The Lord gave us instructions regarding prophecies in the book of Numbers. “If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” (Numbers 12:6) The prophet Ezekiel had many visions, such as few have matched in wonder. Many people have been misguided by taking Ezekiel’s visions literally. The apostle Peter showed us how to interpret visions. In his vision of the vessel with unclean beasts in it (Acts 10:9-18), he found the interpretation of the vision and declared, “but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Acts 10:28 demonstrates He did not take the vision literally, and neither should we.
Ezekiel had visions about the war at the end of the age in which he saw warriors with primitive weapons on horses. (Ezekiel 38:4) These visions are representations of the coming war and are not to be taken literally. In the same way, the visions of the future temple and the reign of the Messiah in the millennium (chapters 40 – 48) are symbolic of the glory to come. The restoration of the Aaronic priesthood and the institution of animal sacrifice (Ezekiel 43:18-27), are symbolic of the sacrifice which was made for us and our consecration as a holy priesthood in service to God. (I Peter 2:5).
Another interpretation was put forward by Howard Rand in his book “Documentary Studies Volume 3”, saying that the promise of Ezekiel’s Temple was offered to the people of Israel if they would repent. This is borne out by what God told Ezekiel, “Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.” Ezekiel 43:10,11 However, they did not repent and remained a stubborn and rebellious people in the land of their captivity.
I believe there will be no temple and no animal sacrifice in the millennium. “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Revelation 21:22 Ezekiel and his fellow Israelites could not understand the sacrifice that would one day be made on Calvary or the relationship Christians would one day have with God. Speaking of himself, the Bible says, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.” John 2:19-21 Also, the Bible says of us, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” I Corinthians 3:16,17 The simple truth is that the place where the Holy Spirit dwells is the temple of God. We Christians, especially Christian Israelites, united with Christ in the city of God, will be the temple which is to come. There will be no need for a temple of bricks or the sacrificing of animals in the kingdom age.
So, what are we to make of the exact measurements in Ezekiel’s vision for the building of the temple? Most Bible commentaries I have read state that this refers to an actual temple that will be built, along with animal sacrifice. I cannot accept this theory. I believe there is a hidden message surrounding the numbers given in the measurements. They may point to time measures or events in the history of Israel. If the measurements are deciphered, I am sure they will bring glory to the God of Israel, revealing His perfect plan.