Contending For The Faith

October 16, 2008

Ezekiel’s Temple and OT Millenial Passages

Filed under: eschatology — Lynda O @ 5:59 pm
Tags: ,

Still doing a lot of reading and studying, not much time for writing. Here are some of my thoughts for today…

I listened to John MacArthur’s answer regarding Ezekiel’s temple in the light of the finished work of the cross (from the 2007 Shepherd’s Conference, General Conference 5) and transcribed it for my future reference:

“How does the Lord’s table relate to the fact that Christ’s sacrifice is a once for all sacrifice? The Old Testament sacrifices were not a substitute for Christ, they were a depiction, they were a picture, they were a picture, a type, prior to the cross, pointing to the cross. The Lord’s table is a picture of the cross, past the Cross, pointing back, and the best understanding that I have of the millennial temple in Ezekiel 40 to 48 and the millenial sacrifices is that in the kingdom, which is for Israel in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant and Davidic covenant and new covenant promise of Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36 and 37, Israel is featured. The apostles, Jesus said from His own lips, will sit on 12 thrones ruling the 12 tribes of Israel. And so it is uniquely Jewish and it is uniquely for them and I think the Lord will reinstitute the Old Testament symbols that pointed to the cross and they will carry out some of those symbols which will then be infused with a full understanding of what they meant in the light of the cross, and they will by then have come to look on Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as an only son, have had the fountain of cleansing opened to them, they will be in the kingdom, Christ will be present and it will all become clear to them. It will be a complete unveiling of all of those sacrifices which were so richly symbolic to Israel in the past.”

It sounds similar to a few things I’ve come across elsewhere, and the most complete answer so far. I know the standard amill answer, about how all of those chapters in Ezekiel are symbolic of what the ideal temple could have been, if the Jews had been faithful — sorry, I don’t buy that one anymore, as I become increasingly dissatisfied with the pastor that over-spiritualizes and over-allegorizes difficult texts without really looking at what they actually say. Allegory and spiritualization doesn’t account for the very specific measurements and details. Considering MacArthur’s answer (among many other things I’ve already studies), I conclude that, though the great promises of God are fulfilled in Christ’s atoning work on the cross and His promises for the Church, that does not mean God is limited to only redeeming Gentiles; He could very well have an even greater plan than anything we can imagine, including a special redemptive plan in the future for His elect of the Jewish nation. Nothing in the fulfillment of the New Testament promises means that God is completely through with Israel, and so what must we do with the words of Jesus and Paul, saying “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled?” So as I understand the pre-mill position, at the end times God will bring in more of His elect, only in this case the elect will be individuals of Jewish descent.

Now I’m beginning to see the greater picture, the full meaning of some Old Testament prophecies, such as Isaiah 66. Last night, my amill pastor mentioned this text in passing, one of many passages as he jumped around on a lot of different thoughts, but cited this passage (Isaiah 66:19-20) as referring to the church and the gospel going out to all the lands. Yet in the context, a few verses later it describes the New Heavens and the New Earth, and the people looking at all the dead bodies — a direct tie-in with the battle of Armageddon. Instead, Isaiah 66:18-20 seems a lot like what is prophecied in Zechariah 14.

Like the fuller understanding of the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, of course this is talking about something far greater than anything done by the Church in this age. There are plenty of New Testament passages talking about that, but this passage has nothing to do with the Church.

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