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New Wine for the End Times
Chapter 20
Ezekiel’s Temple

Ezekiel chapters 40 to 46 describe in great detail a temple that has not yet been built.  Then chapters 47 and 48 describe boundaries and divisions of all the land in Palestine surrounding this temple, divided between the tribes of Israel.

The details about the temple are elaborate.  An artist can draw a very accurate rendering of the temple based on the huge amount of detail.  There are also many details for the animal sacrifice procedures that should take place in this temple.

These details speak of a “prince” who makes sacrifices for both himself and the people.  With the title “prince” instead of “priest,” apparently this person has some authority to rule as well as his priestly duties.  If Ezekiel’s temple is to exist during the millennium, then the question must be asked, “Is the prince Jesus Christ?”  No, because the prince makes sacrifices for himself (45:22) and Jesus never sinned.  Yet it’s possible that the prince has direct physical encounters with Jesus Christ.  Verse 44:3 says the prince may sit and eat bread before the LORD.  In the context of a Messianic age, it could very well mean that the Messiah eats bread with this prince in the temple.

20.1)  Ezekiel’s Temple According to Amillennialists

The temple has never been built.  If it’s to be interpreted as a literal temple that will someday exist, then it would most likely exist during the millennium.  Yet, the animal sacrifice makes it very controversial.  Why is animal sacrifice needed after the crucifixion?  Amillennialists would say Ezekiel’s temple is symbolic or allegorical, and that it is simply a representation of eternity.

Amillennialists will generally equate Ezekiel’s temple with the New Jerusalem.  Both are believed to be a vague representation of eternity after the new heavens and new earth.  Eternity is believed to be hard to describe and hard to understand for us until we are resurrected or changed when Christ returns.  Therefore, both Ezekiel's temple and the New Jerusalem is believed to be vague representations of a future that none of us can today understand.

However, the same arguments that amillennialists use against a literal and millennial existence of Ezekiel’s temple can also be used against the temple being representative of eternity.  If Ezekiel’s temple is a representation of eternity, then who or what is the prince representative of?  Why would any view of eternity include a view of ongoing animal sacrifice?  And why is a prince portrayed as making animal sacrifices for himself if this is a view of eternity?  Since this prince is portrayed as needing to make animal sacrifices for himself, this prince cannot be representative of Christ.  And yet the prince seems to be taking on the role of the high priest.  Christ must be the only high priest in eternity.  But the prince cannot be representative of Christ.

Amillennialists also believe the New Jerusalem, in Revelation 21-22, is a symbolic view of eternity.  However, Revelation 21:22 says there is no temple in the New Jerusalem.  How can both be representative of eternity, even symbolically, if one doesn’t have a temple and the Ezekiel's temple is explicitly a temple?

20.2)  A Historic Premillennialist’s Objection to Ezekiel’s Temple

If the temple were to be rebuilt, would worship there be an abomination?  Most amillennialists would say yes.  Many premillennialists also have a big problem with the idea of animal sacrifice during the millennium.

The pastor of the First Baptist Church, in Durham NC, is Dr. Andrew Davis.  Dr. Davis did his doctorate in Church History.  His doctoral thesis was on the eschatology of Calvin.  Dr. Davis has said that he believes in the thousand-year reign of Christ.  Dr. Davis is an historic premillennialist.  However, over the years he has seriously considered amillennialism.

Dr. Davis has recognized that a temple may be rebuilt, and thus the prophecy of the antichrist proclaiming himself to be God in the temple can be literally fulfilled.  Dr. Davis believes such a temple could happen.  However, it would be “cursed by God.”  Ezekiel’s temple, on the other hand, is during the millennium.  So how could it be real?  Dr. Davis points out that the temple “has nothing but blood sacrifices - animal sacrifices all the way through it.  It is a Levitical blood-sacrifice temple to offer up all those old covenant sacrifices, in the millennial reign no less.  How in the world do you figure that out?”

The above and the following quotes of Dr. Davis were taken from his lecture, given during a Wednesday night teaching, July 23, 2008, on the millennium.  The lecture is one in a series of Wednesday night teachings titled, “Gazing at the Future; A Study of the End Times.”  This series of audio lectures can be found on the First Baptist Church website at FBCDurham.org.  

