What is the marvelous temple described in Ezekiel 40-48?
Dispensationalists note that the dimensions of this temple do not match those of Solomon’s temple, Zerubbabel’s temple, or Herod’s temple―so they assume that it must be a new temple to be built in our future.
But, is this a description of a literal building—or a metaphoric, spiritual one? The details of the measurements from this prophecy seem to suggest that it will be a literal one. But there are numerous reasons to conclude that it is really a metaphoric, symbolic temple―fulfilled in Jesus.
- In Ezekiel’s temple there are sacrifices for sin (chs. 43-46, especially 45:17). But according to the New Testament, Jesus was the ONCE-FOR-ALL sacrifice (Hebrews 10:8-14; 1 John 2:2).
- Jesus has replaced the temple (any temple) as the source of our focus (John 2:19-22; Revelation 21:22). Jesus is the cornerstone (Acts 4:11), and his temple spiritually resides in us believers (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16), as we are living stones of the temple (1 Peter 2:4-8).
- Another problem for the literal view is that Levitical priests are found in Ezekiel’s temple (Ezekiel 44:15). But they don’t exist anymore. Jesus is the new High Priest (Hebrews 9:11-12), and we are now a priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5-9).
- It’s also noteworthy to mention the “city” in chapter 48. This city is where the Lord resides (Ezekiel 48:35). This city corresponds to the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21. The first-century believers had already reached this heavenly city―”the city of the living God”― per Hebrews 12:22-29. The city is the new covenant, built on the foundation of the apostles (Ephesians 2:19-20; Revelation 22:14). The New Jerusalem is also described as the “bride of Christ” (Revelation 21:2, 9), which is clearly the church. All of these factors together add up to the Christian church as being the city of Ezekiel 48 and Revelation 21.
- Note the water flowing from this temple (ch. 47). This harkens to the living water provided by Jesus (John 4:1-10; 7:37-39; Revelation 21:1; 22:1-2). This spiritual living water is clearly symbolic of Jesus’ salvation available to whomever will drink of it. This is not something only available in the future, but is available to all now.
- In Ezekiel’s temple, only those circumcised may enter (Ezekiel 44:7-8). But in the New Covenant in Jesus, circumcision has been replaced by baptism, i.e. “circumcision of the heart” (Matthew 28:19; Romans 2:28-29; Colossians 2:11-12).
IT IS BLASPHEMOUS TO SAY THAT JESUS’ FINISHED WORK IS NOT SUFFICIENT!
CONCLUSION: The best fit of the evidence is that Ezekiel’s temple vision was fulfilled in Jesus, and is where believers reside!
Also see my article, “What Is the New Jerusalem?”