If, as I contend in my last post, there shall not be another temple in Yerushalem except for that monstrous edifice for the enthronement of Satan, what then about the temple prophesied by Ezekiel? It is believed to be for the Millennium, but this clearly cannot be so, for several compelling reasons:
- There is a separation for the Yudaeans (Jews) and the Gentiles (EZE. 40:5). In the Messiah, the Gentiles are now one body and fellow heirs with the Jews (I COR. 12:13; EPH. 3:6).
- Burnt offerings, trespass offerings, and sin offerings are made there (40:38-39). As we know, Yahshua’s sacrifice forever did away with these, not to mention the fact that animals will not be slaughtered even by each other during the Millennium (IS. 11:6-9, 65:25). They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain (IS. 11:9). There shall be no need for sacrifices, for: They shall not do evil or harm in all My holy mountain (IS. 65:25 NASB). a. The passage from EZEKIEL 40:38-43 plainly declares that these sacrifices are not for a remembrance or a memorial, but for cleansing the house and making reconciliation for the prince and people. This is the Levitical system (42:13, 43:27, 45:17, 46:20). b. Because the temple contained tables for the slaying of animals, it cannot pertain to anytime after Yahshua’s sacrifice at Calvary. HEBREWS 10:8-12 clearly shows the sacrificial system to be forever abolished.
- The priests in this temple are the sons of Levi (40:46). But they have not comprised the priesthood since the destruction of Herod’s temple in AD 70.
- A prince is mentioned whereas in the millennial reign it is a king. Following the Babylonian captivity, there was no king in Israel. We shall shortly discover the identity of this prince and why he did not take the throne as king.
If not for the Millennium, then what was the purpose of Ezekiel’s vision? There is ample evidence to show that this prophet of YHWH, living in Babylon, was given by Him the detailed plans of the temple to be built by Zerubbabel. He is told by an angel (40:4) to see…hear…and give attention to what he is to be shown, then: …declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel. It was important for Ezekiel to remember every minutiae to pass on to the appropriate authorities.
As with Moses and the tabernacle, and David and the first temple, what followed was a detailed and exact pattern to be followed by those building the second house in Yerushalem. Why build a second house? It was to serve as a sanctuary until the Messiah should come.
If we now go to chapter 43, in the vision Ezekiel stands at the east gate of the temple from whence he could see YHWH returning in glory to the temple. Ezekiel notes how like this vision is to the one he was given previously of YHWH’s glory departing from the temple (EZ. 10:18-19). His departure, because of the abominations committed by Israel, was likewise through the east gate and eastward. Now He returns thus (43:2, 4). The east gate was otherwise to be closed. It was for YHWH’s use alone. On the Sabbath, the prince was only to sit in it and eat his bread (44:1-3).
The angel again emphasizes to Ezekiel (43:10-12) that the people are to observe and follow this specific design if they repented of their iniquities and were prepared to obey His Laws and statutes. Only then could they return to Yerushalem and rebuild this temple.
From chapter 44 Ezekiel relays special instructions regarding the prince. The only time in Israel’s history that they were subject to a prince rather than a king, priest, prophet, or judge was after the return from captivity. Who was this prince? If we turn to the book of EZRA, we find one of the heads of Yudah–whose spirit was stirred to go up and rebuild the house of YHWH–was Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel was a governor of Yudah in his time there (HAG. 2:21). He was also a prince who could never be king, for he was in the royal line of Yahyakin (Jeconiah or Jehoiachin) who was removed from the throne and taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. The crown was then given to Yahyakin’s brother, Zedekyah. All of Zedekyah’s sons were killed trying to escape from Yerushalem. This left no one but daughters to continue the royal line of David.
Zerubbabel was born in Babylon and interestingly is a direct ancestor of Yahshua’s earthly father, Joseph (MATT. 1:12, LUKE 3:27). He was not the only prince to return to Yerushalem (EZRA 9:1-2), but Zerubbabel was so prominent in the return and rebuilding program, I believe he is the prince to whom Ezekiel refers in his vision. Also, he figures predominantly in the prophecies and visions of Haggai and Zecharyah.
With all these princes in Yerushalem, why didn’t one of them assume the throne? Apart from the fact they were under the authority of the Persian monarchs who would not permit such a thing, these men had been privy to the prophecies of Ezekiel. In chapter 21 (25-27) he declares: And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end. Thus saith YHWH: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it to him.
