Ezekiel 40-44, Psalm 44
For many years after accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, I made a mistake which stunted my growth in my walk. I practiced add-on Christianity, rather than allowing myself to be made new. Holding onto much of what was familiar to me, I simply read the Bible and made minor reforms to my status quo. But this is not the Christian walk that God desires for us. It is a combination of fear and pride which prohibits us from releasing what holds us in bondage from our former ways. Jesus said in Revelation 21:5, "Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me , "Write, for these words are true and faithful." Jesus said in Matthew 9:17, "Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
As we read through this rather tedious portion of Scripture it is easy to gloss it over, due to the many details and measurements which are in it. This is the instructions for the fourth temple. The first temple was built by Solomon around 1000 BC. After it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, the next temple was began by Zerubbabel in 516 BC, then expanded by Herod around 500 years later. This was then destroyed by the Romans as Jesus prophesied that not one stone would remain upon another. The third temple which will come and go will be built during the Tribulation by a deal brokered by the antichrist (Revelation 11). The temple described here is the fourth temple to be built in the Millennial Kingdom when King Jesus is on the throne. It's important to realize that much of what we read in the Old Testament is a dress rehearsal for their fulfillment in Jesus Christ which we read in the New Testament. The seven feasts were dress rehearsals to be fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ, the four spring feasts (passover, firstfruits, unleavened bread and pentecost) already fulfilled in Jesus' first coming; the fall feasts will be fulfilled in His second coming. Likewise, the temple along with it's furnishings and worship were a dress rehearsal for the future fulfillment when King Jesus sits on the throne. If you read closely rather than getting lost in the details, take notice as to what is missing in this new temple, because as Jesus said, He makes all things new. There is no veil. The veil was rent in two when Jesus died on the cross. This physical separation between the people and the presence of God is no longer present. There is no table of showbread, since Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life (John 6), will be in Jerusalem at that time. There is no golden candlestick since Jesus Christ, the Light of the World (John 8), is now present and His glory fills the whole world. There is no ark of the covenant. We read previously in Ezekiel 10-11, that the glory of the Lord departed from the first temple, "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city." (Ezekiel 11:23). His glory was not present in the second or third temples. We read in Zechariah 14:4, concerning the return of Christ, "And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east,...". We read of this return further in Ezekiel 43:2,5, "And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east...and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple." There is no need for the ark where the glory of the Lord dwelt, since now, God's glory will fill the whole earth. Lastly, notice there are no outside courts or divisions for men, women and Gentiles in the new temple. As Paul said in Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
We must see our lives the same way. Our former way of life, apart from Jesus, has no place in our new walk with Jesus. We are not to romanticize about "the good old days" as though we are missing out on all our former days of "fun". We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." We are to rid ourselves of our former ways of unrighteousness as Paul continues this thought in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Like the feasts and the temple, our lives are a dress rehearsal for our glorified bodies when we are finally face to face with Jesus. Just like there is no longer any need for the veil, the candlestick, etc., there is no longer any need for much of the garbage we continue to carry around in this present life. When we read Scripture like this, let's try not to get lost in the detail, but realize just as the temple now had a new design, so do we. We, too, are new creations.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: