The Temple Mount and Ezekiel's Temple

Wayne ODonnell

Congratulations on the finishing of the English translation, Meir! Purchased and shared!

For those interested, please share this link to help spread the word.

“Arise and Ascend: A Guide to the Temple Mount” – a unique Temple Mount guidebook This book had been originally published in Russian by the Meeting Place association.The English edition was issued in cooperation with the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation (TMHF), headed by Rabbi Yehudah Glick, with t…
Meir Antopolsky Thank you! Hope to use this book soon together in Jerusalem
Wayne ODonnell Wow. That would be great! Someday ...
Timothy Halls According to the publisher "It includes maps, timelines, and color photos, and cites scholastic as well as Biblical and Talmudic sources, drawing from historical accounts, archeological records and scriptural verses to reconstruct the site as it was in the past and explain its present condition". 

Do you have the book? I wonder, to what degree, it can be informed by the forward looking vision of Revelation 21. Especially verse 22?
Wayne ODonnell Well, from the mainstream Jewish perspective, the New Testament book of Revelation is not relevant at all, but even from a Christian perspective Rev 21:22 comes after Rev 20:4 and Rev 11:1-7 (with Rev 13:15 and Mat 24:15). Do you really believe that God gave 8 chapters of detailed measurements in Ez 40-48 and they only symbolize some simple thought that could have been expressed in a paragraph?
Timothy Halls I am not sure what you mean by the "mainstream perspective". I was simply asking about whether the book can be useful for understanding the end-point, in which the temple is no longer necessary. 

In response to your question, it seems obvious to me 
that there is significant development in the story of God and his mission. Thinking about the specifics of the temple, the story moves from Ezekiel, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise to the nations leads to how the story will end, in a new creation, and a new heaven and new earth. That is the context in which we are told that there will be no need for a temple.

So I ask the question again with new words: how does the book enter into the dialogue with what we are told will be the end of the story?
Wayne ODonnell Well, it's a Jewish book so it will stick to the Jewish scriptures. Also, it sounds from your excerpt that the book is talking about the past temple and the current site. But there's an awful lot of time to focus on the next temple before worrying about any non-temple time. There's more than a thousand years before Revelation says there's no temple according to Rev 20:4, if you believe Rev 20:4 literally, but if the scriptures are all symbolic then no one can say for sure what they mean so they mean nothing. Daniel talks about the same end times conflict between Messiah and the little horn which the New Testament book of Revelation talks about. You didn't answer if you think God put the last 8 chapters of detailed measurements in Ezekiel just to symbolize something or if you think that temple will someday be built. The story can "move" but God cannot fail to keep a promise. "Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; Jehovah of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah," Jer 31.
Timothy Halls 1. Revelation is a Jewish book, too!
2. I see, you are thinking (based on your understanding of Ez 40-48 and Rev 20:4 there will be yet another temple yet on the Temple Mount. I am not sure that is "mainstream", but you do have good company, as many
people, particularly in the US, read the Bible that way. 
3. Personally, I think that way of Bible reading takes many texts out of context and is selective about what readings to take symbolically (Rev. 3:12), and about claims to take others predictively (parts of Ez 40-48, even though it is a dream which might be compared with Ezekiel's other dreams!!). 
4. Much more importantly, my opinion is that it fails to take seriously Jesus' presentation of himself as filling the role of the temple (examples: John 2:18-22, and the testimony of John that Jesus was the Tabernacle in the midst of his people). This claim is foundational to the development of Acts and the rest of the New Testament. The new covenant marks two things: the end of Israel's exile and the inclusion of all people in the people of God because the promises are fulfilled -- for all humanity through Israel's seed--Jesus.
That was not why I asked the question. I think I understand your answer like this: the book itself does not reference the end of the story. It presents a vision of the importance of the Temple Mount that is shared by people of three religions. It does advocate another phase in the unfolding story of Jerusalem that foresees the construction of a third temple--a fulfillment of prophecy and a site in Jerusalem during the Millenium.
Wayne ODonnell That's a nice response, Timothy. I appreciate it that you give thoughtful posts and responses. What does Ez. 40-48 mean then? Why did God go into such details on the cubits over and over again for each room and building? Also, what is your problem with the idea of God keeping his promises literally to Israel in addition to any plans he has for the church of the NT?
Timothy Halls I am not sure FB is the place carry on about this. My interest at the beginning was simply to understand the way this book interacts with a scripture that is often overlooked when we try to understand where God is going. 
Regarding your questions: I
 have no problem with the idea of God keeping his promises literally to Israel. I think that is what he is doing, and the church is an integral part of keeping that promise. I see that VERY clearly in Paul's letter to Galatians, particularly in the way he relates "gospel" and "promise", by inventing the word that is the bridge between them that is translated "preached the gospel beforehand" to Abraham. 
And about why did God go into such details on cubits, etc. in Ez 40-48, I don't entirely know. But I do know that Ez 40-48 reiterates texts from Ex, Lev, Num, and 1K 6 about the temple, and it does not appear in Ez as instructions, or as prediction, but as a revelation, in a dream to Ezekiel that is intended to describe a reality that the people in exile cannot see. I also know that Rev 20-22 reiterates the structure of Ez 37-47. I think this is important because both Ez and Rev are presented as dreams and in both books the vast symbolism (the parts that cannot be mistaken for "literal description") is phantasmagoric to say the least, and difficult to separate from the "real" (overlooking that words are symbols that point to meaning, not meanings in and of themselves). 
These passages are examples of how the Bible dialogues with itself, revisiting the implications of what went on before for what is going on now and on what is coming next. It is a developing story. I think that the intertextual dialogue of the Bible is one of the richest veins for understanding God's mission and how he is accomplishing it in partnership with people who fail to live up to their part of the bargain and how is eyes are set on the people of Israel for the sake of all humanity. 

