This sermon is number 22 in a series of 24
Ezekiel - Part 22
"The Millennial Temple"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2001 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
Ezekiel chapter 40, and we hope to study through to chapter 43. I hope that you've read the chapters before you've come this evening, because we'll not have time to read them or to deal with everything within them, but it's good that you would have a basic head-knowledge of the gist of what God is saying through the prophet. We'll read chapter 40 verses 1 to 4 to begin with, and then a few verses from chapter 43. We're dealing this evening, if you haven't already guessed, with the millennial temple.
Verse 1 of chapter 40: "In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten". Just to paraphrase that a little bit: that date is the start of the preparation for the Passover - that may make it a bit easier for you to understand. "On that day, the start of the beginning of the preparation for the Passover, the city of Jerusalem was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither. In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel" - note that, underline that - "into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain", probably Mount Zion, "by which was as the frame of a city on the south. And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee; for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel".
Then from verse 5, right through to the end of chapter 42, you have the description of this temple in great detail that we will look at in a few moments. I want to bring you to chapter 43 and verse 1 now. After this man that was covered in bronze as it seemed, with a measuring rod in his hand, showed Ezekiel all the extent of this millennial temple - where it would be, and all the services concerning it - he now comes in verse 1, and we see here a sight that is really a blessed sight when you recall everything that we have learnt of the judgement that has come upon Israel for their sin. Verse 1: "Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east" - that's important. "And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face" - you remember the vision he saw in chapter 1, he's seeing it again. "And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east" - that's important. "So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me".
If you turn back to chapter 40 we have, in these chapters 40 through to 43, and in fact right through to the end of chapter 48, the manifestation of the glory of God. This great major prophet really is concerned, primarily, with the theme of the glory of God - the Lord Jehovah. We learnt how, in the beginning of this book, the glory of the Lord departed from the temple because of the sin of the people. Now we've entered into the final section of this book, where is depicted for us a future restoration of the children of Israel - the national, ethnic people of God will be restored - and we're seeing it in these chapters as the glory, the Shekinah, shining glory of God returns to the temple. The chapters that we'll look at tonight, chapter 40 through to chapter 43, depicts for us a new temple. We'll be looking at that new millennial temple this evening, but later we hope again on another evening chapters 44 to 46 depict a new worship - a different type of worship that will take place within the millennial temple. Then the final chapters, 47 and 48, depict for us a new land - in fact, not a specific new land, but a new layout to the land of Israel, the tribes, where they will all be laid out - and indeed we'll see in a later week where this millennial temple will find itself in the new land of Israel.
Now these next chapters that we're looking at specifically tonight contain the details for a temple that will be erected in a future day in the city of Jerusalem. Before we begin this study let me say that there are many - and I freely admit - many difficult things about the study of the millennial temple. I don't stand here this evening and try to tell anybody that I understand everything. There are many great questions, but before we start we've got to - as we have done in previous weeks - lay our interpretive foundation. What I mean by that is: how we are looking at these passages, how we are understanding them. The reason why I say that is because there are several biblical fundamentalists, and conservative biblical scholars, who do not interpret these verses as a literal temple at a future day in the literal city of Jerusalem belonging to literal Israel. In fact there are a great deal of scholars who see it as a symbol, a prophetic symbol albeit, of the Christian church that we inhabit today. That is a very common interpretation of these verses that we'll look at tonight, but there are many others.
People make the mistake of thinking that there are only two - it's either a literal temple, or it's the church of Jesus Christ in some kind of spiritual form. There are many other interpretations, for instance some believe that this temple spoken of by Ezekiel is a memorial to the temple that was destroyed when the Babylonians came and took the land captive. We've seen that in this book, the temple was destroyed, and they think that this description is some kind of memorial to a temple that has now been destroyed. There is a great problem with that - first of all because of the prophetic nature of these verses and chapters that indicate that it seems that there will be a literal temple one day. More than that: Ezekiel didn't need to make a memorial for Solomon's temple that had been destroyed, because the book of Kings - 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles - do just that, so why would the Holy Spirit do it again?
