Chapter 16: Our Place in the Temple
When the Millennium begins, God will build the most beautiful temple ever seen on Earth. Then, at the end of the Great White Throne Judgment, that temple will be destroyed and replaced by the Father’s own temple from heaven! The Father’s temple will be at least a million times more beautiful than the Ezekiel temple. Ezekiel’s temple is only a small preview of what is to come. Men need to be motivated to live for God’s Family, not the world today.
God’s heavenly temple is coming to this Earth (Hebrews 11:10). The Ezekiel temple is only a step in that direction. Everything on this physical Earth is only temporary. When the Father comes to this Earth, He will begin to expand the world’s vision out into the universe (Hebrews 1; Isaiah 9). One vision leads to another and another and still another. The godly excitement is endless.
God’s firstfruits are to rule in the Ezekiel temple. Christ said His wife—the Church—has made herself ready for that marriage (Revelation 19:7). But Christ’s wife won’t get ready if she doesn’t see a future marriage. People won’t prepare for the wonderful world to come unless it is real to them. Our job is to make that vision real to those who will listen.
Made in the Image of God
The truth of God is surely a million times more inspiring than any movie you could ever see. Let’s briefly review Ezekiel 1. “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man” (Ezekiel 1:4-5). This is God’s spaceship. “And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning” (verse 14). This space vehicle moves at the speed of light. “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it” (verse 26). This was God Himself—sitting on His throne.
Why would God remind us that this dazzling God looks like a man? We are already made in the physical likeness of God. Now God’s saints are being made into His image, or character (Genesis 1:26). The second part of that creation is going on right now in the firstfruits.
All of the animals of Genesis 1 were made after their kinds. But man was made in the likeness of God! You are not an angel or an animal. You have far greater potential than animals—even greater than angels.
Do you realize how illustrious your potential is? Satan has hidden this spectacular future from us. “And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about” (Ezekiel 1:27). God appeared like a great cluster of fire. God is not dull. He is full of fiery splendor. It is the kind of magnificent beauty that took Ezekiel’s breath away! “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (verse 28). Ezekiel was so overwhelmed by the vision that he fell upon the ground.
This gloriously bright Being is the real Architect of the temple in Ezekiel’s prophecy! He is the royal Author who has revealed this new truth about Ezekiel’s temple—the very subject you are reading about right now! This revelation and all the other revealed truths of the pcg prove that this great God is with us! Such revelation is found only in God’s spiritual temple, the Philadelphia Church today. And the spiritual temple is far more important than the physical temple!
Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings were written by prophets. There is prophecy contained in them for us today. We can look at Israel’s and Judah’s history and, if we repeat it, we can expect the same results—good or bad. So these books are very prophetic. (Request our free book The Former Prophets: How to Become a King.)
Let’s look at one of these books that discusses the physical temple in ancient Judah. 2 Kings 22:3-7 show maintenance men coming to repair the physical temple. Hilkiah, the high priest, found God’s law (verses 8-10). He then delivered it to Josiah, who read it and was greatly alarmed when he discovered how badly Judah was breaking God’s Ten Commandments. “And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes” (verse 11). It appears that only King Josiah was alarmed by Judah’s sins. Since we are training to be king-priests, this is a prophecy about how God’s very elect should react to sin in God’s spiritual temple today! Tragically, only a tiny few react as God commands them to.
When we see these sins, God expects us to react as Josiah did. There were no alarm bells or thunder and lightning. God just stirred up one man by revealing His Word to him! Josiah sought God’s answer to this crisis (verses 12-20). God was full of wrath and ready to destroy Judah. Josiah commanded the whole nation to repent. Because of what he did, God said He would not destroy Judah until after Josiah died. That made the nation feel secure.
But it wasn’t long until Josiah was killed in battle. Then a pall of gloom fell over Judah. Many authorities believe it was then that Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations. Shortly after Josiah’s death, Judah was destroyed. The book of Lamentations reveals that Judah had reached the point of no return.
The primary focus of Lamentations is on the end time. A large portion of it is about the end-time Laodicean ministry and Church. (Request our free booklet Lamentations: The Point of No Return.) The story of Josiah appears to have a direct tie to the end-time Laodicean disaster (along with the collapse of the end-time nations of Israel).
