refer to a Temple that will exist in
Jerusalem when God, in the person of
Jesus the Messiah, physically dwells on
Earth in the midst of His people Israel.
from which the Messiah will govern
Earth from David’s throne (Lk. 1:32-– 33);
( 5) provide a place where people will
offer blood sacrifices to God in worship
(Ezek. 45: 15–25); and ( 6) house a river
“flowing from under the threshold”
(47:1) to the Dead Sea, providing life-giving water to vegetation throughout the
Negev (vv. 1– 12).
court. Solomon’s temple had only a
gate on the east.1
Some try to relate Ezekiel’s revelation
to Solomon’s Temple. Others say it
refers to Zerubbabel’s Temple, built after
Israel returned from Babylon in the fifth
and sixth centuries B.C. However, the
dimensions, priesthood, and ministry of
Ezekiel’s Temple differ completely from
the other two.
Consequently, still others teach that
Ezekiel depicted the “ideal” Temple that
Israel was supposed to construct but did
not. No text in Scripture comes close to
validating this interpretation.
Today it is becoming increasingly
popular to spiritualize the biblical text
and teach that the Temple in Ezekiel 40
symbolizes the spiritual blessing being
fulfilled in the modern church. Again,
nothing in Scripture gives any credence
to this position.
Nor is the Temple in Ezekiel the
Tribulation Temple. A Temple will exist
during the future, seven-year Tribulation
(Mt. 24: 15; Mk. 13: 14; 2 Th. 2: 4; Rev. 11:1–
2); but it will be an ungodly one that
does not correspond to the godly Temple
in Ezekiel’s prophecy.
So to what Temple does Ezekiel
refer? The interpretation that makes
the most sense is that this is a future,
literal Temple that will be built in the
Millennial Kingdom. Such a Temple is
consistent with Ezekiel’s earlier
prophecy that God will set His sanctuary and Tabernacle in Israel (Ezek.
37: 26–28). A Temple will be built after
God has made a “covenant of peace”
(v. 26) with Israel in the Millennium.
Other prophets also wrote about a
future, literal, Millennial Temple (Isa. 2: 3;
60: 13; Dan. 9: 26; Joel 3: 18; Hag. 2: 7, 9).
The Temple’s purpose will be sixfold:
It will (1) exhibit God’s holiness (Zech.
14: 20); (2) manifest God’s glory (Ezek.
43:1– 5; 44: 4); ( 3) be the Messiah’s
dwelling place (43: 7); ( 4) be the location
This Temple will be unlike any
other in Israel’s history. Bible scholar
John F. Walvoord commented on some
of the details:
As described in Ezekiel (40:5—42: 20),
the outer dimensions of the temple complex will form a square 875 feet (500
cubits) across and in length. The temple
faces east as did the tabernacle and the
temples of Solomon and of the Exile.
The south, east, and north sides have an
outer wall. Thirty rooms were also built
on the second and third levels. The temple itself was projected from inside the
western wall of the temple complex
toward the east, and, except on the
western wall, it had outer courts on
three sides—south, east, and north, 175
feet in width. The rooms inside the temple area were assigned to their respective uses, including the temple proper
in the center with an inner court in
front of it extending to the east. The
details, while not prophetic in themselves, together give a tremendous
vision of the central place of worship in
the millennial kingdom.
Ezekiel, who recorded this vision of
the temple, was given what amounted
to a tour which prompted the detailed
description. He was led by an angel
described as “a man whose appearance was like bronze” (40: 3).
The measuring rod used by the
angel was six cubits long (v. 5),
with a rod being approximately
twenty-one inches in length. The
total measuring rod therefore was
about ten feet six inches. Ezekiel
entered through the eastern gate (v.
6); there was also one gate on the
south and one on the north, corresponding to the gates of the outer
When the Messiah rules on Earth
after the Tribulation, the system of
laws in effect (Ezek. 40—46) will be
quite different from the Mosaic
Law and radically different from
today, when we live under grace
without a Temple.
First, Ezekiel makes it exceedingly
clear that a resurrected King David
will play the major role of king, shepherd, and prince appointed by God
over Israel; he will serve under the
Messiah (Isa. 55: 3–4; Jer. 30: 9; Ezek.
34: 23–24; 37: 24–25; Hos. 3: 5).
Second, an appointed “prince” (Ezek.
44: 3) will oversee worship and service in
the Temple. His identity today is
unknown. He is not Jesus Christ, as some
might believe, because he must offer a sin
offering for himself (45: 22). Many scholars
speculate that David is the prince because
he is so designated in other Millennial
Kingdom passages. However, this seems
unlikely because the prince appears to be
a human being; David will be a sinless,
resurrected saint. The prince’s duties are
spelled out in Ezekiel 45:9—46: 18.
Third, Ezekiel 44: 4–31 provides
information about the dress, demeanor,
and duties concerning the priests in
charge of the Temple. Only Levites from
the sons of Zadok will be ministering
priests because they alone obeyed the
Lord when other priests and the children of Israel went astray (v. 15).
What a day of blessing awaits Israel
and the world when Jesus the Messiah
returns to erect a new Temple in the
1 John F. Walvoord, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook
(Wheaton, IL:, Victor Books, 1990), 200, 202.
David M. Levy is the director
of International Ministries
for The Friends of Israel.
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