Questions concerning Ezekiel's Temple and Israel's 70 years of captivity.
Research By: Timothy M. Youngblood
Presented by: The Master's Table Web Site
December 2011

I want to make it clear in the beginning of this study that I know this subject is very complicated and many scholars down through time have tried to explain the discrepancies. I’m only going to show the facts as I found them in my research and continue to uphold what I know to be truth which these discrepancies seem to contradict and that is that Jesus is our eternal sacrifice therefore there is no need for any other sacrifices now or any other time in the future less one does not believe the message that the Holy Father sent by His Son Jesus the Messiah.

First we are going to address the questions that are brought about because of the scriptures in Ezekiel chapter 40 through to chapter 48 and then we will address the 70 years of Israel's captivity in Babylon as this is what explains these scriptures. The key wording here in Ezek. 40: verse one is…"In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the LORD was upon me; and He took me there." Also we see in the first chapter and verse Ezekiel gives the date of the prophecies and even states that he was among the captives. It states... "Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity."

I believe when you consider the information in this research paper you will see as I did that these prophecies were more a description of the temple for those that would come out of captivity to know not only how to rebuild the temple but re-establish the priesthood. Also there seems to be an element of prophecy included in the this description to Ezekiel. Some teach that this prophesy concerning the re-establishment of the temple in the book of Ezekiel is a real depiction of the kingdom that Jesus will bring at His return and there will be animal sacrifices as well as a priesthood re-established. If this was a real depiction of the kingdom that Jesus will bring in after the seventh trumpet sounds and after the seven angles pour their bowels of destruction out on the beast power then we have a very BIG problem and contradiction. The facts according to the New Testament teach that Jesus the Messiah the Son of the Holy Father is our high priest and eternal sacrifice and if anyone accepts the wording of Ezekiel as it is written believing that it is all to come about at the same time and place then they reject the sacrifice of the Messiah He brought almost 2,000 years ago and the salvation He offers because we can't have an eternal sacrifice when Jesus the Messiah came and a continuation of animal sacrifices for the remission of sins. So what is the answer?

It is noted in Wycliffe Commentary that these closing chapters of Ezekiel chapter 40 through to chapter 48 present vast difficulties. The Rabbis of the Talmud ([Menahot] 45a) remarked that only the prophet Elijah, who will herald the ultimate redemption, will Explain in detail the discrepancies with the Pentateuchal laws and the terms which do not occur elsewhere. Moreover, stated the Rabbis , had it not been for Rabbi Chanina ben Hezekiah ([Babylonian Talmud, Hagiga] 13a), who explained away several of these difficulties, the book of Ezekiel would have been excluded from the Canon of Scripture."

The New Testament teaches a relationship based on faith not on ancestry and that the Messiah has broken down "the middle wall of partition" (Eph 2:11-22), so that the distinctions of Jew or Greeks, circumcision or un-circumcision, bond or free, male or female convey no superior merit (Gal 3:28; ~ Col 3:11; ~ Eph 3:6; ~ Rom 2:28-29). The New Testament refers to the Church as the New Israel, in which adherents of old Israel may participate by accepting the eternal blood sacrifice of the Messiah. (1 Pet chapter 2 verses 3-5, and verses 8-10). So as we learn from the New Testament that all people are accepted if they believe and accept the blood of the Messiah so the question is why do we find the Gentiles are excluded in the prophesy of Ezekiel concerning the New city and temple?

To solve the dilemma here we can do some research and see if it is possible that God was giving Ezekiel two prophecies at one time which would be the release of those that went into captivity and a description of the temple for those that would come out of captivity to know not only how to rebuild the temple but re-establish the priesthood. (Thus the statement "In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity".) and the fact that God will someday redeem all of Israel when the Messiah comes with the kingdom. Let's take a look and see what history shows concerning this subject and let's look at some timelines for balance. It is very important to note that all these prophets noted the time setting of their Prophecies and that time was around the 70 years of captivity which Daniel and Ezekiel was a part of.

To understand the times in relation to Ezekiel's prophecy.

(KEEP IN MIND THAT THE DATES ARE DIGRESSING)

Jerusalem destruction was in 586 B. C.

Ezekiel prophesied from 595 - 536 which started before the fall of Jerusalem's destruction as a warning but their fall came in 586 B. C. from Ezekiel 1:1 to chapter 24, and chapters 25-48, delivered after its fall, with the theme of giving them hope. My research has shown that the book of Ezekiel should be studied under four headings: chapters 1-24, Prophecies of Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem; chapters 25-32, Prophecies Against Surrounding Nations; chapters 33-39, Prophecies of the Restoration of Israel; chapters 40-48, Visions of the New Temple and the New Law for the Redeemed People after the 70 years of captivity.

Daniel prophesied from 606 - 534 but I'm not sure when he died or was released from captivity.

Daniel referred to the captivity of 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah recorded in Jer 25:12. Daniel stated…"In the first year of Darius (550 - 486 BCE) the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans--in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Dan 9:1-2. (Note that Daniel stated the first year of King Darius but Haggai stated in the second year of King Darius as you will see below.)

Some time frame information…Cyrus, who, by 550 B. C., had brought the Medes and the Persians into a dual monarchy and Babylon was conquered in October, 539 B. C.

It was in 605 B. C. (One year after Daniel was taken into captivity) that Jeremiah had prophesied the seventy-year captivity of Judah and it was this prophecy that caused Daniel to pray for the deliverance of his people in the year of Babylon's fall but from my research it seems that they were not released for another 23 years.

