Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year)
This marked the beginning of the Civil year (not the Religious year) and is a day of blowing shofars.  It was celebrated on the first day of the seventh month.  This festival also seems to be missing from Ezekiel's temple, however, on the first day of the first month (beginning of the Religious year) there is a festival for cleansing the Sanctuary (Ezekiel 45:18-19).  Also, it has been suggested that Messiah might return some year on Rosh HaShannah.  If so it might explain why it is not listed here among the festivals as it is in Leviticus 23.  Only time will tell.  When the Children of Israel were getting ready to leave Mitzraim (Egypt) God told Moshe that the month of Abib (Aviv) or Nisan (nee-sahn) was to be the first month of the year for them (Exodus 12:2) .  This was the first month of their freedom from slavery.  It was only later that the seventh month became accepted by the Hebrews as the month for marking the years.  It is possible, in Ezekiel's temple, that God is restoring the beginning of the Religious year to its rightful place instead of the Civil year. 

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
Every year on this day only, the High Priest entered past the Veil into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel.  The only thing needed to properly perform most sacrifices is an altar.  The Yom Kippur sacrifice however, requires the Tabernacle or Temple as well as the altar.  When the exiles began returning from Babylon, they immediately rebuilt the altar and began offering sacrifices upon it.  Only after this did they rebuild the Temple, and lastly the city walls.  At the moment Yeshua died on the cross the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom which was commonly understood by early believers to mean that the requirements of the Yom Kippur sacrifice had been fulfilled once and for all and it was no longer necessary to perform this sacrifice.  For these reasons I believe that the Veil represents the Yom Kippur sacrifice whereas the altar represents the actual sacrifices themselves (See also the section on The Lots below).  However, the altar was left intact indicating that the other sacrifices (mostly the daily sacrifices) were not done away with, for if God had put an end to all sacrifices at the moment of Yeshua's death then the altar would most likely have been destroyed as well.  In 70 CE the Temple with the altar were destroyed when the Romans sacked Jerusalem.  However, this does not mean that God put a permanent end to all sacrifices.  Both temples (Solomon's and Herod's) were destroyed on the same day (9th of Av) 656 years apart and for the same reasons: unbelief and hatred without cause (read Psalm 69 and Talmud, Yoma 9b).  If the destruction of the first temple meant a permanent end to all sacrifices then Yeshua's sacrifice would have been in vain.  In Ezekiel's temple there is no Yom Kippur sacrifice mentioned, however, the prophet sees all priests continually dressed as the high priest is on Yom Kippur (the High Priest would would wear all eight garments throughout the year but only the four purely linen garments while performing the Yom Kippur sacrifice).  This would seem to indicate a perpetual state of fulfillment of Yom Kippur, as provided for by the death of Yeshua (see the section on the Priests Garments for more information on this).  The concept of white robes is associated with the Cohen haGadol (the High Priest), who wore only white vestments while performing the Yom Kippur sacrifice.  Other daily sacrifices however are still performed, including sacrifice for sin (see the section on Sacrifices below). 

For more information on this see Yom Kippur and the Sacrificial System in YashaNet's Revelation study. 

Succot (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles)
This is the most joyous of all the Lord's festivals and is the one that all nations will be required to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate during the time of Ezekiel's Temple (Zechariah 14:16-21).  Succot (which is itself the seventh festival) is related to the Messianic Age.

Succot is to be celebrated for seven days. However, in Leviticus 23:36 it is written of Succot:

For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.

In the midst of describing a seven-day festival, God mentions an "eighth day." This "extra" day is called Shemini Atzeret ("the eighth conclusion"). It is celebrated on the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles, on the day of Tishrei 22. On Tishrei 23, is Simcha Torah, meaning "rejoicing in the Torah".  It is considered the eighth day of the celebration of Succot and represents Olam Haba, the time that comes after the Millennium. The eighth day is therefore, a picture of eternity — and rejoicing in eternity is associated with the Torah.  However, in Ezekiel's Temple there is no eighth day mentioned (Ezekiel 45:25).

