THE LAST TEMPLE GIVEN IN
Ezekiel 40:1-4; 43:10-11
In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was taken, on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me and He brought me there. In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, and on it to the south there was a structure like a city.
So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway. The man said to me, “Son of man, see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you; for you have been brought here in order to show it to you Declare to the house of Israel all that you see.” (Ezek 40:1-4)
“As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan. If they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the house, its structure, its exits, its entrances, all its designs, all its statutes, and all its laws And write it in their sight, so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them.” (Ezek 43:10-11)
Even until now as a pastor called by God, I have never once preached about Ezekiel’s temple. Today is my first time delivering this Word since realizing it through the grace of the Holy Spirit while I was on Mount Jiri. Also, in order for me to deliver this Word, the listener must be able to understand it. If I share this with those who refuse to consider the matter deeply or research it, then I become nothing but a weird person.
God sent many prophets to solve the problem of mankind’s sin, but none suffered as much as Ezekiel. Ezekiel was called as a prophet at the age of thirty. Twenty years later, at the age 50, Ezekiel saw a vision of the “temple not seen by the eye.” Also, Ezekiel chapters 40-48 record the details of this temple. Ezekiel’s temple is a temple that has never been built in this world, nor has the structure ever been visible to the eye. However, according to what is written in Ezekiel 40-48, this temple is the conclusion of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, nothing more and nothing less. All of us including myself, as well as our father of faith, Abraham, must enter the temple of Ezekiel. It is the most precious temple.
Beloved saints, please do not badmouth others, suspect them, or call them names. Such people cannot enter Ezekiel’s temple. Those who commit the sin of stealing or swindling are also not able to enter Ezekiel’s temple. They cannot take hold of the inheritance, which is the Kingdom of God (2 Cor 6:16). You cannot enter the Kingdom of God if you glare at others, discriminate, speak ill of them, or tell people to associate with them because of whatever wrongdoing. Jesus said, “The one who desires to see good days must keep his tongue from evil” (1 Pet 3:10). In the day of judgment, know that you will be held accountable for every careless word that you speak (Matt 12:36-37). Just do not speak about others. Pray for them before you say even one word.
After the publication of the seventh book in the History of Redemption series, further publishing was delayed because of the subject of Ezekiel’s temple. This subject alone takes up 600 pages due to the extensive content that covers this temple that is not seen by the eye, the temple that is the conclusion of the Old and New Testaments.
God had the prophet Ezekiel witness the vision of the final temple and commanded him to “tell the people.” Only those who are instantly transfigured at the Second Coming of the Lord are able to see the temple of Ezekiel. The city of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21-22) is also built not by man, but by God. The temple in the New Jerusalem can only be seen by those who are born again. That is Jehovah-shammah (“God is there”). God dwells among men in His tabernacle (Rev 21:3). It is a world that will never have death, pain or illness. Do not regard the temple of Ezekiel lightly. We must make a promise to ourselves saying, “The Bible records God’s Word, so I must believe it and also enter the temple.” A full-color 3D drawing and ground plan of Ezekiel’s temple will be created as it is recorded in the Bible and will be included in the upcoming books of the History of Redemption series. This work is extremely difficult to tackle, even for many theologians.
Who Is Ezekiel?
The meaning of the name Ezekiel first means, “God strengthens,” and second, “God is strong.” At the time of Ezekiel, the people of Israel were rebellious. Although they believed God in their minds, there was no fervency in their hearts, which resulted in a lack of action. God sent so many prophets to warned them, but they refused to obey. God called them “a rebellious people” and “a seed that will perish.” This is the same for us. If we only think it in our heads but do not take action, we become a rebellious people that is bound to perish. In the end, God used Babylon to seize and capture the Israelites. But God’s love is one where God so loves. He never stopped loving Israel, so He had them once again come to a realization at the very place where they were taken captive. Ezekiel was called to be a prophet at the age of 30 in 593 BC, the fifth year since King Jehoiachin and the people of Israel were taken to Babylon. At the time, the river Chebar was in the capital of Babylon (much like the Han River in Seoul). There the Israel captives were released. They had no freedom of eating, dressing, and even going to the toilet. Seeing his brethren, Ezekiel wept and prayed to God, so God called him to give the Israelites courage and and incredible hope through the new covenant and the new temple. At age of 50, twenty years after he was called as a prophet, the prophet Ezekiel received the Word written in today’s Scripture reading, starting from Ezekiel chapter forty.