There are others who believe that this temple is the temple that was built after captivity, not Solomon's one that was destroyed but Zerubbabel's one that was built after the captivity - that great temple. But we read, and we have learnt in the book of Haggai, that the people wept because the glory of the first house was better than this one. It speaks that the glory of the latter house would be greater than the former, in other words that there was another temple coming, one day, that would be greater than all of these other temples. The main fact that it cannot be the temple that was rebuilt after captivity is the fact that there are more differences between Ezekiel's temple here than there are similarities between it and the temple after captivity. Therefore some get around it by saying: 'Well, this is the temple they should have built. This is the way the temple should have been built, but they failed to do it'. The greatest problem with that is primarily this: that means that God's prophecy through Ezekiel has been unfulfilled, really God's prophecy has failed! We can't go down that road, obviously.
Of course, as I've already said, others say that these are the spiritual blessings of God's church. Let's analyse that for a minute. That cannot - as far as I can see - be the case, simply because it does not explain the symbolism that we find within this passage. If it was representing the church, it's very strange that it never mentions the Day of Atonement that is the type of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. It's very funny that it doesn't represent the Feast of Weeks that is also typical and relational to the church of Jesus Christ. It's very strange that it doesn't outline in any way the ministry of the Great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ, that the whole book of Hebrews has as a theme - how He carries out His ministry. You would think that all of those three things, at least, would be primary main themes if it was a future vision of the church of Jesus Christ, but none of those things are within this temple. More than that: I think we would have to go back in time, and we'll have to go back into our last Bible Study which was the book of Ephesians, and we would have to say to Paul: 'I'm sorry Paul, but you were wrong, you got it wrong - the revelation of the church, it wasn't given to you first, it was given to Ezekiel'. The mystery of the church isn't really a mystery, we would have to change verses in the book of Ephesians because it was shown to Ezekiel first. We learnt that a mystery was something that had been hidden beforetimes, and now had been revealed - well, Paul, it was revealed to Ezekiel, you got it wrong!
So you see, I hope, that it has to be - surely it has to be - a literal temple. The sad thing, as I've been studying this subject for some time now, is that even some pre-millennial dispensationals do not agree that this is a literal temple. It fails me to see how we can interpret the book of Ezekiel up to now absolutely literally - all of Israel's sin, all of Israel's judgement, all of Israel's destruction - and all of a sudden we change the goalposts, and we spiritualise it near the end. But more than that, and here is the key reason I believe it has to be a literal temple: the descriptions, the specifications, the measurements, of this temple can only mean that it's going to be literal. They're so exhaustive that you can actually make a sketch or a diagram of it, as you can of all the temples that have ever been built in Israel. In fact, F. Gardner in Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible, he succeeds himself in sketching out a diagram and a layout of the millennial temple - yet all through his commentary and his prose he denies that it is possible to build one. Yet he is able to make a sketch of it! Because of that one writer has said: 'If an uninspired commentator can make some sense out of an architectural plan, doubtless the future builders working under divine guidance should have no trouble putting up the building themselves'.
These things are difficult to understand. If you read Exodus chapter 20 and the following chapters, you will find that they're no more difficult to understand than the tabernacle was. We find it difficult because it hasn't been seen yet by human eyes, and we find it difficult to understand. But I want us just for a few moments, and we've a lot to get through tonight, I want us to take a look at all the temples of the Bible to understand a little bit the significance of this millennial temple and where it fits in. This millennial temple is the last of seven - seven is a significant number, as you know, in scripture, completeness and perfection - it is the last of seven temples within the word of God.
The first temple is the tabernacle, if you like, in Exodus chapter 40 and following. It was from 1500 BC to 100 BC - and I'm sure you're familiar with that tabernacle in the wilderness where the people of God worshipped God when they were in the wilderness going to the Promised Land. Then the second temple is the temple of Solomon, that you find described in 1 Kings 5 and through to chapter 8, it's from 1000 BC to 586 BC - we know all about that, the beauty of Solomon's temple, the great trouble and money and expense and time that went into it. Then the third temple is the temple of Zerubbabel, that was the temple built after Solomon's temple was destroyed, in the captivity that we're speaking of, and then Zerubbabel built this new temple and that same temple - Zerubbabel's temple - was, if you like, fixed by King Herod, it was the same temple that King Herod inhabited and King Herod built. So, you find Zerubbabel's temple in Ezra chapter 6, and the same temple in John chapter 2 that the Lord Jesus Christ would have gone to. It was the same temple that was destroyed in 70 AD - it was the temple that the Lord went through and turned over the moneychangers and so on.
The fourth temple that we find in the Bible is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. You remember He said: 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it again', and He spoke concerning His body. We know that, and that temple was from 4 BC through to 30 AD, when He died at Calvary at 33 years of age. The fifth temple is the spiritual temple of the church of Jesus Christ, it is the temple that we are today. It is the temple of God, in other words where God dwells, from Pentecost where the church was formed in Acts chapter 2 right through to the rapture, when the church will be taken out of this scene of time and translated to glory. That temple is described as the whole church of Jesus Christ, every single believer. In Ephesians 2:21 Paul describes it as: 'Living stones fitly joined together as a temple of God'. So it describes first of all the whole church, but we find in 1 Corinthians 3 verses 16 and 17 where Paul is speaking of sin coming into the church, that the temple of God, that spiritual temple of the church today, is also the local church. He calls that local church in Corinth: 'Ye are the temple of the Holy Spirit'. So, it is the whole worldwide universal church, it can also refer to the local church, and as we go further into Corinthians - chapter 6 and verse 19 - we find that it can also apply to the individual Christian. 'Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit'. Three ways that we can describe this spiritual temple today that the Lord dwells in.
But then the sixth temple, and it's important not to confuse this one with the millennial temple that we're looking at tonight, the sixth temple is the tribulational temple. I believe that that is the temple spoken of in Revelation chapter 11, it is the temple where antichrist will set himself up as God, to be worshipped as God, and to rule as God. It is the temple in which will take place the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel and by our Lord Jesus Christ. There are no drawings, there are no descriptions of this temple, but as we will see in just a moment this temple is already being prepared in Jerusalem as we speak. It will take place between the rapture of the church and the battle of Armageddon. Then there is the millennial temple spoken of here, chapters 40 through to 48, spoken of also - this is not the only book that speaks of it - it's spoken of by the prophet Joel in chapter 3; Isaiah chapter 2, chapter 60; Daniel chapter 9; and Haggai chapter 2.
I want you to just see how these things are coming to pass. We are this spiritual temple, the fifth temple. There are two more temples to be built as yet, and the sixth - the tribulational temple - at this moment is being prepared. I want you to watch just a clip now of a video. Elwood McQuaid (sp?), is the preacher or the speaker if you like, it's from the Friends of Israel, and I think that you'll find it very interesting as you see what is going on:
[Begin transcript of video]
Elwood McQuaid: "The subject of the temple is a troublesome topic for major elements in the Jewish community. Liberal Jews view the temple, with its animal sacrifices, as something of a national embarrassment. For many Orthodox Jews, however, the absence of the temple leaves them without a true sacrifice or a fulfilling worship experience. Earlier we walked along the brow of Mount Moriah, now I have the privilege of standing on the exact spot where Israel's ancient temples once stood. Of course the artefacts from those temples are many feet below us here on this level, however there is no doubt in competent scholars minds that this is actually where the Jewish people from all over the world came in ancient days to worship Jehovah. This rabbinic tunnel is adjacent to the Western Wall, many feet below street level. The tunnel continues until it reaches the Via Dolorosa. Facing east is an ancient entrance to the Temple Mount, known as Warren's Gate, it was here in 1981 that Rabbis Goren and Getz began excavating in search of the Ark of the Covenant. Before they were able to complete their search the entrance was sealed by Muslim and Israeli authorities. However, the rabbis remain firm in their conviction that the Ark is buried in a protected vault nearby. Many people are interested in the location of the Ark because to them it represents the very presence and power of God. In addition to those who are diligently searching for temple artefacts and remains from the past, others are preparing to build a new temple. Their determination would compare to that of Zerubbabel of old. Today, overlooking the Western Wall, is a room which some hope will play an important role as part of the new temple. When Rabbi Goren constructed this room, what did he envision for this room to represent?"
Interviewee: "He foresaw the rebuilding of the third temple when the Messiah comes, and this would be the place where the Sanhedrin or court of law would sit - in this room".
Elwood McQuaid: "So, we're actually sitting in the room envisioned by Rabbi Goren to house the new Sanhedrin, and he fashioned this after the Sanhedrin in the temples - correct?"