Sabbatical Year, Year of Jubilee, New Moons
It is not certain whether the Sabbatical Year (when the ground is to lie fallow) will continue during the millennium as it is not specifically mentioned here.  However, the Year of Jubilee when all debts are forgiven, land is returned to original owners, etc. (Leviticus 25:10-55) will continue (Ezekiel 46:17) as well as the New Moon celebrations which mark the beginning of a new month (Numbers 28:11-15 and Ezekiel 45:17, 46:1, 3, 6).  NOTE: Just because the Sabbatical Year is not mentioned doesn't necessarily mean that it won't continue, unlike Yom Kippur which is specifically not mentioned when there is a new listing of the appointed festivals. 


The Temple Furnishings

Court of the Tabernacle and Temples
The Tabernacle had only one court surrounding the Tabernacle itself whereas Ezekiel's Temple has two courts (inner and outer) separated by three gates and a wall.  Solomon's Temple had two courts including a main court around the Temple known as the Great Court.  Virtually no details are given about the Temple that Zerubbabel built after the Babylonian exile (which was later refurbished by King Herod), but Nehemiah indicates that there was more than one court.  The design was probably similar to Solomon's. 

Nehemiah 8:16 (JPS)  So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the broad place of the water gate, and in the broad place of the gate of Ephraim.

Courts of the Priests, Israelites, Women, and Gentiles
Each Temple had a unique system of courts suited to the needs of  God's people of that era.  Solomon's Temple had a court of the Priests in addition to the main court (2 Chronicles 4:9).  Apparently Herod's Temple was the only one to have all of these courts. 

The Altar of Sacrifice
The Altars in the previous Tabernacle/Temples were equipped with a ramp facing south.  However, most all bible translations state that in Ezekiel's temple the altar has stairs leading up to the altar and they face east (Ezekiel 43:17).  But, I read one Jewish commentary which said that the Hebrew word actually means ramp.  So I presented the following question to an Orthodox rabbi: 

"... This presents some difficulties since the word for 'steps' (ma'alot) in Ezekiel is the same word used in Exodus 20:26 forbidding ascending the altar by steps.  How can this word mean 'ramp' when all the previous temples had ramps?"

This was his response: 

The Hebrew word in question is maalotehu, which is grammatically related to the Hebrew word maalot, meaning steps.  However, the original meaning of both words means "something by which one rises from one level to another."  In everyday language that means "steps."  However, an equally acceptable translation of maalotehu could be "its riser," which would not contradict the ramp in Exodus 20:26.

It is interesting to note that in the Jewish Publication Society translation of 1917 the verse is rendered, ". . . and the steps thereof . . . ," following earlier translations (the King James version?).  Not so their 1978 translation, "And the ramp shall face east."  There is a footnote in the 1978 translation: "Leading up to the altar. Cf. Exod. 20:23."

I guess we will have to wait until the Millennium to find out if it is really a ramp or steps. It is interesting to note, however, that many pagans approached their altars via steps from the east to worship the sun.  God did not want His Temple to be confused with that of a pagan temple.  During the Millennium there will be no pagan temples to worry about.  Also, in Ezekiel's Temple when the priests ascend the altar they will facing the Holy of Holies. 

The LaverBronze (or copper) footwash laver - courtesy of the Temple Institute
This was used extensively for washing (sanctifying) the hands and feet while performing the daily sacrifices and ten times on Yom Kippur (Mishnah - Yoma 3:3).  It is possible that such a device may be used again in Ezekiel's temple while performing the daily sacrifices, though it is not specifically mentioned in Scripture.  Solomon's temple was rather extravagant in that he made ten such lavers plus he made a molten Sea that contained fifty times more water than each of the lavers (1 Kings 7:23-40) .  This molten Sea was used for ritual immersion and cleansing in water called Mikvah (meek-vah) or baptism.  The lavers were to be used for washing the hands and feet but in Solomon's temple they were used for washing the sacrifices.  It is not clear whether they were also used for washing the hands and feet or if they used something else. 

2 Chronicles 4:6 (JPS) - He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as belonged to the burnt-offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in.

It should be noted, however, that the Jewish method of immersion is the source of Christian baptism, but it is different from how baptism is performed today.  It is mentioned in scripture (Leviticus 16: 4, 24, 26, 28) and in the Talmud/Mishnah (Tractate Mikvaoth).  An excellent book to read about ritual immersion is Waters of Eden - The Mystery of the Mikvah by Aryeh Kaplan. 

