In our understanding of Ezekiel’s temple, two plausible explanations can be explored. Firstly, let’s explore the symbolic temple of point 3. In Ezekiel’s day the only kind of worship the people knew was the kind that revolved around the sacrifices and ceremonies, described in Exodus through Deuteronomy. Ezekiel explained God’s dwelling place in words and images. He had to explain a new order of worship in terms the people would understand. The temple, as a vision, intended to typify God’s perfect plan for his people. The presence of the Lord filled the house (Ezekiel 43:5). Then Ezekiel heard one speaking from the house saying, “this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet” (Ezekiel 43:7). As we can read in Ez 47, the water is flowing from the temple in different directions forming rivers, with trees standing on either side of the rivers. Verse 12 says, “All the trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine” (Holman Christian Bible). Blessings will flow from the temple.
This can be seen as a picture of all of humanity post cross, where we were co-crucified, co-died and co-raised and co-seated in heavenly places with Christ. God reconciled the whole cosmos to himself in Christ (2Cor 5:19 NASB), not counting their wrongdoings against them, and He has committed to us (humanity) the word of reconciliation. God’s presence filling our house, the place of my throne and the place of my feet. “We have been welcomed into the invisible mount Zion; the city of peace, the residence of the living God” (Hebrews 12:22, Mirror). We are the manifestation of God’s presence, the place of His habitation. 😇
The sacrifices in the vision temple of Ezekiel are the sacrifices we offer as Romans 12:1 describes in Mirror Bible, “Live consistent with who you really are, inspired by the lovingkindness of God. My brothers, the most practical expression of worship is to make your bodies available to Him as a living sacrifice: this pleases him more than any religious routine. He desires to find visible, individual expression in your person”. “The sacrificial system no longer involves dead animals, but living people, You died in his death and are now alive to God” (Romans 6:11).
Or as 1 Peter 2:4-5 (Mirror Bible) describes, firstly the living stone as Jesus and continues in verse 5, “Likewise you yourselves are living stones [co-quickened in his resurrection,1 Peter 1:3] and are co-constructed, and seamlessly joined into a spiritual house; you are a priestly people separated to offer spiritual sacrifices, reflecting God’s total approval of Jesus Christ. Everything that was prophetically mirrored in the shadow tabernacle of Israel, has finally found its relevance in Jesus Christ; he fully unveils the real deal; the temple, the priestly order and the people are all one in him. Do you not know that you are the temple /sanctuary of the Holy Spirit? The temple where the water flows out from?” “Streams of living water will flow from your innermost being”, (John says in 7:38). “Bringing life, food and healing to the nations”. This brings us full circle back to Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed”.
The second plausible option in our understanding of Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 40), can be explained as a future physical temple to be rebuilt prior to the millennial reign of Christ, as per the book of Revelation. In this literal temple, the sacrificial system would be re-established according to the ordinances in Leviticus 23. Led by the Levitical priesthood from the house of Zadok, who would bring the offerings and sacrifices.