Starting from Ezekiel 1:1 to Ezekiel 48:35, the Book of Ezekiel is comprised of a total 1,273 verses. Chapters 1-3 are records of the calling and mission of Ezekiel as a prophet. Chapters 4-32 records the first half of the exile until the time of Israel’s judgment. Chapters 33-39 records the second half of the exile until the restoration of the nation of Israel. The 260 verses in chapters 40-48 record how the nation of Israel will be restored, that is, God showing the vision of the new temple, the completion of the prophecies. The new temple is the conclusion of the Book of Ezekiel as well as God’s final Word of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. Even Revelation chapters 21 and 22 will not be fulfilled until the fulfillment of Ezekiel 48. Thus, we must be transfigured and see this temple (John 11:26).
Beloved saints, please believe the Word of God. You have nothing to lose. Didn’t Jesus come just as it was prophesied in the Bible? Jesus came (Matt 1:23) just as prophet Isaiah prophesied: “a virgin will bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14; 8:8-10). And didn’t the old prophet Simeon and prophetess Anna, who had been widowed for 84 years, see with their own eyes just as God prophesied to them, that they would see the Messiah, the King of kings, the Savior of mankind? This temple has never been built on this earth. It is a temple built by God and not visible through the eyes of flesh. It is a temple that we can see only when we are born again and transfigured. Yet it is clearly recorded in the Bible. Unless it is an actual temple of existence, how would God have spoken of its measurements? Because the people would not believe His Word, God said, “Do believe that there is a prophet of God among you. Know that there is a prophet who believes my Word, though he is a human just like you.” This is recorded 74 times in the Book of Ezekiel alone. “As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezek 2:5).
Amid the sorrow of national ruin, Ezekiel embraced his nation in his heart like his own family. In regard to Israel rebelling against the Word of God, Ezekiel prayed with the pain like that of his own child not listening to the parents. How painful and frustrated would a parent’s heart be if their child did not listen and keep breaking their heart? Ezekiel embraced with such a heart. We all say that we believe in Jesus, yet whether the nation goes down or prospers, we regard it as an issue that belong to others. We easily cast it aside, thinking of the country, “Whatever, it can fall to ruin or die.” No one under the sky believed in God as the prophet Ezekiel did. When I prayed in Mount Jiri, I embraced prophet Ezekiel in my heart and had him as my bread of tears for a year and a half. I can’t measure how much I cried. Even now, the Jewish rabbis still refer to Ezekiel as “father.” He is the father of their people. Ezekiel was the only one who urged the people to repent and gave them the vigor of hope through the new temple. The heavens opened when Ezekiel received his calling (Ezek 1:1). Of the Old Testament books, only the book of Ezekiel records of the heavens opening when a prophet prayed. Amid the gloomy historical period when every corner led to a dead end, God opened the heavens and let them know that He would begin the work of salvation through Israel. “I will begin the work of salvation. Ezekiel, hang in there! Take courage! Do not doubt! Be strong and courageous in delivering the Word!” God filled Ezekiel with hope and assurance. In the New Testament, the records of the heavens opening appear when Jesus came up from the water after being baptized by John the Baptist (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21-22), when Stephen was stoned and martyred (Acts 7:56), and when Peter prayed (Acts 10:9-11). For those of whom the heavens are opened, their hearts are on fire when they come upon God’s Word. God is with them; this is Jehovah-shammah, the blessing of Immanuel.
Beloved saints, do you have that burning fire in your heart like Ezekiel? Do you have the heart and conscience of Jeremiah, who said, “But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,’ then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it” (Jer 20:9)? If you say you believe in Jesus but have not evangelized to even one person during this entire year, you do not deserve your title as an elder, elderess or deacon. How can an elder not evangelize? An elder is not in a position to be served. As an elder, have you ever cleaned the snow at church? Church workers and pastors start cleaning from 4 AM when it snows, yet why have you not cleaned the snow even once as elders, elderesses and deacons? You cannot be called elders. How can you be so indifferent to church?
Ezekiel’s Prophecies of Action
Beloved saints, please listen carefully. Ezekiel is a prophet who prophesied through his actions.
1. “‘Son of man, behold, I am about to take from you the desire of your eyes with a blow; but you shall not mourn and you shall not weep, and your tears shall not come’…and in the evening my wife died. And in the morning I did as I was commanded.” (Ezek 24:16-18)
God told Ezekiel in the morning that his wife, who had children and was healthy, would suddenly die that very day. And God told Ezekiel not to inform his relatives, and even if they find out and bring food, to not eat that food. He was not to mourn and weep but to continue working as usual (Ezek 24:16-18). The prophet Ezekiel did according to God’s words. This prophesied of what would happen to the Israelites in the days to come (Ezek 24:19-26).
