The Nine Missing Articles in Messiah’s Coming Temple
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. Consequently, 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 (Zechariah 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, to see link click 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 the commentary on Exodus Fh – The Bronze Basin in the Tabernacle: Christ Our Cleanser). However, it is interesting that the bronze altar will be present because sacrifices will be offered on it at that time (Isaiah 56:7b; Ezeki’el 44:11, 45:13-25 and 46:2). The millennial sacrificial system will not be a reinstitution of the sacrificial system seen in the TaNaKh that merely covered sin (Hebrews 10:4). It will be a totally 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. They will 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 Christ did on the cross (see the 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. It will be 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 True God (Galatians 3:27-28).
4. The golden lampstand will be missing, because Jesus, the light of the world (Isaiah 9:2, 49:2; Ezeki’el 43:1-5; John 1:4, 8:12), will take its place (see the 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; Ezeki’el 34:23) will feed the people and be their Shepherd (see the commentary on Exodus Fo – The Bread of the Presence in the Sanctuary: Christ, the Bread of Life).
6. The 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 Christ Himself will be present in Zion (Zechariah 8:20-21, 23; Ezeki’el 48:35), and available to hear the petitions of His people (see the commentary on Exodus Fp – The Altar of Incense in the Sanctuary: Christ, Our Advocate with the Father).
7. The inner veil 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 veil 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 then had personal access to ADONAI. But when the messianic Temple comes, Yeshua Himself will fulfill the prophetic significance (see the commentary on Exodus Fq – The Inner Veil of the Sanctuary: That is Christ, His Body).
8. and 9. The ark of the Covenant (see the 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; Ezeki’el 43:5-7). Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, shall sit upon His throne as King in Ezeki’el’s Messianic Temple.
Not only are there nine items missing from Messiah’s Temple, but another extremely significant change also occurs. This change has to do with the bronze altar that will stand in the inner court (see the commentary on Exodus Fa – Build an Altar of Acacia Wood Overlaid with Bronze). Every previous bronze altar in Isra’el’s Temple history was approached from the south, apparently by a ramp. Yet, Ezeki’el specifically states that the steps of the messianic bronze altar shall face the east (Ezeki’el 43:17). The direction, and means by which one approaches the bronze altar, will be changed! Instead of using a ramp from the south, the bronze 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. Also, since Jesus Himself will have His throne in the Temple it will be most appropriate for those officiating at the bronze altar to be facing Him in the Temple. Those offering a sacrifice will approach the bronze altar from the east side, moving in the direction of the Lord who will be sitting in His Temple on His throne.39