Now 586 the year of Jerusalem's destruction - 70 years = the year 516. So from 539 to 516 we have 23 years. (Remember time is counted as a reduction in numbers.)

Jer 25:1-3: "The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: "From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the LORD has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened."

And we find in Jer 25:12-13: 'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the LORD; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation. So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations."

Now we read in Ezra 3:12-13 that many wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy because the temple and city were to be restored. (But many ... wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy.) Wycliffe Commentary states that fifty years had passed since the first Temple had been destroyed, and many of the older men who had seen it wept now because of the sad contrast in size and grandeur of design. And what a contrast this was to the glorious Millennnial Temple prophesied by Ezekiel, the Jews of this period knew all too well! When work on the second Temple was renewed in 520 B. C., there were still some of these old men living who wept again.

The prophecies we find concerning the restoration of the temple after the 70 years are not Messianic in thought however it seems that some writings are in Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and in Haggai where he states I will shake the heavens. This verse and the three following are distinctly Messianic in thought (see also Isa 61:1-3; Dan 9:24-27; Zech 9:9-10).

So we see by these dates and prophecies that God would deliver the children of Israel after 70 years of captivity and then rebuild the temple which we find in the book of Haggai.

Hag 1:15…"on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius. (550 - 486 BCE) Here the prophet's message blends together details of the first and second comings of Christ, as other Old Testament prophecies often do. The prediction of the shaking of the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land surely speaks of something more than what was happening at that time but more during the times we read in the book of Revelation. We know that the temple was re-built but the other events such as the shaking of the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land did not occur.

What could be the thought relation between the statement in this verse and that in verse 5 which states…According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!' Hag 2:5. According to what we read in Haggai the people did not think it was time to re-build the temple so Haggai encouraged the people to pursue the work on the Temple with all diligence and he assured them that God the almighty would one day show forth his mighty power in Israel's behalf. Haggai insured them that God would shake the material universe and overthrow all the earthly kingdoms in order to set up a final and ultimate kingdom on earth, the kingdom of God through the Messiah."

As I stated before in order to solve the dilemma here we could see by this information that God was giving Ezekiel and other prophets two prophecies at one time which would be the release of those that went into captivity for 70 years (Thus "In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity") and all the other dates we have seen are at the same time frame and the fact that God will someday redeem all of Israel when the Messiah comes. Remember I stated that the Jews during the time of the birth of the Messiah by a virgin believed they would be redeemed at that time and that is because of this prophecy by Ezekiel and some comments by Haggai.

The thing is they did not understand that the Messiah would have to die and be resurrected and become the eternal sacrifice but if they had just read the other prophecy's concerning the Messiah they would have understood that. They not only did not understand that the Messiah would have to become the eternal sacrifice but it would be almost two thousand years before He would set up His kingdom!

Many people today reject that the Old Covenant was done away with by the New Covenant which was brought to us by an eternal blood sacrifice but the Old Testament prophecies tell of this event without mixing words. We find in Jer. 31:31-34; stating "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD." "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

We can read about this in great detail in the book of Hebrews as well. Hebrews 10:9 states that Jesus takes away the first covenant so that He may establish the second and then in Heb. 10:10-14 it states "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."

A sister and fellow worker in Christ (Lorraine) brought this to my attention concerning the term "sacrifice" in the Old Testament prophecies and I believe it makes a great point to this subject. We find in verse 20 of Isaiah 66, that this is not an animal sacrifice, but “all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations.” It states “Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.”

Also please take note of this verse in (Romans 12:1) it is written, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

I hear people stating that we MUST obey the "Torah" which is the five books of Moses and that includes the laws given to the priesthood for sacrifices and washings. They say that if a person does not obey the Torah they will not be in the coming kingdom of God because they say we believe the law has been done away with however they don't seem to get the fact that when a person accepts the blood sacrifice of the Messiah we receive help from the Holy Spirit which convicts us of sin. They don't believe the above scripture where the Creator stated "I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts." Many can't seem to understand that God wants us to obey because we have changed and come to understand the lessons the old covenant could not give because the Holy Spirit could not be given to all till there was a way mankind could be justified as perfect in the site of the Holy Father and an advocate was in place to plead for us which could not happen till the blood was shed by a sacrifice that was so great that Satan himself could not destroy it.

Also we MUST not reject the prophecies in Isa. 53: 4-9 which states… "Surely He has borne our grief's and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked-- but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth."

This describes what happened to the Messiah too a "Tee" yet they missed it altogether so they also missed the other points which caused many to disbelieve that Jesus was the Messiah sent to redeem them.

There are many prophecies that show the peace and tranquility of the kingdom of God that Jesus is bringing with Him. One such prophecy is recorded in Isa 11:6-9 which states…"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."

So if the Son of God the Messiah has already became our ETERNAL sacrifice once and for all then we don't and never will need to sacrifice for the remission of sins but only to repent and believe His report and accept the Holy Blood that no other can give for the world to be saved. Also we MUST admit according to the scripture above (Or reject the scripture) that "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."

In closing the main point is that (1 Jesus is the ETERNAL sacrifice and (2 there will be no killing (Sacrifices) in the coming kingdom as stated in prophecy. If someone has not read this far then I can't do any more than this and if I'm wrong then I can't understand any other explanation unless God Himself sends a messenger to tell me what the facts are.

Regards
Timothy M. Youngblood