The Temple Vision of Ezekiel -- By: Merrill F. Unger

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 106:422 (Apr 1949)
Article: The Temple Vision of Ezekiel
Author: Merrill F. Unger


The Temple Vision of Ezekiel

Merrill F. Unger

(Concluded from the January-March Number, 1949)

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 8–14, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–7 respectively.}

IV. The Premillennial View Defended

There are objections lodged against the literal-futuristic interpretation of Ezekiel’s temple as herein presented, which are considered by many to be fatal to its tenability. This renders the defense of the premillennial position imperative, and necessitates that an honest effort be made to resolve, insofar as possible, the difficulties involved.

The position must first be defended

1. Against the Chief Charge That a Literal Restoration of Judaistic Ritual and Animal Sacrifice Is at Variance with Plain New Testament Teaching.

The plain prediction of sacrifices, feasts and ordinances in the future kingdom, according to the Levitical law, has been beyond a doubt the main stumblingblock to a literal-futuristic interpretation to most Christians from the days of the Fathers until the present. Keil, Fairbairn, Hengstenberg, and a host of others reject the literal-futuristic view on the basis of supposed contradictions with New Testament teaching, especially with the Epistle to the Hebrews. As Keil expresses it: “With the completion of the reconciliation of men with God through the sacrifice of Christ…the Levitical law was fulfilled and abolished (Heb vii-x )…”1

The fallacy of Keil and the anti-literal-futuristic school is the argument assumes that there can be no change of dispensation—that, because we are Christians under grace, those

with whom the prophecy deals must be in the same class and relationship. This, of course, is nothing but error. Keil fails to differentiate between the church and its unique message of grace, and Israel and its distinctive religion of Judaism, and also to distinguish the specific time-period covered by each. The opposition forgets that these are separate and never-to-be-confused entities. It is true that, as far as a Hebrew saved in this dispensation under the message of grace is concerned, the Levitical law is fulfilled and abolished, so that during Israel’s dispersion and humiliation Judaism is completely set aside. Upon the completion of God’s purpose in and for the Church, however, Israel will be brought in again to blessing, and its resplendent future consummated under reinstated Judaism. The temple will be rebuilt, and the priesthood reinaugurated, even if in a man-made manner, during the pre-kingdom era (

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