Rabbi,Thank you for answering a question that has bothered me for a long time. It came out of a mistaken effort on my part to pin down the date of our Savior’s birth (If Zechariah ws handling the incense [Luke 1: 8-10] and the incense burner was in the Holiest of Holies then he must have been in there on the Day of Atonement and then we add 6 months etc. etc.)
When I read your answer, I felt a powerful blessing when you mentioned the prayers of the people and the curtain no longer being there. Hallelujah! That is the answer the Lord wanted me to find! I can’t thank you enough.
Got time for another? When and where is the temple mentioned in Ezekiel 40 and following? A Messianic Jewish friend of mine opined that this was the Temple promised to the Hebrew people if thye had accepted their Messiah the first time around instead of rejecting Him. Would you concur?
Thank you again for your time and consideration.
Thank you for the kind words.
Ezekiel 40 is referring to the future, rebuilt Millennial Temple when Yahshua comes to reign from Jerusalem as King of Kings, prophet, and Cohen Gadol (High Priest). All the promises given to Israel will then be fulfilled.
Christian commentators and scholars all agree that the Temple referred to here is in the future, and many see the start of the rebuilding of the Temple as the last prophetic act before Yahshua’s return. However, they are mystified why there will be Sacrifices. In Ezekiel 47:1-12 it tells us that one feature of the millennial kingdom will be a rebuilt temple, complete with animal sacrifices. This is not to be confused with the New Jerusalem G-d lowers from Heaven at the close of the age when we have a new heaven and a new earth.
Now, let me address the current scholarship regarding this subject from a Christian perspective. My personal understanding and possibilities will follow. I alone stand responsible for those personal views as regards what I will explore on this subject and in no way are they definitive.
Since the Scriptures indicate that much of the typological significance of both the temple and its service has already been fulfilled by Yahshua; Christian scholars have been hard put to answer the question of why the need for a temple or for animal sacrifice in the next age. Some of the conclusions they have published is that the temple might
(1) Demonstrate G-d’s holiness;
(2) Provide a dwelling place for the glory of God;
(3) Perpetuate a memorial of sacrifice;
(4) Become a center for divine government; and
(5) Assure victory over the curse.
They offer this illustration and the best consensus of these commentators is that the sacrifices in the Millennium Temple will be a memorial, much as the observance of the Lord’s Supper (actually Passover) is a memorial today in Christian churches. When both practices were instituted, they were pointing typologically to the atoning death of Yahshua. They reason that such practices after Yahshua’s crucifixion can have only memorial significance.
We read in Ezekiel 40:1–42:20, that the new temple includes the traditional outer court (40:5–27) and inner court (40:28–47), as well as the building proper (40:48–41:26), adjacent buildings (42:1–14), outer walls (42:15–20), and altar (43:13–27). The fact that Ezekiel would spend so much space describing the temple indicates its importance to us today. Upwards of 50 chapters in the Bible are devoted to descriptions of the tabernacle and various temples. However, in the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet shows clearly that the departure of G-d’s glory from the temple, described in chapters 10 and 11, is reversed in the future Temple when the Spirit returns (43:1–12) and fills it with glory. G-d is not finished with His people. They will yet again see His glory as in the past.
Ezekiel’s 40:38, mention of the burnt offering here and in connection with the altar (43:13–27) has proved problematic to Christians. For under the new (really the renewed. refreshed covenant) it is reported of Yahshua that: “after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12). The problem is that Christians fail to account for Romans 3: 25
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
and 2 Peter 1:9 (KJV), which plainly tell us that we are forgiven for our past sins only when we accept Yahshua, the result being our being reconciled to G-d. Since all of our past sins are forgiven forever what about our future sins? It is no different than in ancient times for true repentance will restore us, but unfortunately not for highhanded sin. See my study on the index page web: “Are you a True Believer?”
Most Christian commentators relying on the doctrine of eternal security or “once saved always saved” as covering once and for all time, past and future sins come to a faulty conclusion. When the premise is wrong the conclusions are wrong. It leaves them at a loss as to how one may credibly explain this seeming reversion to the Levitical system of bloody sacrifices? Some have suggested that Ezekiel is merely presenting the worship of the Millennium in terms familiar to himself and his readers. Not so! .
