Many believe Ezekiel 40-48 are merely symbolic. If this is the case, how do we decipher its meaning? If someone uses a “figure of speech” we know not to take it literal, but according to the figure of speeches meaning. These eight chapters are not a figure of speech and there is no “key” to give us the meaning of “symbolism,” so we must take the chapters literal. This being the case, let’s go back to the problem I brought up last post: the sacrifices that the text says will be performed. Why would there be sacrifices performed in the millennial temple? The best answer I have heard is this: they are symbolic in the same way we partake in Communion today. If this is true, we can know that no one would put their faith in the animal sacrifice’s during the Millennium (with the King of Glory in their midst). Obviously, I need to go deeper, but through prayer, study and meditation, I know the Lord will take me deeper.
Ezekiel says in chapter 40, verse 2, “In visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel;” it’s interesting that it was a vision but it must have seemed very real. A man says to Ezekiel in verse 4, "Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you.” Ezekiel would see in this “vision,” hear things in it, and later we find out that he would correspond to those in the vision.
Ezekiel 40 through 48 seem to be confusing chapters for many people. All the specific measurements of the Temple point to the fact that this is a real Temple, not just symbolic. Also, we have no record of this Temple ever being built, so it would appear that this is the Temple Of Messiah in His Millennial reign. If this is the case though, why is there sin offerings mentioned in Ezekiel 42:13? We know Jesus Christ redeemed us with His blood once and for all (Heb. 9:12). This is an area of Scripture I will do some more study on before I make any conclusive statements.
Below is a short video on the Temple.
Ezekiel 37 tells of the miraculous restoration of the Israelites into their land. This isn’t just for the Jewish people (those of Judah), but all Israel shall be joined as one in God’s hand. After this, the LORD promises to restore David as their king. David proved himself faithful in his life and he will be re-instituted as king at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The battle of Gog and the land of Magog is a well known prophecy. Russia and Iran would seem to be the major players in this invasion against Israel. The LORD will bring forth a great victory for Israel; He says in Ezekiel 38:23, “I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”
Below is an 8 minute video from Chuck Missler about Gog and Magog. I don’t agree with his pre tribulation rapture scenario, but he has some good insight on many biblical texts.
The LORD gives some interesting and revealing commentary to the prophet in Ezekiel 33:30-33. He says…
"As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, 'Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
He said, “their hearts pursue their own gain;” so their hearts where dull to the words that were spoken. It would only be after the detailed judgments came to pass that they would wake up to the fact that the prophet truly was the mouth piece of God.
The LORD said to Israel in Ezekiel 35:6, “because you did not hate bloodshed, therefore blood shall pursue you. With the epidemic of abortions in the world, how can the world not reap bloodshed if it does not repent?
In Ezekiel 28 the LORD speaks through the prophet to the “prince of Tyre” and the “king of Tyre.” One is definitely a man and the other is called the “anointed cherub” by the LORD. We can learn a lot by these two descriptions being placed together. One thing we see is that spiritual forces are attempting to bring forth their agenda through human agents on earth. Another thing we see is that they were both motivated by the same thing; pride caused them both to stumble. Let’s look at some points from the chapter:
Ezekiel 28:2 clearly says the “prince of Tyre” is a man. It says, "…you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man.”
Concerning the “King of Tyre” spoken of in verse 12, it says he was “in Eden, the garden of God” (vs. 13), and he was “the anointed cherub who covers” (vs. 14).
The LORD said to the prince of Tyre, “your heart is lifted up because of your riches,” and he said to the king of Tyre, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty.”
If we see the sins manifesting through the shapers of society (leaders of any kind) in any given region, or people group, you will know the working of the kingdom of Satan in that region, or people group.
Ezekiel heard over and over again the word of God concerning his people and for other nations. He wrote, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying” again and again (at least 40 times). It is a precious thing to know the heart of God by His Word. 1 Samuel 3:21 says, “The LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” Seek to know the heart of God as you read His Word today.
In Ezekiel 18:2 the LORD says the people are saying “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge?” The people were saying that the present generation was paying the price for the sins of past generations. The LORD makes it clear that anything anyone suffers because of past generations has nothing to do with the LORD's judgment. He clearly says in Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Then He reminds the people again that they can find forgiveness and mercy even if they have lived a life of wickedness; He says, "But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, … he shall surely live; he shall not die” (Ezekiel 18:21). Israel was complaining about the LORD’s ways not being fair (just), but they said this because of their wrong understanding of God; it was Israel’s ways that were not fair (just). The LORD said in Ezekiel 18:25, "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?”
Ezekiel may have wondered if the judgment on Israel needed to be so severe. The LORD tells him that he will be comforted when he observes the complete moral bankruptcy of the few survivors. The LORD says in Ezekiel 14:22-23, “Yet behold, there shall be left in it a remnant who will be brought out, both sons and daughters; surely they will come out to you, and you will see their ways and their doings. Then you will be comforted concerning the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, all that I have brought upon it. And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it." God’s judgment's are not “without cause;” it is His last resort for people who refuse to repent.
In Ezekiel 9:4 the LORD says, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it." Then in verse 5 and 6 the LORD instructs the judgment to be released on the people except on those who have the mark. This is a principle that we know the LORD will use again: the apostle John writes in Revelation 7:2-3, “Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads."’ Later in Revelations 9:4 we see how this mark from God protected them from the judgments in the earth; it says “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
In Ezekiel 11:13, Ezekiel says, “Now it happened, while I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then I fell on my face and cried with a loud voice, and said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Will You make a complete end of the remnant of Israel?"’ God had tarried long, but now His Words wear manifesting quickly. The LORD says in Ezekiel 12:28, "None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done.” The Bible says that mockers will also come in the last days saying “where is the sign of His coming,” but that day of judgment will come like a “thief in the night” and over take them all.
The LORD sends Ezekiel into ministry with some sobering words in Ezekiel 3:7, “the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me.” The LORD goes on further in Ezekiel 3:17-21 to tell him that as a “watchman” for Israel, he wasn’t responsible for the people’s response, but he was responsible to obey and give them warning. Ezekiel 3:17-19 says, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”
Of course people have done weird and strange things out of their own imagination, but the life of Ezekiel proves that just because something seems strange or far from ideal, that alone does not mean it isn’t God. Beginning in chapter 4, we see God had Ezekiel preach His message by demonstration in some unusual ways.
God desired to show the world His goodness and His ways through Israel. Because of Israel’s wickedness, He had to show the world His righteousness and judgments upon Israel instead. Ezekiel 5:15 says, “'So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes.”
As we look ahead to the coming days, where everything that can be shaken will be, Ezekiel 7:19 seems to have a lot of significance. It says, “'They will throw their silver into the streets, And their gold will be like refuse; Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them In the day of the wrath of the LORD; They will not satisfy their souls, Nor fill their stomachs, Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.” In the end, the only thing that will be able to save is the LORD; He is the only solid foundation.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan