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Ezekiel;- The new Temple

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posted on Jul, 6 2018 @ 05:05 PM
Ezekiel is the prophet of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians.
But once Jerusalem has fallen, he becomes the prophet of the restoration.
The Lord has said that after the defeat of Gog of the land of Magog “the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (ch39 v7), and he will then “restore the fortunes of Jacob”.

This follows a pattern found in many of the prophets of the Old Testament.
Once God’s enemies have all been overthrown, his people recover their status and prosperity.
So the climax of the book (chs40-48) is Ezekiel’s version of the Revelation vision of the new Jerusalem.
As in the case of Revelation, the best way to understand the vision is to approach it through the symbolism.

The vision begins fourteen years after the fall of Jerusalem and twenty-five years after the first exile, Ezekiel’s exile. Twenty-five years is already half-way towards a Jubilee.
Once again, as in the first chapter, “the hand of the Lord was upon me”.
On this occasion, it takes him to a very high mountain where he sees “a structure like a city”.
That is his first impression of the new Temple (which has been detached from the city itself).

The first restoration is the restoration of a Temple as a place where God can live.
The structure is described In detail as a message to God’s people.
The basic message is that the new version will be complete and perfect. Nothing will be missing of the old facilities, and everything will be in order and symmetry.
Order is shown by carefully exact measurement, by an angel’s measuring rod, and symmetry is partly expressed in squares.
The overall Temple precinct is a square. In fact the surrounding wall is absurdly square, being built to a thickness which matches its height.
The six inner and outer gates of the precinct are constructed in the same shape and size, and the side-rooms and chambers which accompany them are also in standard sizes.

There is also a stress on renewing gradations of holiness, since the basic failing in the old Temple and its customs had been the breakdown in holiness.
This begins with the wall which separates the Temple precinct from the rest of the world. Then Ezekiel is shown the inner court within the outer court, and the Temple proper within the inner court, and the Most Holy place within the Temple.

Of course the priests are given all the facilities they must have for their work.
They need to have tables where the sacrifices can be washed or killed, and hooks for hanging the meat afterwards.
They need general chambers around the Temple (ideally, not resting on the Temple structure itself).
In particular, they need chambers where they can change between their public clothes and the clothes reserved for the holy place, and they need chambers where they can store and eat the different offerings. As holy things, the offerings must be consumed away from the people, because that is part of the gradation of holiness.

The regular wall-ornaments of palm trees and cherubim revive the decoration of Solomon’s Temple. Only two faces of the cherubim can be visible, so they are depicted as men and lions.
The overall message of all this detail is that the new Temple will be perfect in completeness and holiness.

Once there is a place for the Lord, the next restoration is the return of the Lord himself (ch43)
The Glory which left through the east gate in ch.11 returns again through the east gate. For this reason the east gate is now holy and will be kept closed.
The Glory of the Lord fills the Temple, as when the first Temple was dedicated by Solomon.
His voice promises that he will “dwell in the midst of the people of Israel for ever” (v7). So the ark of the Covenant, which had been a symbol of his presence as long as the Glory was not visible, does not need to be restored.
The promise is accompanied by a declaration, which amounts to a further promise, that the house of Israel will no longer defile his Temple with their idolatries. The habit of burying their kings near the Temple is one of the idolatries, because death in itself is a defilement of his presence (as they should have known from many of the old laws).
The next necessity is an altar, to deal with any other sin that threatens the relationship.
The altar is to be square, like the Temple precinct itself, and it will be dedicated with all the old ceremonial of cleansing.
Having made all this provision for the atonement of sin, God is now able to say “I will accept you” (v37)

posted on Jul, 6 2018 @ 05:06 PM
Once God has returned to his rightful place, the next stage is the restoration of his people, beginning with a renewed holy priesthood (ch.44).
Holiness will be ensured by restricting the membership.
In the past, foreigners “uncircumcised in heart and flesh” have been allowed into the building and “you have set them to keep my charge in my sanctuary”. They may have been brought in to carry out menial tasks, but this will no longer be permitted.

A large portion of the house of Levi will also be excluded from direct access.
For most of Israel’s history, there were independent altars and priesthoods all over the countryside, and many of them at least would have been genuine altars of YHWH. The house of Zadok themselves were originally the priests of Gibeon. They had been promoted into custodians of the ark when their predecessors took the wrong side in the succession crisis of 1 Kings ch1.
But the “high places” in general were unregulated, and their loyalties may have been uncertain.
They were all abolished in the reforms of Josiah’s time, and the doctrine that the Lord would confine his “name” to one place was written into the book of Deuteronomy.
The priesthood in Jerusalem were given a monopoly status, which Ezekiel now confirms.
The Lord has sworn that the bulk of the Levites will not be allowed to approach him or the most sacred things, because they previously “ministered to the people before their idols”. This may be a reference to the former priestly families of the “high places”.
Their work will be in the practical details of Temple service; “They shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall attend on the people to serve them.”

