Ezekiel 40 -- 42
Ezekiel's vision of dry bones assured the exiles in Babylon that, at a future time, God would reestablish them as a nation in the Promised Land. The vision also foretold the final end-time overthrow of the one world government. A few years after this vision, Ezekiel received another vision: In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity . . . in the fourteenth year after the city (Jerusalem) was smitten (destroyed), on that very day the hand of the Lord was upon me. . . . In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain. . . . And, behold, there was a man. . . . And the man said unto me, son of man, behold with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I will show you. . . . Behold a wall all around the outside of the House (Temple area) (40:1-5). This new vision looked far into the future, where Ezekiel beheld a glorious Temple, far more magnificent than the Temple built by Solomon.
The measurements of the grounds and the many details concerning the building and its unusual architectural design are recorded; but no instruction was given to Ezekiel regarding who would build it or when it would be built. In striking contrast, God had given Moses detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle and even the names of the craftsmen who were to build it in the wilderness (Exodus 25:9). David also had given detailed instructions to Solomon concerning the Temple that Solomon later built.
If God expected the returned exiles, or anyone since that time, to build this Temple, no direction was given to the leadership of Zerubbabel or in the messages of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra, Nehemiah, or any inspired writer.
No Jewish Temple has existed in Jerusalem since 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed Herod's Temple. Almost 2000 years have passed, with no recovery of a brazen altar, laver, golden candlestick, table for showbread, or golden altar. The Ark of the Covenant, representing the presence of God, disappeared when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem. The last mention of it was when King Josiah told the Levites to put the Holy Ark in the Temple built by Solomon (II Chronicles 35:3). Jeremiah, who prophesied at the time of Josiah, made the last reference to the Ark in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 3:16).
Because there is no inspired revelation concerning the construction of the Temple described in Ezekiel's vision, some believe that the Lord Jesus will build His Holy Temple when He returns to Jerusalem to set up His millennial Kingdom upon the earth. Through Ezekiel, God also promised: I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My Holy Name, shall the House of Israel no more defile (Ezekiel 43:7). That envisioned Temple will be much greater and far more glorious than the Temple of Solomon: The glory of this latter House shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:9).
The old ceremonial worship with the altar and the priests offering sacrifices for the sins of the people all foreshadowed Jesus Christ, His atonement for our sins, and our relationship with Him through His sacrifice on the cross. These laws were imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an High Priest . . . by a greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands . . . by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:10-12; compare John 4:21-24; Galatians 3:23-25; Colossians 2:17).
Through the accuracy of the instructions for the Temple (Ezekiel 40). Just as our Lord took great care in giving details for the Temple, He has given directions for us -- His people -- who are temples of God and the indwelling Presence of Christ (I Cor. 6:19-20; II Cor. 6:16-17).
40:17 were upon means faced, fronted on; 40:23 over against means opposite; 40:44 having the prospect means facing; 41:12 separate place means Temple yard; 41:24 turning leaves means hinged panels; 42:20 profane means common.
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