The Messianic Temple – the True Eternal Spiritual Temple:
Many Dispensationalists try to say that Ezekiel chapters 40 – 47 is depicting a future millennial temple. However there is a serious problem with this thinking, as Ezekiel 45:17 re-institutes all of the feast days and sacrificial offerings stating they are to be –> for atonement. This is the same exact phrase as was used in Numbers 8:19; Lev. 8:14-15, 10:17, 16:17, 34 for the Old Covenant (OC) atonement under the Mosaic Law.
This is impossible that Ezekiel is just referring to some “ceremonial” offerings being put back in place as some “memorial” as many Dispensationalists are trying to say. Ezekiel is clearly not referring to “ceremonial” laws, or provide any mention of any of this just being some “memorial” of some kind, and this clearly cannot be referring to some still future to us atoning sacrifice for sin, as this would be completely subverting the once for all eternal perfect sacrifice of Christ (Heb. 9:26).
- In addition: why on earth would Paul say in the 1st century in Colossians 2:17 that all of those things he just listed in verse 16 are (present tense verb: still existing at the time he wrote) a shadow of the substance “about to” (Greek: Mello) come, near in his time?
- As well as Hebrews chapters 8 – 12 –> Christ was said to be then at that time in the 1st century the High Priest, and was performing the duties in the true temple not made with hands, entering the heavenly Holy of Holies in the very presence of God (Heb. 8:2, 9:24)?
(Read) Acts 7:49-50 –> Stephen quotes Isa. 66:1-2. While he was standing in the center of the Jewish world –> the ancient magnificent Herodian temple, and being inspired by God, he stated that “the entire earth” is His footstool:
- Implying that there was no longer any centrifugal location to confine Him behind a veil in a temple any longer.
- There was not to be any future physical temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem that He was going to be a part of.
Ezekiel 44 is also said by the Dispensationalists to be referring to some still future millennial kingdom. However, in verses 7 – 9 it says that no uncircumcised person or foreigner is allowed in. Yet, Isa. 56:3-8 says that in the then future Messianic Kingdom foreigners will be given a name greater “than that of sons and daughters.” –> This is a big problem for Dispensationalism, because if this in Isa. 56 is literal, then it is a direct contradiction with Ezek. 44:7-9. This also would mean that the gospel would have to stop from going forth to all of the Gentiles in the millennial Kingdom according to Ezek. 44. Clearly, Ezekiel 44 cannot be talking about some still future temple or kingdom or the physically uncircumcised nations cannot even enter it.
Biblical points in the True Messianic Temple vs. the Old Covenant Temple:
- Deut. 23:1 says that no Eunuchs were allowed in the Old Covenant (OC) temple. They were referred to as “dry trees” who could not have children and therefore could not increase the kingdom.
- However, Isa. 56:3-8 says the Eunuch would no longer be considered a dry tree, and would be “given a name better than sons and daughters.” Better than the physical earthly lineage about being born a Jew (Born a Jew: see Gen. 17:1-14; Jer. 29:3-6).
- In Luke 20:34-35 Jesus said to the OC Jews that in the age to come, entry into the Kingdom is not by giving in marriage. It will not be by being born “sons and daughters” according to the earthly Jewish lineage in the New Covenant (NC) age.
- The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 is highly significant –> he can now produce sons and daughters by faith à no longer biological.
- Gal. 4:4 says that Jesus was born in the fullness of time –> and under the law.
- Heb. 1:2 calls that 1st century time when Jesus lived and taught –> the “last days.”
- Heb. 9:26 says when Christ was crucified was called –> the “end of the ages.”
- Eph. 2:20-22 was written in the 1st century “in the present tense” saying that the building of the Messianic temple was started right then using those believers –> clearly indicating it was not an physical, literal temple.
- Isaiah chapters 2 – 4 states how OC Jerusalem was built on war, and sustained on war –> however, the NC Messianic temple would never be built on war (Isa. 2:4). (Also see Hos. 1:6-7; Zech. 9:9-10)
- Isa. 3:13-15 says the Lord judged the elders of His people. Why?
- Because they had eaten up His vineyard and grinded the faces of the poor.
- He promised judgment in Isa. 4:3-4 to wash in fire away her filth, and to rebuild His temple in verse 6.
- Isaiah chapters 2 – 4 starts with saying it is the “end (latter) days” –> of OC Israel (2:2) à while at the end of the section it also says at the same time it was to be the time of establishing the Messianic temple (4:6).
