1. Regarding Ezekiel’s future temple rituals, how do you deal with several mysterious puzzles?
1. Daily whole burnt offerings drop from two to one. Ex 29:38-39; Ezek 46:13 Prophetic fulfilment forces an elastic adjustment. Reality causes shadows to cease.
2. Why does Ezekiel’s festival calendar Drop Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement? Yet Temple cleansing and Temple atonement festivals are added?
3. Why is there no High Priest in Ezekiel’s Temple? Messiah is high priest in the heavenly temple. He is not a priest at all in the earthly replica (Hebrews 8:4).
2. Three keys to identify prophetic fulfilment (Hebrews 10:1-4)
1. Look for changes in ceremonial law.
2. Look for dropped sacrifices. Reality causes shadows to cease.
3. Continued sacrifice means its reality has not yet arrived.
3. In the Old Testament, the Messiah is both a suffering servant (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22) a king reigning on David’s throne (Isaiah 9:7, 2 Samuel 7:10-16)
1. As suffering servant, the death of Jesus of Nazareth occurred; at 3 PM (the time of the evening whole burnt offering), while an earthquake rips Temple veil from top to bottom. Temple doors open. This God-event connects Temple patterns to Messiah Jesus.
2. Dropped sacrifices in Ezekiel fulfilled by Messiah’s death. (These indicate shadows fulfilled by his death on the cross.); Evening whole burnt offering. Two Day of Atonement sacrifices. To cleanse and atone for sin (for high priest & people). Blood is sprinkled on the Mercy Seat. Rest of sacrifice is burned outside the camp. Note: no humans eat this sacrifice. (Leviticus 6:30)
3. Dropped festivals indicate prior fulfilment. (If Jesus of Nazareth is the suffering servant, then at His return, as king, we expect changes.)
Feast of Weeks – fulfilled at Pentecost
Feast of Trumpets – fulfilled at King Messiah’s return
Day of Atonement – first part fulfilled with Messiah’s death; 3 other parts: substitutions found (E.G. annual Temple cleansing)
4. Where does God dwell? Isaiah 57:15 “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit.”
1. His physical temple, where God dwells, is on His heavenly throne. (On earth, the Ark of the Covenant replicates His heavenly throne.)
2. His spiritual temple, where God indwells, is within the believer. Jesus answered … “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode (mansion or dwelling place) with him” John 14:23.
5. God has two types of Glory.
1. Shekinah glory: God physically dwells with us – old covenant
2. Inner glory: believer’s acquire God’s character – new covenant
God’s external glory, which the eye can see, is manifest on His heavenly throne. This Shekinah glory was present in the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple. It will also appear in Ezekiel’s future Temple (Ezekiel 43:1-5). The first covenant concerns itself with God physically dwelling with His people. Ezekiel’s future temple returns to this concern. New Jerusalem comes to earth and God permanently dwells with His people – that is the time when every tabernacle shadow has been replaced by their reality.
God’s internal glory is who He is, how He lives. God’s law reveals His nature and His followers are to take on God’s character! it is not reformation of the old nature. It is not like an actor saying and playing his Christian part. Rather belief in Christ unites us in Him, creates a new born again nature which grows up having God’s law written on his heart. “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:15-16 NASB. “Be holy” emphasizes being holy! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” 2 Corinthians 5:17. So those in Christ are Holy.
Simultaneously as a disciple of Jesus, we are to grow in holiness. Moses received the Ten Commandments written on two tables of stone. This law was external to him. (It is not part of fallen mankind’s nature.) So Moses prayed, “let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favour in Your sight” Exodus 33:13 NASB. This emphasizes the process of sanctification- growing up in Christ. It took the new Covenant, inaugurated by the blood of Christ shed to cleanse us from our sin and to graft us into His family. Hence God “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:6 NASB. Jesus answered … “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode [mansion or dwelling place] with him “John 14:23 NASB. This union in Christ produces a paradox. We are holy, but we grow in holiness. We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10 NIV. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14 NIV. So believer’s in Christ have been made holy and are in the process of being made holy! The Christian’s job is to take on God’s character! They are given a new (born again) nature. (They are holy). They grow up in that nature. (They are holy). They are in Christ. (They abide in Christ; He abides in them). Martin Luther correctly said, “Christians are simultaneously sinner and saint.”Dr. Nixon declares, “Christians are simultaneously holy and growing in Christ’s holiness.” The first covenant deals with escalations of God’s external glory dwelling with His redeemed. The future return to Temple ritual allows Messiah to fulfil His task as king. The focus of the second (or new) covenant is getting God’s inner glory, His law, written on the believer’s heart.
6. Tabernacle Articles. (The order of the Tabernacle Articles reveals their use)
1. God approaches mankind with these articles. (Exodus 25-29). Ark of the Covenant, mercy seat (lid) and cherubim (represents God’s throne on earth). Table of Showbread, Menorah, and Court Altar.
2. Articles for man to approach God. Exodus 3; Incense Altar, Laver, Court Altar.
3. Ezekiel’s future temple only has articles for man to approach God Ezekiel 40-47; Incense Altar (called Lord’s table Ezek. 41:22; 45:16) fresh water stream (Escalation of laver) Ezek 47:1 Court Altar.
In Ezekiel’s temple, there are there no articles used by God to approach mankind – No ark of the covenant, no table of showbread, no menorah? Why? Perhaps God has already approached mankind, when Messiah is king on David’s throne. The millennial task will be to get the entire world’s people to approach God.
7. The Ark of the Covenant represents God’s throne on earth.
The Ark of the Covenant will either be found or rebuilt. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 predicts, “The man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” There is only one seat in the Temple, the Ark of the Covenant. So in a future tribulation temple, an imposter will claim to be God.
Ironically Messiah, when he returns to earth, will make the same sort of declaration.
He will explain the trinity – how He and the Father are one. “And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. Zechariah 14:9.
In summary I’ve introduced you to reasons why I wrote my book. It is a hard read. It challenges many core understandings. Above all it identifies what sacrifices the death of Jesus fulfilled as God’s suffering servant. It prepares us for a millennial future when Messiah returns to make reality out of Ezekiel’s vision and accomplishes His Messianic task as king.
May the Lord, make you holy because you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
May the Lord, keep you growing in holiness because you are in Christ and He is in you.
Lord, let Your kingdom come. Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Teach us your ways, so we may know You and find favour in your sight.
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2tUN3mX9ns (Seven Reasons to read The Mystery of Ezekiel’s Temple Liturgy)
New book available in 2021, Hilary Arthur Nixon’s Mystery of the Eucharist.