Ezekiel 45:22 describes a Prince who would offer a bull as a sacrifice “for Himself and for all the people,” in Ezekiel’s perfect temple. Christian believe this passage was fulfilled when Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins, but Jewish rabbis disagree pointing to the fact that this passage specifically states that the Messiah’s sacrifice would be “for himself.” Claiming that this reference is referring to a third temple to be built when the Messiah returns to Jerusalem, Jewish rabbis use this passage to try to prove Jesus could not be the Messiah because the New Testament claims Jesus is sinless, so He would not need to sacrifice “for Himself.” In this video, we examine the Hebrew text of this passage to demonstrate how this passage is actually teaching that the Messiah sacrificed “by” or “on account of” Himself for our sins, not that He needed the sacrifice, but that he was offering Himself as a sacrifice for all of the people who would be saved by putting their trust in Him.
[ Music ] Does the Messiah sacrifice for Himself in the temple of Ezekiel?
Welcome to another episode in our series “Is Christianity the Mormonism of Judaism,” where we are examining the claims of the Jewish rabbis who teach that Christianity has distorted the religion of Judaism in much the same way that we Christians believe that Mormonism has distorted the teachings of Christianity.
As we have been going through this series we have seen over and over that their claims that these rabbis bring up against Christianity are unfounded and clearly when we examine the evidence, when we examine the history of ancient Judaism, and when we examine the text of Scripture over and over, we see that Christianity is consistent with the teachings of ancient Judaism and consistent with the teachings of both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures.
Today we’re going to be examining a question concerning Ezekiel 45:22. At Ezekiel 45:22 we read in the Jewish Bible at www.chabad.org. Concerning the Messiah it says, “And the Prince shall make on that day for himself and for all the people of Israel, a bull for a sin-offering.” Now this verse is often brought up by the Jewish rabbis as an example of a place where the Messiah is offering a sacrifice for himself and for all the people, and they make the point that this cannot possibly refer to Yeshua Jesus, because we Christians believe that Yeshua Jesus is sinless, that he never sinned, so why would He need to offer a sacrifice for Himself?
Their claim is that this concerns a future Messiah [who] will come to a future rebuilt temple, a third temple, they believe, and they say that this passage in Ezekiel teaches that this Messiah, this future Messiah that the Jewish people believe is yet to come, because they have rejected Yeshua Jesus as the Messiah, since they’ve rejected Him. They believe this is yet to be fulfilled in a future temple. But there are some problems with those claims, and we’re going to look at those issues today.
The first thing we need to ask is: is this temple in Ezekiel talking about a future rebuilt temple, a temple that will come, that Israel will be able to build, and that the Messiah will come to and sacrifice in? There [are] a number of problems with that. First of all, from a Christian perspective, if this is talking about a literal temple, then what do we do with all those passages in the New Testament that teach that the Messiah Yeshua Jesus fulfilled all the sacrifices so that we do not need any more sacrifices?
This creates a real problem if we are going to view this passage in Ezekiel as a reference to a future, rebuilt temple. Yet this is the view of many Christians today. There is a split in the Christian community on these passages in Ezekiel. Some Christians believe that there will be a future rebuilt temple and that these sacrifices that we read about, such as this one here in Ezekiel 45, are merely a reference to some sacrifices that will be done, that the Messiah will use as a tool to point back to his perfect sacrifice. So they’ll say it’s a sacrifice that just points back to Yeshua Jesus. If you’re in that camp of Christianity, I know that a lot of Christians view that, I do not hold to that position, and I will share the reasons why, when we look at the text of Scripture, not just the New Testament Scriptures on what the Messiah came to do, but also on these Old Testament Scriptures here in Ezekiel.
But the first question we’re going to ask is: is this temple a literal rebuilt temple, a future temple, or is this temple in Ezekiel a spiritual, symbolic temple? We’ll look at that, and then the other question we’re going to be examining is: what did the Messiah actually do when He came to the temple? It says here in Ezekiel 45:22 that this Messiah will offer a sacrifice for Himself. How could a messiah sacrifice for himself if he’s perfect? So we need to answer that question whether we believe the temple is a literal, rebuilt, future temple, or whether we believe this temple is a symbolic spiritual temple, which is the view that I hold, I believe it’s symbolic.
We’re going to have to still answer that question: what is being done in this temple? How does the sacrifice that this Messiah offers for Himself not negate the fact that He was sinless? So now to answer these questions, let’s start with the first question here. Is Ezekiel’s temple a literal third temple? What do we read in Ezekiel? If we look at Ezekiel chapter 40, and I’ve consulted a few commentaries on this and one commentary, you can find this online, it’s “The Albert Barnes notes on the whole Bible” [it’s also a physical book with the same title], and this is on Ezekiel chapter 40 and it talks about the actual dimensions of this temple given here in Ezekiel, and it notes specifically some very interesting things about the dimensions of this temple.
It says, “The physical features of the land would not admit of the separation of precincts a mile square, surrounded by a territory sixteen miles by forty-eight, Ezekiel 48:10.” This commentary goes on to say, “The enclosing wall of the outer court has strange dimensions in order that height, width, and thickness may all be equal.” Now, let’s just stop there for a second. First of all, the physical features of the land in Israel will not allow for the way this temple is built. It will not allow for the structure of this temple, the dimensions don’t fit. You have hills,
you have valleys, you have the topography as such in Israel you’ve got to see. How do you get these dimensions to fit? So that’s the first problem with seeing Ezekiel’s temple as a literal, physical temple.
The second thing we read, is when we look at those dimensions themselves of what is actually being built, and we come here and read, “The enclosing wall of the outer court has strange dimensions in order that height, width, and thickness, may all be equal.” Now, if you think about that geometrically, if you have something that is the same height, the same width and the same thickness, what do you have? If you said “box,” you are correct, a box. How can a box form an outer court? If the thickness of that entire outer court is the same as its height and its width, how can that be an outer court? Where can the people go? How can you have any space inside that particular dimension, if the thickness is the same as the height and the width? There’s a major problem with these dimensions, even fitting a literal, physical temple built anywhere. Nevertheless, the land of Israel – regardless of the land of Israel, how do these dimensions fit anywhere in our physical universe? Let’s look at some other things: the guard chambers, the bases of the columns, are all square. Same problem that we just saw about the outer court.
The series of chambers for the Levites and for the priests are in fixed numbers and symmetrically placed. The dimensions of the brazen altar are changed that one part may be double of another throughout. See Ezekiel 43:13. Again, if you try to even think of how this temple would be constructed, based on the dimensions given in Ezekiel, you have a real hard time figuring out how this is supposed to work out in a literal, physical temple, rebuilt temple.
Another reason that I have a problem with viewing this temple in Ezekiel as a future, rebuilt temple is the fact that we also notice, in the passage, that there is no reference whatsoever to priesthood duties, yet the temple, the original temple, both the first temple, and the second temple all had priests that served at the altar according to the Levitical priesthood. Yet, it’s very striking that when we look at Ezekiel, there are no instructions on how the Levitical priests would operate in this temple, and I’m going to suggest to you that the reason we don’t find those instructions it’s because, as we read in Hebrews, the Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, actually fulfills this role of priesthood as the high priest Himself. And, if we remember, when we look back to the Old Testament law, back to the Levitical law, there can only be one high priest at a time.
So if there’s only one high priest and Jesus holds that priesthood forever, then you can’t have any kind of descriptions of priesthood activities taking place in this temple, as far as different roles of different priests would do within this temple, because you have one high priest who serves that role permanently – Yeshua Jesus, who has the power of an endless life, and indeed this is what we read about in Hebrews. Let’s look at a couple passages in Hebrews I want to draw your attention to and we will be reading in the New Testament.
We will be reading from the New American Standard Bible and particularly, we’re gonna look, first of all, what Hebrews says about the tabernacle and the temple when it was here on Earth before it was destroyed. Hebrews explains in Hebrews 8:5, that these items “serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘SEE,’ He says, ‘THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.'” So Moses was instructed to build a tabernacle, and essentially, eventually, Solomon built the first temple according to a pattern that God gave on the mountain.
The other thing that we see here in this passage is in Hebrews 9:23. It says, “Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” I’m going to suggest to you that here, Hebrews is actually alluding to this passage here in Ezekiel and elaborating on this passage, saying that essentially, Christ fulfilled this, this greater sacrifice when He offered His blood in the heavenly temple. So that’s why it says it is “necessary for the copies of (these) things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but (with) the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”
So let me read this entire passage. We’ve seen two allusions: Hebrews chapter 8 and Hebrews chapter 9, where it talks about the earthly things being a copy of the heavenly things. Let’s read what Hebrews actually says happens in the heavenly temple.
Hebrews 9:22: “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood and without (the) shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, (verse 26) He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (verse 28) so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eat eagerly await Him.”
So there you have a clear reference to how Hebrews looks at these passages about Christ’s suffering, and about the Messiah offering a sacrifice and Hebrews clearly parallels this with the earthly tabernacle, saying those were just a picture of something that was greater in heaven, that was cleansed by the blood of Christ.
Now let’s go to our second question. What was actually happening when the Messiah sacrificed for Himself and for all the people? To answer this question, I want to consider something that we often find, as we are doing this series,
we see this often in many of our videos, as we’ve been going through the Jewish objections to Christianity. We’ve been able to reconcile their arguments against Christianity simply by studying the actual Hebrew text or the context of a passage, and I would say that is the case here. There is no difference here. If we study the actual Hebrew of the text, we get an insight into what is actually going on in this passage, and particularly some examples where, if we look at the meaning of a word, we get a greater understanding of what’s going on. We see this in Isaiah 53 and when we were going through Isaiah 53, we ran across a verse that says that the suffering servant suffered sickness. Now the rabbis will say, well was Jesus physically sick when he died? And yet, when we look in the actual word that means sickness, (it) also can be translated “griefs” or an “emotional pain” or “emotional sickness.”
So that’s why a lot of the Christian Bibles will translate that same word for sickness, that the Jewish Bible translates “sickness,” translates as “griefs” or “sorrows,” or “emotional pain,” so it’s important to look at the actual meaning of words. Don’t just look at the translation the Jewish rabbis give you and say, oh well, then I guess the Christian position is wrong. In this case, we’re gonna look at the actual Hebrew of the meaning of the phrase for himself and see if we can get some insight into what it means. And I want to point (to) one other example we see in Scripture of a word having another meaning that can give us greater understanding. In Isaiah 53, we didn’t cover this verse in our exegesis of that passage, but I want to bring it up now, because I know Jewish rabbis bring this up and they’ll say, well look here in Isaiah 53:11, it says that the Messiah will justify many by His knowledge and they’ll say, how could Jesus fulfill this? Did His knowledge pay for our sins? (According to the Christian perspective.)
Well, if we look at that word “knowledge” in the Hebrew, we actually gain a deeper understanding, because that word “knowledge” can mean “perception, skill or cunning,” and if we put those alternative meanings into that text of Isaiah 53:11, that passage would read by His skill, by His cunning, by His perception, He would justify many. Now, doesn’t that make more sense in the passage? Because the Messiah Jesus did have to exercise cunning and skill in fulfilling these prophecies, because, if you think about it, the last thing Satan wanted to do and his demons, the last thing he wanted to do was to allow the Messiah to fulfill his mission, and so the Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, had to exercise great caution and great cunning to make sure He didn’t (get) crucified before this set, appointed time and to make sure that, even when He was crucified, if the demons knew that that was part of God’s plan, they wouldn’t have killed him because ultimately in killing the Messiah, in stirring up the people to kill the Messiah, they were fulfilling God’s plan to pay for our sins, but they didn’t know God’s plan. So, if you think about it, there was great skill, great cunning, great perception exercised by the Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, when He came to earth and indeed through His cunning, He did justify the many because He offered His life as a sacrifice, as an asham guilt offering for us, as we read about in Isaiah 53.
So I want to keep that perspective in mind as we go into Ezekiel 45. We examine verse 22, this phrase “for Himself,” that He’s offering for Himself. What does that mean? Let’s now, listen in on a conversation that I (had) with our Greek and Hebrew professor Justin Alfred.
Christy: “All right, Justin. Thank you for going over this with me here on the phone, as we discussed Ezekiel 45:22, where the prince is offering a sacrifice for himself and for all the people. I have my Brown-Drivers-Biggs (Hebrew and) English Lexicon up and we’re looking at, you said page 126.”
