The Millennial Temple: Literal or Allegorical? (Part 3 of 4)

Source: Ariel Ministries


First: All of the theologies use the literal approach to hermeneutics for at least parts of the Bible. However, only the dispensationalist uses the method consistently. Such a consistent usage leads to the conclusion that there will be a Millennial Temple and sacrifice. 

Second: Ezekiel is not the only one to speak of the Millennial Temple and sacrifices. Other prophets spoke of these things in a non-apocalyptic context. The Millennial Temple is spoken of in Isaiah 2:3, 60:13, Daniel 9:24, Joel 3:18, and Haggai 2:7, 9. The millennial sacrifices are mentioned in Isaiah 56:6-7, 60:7, 66:18-23, Jeremiah 33:18, Malachi 3:3-4, and Zechariah 14:16-21 (this last passage speaks of the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles in the messianic kingdom, but it required special sacrifices as part of its observance). Therefore, more than one passage, and more than one prophet, would have to be allegorized if there is no Millennial Temple or sacrifices.

Third: The Millennial Temple is not the only temple that Ezekiel describes. In chapters 8–11, he describes the departure of the Shechinah glory from the First Temple. All agree that his description of the Temple and the events are very literal. In chapters 40–48, Ezekiel describes the future return of the Shechinah glory into the Fourth Temple. If what he said about the First Temple was literal, then what he says about the Fourth Temple should also be taken literally.

Fourth: Ezekiel provides a tremendous amount of detail, including specific measurements and types of sacrifices. All accept the details of the sacrifices of the Law of Moses to be very literal. All accept the detailed measurements of the Tabernacle and the First Temple to be very literal. There is no good reason not to accept the details of the Fourth Temple to be equally literal. If they are not, and all are symbolic, then why does Ezekiel not explain the meanings of these symbols? Why have those who take these passages as allegorical and symbolic not been able to give explanations for what the symbols mean?  This is not to deny that the Millennial Temple and sacrifices are not symbolic of spiritual truths. Just as the Tabernacle and the Mosaic sacrifices were symbolic and typological of spiritual truths while very literal themselves, by the same token, the Millennial Temple and sacrifices can be literal while also being symbolic of spiritual truths. The very fact that Ezekiel was ordered to write down all the details and declare them to Israel would be meaningless if such details did not mean what they said. As Thomas Ice has observed: “The literal interpretation of the Bible and Bible prophecy stands, especially when one considers the fact that the critics cannot tell us, based upon a textual interpretation, what Ezekiel does mean if not taken literally.”[8]

[8] Thomas Ice, “Why Literal Sacrifices in the Millennium,” Pre-Trib Perspectives, June 2000.



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mm (in English); (in Hebrew). Arnold Fruchtenbaum is the founder and director of Ariel Ministries, a U.S. based ministry that has been providing Bible teaching from a Messianic Jewish perspective for over 40 years. Arnold was born in 1943 in Siberia, Russia, after his Jewish father was falsely accused of being a Nazi spy when he fled Poland from Hitler. With the help of the Israeli underground in 1947, the Fruchtenbaum family escaped from behind the Iron Curtain to Germany, where they were confined to British Displaced Persons' camps. There, Arnold received Orthodox Jewish training from his father, before the family finally immigrated to New York in 1951. Before their release, however, the family was befriended by a Lutheran minister, and it was this contact that eventually led Arnold and his mother to the New York headquarters of the American Board of Missions to the Jews (ABMJ). Five years later, this same meeting brought Arnold, at age 13, to saving knowledge of Jesus the Messiah. Read more about Arnold at