This future temple vision is possibly a new temple during the millennial kingdom when Jesus will return and reign on earth for a thousand years. However, this vision and the Book of Revelation describing the future temple are highly debated. What we can see through this temple vision is how the Lord is in the details, down to cubits, as He shows Ezekiel the rooms and courtyard. Then Ezekiel sees the glory of the Lord return to the temple – “Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is 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 forever.’”
In an earlier vision, Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord departing the temple through the east gate (Ezekiel 10:18-19). Today the glory of the Lord returns through the east gate. Later in the story, one week before Jesus is crucified, He will make a triumphal entrance into Jerusalem through the east gate, also called the Golden Gate or the Beautiful Gate. Conquering kings often came from the east, like Jesus, but King Jesus will come through the gate humbly, on a donkey, declaring Himself Lord and fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. And the people will shout “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9) before they crucify Him. However, one day Jesus will come again — this time as a conquering King on a white horse, and He will put an end to evil for good.
We end the reading with a description of an altar and animal sacrifices in the new temple. These will be performed as a memorial for what Jesus did for us on the cross as the final sacrificial Lamb of God. Just as people offered sacrifices in the Old Testament looking forward to the day of the arrival of the Messiah, sacrifices will be made in the new temple as a celebration, looking back on what Christ did on our behalf.
More on the temple vision tomorrow. Keep reading. (Ezekiel 40:38-43:27)