The Lots (for Yom Kippur)The Lots - courtesy of the Temple Institute
These were used on Yom Kippur to determine which goat was to be sacrificed FOR THE LORD ליהוה and which was to be used FOR AZAZEL לעזאזל the scapegoat.  The High Priest would remove the two lots from the lot box after shaking it and would hold the lots over the two goats while standing between them.  He would pick them up by their covers and they would flip open revealing their Hebrew inscriptions.   An accompanying priest would tell the High Priest which hand the Lot ליהוה came up in and the High Priest would hold that hand high up in the air indicating to everyone else which goat was to be sacrificed FOR THE LORD.  If this lot came up in the right hand it was considered a good omen, and if in the left hand, a bad omen.  It usually always came up in the right hand.  Also, a crimson strap was tied to the door of the Temple and would miraculously turn white (Isaiah 1:18) every year when the Scapegoat would reach the wilderness.  However, the Talmud records the following in Yoma 39b: 

"During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light [of the Menorah] shine; and the doors of the Hekal [Sanctuary] would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself? [meaning: predict thy own destruction]  I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee: Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars."

Yeshua was crucified on the Passover before this began to happen.  The Encyclopedia Judaica states that Yeshua was crucified in 30 AD.   Anti-missionaries such as Tovia Singer of Outreach Judaism make the claim that the above quote from the Talmud is only a small part of the story and is taken out of context and misapplied by people such as myself to try to prove that Yeshua's crucifixion put an end to these miracles and the Yom Kippur sacrifice.  To be fair, he has a very good point.  Tovia makes the following statement in regard to the context of this quote:

"Although missionaries cite the above statement which appears on page 39b, the discussion leading up to this quote begins on the previous page, 39a.  Quoting from a Baraisa*, the Talmud begins with a discussion of the deteriorating spiritual condition of the Jewish people during the second Temple period.  Throughout this fascinating discourse, the miraculous events that transpired during the Temple ceremonies are the barometer by which the Baraisa measures the religious decline of the nation of Israel during this difficult epoch in Jewish history.  The period of time examined in this assessment begins with the era during which Shimon HaTzaddik** officiated as the high priest until the time that the Romans destroyed the second Temple in the year 70 C.E.  More specifically, the Talmud breaks this period down into three successive stages, with the first stage being the most meritorious, the second marking a gradual spiritual decline, and the third the most deleterious." (1)

* A Baraisa is a statement made by a Tanna which was not included by Rabbi Yehudah Ha’nasi (approximately 200 C.E.) in the Mishnah.

** Shimon HaTzaddik (Simon the Just) succeeded Ezra during the early part of the second Temple period and officiated as high priest for forty years. Shimon was called “HaTzaddik” because of his faithfulness and his kindness to his countrymen (Josephus Antiquities 12:157).

Although people such as Tovia Singer discount this as having any reference to the crucifixion/atonement of Yeshua, I cannot help but think that it is more than just coincidental that Yeshua came at just the right point in Israel's history, when its spiritual condition was at it worst, to help bring to its people the atonement that was so much needed at that time.  (Click here to read the entire Talmud passage in question)

Table of Showbread
"Literally 'Bread of the Presence'.  It is described in Leviticus 24:5-9, where it is said to have consisted of twelve loaves of wheaten flour, corresponding in number to the tribes of Israel.  It was placed on the table on the Sabbath arranged in two rows, and left there until the following Sabbath.  When the loaves were removed, they were eaten by the priests.  The symbolic meaning of the showbread is a matter of conjecture.  Maimonides confesses, 'I do not know the object of the table with the bread upon it continually, and up to this day I have not been able to assign any reason to this commandment'.  Most commentators understand the Presence-bread as an expression of thankfulness and standing acknowledgment on the part of the children of Israel that God was the Giver of man's daily necessities. " (2)    (Click here for more information about the Showbread from the Temple Institute)

In John 6:30-51 and following, Yeshua compares himself to the manna that fell from Heaven and says: "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."  (John 6:35 KJV).  The table of Showbread is not mentioned in Ezekiel's Temple.