2. “Moreover, I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be mute and cannot be a man who rebukes them, for they are a rebellious house” (Ezek 3:26).
In 593 BC, on the 7th day since Ezekiel calling as a prophet, God made him mute (Ezek 3:24-26). Ezekiel, who was known to receive revelations from God, became mute. How harshly must he have been ridiculed and insulted by the people! When he could finally open his mouth and warn, “Jerusalem will fall,” it was 586 BC and seven years had already passed. He must have been so frustrated during those seven years. But God made Ezekiel mute because the hearts of His people were hardened like rock. They did not believe in the Word (Ezek 3:7; 3:26; 12:1-2; 40:20; 43:8, 44:18-19). God tried to make His people understand the Word through Ezekiel’s extraordinary actions. In the eyes of an ordinary person, Ezekiel seemed insane. He was warning the remaining people in Israel through his actions: “If you do not obey the Word this nation will be destroyed completely and you will be taken captive and become like a madman.” I shed many tears reading this Word. Just like the prophet Jeremiah who wore bonds and yokes all the time (Jer 27:1-2), just like the prophet Isaiah who proclaimed, “Be shameful before God just as I am naked,” while he was wandering around naked and barefoot (Isa 20:1-6), Ezekiel obeyed God’s Word, even when he was treated as a madman. There is no one in the Old and New testaments who was more misunderstood, humiliated and treated like a madman than Ezekiel.
3. “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Clap your hand, stamp your foot and say, “Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, which will fall by sword, famine and plague!’” (Ezek 6:11)
God told Ezekiel to stamp his feet and clap his hands (Ezek 6:11; 21:17; 22:13). The original Hebrew word (alehem) contains the meaning “to act crazy.” If a group of adults is gathered for a meeting and someone were to suddenly and stamp his feet and clap his hands, how would he be perceived? Which one of you would obey if you were told to carry out such outlandish actions?
4. “Therefore, prophesy against them, son of man” (Ezek 11:4)
The command to “prophesy against,” recorded several times in the Book of Ezekiel, is also the Hebrew word alehem. It means “to act crazy” or “to glare” (Ezek 11:4; 13:2, 17; 20:42; 21:2; 25:2; 28:21; 29:2; 34:2; 35:2; 38:2; 39:1). If you are speaking to someone while glaring at them, how would that person feel? They would avoid talking to you. It was not for just a day or two that Ezekiel obeyed God’s command and carried out these actions.
5. “As for you, lie down on your left side and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel on it; you shall bear their iniquity for the number of days that you lie on it…When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah; I have assigned it to you for forty days, a day for each year.” (Ezek 4:4, 6)
God told Ezekiel to sit on a brick (tile) and tie himself with a rope as if he were captured by the enemies. His strange behavior that differed by the day became known to all of Israel. Then God told Ezekiel to lay the iniquity of the house of Israel by lying down on his left side for 390 days and on his right side for 40 days (Ezek 4:4-17). The word “left side” in Hebrew means “northward” while “right side” means “southward.” Think of the significance of this when God said that there are a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. How agonizing would it be to lie down on your left side for 390 days and on your right side for 40 days? If you were commanded to do such a thing, what would you do? God told Ezekiel to lie down like this and to drink only 1/6 hin (two tiny cups) of water a day and eat 20 shekels (228g, about the weight of two eggs) of bread a day. God even commanded him to bake the bread with fire ignited with human dung instead of wood. Ezekiel said, “How can I do such a thing?” so God said, “Then use cow’s dung” (Ezek 4:15). God was showing beforehand how He will judge the unclean nation of Israel. Bread and water would become scarce amidst the destruction of Israel, and the people would be appalled with one another (Ezek 4:16-17). In the end, all these prophecies came true.
6. “One third [of the hair] you shall burn in the fire at the center of the city, then you shall take one third and strike it with the sword all around the city, and one third you shall scatter to the wind; and I will unsheathe a sword behind them.” (Ezek 5:2)
God told Ezekiel to shave his beard, and to one third burn it, one third slash with a sword, and one third scatter in the wind. When Ezekiel asked, “God, what does this mean?” God said, “You will come to understand. Just do as I say.” Many prophets prophesied once or twice through their actions, but Ezekiel prophesied through his actions from the time he was first called until the very end. According to the Law, priests were not to shave their heads (Lev 21:5; Deut 14:1), but Ezekiel did as commanded even though he was from a priestly lineage. Shaving the head and beard symbolized extreme judgment, the curse of all curse, and disgrace. God was showing how the elders, religious leaders, and the people at the time, who were full of greed and lust, would all be destroyed. One third would die inside the city, one third would be killed at war, and one third would be scattered in the wind and die tragically. To strike with a sword means to be killed cruelly, and to burn means to be completely destroyed without any means of existence. To be scattered in the wind means that even those who survive would all be scattered; their family register will perish and it would be such a tragic situation that mother and child would never be able to see each other again. God then said to shave the rest of the few remaining hair and bind them in the edges of the robes and burn some of them in the fire (Ezek 5:3-4). This means that judgment will fall upon the people and no one is exempt from it. Even still, God shows the hope of the remnants through the remainder of the hair.
