The Millennial Temple



Dr. John Hoole – December 1



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Before sin entered the world, the Lord met with Adam and Eve in the Garden.  There was no separation between God and them.  After the fall, the world changed drastically as Eden, that unique place where God dwelt with man, was placed off limits (Gen. 3:24).  A physical separation occurred and the special relationship between God and man was broken, never to return again until the Millennial reign of Christ.


In the period prior to the Mosaic Law, worship was primarily a spontaneous act involving individuals like Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3-4), as well as Noah (Genesis 8:20), Abraham (Genesis 22:5), Isaac (Genesis 26:23-24 and Jacob (Gen. 35:1-7).


Worship involved a blood sacrifice, a right heart, and devotion to the One True God.  Some 2,500 years later, the family of Jacob was taken out of Egyptian bondage, and God directed His chosen people to build a temporary structure in the form of a Tabernacle.  The English word, “tabernacle,” comes from the Latin, tabernaculum, a hut, a tent.  The Hebrew is MISHKAN, meaning “a dwelling place,” or simply “dwelling.”  The word has its first Biblical use in Exodus 25:9, where God directed Moses to construct a portable tent of meeting.  After they entered the Promised Land, a permanent edifice was required by God.  It was there where worship would be conducted.


Central to the subject of worship during the Millennium, which will have its center in Jerusalem, will be the fact of the existence of Temple #4.


Two Jewish temples have been located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the past.  The first temple, sometimes called Solomon’s Temple was completed in 959 B.C., during the reign of Solomon (970 B.C. to 930 B.C.).  This temple was destroyed 373 years later, in 586 B.C.  The destruction, at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, occurred on the 9th of AV.


The second temple’s construction was begun by Zerubabbel and Ezra in 520 B.C. and finished in 516 B.C.  Nearly 500 years later, this temple was remodeled and expanded by King Herod the Great.  Herod’s renovation took 46 years – from 19 B.C. to 27 A. D. – about the time Jesus begins His ministry.


The second temple was the Temple in which Jesus was dedicated.  This is where He often taught.  It was from this temple that Jesus twice drove the money changers.


Jesus foretold the destruction of this temple some 40 years before its demise in 70 A.D, when the Roman General Titus besieged the city of Jerusalem.  It may be interesting to you that the destruction of Temple #2 occurred on the very same day and month that Temple #1 was.  It was on the 9th of Av.


After the destruction of the first Temple of Solomon, God instituted a day of fasting and mourning.  You can find that in Jeremiah 52.  It is again mentioned in Zechariah 7:5.  In Hebrew, this observance is known as “tisha b’Av” (9th of Av).  Av is the 5th month in the Jewish calendar, and equates mostly to July in our calendar (in 2013, July 8 through August 7).


The Jews have almost 40 various dates of their calendar in which they annually commemorate historical events.  Tisha b’Av commemorates the time when their ancestors wept as their precious Temple burned to the ground.


I went out to a Jewish web site that describes each commemorative date in their calendar and the ritual that is to be followed and observed on these dates.  This web site said, “Tisha b’Av is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.”


From another Jewish web site, I found this statement:  “Our sages teach that whoever mourns over Jerusalem will merit the future vision of her joy.  As it is written in Isaiah (66:11), ‘rejoice greatly with her, all who mourn her.’ ”


Since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in A.D. 70, temple sacrifices, offerings and worship have ceased exactly as said by the prophet Hosea in about 746 BC.


Hosea 3:4-5 NKJV


4       For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.

5       Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.


Temple #3


There are at least three New Testament references to Temple 3  This is a temple that will be built during the future 7-year Tribulation, and many orthodox Jewish groups have begun working towards its quick construction.  Like its predecessors, it will also be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  But this site is currently under the control of the Muslim Waqf.


The fate of the third temple is not specifically given in the Bible.  But I think there are a number of passages that could attest to its destruction.  Revelation 16:17 - 21 speaks of a great earthquake that will occur when Christ returns to earth.