Father removes the crown and throne from Zedekyah, in fact from David’s line because of their sins and gives it to another. Not just once does he give it to someone else but three times – three overturns of the crown on to the heads of three others in the line of Yudah. The royal blood of David continues though to flow in the veins of these kings, as I have shown in previous posts.
Yahshua, the One whose right it is, receives the crown via Zerubbabel’s line, for Zedekyah’s line through his sons is no more.
Further evidence for Zerubbabel’s temple being the selfsame one of Ezekiel’s prophecy is that of the priesthood (EZE. 40:46, 44:15). These were obviously Levites as Ezekiel clarifies, for Zadok and his sons were descended from Levi and Aaron through Eleazer (I CHRON. 6:3-12). Zadok was a prince in David’s time. Both Yoshua, who returned with Zerubbabel, and Ezra were sons of Zadok. Yoshua was the high priest in Yerushalem. He also plays a prominent role in the building of the temple.
This temple of Zerubbabel was immensely important to YHWH, and this is why He gave Ezekiel and the returnees such intricate blueprints for its reconstruction. Ultimately it would be pulled down by the Romans, but after three days it would be rebuilt or resurrected in the form of Yahshua Messiah. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it (ZEC. 4:7).
Chapter 47 has water flowing from the house before turning into a river so deep and wide it cannot be crossed. Didn’t Yahshua by His incomparable life and death release rivers of living waters from that very temple, or Himself, whichever way you want to look at it? The trees on the sides of the river are of course the nations. For trees are symbolic of the men of each nation (v.7). The fish are those who are saved upon hearing the Gospel, for didn’t Yahshua make His disciples fishers of men (v.9-10)? The sea always means that of humanity into which the river flows (v.8). As it does so it becomes fresh, which speaks of the refreshing of the Holy Spirit (v.8). Verse 9 speaks of Yahshua’s healing. The many kinds of fish are the different races, cultures, and nations. Some reject the Gospel and the new life, and are likened to swamps wherein there is no life. The swamps are salty which cannot be drunk (v.11).
On the riverbank grow the trees whose fruit is for food and leaves for healing (v.12). This is reminiscent of DEUTERONOMY 8:3: …man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of mouth of YHWH doth man live… The fruit is the Law, which if followed blesses; the Gospel of Yahshua Messiah; revelations; prayers; prophecies; witnessing – all that comes from the lips and outward working in the lives of the saints. Like a poultice of crushed leaves on a wound, or seeped in water to make tea, the leaves heal all of their diseases.
As an example of the trees being nations, I will share one such. My own country Australia has as its tree the eucalyptus, or colloquially, gum tree. They are found profusely throughout this vast land – the largest island and smallest continent. But not only here, for I have seen gum trees growing in the land of Israel, on the slopes of the Andes in South America, and on the beaches of California in the USA. There is a good reason for this. Gum trees are of many different kinds. Some live in swamps and some in near desert. They were taken to Israel last century to suck up the swamps, one of their known qualities. They are planted on mountainsides to prevent erosion. And on beaches for their beauty. From the leaves of the eucalyptus and ti tree is extracted oil used to clean wounds, kill germs, deter ants and moths, and give a pleasing fragrance, among its other properties.
Each tree of a nation has certain characteristics that are a picture of the people, especially the men or priests of its land. Like the gum tree, the Australian people–descended from aborigines, convicts, settlers, immigrants, and refugees–are a sturdy, determined, hardworking lot. They travel widely and have fought for freedom all over the globe. Our missionaries are everywhere working on behalf of and proclaiming the Gospel. The Light Horsemen were instrumental in capturing Beersheba, thereby liberating Yerushalem and the Holy Land in World War I.
Returning to Ezekiel’s vision, we find him proclaiming a division of the land. This is no doubt for those returning from captivity, but I do believe it is also for on into the future and the Millennium itself. For merely a remnant returned and then mostly Yudah, Benyamin, and Levi. The other lost tribes of the northern kingdom are yet to return and be joined with Yudah to become one stick: And join them one to another (says YHWH to Ezekiel) into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand (EZE. 37:17). and V. 21-22: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all…
This is said by some to be the modern nation of Israel. But this again is impossible because that ‘Israel’, as we know, has no king, not even Yahshua Messiah.
Ezekiel here is speaking of the gathering of the Elect and the building of the spiritual temple, its living stones delivered and cleansed from sin (v.23).