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the temple to be erected at Jerusalem, and which forms the subject of more immediate inquiry in the following Section, he was afterwards brought to “the gate that looketh towards 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 the Glory of the Lord came into the House, by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east .... 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 .... Now let them put away their whoredom and the carcases of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever." Ezek. xliii. 1-9. " Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east, and it was shut. Then said the Lord unto me, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.” Ezek. xliv. 1, 2. An altar of wood was also shown to the prophet in the temple, when it was said to him, “ This the table that is before the Lord.” Ezek. xli. 22.
THE TEMPLE REBUILT.
In the prophecies, allusion is often made to, and predictions given concerning, a splendid temple which is yet to be erected in Jerusalem, and to the worship to be offered in it. We offer no conjecture on the probable design for which the institution of sacrifice is again to be restored during the Millennial age, which must have a retro-spective view to the death of Him who “ has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God,"
as those under the former dispensation were pro-spective. Of this nature is the Lord's Supper, and it is in remembrance of Christ only till He come; but whether it is then to be superseded by the institution of sacrifice, we pretend not to determine. It may be remarked, that for the Gentile dispensation, during which the Church has been in an obscure and oppressed state, the simple institution of the Supper may have been better adapted; while at the Saviour's Return, when “ the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High," the more splendid institution may be the most befitting as a record of the Saviour's triumph. But whatever be the precise design, that sacrifice shall yet be offered to the Lord is so unequivocally foretold, as leaves no doubt on our mind of its truth. Part of this evidence we shall endeavour to submit, unrestrained by the tide of prejudice which is known to exist upon the subject. Believing the word of God to be of supreme authority, we unhesitatingly appeal to its statements as evidence the value of which the opinions of men will never diminish, and our faith in which their opposition should never induce us to forego. “Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them, and I will place them, and multiply them, and I will set my SANCTUARY in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them, yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my Sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezek xxxvii. 26–28. This is the conclusion of the prophecy in which the future union of the two kingdoms of the literal Israel and Judah is symbolically represented by the joining of the “ two sticks,” after which they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols ;" from which time The Beloved "shall be their Prince for ever.” ver. 22, 23, 25. That it relates to future times is therefore obvious; while it also explicitly declares the re-erection of God's Sanctuary among them. And when thus rebuilt, it shall not
again be thrown down, but shall continue “evermore.”
By the prophet Isaiah, the Lord declares, that the glory of Lebanon shall be used in ornamenting this His House : “ The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee [Zion]; the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my Sanctuary, and I will make the place of my FEET glorious.” Is. lx. 13. In considering the context at large, we have already endeavoured to show its application to the literal Israel, and its reference to Millennial times. We may now ask, For what other Sanctuary than a literal one can such materials be used? The particular trees here specified are trees high in estimation both for utility and ornament, and are therefore adapted to " beautify" a literal Temple.
The second temple was greatly inferior to the first in splendour. as we read (Ezra iii. 12), “Many of the priests, and Levites, and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men that had seen the First House, when the foundation of this House was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice.” And concerning it, the Lord says to Israel, by the prophet Haggai, " Who is left among you that saw this House in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing ?" Hag. i. 3. But he comforts them with the promise of one which shall excel the First : “ For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come, and will fill this House with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver and the gold are mine, saith the Lord of hosts : The glory of this latter House shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." ver. 6—9. The Desire of all nations, it is universally admitted, is here used as a title descriptive of the Saviour ; and the prophecy is generally referred to the period of His First Advent, although the commentators have laboured under the utmost difficulty to make the prophecy accord with such an interpretation. The fact they cannot deny, that the Second temple was
much inferior in splendour to the First. This difficulty. they seek to evade, by departing from the material glory of the First and referring to the moral glory of Christ having been in the Second as a Teacher. But this is not only to destroy altogether the prophet's contrast, but also to overlook the fact that the prophecy itself marks its reference to this very point. When it is said, the “ glory of this latter House shall be greater than the former," we would naturally understand the prediction to refer to the same kind of glory, the difference consisting not in the nature, but in the degree of it ; and that, therefore, if it was a material glory in the one case, that so it would be in the other. And this view is confirmed, when we observe that it is in the same respect that the Second House was inferior to the First. To this natural comparison between the First and Third House we are, moreover, limited by the language of the prophecy itself. By it we are taught that to the material superiority of the latter House the prophet really does refer: “ The silver and the gold are mine, saith the Lord," and he says so only in reference to the glorifying of this Temple; “ the glory of this Latter House shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts." It is therefore a glory to the increase of which these precious metals can contribute, which is here spoken of. This was the kind of glory in which the First Temple far excelled the Second, and it is the glory in which the latter will be greater than even the former : “ the silver and the gold are mine, saith the Lord.” In addition, however, to this material superiority, the Lord promises to “ fill this house with glory”-a promise which evidently refers to the glory in which he will manifest Himself, and is altogether distinct from that glory of the First temple, in comparison of which the Second was “as nothing.”
It has also been supposed, from the prophet's speaking of the latter temple as “ this House,
" that he referred only to the Second temple. But while Haggai expressly speaks of the latter as excelling the former, and speaks of the second as greatly inferior even to the first, he views all the three as still God's " House."
He does not introduce them as distinct Temples, but as the same Temple in different states and at different times. Thus of the second Temple he asks, “ who is left among you that saw this House is her first glory ?” Now while he thus views the first and second temples, as still the same “ House,” consistency requires that the second and third should also be regarded as identical.
It is farther to be observed that when this temple is built, there shall in an eminent degree be “ peace” in Palestine: "and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord.” Without insisting on the force of the expression, we would merely remark, that it seems rather to belong to that class of promises which relate to the Millennial period than to any preceding age. That it is to the premillennial advent of the Saviour this prophecy refers, appears farther obvious, from the commotions and changes by which it is preceded and accompanied: " I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come.” As we shall afterwards have occasion to revert to this prophecy, we confine our attention at present to the shaking of all nations. At the Saviour's first appearance there was nothing which can with propriety be considered as a fulfilment of this extensive prediction. But it corresponds perfectly with all the predictions cor.cerning the troublous period of the Saviour's premillennial coming; and in this respect also corresponds with his own prediction already referred to. His Return is to be at a time of “ distress of nations with perplexity.” (Luke xxi. 25.) From these various circumstances, the prophecy must be considered as predicting the future erection of a Temple, the splendour of which will, by the more profuse use of silver and gold, not only excel that of the Second Temple, which, in the eyes of those who had seen the first, was “in comparison of it as nothing ;" but which shall transcend the glory even of the First
, the remembrance of whose superiority over the second called forth their pious regret.
To this Temple and its ordinances the prophets make frequent allusions when speaking of Millennial times,