Dr. Davis says:

The book of Hebrews says very plainly that the animal sacrifice system is obsolete and aging, and will soon disappear.  God will sovereignly make it disappear.  He will never accept it again.  Why?  Because it’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.  He has put an end to it, once and for all time.  He uses that kind of language again and again in the book of Hebrews.  It’s finished.  So, the temple of Ezekiel 40-48 is a problem.  It’s a problem for everybody, friends.  Even those who think it’s going to be literally built during the millennial reign have a whole problem with the whole book of Hebrews.  Those of us who say that can never happen then are left with what is it talking about?  Because it certainly wasn’t Zerubbabel’s temple you know, the temple of Haggai, which was a little structure.  It can’t be Herod’s temple.  What is it?  I don’t know, I’m not teaching on Ezekiel tonight. So anyway.  But it’s not - I’m telling you - I say this with all the certainty I can when it comes to the millennium.  It is not a millennial temple.  So those are the different problems I have with that.

Dr. Davis is not the only premillennialist to recognize that they have a big problem with Scripture.  (Dr. Davis is not a dispensationalist.)  Dispensational premillennialists place emphasis on distinguishing the Church from Israel.  In so doing, the millennium becomes simply a fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews.  The millennium thus becomes very anti-climactic with regard to God’s redemptive plan.  But their huge distinction between Israel and the Church becomes at least a slightly arguable reason for having animal sacrifice during the millennium.

Historic premillennialists, on the other hand, see no real difference between Jew and Gentile.  Both are Abraham’s seed and inherit the promises of Abraham.  Both are grafted into the same vine of Israel, which is Christ Jesus.  Thus, historic premillennialists such as Dr. Davis have an even greater problem in explaining the possibility of animal sacrifice in a temple during the millennium.

Yet, if one turns to amillennialism, Dr. Davis believes, one has even bigger problems with Scripture.  Here are Dr. Davis’s reasons for sticking with premillennialism.  These reasons are given in the notes handout distributed to attendants for this same lecture of July 23, 2008.  The handout is also on the church website.  

The reasons Dr. Davis gives for being a millennialist include:

 The millennial reign of Christ seems to be taught plainly in Revelation 20:1-6. It is the burden of those who reject it to prove this passage to be figurative.

 The (seemingly) chronological presentation of Revelation 19-22

 The binding of Satan described in Revelation 20 goes far beyond the freedom Satan appears to have in the NT.

 Key passages in the Old Testament

a. They speak of an order of life much higher than we presently experience

b. But they cannot be reconciled with the Eternal State

i. Example #1: Isaiah 11:6-9 Key Issue: the infants and young children mentioned here do not fit in the eternal state: Luke 20:34-36

ii. Example #2: Isaiah 65:20-25 Key issues: this passage also mentions infants born and children growing up; but it also mentions people dying. This does not fit at all with the eternal state:  Revelation 21:4 There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

It seems to fit God’s progressive plan of revealing the sinfulness of man and God’s grace as the only answer to that problem.

The reasons Dr. Davis gives for being an uneasy millennialist include:

There are many difficulties with understanding details about the millennial life

It is difficult to understand how the resurrection at the Second Coming taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:23 can fit into the following millennium, especially with the question about unregenerate children and people

The only passage that openly teaches the Millennium is in the Book of Revelation, a very difficult book to interpret with certainty because of its apocalyptic genre and its symbolic use of numbers

The amillennial system is cleaner and simpler, avoiding most of these pitfalls

One of the passages that seem to be teaching the Millennial life introduces the topic by mentioning the New Heavens and New Earth!!  Clear example from above… Isaiah 65:17-20

In my opinion, the reasons for Dr. Davis’s uneasiness stem from the fact that our entire traditional systematic theologies have been based on amillennialism.  We have been trained to think in terms of death, the final judgment, or the time of Christ’s return, as being the end of God’s redemptive plan.  So the true climax of God’s redemptive plan has eluded us.  Tradition has not taught the Jewish perspective, which is that when the Messiah comes the gospel will go to the nations as a result of Israel’s reign.

Point 2 of Dr. Davis's list is explained by the fact that the New Jerusalem will come to the earth and be in orbit around the earth when Christ returns.  This possibility is not generally considered by historic premillennialists. The rapture and resurrection, as described in these two verses, is traditionally understood to include everyone who will be saved.  The idea that the Church is simply the firstfruits of the entire harvest is a foreign concept to traditional theologians.

Points 3 and 4 are strongly argued by amillennialists.  But these points do not have nearly the weight when the Old Testament is taken as literally as the New Testament.  And the New Testament has many clear references to the age to come and the kingdom of heaven.  One only needs to interpret these in the context of the Old Testament to see that the New Testament is full of teachings about the Messianic Age.

With regard to point 5, the new heavens and the new earth in Isaiah is a poetic way of describing a new age.  Likewise, the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21 is another new age.  The heavens and the earth are literally destroyed by fire when the sun explodes and turns into a white dwarf.  But the rest of the universe will remain.  The new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21 is simply another new age when the New Jerusalem (Paradise) goes to another star, with another planet that we will call the new earth.  For more information, refer to the sections 19.9 and 19.10.

In chapter 8 of this book, titled “Evidence from Hebrews,” we saw how Hebrews supports the New Wine System.  The Book of Hebrews strongly supports the existence of an unpardonable sin that can be committed even by true Christians who have had the Holy Spirit.  With this perspective, Hebrews might be a bit misunderstood.

So later on in this chapter, we will revisit Hebrews.  We will learn that Hebrews is not in fact at odds with a literal interpretation of Ezekiel’s temple during the millennium.  But first, we need to look at more evidence, in addition to Ezekiel's temple, that there will be animal sacrifice in the millennium.

20.3)  Jews on the Seat of Moses Coming to Christ

Paul said the Jews have experienced a hardening until the full number of Gentiles have come into the vine of Israel.  The idea that Jesus would be the Messiah is an insult to a Jew.  That would mean they had rejected the Messiah.  And Jews have been wrongly persecuted, with blame for the crucifixion of Christ as the excuse, throughout the centuries of their dispersion.

Jesus said to the teachers of the law, "You will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'" (Mat 23:39).  This was not said to Jews in general.  Jesus was addressing the “scribes and the Pharisees [who] sit on Moses’ seat” (verse 2).  How can this prophecy be fulfilled?  Today, which of the Jews sit on the seat of Moses?  Today, it’s true that there has been a gathering of Jews in Jerusalem.  However, most of the Jews in Jerusalem are not orthodox.  They are simply Jews as a heritage and culture.  There are some orthodox Jews in Jerusalem, who are definitely religious.  However, Jews around the world do not recognize them as being in a position of authority.

Today, there is no “seat of Moses.”  Today there is no one who can fulfill this prophecy by saying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Remember that the Jewish people of Jerusalem had already said these exact words when Jesus rode in on a donkey (Mat. 21:9).  Jesus is saying that those who “sit on the seat of Moses” must likewise recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

In order for this prophecy to be fulfilled, the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem must be rebuilt.  Then, the Jews who will be in charge of that temple and the worship there will be those who will again sit on the seat of Moses.  They will come to Christ during the first half of the seven-year period of Christ's return.  In the meantime, we hope for and pray for more Jews to come to Christ, as some have already done.  Then they will reign with Christ during the millennium, along with the rest of Israel, which is the Church of Christ.

Why does God consider it necessary for those who sit on the seat of Moses to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah before Christ's earthly reign?  It won’t be the same individual people who sat on the seat during Christ’s ministry.  Therefore, it’s the seat of Moses itself that is important.  In other words, Christ cannot have an earthly reign without there being a seat of Moses.  Christ cannot have an earthly reign without reestablishing the old system of temple worship and animal sacrifice.  If the seat of Moses must be re-established before Christ can return, then it’s only reasonable to assume the seat of Moses must remain throughout Christ’s millennial reign.

In Revelation, we find worshipers at the temple.  Are these true worshipers?  Does John indicate this worship is an abomination?  Thus, the building of the temple and the animal sacrifice does not seem to be an abomination by God from the perspective of this verse.

Revelation 11:1-2 NIV I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there.   (2) But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.

The aspect of this temple that is considered an abomination is in the outer court.  The altar is not considered an abomination.  In all probability, the abomination of desolation will sit in this outer court for 42 months.  Yet the temple itself, with its altar and animal sacrifice, is not considered to be an abomination.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ESV Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,   (4) who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

The antichrist will sit in the “temple of God.”  If the rebuilding of the temple would be an abomination, how can it be “of God?”  Some have argued this is not a physical temple.  The Holy Spirit dwells in us, therefore our bodies (collectively) are the temple of God.  But how can a man enter our bodies?  Of course they then extend this metaphor to mean our church organizations, and not just our physical bodies, and say the antichrist will sit in our church organizations.  However, the temple had not been destroyed when Paul wrote these words.  It’s highly unlikely that Paul’s audience would have interpreted Paul in this way.  The temple must be rebuilt before the antichrist can profane it by sitting in it.

Back to the Old Testament, in addition to Ezekiel’s temple, the following verse in Zechariah confirms that there will be a seat of Moses, which includes animal sacrifice, during the millennium.

Zechariah 14:16-21 ESV Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.  (17) And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  (18)  And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.   (19) This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths .  (20) And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "Holy to the LORD." And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar.   (21) And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.

20.4)  Is The Law Abolished?

Most theologians argue that the law is obsolete, and therefore is abolished.  If you try to keep any part of the law, you must become accountable to all of the law (James 2:10).  Also, Paul makes lots of very convincing arguments that we are not to live under the law, but under grace.  So what did Jesus mean in this verse?

Matthew 5:17-19 ESV "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  (18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  (19) Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

We are saved by faith, and through grace.  We are not saved by the observance of the law.  Even in Old Testament times, people were saved by faith and through grace (Hebrews 11).  Once we received the permanent dwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the law was no longer needed the way it had been.  

Different people interpret these words of Jesus in different ways, about not abolishing but fulfilling the law.  Many, if not most, would argue that Christ’s sacrifice fulfills the law, and therefore the law is fulfilled instead of abolished.  But isn't that splitting hairs?  If the law is obsolete, then is it not abolished and passed away?  Jesus says the law will not pass away until "all is accomplished."  So how can it be abolished or fulfilled?  Many argue that all was accomplished at the cross.  But the statement that it will not pass away until the heavens and earth pass away strongly indicates that Jesus has not yet finished fulfilling the law.

The heavens and earth aspect of the verse is difficult for amillennialists and millennialists alike.  Amillennialists believe the heavens and the earth pass away when Christ returns.  So that would mean that the law does not pass away until then.  Premillennialists believe the heavens and the earth pass away after the millennium.  Again, that would mean that the law does not pass away until then.

What aspect of the law will pass away when the heavens and the earth pass away?  The only aspect of the law that can disappear is the temple worship and animal sacrifice.  And, according to the verse, it does not pass away until the heaven and the earth are destroyed by fire.  Also, Jesus puts emphasis on all the details of the law, saying “not an iota, not a dot,” will pass from the law until that time.  Jesus said these words to Jews.  From the Jewish perspective, those details must include temple worship and animal sacrifice.

Those who sat on the seat of Moses rejected the Messiah.  They had forty years to repent before Jerusalem was destroyed in the second dispersion.  Back in the first dispersion, when the Jews were scattered to Babylon, did the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem mean that temple worship, animal sacrifice, and the details of the law had been abolished?  Likewise, the destruction of the temple and the desolation of Jerusalem that occurred in 70 AD, because of disobedience, does not mean that the law has been abolished.

Christ came to fulfill the law by reigning literally as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Prophecy and Christ’s purpose included this, even during the first coming.  However, those who sat on the seat of Moses rejected Jesus as the Messiah.  The people of Jerusalem wanted to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.  But the hearts of their leaders were not ready.  Since the hearts of their leaders were full of sin, the people were also full of sin.  It was an “evil generation.”  They were not ready for the Messiah to come.  So prophecy was postponed.  But it was not abolished.  The law and the prophets were not fulfilled.

The temple was destroyed, and Jerusalem was made desolate.  Jerusalem was trampled on by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled (Luke 21:24).  But now that Gentiles are no longer trampling on Jerusalem, the temple can be rebuilt.  It would not be an abomination, because “not an iota, not a dot” of the law has been abolished.  And it won’t be until the heavens and the earth are destroyed, after the Messianic reign of Christ.

20.5)  Does Grace Continue Into the Millennial Reign?

Amillennialists are quick to say that Christ is the ultimate and final sacrifice, and that the restoration of animal sacrifice would be an abomination.

Hebrews 10:1-4 ESV For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.   (2) Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?  (3) But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.   (4) For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

There are many Old Testament verses that clearly show animal sacrifice was an atonement for sin.  But as the writer of Hebrews points out, this was only a temporary measure.  One had to continually go back and sacrifice more animals because the sinful habits remained.  That's why it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  The sinful habits continued.