Justin Alfred: “Page 126, and number 1157.”
Christy: “Okay, I think I’ve got that.”
Justin: “You have it?”
Christy: “Yes, I do, and this is the word, is it ‘for himself’ here in the Hebrew?”
Justin: “That’s exactly how it’s translated. That’s the old (?) nominal suffix for him or himself. So now, as you go through the definition, point number one there, then you go to the next page, go about halfway down and you’ll see number two. You see that?”
Christy: “Yes, I see that.”
Justin: “All right and underneath it metaphor, means metaphorically ‘on behalf of,’ and if you go on down there, you’ll see he’s quoting, giving you places where this is used, and one of them is Ezekiel 45:22. You see that? Then he says ‘Almost = for the sake of, on account of.’ All right? And he’s saying this can be done in the Vulgate, the Septuagint, the Aramaic Targum, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and so forth and so on. That’s what those things mean there. Now, when we look at this – and you also have ‘on behalf of (i.e., take the place of).’
“Now, so here’s the question: how do we interpret this? Now, obviously, Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man. So His being fully God, He obviously didn’t need it for Himself, but for human beings as a whole and for the fact that He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. He provided that sacrifice. Now, as you go up there to look where it says, ‘Almost = for the sake of, on account of.’ ‘On account of’ could also be translated ‘by means of.’ In other words, the priest was offering on account of himself. In other words, he was saying, ‘Hey, I’m doing this for the people; I’m doing it also because this is what I need to do, and I need to apply this to myself.’ Alright? So Jesus, therefore, He takes the place of that priest. He’s fully God, He doesn’t need it for Himself, but He is fully man, although He never sinned, He’s doing it on behalf of himself. Does that make sense?”
Christy: “Okay, well, would this have something to do with the sin offerings that they would do, like daily sacrifices for unintentional sins that we see in the temple, and like Jesus when he was a baby? He had, they had to bring a couple doves, I believe?”
Justin: “Well, let me just let me just say this. So here’s the thing we need to understand.
“Jesus was fully God, fully man, so all of those sacrifices, that’s what the blood of Jesus Christ does for us today. You look at 1 John 1:7, I think it is? If you walk in the Light, as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses – literally means continually cleanses from all sin, all the time – so all of those sacrifices they had, they were unaware of sin. I mean, here’s the deal, Christy, as I get older, I see sin in my life (that) I didn’t even know was sin. Oh, my gosh and I lived in it, walked in it, not even (?).
“That’s why Paul talks about bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. So is this priest, was (he) making this offering? He was doing it for Himself. He was doing for the people, but He was doing for Himself. So Jesus took the place of this priest. He doesn’t need to sacrifice for Himself, but He’s doing it to Himself on behalf of the people that need this, that’s what this is talking about. So the priest that – Jesus, on the other hand, comes in the place of that man. He doesn’t need it for Himself or His (?), but He’s doing it on behalf of who he represents, that is, human beings, and He’s taking on Himself the penalty of that sin of the whole world and distributing it to them as that sacrifice is offered. Does that make sense?”
Christy: “Okay, I just want to make sure I understand this. What you’re saying is, by the the fact that He took our sins, He is essentially offering that sacrifice for the world, like a conduit, like a through – that’s why He says, He’s a door, we walk through Him.”
Justin: “That is exactly, unequivocally correct. Yes, that’s it, and so what you have is that obviously that man, that priest was just a man, just a flawed, skewed man like all of us – and he was doing this because he needed forgiveness too, but Jesus didn’t need forgiveness, and yet He took the full penalty on Himself as though He were the most rotten center of the world, but He wasn’t. By providing that, He was the perfect sacrifice and He did it all. He did that on behalf of His actions for the entire world.”
Christy: “So that’s where we get the Melchizedek priests in line; He took the place of the Levitical, and He replaced it with Melchizedek. He became that new priest into the New Covenant, (became) that conduit, and offer(ed) a sacrifice for Himself, but really, it’s because He’s the vicarious atonement for the world and takes on our sin, so therefore the sacrifice is being applied, not that He needed it, but for everyone that is going to be saved through Him.”
