1. The Millennial Temple


  1. The Identity of Ezekiel's Temple

There are perhaps five interpretations of Ezekiel's Temple.


  1. Solomon's and Ezra's (Herod's) Temples as Built

There are similarities shared by these temples. The width and length of the holy place and the holy of holies of Solomon's, Ezra's, Herod's and Ezekiel's Temples are probably identical (1 Kings 6:2; 2 Chronicles 3:3; Ezra 6:3; http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14499a.htm; H. G. Stigers, Temple, Jerusalem, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, volume 5, pages 622-656; Ezekiel 41:4). However, the heights of the temples were probably different. There is controversy surrounding these dimensions:




120 cubits*


60 cubits


100 cubits



Ezekiel's temple is to be surrounded by a sacred district 25,000 cubits long and 20,000** cubits wide (Ezekiel 45:1). The earlier temples never incorporated a sacred district. Therefore, Ezekiel's Temple cannot be Solomon's or Ezra's (Herod's) Temples.

Ezekiel's measurements were based on long cubits (a cubit [18 inches] plus a handbreadth [3 inches], see Ezekiel 40:5 and Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel, Expositors Bible Commentary, page 955-956). Thus the sacred district would be 43,750 by 35,000 feet or 8.3 by 6.6 miles. A change in topography through natural disaster may provide the space for the district (Zechariah 14:4; Revelation 16:18-20).

The whole city of Jerusalem (including the Temple) in Herod's time was about 1 mile square. It was smaller in Solomon's days. Just the city is 1.5 miles square according to Ezekiel 48:30 and following. Other differences are revealed under additional topics below. The size of Ezekiel's sacred district was beyond anything associated with Solomon's and Ezra's Temples. Thus Ezekiel's description cannot be of Solomon's, Ezra's, or Herod's Temples.

There are differences between the King James Version (KJV) and the New International Version (NIV):

*In 2 Chronicles 3:4, KJV follows the text of Biblia Hebraica (BH) which is the generally accepted Hebrew text of the Old Testament. NIV follows the text of Greek and Syrian versions (translations) of the Hebrew. J. Barton Payne prefers the NIV wording because he believes that a 120 cubit (210 feet) high building was beyond the abilities of the ancient Hebrew architects (1,2 Chronicles, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, page 450). However the ancients did construct tall buildings:



Year Finished

Great Pyramid

481 feet

2560 BC

Temple of YHWH

210 feet

972 BC

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

140 feet

350 BC

Lighthouse of Alexandria

384 feet

shortly after 290 BC

Colossus of Rhodes

110 feet

282 BC

The specifications are from http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/.

**In Ezekiel 45:1, KJV follows BH and says the width of the sacred area was 10,000 cubits. NIV says its width was 20,000 cubits following Greek, Syrian, and Latin versions. Payne is correct to state that the preferred reading is 20,000 cubits because it includes two other sections that are 10,000 cubits (p. 981; Ezekiel 45:3, 5; 48:13).


  1. Ezra's Temple as Planned

Here the idea is that Ezekiel gave a plan of the temple that should have been built in Ezra's time. However, according to this theory, the builders did not have the vision for such a huge complex and it was never achieved. The problem with this interpretation is that Ezekiel's vision was given as a prophecy. If it did not come true, he would have been a false prophet. If Ezekiel had been a false prophet, the Holy Spirit would never have allowed his prophecy to become part of the Canon. Since Ezekiel is a part of the Canon, it must not be that his description is of Ezra's Temple as it should have been built.


  1. The Tribulation Temple

The Tribulation Temple is only described in Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; and Revelation 11:1-2. Not much is known about it. However, it is disclosed that it will be desecrated by the throne of a false god (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Ezekiel 43:7 states that the temple he describes will be the throne of the true God throughout its existaence. The true God would never share His glorious, inhabited temple with another. Thus, Ezekiel's temple cannot be the tribulation temple.

Several organizations are busy preparing for the Tribulation Temple. See http://templeinstitute.org/ and http://www.foigm.org/IMG/timetemp.htm.


  1. The Believer as a Temple

There is no evidence in Ezekiel that his temple is to be taken as a figure of the Holy Spirit's indwelling of Christians (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:19). There are several similar descriptions of temples in the historical books of the Old Testament (above) that were designed to be taken literally and actual physical complexes were built from these plans. Furthermore, to explain the tremendous number of details of Ezekiel's Temple using allegory detracts from a disciplined interpretation of the text. We can be confident that a physical temple will also be built from Ezekiel's vision.


  1. The Millennial Temple

There are other passages that speak of a temple during the Millennium (e.g., Isaiah 2:2-3; Ezekiel 37:26; Micah 4:1-2, 7; Joel 3:21; Malachi 3:1). This is the only viable option that remains.


  1. The Covenant Associated with Ezekiel's Temple

The following table chronologically lists the major centers of Israel's worship. The tabernacle and Solomon's and Ezra/Herod's Temples were associated with the Mosaic Covenant. The Millennial Temple is associated with the New Covenant.






1440 BC -- The Exodus Canaanites None With Israel Prior To Mt. Sinai


Israel Mosaic Covenant After Mt. Sinai The Tabernacle (1)
972 BC -- Dedication of Solomon's Temple Israel Mosaic Covenant Solomon's Temple Was the Largest YHWH Temple That Has Been Built.

Solomon's Temple (1)

586 BC -- Destruction Of Solomon's Temple Babylon Mosaic Covenant None
516 BC (2) -- Dedication Of Ezra's Temple Persia -- Greece -- Ptolemies -- Seleucids -- Maccabees Mosaic Covenant Ezra's Temple Was The Smallest YHWH Temple.

Herod's Temple (3)

Herod's Expansion Was Still Smaller Than Solomon's Temple.

20 BC -- Dedication Of Herod's Expansion Of The Temple Roman The Mosaic (Law) Covenant Ended At The Crucifixion of Christ.
Crucifixion of Christ

Approximately 30 AD -- Crucifixion Of The Lord Jesus Christ

The New Covenant Began At The Crucifixion of Christ.
70 AD -- Titus Destroys the Herod's Temple Roman New Covenant None
Dome of the Rock

691 AD -- Muslim Dome Of The Rock (Mosque of Omar) Built On The Temple Mount.

715 AD -- Muslim El Aksa Mosque Also Built On The Temple Mount.

2001 AD -- An Extension of a Mosque Was Built Underground On The Temple Mount

Arab -- Crusader -- Turk -- England -- Jordan -- Israel New Covenant None
Future AD-- Tribulation Temple To Be Built (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1-2)

Future AD -- Tribulation Temple May Be Destroyed by Natural Disaster Or War (e.g., Revelation 16:18-21)

Unknown New Covenant The Tribulation Temple Will Be Desecrated By The Incorporation Of The Throne Of A False God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). This Temple May Be Built By Jews Inappropriately As Part Of The Replaced Mosaic Covenant.

Tribulation Temple

Further Future AD -- Millennial Temple To Be Built (Ezekiel 40-48)

Further Future AD -- Millennial Temple To Be Destroyed (Revelation 21:1)

Israel New Covenant Ezekiel's Temple
Eternity Future -- No Temple

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (Revelation 21:22, NIV)."

YHWH New Covenant New Jerusalem (5)

(1) Graphic from http://www.thebiblerevival.com. To view the tabernacle model in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, click here. (2) Date from Life Application Bible (NIV), page 783. (3) Picture from http://www.ebibleteacher.com/. (4) See: Ralph H. Alexander, Ezekiel, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, volume 6, pages 946-950; J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, pages 520-524. (5) Art used by permission from Pat Marvenko Smith, 1992. Click here to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.


  1. The Differences Between The Tabernacle and Solomon's and Ezra's Temples and Ezekiel's Temple

The New Covenant, Millennial Temple Is Different Than The Tabernacle And Previous Temples In The Following Ways: (4)

Here are some sources for maps of the new land allotment of Ezekiel: http://www.mta.ca/faculty/humanities/religious/1671/ezek2.htm and http://www.templemount.org/ezektmp.html. Sources for maps of the sacred area: http://www.templemount.org/ezektmp.html. Diagrams of the altar of sacrifice: http://www.templemount.org/ezektmp.html. Diagrams of the temple gates: http://www.templemount.org/ezektmp.html. The commentary associated with these sources is not necessarily endorsed.



  1. The Purposes of Ezekiel's Temple

First, Ezekiel's temple is the temple of the New Covenant. Solomon's and Ezra's (Herod's) temples were associated with the old, replaced (Hebrews 8:13), Mosaic Covenant.

The description of Ezekiel's temple indicates there will be animal sacrifices (Ezekiel 43:18-27; 44:11, 13, 29; 45:15, 17-19, 22-23, 25; 46:2, 4, 6, 12-13, 15). Since Christ's cross work established the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:6-13; 10:14-18), why would animal sacrifice still be necessary? Under the New Covenant Christ has already provided forgiveness of sins through His atonement on the cross.

Here are some issues to think about when trying to answer that question:


  1. It Promotes Memories Of Christ's Sacrifice.


  1. It Protects Unholy Persons From The Holy YHWH.

Because YHWH is holy (Isaiah 6:3), unholy persons must be kept from His presence (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Exodus 19:5-6 promises the nation of Israel that it would become a holy nation if it obeys God. 1 Peter 2:9 calls the church, a holy nation. The individuals who make up the church become holy after they trust in Christ's work on the cross (Act 26:18; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). The wall and the gates could also be an object lesson to remind us of God's holiness and the necessity of His citizens to become holy if they are to approach Him.



  1. It Provides A Location From Which YHWH Imposes His Rule (Ezekiel 43:7).



  1. Interpretation Of The Millennial Temple Passage

to prove/to Jews exiled in Babylon/that YHWH is greater than the gods of Babylon because His future temple will be greater than the temples of the false gods


  1. Applications of the Millennial Temple Passage

To return to the Ezekiel Table of Contents, click here.

2002, Ken Bowles -- June 07, 2002, Edition

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