But in this present age of grace, does the blood of Jesus "make perfect those who draw near?"  Or do we also continue to sin, just like they did in Old Testament times?  As we saw in Part Four of this book, those who profess faith in Christ, but continue to sin, are living under the law and not under grace.  Living under grace is to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that you cannot sin.  Those who draw near to Christ are made perfect in that they no longer sin.

When Jesus was here, the disciples did not sin because of the teaching of Jesus.

John 15:3 ESV Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

When Christ left the Holy Spirit came.  It's the Holy Sprit's job to help us change us so that we no longer sin.  In this age of grace, the Holy Spirit is a substitute for the physical presence of Christ.  If Christ had not left, the Holy Spirit would not have come.

John 14:15-17 If you love me, keep my commandments.  (16) I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, that he may be with you forever,-  (17) the Spirit of truth , whom the world can't receive; for it doesn't see him, neither knows him. You know him, for he lives with you, and will be in you.  

John 14:25-26 I have said these things to you, while still living with you.   (26) But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit , whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.

John 15:26 "When the Counselor has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don't go away, the Counselor won't come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

When Christ returns, will the Holy Spirit continue to be a substitute for the presence of Christ?  Or will this responsibility be turned over to the Bride of Christ, who at that time will have glorified bodies and will reign as priests and kings?  The disciples were made clean by the words of Christ.  When Christ returns, the nations will be made clean by the words of the Bride of Christ.

Thus, the age of grace will be past.  The Holy Spirit will no longer act as the Counselor that substitutes for the presence of Christ.  The new covenant is only with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Hebrews 8:8, Jeremiah 31:31).  The full number of Gentiles and Jews will be in the vine of Israel at that time.  The new covenant will no longer be in effect for those not yet reconciled to God.  Instead, at that time, the covenant of peace will be implemented.

We are saved by faith and through grace.  But what is faith?  And what is grace?  Faith, according to the author of Hebrews is as follows.

Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see .  (2) This is what the ancients were commended for.

We are saved by faith.  We are saved by hoping for that which we do not see.  We are saved by the hope for the kingdom of heaven.  We do not see Christ.  But we are saved by faith that Christ will return.  Even the disciples, who saw Christ, were saved by believing the words of Christ when he said things like the meek will inherit the earth.  But where is faith after all these things have been fulfilled?  Where is faith after the earthly kingdom has been established?

What is grace?  Grace is the filling of the Holy Spirit so that we cannot sin.  Grace is doing the works of the Father, to further the kingdom, so that the Holy Spirit will dwell within us.  But again, what happens when the kingdom is here?  What happens when the Holy Spirit is no longer a substitute for the physical presence of Christ?  Can the nations be saved by faith and through grace after Christ returns?  No, but with the physically present "counseling" of Christ and His Bride, they can be saved under the Law of Christ.

Grace means favor.  Even in Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit filled people at times.  The "favored" of God, such as David and Daniel, were filled with the Holy Spirit.  But the people in general were not "favored" to receive the Holy Spirit.  Today, we are in the age of grace because those God favors (elects) are the firstfruits of the harvest.  We, the firstfruits, become believers and are filled with the Holy Spirit.  But in the age to come, righteousness will be taught to everyone.  There will not be a favoring (election) by God.  So it will not be an age of grace (favoring).  Thus, in the age to come, people will not be saved by grace and through faith.  They will be saved through the Law of Christ.

Many will point out that the new covenant makes the old covenant obsolete.

Hebrews 8:13 ESV In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

The old covenant, with the Law of Moses, is obsolete.  But the covenant of peace, with the Law of Christ, is not obsolete.  The Law of Moses is a shadow of the things to come, as it says in Hebrews 10:1, quoted above.  The Law of Moses was a theocracy.  Likewise, the Law of Christ will be a theocracy.  The problem with the Old Testament theocracy was that the priests and kings also had sinful habits that could not be overcome by the law.  But when the priests and kings have themselves overcome all sinful habits, then a very similar system of law will be effective in helping the people to overcome all their sinful habits.

The entire book of Hebrews was written to address the issue of Jews who had believed in Jesus as the Messiah, and had tasted the heavenly gifts of the Holy Spirit.  For them to turn back to Judaism and animal sacrifice, in this age, would have been equivalent to a rejection of Christ.  But that will not be the case in the age to come.  Therefore to blindly apply everything said in Hebrews to the age to come is to take it out of context.

The last chapter of this book is titled, “Christian Perfection in the Sabbath.”  Under the Law of Moses, the Sabbath was the law of the land.  In the age to come, the Sabbath will again become the law of the land.  Today, the filling of the Holy Spirit is God's primary way for us to overcome sin.  In the age to come, the Sabbath will again become God's primary way for the nations to overcome sin.