Perhaps it is wise, for these reasons, to listen carefully to what Jesus and the early church taught about Jesus and how He is the true temple, in its destruction as well as in its reconstitution through his resurrection. We need not see this as in discontinuity with the promises to Israel, but as actual fulfillments of them. 

If you really want to talk about this, I wonder if there is a better place to do it.
Wayne ODonnell No, there's no need to talk about it. Your answer about not knowing why God went into such detail for such length implies to me that your theology prevents you from taking the simple statements of scripture at face value in these areas. I don't see anything difficult to take literally in Ez 40-48. A God who created the universe can raise David from the dead to be prince to the King of Kings and he can change the geography of the land around Jerusalem and make a river issue from the temple compound. I've built a model of Ezekiel's temple using Google Sketchup and all the cubits fit together fine. God gives us a glimpse into the Messianic Kingdom, including an actual building all who will join Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom will someday see. What is the reality that Ez 40-48 describes that the people in exile couldn't see? How can you not know what it means and yet be certain that it is not the very thing it is a prediction of such detail that it can even be used as instructions? You don't have to answer, I know you are busy. McGee, because of his faulty doctrine, said these 8 chapters are some of the most difficult in the Bible and the best he could come up with is that the square rooms mean the church is stable over and over again (ignoring what the rectangular rooms must then mean). But it's really easy to interrupt if a cubit means a cubit, and language used in any other way becomes unintelligible and thus of no value.
Timothy Halls Like you say about me, I think your theology gets in the way of listening to the text. Keep reading, as I will, my brother.
Wayne ODonnell Yes, but let me know if you ever figure out what it means (eight chapters worth of meaning) if it's not referring to a real building that will exist in all those exact dimensions in the Messianic Kingdom.
Timothy Halls I "think" I understand it. I just meant I don't claim to speak for God!
Timothy Halls I think it is about the dwelling of God with humanity-the Jew first and now the nations.
Wayne ODonnell If it is figuratively representing what we are now experiencing couldn't he have just said, "I will dwell with humanity, first with my people Isreal and then with all the nations." Why all the details about the borders for each tribe and the dimensions of the suburbs and farmland around the city? Why is it not even possible that it means literally exactly what it says, that the land of Israel will be physically divided by tribe as he describes?
Timothy Halls You can read it that way if you like, and live your life according to that vision of how God and humanity move forward. I am rereading Ezekiel this morning myself.
Wayne ODonnell
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Timothy Halls Are the measurements in Ezekiel 40-48 equal to the measurements in Rev 21?
Wayne ODonnell Hey Tim. I've been super busy but I will check that out.
Wayne ODonnell
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Wayne ODonnell According to Wikipedia a furlong is 1/8 mile so the city of New Jerusalem that descends from heaven to earth after the 1000 years is 1500 miles cubed. I'll attach a not very good pic. The wall around it is 144 cubits or almost 1/2 mile wide and tall.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Wayne ODonnell The city of Jerusalem during the Messianic Kingdom is 5000 x 5000 cubits or about 1.5 miles square (not cubed) so there is a huge difference in size.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Timothy Halls Interesting. Thank you. Let me think about this a while.
Wayne ODonnell There is some dispute as to whether Ez 42:16-19 was altered to say reeds instead of cubits. If the city is actually supposed to be 5000 square reeds then it would be 6 times as big but still only 9 miles square. Here are diagrams of the city with the temple and the mountain they are on in both cubits and reeds.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Wayne ODonnell This is the one in reeds.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Wayne ODonnell As for the Messianic temple itself it is in cubits.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Wayne ODonnell The outer court.
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Wayne ODonnell One of 9 gates.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Wayne ODonnell Twelve gates to the city of Jerusalem. Nine gates to the temple. Three outer and three inner. None on the west side, the back side, where the buildings and the 'separate place' behind the temple are. This is a temple gate.
Timothy Halls OK. I went back and read the end of Ezekiel, where they are gates and sound a lot like Rev. 21.
Wayne ODonnell In both passages there are 12 gates for twelve tribes, 3 on each side of the city. But the dimensions are different. There are similarities with Numbers 2 also, 12 tribes 3 on each side, but it's not a city and the order of the tribes is different and it's certainly a different event and time.
Timothy Halls So, if the texts in Ez and Rev point to something that is actually going to be built on the earth, they describe 2 cities and one temple. None of which have yet been built. Is that it?
Wayne ODonnell Right, except the second city isn't actually 'built' on earth of course. It comes "down to the earth from God out of heaven prepared" ("In my Father's house are many rooms ... I go to prepare a place for you"). It may not come all the way down to rest on the ground. Then "the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them." Men with bodies, resurrected and changed (1Cor15:52, 1Thes4:16), vs. unresurrected men's spirits, will only be in heaven a short time. Ultimately, man is not going up to dwell with God; God is coming down to dwell with man.
Timothy Halls What about women? wink emoticon I have three daughters and this is important to me!
Wayne ODonnell Ha! People. I like the English language and have no problem with the traditional English of saying man and he instead of s/he, or men and women, or alternating. For you I just said men but for others I probably would have said people.
Timothy Halls As for the tabernacle of God being with men and women, that echoes John 1:14 and Rev 7:15. These are things we know John was doing. I noticed also that the word dwell in English is used in Ezekiel 1-39 to talk about where the people dwell or will dwell. But in 43:7,9 the Lord says he will dwell in the midst of his people forever -- in the intro to the plan for the temple.
Wayne ODonnell I thought about that while I was posting. From now on when I have that thought I'll probably take it as an indication I should probably say people. I can always enjoy the traditional English way in old novels or something.
LikeReply1October 2 at 5:26pmEdited
Timothy Halls It's ok. I am old enough that it sounds almost right to me. But I am learning.
Wayne ODonnell There's similarities between the tabernacle in the wilderness and Solomon's Temple and Ezekiel's Temple but they are not the same building. There were tribes on 3 sides in numbers and tribes and gates in Ezekiel and Rev 21 but they are not the same event or time. There is God dwelling with mankind through the shekinah glory in the tabernacle and then in Solomon's Temple, and when the Word dwelt among mankind and the apostles saw and heard and touched him, and like Ez 43 says when Messiah (mentions his feet) the shekinah glory will dwell among Israel in the kingdom, and then when God and the Lamb will dwell among mankind and provide the light of the New Jerusalem, but they are not all the same dwelling with, not the same event or time, though there are similarities.
Timothy Halls I am more interested in what the biblical text is doing,drawing meaning, language and functions from the earlier versions of the same formation, so that at each unfolding we meet God in a new way, and how the later iterations reinterpret the previous ones. The intersexuality is rich, dynamic, and unfinished, and I expect the text to examine my life. That's what I am looking for.
Timothy Halls The temple is redeployed over and over and at each deployment , we meet the Lord who reveals more about himself and his mission.
Wayne ODonnell All scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, and instruction, but all scripture is not about me. We can learn about God from how he deals with others, but remember he deals with others. Feel free to apply scripture, but not at the cost of losing the interpretation. The interpretation of Ezekiel 43 is that God will dwell with Israel in the promised future Messianic Kingdom and bless all nations through the Messiah and through Israel at that time, though we can learn about God by how he interacts with others and there are principles that can apply to us. Don't alter the plain literal interpretation while searching for principles and applications that apply to us. It would be a bit self-centered to think how it applies to me or us is the most important thing, though I admit I need to give more weight to the application side than I do.
Timothy Halls I definitely don't think it is all about me, but it tells me all about God in whose world and story I live in and to whom I am accountable for how I use the life he entrusted me to participate in. And that's the opposite of saying it is about me. 