Elwood McQuaid: "That's quite a vision! There is no question about the fact that there is a rising of Messianic expectancy among grass-roots people in Israel today. This is reflected not only by what we see here, but by other groups who are preparing independently on their own account. The Temple Institute, which is not far from where we are today, is preparing implements for sacrificial worship, garments for the priests, and other things that pertain to worship at the new temple. Explain to us, would you please, the objectives of the Temple Institute".
Interviewee: "Well, the Temple Institute really was founded with a unique goal in mind, and that is to try to raise the consciousness and awareness of people as much as possible towards the central role that the holy temple plays in the life of mankind, and to actually try to do as much as possible about building the temple in our time".
Elwood McQuaid: "Now, you believe that God has instructed you or led you to do this. What actually are you involved in? What actually are you doing in a physical way?"
Interviewee: "What we are doing at this point, which is most remarkable actually, is the restoration of the vessels that can actually be used in the temple. They're made from the original material, whether it's gold, copper, silver etc. - and so really it's the first time that these things can be seen on the face of the earth for 2000 years, and they're ready for the resumption of the service of the temple. This is actually considered, like, the first stage of building the temple itself".
Elwood McQuaid: "There is another group called 'The Faithful of the Temple Mount' who have actually prepared a cornerstone for rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. So we can conclude that, despite overwhelming political and religious opposition, there is still a flurry of anticipation and activity going on right now in preparation for a new temple on Mount Moriah. But who are these groups that want to rebuild the temple? What is their motivation? For the most part they are Jewish people who promote strict adherence to the Old Testament Mosaic law. Their motivation is simple: without the temple and the sacrificial system, they believe there is no way for them to atone for their sins. Their entire belief system requires the existence of the temple".
[End transcript of video]
These things are coming to pass. You noticed how that Jewish gentleman in the Sanhedrin, the place where they want to hold the Sanhedrin, said that this was for the building of the third temple. Well, obviously they wouldn't recognise the tabernacle as the first temple, they don't recognise this temple that we are that the Holy Ghost inhabits today, for them it is the third temple - for us it will be the sixth, the tribulational temple.
Now, we want to look at the millennial temple. That temple will be destroyed when the Lord Jesus comes again to the Mount of Olives for Israel, then a new temple will be built - the millennial temple, and that's what you have on the back of your sheet, if you look at it, this evening. First of all, if you just turn it over to that diagram, but if you also look at verses 1 to 4 in chapter 40 you will see that there depicted for us is the man with the measuring rod. Ezekiel is given the vision of the city of Jerusalem - that's important, this is not the church - he gets a vision of the city of Jerusalem. He sees a new temple, it's in the 14th year after Jerusalem was captured and Ezekiel is taken up in visions and set on a very high mountain - probably Mount Zion - and he is shown the city and the temple by a man whose appearance is like bronze, probably an angel. He is told to fix his eyes and his mind on everything he sees, and to declare it to the house of Israel.
Now, please note: it is Jerusalem, it is Israel, it is Mount Zion. This is the earth. The Holy Ghost is speaking to us about the earth. It is different than the new Jerusalem that you find in Revelation 21, it is not the same. The new Jerusalem will be our eternal home, and indeed for all believers, in a new heaven and in a new earth - that is the eternal state, that is after the thousand year reign of Christ. This has got nothing to do with it, this millennial temple. John tells us of that eternal state, the new heaven and the new earth, the new Jerusalem - he says: 'I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it'. There is no temple there, but here is a temple. We'll not need a temple in heaven, but there will be a temple on earth during the millennial reign of Christ specifically for the Jewish people. Now that's a good tip in expositing the word of God, and we saw it yesterday as we were looking at 'The Barren Womb and the Virgin Birth'. We saw that whenever scripture usually speaks of the earth, it is in relation to Israel, but when it speaks of heaven it is in relation to the church of Jesus Christ - we are a heavenly people, Israel is God's earthly people.