7. “Therefore, son of man, prepare for yourself baggage for exile and go into exile day in their sight. Perhaps they will understand though they are a rebellious house” (Ezek 12:3).
God commanded Ezekiel to prepare baggage at night and to move in discretion. This was to warn the king and the leaders that they will be defeated by Babylon and that they will sneak out through the walls of Jerusalem in secret. The rulers looked down on the poor while they themselves were eating well, but this warning showed that one day they will need to flee in secret. God also commanded Ezekiel to eat and drink water with anxiety and horror to prophesy that many people will starve to death (Ezek 12:17-20).
8. “As for you, son of man, groan with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan in their sight” (Ezek 21:6).
God commanded Ezekiel to groan with breaking heart in front of His people. Moreover, He told Ezekiel to hold the sharpened and polished sword and make it flash like lightning (Ezek 21:9), to warn people that Babylon will invade the land and that the heads of their parents and brothers will be slaughtered. This was a message for the people to repent and return to God if they want to live.
9. “Put on the pot, put it on and also pour water in it; Put in it the pieces, Every good piece, the thigh and the shoulder; Fill it with choice bones.” (Ezek 24:3-4)
This is the Word of God that came to Ezekiel on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year since Ezekiel was taken captive. The leaders of Jerusalem who were compared to “good pieces,” believed that the walls of Jerusalem are impregnable like the “pot” and that it will protect them even if they are invaded by Babylon. They were conceited and said, “Jerusalem is covered by God’s covenant and it is as hard as a cast iron. How could it collapse? Ezekiel must be insane.” However, Ezekiel’s prophecies were fulfilled before these people who were boasting about being the chosen people of Israel, the priests and elders. The religious leaders who failed to teach the people to repent were beaten by the people, and when they met someone as they were fleeing, they could not tell the truth, so they lied. “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zech 13:6). Beloved saints, please do not be overconfident just because you are the chosen people of God. Every day, God’s Word must be with us. The Word is the Spirit of glory. If we pray and read the Word, God’s Spirit of glory is above our heads and only this Spirit can guarantee security even in times of judgment (1 Pet 4:13-14). The Spirit of the glory of God’s Word must rest on our heads. But if we do not read the entire Bible even once in a year and do not believe in the Word of the covenant, how can you call yourselves elders, pastors or evangelists? How pathetic.
Beloved saints! God’s Word will certainly be fulfilled.
Even the smallest letter of God’s Word will not pass away (Matt 24:35). One who believes in the Word should not be sad. Instead, pray in lamentation, “Father, this nation is drowning from drinking in sin. What shall we do?” We must not be mute but be a trumpeter of the gospel. We need to earn our keep. Today, we all well know whether or not we deserve what we have received from God.
Ezekiel’s prophecy was proclaimed through extraordinarily unusual and bizarre actions. Many theologians who do not believe in the Word of God say that Ezekiel had a nervous disorder. They can say this because they do not truly understand the Bible. The prophet Ezekiel believed and obeyed God’s Word. He did not do anything according to his own thoughts. He dynamically proclaimed the Word through actions. Through his actions that shocked the people spiritually and psychologically, he allowed the Word to penetrate into them deeply. It is only Ezekiel who destroyed every single iniquity of the people through his prophetic actions, making them repent and return to God.
It is impossible to obey with human thoughts. But through obedience, we can repent for our rebellion, and truly value the Word of God. Only then can the temple of Ezekiel, which has never been built until now, appear before us. Those who enter the temple will receive the blessing of Jehovah-shammah, “God is there,” and God will be with them. I pray in the name of the Lord that the blessing of Jehovah-shammah and Immanuel (God with us) be with you in your homes, your work places, and wherever you go.
February 17, 2013 – Rev. Abraham Park’s sermon from the 2nd Lord’s Day Service
*This post can also be read in 'Champyungan'. (http://champyungan.com/en/)