Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Worship During the Millennium

by James C. Morris – 

The building of a new temple during the Millennium is distinctly prophesied in words too plain to mis­understand. For we read:

12b Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!

From His place He shall branch out,

And He shall build the temple of the LORD;

13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD.

He shall bear the glory,

And shall sit and rule on His throne;

So He shall be a priest on His throne,

And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:12b-13)

And again, in Ezekiel 40 through 42, the prophet was shown a vision of a temple, in which a man with a measuring line took him everywhere, measuring all the details of a temple unlike anything that has ever been built. Finally, in chapter 43, Ezekiel was told, “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. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places.” (Ezekiel 43:7)

And the worship in this new temple is described in great detail, including animal sacrifices. Many think this cannot happen, because it seems contrary to scriptures such as Hebrews 10:14, “by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” and Hebrews 10:18, “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” But our understanding of the result of one scripture cannot set aside the express statement of another scripture. When the Bible tells us something in plain words, it means exactly what it says. The people that claim this cannot happen are forgetting that the God who had the right to originally set up the system of worship instituted under Moses, and who had the perfect right to terminate that system of worship and to institute a different one when our Lord Jesus made His one great sacrifice at Calvary, still has the absolute right to change the present form of worship into something completely different, whenever that suite His purpose.

Like the construction of a new temple, worship in the form of animal sacrifice is prophesied in crystal clear language. These prophecies begin in Ezekiel 43:12, with the words, 12 This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.” An altar is then described, and Ezekiel is told “These are the ordinances for the altar on the day when it is made, for sacrificing burnt offerings on it, and for sprinkling blood on it.” (Ezekiel 43:18)

Next follows a long and detailed description of various animal sacrifices that are to be offered on this altar. This goes into chapter 46. The language is all future, and is very explicit and detailed. The instructions in this section include every sacrifice specified as perpetual in the law of Moses, as well as most of the ordinances specified the same way.

These include a renewal of the command to keep the “Sabbath,” as given in Ezekiel 44:24, Ezekiel 45:17, and Ezekiel 46:1-5 and 12. This had been commanded as “a perpetual covenant” with “the children of Israel” in Exodus 31:16. Again, in Ezekiel 45:21-25 we find the keeping of the “Passover,” with its accompanying “unleavened bread.” This had been commanded as “an everlasting ordinance” in Exodus 12:14 and 17, and “forever” in Exodus 12:24. In addition to these, we find the keeping of “the appointed feasts” in Ezekiel 46:9-11. These are detailed in Leviticus 23:4-43, where they are commanded to be kept “forever” in verses 14, 21, 31, and 41.

The last of these “appointed feasts” was a command to “dwell in booths for seven days.” (Leviticus 23:42) This came to be called “the Feast of Tabernacles.” (John 7:2) This is not named in Ezekiel, but Zechariah 14:16-19 goes into some detail about it, saying that not only Israel, but all the surrounding nations, will come up to Jerusalem to keep it every year, and that every “family” that fails to come up to that feast will be severely punished, either by a lack of rain or by a terrible plague, that is, the punishment will be inflicted by God himself.

We find the same thing in the renewed laws of the priesthood. Ezekiel 44:15 explicitly limits this to “the sons of Zadok,” because he was the only priest that remained faithful “when the children of Israel went astray from” the Lord. Zadok’s descent from Aaron through Phineas is traced in 1 Chronicles 6:3-8. This is significant because the priesthood was given to Aaron and his sons “for a perpetual statute” in Exodus 29:9, and with “an everlasting priesthood” in Exodus 40:15. Then Aaron’s son Phineas and “his descendants after him” were additionally given “a covenant of an everlasting priesthood” in Numbers 25:13. So a future appointment of “the sons of Zadok” as priests is a fulfillment of both od these eternal pledges.

Other perpetual laws about the priests are also repeated here. Their holy garments are mentioned in Ezekiel 42:14 and 44:17-19. These had been commanded to be worn “always” in Exodus 28:38 and as “a statute forever” in Exodus 28:43. Again, Ezekiel 44:21 says, “No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court.” This is the same as in Leviticus 10:9, where it is commanded as “a statute forever throughout your generations.” And Ezekiel 48:14 forbids them to sell their land. This might seem strange to us, but this was to preserve the land to them and their children for ever. This, again, is a repeat of what we find in Leviticus 25:32-34, where the priests could only sell their houses until “the Jubilee” (an equivalent of what we call a lease,) but they could not sell their land at all “for it is their perpetual possession.”

Likewise, “every sacrifice of any kind,” including “the best of all firstfruits of any kind” were reserved as food for the priests in Ezekiel 44:29-30. These had been reserved as food for the priests as “a statute forever” in Exodus 29:28, and in Leviticus 6:18, 7:34 and 36, and 10:15, also “as an ordinance forever” in Numbers 18:11 and 19, and “by a perpetual statute” in Leviticus 24:9.

Thus we see that the commandments for this future worship repeat the perpetual ordinances originally given through Moses. But they are not a return to that law. For some of the laws in this section are different from those given through Moses. For instance, the daily “burnt offering” of a lamb every morning and every evening, with flour and oil, is commanded “continually” in Exodus 29:38 and 42, as well as “throughout your generations” in Exodus 29:42. This command is repeated in Ezekiel 46:13-15, but there it is only every morning, and the amount of flour and of oil specified in Ezekiel is different from the amount specified in Exodus.

But a more radical difference between this future worship and that under the law of Moses can be seen by referring to something that was done by Saul, God’s anointed king over Israel. Saul offered up a burnt offering. 13 And Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.’” (1 Samuel 13:13-14) Under the law of Moses, offerings were not to be made by rulers, but by priests. Again, in 2 Chronicles 26:16-21, king Uzziah was struck with leprosy because he offered incense. But the law of this future temple will be different:

17 Then it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 45:17)

As punishment for presuming to act as priests, Saul lost his kingdom and Uzziah was struck with leprosy. But this coming prince “shall be a priest on His throne.” (Zechariah 6:13)

These clear and well defined differences between this future law and the one given by Moses are absolute proof that this was never intended to apply to a time before Jesus came. For when Jesus was here, He said, 17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18) So, long after Ezekiel was given, Jesus himself said that not even the tiniest detail of the law would pass until He had fulfilled all of it.

A further and very marked difference between this future worship and that in the old system is clearly stated in Jeremiah 3:16.

“‘Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,’ says the LORD, ‘that they will say no more, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.’”

But this new temple will not just be a place for the restored nation of Israel to worship. We are explicitly told that all the surrounding nations will also worship the LORD there.

20b Peoples shall yet come,

Inhabitants of many cities;

21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying,

Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD,

And seek the LORD of hosts.

I myself will go also.’

22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations

Shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem,

And to pray before the LORD.” (Zechariah 8:20-22)


16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16-19)

So now we are faced with a simple decision. Are we going to believe what our God has explicitly told us He will bring to pass? Or are we going to refuse to believe it. Our choice in this matter will have eternal consequences.


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