Altar of Incense
"Incense had a symbolic significance, and is evident from Psalm 141:2, 'Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee.'  It became a metaphor for fervent and contrite Prayer.  The Rabbis explained that the four letters of the Hebrew word for incense קטרת KeToReT stood for: קדוּשה  Kedushah, Holiness; תהרה Taharah, Purity; רחמים Rakhamim, pity; and תקוה Tikvah, Hope—a wonderful summary of the prerequisites of Prayer and of its spiritual results in the lives of men." (3)   There is no mention of the Altar of Incense in Ezekiel's Temple. 

The Menorah - courtesy of the Temple Institute The Veil
When Yeshua was crucified the Veil was torn in half—from top to bottom—indicating that the Yom Kippur sacrifice had been fulfilled once and for all.   In Ezekiel's Temple there is a door (or doorway) in place of the veil.  The significance of this door is uncertain. 

The Golden Lampstand (Menorah)
In Solomon's temple there were ten such menorahs, but there is none mentioned in Ezekiel's.  The Menorah is used to light the Sanctuary and it (especially the westernmost light) attests to mankind that the Divine Presence (Shekinah) dwells among Israel.  In Ezekiel's Temple the Shekinah will be present with the LORD in its fullness which the Menorah represents.  Incidentally, all throughout Jewish commentaries (such as the Talmud), the term "Candlestick" is used to refer exclusively to the seven branched Menorah and not a single candle holder. 

The Ark of the Covenant
In Solomon's Temple the Ark was positioned between two very large golden Cherubim whose wingspans together spanned the width of the Holy of Holies (1 Kings 6:23-28, 8:6-7).  However, according to Midrashic tradition, King Josiah commanded that the Ark and several other items be hidden under the Temple Mount before the Temple was destroyed.

In 1 Chronicles 28:18 the Ark is also referred to as a chariot whereas in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 we have a very mysterious and mystical vision of a throne chariot upon which God and/or the Son of God sits.  Is there possibly some link between this throne chariot and the Ark of the Covenant?  In Ezekiel's temple the throne is the Ark.  See the article The Ark Bears its Bearers from Bar Ilan University in Jerusalem for a fascinating look at the miracle of the Ark of the Covenant.  Also, according to the Talmud, not only did the Ark have no weight, it also occupied no space within the Holy of Holies!  Consider the following quote from the Talmud:

Talmud - Baba Bathra 99a

It teaches us this: [The space] below [was] as [that] above.  As [the space] above served no [material] purpose, so [the space] below served no [material] purpose.**  This supports R. Levi; for R. Levi — others say. R. Johanan — said: We have this as a tradition from our fathers [that] the place of the Ark and the Cherubim is not included in the measured [space].  So, indeed, it has been taught: The Ark which Moses made had a free space of ten cubits on every side.

** The Ark and the Cherubim, as stated infra, miraculously occupied none of the space of the Sanctuary.

It is almost as if the Ark is some kind of port hole (or "worm hole") into another dimension: the dimension of the Spirit/Divine.

1.  From "Rabbi Singer's Q & A" section on the Outreach Judaism website: http://www.outreachjudaism.org/Yomkippur.html

2.  The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Dr. J.H. Hertz, C.H., Second Edition, 1970, Soncino Press, London, p. 329 
3.  ibid p. 349 


The Priests Garments

Common Priests
There will still be the need for priests in Ezekiel's temple in order to perform the daily sacrifices. These priests wore garments made of white linen and included the turban (head piece), the long tunic or robe, a belt around the tunic, and long underwear that went down to the knees. Nothing here has changed for Ezekiel's temple. However, according to most Jewish commentators, the ordinary kohen (priest) will undergo a radical change reflecting an elevated life of sanctity and purity. In essence he will be almost parallel to the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) of previous times.  For more information on this, see the weekly Haftorah portion (reading from the Prophets), Parshas Emor, from the Torah.org website. 

The High Priest
The High Priest wore the same garments as a common priest and added to them the Breastplate, the Apron, the upper garment or robe, and the gold Frontlet or plate that attached to the Turban and upon which was written, KODESH L'YHVH קדש ליהוה (HOLINESS TO THE LORD).  These four additional garments were very colorful and were worn by the High Priest at all times except while he performed the Yom Kippur sacrifice.  However, he did where them on Yom Kippur for the regular daily services not related to the Yom Kippur sacrifice.   There is no High Priest mentioned in Ezekiel's temple as this will likely be fulfilled by the Prince or Messiah himself.  Scripture does not specifically state who this Prince is; some scriptures indicate that it might be King David (Ezekiel 34:23-24, 37:25), others suggest that it might be Messiah (Hebrews 3:1, 4:14, 6:20). 

