Thursday, October 10, 2013

P4 - Ezekiel's vision of Millennial Kingdom - keys to interpretation

Ezekiel 46:12 "When the prince provides a freewill offering, a burnt offering, or peace offerings as a freewill offering to the Lord, the gate facing east shall be opened for him. And he shall provide his burnt offering and his peace offerings as he does on the sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and the gate shall be shut after he goes out."

Challenges in understanding Ezekiel's vision of the Millennium
In today's post we once again see further details given to Ezekiel about the Millennial temple. One may wonder why this section of Ezekiel is so important for the Christian life, being that it speaks of an age yet to come (the Millennium) and secondly, it speaks of the Millennial temple that will exist in the age to come. To compound the challenge of interpretation, we see sacrifices being offered in this temple and the Prince, the Messiah, offering even His own sacrifices. 

Admittedly it is difficult to understand Ezekiel's vision in light of the Bible books such as Hebrews, which tell us that Christ's once and for all sacrifice did away with the ceremony and ritual sacrifices of the Old Testament. Many scholars have tried to resolve this by suggesting these sacrifices are memorial sacrifices that Jews will be offering to celebrate and picture what Jesus accomplished for them on the cross, or perhaps the offerings may serve as a means of ritual purification. 

The Key to understanding Ezekiel's vision of the Millennium
To me the best way to see the application of this passage is to focus on the Prince, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We see Him walking in and among the courts of this Millennial temple in Ezekiel 46:11-12. Wherever you see Jesus in these prophecies, focus on Him, and soon all the other details serve like a picture frame for the exquisite portrait that is our Lord Jesus Christ. Comparing scriptures like Ezekiel 40-48 with other scriptures such as Isaiah 11, Zechariah 12-14 and Revelation 19-20 can aid greatly in resolving some of the interpretive details of the prophecy. In future posts we may revisit the interpretive challenges of these chapters in light of the above statement.  

2 Peter 3 functions perfectly to aid in seeing the relevance of Ezekiel 45-46 by how it emphasizes the second coming of Jesus Christ. The whole theme of 2 Peter 3 is "know the Lord": know Him by the scripture (3:1-2); know Him by faith (3:3-7); know He is coming again (3:8-13) and know Him by growing in Him (3:14-18). The whole chapter centers on Christ's second coming, which serves to motivate us to Godly living. His coming is certain, and the reality of His Millennial reign to follow that coming is also certain. 

Application and closing thoughts
You and I must remember that we don't live on the basis of make-believe, but true, genuine revealed truth that speaks of realities more real than even the current age in which we live. Let's keep our eyes fixed on the horizon, for He is coming again!