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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
William

Amillennial Interpretation of Ezekiel 40-48

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Meg. T. asks:

"Dr. Riddlebarger, what is your take on Ezekiel's description of the Temple? I've never heard an amil explanation of the cooking pots and rooms for slaughtering the sacrifices of the people, and the chamber for the prince & his sacrifice. Puzzled."

Tyler asks:

"Dr. Kim, I was wanting to understand the Amill interpretation of Ezekiel 40-48. There is a lot of talk about a future temple. Thanks for your help."

___________________________________

 

These are great questions because discussions of the temple come up frequently, especially in light of the dispensational expectation of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem during the tribulation and then during millennial age. While I don't have the space to cover all of the details that Meg mentions, hopefully, I can give you a sense of how these things should be interpreted.

 

For starters, G. K. Beale has written an important book on this topic and anyone who has questions about Ezekiel's vision should get it and read it carefully (The Temple and the Church's Mission). For more information about Beale's book, The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God. As Beale points out, there are four main interpretations of Ezekiel's prophecy and how it is fulfilled (or not) in the New Testament. Dispensationalists believe that this vision is a prophecy of an earthly temple to be built within Israel during the millennial age (cf. Pentecost, Things to Come, 393; Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 169). Dispensationalists base this interpretation upon their literal hermeneutic, which they say demands that a prophecy such as this one be interpreted literally, unless there is good reason to believe the prophecy should be interpreted figuratively.

 

Unlike dispensationalists, advocates of the other main interpretations all agree that the context demands a figurative interpretation. I agree. Some see this an ideal temple never intended to be built upon the earth (in my estimation, the weakest interpretation), others see this as a vision of the ideal temple (OK, as far as it goes), while still others see this as a picture of a real heavenly temple, which will be established on the earth in a non-structural way in the latter days (Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission, 335).

 

In other words, I believe Ezekiel is giving us a picture of the new earth in the prophetic terms with which his readers were familiar (Hoekema, The Bible and Future, 205). This is a picture of the new earth as the dwelling of God. Ezekiel prophesies it in earthly terms (complete with all the temple utensils), while John describes its fulfilled version (in eschatological terms).

 

Based upon a number of factors, I think it is clear that the prophecy is points to a non-structural end-times temple.

 

First, the prophecy cannot be interpreted literally and still make any sense. When God places the prophet on a very high mountain (40:1-2) he sees something like a city (obviously Jerusalem). Yet, there is no such high mountain near Jerusalem from which the prophet could have had such a vantage point. But this literal high mountain is required by the dispensational view. Where is it? Given the nature of Ezekiel's prophecy, this language should alert us to the fact that what follows is given the symbolic geography of the prophet.

 

This is confirmed in Revelation 21:10, where John is carried away "in the Spirit" to a high mountain from which he sees the Holy City coming down out of heaven. Obviously, the visions are related to each other as type-antitype (earthly language, eschatological fulfillment). What Ezekiel promised, John sees as a reality, and yet the reality seen by John far exceeds anything in Ezekiel's vision. As Beale points out, there are a significant number of other instances in this prophecy which make the literal interpretation very unlikely, if not impossible (pp. 337-340).

 

Second, there are a number of features within the prophecy which refer to something much greater than a localized temple in Jerusalem during the millennium. In verse 40:2, it is clear that Ezekiel sees a structure "like a city" (the temple), while in the final verse of the prophecy (48:35) he says that the cities' name is "the Lord is there." Here we have the expansion of the localized temple into an area the size of the entire city of Jerusalem. This expansion of God's temple is a consistent theme throughout Ezekiel (Beale, pp. 340-345) There are allusions to Eden throughout the prophecy (47:1-12). The city is depicted as a perfect square and the reference to the river is obviously symbolic, since it is deep enough that it can only be crossed by swimming (47:5).