The Sacrifices

The Daily Sacrifices – Burnt offerings, Meat (Meal) offerings,
Peace offerings, Sin offerings, Drink offerings, Trespass offerings
All of these will continue in Ezekiel's temple on a daily basis and during the remaining festivals.  These are literal sacrifices.  The common interpretation is that these are performed only as memorials or remembrances.  This is taught because the concept of performing sacrifices for sins does not fit into standard Christian theology, which teaches that Jesus (Yeshua) took all sacrifices away.  The following is one of the verses that is used to support this assertion (mainly because of the word "daily" in the verse):

Hebrews 7:27 (KJV) - Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

However, the latter part of the verse: "first for his own sins, and then for the people's" lends a major clue to what this is talking about.  This is performed only once a year, on Yom Kippur, not on a daily basis.  Thus, the word "daily" is a very poor translation for this verse. The word "daily" here is actually composed of two Greek words: kata (kat-ah'), Strong's # 2596, which has several meanings, and hemera (hay-mer'-ah), Strong's # 2250, which means "day".  What is troubling is the fact that this particular Greek word combination appears only in fifteen places in the "New Testament" and in every case (except this one) the context of the verse demands that it be (and is) translated as "daily".  However, when the word kata appears with other words it can take on several meanings based on the context of the verse.  It is used mostly to mean "according to" (107 times), "after" (61), and "against" (58), among others.  It is also used twice to mean "after the manner of" in 1 Corrinthians 15:32 and Galations 3:15.  Even though this two Greek word combination has been used exclusively to mean "daily", the use of the phrase "after the manner of" is not entirely out of line because it, like "daily", is used to connote a regular event or process.  In this case, it is an event that occurs once a year and not on a daily basis.  Thus, this last definition would more in line with the context of this verse/passage and should be written as follows:

Who needeth not after the manner of the day, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

The scriptures are very clear however about what things are done as memorials and remembrances. The following scripture verses show what are done as memorials

  • Exodus 3:15; 12:14; 13:9; 17:14; 28:12, 29; 30:16; 39:7 
  • Leviticus 2:2, 16; 5:12; 6:15; 23:24; 24:7 
  • Numbers 5:15, 18, 26; 10:10; 16:40; 31:54 
  • Joshua 4:7; Nehemiah 2:20; Esther 9:28; Psalms 9:6; 135:13; Hosea 12:5; Zechariah 6:14 
  • Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9; Acts 10:4 

Likewise the following scriptures show what are done as remembrances

  • Exodus 17:14; Numbers 5:15; Deuteronomy 25:19; 32:26 
  • 2 Samuel 18:18; 1 Kings 17:18; Job 13:12; 18:17 
  • Psalms 6:5; 30:4; 34:16; 38:1; 70:1; 77:6; 83:4; 97:12; 102:12; 112:6 
  • Ecclesiastes 1:11; 2:16; Isaiah 26:8; 43:26; 57:8; Lamentations 3:20 
  • Ezekiel 21:23-24; 23:19, 21; 29;16; Malachi 3:16
  • Mark 11:21; Luke 1:54; 22:19; John 14:26; Acts 10:31; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 11:24-25; 
  • Philippians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 1:3, 5, 6; 2:14 
  • Hebrews 10:3, 32, 2 Peter 1:12, 13, 15; 3:1; Jude 1:5, Revelation 16:19 

The word "memorial" does not appear at all in the book of Ezekiel whereas the word "remembrance" does appear in the book of Ezekiel but not in the last nine chapters which describe Ezekiel's temple.  Ezekiel tells us why these sacrifices are to be performed: 

Ezekiel 45:17 (KJV) - And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.

Here it is made very plain that these sacrifices are to be performed to make reconciliation.  They are not performed as memorials or remembrances.  What is not understood by most people is that there are apparently two levels of atonement: a higher Atonement of  Salvation (the Yom Kippur sacrifice that Yeshua fulfilled on Pesakh), and lower atonements of Reconciliation which will not be fulfilled until after His Millennial reign.  You may read in Hebrews 10:3 the following verse: "But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year."  The context in which this is written is the Yom Kippur sacrifice. 

