-is-a-floor-plan-not-a-floor-plan/

and

https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/and-behold-it-was-all-a-vision-last-response/

I had earlier written on Ezekiel’s Temple:

https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/ezekiel%E2%80%99s-temple-premillenial-achilles%E2%80%99-heal/

Now Fred Butler is doing an in-depth study on these chapters which is going to be worth watching.  You can read his first installment here:

Interpreting Ezekiel’s Temple Vision

For those of you who have thought that God doesn’t really expect you to study this protracted description (because, after all, it’s symbolic of something or other), here’s a great chance to correct the deficiency.

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8 comments

  1. Hi Paul,

    Ezekiel’s temple is often referred to as a “millennial temple” by dispensational authors (I am a dispensationalist, but not a scholar). It is referred to as the “millennial temple” in Fred Butler’s post as well.

    I was reading this passage the other day and Eze 43:7 seems to suggest that the Messiah? willl dwell in the midst of the children of Israel in this place to eternity.

    Is this temple going to continue on into the eternal state?

    I have only been reading your site for 2-3 weeks. Thanks for all the work you put into it! It is a blessing.

    Blessings,
    Peter

    1. Peter,

      That’s a good question. My understanding is that we should see the Millennium and the New Heavens and Earth as connected because of the inauguration of Christ’s reign at the beginning of the former. This means elements of the millennial order pass over to the eternal state on the new earth. That is why God can make everlasting covenants which will transfer to the New Creation. One of these covenants is the Priestly Covenant of Num. 25 (see Jer. 33:14ff.). Therefore, I believe there will be a temple in Israel on earth in the eternal state.

      This does not clash with Rev. 21 and New Jerusalem because it is separate from the earth as that chapter makes clear. so although New Jerusalem doesn’t need a temple, nothing is said about Israel.

      Hope that helps.

      Your brother,

      Paul

  2. So, Dr. H, in eternity-future do you see the Davidic Throne in the Temple in Israel or in the New Jerusalem? or does Jesus have 2 thrones (one in the New Jerusalem, next to the Father’s, and one on the earth, in the temple somewhere in the “new” Israel)? Because I can’t see it where Jesus has one throne, the Davidic Throne, because that throne seems to be clearly placed on planet earth, in Israel, but the New Jerusalem also has a throne for the lamb but no temple. yet the temple and the priesthood are described as everlasting. my head hurts!

    this also makes me want to ask what is your view of the New Jerusalem’s physical location with respect to new Israel? Will the Israel on the New Earth have its “own” Jerusalem?

    I know I’ve been commenting a lot and asking questions, I hope you aren’t annoyed 🙂

    1. Alex,

      As for the first question I believe that Christ has a throne in the Temple which is His Davidic throne. He combines the priesthood and Kingship according to Zech. 6. The ‘prince’ also has a throne outside the Temple.

      I don’t know where New Jerusalem will be, but it will either sit upon or revolve around New Earth. Christ’s throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3) is shared with God, so it may denote His divinity. I don’t know. Yes, I do believe there will be an earthly Jerusalem.

      I can’t sort it all out, but I try not to negate something just because I don’t have the whole picture.

      P

      1. i completely agree! Please understand my questions are purely inquisitive in nature, not accusatory or for the purpose of tearing holes in your doctrine. these are questions i have as a result of taking the text seriously, not in order to justify a different approach.
        as for the ‘prince’ in Ezek 40-48, do you see that as possibly David himself?

        also, have you considered doing an article (or series of articles) which addresses the issue of modern-day Israel? that is, engaging such questions as; is the modern nation-state of Israel a fulfillment, or partial fulfillment of prophecy? how much should Christians engage in supporting Israel and why or why not?

        have you also considered doing an expose on why you believe the pre-trib rapture to be the most likely scenario?

  3. Alex,

    no problem brother. Please realize that I don’t have too much time for interaction. Now to your questions:

    1. I’m not sure as to the identity of the prince in Ezekiel 40ff. In 45:22 he offers a sin-offering, which would mean he still committed sins. IF this was David then we are faced with the problem of him still being a sinner.

    2. I am reading a new book about Israel which includes material on modern Israel. I would rather avoid the subject because I have been attcked for my position on the modern state. In short, i believe that while the modern nation of Israel is a work of amazing providence, and while the land belongs to God and is granted to them, I do not see any scriptural texts which apply to it. Moreover, God is at present focusing on the Church – so that is where our focus needs to be. This doesn’t mean we are neutral on Israel as God’s chosen – just that we do not make Israel our focus.

    3. As for the Rapture, I am planning a series on it for the near future.

    God bless,

    Paul

  4. no need to feel pressured to respond, I value your input because I respect your scholarship and with that I respect your time — so feel free to not respond or to take whatever time is most convenient.

    As for your second point, I find that surprising. I’m confident that you are aware of the texts which people (like me, Thomas Ice, and others) use to point towards a re-gathering of Israelites. Do you not see ( Ezek. 20:33-38; 22:17-22; 36:22-24; 37:1- 14; Isa. 11:11-12; Zeph. 2:1-2, Ezek. 38- 39 — to name a few) as describing a worldwide re-gathering of the Jews in disbelief? That is, for the purpose of judgment, but ultimately refinement for the Millennial Kingdom?

    This would also go right along with dispensationlism, which often points out how one dispensation reigns supreme while the next one is being “set up” to takeover, if you will.

    I’m not expecting you to do a verse by verse exposition of each and every one of those texts, but maybe a sometime yet-future article series on what you think those texts are referring to would be helpful.

    I look forward to your rapture expose!

    1. I’m almost done with your biblical covenant lecture series on the telosministires website (the one you facebooked). unless your position has changed since those lectures, I think my question has been answered. correct me if I’m wrong, but you DO in fact see the modern state of Israel a pre-cursor to the eschatological fulfillments, even though the state in and of itself is definitely not the eschatological fulfillment. that is, I get the impression that you see Israel re-gathered for the purpose of her eschatological episode soon (probably soon) to come.

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