20.6)  Animal Sacrifice Will be Needed

The Law of Moses was not flawed.  It was the priests and the kings who were flawed.  Animal sacrifice is not flawed.  It is a very good tool for showing that the wages of sin is death.  But would a return to animal sacrifice detract from the glory of Christ, in that he alone paid the price for our sins?  Consider the following verse, which is also in Hebrews.

Hebrews 6:4-6 For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,  (5) and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come,   (6) and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame.

This verse shows us that at some point, a second crucifixion would be necessary to save a person.  The blood of Christ paid the price for our resurrection from the dead.  If we were to die because of sin again, which is the second death, then there would no longer be a sacrifice for another resurrection.

If this is true, then what about people who will have been resurrected by the blood of Christ, but continue to struggle with sinful habits?  Old Testament saints will be resurrected, paid by the blood of Christ, which came later.  But Old Testament Scripture clearly teaches that animal sacrifice was needed in their process of overcoming sin.  The animals died because of their sins.  Likewise, people in the age to come will have been resurrected, paid for by the blood of Christ.  Only the blood of Christ can pay to bring us back from death.  But animal sacrifice can be used, in the age to come, in the process of overcoming sin.  

The theocracy in the age to come will not be the Law of Moses.  It will be the Law of Christ.  And the teacher of the Law of Christ will be his Bride.

Thus, the New Wine System solves even this difficult problem of Ezekiel’s temple, which has plagued the traditions of both premillennialism and amillennialism.  The New Wine System shows us the purpose of Christ’s millennial reign.  It’s not simply to fulfill promises that were made to the Jews.  The purpose of Christ’s millennial reign is to apply temple worship, animal sacrifice, and the seat of Moses in a way that glorifies Jesus Christ, and to thus serve their original purpose of being a wise teacher, to help the nations overcome sin.  And to understand the nature and purpose of Christ’s sacrifice.

20.7)  The Temple is Built During the Week of the Covenant

I have argued that the law has not been abolished, and that Christ will bring back animal sacrifice in Ezekiel's temple during the millennial reign.  I have also alluded to the fact that the temple will be rebuilt and animal sacrifice will take place during the first half of the week of the covenant.  This week is the seven-year period of Daniel 9:27.  Animal sacrifice is approved of by God because the present age will be completed and the millennial reign of Christ will have begun.  

The covenant between God and man shifts when the present age ends and the age to come begins.  At first, this may sound like dispensationalism.  The idea that the Day of the Lord begins at the start of the seven-year period is one of the few points where the New Wine System is in agreement with dispensationalism.  For more information, refer back to section 17.7, titled "The Pre-Tribulation Appearing of the New Jerusalem."

The New Wine System argues that Christ physically returns and thus the temple can be built and animal sacrifice can begin.  Christ returns at the start of the Day of the Lord, which is at the start of the week of the covenant given in Daniel 9:27.  Those seven years are the first seven years of the millennium.

A detailed article on "Daniel's Seventy Weeks" can be found in my book titled, “Daniel and Revelation.”  The important point is that Christ returns with the New Jerusalem at the appointed time, when the seventy weeks are ended.  But the majority of the Church is not ready for Christ to return.  Christ must confirm a covenant with many for seven more years in order for the 'many' of the Church to overcome sin.

Thus, I refer to this week of Daniel 9:27 as the seven-year period of Christ's return.  For the elect, God's grace is extended seven more years.  It's also seven more years of faith because the Church will be living during a time of great tribulation for the Church.  But for the nations, the age of grace will be over.  Christ will be physically present, but he will delay setting up his earthly kingdom.  Thus, during these seven years, the temple will be physically built and animal sacrifice will be started.  But during the same seven years, the elect will be getting ready to reign with Christ by overcoming sin and embracing Christian perfection.

Philip Brown

If you find this book to be of interest, please send an email with a link to this website to all your Christian family and friends.  You could even include one to your pastor.

Philip Brown     Click to email me.

If you find this book to be of interest, please send an email with a link to this website to all your Christian family and friends.  You could even include one to your pastor.

Philip Brown     Click to email me.

If you find this book to be of interest, please send an email with a link to this website to all your Christian family and friends.  You could even include one to your pastor.

Philip Brown     Click to email me.