Have you ever thought you understood something and then realized you didn’t understand it as much as you thought? I used to think I had a pretty good understanding of the Bible. Sure, there are areas that I haven’t delved into, like the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom. Still, aside from those areas, I thought I had a good grasp of the Bible until today when I was reading Ezekiel 45. 

I only recently figured out that Ezekiel 38-39, where he talks about Gog and Magog, is about the Tribulation. The other day, while reading Ezekiel 40-44, I realized that all of the descriptions of the temple weren’t for a new temple to be built after the return from Babylon. However, I didn’t think much about when this temple would be built. In fact, I thought it was just a description of the temple that could be, or perhaps it was a picture of the “perfect” temple. Hence Ezekiel 43:10, where the Lord told Ezekiel to describe the Temple to the Israelites, so they would be ashamed of their sins. Yet today, while reading Ezekiel 45, the Lord is giving Ezekiel instructions about sacrifices and offerings, and I got confused. If the temple described earlier in Ezekiel hadn’t been built and was just a vision, then why all the descriptions of feasts, sacrifices, offerings, etc.?

Well, it turns out that Ezekiel 40-48 is about the Millennial reign of Christ. I had no idea. I suppose I always gave most of my attention to Ezekiel 1-37 while not focusing much on 38-48 because they talked a lot about building the temple. 

I now know that Ezekiel 40-48 is about the Millennial reign of Christ, so I have questions. 

In Ezekiel 45, Ezekiel talks about a prince. I suspect one reason I thought Ezekiel 40-48 had already happened is because of passages like this. 

“‘The prince will have the land bordering each side of the area formed by the sacred district and the property of the city. It will extend westward from the west side and eastward from the east side, running lengthwise from the western to the eastern border parallel to one of the tribal portions. This land will be his possession in Israel. And my princes will no longer oppress my people but will allow the people of Israel to possess the land according to their tribes. “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have gone far enough, princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Stop dispossessing my people, declares the Sovereign Lord (emphasis added).

Ezekiel 45:7-9 (NIV)

We see what will happen juxtaposed with what has happened. The old princes were bad, and the new prince will be good. Verses 10-18 discuss using accurate weights and measures and provide instructions about offerings. Verses 18-19 are where I come to a complete stop.

“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In the first month on the first day you are to take a young bull without defect and purify the sanctuary.'” The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, on the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar and on the gateposts of the inner court.

Ezekiel 45:18-19 (NIV)

Why are there sacrifices if this takes place in the Millennial Kingdom? What does Hebrews tell us?

It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews 10:4 (NIV)

Animal sacrifice never made up for sin. Never. Not even one. 

The best answer I’ve found about animal sacrifice in the Millennial Kingdom is that it will be a reminder of the penalty of sin and how it destroys. Similar to taking communion and the Lord’s Supper. 

Over the years, I’ve read things in the Bible I didn’t understand and some things that seemed odd to me. I’ve had questions that haven’t been answered, and I’ve been okay with that. Yet, these last books of Ezekiel raise some interesting questions and bring me to a new level of not understanding. However, I trust the Lord, and as I mull over what I’ve recently learned, I am humbled. Without a doubt. I’m also excited and curious because now that the Lord’s brought this illumination to me, what else might be in store?