Many well-meaning people misunderstand and thus misinterpret what the scriptures are really saying about this because they make the mistake of interpreting the "Old Testament" through the "eyes" of the "New Testament" and as a result can come up with all kinds of unbiblical and even screwball doctrines.  That's how many denominations and even cults get started.  On the contrary, the "New Testament" MUST ALWAYS be interpreted through the "eyes" of the Tanakh (Old Testament), especially when you consider the fact that there was no such thing as a "New Testament" in the first century.  The disciples and apostles preached from the Tanakh alone and lived their lives by it.  Here is an example of such an interpretation and its conclusion: 

Ezek 40-48 was provided as instructions to the exiles of Ezekiel's time concerning the rebuilding of the Temple, together with a new social contract between the princes and the people, with a wholesale repartition of the land of Israel, to include foreigners as well as Israelites.  This plan was never carried out according to the detailed instructions, though the reconstruction of the Temple under Cyrus and Darius represented a partial fulfillment. There is no biblical evidence that the Temple built after the exile followed Ezekiel's instructions. Certainly the land reforms were never carried out, and the princes in the post-exilic era do not appear to have carried out their duties as instructed. The miraculously flowing water (Ezek 47:1-12) has never had a literal fulfillment - either it was conditional on the fulfillment of Ezekiel's detailed construction, or it may have always been intended symbolically, a view to which John's use of the image in Revelation lends some support.  The displacement of the Old Covenant, with its human priesthood and animal sacrifices, by the New Covenant with its better promises, priesthood and sacrifice renders the physical Temple Ezekiel saw entirely obsolete.  These prophecies are therefore now incapable of fulfillment. The reality which it symbolizes will be fulfilled in the New Jerusalem described at the end of Revelation.  (Emphasis mine.)

However, Yeshua said: 

Matthew 5:17-19 (KJV) - Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The "commandments" that Yeshua refers to are the commandments of the Torah (Law) given to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. 

Many people will be surprised by my saying that there are apparently two levels of atonement, as it is not specifically stated in scripture.  However, this is not entirely foreign in Jewish theology (or Catholic theology for that matter as there exists the concept/doctrine of Mortal sins and Venial sins.  Where do you think they got it from?}.  Some forms of atonement absolutely require a blood sacrifice whereas others do not, such as the giving of the Half Shekel.  When the prophet Nathan exposed to King David his sin with Bathsheba, David repented of his sin and God forgave him (2 Samuel 12:13, Psalms 51:16-19).  His act should have cost him his own life to atone for the sin.  David, however, did not offer any kind of burnt offering where blood is shed.  He only repented.  This act of repentance did not save David as that was done every year on Yom Kippur through faith, rather it merely reconciled his relationship with God.  Salvation has always been by grace through faith even when Mosaic Law was fully functioning.  The only real difference in the "New Covenant" is that the Yom Kippur sacrifice of salvation was performed once for all by Yeshua's death on the cross/execution-stake and will no longer need to be performed.  However, if we as believers do something to sin against God, we still have to make reconciliation in some way for our sin in order to restore/repair our relationship with God.  This very same pattern will continue during the Millennium in Ezekiel's Temple; the only difference being that the animal sacrifices will be reinstated.  According to the Rabbis, ". . . the altar was the channel whereby the Israelite could seek reconciliation with God, from Whom he had become estranged by sin". (3)   The book of Hebrews is almost entirely devoted to the Yom Kippur sacrifice as this is primarily what Yeshua fulfilled. 

Our relationship with God can also be looked at as being a marriage.  God/Yeshua gave the Torah to his "wife" (Yisrael) as a Ketubah (wedding contract) when He "married" her near Mount Sinai in the wilderness of Midian and placed the Wedding Ring (the Sabbath) apon her finger.  For more information about the role of Torah in our lives and its being a Ketubah, I encourage you to get the book Torah Rediscovered by Ariel and D'vorah Berkowitz.

Daily offerings
In Exodus 29:38-42 and Numbers 28:3-10 it says that two lambs of a year old are to be offered as sacrifices every day; one in the morning and one in the evening. Curiously, in Ezekiel's temple only ONE lamb is to be offered every day; in the morning (Ezekiel 46:13-15).