 

Finally, it is obvious that Revelation 21 presents Ezekiel's vision in its consummated fulfillment. In other words, John is given a vision of the same temple, but now from the vantage point of Christ's death and resurrection and the dawn of the new creation--something which would have made no sense whatsoever to Ezekiel or his hearers. As Beale points out (pp. 346-345), the new heavens and earth are now the holy of holies, as well as the new Jerusalem, and the new Eden. On the last day, all creation becomes the temple of God. The temple has been expanded (extended) from a building, to a city, to all of creation.

 

This means that Ezekiel's vision is a prophecy not of an earthly temple (although the prophet uses earthly language his readers could understand), but of an eschatological temple, depicted in its consummated form and unspeakable glory by John in Revelation 21-22.

 

Source: https://www.monergism.com/amillennial-interpretation-ezekiel-40-48

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So, what do you make of the Blood animal sacrifices for atonement and acceptance painstakingly spelled out in the chapters?

 

Not literal?

 

Or the requirement that all men who enter it be phsyically circumcized?

 

Symbolic?

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Thanks.

The first two’s last posts were over a year and a half old so I’d hardly be chiming in to any sort of conversation... the third had a fairly recent reply form an active user so I did respond...

But help me understand why we can’t discuss it here in this thread?

 

I guess I’m asking, how is my question off topic exactly?

 

Do you have a perspective you can share here?

 

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Interesting 

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On 8/30/2017 at 1:41 AM, William said:

When God places the prophet on a very high mountain (40:1-2) he sees something like a city (obviously Jerusalem). Yet, there is no such high mountain near Jerusalem from which the prophet could have had such a vantage point. But this literal high mountain is required by the dispensational view.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Matthew 4:8 ESV

 

There is no mountain from which it is possible to see all the kingdoms of the world.  Does this mean that they don't literally exist?

 

When Jesus returns the geography of the land will be changed.  For example, the Mount of Olives will be split in two.  The fact that there is no mountain today from which Jerusalem can be seen doesn't prove there won't be one in the future.

 

Ezekiel 47:13 - 48:19 describe the division of the land among the twelve tribes.  What is the spiritual significance of this?  It is details like this that convince me Ezekiel was describing what will literally take place in the future.

 

On 8/30/2017 at 1:41 AM, William said:

Finally, it is obvious that Revelation 21 presents Ezekiel's vision in its consummated fulfillment.

The city described in Revelation has no temple.  A large part of Ezekiel's prophecy relates to the temple.  This is evidence that John and Ezekiel were not describing the same thing.

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3 hours ago, theophilus said:

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Matthew 4:8 ESV

 

There is no mountain from which it is possible to see all the kingdoms of the world.  Does this mean that they don't literally exist?

How do you think the original audience might have understood Matthew 4:8 if no mountain exists? Are mountains symbolic and if so what do they mean?

 

I can only imagine people surveying the landscape from all the kingdoms of the world by spinning around 360 degrees looking for a common peak by which they can all be seen.

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4 hours ago, theophilus said:

The fact that there is no mountain today from which Jerusalem can be seen doesn't prove there won't be one in the future.

How tall does a mountain have to be to see a kingdom on the opposite side of the Earth?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Origen said:

How tall does a mountain have to be to see a kingdom on the opposite side of the Earth?

 

 

Ezekiel 40:2 In a vision from God he took me to the land of Israel and set me down on a very high mountain. From there I could see toward the south what appeared to be a city.

 

How south is south? Santa? Is that the South Pole?
 

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13 minutes ago, Origen said:

How tall does a mountain have to be to see a kingdom on the opposite side of the Earth?

aziz ansari snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

 

Even one on top of the dum dum hat could not see the underside of the dunce's chin.

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Heb 12:22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 
Heb 12:23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 
Heb 12:24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 
Heb 12:25  See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 
 

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1 hour ago, Origen said:

How tall does a mountain have to be to see a kingdom on the opposite side of the Earth?

Pish-posh ... you are forgetting that the Earth was flat back then. :RpS_ohmy:

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