Justin: “That’s exactly correct, that’s exactly correct, and so basically this little preposition ba’ad is saying that, it’s basically in essence saying, what He did was for the sake of the other people who needed it, and He did it on account of their sin, for their sake. He took it upon Himself, that’s what it’s saying.”
Christy: “Right. Okay, so – and this is the Ezekiel temple, that perfect temple, that people have different views, whether there’s going to be a literal temple on Earth or whether this is just a picture of the heavenly temple. But I see in Hebrews a lot of parallels
“and (it) says that what Jesus did here on earth was a pattern. You know what the temple was on Earth was just a pattern for the one in Heaven, so the ultimate fulfillment of that took place when He died on the cross. He took place, in Heaven and Earth, if you will, because He brought that into the holy place in Heaven as Hebrews says. So as if I’m exegeting this correctly, that’s what we’re getting here from the Hebrew text.”
Justin: “That’s exactly how I would apply it with that preposition. Let me just show you something else here. Take the BDB (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon). So I want you to look on page 729. Look there, 5707. Now, you see the word there ed? It says: ‘(n.m.) masculine noun, witness (reiterating, hence emphatically affirming).’ Okay, and then you see number one, ‘witness, testimony, evidence.’ Down again: witness, okay, so forth and so on.
“Now I want you to keep your your finger here, and I want you to turn back to page 88, and look at number one there, that beth preposition. You see it?”
Christy: “Okay, yes, I see that.”
Justin: “Beth preposition “in.” Okay, now go over there, Roman numeral two.”
Christy: “okay, I see it.”
Justin: “You see it says ‘Denoting proximity — (1.) at, by.’ Okay, go all the way down there (to) number three. ‘With — (that is) of accompaniment.’ Aha, then you go down there to number two over there. Look at that: ‘Of the instrument or means.’ You see that over there, the right column, number two? All right, so we could just go on and on, it’s a plethora of meanings here, but I just wanted to show you that. So, from my perspective, when you put beth with ed here, it comes up to this preposition ‘on the account of,’ and I put it here, ‘by means of a witness for Himself and for the people.’ In other words, Jesus did this as a testimonial witness, that He was taking the place of that bull for the sins of the entire world, forever.”
Christy: “Wow! Wow! That’s incredible.”
Justin: “But when you look at ba’ad, that’s what it is, it’s a combination of the preposition beth and the little mound over here, ‘as a witness.’ Because you didn’t understand that He’s doing this as a witness, in other words, ‘Hey, I need forgiveness, so I’m doing this as a witness for the people so that God’s forgiven you.’ You know that God’s forgiven me, God’s forgiven you, that makes sense? So now Jesus comes, and He’s doing this, He doesn’t need the forgiveness, but He’s doing it as a witness to the people, that God has forgiven you, through My sacrifice.”
Christy: “Wow! That’s incredible! Amazing!”
Justin: “Well, God’s incredible! Let’s pray.”
Christy: “Yes! Let’s do! Thank you!”
Justin: “Father, I just want to thank you for Christy. Thank you, Lord, for You just make Your truth alive and well through her, Lord, in sharing and ministering to others with regard to this, and we give and commit this to You and we thank You, Lord, that You’re in charge of all of us. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
So there, as we just heard, Professor Alfred explained to us that phrase “for himself” essentially means that Christ offered, through Himself, the atonement for all of us, and indeed this fits with what we read in the New Testament.
As it says here in 1 Peter 2:24, “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed.” Then another passage that we see the same idea, the idea of imputation, where Jesus took our sins, he Himself bore our sins in His body. It actually says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.” So essentially Christ became sin. It wasn’t that He Himself had sins, but this is why He offered the sacrifice for Himself, because in bearing our sins, then that sacrifice was necessary for the atonement to be made.
So it says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21.)
Now, going back to this idea of the Ezekiel temple being a symbolic picture of what occurred when Christ offered His body as a sacrifice for all of us and essentially taking our sins through Himself, paid for our sins. I want to bring up another commentary and what he had to say here.
