The new temple in Ezekiel 43-48 is Jesus? Kenneth Gentry

This is a big quote from: Kenneth Gentry “HE shall have dominion.” You can download PDF file here:

To understand the significance of Ezekiel’s visionary Temple, we must keep in mind the conceptual idea embodied in the Temple structure and services. The essence of the Temple is that it stands as a symbol. That is, it is symbolic of the covenantal relationship of God with His people. The essence of the covenant is contained in that most important promise: “I will be your God, you will be My people.” The Temple was the special place where God dwelt among His people (1 Kgs. 6:12-13; Jer. 7:4-7), as He did in the Tabernacle preceding it (Exe. 29:42; 25:22; 30:36). The glory of God was especially present in His sanctuary (1 Kgs. 8:11; 2 Chr. 7:1-2), although no Temple could contain His immense being (1 Kgs. 8 :2’7; Isa. 66:1; Jer 23:24).

This idea is clearly related to Ezekiel’s Temple vision in 48:35: “The name of the city from that day shall be: The Lord is There.” That visionary Temple is symbolic of the glorious presence of God in the Kingdom of Christ coming in the New Covenant era. And it is so because even further defined, it is symbolic of Christ Himself. Christ is the true presence of God which could only be hinted at in the temple construction. “Ezekiel’s vision of the new temple is part of this prophetic pattern of a restoration so total that it sublimates the ceremonial structure in glory. Ezekiel’s restoration returns David to the throne, and sees a temple that is a sanctuary of Paradise, where the river of life flows from God’s throne past trees whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.”57 One of the closing prophecies of the Old Testament is Malachi 3:1: “And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight.” This coming is the message of the New Testament: the Lord has come to “tabernacle” among us (John 1:14, Greek; cf. John 1:1; 1 John 1:1-3). When He came, He was first visited by shepherds, who had been out in the fields keeping sacrificial sheep destined for the Temple. When presented forty days later in the Temple, He was praised as the “glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:32) – language reflecting the Shekinah glory of God, which evidenced God’s presence in the Temple (Exe. 40:34, 35; 1 Sam. 4:21-22).

He so stands as the glorious realization of the meaning of the Temple that he who had seen Him had seen the Father (John 14:9), for “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). He even was transfigured in a glorious display of His true identity (Matt. 1’7: 1-8; Mark 9:2-8). Consequently, He justly claims to be greater than the Temple (Matt. 12:6), for He is its fulfillment, being the very presence of God. In fact, He is “the stone which the builders rejected” which “has become the chief cornerstone” of God’s new Temple (Matt. 21 :42).

Consequently, as prophetic His ministry opens, He stands in the shadow of the earthly Temple and informs Jerusalem of this glorious truth: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” by which “He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 20:19, 21), a Temple “not made with hands” (Mark 14:58). Therefore, He offers Himself to men as the heavenly manna, which was once housed in the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple.m He offers the living waters of Ezekiel’s Temple (Ezek. 4’7; cf. Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:8) to His hearers (John 4:10-15; 7:38-39). He is the sacrificial “Lamb of God” destined for Temple service (John 1:29). As He establishes the New Covenant (Luke 22:20), He impresses upon the hearts of His followers the Law of God (Jer. 31:31-34; 2 Cor. 4:3, 6; Heb. 8:8-1 1), which was formerly kept on tables of stone in the Holy of holies (Exe. 25:21; Deut. 10:5; Heb. 9:4). Thus, when He dies, the Temple era is formally ended with the rending of the veil (Matt. 27:51). When He speaks of the absolute destruction of the physical Temple in A.D. ’70, He leaves no intimation of its God-endorsed rebuilding (Matt. 2461).

Christ, then, is the true Temple. And His people, who are in mystical union with Him, are called His “body” (Rem. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12). Consequently, we who are His people are also designated a “temple.”62 This is due to His indwelling presence among His people, so that we, having the True Tem- ple within, may be called a temple. Christ in us is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). Not only is He Who is the The Temple in us, but we are also spoken of as being “in Christ.”63

Thus, the prophetic notion of the rebuilding of the Temple (when not making reference to Zerubbabel’s Temple) speaks of Christ and the building of His Church (Matt. 16:18; cf. Zech. 6:12-1 3). He Himself is the foundation and cornerstone (1 Cor. 3:11, 16-17; Eph. 2:20). As Christ’s people we are priests (Rem. 15: 16; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6) who offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Rem. 12: 1-2) and our service as acceptable sweet smell o~ering.s (2 Cor. 2:14-16; Phil. 4:18; Heb. 13:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:5). Thus, “we have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat” (Heb. 13:10). As more people are converted by His sovereign grace, His New Covenant Temple grows stone by stone (Eph. 2:21; 4:12, 16; 1 Pet. 2:5,9). As a master builder Paul labored in that Temple (1 Cor. 3:9-17).

Through a series of Old Testament Temple and ritual allusions, Paul points to the New Temple of God: “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor, 6:16-7:1). So, as Clowney well notes, “we must recognize that this is not spiritualization in our usual sense of the word, but the very opposite. In Christ is realization. It is not so much that Christ fulfills what the temple means; rather Christ is the meaning for which the temple existed.”

Taylor well distills the basic ideas in Ezekiel’s complex Temple vision. (1) The immaculate symmetry of the building portrays the perfection of God’s plan for His people. (2) The meticulous detail of the rites indicates the centrality of worship in the New Covenant era. (3) The central idea of the Temple points to the abiding presence of God with His redeemed community. (4) The waters of life flowing from the Temple express the life-giving operation of the Holy Spirit in the new age. (5) The careful allocation of levitical duties and land apportionment speak of the duties and privileges of God’s people in the future.””

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