There is a strong parallel to the life of Josiah and God’s end-time Elijah, Herbert Armstrong. He got the wcg back on track twice in the 1970s. God always protected that Church while Mr. Armstrong was alive. But God also prophesied that the wcg would be destroyed by Satan after Mr. Armstrong died.
Why would God take men like Josiah or Mr. Armstrong out of the way? (2 Thessalonians 2:7). It’s very simple. Today, God doesn’t want some exalted leader to carry the rest of us. God wants to see how many Josiah and Armstrong attitudes there are so He can see who the elite will be in Ezekiel’s temple. It’s almost time to start building the physical temple. God wants to know who will fill His world-ruling offices!
Another end-time prophecy tells us God is bringing “one of a city, and two of a family … to Zion” (Jeremiah 3:14). Jesus Christ wants to know who can follow Him without needing a leader of great stature. He is knocking on the Laodiceans’ door to see “if any man,” or individual, will open the door. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Christ is a jealous God. He wants us to look to Him—not a man.
The book of Ezekiel also addresses this individual responsibility. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness” (Ezekiel 14:20). Even great spiritual leaders like Noah, Daniel and Job can’t save us. God wants to know what you individually will do. Can you follow Christ? He wants you to always look to Him. This is the quality of character required to rule the Earth from Ezekiel’s temple.
We are living in a prophetic time when God is evaluating our individual dedication. There are several churches of God in this end time, but only one is doing God’s Work. Those saints who commit to Christ’s Work are going to receive a fabulous job in Ezekiel’s temple. Soon the whole world will know who is who. It will be obvious by their work.
God plans to send us to other planets in the universe in the future. He sent Lucifer to planet Earth to administer His government. Lucifer rebelled and destroyed this Earth. God then saw He must re-create Himself (Genesis 1:26). Only His character can rule the Earth and universe.
“In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes” (Ezekiel 45:8). This is a prophecy of the future when Christ will rule this Earth. People will never again be oppressed by their rulers!
How could this not be the greatest news ever heard if we understand what is happening in this world? “Thus saith the Lord God; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord God” (verse 9). Violence and injustice are about to cease forever! Only Christ can achieve these results.
Christ will be responsible for building the Ezekiel temple (Ezekiel 40:1, 3, 14). But He is also creating the far more important spiritual temple today and in the world to come. He does the measuring physically and spiritually (verses 19, 23, 28, 32). Christ is measuring the spiritual temple today (Revelation 11:1).
Through this Church crisis, Jesus Christ is creating spiritual pillars for jobs in the Ezekiel temple. The creative process is in progress this very minute!
God’s very elect belong to Christ. He is the Husband and we are His Bride. Christ is going to use His Bride to rule the world. She will reside in the Ezekiel temple with her Husband. Christ is laboring now to get His wife ready (Revelation 19:7).
The Laodiceans are in the outer court now because they will not submit to their Husband. That means He cannot labor over them and prepare them for their bridal responsibilities! What a colossal tragedy!
Set Your Heart on God’s Work
Let’s look again at the beginning of the Ezekiel temple prophecy. “And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 40:4). This is the introductory chapter to the vision of Ezekiel’s temple. God reminds Ezekiel that He gave him this prophecy to declare it to the house of Israel!
Ezekiel was in captivity, and Israel had gone into captivity over 100 years before. So the message is for an end-time Ezekiel work. God has given us deeper revelation about Ezekiel’s temple so we can declare it to Israel. An urgent responsibility comes with the revelation.
We must not remain silent now that God has revealed this prophecy to us. We must declare it! We are called for a purpose. God has an Ezekiel work today, or else Ezekiel lived in vain!
Mr. Armstrong made the following statement many times: “Your spiritual growth is in direct proportion to how much your heart is in God’s Work.” He just stated essentially what God inspired Ezekiel to prophesy. If our hearts are in God’s Work, we will declare His message!
This is how God judges us. How much we love and do God’s Work is a reflection of our love for God!
Beyond the Millennium
Ezekiel’s temple will house God’s kings and priests in the wonderful World Tomorrow. They will serve a world comprised of physical human beings, and every single person will look to this temple for leadership. That is how God will fill this world with peace and joy. And that God-given paradise will be here in just a few years.
Soon this world is going to be shocked to see a spiritual nation of Israel born in one day—at once! This is going to be a universe-shaking miracle! That obviously has not happened yet. It is an imminent prophecy. “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8). God’s firstfruits are going to be born into His Family.