The status of “Levitical priests” will now be confined to the house of Zadok, “who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me.”
Of course they will maintain ritual holiness by observing all the old restrictions; not wearing wool or drinking wine in the inner court, not marrying widows, not eating animals which have died a natural death, not approaching dead bodies, and so on.
Keeping themselves holy, they will teach the people how to distinguish between the holy and the common.
Once again, the message of all this detail is that there will be a restoration of holiness.

There will also be a “prince” [NASI], though he won’t be encouraged to claim independent status (ch45). Ezekiel avoids here the word “king”, and any mention of a descent from David.
He will be expected to “execute justice and righteousness”, with particular reference to enforcing standard weights and measures (a perennial problem in the old kingdom).
For his own part, he must put away violence and oppression and stop evicting his people from their land.
To remove this temptation from him, he will receive a tract of land as a permanent family inheritance. He can use this land to endow his children and reward servants, though any gift made outside the family must come back to them in the year of Jubilee.
His main function will be to provide the offerings for the great “national” sacrifices; the lamb every morning, the sabbaths and the new moons and all the other “appointed feasts”, culminating in the Passover.
The message of all this detail is that the people will be governed in justice and holiness.

Once God’s people have come back to the presence of God, the final stage is the restoration of what God gives to his people.
Primarily, there is the gift of life (ch47).
Ezekiel is shown a stream of water coming from the threshold of the Temple. In other words, it comes direct from God.
The symbolism of water, which is very natural in a dry country, is well-established in the prophets.
Isaiah says that Judah will be drowned by the Euphrates because they have “refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently” (Isaiah ch8 v6).
Ezekiel’s image may have been developed from Joel ch3 v18, where the fountain from the house of the Lord will water the previously idolatrous “valley of Shiittim”.
Ezekiel’s river gets deeper at a miraculous rate, and brings life wherever it goes. There will be trees on both sides, permanently fruiting.
When the river gets down to the coast, it will turn the whole sea into freshwater. It will then be possible for men to spread their nets by the sea and catch fish.
The Israelites, of course, were true landlubbers, and did not imagine that salt-water could produce edible fish. In the Old Testament, the sea represents the source of evil, and Ezekiel’s “transformation” image suggests the effect of God’s life on the unrighteousness of the world. But before we get carried away with that idea, the vision also recognises that salt is necessary for human life, so the swamps and marshes by the sea will be preserved as natural saltpans.

The end of the vision, extending into ch48, shows the restored shape of the land of Israel.
The external boundary shows an interesting combination of idealism and realism.
On the one hand, the territory stretches northward to incorporate Lebanon. This echoes the description of Solomon’s kingdom covering “all the kings west of Euphrates” (1 Kings ch4 v24). Of course that is “kingdom” defined as the area which sends tribute, not as the area under the ruler’s direct administration.
On the other hand, the vision tacitly abandons the land of Gilead east of the Jordan, which had been overrun by the Ammonites and the Moabites.
For the purposes of the vision, the implied reason may be that the eastern territory has been defiled by the mass graves of Gog’s armies.

The original twelve tribes of Israel are brought back within this boundary, and endowed with artificial slices of territory.
Instead of being Judah’s own king, which had been a problem in the past, the prince is given a central slice in his own right, as befits a “federal” ruler, That territory nearly encloses the land associated with the Temple and with the city.
Judah and Benjamin, the only surviving tribes in the real world, are given the two portions on either side of the central slice. But their places are reversed, so that Judah is on the north side and Benjamin on the south.
Reuben, having been displaced from Gilead, is given the portion north of Judah. This means that Manasseh and Ephraim are pushed up into the land which used to belong to the northern tribes, and the northernmost tribes are pushed into Lebanon.
As a result of all this movement, the tribes closest to Jerusalem (apart from Benjamin) are the six sons of Leah; viz. Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Levi (in the priesthood), Issachar, and Zebulon. Those tribes were the ancient heart of the confederacy, and the effect of this arrangement is that their old rivals in the house of Joseph have been pushed to one side.

Finally there is the city itself, which has been detached from the Temple and sits on a smaller slice of land. The city has twelve gates, of course, but this time the gates are named after the twelve sons of Judah, including Levi and Joseph.
Once again, the message in all this detail is that the restored land will be perfect in its completeness.

The key point of the whole description is the new name of the city;
“The Lord is there”.

posted on Jul, 6 2018 @ 05:07 PM
The last two chapters of Revelation are the New Testament’s version of this vision, with several features that echo what we find in Ezekiel.
“There was no more sea.” The source of evil has been abolished.
The city is measured with an angel’s measuring rod, and found to be symmetrical in three dimensions, to the point of being a perfect cube.
There is also a very thick wall around the city, with gates named after the twelve tribes.
The same symbolic number is applied to the foundations of the wall (named after the apostles), and enters into the dimensions of the wall and the city itself.
So the presence of God’s people is part of the message.
Their holiness is indicated from the fact that the “unclean” have been excluded.
The river of the water of life flows direct from the throne of God, as in Ezekiel.
The tree of life grows on either side of the river. If we assume there is only one tree of life, the result is a rather absurd picture (I’ve seen it illustrated) in which the river flows through the tree in a kind of tunnel. A better interpretation is that the species “tree of life” is growing all around, echoing what we see in Ezekiel.
However, Revelation lacks the elaborate detail of the Temple structure and the Temple attendants and the ritual of sacrifice. None of that is necessary, because the presence of the Lord is direct.
“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men.”

The detail In both visions is secondary. It is a way of delivering the central point of the message, which is the same in both cases;
“The Lord is there.”

posted on Jul, 6 2018 @ 05:19 PM
Good ol' Zeke and his visions. He was a good ol' boy.

posted on Jul, 6 2018 @ 05:20 PM
a reply to: skunkape23
He did what he was told. That's one definition.

posted on Jul, 6 2018 @ 08:14 PM
Always look forward to your discourses DISRAELI ....

posted on Jul, 7 2018 @ 02:52 AM
Read through your explanation and found it very good. There are a few things you left out that are very key to understanding it though.

The fact that you understand that Revelation 21, 22 also talk about it helps us to see you understand that the temple vision is a spiritual one. That is the temple in Ezekiel's vision is not a temple built on earth. That would not be possible. For one it is far too large. And also a river begins from the middle of the temple and flows outward and becomes bigger.

The first understanding of the temple and its spiritual nature in heaven and how the temple prophecy is being fulfilled in our day was in The Watchtower. I was actually present at the meeting the Watchtower articles explaining the fulfillment of the Ezekiel temple and remember it quite well.

Here is said article:

Set Your Heart Upon God's Temple

The Temple and the Cheiftan Today

posted on Jul, 7 2018 @ 03:05 AM
a reply to: redletter
I would distinguish between "being spiritual" and "being fulfilled in our day".
The most important point is that sense of "being in the full presence of God", which is at the heart of both visions.
We don't have that now, so it is clearly still in the future.

edit on 7-7-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 7 2018 @ 03:26 AM
a reply to: Plotus
You're welcome. There will be an Index Thread later, and after that I'll be moving back to the New Testament.

posted on Jul, 7 2018 @ 05:26 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Thank you.

Again you seem to cut through a lot of the confusion and bring a degree of clarity.

I always enjoy your scriptural expository posts.

I actually imagine the New Jerusalem as being a self-sufficient ecology built to house the entirety of the human population so that the Earth may recover all the time it has gone without its Jubilee Sabbaths and that the thickness of the walls hides the machinery.

I have started writing a fictional book where the Earth is about to be consumed in a final war and the city is believed initially to be an impacting meteor but then it decelerates and lowers itself to the ground. Then all the people of the Earth have to decide is if they will go and live there or not.

The tension is that some evangelicals refuse saying it is false and alien, while some who have no particular belief accept it as a gift from God. Once people enter the city, they usually stay except to come out to get their loved ones. The city has features like the street signs which display in the language of the viewer and that everything is perfectly prepared for the comfort and health of humans, including medicine droids that seek out the unwell and heal them.