This is John Gill’s Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. This is volume 6 of 9 in this particular volume. This reformer, he lived around the 17- and 1800s. In fact, this was published, I believe, in 1810, but John Gill gives a really good insight into these passages here in Ezekiel, and he agrees with what that other commentary we were looking at earlier says about Ezekiel being a spiritual temple, and essentially Christ providing His life as a sacrifice for us, being what is occurring in Ezekiel 45:22.
Let’s read what he has to say here on page 250 of his Ezekiel passage concerning this verse, verse 22. He says, “Christ himself is this Prince, and who has prepared himself a sacrifice, even for himself, his church, which is mystically himself; and to make atonement for all those sins which he took upon himself by imputation, and made his own; even for all his chosen people, and for all their sins: (of) his preparing this sacrifice, both to be offered up, and to be held forth in the ministry of the word, see the note on ver. 17, and who is very (fitly) represented by a bullock.” Because he noted earlier regarding this passage, how it says that this prince is offering a bullock, and normally sin offerings involved the offering of a goat. But this is a bull that is offered here and he says, he’s “represented by a bullock for his laboriousness and strength, in bearing the sins of his people, when he became an offering for them.”
So that’s what John Gill had to say, this 18th-century reformer, 17th-century, 18th-century, and also what he had to say about Ezekiel’s temple being a symbolic temple, he notes here on page 208, regarding the Ezekiel’s temple on Ezekiel 40. He says, “Many Christian commentators have omitted the exposition of these chapters; and all acknowledge the difficulties in them. Something however may be got out of them, relating to the Gospel, and Gospel church-state, which I am fully persuaded is intended by the city and temple; for that no material building can be designed is clear from this one observation; that not only the whole land of Israel would not be capable of having such a city
“as is here described built upon it, but even all Europe would not be sufficient; nor the whole world, according to the account of the dimensions which some give of it. The circumference of the city is said to be about eighteen thousand measures, … but what they are is not certain. Luther makes them to be thirty-six thousand German miles; and a German mile being three of ours, the circuit of the city must be above a hundred thousand English miles, and this is sufficient to set aside all hypotheses of a material building, either of city or temple, the one being in proportion to the other.”
So there’s literally no way that we can get a physical building, a physical city, a physical temple in Israel or even in Europe because of the way the dimensions are laid out, and as we saw earlier, even just the structure of this temple with the outer courts being square box type of dimensions, it’s impossible to build something like that. And that’s what he’s noting here, that, even the size of this city is so massive, it would not fit in Israel. He’d have to put it in the ocean, essentially. So that is another reason to view these passages here in Ezekiel about the Ezekiel temple, not as a future temple to be rebuilt, but rather a picture of the heavenly temple. The perfect temple that Yeshua, our Messiah Jesus, came and fulfilled when He offered for Himself, essentially for His church, His atonement, paying for our sins, as He bore them, those sins in His body, as we read there in our Scriptures.
Also we see this is consistent as well with several passages in Hebrews; we read about how Yeshua, our Messiah Jesus, was not of the Levitical priesthood, because He was not the tribe of Levi. We read that in Hebrews chapter 7. “Now, if perfection (verse 11) was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it that people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? (verse 12) For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.”
So if the priesthood has changed to the Melchizedek priesthood and as it says here again, verse 14, “For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.” So, it says in verse 24, “But Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.” And then we go down to verse 27. “Who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” So in offering up Himself for Himself, essentially because He took our sins on His body, in His body, He became sin for us. That is what Ezekiel is portraying here in this prophecy about the Messiah offering a sacrifice for Himself. It wasn’t that He needed to sacrifice because He was sinless,
but because He took our sins. Therefore, the sacrifice was for Himself and for all the people. We continue on in Hebrews, as it expounds here in chapter 8. “Now the main point of what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. (This is a heavenly temple that he’s taken on. Verse 4) … Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the law.”
But we saw already in chapter 7 the priesthood was changed. That’s why I, as a Christian, do not believe in a future temple that will be built and that will have Levitical priests serving in it. It does not fit the context of Ezekiel 45. You can’t have those dimensions, it seems to be symbolic, and if the dimensions of the temple are symbolic, then why do we make the temple itself a literal temple? I would submit to you that if the dimensions are symbolic, then the temple itself is symbolic as well, just as this Messiah symbolically paid for our sins and essentially took those sins when He went to heaven, to the heavenly temple, the real temple.