Revelation 16:17-19 NIV


17     The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!”

18     Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.

19     The great city (that’s Jerusalem) split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.


This earthquake will be greater on the Richter scale – maybe clear off the scale, and we are told this earthquake will result in greater destruction than any this world has ever experienced.  This is the “Big One.”


In addition to the upheaval in the earth, we are told there is also upheaval in the atmosphere.  As we continue reading about the 7th bowl, we find it also says that hail stones weighing 100  pounds will reign down on this earth.


Revelation 16:20-21 NIV


20     Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.

21     From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.


         From this and other passages, it is reasonable to suppose that the Third Temple will be destroyed.


Temple #4


Now let’s turn our attention to Temple #4.  As I mentioned in an earlier lesson, the detailed plans for the Millennial Temple are found in Ezekiel 40:1 through 43:27.  The Millennial Temple will be built to these blueprints.


This temple is often referred to as Ezekiel’s Temple, because his prophetic writings include the greatest detail of this temple.  More accurately, it is the Millennial Temple.


It is not my intent today to go through all the details of this temple.  It probably could not be completed in one lesson.  Ezekiel gives 318 precise measurements of the temple and uses 37 unique words that are architectural terms – i.e., “doorposts, door jambs, threshold, portico, alcove, steps, etc..”


Ezekiel 40:1 NKJV


1       In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the Lord was upon me; and He took me there.


Ezekiel receives this great wealth of information on the millennial temple in 572 B.C..  Ezekiel was among the Jews taken to Babylon when Judah was taken by King Nebuchadnezzar.  This would make him 55 years old, since Ezekiel 1:1 says he was 30 when taken to Babylon.  In the vision given by God, beginning in chapter 40, Ezekiel was taken to Jerusalem (Ezek. 40:1)It came to him in the form of a vision in which he was given a personally conducted tour by “a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze.” (Ezekiel 40:3)Many theologians believe this man was none other that Jesus Christ Himself.


Ezekiel tells us that this Temple will be unlike any temple that precedes it.  Much larger and far grander than that which was built by Solomon or Herod.  Ezekiel writes that what he saw concerning the temple was that it looked like a city.


Ezekiel 40:2 NKJV


2       In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city.


Several Bible scholars that I have read, say the millennial temple structure itself will be about 30 times larger than any before it.  Unlike the previous temples that were within the walls of Jerusalem, this temple will be located outside the city limits in the northern section of the sacred land given to the priests.


When it comes to the dimensions of the Tabernacle of Moses and later the Temple of Solomon, the Scriptural dimensions are most often given in CUBITS,  Let me ask you the same question I asked in our study of the Ark of the Covenant.




Most often a cubit is the distance from one’s fingertips to the elbow – 18 inches.  When we had our lesson on the Ark of the Covenant, I said at that time the Bible also mentions a “long cubit.”  The reference I gave at that time was Ezekiel 40:5.


Ezekiel 40:5 NIV


5       I saw a wall completely surrounding the temple area. The length of the measuring rod in the man's hand was six long cubits, each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth. He measured the wall; it was one measuring rod thick and one rod high.


The long cubit mentioned here is said to be the length of a regular cubit plus the width of a hand.  It is usually considered 21 inches.  Some sources call this long cubit, the “royal cubit.”


Keep in mind the context of this verse.  You’ve heard me say, on numerous occasions, that the last 9 chapters of Ezekiel, chapters 40-48, is where we are given the detailed description of the Millennial Temple.  This verse we just read is in the first of those chapters, and is only 2 verses after the one where Ezekiel is introduced to the man in bronze.  I have seen a couple web sites that claim that Noah also used a long cubit when building the Ark, although I find no corroboration in Scripture for this.