Furthermore, we must consider Ezekiel 44:1–46:24 for we see that only three of the seven great annual feasts of Israel will be included in the new worship: Passover and Unleavened Bread, combined as one feast, and the Feast of Tabernacles. This is an interesting development. The other four, Feast of First Fruits, the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost,) the Feast of Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement are left out, presumably because the initiation of G-d’s millennium program rendered those feasts obsolete. Let us explore that a little.
The Feasts of Israel are prophetic as the Hebrew word associated with them indicates. Yahshua has literally fulfilled four of them on the prophetic timetable: He is the Paschal Lamb, the sacrifice that reconciles us to G-d, He is the Unleavened Bread (without sin), He is the First fruits of resurrection, and He sent the Comforter, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) that empowers us to live Torah in loving obedience to G-d’s instructions (Torah). It is interesting to note that on the first Shavuot (Pentecost) the Law was given on Mt. Sinai, and on Shavuot (Pentecost) in the NT, the Holy Spirit was given to empower us to live Torah. The next item on the agenda is the Feast of Trumpets, (today called Rosh Hashanah) which I believe signals the Translation (rapture) of the “called out ones,” ecclesia, incorrectly translated as “church.” The fourth shall take place before the institution of the Millennium Temple. The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot signals G-d’s provision for us. So you can see how they all fit into G-d’s plan , and how various ones might be included in the Millennium Temple worship.For instance, G-d’s provision for us (Tabernacles) never ends. (I have more exhaustive studies on the web).
Why the Temple? Yahshua is sitting on the throne ruling the world. The called out ones that have been wed to him in the heavenly wedding are priests and co-ruling with Him on earth from Israel during the Millennium. Israel is now the lead nation, the head and not the tail. The Temple has and will be the center of worship for Israel and the people in the Millennium will be required to go up to the Temple for worship. Penalties are provided for those that fail to do so. You might also note that in the Book of Revelation that after Yahshua’s 1000 year reign He turns the Kingdom back over to G-d. That is really an interesting comment. Why the sacrifices? Now for a thumbnail sketch: People living on the earth during this time are like you and me now, humans, with all human failings and faults. They enjoy the perfect government under Yahshua, and are subject to sin as we are, pride, greed and lust. They have the advantage of actually experiencing Yahshua first hand on a physical level as King, Prophet and High Priest. They enjoy the further advantage of HaSatan being bound. Yet, when he is loosed many will rebel and Armageddon will result. So, why the sacrifices? Since the most learned scholars cannot reach a definitive conclusion on this question, I have contemplated it and explored the following not reaching any definite conclusion but more so to stimulate thought. Yahshua has already come as Savior and was sacrificed for us as our Paschal Lamb. Though we are saved after the fact by faith in His faithfulness, could it possibly be that during the Millennium Temple era His covering of blood is nullified for those people because this is a different epoch. He has assumed His throne and Place as the Cohen Gadol upon earth, He rules with an “iron hand,” and since remission of sins is achieved only by the covering of innocent blood, the Millennium sacrifices are necessary for the people of that age as it was in ancient times before Yahshua’s advent for the covering of sin. G-d says He does not change and remission of sins is obtained only by the covering of innocent blood. This is just speculation of course, but someday with more study I hope to come to a definitive conclusion.
Ezekiel 47:1–48:35. The final two chapters of the book describe the new land (Millennium Kingdom).
You asked, “when and where is the temple mentioned in Ezekiel 40 and following.” As you can see that question sparked all of the above, and I apologize, for I could simply have answered with “in the millennium” and in “Jerusalem.” Perhaps, that would be the better reply for exploring the Word of G-d always opens up new questions, new investigations, and even speculations sometimes. I discern an inquiring mind in you, and a serious bible student. As you apparently know when addressing specific questions, it always opens up other areas of inquiry into G-d’s Word. I just love it don’t you? People who don’t explore the Word of G-d don’t know what they are missing. May G-d bless you and may you persevere for it is written:
Mat 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Mat 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. it is written
YHVH rewards those that persevere.