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Ezekiel 41-42, Psalm 72

Interpreters almost universally agree that Ezekiel’s visions of God’s restored temple points towards our future. What is questioned is how Ezekiel’s descriptions fit into the Bible’s depiction of the millennial reign and the new heaven and new earth. In particular, some of the details Ezekiel foresees would seem to be obsolete, especially the sacrificial system and the priesthood at the end of days. The writer of Hebrews, for example, goes to great lengths to tell us that the sacrificial system and priesthood that are mentioned Ezekiel 42:13-14 should be unnecessary this side of the cross. Jesus as our true high priest in the order of Melchizedek has laid down his life as final and ultimate sacrifice that should make both the Levitical priesthood and Old Testament sacrifices superfluous, if not contrary to the Gospel. There are some matters of interpretation on this passage about which am uncertain, specifically questions about how precisely symbols of this new temple correspond to our future reality. Whatever we make of Ezekiel’s vision of the temple and whether it describes the millennial reign or new heaven and new earth, I believe with confidence the sacrificial system he foresees merely conveys the continuity of God’s future temple with the Old temple and tabernacle. Animal sacrifices will not still take place, but rather, Ezekiel is letting his Jewish audience know, God will dwell in this new temple which will be Holy as before, because of God’s presence.

Jeremiah Vaught