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

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temple
Source: Ariel Ministries

IV. OBJECTIONS AND ANSWERS TO A LITERAL MESSIANIC TEMPLE AND
SACRIFICE
 

First Objection: If we take Ezekiel 40–48 literally, it would mean a return to the sacrificial system of the Mosaic Law, which ended when Messiah died. This, therefore, violates all that the New Testament teaches about the termination of the law as a rule of life.

Answer: While there are many similarities with the sacrifices of the Mosaic Law, as there are between the sacrifices of Noah and Moses, the differences show they are not the same. It was these very differences that kept the rabbis from accepting Ezekiel into the Hebrew Canon for some time. In the consecration of the altar (Mosaic Law: Ex. 29:1-37; Millennial Law: Ez. 43:18-27), there are the following differences:

  1. For the Sin Offering
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
Anoints the altar No anointing of the altar
Demands a sin offering in form of a bullock for all seven days Demands a bullock only on the first day
No goat offered Goats have to be offered for the last six days
Blood applied on the horns of the altar Blood applied on the horns, the corners, and the lower molding round about
  1. For the Burnt Offering
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
A ram every day A bullock and a ram every day
A ram for the consecration of the priesthood No ram for the consecration for the priesthood
Ark of the Covenant No Ark of the Covenant (Jer. 3:16)
  1. Additional Differences
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies All priests will be able to enter (Ez. 44:15-16
Rules of marriage applicable only to the high priest Applicable to all priests (Ez. 44:22)
The first of Nisan was not a special holy day The first of Nisan is a special holy day (Ez. 45:18)
  1. Procedure Described in Ezekiel 45:19
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
Male goat Bullock
Disposed the animal outside the camp Disposed of the animal inside the camp
  1. Concerning the Passover (Ez. 45:21-24)
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
A family affair with the head of the household performing the ritual The Prince will perform the ritual on behalf of the nation
A one-day festival Seven-day festival
Offering of an unblemished lamb Offering of a bullock

 

There are also differences in the measures of the meal offerings and in the number of sacrifices offered (Mosaic Law: Num. 28:16-24).

  1. Concerning the Feast of Tabernacles (Ez. 45:25)

There is a difference in the quantity of the offerings (Num. 29:12-34) and the Ezekiel system does not have the added eighth day that the Mosaic Law demanded (Num. 29:35-38).

  1. Concerning the Sabbath Offerings (Ez. 46:4-5)

The Ezekiel system requires six lambs and a ram which is more than the Mosaic Law required (Num. 28:9, two lambs and a ram). The same will be true with the meal offering.

  1. Concerning the New Moon Offerings (Ez. 46:6-7)
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
Two bulls, one ram, seven lambs One bullock, one ram, six lambs
  1. Concerning the Daily Offering (Ez. 46:13-15)
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
Two lambs each day both morning and evening (Ex. 29:38-42; Num. 28:3-4) One lamb each morning and none in the evening
  1. Concerning the Feast of Tabernacles
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
Mandatory for Jews only Mandatory for both Jews and Gentiles (Zech. 14:16-21)
  1. Concerning the Priesthood
Sacrificial System according to Moses Sacrificial System according to Ezekiel
Only Jews could be priests Gentiles will also serve as priests (Isa. 66:18-21)

 

All these differences show that this is not a return to the Law of Moses, but it is a new system under Kingdom Law. Therefore, Ezekiel 40–48 does not violate what the New Testament teaches concerning the termination of the law with Messiah’s death.

Second Objection: The measurements given by Ezekiel will not fit the Temple Mount and therefore cannot be literal.

Answer: This objection is true, but it is a misconception that the Ezekiel Temple was intended to be built on that mount. The details Ezekiel gives show that major geographical changes will occur, resulting from the second coming. Some of these changes will create a new temple mount all together.

Third Objection: To believe in the reinstitution of the blood sacrifices is heresy.

Answer: Since when is taking the Bible literally a heresy? The burden of proof is always on the one who claims that a certain part of the Bible does not mean what it says. Whitcomb adds: “Just because animal sacrifices and priests have no place in Christianity does not mean that they will have no place in Israel after the rapture of the Church; for there is a clear distinction made throughout the Scriptures between Israel and the Church.”[10]

In summary, we can say that the discrepancies between Ezekiel’s Temple and any other temple described in the Scriptures would evaporate if those who interpret the Bible would concede that there is a new law in operation during the messianic kingdom. Instead of insisting on the doctrine that the Mosaic Law is eternal or trying to harmonize the different passages by wildly allegorizing the text, one has to simply accept the fact that Ezekiel’s Temple is a literal building constructed by a repentant and restored nation of Israel, and in which they will worship the Lord by sacrifices during a time when Messiah Himself will reign over the earth.

 

[10] John C. Whitcomb. “The Millennial Temple of Ezekiel 40–48”. The Diligent Workman Journal, May 1994, pg. 22.

 

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www.ariel.org (in English); www.ariel-israel.org.il (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 https://www.ariel.org/about/dr-fruchtenbaum.