This letter was written in response to a claim that sacrifices to atone for ceremonial uncleanness will be re-instituted in a literal temple (Ezekiel’s) in Jerusalem after Christ returns.
Having read your interpretation of Ezekiel 40-48 and the idea that real sacrifices will be made in a literal temple in Jerusalem in the millennial reign of Christ to ceremonially cleanse the place I am flabbergasted. I confess I have never come across such an incredible idea!
Firstly, reading all the verses relating to the second coming of Christ and synthesizing them it is clear that his second coming is the end of the age and the ushering in of eternity (I will prove this later if need be). Since Christ was the end of the law and the fulfillment of the temple, to construct another one is plain retrogression.
Secondly, granting that certain sacrifices atoned for ceremonial uncleanness you overlook the plain teaching of Leviticus 4 and 17:11(for a start) that laying your hands on the head of a bloody sacrifice was to atone for sin, and not ceremonial uncleanness. Purging ceremonial uncleanness in a world where the ceremonial law has been superseded because it has been fulfilled in Christ (Romans 10:4) is totally unnecessary!
Article 25 of Belgic Confession is the orthodox Reformed view:
Of the abolishing of the Ceremonial Law.
We believe, that the ceremonies and figures of the law ceased at the coming of Christ, and that all the shadows are accomplished; so that the use of them must be abolished amongst Christians; yet the truth and substance of them remain with us in Jesus Christ, in whom they have their completion. In the meantime, we still use the testimonies taken out of the law and the prophets, to confirm us in the doctrine of the gospel, and to regulate our life in all honesty, to the glory of God, according to his will.
“The Ezekiel temple is a very common view among dispensationalists. They have to argue either 1) the sacrifices are for ceremonial uncleanness; 2) the sacrifices are memorial.
However, a literalistic reading of Ezekiel 40-48 forbids that.
Ezekiel 42:13; 43:18-27; 45:15, 17, 19-25; 46:2, 4, 13, 20, etc. speak of trespass offerings, sin offerings, burnt offerings and reconciliation.
The only possible way to interpret Ezekiel 40-48 is that the prophet sees the future and describes it using the OT ceremonial language available to him, given to him by the Spirit, of course. The OT prophets and their audiences would not have understood fellowship with God without a temple. There are very clear parallels between Ezekiel 40-48 and Revelation 21-22. (The NT clearly teaches that the church is the temple of God, and prophesies no future temple).” Rev.M. McGeown of Limerick Reformed Fellowship
What goes for NT church is for all the church age till the end of that age when Christ comes for his bride. Christ never spoke of an earthly millennial kingdom.
Your claim that Paul kept some OT vows and feasts and sacrifices at the time they were being done away in the early NT church really has no bearing on the issue as it clearly was a time of transition and because the epistle to the Galatians is his expose of all the OT ceremonial laws that are now completely done away in the NT church-if a believer binds himself to keep any one of them he is bound to keep the whole law! The New Testament teaching on sacrifices is clear and they are all spiritual-ourselves as living sacrifices for a start (Romans 12:1), sacrifice of thanks, of praise etc. Furthermore, the Levitical priesthood, that no doubt you claim will be your reinstated millennial priests, are also superseded by the Great High Priest of the order of Melchizedek even Jesus Christ and all the saints who according to Peter are a kingdom of priests.
Lastly looking at the verses you believe support your view of a literal millennial temple etc:
Is.56:7 refers to NT days as Jesus used the verse as he cleansed the temple (Mark 11:17).
Is.66:20-24 again Levites, New Moons all done away never to return. Christians are the priests. Furthermore, the eternal state of hell is alluded to in v24 powerfully suggesting that these verses point to the new heavens and earth.
Jer. 33:17-18 in context speaks of Christ (whom David typified) and again Christians are what the Levites typified.
Zechariah 14:16-21 Feast of tabernacles, like Feast of Passover and Feast of Pentecost fulfilled in NT– the first when Christ tabernacle among us, the second when he died, the latter at the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost and the first ultimately fulfilled in Rev.21:3.
The proper interpretation and spiritualizing of OT prophecy which we see so clearly in the NT writings seems to be foreign to you!
Your interpretation which is novel, and rare as hen’s teeth, is unbiblical, retrogressive and pitiful, returning worship to a state clearly superseded in NT worship, where in one inconsequential place in the Middle East a building is erected. When you compare this to universal access to God everywhere now by his Spirit it is a clear foolish step backwards. No Joel, we are not going back neither now, or in your imaginary literal reign. My kingdom is not (was not and never will be) of this world!!! You make what is glorious puny and frankly pathetic. Law and ceremonies finished, New Covenant instituted and to be celebrated till he come, as instituted by the very words of Jesus himself.