So, there is the man with the measuring rod - and then he goes in verse 5 through to 47, your second point, he measures the outer and the inner courts. First of all he speaks, in verses 5 through to 16, of the east gate of the outer court. If you look - if Paul would put up the second overhead, that was the wrong one I put up there, sorry Paul - and you look at the back of your diagram - by the way, I got rid of my old stick and somebody out of the Royal Victoria Hospital lent me this! He starts here, if you can see it, at the bottom and that is east - if you look at your diagram you have North, South, East and West - but the gate, the very front of the temple is facing east. The man with the measuring rod starts to measure there at the east gate, you can see that clearly in verse 5. With this gate the whole architectural description of the temple begins, and first he starts to describe the wall all the way round the outer court of the temple.
Verse 5, that's where he begins, and then he speaks of the east gate of the outer court, and he begins - see this east gate here? - he begins to describe this in great detail. Now, if Paul would put up number one, this is a blown up form of the east gate that he describes. Let's read together these facts, look at verse 6: 'Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs', you can see the stairs there, 'and measured the threshold of the gate', that's the threshold there, the threshold of the gate. He measured it, and then every little chamber, verse 7: 'Was one reed long', those little chambers, this is still the gate of this millennial temple as you can see from your diagram. He went on to the porch and the gate with one reed, there's the porch there entering into the temple, and he measures it too. 'He measured also the porch of the gate within, one reed. Then measured he the porch of the gate, eight cubits; and the posts thereof, two cubits; and the porch of the gate was inward'. So in between these little alcoves these are like pillars, and we'll see later that there will be set on these pillars, palm trees - and this is only the gate of the millennial temple.
'He measures', verse 11, 'the breadth of the entry of the gate, ten cubits; and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits. The space also before the little chambers was one cubit', and so on and so on. He measures the gate from the roof of one little chamber to the roof of another, he measures the post, he measures absolutely everything - verse 16, even the little windows. You see 'W' here? The alcoves, these little windows, God even measures these for Ezekiel, the arches around them and all the intricacies of it. He says at the end of verse 16 that there will be palm trees on these posts. So there you have the outer court and the east gate into that court.
He begins then to describe the outer court, now you can see it written on your diagram: this is the outer court, and this is the inner court, and this is the temple here itself. He starts to describe not just the gate but the outer court. It's probable that this ground will be covered in a mosaic. The temple of Solomon was covered in a mosaic, the king's palace in Shushan that we read of in the book of Esther was also covered in mosaic, and it seemed to be the practice of the day. Round here in verse 17, the second part, it tells us that there are 30 chambers all around this outer court reserved, probably, for storage - we don't really know what they will be used for, but you can see the size of this thing. Then he talks about the other two gates, these gates - the North and the South gates, which are identical to the east gate. He gives us a really detailed figure of it all.
Then he speaks of the inner court - here we are, the inner court, and there are three gates there the same: East, and North, and South. He gives us a detailed description of those in verses 28 through to 37. Then he talks in verses 38 through to 43 about the equipments that will be used in this temple, equipment for sacrifice. He tells us that in this vestibule there will be eight tables - that's the northern gate, and in the northern vestibule there will be eight tables for animal sacrifice, and also there will be four tables hewn out of stone that will be used for burnt offerings, and on those tables will be instruments to sacrifice and to pull these animals apart. In verses 44 through to 47 we find that he speaks of chambers for the priests, you can see it 'PC' on your diagram. These are specific chambers for the priests, some of the priests will perform the sacrifices, some of the priests will praise God and will have various other occupations within the temple.
Then he speaks in verses 48 and 49 of the vestibule of the temple and the inner court, this part here - the entrance to the temple. He describes it in great detail, he talks about pillars that remind us of what it was like in Solomon's temple, and those pillars were even named: Jachin and Boaz were the names of them, 1 Kings chapter 7. Chapter 40, really, we haven't even entered chapter 41, but if you to get this in your mind - you'll never be able to remember all those facts - but chapter 40 is to do with the surrounding area, he hasn't even touched the temple yet, that's chapters 41 and 42. This is only the inner court he's talking about, and the outer court - he takes a whole chapter to deal with this in detail. Then we come to chapter 41 which details the temple itself. Now the question that I want you to ask yourself and all biblical scholars when you look at the intricate detail of everything about the inner and the outer courts is: if this is only spiritual, why all the detail? What's the point of it all? And then, if it's typology, what does it stand for? Can you tell me what this alcove, what this little chamber and storage room, what it stands for in the church of Jesus Christ? It cannot be an allegorical depiction of the church!
