I was recently talking with a Christian friend of mine, while showing him a picture I had taken while in Israel of a Menorah that may be used in Ezekiel’s Temple. He replied, “Ezekiel’s Temple?” He was unaware of Ezekiel’s Temple also known as, The Third Temple. I have noticed that many Christians are not familiar with Ezekiel’s Temple, probably because it isn’t a popular subject in most Churches. Also it is somewhat contrary to the Christian New Testament book of Revelation. Typically I have found that in Christianity if Scripture in the Tanach is contrary to something in the Christian New Testament, the Christian New Testament has precedence. In Judisam the Tanach has precedence over everything! The Christian teachings that I an familiar with on Ezekiel’s Temple have all eluded to it being “figurative”.
A Jewish teacher one time made the comment, “It seems that most people are fascinated with Solomon’s Temple or Herod’s Temple, they are gone, they are history, why not be fascinated with, and learn about what is to come, by studying about Ezekiel’s Temple?” I was moved by his statement. It totally made sense to me. He wasn’t saying not to study history, but at the same time not to neglect studying unfulfilled prophecy. Especially Ezekiel’s Temple.
I am not an expert on this subject, but I have noticed that Ezekiel gives detailed information, such as measurements. If these verses are figurative, what would be the point with such detail. I’m sure the verses before and after would also be figurative as well. Thus putting the resurrection, and the war of Gog and Magog into question. For me, I choose the literal understanding.
When I study this topic I like to start with Ezekiel 37 or sooner and read on to the end, so to keep the context. The building of the Temple starts with chapter 40. Being a visual person I have found a very handy tool in the appendix of my Artscroll Stone Edition Tanach. They have provided a copyrighted drawing of Ezekiel’s Temple, as a reference while studying.
As you study about the The Temple, you will also read about the future Jerusalem. It will be divided into three sections, and The Temple will be located in the center section. As I transposed the dimensions of the future Jerusalem, I discovered that it will be several times larger than today’s Jerusalem.
As you study, remember to use PRDS, and be sure to pray asking for G-d’s wisdom, direction, and revelation.
by, Jim Behnke