So, when it comes to the use of the “long cubit” it seems only to be used in measurements concerning the Millennial Temple.  But in the verse we just read, there is another measuring device mentioned – A rod (or reed), which, we are told, is six long cubits in length, or about 10½ feet.  I mention this because there are some passages that give us a dimension, but without telling us whether the unit is a reed or a long cubit.  When that happens, most translators put whatever unit – cubit or reed – in italics.  The NIV Bible does not italicize because it is a translation that renders thought-for-thought rather than word-for-word translation.  That lets you know that specific word was not in the original manuscript.


An example of this is found in Ezekiel 42.


Ezekiel 42:19 NIV


19     Then he turned to the west side and measured; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod.


Now look at the same verse in the NKJV:


Ezekiel 42:19 NKJV


19     He came around to the west side and measured five hundred rods by the measuring rod.


The NIV does have a footnote for verse 17 and on, which reads: “Septuagint = rods.”  That means that those who translated the O.T. into Greek some 200 years before Christ, took this to mean rods, not cubits.  500 long cubits would equal 875 feet.  500 rods would equal about one mile (5,250).


A building complex this size could not possibly be placed on the current Temple Mount.  The earthquake will cause enormous topographical changes in this location.


Like all previous temples, the millennial temple will face east.  It will also have a very large court yard surrounding all but the west side.


In the last chapter of Ezekiel – chapter 48 – we find a description of the apportionment of the land to each of the 12 tribes.  Ezekiel starts with the northern-most tribe – Dan, and proceeds south to Judah, the seventh tribe.  South of the land for Judah is the land given to the tribe of Levi, and the Temple will be situated there.  The remaining 5 tribes – Benjamin through Gad – are given land south of the Temple


Before continuing, did you notice that the tribe of Levi is given a parcel of land?  Any previous division of the land did not allocate land to the tribe of the priests.  They took their residence in the land of the other 12 tribes.


In the Millennium, 13 tribes will inherit a parcel of land.  The portion given to the tribe of Levi is called a holy section.  As we will see on the map in a moment, it will probably be a parcel 50 miles by 50 miles, and will be situated between the land inheritance given to Judah and Benjamin.  Both the city of Jerusalem and the Temple will be located in this section of land.


The importance of this issue, as far as the Temple is concerned, is the way the land around the Temple is divided.  This is seen in Ezekiel 45.  In this chapter, there are three main large parcels of land which are mentioned.  Together, they comprise the new dimensions of the new city of Jerusalem.  In the first verse, this parcel of land is called the “sacred district.”


But here, a problem arises.  In the early verses of Chapter 45,  we are told the composite total dimensions of these three parcels is 25,000 both in length and width.  But 25,000 of what?  The original Hebrew doesn’t say.  The King James says it is 25,000 reeds (rods).  The NIV says it is 25,000 long cubits.


If you accept the King James, then Jerusalem, including the holy place, is approximately 50 miles by 50 miles.  If you accept the NIV, then Jerusalem, including the holy place, is approximately 8¼ miles by 8¼ miles.


I do not know which is correct.  On the drawing you will see, I am going to use rods (reeds) instead of cubits.  If I were to lean in one direction, I would lean towards “rods” being the correct one.  In Ezekiel 40:5, we are told the length of a rod is 6 long cubits (10.5 feet).


Let’s look at this parcel of land we call Jerusalem.


1.      The Holy (Sacred) District – 10,000 reeds wide – north to south.  25,000 reeds long – west to east.  In miles, that is 20 miles – north to south, and 50 miles – west to east.


2.      The Levites District – same size as the Holy District (10K by 25K reeds).  I believe this section is directly north of the Holy District.


3.      The City District is directly south of the Holy District – the opposite side from the Levites.  It is the same length (25,000 reeds), but half the width of the other two sections.


This City District is further divided into three parcels.  The actual city, where most of the people will live, will be 5,000 reeds by 5,000 reeds, and will be in the center of this district.  On either side – east and west – will be two equal sized areas for crops and produce.