- Isa. 4:4-5 is describing the same judging the blood shed from creation à the same as Matthew 23:35-36 where Jesus said to OC Israel –> within their generation. (See also Matt. 24:34, 16:27-28)
- 86 times in the KJV where the OT always uses the phrase “house of God,” referring to the Jerusalem temple –> is the exact same phrase used in Eph. 2:21 where our English translations put the word “temple.”
- 1 Peter 2:4 is the new eternal, spiritual Kingdom/Temple. Remember who Peter is writing to in 1:1, and then see how in 2:9-10 Peter says that these Christian diaspora Hebrews are a chosen and royal priesthood – a holy nation –> he is directly quoting from Hosea 1:9-10, and in 2:19-23 which is about the promised remarriage to the northern kingdom of Israel diaspora (verse 22 also refers back to Hos. 1:11 and this regathering/remarriage).
- Hosea is written to the 10 northern tribes of Israel near the time of the dispersement, which happened in 722 BC when the Assyrian armies came in and completely destroyed and scattered the northern kingdom. This dispersement is referred to in the NT as the Diaspora or Dispersion (1 Pet. 1:1; Jam. 1:1, John 7:35, 11:52).
- Hos. 3:4-5 says that the northern kingdom will be without king, prince, sacrifice, sacred pillar (temple) and ephod and teraphim (word of God) until the latter days (verse 5). 1 Peter is written to this same Diaspora.
- In 1 Peter 1:10-12 Peter is saying to his readers through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the OT prophets did not understand neither the “timing” nor the “nature” of the fulfillment of the prophecies they wrote. However, in 1 Peter 2:5-11 Peter writes to these same diaspora people saying that this prophecy is being spiritually fulfilled right there in the 1st century –> they are part of the Messianic temple –> the body of Christ, the church (the seen realm of the one eternal Kingdom).
- Old Covenant (OC) priests were a shadow/type à the New Covenant fulfillment is “believers are a kingdom of priests” (Rev. 1:6, 5:10).
- In addition to what we just read in #9 above, the OC physical shadow/type of the “sacrifice of praise” was a bloody physical sacrifice, and only able to be offered by the earthly physical Levitical priest (read Lev. 7:11-15).
- However, the writer of Heb. 13:15 tells his readers that the true spiritual fulfillment is to be a continual “fruit of our lips” –> praise and giving thanks to God (no longer any physical cakes and wafers and oil as in the OC). Every believer in the NC is a priest and to offer praise.
- Rev. 8:2-3 shows the prayers of the saints upon the heavenly alter –> this is the true and perfect “heavenly alter,” of which the earthly physical exact copy/shadow (Heb. 8:2) in the OC temple was where the OC priests would offer the blood sacrifices –> now in the NC the true and fulfilled desires of God are the praises and prayers of believers being offered to Him.
- 1 Peter 2 is talking about the NC fulfillment –> the spiritual priesthood (all believers) offer of spiritual sacrifices in a spiritual temple (the true temple not made with hands: Heb. 8:2, 9:24).
- In Romans 12:1 Paul also shows us the spiritual fulfillment of the OC sacrifices and ceremonies when he says the NC believer is to offer him/herself as a “living sacrifice” – “which is your spiritual service of worship.” (NASB)
The New Eternal Spiritual Kingdom/Temple is the Church:
- 2 Cor. 6:16, “we (plural) are the temple of the living God…God has said ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them…” –> Paul is quoting (read) Ezekiel 37:26-27 and saying that this is being fulfilled in the church right there in the 1st century.
- 1 Cor. 3:9, 11, 16-17, “we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building…For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
- 1 Cor. 6:15-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are members (corporate body) of Christ?…the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him…Or do you not know that your body is a temple (individual, but members with the corporate body) of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
- Eph. 2:19-22, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
- Eph. 3:21, “to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV)
- Eph. 4:16, “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
- Heb. 3:2-6, “He (Jesus) is faithful to Him (Father) who appointed Him…For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God…Christ is faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”
- 1 Pet. 2:4-9, “And coming to Him a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION…”
- Rev. 3:12, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God…”
- Rev. 21:9-10, 14, 22, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb…I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
- Rev. 1:9, “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and Kingdom…”
- 2 Cor. 11:2, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”
- Eph. 5:27-30, “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.”
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 12 Messianic Temple”]