As I've been thinking and studying this, it's ironic to me that a-millennialists, people who don't believe in a literal millennial reign of Christ on the earth, don't believe in this temple, they think we are the only temple that there will ever be again - these are people, commendably, that are leading defenders and advocates and exponents of expository exegetical preaching, in other words going down the word of God and asking what it means. But yet, when it comes to these passages in Ezekiel, they pass over it all as allegory - there's no explanation for any of it, nobody ever tells us what these things mean. They just say: 'Oh, it's the church of Jesus Christ, that's it'. But why all the detail? I'll tell you why all the detail: because this temple will be built, specifically to the specifications that God has given in the word of God. I'll tell you why: because Moses was told with regards to the temple, in Exodus chapter 25 verse 40: 'Look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount'. The same thing will be said to Israel: 'Look and see that you build it according to the pattern that was shown Ezekiel on the mount'.
So let's look at the temple building, the third point on your outline - the actual temple. This is it here, and if Paul would put up the third transparency there for a moment. Chapter 41 and verses 1 through to 4 describe the sanctuary - this main part here, forget about all this round here, the sanctuary, this middle part, and the most holy place. It is a direct replica of Solomon's temple, to a tee, everything in it, but also in the tabernacle you would know that there's the main sanctuary, the holy place, and the holiest place of all - it's separated into two compartments. It's twice as large as the tabernacle was in the wilderness, and the man with the rod in his hand brings Ezekiel into the sanctuary and there he does the same: he measures everything out. But listen: only the bronze man goes into the holiest place of all, Ezekiel is left outside.
If you read right through you find described in verses 5 to 11 these side chambers, all of them. As we read on we find - you can't see it in this diagram, but if there was a three-dimensional diagram you would see that there are three storeys of these little chambers. So multiply them by three up on top of one another, and you get an idea of the size of this thing. They will increase, the Bible says, in size as they ascend - verse 7 tells us that. It says - if you put on the second one there Paul - if you look at the back of your outline, there is a building here at the back of the temple that we don't know what it's going to be used for - we haven't a clue, it doesn't say, but it's a massive building as you can see and we don't know what it's for. It's facing west, it's 70 by 90 cubits, which is about 122 by 157 feet as you can see in your diagram - we don't know what it's for.
Then Ezekiel goes into verse 15 through to 26, and he describes for us the decoration of this temple and the furniture that will be in the temple. If you read carefully, we don't have time to go over it tonight, but there are two significant things that he mentions. One: cherubim, and two: palm trees. This temple, internally, is decorated by cherubim everywhere, and palm trees everywhere. The reason being, we have learnt already as we've gazed at cherubim in recent days, that cherubim speak of the righteous government and holiness of Almighty God. Palm trees in scripture, generally, represent victory and righteousness. So you can see the two coming together: God's holy rule, which means victory and righteousness upon the earth. The cherubim are described as having faces: one of a young lion, and one of the face of a man - now we know that they have the face of an ox and the face of an eagle as well, but the only two that are described here are the young lion and the face of a man. I believe that that is specifically referring to the humanity of Christ as Messiah, and His Kingship in Israel as He sits on the throne during this millennial reign. The lion speaks of the King, and the man speaks of His humanity.
The specific thing that Ezekiel says is that this cherubim is facing the palm trees. In other words, there's a significance that the Lord Jesus Christ's humanity and His divine Messiahship in Israel have brought righteousness and victory to reign upon the earth. The angel measures it in verses 15 to 20, he measures the whole thing. His measurement of it - we don't want to go into the detail of it - his measurement of it would lead us to believe that Mount Moriah, at this moment, this temple couldn't sit on it - it's far too big! A lot of the scholars therefore say: 'Well, there you go, it's not a real temple at all, it's a spiritual temple'. But we must turn then, we haven't time but I'll read it to you, to Zechariah 14 verse 10 where it says: 'All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem'. Some topographic event will take place that will flatten the land, the word of God teaches it, that will enable this temple to be built on Mount Moriah.
