The MILLENNIAL TEMPLE is a SYMBOL of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH
September 8 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 40-42
“Then he brought me into the sanctuary and measured the doorposts, six cubits wide on one side and six cubits wide on the other side--the width of the tabernacle. The width of the entryway was ten cubits, and the side walls of the entrance were five cubits on this side and five cubits on the other side; and he measured its length, forty cubits, and its width, twenty cubits. Also he went inside and measured the doorposts, two cubits; and the entrance, six cubits high; and the width of the entrance, seven cubits. He measured the length, twenty cubits; and the width, twenty cubits, beyond the sanctuary; and he said to me, ‘This is the Most Holy Place.’” (Ezek. 41:1-4)
Ezekiel chapters 40–42 give us the detailed dimensions of the Millennial Temple which will be erected in Jerusalem one day in the future. In his book 'The Interpretation of Prophecy', the famous Bible theologian Paul Lee Tan writes the following about the detailed dimensions provided by prophet Ezekiel: "Non-literal interpreters maintain that this prophecy is a symbol of the Christian church. However, this major prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel contains descriptions, specifications, and measurements of the millennial Temple which are so exhaustive that one may actually make a sketch of it, just as one might of Solomon’s historic temple."
Bible scholars are of the view that this Millennial Temple will be the final temple to be constructed. We should note that the prophet Ezekiel is describing a real future Temple, which in many ways differs from King Solomon’s Temple. This Temple will be on earth (and not in heaven), since it is described in a geographical setting that we are acquainted with historically. While the topographical changes in the area around Jerusalem make its exact location impossible to determine, it can be safely assumed that this temple will be located somewhere in the proximity of present-day Jerusalem.
The detailed measurements of the Millennial Temple provided in chapters 40–42 remind us that in all our service we must build according to God’s specifications (see Exo. 25:40). While chapter 40 deals primarily with the area surrounding the temple; chapter 41 describes the temple itself, starting from the sanctuary and the ‘Most Holy Place’ (vv.1–4). According to God’s stipulations, the access to the ‘Most Holy Place’ was restricted only to the High Priest of Israel and that too only on the Day of Atonement (see Lev. 16:1–4, 34; Heb. 9:11–14). That may be the reason why the angelic guide went alone inside the ‘Most Holy Place’ (the inner, most sacred, room of the temple where God’s presence dwelt continually). As a priest, Ezekiel was permitted to enter the sanctuary only, and could not enter the ‘Most Holy Place’.
The Millennial Temple will be an actual temple of impressive size, and it will show notable changes from all the previous temples. While the ‘Most Holy Place’ in the tabernacle and in Solomon’s temple ‘was a cube (equal in length, width, and height), the dimensions of the ‘Most Holy Place’ in the Millennial Temple were twenty by twenty cubits. It is possible that the dimensions vary in order to draw our attention away from a temporary, earthly model.
This Millennial Temple is a symbol of the Christian Church! It is also interesting to note that no mention is made of any veil, ark, or high priest while the prophet Ezekiel describes the Millennial Temple. The reasons for this may be because the veil was split apart at Calvary, and the symbolism of the ark was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who became our Great High Priest once and for all. Today, the bodies of God’s people are His temple (1 Cor. 6:19–20), and so is His church (Eph. 2:19–22). Just as God has a beautiful plan for His future temple in Jerusalem, so He has a plan for His people individually (Eph. 2:10) and His church collectively. We are to be God’s holy temple, dedicated to Him alone; and we are to radiate the glory of God wherever we are!