What kind of people will experience this phenomenal birth? “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (verses 1-2). God doesn’t look to evangelists and apostles—men of stature—to do His Work. God looks to the very humble man who trembles at His Word. This is where God looks—where you will find His power and His Work!
We are in temporary flesh today. Ezekiel’s temple will be physical and temporary, regardless of its splendid beauty. God’s goal, beyond the Millennium, is to make man into spirit.
Understanding that vision will cause us to rejoice today, until that glorious future arrives.
This vision reaches far beyond the Millennium. Christ said we would have “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God” (Revelation 3:12). This is referring to new Jerusalem, when new Jerusalem is on this Earth. This vision stretches out all the way into eternity! We are to serve in the God Family and help rule the whole universe forever!
This vision pictures a time when the Ezekiel temple has come and gone. The temple upon which it was patterned will then be on Earth. Even the resplendent Ezekiel temple is only temporary. We have to stretch our minds to even comprehend the new eternal Jerusalem temple!
Our future stirs God mightily. When God sees this family plan completed, He shouts “like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine” (Psalm 78:65-72). We should be so stirred by this vision! We can overcome our marriage problems if we see our physical marriage as a type of our marriage to Christ. And we can overcome our family problems if we see it as a God-plane relationship—a type of the God Family!
If we grasp this awesome future, we can overcome any problem. This is how Christ endured, and we can do the same. We must overcome our rebellious nature to achieve this goal.
Revelation 3:12 implies that there will be a physical temple in the World Tomorrow. If we are to go no more out, we must have an office. It will be in the Ezekiel temple.
God in Our Midst
God is a Family. God the Father and Christ live in the midst of their Family. The firstfruits are actually Christ’s Bride (Revelation 19:7). This Husband and wife will be closer than any physical marriage ever could be. God loves and dwells intimately with His Family.
“Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house” (Ezekiel 43:1-5). Other scriptures tell us that God dwells in the holy of holies, which is inside the inner court.
“And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places” (verses 6‑7). God is going to dwell in our midst. The Father will be the ever present, loving Head of His Family—forever!
Only Christ will have His office in the holy of holies during the Millennium. After that, God the Father will come down from heaven, and both Christ and our Father will dwell in new Jerusalem. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7). There will be “no end” to the growth and increase of God’s government. Endless growth! Perhaps God will continue to expand His Family. What God does with His Family beyond the Millennium will make even the Millennium seem dull by comparison!
The Ezekiel temple will be so magnificent that it will dwarf any building ever constructed by a human being apart from God. But even Ezekiel’s temple will seem small and insignificant compared to new Jerusalem. Our God is a towering, all-powerful God, and He does His Work on a God-plane level.
New Heaven, New Earth
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). This is our eternal home. This is where Christ’s focus was when He was on Earth, and where it is today. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2). Notice, it is “my Father’s house.” The Ezekiel temple is only a type of the heavenly temple.
When the Father comes to this Earth, it will be a world full of spirit beings. Then new Jerusalem with the heavenly temple will come to the new Earth (Hebrews 11:8-10). The Father will then have all of His Family together. He will be the Head.
This is the royal gospel that Christ taught!
God is always trying to get our focus on His Kingdom, the Family of God. With this vision in our minds, nothing can keep us out of God’s Family!
Satan knows he can destroy us spiritually if he can destroy this vision of our future! God never offered God Family status to any of the angels. That makes Satan hate our Family potential even more.
There is a glorious reason why Ezekiel’s temple is patterned after God’s temple in heaven. Our goal reaches far beyond this physical Earth. Ezekiel’s temple is only a type of our eternal future in God the Father’s spiritual temple. When the Father comes to the Earth, the Family of God will be complete. Then the Family will beautify the whole universe. The truly great work will begin at that time!
God has His people keep the Feast of Tabernacles each year to deeply etch this vision into our minds. We must be taught, retaught and taught again to learn this magnificent vision. That is the only way we will ever get it! Then, when Christ returns, we will be ready to teach it to the world!
Before God’s plan is complete, we will help Him teach many billions of people. This is no small concept. God keeps pounding this majestic message into our minds. We are temporary flesh, but created to live forever in God’s Family. That is why we were created!
This is God’s most noble vision. It is beyond human understanding. Only God can reveal such a future to us.