According to Jewish allegorical interpretations of this scripture, the lamb that is offered in the morning is associated with God's attribute of Mercy and the one that is offered in the evening is associated with His attribute of Severity.  In the world to come (i.e. during the Millennium) Severity will no more be found in the world.  If this is true then there will not be the need to offer a lamb in the evening. 

The Red Heifer
"This ordinance is the most mysterious rite in Scripture, the strange features of which are duly enumerated by the Rabbis.  Thus, its aim was to purify the defiled, and yet it defiled all those who were in any way connected with the preparation of the ashes and water of purification.  'It purifies the impure, and at the same time renders impure the pure!'  So inscrutable was its naturethey saidthat even King Solomon in his wisdom despaired of learning the secret meaning of the Red Heifer regulations." (4)

"The marker for the transition is the passage describing the laws of the "red heifer," which fit the theme of death. It was selected because the way in which Jews will henceforth encounter death will be markedly different.   Technically, the laws of the "red heifer" as well as the laws of ritual purity applied to the members of the Exodus generation as they apply to all Jews in all historical periods. It is only the spirit of these laws that has affected the later generations in a totally different way. Thus, without being sprinkled with the ashes of the "red heifer," no Jew was ever allowed into the Tabernacle.  Every member of the Exodus generation had presumably come into contact with death at some point in life prior to the establishment of the Tabernacle and had to be ritually purified before he or she could enter its courtyard.  The same applies to us. When it is God's will to restore the Temple, we will have to be purified through the ashes of a "red heifer" before we will be allowed through its doors." (5)

"According to Scripture, the greatest defilement of all is death. Therefore, the sin offering for its purification was itself the most marked. Sin renders fellowship with God impossible; sin was death; it causes death (Romans 6:23). Death is evidence of its sway." (6)

"The Heifer was not a sacrifice in the sense of a blood covering for sin, but was a means or a process that was to bring a cleansing from defilement, or sin.  It wasn’t a substitutional sacrifice like the male goat of Yom Kippur, but a day by day cleansing as needed.

"The heifer itself will be burned in it’s entirety. It will not be separated out or the hide removed or the fat separated or anything like this. It’s bones are not broken, it is burned all at once. Yeshua went as he was, having been inspected for days by the priests and the teachers of the law, and they could find no flaw in Him, yet they killed Him. It was like those priests that inspected the red cow for any sign of defect or any white hairs.  And like the Heifer he became a cleansing for us all. 

"Hebrews 9:13-14 - The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

"The priest and the worker who burn the heifer are considered unclean. They must wash themselves and their clothes in water, and they still remain ceremonially unclean until the end of the day.  Yet those who are sprinkled with this same ash will be considered clean. It is interesting that for a Jew, if you touch, or embrace Yeshua, you have become unclean, yet we know that when Yeshua touches you, you become pure. He is that one grace that saves us from our uncleanness, not once a year, but in our daily walk with the Lord.  The Red Heifer (as is Yeshua) is a picture of Sanctification and purification."  (7)   There is no mention of the Red Heifer in Ezekiel's Temple most likely because Yeshua's sacrifice has permanently fulfilled the need for it.

Half Shekel
This was given as a support for the temple and as a ransom (or redemption price) for the souls of those twenty years and older, particularly those who would go to war.  This may no longer be necessary in the millennium. 

Nazarite Vow (Numbers 6:1-21)
During the time a Nazarite has his vow he is to abstain from: 

  1. Anything made from grapes (including all alcoholic beverages)
  2. Cutting his hair 
  3. Contact with a dead body

When the days of his separation are fulfilled he is to: 

  1. Offer a year old male lamb for a burnt offering 
  2. Offer a year old female lamb for a sin offering 
  3. Offer one ram for peace offerings 
  4. Offer a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat (meal) offerings, and their drink offerings. 
  5. Shave his head at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and burn it under the peace offering. 

