Joseph W. Gaut
A beautiful temple is described in the book of Ezekiel, starting
with chapter 40. This temple, often referred to as Ezekiel's temple,
is not one that is built by human hands. Nor is it even a physical
structure in any sense commonly understood. Once this is grasped,
it follows that the sacrifices mentioned have very real but symbolic meaning.
Consider certain passages of scripture, beginning with Ezekiel 43:04-07,
by which we know that God Himself will dwell there forever ...and forever
And the glory of the LORD came into the house
by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the
spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the
glory of the LORD filled the house. And I heard him speaking unto
me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me,
Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet,
where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and
my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile...
A stream flows from this temple and becomes a great river too great to
pass over. This river has healing power. It is "living water".
A River of Life is described. [Ezekiel 47:01-12]. This scarcely
suggests temple architecture that is visible to the naked eye.
Afterward he brought me again unto the
door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold
of the house eastward...
The fish that swim in this River of Life are healed. Jesus told his
followers to be "fishers of men." Men are compared to fish on several occasions
in the New Testament. I think it no accident that several of the
apostles were fishermen. Ezekiel speaks of such fish (vs.47:9):
Afterward he measured a thousand; and it
was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters
to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
And it shall come to pass, that every thing
that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live:
and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters
shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live
whither the river cometh.
Stephen (Acts 7:47-50) reminded those who were fixing to stone him
to death that God didn't live in a house built of human hands when he referenced
a passage in Isaiah 66 by saying:
But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit
the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build
me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my
hand made all these things?
We read in Ezekiel 43:07:
And he said unto me, Son of man, the place
of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell
in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name,
shall the house of Israel no more defile...
We should understand that this temple is where God dwells in the midst
of His people forever. Where is the place of His throne? In our hearts.
This is what the Lord God wants to take up residence forever. He's
not about to limit his eternal residency to some manmade project made of
sticks and stones.
Paul shared the same understanding and on several occasions clearly
identified the temple of God as being those who believe in Christ Jesus.
He let us know that such are the temple of God. Peter shared this same
insight and called believers the "living stones" of this temple and noted
that Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone that the builders rejected,
thereby referencing the prophecy of rejection of the Messiah found in Psalm
118:22. From 1 Peter 2:4-6 we read:
As you come to him, the living Stone --
rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him -- you also, like
living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood,
offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For in Scripture it says:
Jesus is the architect and builder of this temple. It is no coincidence
that he was a carpenter by natural trade. He is still in the construction
business. He identified this temple not built by hands when He identified
himself as the corner stone -- the first Living Stone -- of this majestic
building when he said [Luke 20:17-18 (refer to Psalms 118:22)]:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen
and precious cornerstone, and one who trusts in him will never be put to
And he beheld them, and said, What is this
then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is
become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone
shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to
So what temple did Ezekiel see? He saw a temple not built by human
hands. He saw a temple that has been under construction for the last
two thousand years as God has been fashioning living stones into the building
blocks of this majestic structure. This temple is nearing completion.
Jesus said that the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world
and that then the end will come. Soon the last stone will be fitted
into place. Soon the Glory of the Lord will fill the temple.