But recognizing it is not about me does not take away from paying attention to how the text works--that's part of being responsible.
Wayne ODonnell Right. Language is all about the text and the context and plain understandable meaning as much to the fisherman as to the scholar with words that can be depended upon to mean what they say. When God says "Israel", he means "Israel", not "the church", or "the people of God" or some such thing. So easy that way! When he says "an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel" that's exactly what he means, especially when he goes out of his way, as it were, to give the details like "of the tribe of Judah ... twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben ... twelve thousand" etc. Rev7, or when he goes out of his way to give the details of all the cubits in Ez 40-48. Or when he goes out of his way to repetitively give the details of Israels future repentance in Zech "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem ... And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart ... (repeat for) Levi ... (repeat for) Shimei ... All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. ... In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. ... And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord , two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.Zechariah 12:9-13:9. People don't change the plain meaning of words like "Israel" into "the church" out of concientious respect for the text - there is nothing in the context to indicate they should do such a thing - they do it because they don't like what the text says. As Yeshua said, "Render unto Israel the things that are Israels, and render unto the church the things that are the church's." Well he didn't say that but he said something similar. Let Isreal have their little piece of land and all the scriptures that are about Israel. The church has enough, and enough to obey, without trying to take Israel's.
Wayne ODonnell
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Wayne ODonnell Three-tiered priests chambers.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Wayne ODonnell The land of Israel divided among the tribes during the Messianic Kingdom per Ezekiel 40-48 in a way that it has never been divided in the past.
Wayne ODonnell's photo.
Wayne ODonnell For prettier pictures go to Constructores del Gran Templo de Jerusalem on facebook, but be careful because there are pics of Solomon's Temple there too, which is different from Ezekiel's Temple which has never been built.
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Wayne ODonnell Ezekiel's Jerusalem dimensions on satellite photos of Jerusalem today.
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