"The Nazirite vow was often taken by men and women alike purely for personal reasons, such as thanksgiving for recovery from illness, or for the birth of a child.  The minimum period of the vow was thirty days, but we have instances of Nazirite vows extending over repeated periods of seven years.  Scripture records also life-long Nazirites, who, however, were not bound by all the regulations of the temporary Nazirite.  Mention is also made of the Rechabites, who abstained from wine (Jer. xxxv), and, in later times, The Essenes whose life was semi-monastic .  The institution disappeared in its entirety with the destruction of the Temple." (8)

"As the Nazirite had during his vow worn his hair unshorn in honour of God, so when the time was complete it was natural that the hair, the symbol of his vow, should be cut off at the Sanctuary.  In the times of the Mishnah, (9) a special room was assigned to the Nazirites for that purpose in one of the Temple courts." (10)

The apostle Paul (Shaul, pronounced Shah-ool) undertook two such vows in Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:20-28

Acts 18:18 - And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

"Having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow" describes a Nazarite vow.  The difficulty here is that he shaved his head in Cenchrea, not at the temple.  However, the Mishnah (a Jewish commentary on the Torah) says in Nazir 2:5 that a fellow Nazarite may take the hair of another Nazarite to Jerusalem and offer it in his stead.  Whether this is what happened here or not is uncertain.  In Acts 21:20-28 it is said that there was a report that Shaul was teaching the Jews living amongst the Gentiles to forsake Moshe and the Torah.  Knowing this report to be false the Messianic Jews in Jerusalem told Shaul to take with him four men who had taken a Nazarite vow and to pay their expenses so they could fulfill their vows.  At this point he could have disavowed having anything to do with Torah by refusing to do as they asked.  But, he didn't.  He paid their expenses willingly in order to prove that the report had been false.  Apparently, however, Shaul did not take a vow for himself but just paid their expenses which is no small matter for four men.  Unfortunately, this process was interrupted when the other Jews rioted after recognizing him and having heard the same false report.  He did however purify himself with them before going into the Temple which means that he baptized (immersed) himself in a Mikvah. 

The Nazarite Vow is not specifically mentioned in Ezekiel's Temple but that does not necessarily mean that this commandment won't be performed. 

3.  The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Dr. J.H. Hertz, C.H., Second Edition, 1970, Soncino Press, London, p. 334 
4.  ibid, p. 652
5.  The Tragedy of Tragedy, Torah Portion: Chukat, by Rabbi Noson Weisz, This article can also be read at: www.aish.com/torahportion/mayanot/the_tragedy_of_tragedy.asp
6.  "The Red Heifer" by William F. Dankenbring of Triumph Prophetic Ministries

7.  "The Purification by the Red Heifer" by Charles Ryalls  
8.  The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Dr. J.H. Hertz, C.H., Second Edition, 1970, Soncino Press, London, p. 592 
9.  Roughly 200 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. (The Mishnah, Danby - first sentence of the Introduction). 
10.  The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Dr. J.H. Hertz, C.H., Second Edition, 1970, Soncino Press, London, p. 594

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

It is clear by looking at the chart at the beginning of this article that not a whole lot has changed or will change from the time that God gave the Torah to Moshe on Mount Sinai till the end of the Millennium.  Attempts have been made in the past by people or organizations to change what God has ordained in His Word either deliberately through anti-Semitism or by ignorance (willfully or not) after the deliberate act. For more information on this I encourage you to get the book From Sabbath to Sunday by Samuele Bacchiocchi. (NOTE: Samuele is a Seventh Day Adventist and there are areas in his theology that I would strongly disagree with, but not on the subject of the Sabbath.  This is a very scholarly written book which systematically destroys all the arguments for Sunday now being the Sabbath).  It has only been in recent years that the Messianic Jewish movement in general and the Torah Observant/Nazarene Jewish movements more specifically have sought to get back to what it was really like in the first century.  Such is the purpose also of the YashaNet website.

Your comments on this article are greatly encouraged. 
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Suggested Reading

  1. Ezekiel 40:1-48:35 
  2. Exodus chapters 25-31 
  3. Leviticus chapters 1-5, 16 and 23 
  4. Book of Hebrews - I recommend that you read it in one sitting after reading about the Yom Kippur sacrifice in Leviticus 16
  5. Not Subject to the Law of God? 
  6. The Mishnah, tractate Yoma, if you can obtain a copy from a Jewish source. Yoma gives a lot more details about the events of the Yom Kippur sacrifice.

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