In my first post concerning Ezekiel’s temple vision, I opened with the following statement:
There are teachings by some that the levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices will once again be placed into operation when Christ returns. This assumption is based on Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 40 – 48. Yet there is absolutely nothing in the new testament to support such claims. In fact, such ideology undermines the finished work of Jesus Christ because the sacrifices that Ezekiel references include the sin offering and are said to be for atonement (Ezekiel 45:17 see also Ezekiel 42:13 and 45:23).
Ezekiel’s temple vision is widely accepted by many within the Messianic movements as being prophetic of a Millennial temple from which they claim Christ will one day reign.
Yet, the temple in Ezekiel’s vision is a temple that would have been but never was, because of the sins of Israel and their priests.
Ezekiel was a priest by blood linage and also a prophet. This temple vision was given to Ezekiel to make the people of Israel ashamed of their sins. In this temple, the Holy presence of God would have continued to be separated from the people, and particularly from the Levites because of their past sins.
According to the new testament, Jesus has removed the separation between God and his people and we now have unhindered access to God through the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22; Ephesians 2:13, 18).
Is a temple in which the presence of God cannot be approached consistent with the finished work of Jesus Christ? Certainly not! Yet, this is exactly the temple you have in Ezekiel – a temple which erects a separating barrier between God and his people.
In Ezekiel’s temple vision, the Levite priests bear the shame of their sins for leading the people of Israel into iniquity. They are still appointed to serve, but cannot approach God’s presence in the temple. Only the descendants of Zadok will be able to come near to the Lord.
Does physical linage matter in the kingdom of God? According to Jesus it doesn’t (see John 3). Yet, those who teach that Ezekiel’s temple is a millennial temple advocate a return to the importance of physical linage even though Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:5-7)
So if this is the millennial temple as some claim, we now have a millennium where the finished work of Christ and the necessity of being born again is undermined. The Levites bear the shame of their sin for a 1000 years and God’s presence is unapproachable by anyone except the sons of Zadok. Furthermore, the Prince of Israel would have to offer sin offerings for his own sin.
In God’s kingdom, Jesus is the only prince. Does Jesus have to offer sin offerings for his own sins? Certainly not! The new testament tells us that Jesus has no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15) and that is why he was able to offer himself without any blemish to God as the sacrifice for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-20; Hebrews 9:14).
My first post concerning Ezekiel’s temple vision can be read here:
“‘THE LEVITES WHO WENT FAR FROM ME WHEN ISRAEL WENT ASTRAY AND WANDERED FROM ME after their idols MUST BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR SIN. They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them. BUT BECAUSE THEY SERVED THEM IN THE PRESENCE OF THEIR IDOLS AND MADE THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL FALL INTO SIN, THEREFORE I HAVE SWORN WITH UPLIFTED HAND THEY MUST BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR SIN, declares the Sovereign Lord. THEY ARE NOT TO COME NEAR TO SERVE ME AS PRIESTS or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; THEY MUST BEAR THE SHAME OF THEIR DETESTABLE PRACTICES. And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done in it. “‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord. They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and serve me as guards. (Quote from Ezekiel’s temple Vision).
And upon that day shall THE PRINCE prepare FOR HIMSELF and for ALL THE PEOPLE of the land a bullock FOR A SIN OFFERING. (Quote from Ezekiel’s temple vision).