He describes again the altar, he tells us - there it is there on your diagram - that it is made of wood. The angel describes it as the table that is before the Lord, and in our next study we will look at why there is an altar in the millennial temple - you might think: 'I thought all sacrifices were finished for ever?', you would maybe understand the book of Hebrews to teach that, but we'll look at that in our next study. Then he goes on and he talks about two doors in the temple here, at the very entrance of the main building, and he speaks of these two doors being of two panels each also carved with cherubim and palm trees - victory, and the righteous holiness of God. This vestibule here is to be covered over by a wooden canopy. It's a beautiful building, but these are details that I have brought to you not to load your memory, or overload your memory, but simply to bring to you how detailed this is - it must be a literal building!
But there is something more than that I want to bring to your attention tonight, and it's this: this building is unique. It is different to any other temple that has ever been built. There are several articles and objects that are present in Moses' temple, in Solomon's temple, in Herod's temple, that are absent from the millennial temple. I want you to look at your diagram and see that. There is no veil between the holy place and the holiest place of all - there's no veil mentioned in this temple. Why? Because through Christ at Calvary, there in those hours when He cried: 'Finished!', the veil was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, 'Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent'. That's why there's no veil - hallelujah! It will never reappear, isn't that wonderful? There will never be separation between man and God, redeemed man, any more. There will be no barrier to keep man from the glory of God, but the way is open that we can go through with boldness, without any fear, into the very presence of God.
The furniture of this temple, if we could blow it up even more - we can't do that - but if you remember the tabernacle, I'm sure you've studied it, you would see a lot of pieces of furniture. You see the furniture and the implements and the candlesticks that's already being prepared for the tribulational temple, you don't have any of these in here. You don't have the table of shewbread which speaks of the Bread of God, why? It's not needed! We have the Living Bread! Israel will realise their Living Bread, and He will be there, they'll not need a type of Him, He will be in their midst! There's no lampstands any more, they're not needed because He is the Light of the world, and He Himself personally will shine forth over all the earth. Look at the holiest place of all, there's no Ark of the Covenant, there's no physical Ark - why? It's unnecessary because the actual Shekinah glory of God Himself, He Himself, will hover over all the earth the word of God says. His glory cloud that was once in the temple will be there again, but over all the earth - and you don't need an Ark when the Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled it! It's only a type of Him. Fifthly, there is not one mention within this whole depiction of this temple of a High Priest. Why? Why? 'Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession' - that's why. He will be their High Priest!
This has been a blessing to me. Look at chapter 44, I know we're going out of our remit tonight, but bear with me, I want to deal with this in the time that we have. Ezekiel 44 and verses 1 and 2: 'He brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut' - note that, underline it. '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'. You see this gate down at the bottom, which is the main gate, the natural entrance which is on the east? God says, in chapter 44 verses 1 and 2: 'That gate has to be shut'. 'That gate is shut', God says, 'because that's the gate that God comes through'. Now, what is He talking about? This is the gate, probably, through which the Lord Jesus Christ will enter this temple. We'll look at it a little bit later, but as a mark of respect in ancient lands - especially to eastern kings - no person was ever allowed to enter into a temple or into a palace by the same gate that the king went through. That gate will be closed, let me remind you of something else - turn with me to chapter 10, we're going back on a study we did several weeks ago. Chapter 10 and verses 18 and 19, remember the glory left the temple? 'Then the glory', verse 18, 'of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them', and so on and so on, 'and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above'. The glory left the temple, and what God is saying here - listen: 'That is the gate that I left the temple from, and that is the gate that I will return to the temple in, and I want you to seal up that gate because I will never leave you again!'. Isn't that beautiful?
We see fourthly, your forth point, the return of the glory of the Lord. Now I want to bring this all together, and please give me the time - will you give me the time tonight to do this in about 5 or 10 minutes? Here we have the glory departing, you have it in chapter 11:23 as well, and you see that it moved to the threshold of the temple, it moved from the threshold to the Mount of Olives, and then eventually it left the whole nation of Israel. I don't know whether you can remember - turn with me for a moment to chapter 21 of Matthew's gospel, verse 12. You remember the Lord, angry at what they were doing in the temple, it says: 'Jesus went into the temple of God', that's Herod's temple which was Zerubbabel's, 'and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves'. Verse 17: 'And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there' - note that.
