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Have you heard of the Lost Tribes of Israel? According to history, even Jewish history, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel were lost in 722 BC when Assyria invaded Israel, conquering the northern kingdom. At best, the people from these twelve tribes were assimilated into the population. Yet the Bible assures us they are not lost.

Most Biblical evidence demonstrating these tribes aren’t lost comes from the New Testament. Therefore, I could understand that those who practice Judaism wouldn’t believe New Testament claims about the twelve tribes. However, Ezekiel 48, in the Old Testament, deals with the Millennial Reign of Christ, as we who practice Christianity understand.

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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.?

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When God speaks to us, he does so in a language we’ll understand. If you only speak English, he won’t talk to you in Chinese, and if you only speak Chinese, he won’t talk to you in English. As I’ve been reading through Ezekiel, I’ve come to the part of it that always gives me pause. The description of the Temple.

The last eight books of Ezekiel (40-48) primarily deal with the Temple’s restoration. Within these books, we encounter the “cubit” and “long cubit.” Two terms are used for measuring distance. If you’re reading the King James translation of the Bible, you get the term for the measurement of “reeds.” Unless it’s a study Bible, you probably have no footnote translating that into something you understand. Unless, of course, you are familiar with the term reed.

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The other day someone asked a question about Revelation 21:4. 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

“Why,” they asked, “would there be crying in Heaven?” 

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