The coming messianic Kingdom will be totally different from anything that this world has yet experienced. According to Dani'el 2, it will be a time of culmination – to bring all things into conformity with the will of ADONAI. So it should not surprise us that certain changes will be necessary in order to accomplish this.
The prophet Zechariah writes of some of these changes that will occur in connection with the worship of God in the messianic Kingdom (Zechariah 8:19). It will also bring about certain changes in the land of Isra'el (Zec 4:4; Ezekiel 47:1-10). Therefore, changes in the structure of the Temple should not come as a total surprise to us. It is exciting to discover that every one of these changes is a result of the messianic and prophetic fulfillment that we find in Jesus Christ; the picture will be gone and the reality will have come. So the millennial Temple will be missing nine items that were essential in the Second Temple before its destruction by the Romans (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Mt - The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple on Tisha B'Av in 70 AD):
1. The dividing wall of partition will be missing, because Jewish and Gentile believers are united into one Body (Ephesians 2:14).
2. The bronze basin will be missing because of the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), which believers receive through faith in Yeshua; ceremonial cleansing will be unnecessary when Messiah returns (see my commentary on Exodus Fh - The Bronze Basin in the Tabernacle: Christ Our Cleanser). However, it is it interesting that the bronze altar will be present because sacrifices will be offered on it at that time (Isaiah 56:7b; Ezekiel 44:11, 45:13-45 and 46:2). The millennial sacrifical system will not be reinstitution of the sacrificial seen in the TaNaKh that merely covered sin (Hebrews 10:4). It will be a brand new system that will contain some things old and some things new, instituted with an entirely different physical and visual picture.
While the writer to the Hebrews teaches us that Christ's death on the cross was the final sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10), sacrifices in the Kingdom will serve a different purpose. Theywill serve as a physical and visual picture of what Jesus did (see Jd - Yet It was the LORD's Will to Crush Him and Cause Him to Suffer).
The Church has been commanded to keep the Lord's Supper as a physical and visual picture of what Jesus did on the cross (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Kk - The Third Cup of Redemption). And ADONAI intends to provide a physical and visual picture of what Messiah accomplished on the cross for Isra'el in the messianic Kingdom. For Isra'el, however, it will be a sacrificial system instead of communion with bread and wine. The purpose of the sacrificial system will have the same purpose as communion, a memorial: Do this in remembrance of Me (Luke 22:19b).
3. The court of the Women will be missing, because there is neither male nor female in the Kingdom of the One Ture God (Galatians 3:27-28).
4. The golden lampstand will be missing, because Jesus, the Light of the world (Isaiah 9:2, 49:2; Ezekiel 43:1-5; John 1:4, 8:12), will take its place (see my commentary on Exodus Fn - The Lampstand in the Sanctuary: Christ, the Light of the World).
5. The bread of the Presence will be missing, because Christ, the bread of life (John 6:35; Ezekiel 34:23) will feed the people and be their Shepherd (see my commentary on Exodus Fo - The Bread of the Presence in the Sanctuary: Christ, the Bread of Life).
6. The golden altar of Incense will be missing, because as the incense served to illustrate the prayers of His people and were something like a sweet perfume to God, it will be unnecessary since the Yeshua Himself will be present in Yerushalayim (Zechariah 8:20-21 and 23; Ezekiel 48:35) and available to hear the petitions of His people (see my commentary on Exodus Fp - The Altar of Incense in the Sanctuary: Christ, Our Advocate with the Father).
7. The eighteen inch thick inner veil (NKJ), that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the Sanctuary will be missing, because our Savior will be present in Jerusalem. Once a year the high priest was allowed to pass through the inner vail on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat for the sins of the people. He was their representative. When Messiah died, the curtain of the Temple in Jerusalem was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51a), because every believer had personal access to ADONAI. But when the messianic Temple comes, Jesus Himself will fulfill the prophetic significance of the Temple veil (see my commentary on Exodus Fq - The Inner Veil of the Sanctuary: That is Christ, His Body).
8. and 9. The ark of the Covenant (see my commentary on Exodus Fr - The Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place: Christ at the Throne of Grace), and the mercy seat (see my commentary on Exodus Fs - The Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place: Christ at the Throne of Grace) will be missing, because the Lord Himself will be present there (Jeremiah 3:16-17; Ezekiel 43:5-7). Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, shall sit upon His throne as King in Ezekiel’s Temple.
Not only are there nine items missing from Messiah’s Temple, but another extremely significant change occurs. This change has to do with the bronze altar of sacrifice that stood in the inner court (see my commentary on Exodus Fa - Build an Altar of Acacia Wood Overlaid with Bronze). Every previous altar in Isra'el’s Temple history was approached from the south, apparently by a ramp. Yet, Ezekiel specifically states that the steps of the bronze altar shall face the east (Ezk 43:17). The direction, and means by which one approaches the bronze altar, has been changed! Instead of using a ramp from the south, the altar in the Kingdom will be approached from the east.
There is a specific reason why the Israelites were never allowed to approach the bronze altar of sacrifice from the east. The pagans approached their altars from the east to worship the sun. God wanted a clear distinction between pagan worship and the worship that He accepted from His people.
During the messianic Kingdom, many things will be different. Idolatry will not be a problem as it was for ancient Isra'el. Furthermore, since Jesus Himself will have His throne in the Temple, it will be most appropriate for those officiating at the altar to be facing Yeshua in the Temple. Those offering a sacrifice will approach the altar from the east side, moving in the direction of the Lord who will be sitting in His Temple on His throne.39
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017