The Lord was rejected by His own people, and when He was rejected in His own temple the Bible says that He wrecked the place and then He left! And I believe He left by these gates, for if you look - and before I asked Arthur Carnigan this tonight I already believed this, so it's not because of what he told me. That's the east gate there of the old temple that the Lord left, that is the gate that is blocked up at this moment that the Lord Jesus will return through at His second coming. The Mount of Olives is down here in the piano somewhere! Bethphage is at the top, and over there is Bethany - and it says He left the temple and went to Bethany, and to my mind the most natural exit He would have went through was the eastern gate. That gate is closed up tonight, but that gate will be opened one day for the Lord Jesus returning, and it will be closed up for ever for He'll never leave His people again. More than that, go to chapter 23 verse 37 of Matthew's gospel - and remember this is the gospel of the Kingdom - He stands, where is He standing when He says this? Where's He standing? The Mount of Olives. Where did His Shekinah leave? It went out the east gate. Where did it rest? The Mount of Olives. 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord'.
Do you see it? He left! He went to the Mount of Olives and He left them desolate! And they are desolate today! 'But a day will come', the Lord says, 'when I will come in, the Shekinah glory' - and the Shekinah glory today is our Lord Jesus Christ, and He will enter the temple for good, and the doors will be shut and He will be with His people as Messiah forever. Look at verse 6 of Ezekiel 43 - verses 6 to 9, it says He will dwell forever in the midst of His people. No more, He says, will you practice harlotry and idolatry and the abominations in My house, the house of the Lord. Here's the key, here's the reason why the Lord will do it, verse 10 of 43: 'Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern'. 'They will be ashamed that they have rejected My Son. They will look upon Him whom they have pierced, the One who was rejected in the house of His friends, and they will be ashamed' - but their glory will come again. They will see the pattern and the design and the arrangement of the new temple, and they will repent, and they will be given new hope in the Lord Jesus, when they see His face they will repent.
The poet said:
''Tis the look that melted Peter,
'Tis that face that Stephen saw,
'Tis the heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw'.
It came from the east, that glory came from the east where it left. Ezekiel saw it now, as he saw it beside the River Chebar, he fell on his face as he did at the River Chebar, and it says that the glory - chapter 43 - the glory filled the temple as it filled the tabernacle, it filled this temple as it did in Solomon's temple, and it stayed there. Why did it fill the temple? How did it fill the temple? Listen: that glory, the Lord Jesus, will enter through the eastern gate, enter through the eastern door of the temple, enter into the temple, for He is the brightness and the express image of God's person! What glory! That will be a centre for the King of Glory, Isaiah says: 'It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, 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 the LORD from Jerusalem'.
Let me put your mind back just for one moment: where are these people? They're in a concentration camp beside the River Chebar in Babylon. Their city has been burnt down, they've been taken captive, their present temple is destroyed - but Ezekiel comes to them and brings them a message of good news. I couldn't help think today that this is like the book of Revelation to the church in the New Testament. Persecuted Christians, downhearted, being slain, and John comes with a revelation of Jesus Christ from God's Holy Spirit, and he tells them: 'Look up! When these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh'. We can look up like Israel is going to look up one day!
My friend, what are you going through tonight? What are you going through? Look up, the best is yet to be! My friend, listen to what Paul said to Timothy, listen: 'If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him' - reign here! - 'but if we deny him, he also will deny us'. He's a wonderful Saviour, isn't He? I don't know about you, but from my studies today it has drawn worship out of my cold heart to this wonderful Redeemer and Christ.
O our Father, we thank Thee for the plan of salvation - that we have been engrafted into this blessing through grace, people that were not a people are the spiritual people and temple of God. Lord, it is a question that we must ask: if we are Thy temple today, how much of this great Shekinah is shining in us? Lord, we thank Thee that there is a day to come when Israel again will know Thy glory in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, and the Lord Jesus will come and enter that gate and it will be shut for evermore. There will never be another fall, our Father, there will never be another curse - Jesus shall reign, hallelujah! Lord, we look forward to that day, with birth pangs our bodies and this planet cries out for its redemption. We thank Thee, like others around us, we are not without hope - for we have the hope of the word of God, and we say: 'Even so, come Lord Jesus'. Amen.
Preach The Word
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the twenty second tape in his Ezekiel series, titled "The Millennial Temple" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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