HOUSMAIL HM#096 -- WILL EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE EVER BE BUILT?                                               29 Sept 2002

In my childhood and teens, I was force fed the obligatory "diet" of instruction, based on Christadelphian Henry Sulley's 1887 "The Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy". People drew charts and posters. Women embroidered the "isometric view" and hung it on their lounge room walls! But alas ..... for many years now, I have regarded Sulley's interpretation as most unsatisfying. Particularly in the light of Rev 21:22, I am led to wonder whether there will ever be a literal building in the Age To Come, with literal animal blood sacrifices, and OT style temple rituals.

From a careful reading of Ezek 43:6-12, it would appear that the description of the temple contained in Chapters 40-48 was NOT a prophecy to be fulfilled more than two and a half thousand years later! Rather, it seems fairly plain that it was an offer made specifically to Ezekiel's generation.

"Describe to the house of Israel the temple and its appearance and plan, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, portray the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, and its whole form; and make known to them all its ordinances and all its laws; and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe and perform all its laws and all its ordinances." (Ezek 43:10-11)

* Ezekiel was to show the plans to the Jews of his generation.
* THEY were called to IMMEDIATE repentance.
* And if THEY repented, they were to rebuild the temple, in accordance with the plans
   Ezekiel was given.
Alas ..... the Jews of Ezekiel's generation ignored the call to repentance -- and the temple they were offered was never built!

It was not until many years later, that God allowed a new generation to return to the land. When the foundation of the SECOND temple were laid, there were still some leaders and ancient men left who had seen the FIRST temple. (Ezra 3:12) However, from the description in Ezra 6:3-5, the temple they built was far inferior to Solomon's, and definitely NOT the one described by Ezekiel.

With the exception of a "remnant few", the great majority of Ezekiel's generation missed their "day of salvation"! (2 Cor 6:2) It has gone for ever, and so it would seem, has the opportunity to build that magnificent Temple.

Will Ezekiel's temple ever be built? It seems much more likely that it was one of those conditional promises encompassed by Jer 18:9-10. If it is, that would mean that Ezekiel's temple is no longer "on offer".

Today the same call to repentance is being made by JESUS. It is a non negotiable condition of His Gospel, not only for Jews, but for ALL NATIONS.(Matt 28:19)

And, accompanying the call to repentance, the plans have been revealed for another temple -- which like Ezekiel's -- can only be built if the GOSPEL is obeyed. These plans now replace those of Ezekiel.

This THIRD temple is of quite a different sort to Ezekiel's. It is not built with stones like those used in the construction of the first two. The "stones" for Jesus' temple are "living stones", indwelt by the Spirit of God!

It is already under construction. The cornerstone and foundation have been laid. (Eph 2:20) The "living stones" are being prepared. (2 Cor 6:16; 1 Pet 2:5) Only the truly repentant, who accept Jesus as Messiah, have a place in this glorious THIRD TEMPLE.

I confess I don't have all the answers to that. But at least one reason would be that they stand as a continuing reminder to all future generations, (including our own) that salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike -- and a place in the REAL THIRD TEMPLE -- is CONDITIONAL on REPENTANCE.

I don't have this completely set in concrete! But for now, it does seem to offer a satisfying alternative to the "traditional" suggestion that Ezekiel's temple is still to be built in the Kingdom Age after Jesus returns.