The city arrives with no special instructions or indication of who built it (and why) but it does invite people to learn its systems and ensure it is properly auto-maintained. As currency is no longer required and all needs are met, money simply ceases to have value and even law enforcement is hardly ever required. In that environment, purity and spirituality become societal goals.

edit on 7/7/2018 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 7 2018 @ 06:02 PM
a reply to: chr0naut
I think I would associate these things with 1 Corinthians ch15, where Christ returns and everything changes "in the twinkling of an eye".
So in my expectation, there would be no room for doubt about whether the final things had come or not. We would be in the presence of God with unmistakable certainty.

posted on Jul, 7 2018 @ 07:36 PM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: chr0naut
I think I would associate these things with 1 Corinthians ch15, where Christ returns and everything changes "in the twinkling of an eye".
So in my expectation, there would be no room for doubt about whether the final things had come or not. We would be in the presence of God with unmistakable certainty.

True, but for the purposes of the fiction, I thought that too direct a reference to the scriptures would be off putting to the very people wanted to communicate to.

It's more a story of choices and the idea that God just gives with no need of us to acknowledge it or to reciprocate.

posted on Jul, 8 2018 @ 12:45 AM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
The last two chapters of Revelation are the New Testament’s version of this vision, with several features that echo what we find in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel describes the presence of a temple, while John plainly states there will be no temple. That in of itself discounts Ezekiel's vision as referring to New Jerusalem. You can't have it both ways, there either will be a temple, or there won't be.

(Revelation 21:22) "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."

Ezekiel also describes the presence of dead corpses, while John states that death and the grave itself, or the abode of the dead will be consumed by the lake of fire.

(Ezekiel 43:7-9) "¶ And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where 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, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. [8] In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. [9] Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever."

(Revelation 20:13-15) "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

And whats with Ezekiel describing the presence of an alter for burnt offerings? Was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the "lamb of God" as John calls him, sufficient enough as the atonement for our sins once and for all or not?

(Ezekiel 43:19-21) "And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering. [20] And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it. [21] Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary."

I could easily chalk up this part of his description of burnt offerings as purely symbolic in some way. In fact, I have every reason to believe that it is mostly symbolic of Jesus Christ as THE offering for mankind. And one must also keep in mind that John describes the construction of another temple long before we even get to New Jerusalem. In fact this is before we even get to the climax of the Great Tribulation in Revelation 13.

(Revelation 11:1-2) "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. [2] But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."

With this being the case, Ezekiel's description of there being a "temple" with burnt offerings is obviously describing the millennial temple. Its the same temple Paul expressly referred to as the temple of God that will at first be occupied by the "man of sin", or the "beast", and later taken over by Jesus Christ. New Jerusalem comes well after all this, only appearing after the creation of the new earth, and say's nothing about a temple with burnt offerings whatsoever.

(2 Thessalonians 2:1-4) "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. [3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."

edit on 8-7-2018 by Dcopymope because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-7-2018 by Dcopymope because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 8 2018 @ 01:20 AM
a reply to: Dcopymope
They are both offering us a promise of the direct presence of God;
"Behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple" Ezekiel ch43 v5
"Behold, the dwelling of God is with men" Revelation ch21 v3
One describes it as a temple, the other one doesn't. Different use of imagery, same fundamental idea at the heart of the imagery.

From the New Testament period onwards, the Christian community as a corporate body IS the temple of God;
"Do you not know that you [plural] are God's temple, and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" 1 Corinthians ch3 v16
That is Paul's reason why trying to destroy that body's unity is sinful.
I believe that this, rather than any physical building, is the "temple" that gets half-occupied by the enemy in Revelation ch11 and 2 Thessalonians. I was already using that argument in my Revelation series of 2010.
The Beast and the Temple
Incidentally "ch11 comes before ch13" is not relevant, because Revelation is not entirely in chronological order. For example, the segment chs12-13 is a "flashback" sequence, going back over the same ground.
A time, times, and half a time
edit on 8-7-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 8 2018 @ 11:30 AM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Dcopymope
They are both offering us a promise of the direct presence of God;
"Behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple" Ezekiel ch43 v5
"Behold, the dwelling of God is with men" Revelation ch21 v3
One describes it as a temple, the other one doesn't. Different use of imagery, same fundamental idea at the heart of the imagery.

The same idea being conveyed doesn't mean its the same event. The second coming of Christ can be seen as the first instance of the "direct presence of God" knowing he is essentially God being the word made flesh. The second instance of the "direct presence of God" the literal arrival of the Father with new Jerusalem. In both instances, God with us, but they are two different occurrences. Ezekiel and Johns descriptions are so different because of exactly that reason.

posted on Jul, 8 2018 @ 04:58 PM

edit on 8-7-2018 by DISRAELI because: testing links

posted on Jan, 10 2020 @ 06:07 PM
I'll just say a miracle Just happened. I won't say more.......... Amen

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