Friday, October 21, 2016

Ezekiel 45: We Are The Temple?

Another possibility that has been advanced regarding Ezekiel's temple vision is that he is speaking spiritually of the Church or perhaps individual Christians, known as the Temple for the Spirit of the Lord in the New Testament age.

Certainly this idea is worth consideration, as the Bible frequently speaks of the Church in this way.  Paul says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19)  Addressing the Church as a whole, Paul writes, "Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple" (I Corinthians 3:16 and 17).  There is certainly biblical precedent to spiritualize the temple and make it a symbol of one's inner devotional life.

It would make sense, therefore, to explore how Ezekiel might foresee a "temple" in this way and write about it as a spiritual analogy.  Yet what we find in his actual prophecy is much more highly detailed and specific than anything we would expect concerning a symbolic interpretation.  Ezekiel writes very much as if he is describing a concrete, physical building with actual sacrifices, priests, and rooms.  It strains credulity to try to assign elements to the vision as if it were an allegory.

Try as we might, making Ezekiel's temple vision to be about the Holy Spirit inhabiting the hearts of Christians or indwelling the Church is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  Fortunately, there is still another theory to consider.

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