And this passage says and continues on in Hebrews 8:5, “Who served a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘SEE,’ He says, THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN. (verse 6) But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant.” Not the Old Covenant now under the Levitical priests, but a better covenant. So here we’ve seen both Hebrews chapter 7 and chapter 8 speak of how the Messiah fulfills that perfect priesthood and fulfilled the sacrifice once and for all. We read about that in Hebrews chapter 9, we read that earlier, and I want to conclude now with Hebrews chapter 10, we’re gonna look at a few verses here, and it says here in Hebrews chapter 10:10, “By this we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (verse 11) Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. (verse 12) But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. (verse 14) For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
If we believe these Scriptures, there is no way that we can accept the idea that there will be a future temple where the Messiah Himself will offer sacrifices for the people and for Himself as if His original sacrifice wasn’t good enough. And if we try to make them just a picture to look back at His perfect sacrifice, what’s the purpose of that? If it says here that He offers the sacrifice
once (and) for all, for all time, that seems to preclude any possibility that this sacrifice could return in a future temple. If it says for one offering He’s perfected for all time those who are sanctified, how can we say that the Messiah would have to come back and offer sacrifices again, even if it’s to be a reminder of His sacrifice, what’s the purpose of that?
I really think if we just look at Scripture as a whole, both what the New Testament says about Christ’s sacrifice, and the simple fact that Ezekiel’s temple does not fit any literal, physical dimensions in Israel or any place, you can’t even build a building with those dimensions. Then, if those dimensions are symbolic, then we must say that the very activities that occur in that temple are symbolic as well, and these commentaries, like John Gill’s exposition of the Old and New Testaments, provide very good explanations for how each of those things that are discussed in this passage in Ezekiel and Ezekiel’s temple were fulfilled in Christ and he goes into much detail. We don’t have time to cover that here, but ultimately, as long as you study the Scriptures together, the Old and the New Testament, and you think about these questions, is this a literal temple and then you find that no, it can’t be, the dimensions don’t fit a literal building, then, if those dimensions are symbolic, then the Messiah Himself offering that sacrifice, it was a symbolic picture there in Ezekiel of what Christ came to do when He came here on Earth, walked in the literal temple of the Second Temple, preached in the temple as the prophecies all state, and then offered His body as a final sacrifice for Himself, ultimately vicariously carrying the sins for all of us and then offered that sacrifice and purified the Holy Temple in heaven that Ezekiel was picturing for us.
So that’s what I believe is going on here, and I want to encourage all of those who are watching this video. If you’ve never placed your faith and trust in the sacrifice of Christ for your sins, why don’t you do that today? Why don’t you trust Him? As you can see, He is the ultimate fulfillment of these passages in the Old Testament that speak of a messiah who would pay for those sins. As we saw in Daniel 9, He came within the timeframe of the Messianic era prophesied of in those 70 weeks of Daniel 9, and that Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, offered those sins for us. And if you put your trust in Him, then you will see your sins forgiven by Almighty God, just as David said, as we just talked about in our other passages here in Hebrews, David said, Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin, in whom the Lord will not count sin, whose sins are covered. David said that.
How did his sins get covered if he wasn’t looking for a future Messiah who will fulfill these prophecies? Isaiah 53, Zechariah 12:10. “They will look on (Me) whom they have pierced and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son.” That Messiah, who the Jews will mourn for,
will come back to the Land of Israel. As Zechariah 14 says, “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.” It will split, and at that time, the remnant of Israel will recognize their Messiah. They will put their trust in Him and then all Israel will be saved, both a Jewish nation that is remaining after the nations come against her, and God purifies her with fire; then also, we will see that all those believers who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ are our Christian brothers and sisters from around the world, will be united. One flock under one Shepherd as it talks about in John chapter 10 and that’s what we see here in the Scriptures when we look at both the Old Testament and the New Testament as Christianity puts the two together, it dovetails nicely with the Old Testament, with the Jewish Bible, and we see the Messiah Jesus is indeed our mashiach, Messiah. Put your trust in Him today and you will find that forgiveness that you long for, that peace and that hope that only He can give you in times of trouble, do put your trust in Him and you will not be disappointed.
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