Unlike all previous temples of Israel which were located within the city of Jerusalem, this temple will be located outside the city limits and in the section north of the city.  Each tribe is to receive a section of land, but the first parcel is to be set aside for the Lord.  It is called a holy section of land for the priests to minister.


A few weeks ago, we looked at the topographical changes that will significantly impact the lay of the land in Israel during the Millennium.  We noticed that the earthquake will result in raising the land where the Jerusalem and the Millennial Temple will reside.  We also read that the temple in Jerusalem during the Millennium would be on an elevated mountain, higher that anything around it.


During that previous lesson, we examined a Psalm many of you are familiar with.  We used to sing a chorus taken Psalm 48.


Great is the Lord,

And greatly to be praised,

In the city of our God,

In the mountain of his holiness;


It is obvious that this song is speaking of Jerusalem, “the city of our God.”  It also has God’s holy mountain in view and how the greatness of God is to be praised in each of these locations.


I should mention that the words to this chorus were taken from the King James Version.  And we noticed the next phrase in the chorus presents a slight problem.  It’s only a problem in our understanding.  I ask you, what is meant by the next phrase, Beautiful for situations?


The King James is the only translation that I looked through (more than a dozen different translations) that uses the word “situation.”  All others, except the NIV, use the phrase, “beautiful in elevation,” including the New King James.  The NIV renders it, “beautiful in its loftiness.”  So, once again we are told that during the millennium, Jerusalem will be elevated geographically.


Let’s continue the words of this chorus.  There is more to be gleaned here.


            Beautiful in elevation,

           The Joy of the whole earth,


There has never been a time in history when Jerusalem and the holy Mount Zion has been the joy of the whole earth.  There is no doubt that the Psalmist (not David, but the sons of Korah) had the Millennium and the reign of Christ in view here.  That is the only time when Jerusalem will indeed be a joy to all the earth.


I have brought you back to this Psalm because of the next phrase in this chorus.


            Is mount Zion on the sides of the north.

            The city of the great King.


The only period of time where these two lines would be accurate is during the Millennium.  A few moments ago, I mentioned that all earlier temples were inside the city limits of Jerusalem.  In the map we just saw of the Sacred Area depicts the Temple to be north of the city.


The Temple Complex


Now let’s look at the Temple complex.  The temple is within the Holy District – equidistant along its length from west to east.  It may also be equidistant north to south.


Let me show you some floor plans and model constructions to help understand the Temple.  When I am referring to the Temple area, I am speaking of the area within the outer wall.  The first thing I want you to notice is that the Altar is the core, or exact center, of the Temple.  Secondly, notice there are 6 gates.  These gates are large and very high.


Now let me show you how the total area of Jerusalem fits into the division of the land among the 12 tribes which was promised to Abraham.


The land for 7 of the tribes is north of the city and 5 are to the south.


What the Millennial Temple does not have.


Before going on, let me mention some of the difference between the Millennial Temple and the three temples before it.  We have already noted the size difference.


1.      There is no wall of partition to exclude the Gentiles from any court.


In each of these differences I will give you a corresponding reference in the New Testament.  Let me read the N.T. verse for this one.  In the remainder, I will give you the reference, but not read them all.  You can look them up on your own.


Ephesians 2:14 NKJV


14      For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one [Jew and Gentile], and has broken down the middle wall of separation,


2.      There is no court for women.  There is an outer court and an inner court only.  Compare this to Galatians 3:28


3.      There is no laver  (Ezekiel 36:24-27).  Compare to John 15:3.


4.      There is no Table of ShewbreadCompare to John 6:35.


5.      No Lampstand or Menorah.  Compare to John 8:12


6.      No Golden Altar of Incense.  Compare to John 14:6


7.      No veil between the two sections of the temple.  Compare to Matthew 27:51


8.      No Ark of the Covenant.  Compare to John 10:30-33.