Concerning the Temple of Ezekiel’s vision, Smith’s Bible Dictionary expresses the commonly accepted view in the following language: “It is not a description of a Temple that ever was built or ever could be erected at Jerusalem, and can consequently only be considered as the beau ideal of what a Shemitic Temple ought to be. Notwithstanding its ideal character, the whole is extremely curious and shows what the aspirations of the Jews were in this direction.” To this view we can only ask, “Why may not all prophecy be regarded in the same light that the destructive higher critics of the present day? For our part, if plain statements of Scripture can be reduced to the mere imaginings of dreamy men, then all respect is ended either for the men who so pervert Scripture or for the Scriptures themselves as is too often the case. Of course, we retain our respect for the Word of God.
We accept, therefore, the interpretation of such expositors as Baumgarten, who is quoted in the Introduction to Lange’s commentary on Ezekiel. He argues: “When Israel as a nation is converted to God, how can and how dare they exhibit their faith and obedience otherwise than in the forms and ordinances which
Jehovah has given to this nation?” Might we add, particularly in view of this very prophecy of Ezekiel: “And is it not plain that only after this conversion will the whole law in all its parts receives that fulfillment always hitherto demanded in vain?” However, we cannot express, nor do we think it needful to express, our faith in the literal interpretation of the prophet Ezekiel in such extreme language as Baumgarten uses when he says: “The Church of God is to find its goal in the condition here seen and described by the prophet of Israel. At that goal, the Gentiles finally enter again into the community of Israel and find in the law of Israel their national statute-book according to the will of God.” The Talmudists taught that “the exposition of this portion (Ezekiel 40-49), relating to the setting up of the Temple and its ceremonies at Jerusalem, would first be given in Messianic times.” Suffice to say, when John appears to conduct the measuring of the Temple, altar and worshipers, we shall come to understand in full the mysterious portions of the prophecy of Ezekiel.