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Ezekiel's Millennium

  • Ezekiel's millennium chapters are some of the most difficult bible passages to understand.
  • Ezekiel's millennium describes animal sacrifices taking place, similar to the rites of the Old Testament.
  • Ezekiel also describes living waters, and an "healing of the sea" that will happen during the millennium.


The animal sacrifices that Ezekiel envisions in the millennium, are spiritual representations of the blood and body of Jesus Christ.

One of the most mysterious sections of the entire bible is the description of the millennium found in the last chapters of Ezekiel. Probably the most puzzling aspect of Ezekiel's millennium chapters is that they describe a millennium in which animal sacrifice is carried out, similar to the rituals of the Old Testament. If the millennium will be a purely spiritual time of teaching, wisdom, and enlightenment (see ch.26 Millennium Nations), then how can there be blood sacrifices going on? Further, if we take these verses literally (as is the habit of some), then we have a millennium that undermines the fundamental Christian belief of Christ crucified as the perfect sin offering, for one and all time.

To understand the deeper meaning of Ezekiel's vision of millennium sacrifice, we must first clear up a common misconception about Christ's crucifixion. Alot of people mistakenly believe that when a person is saved they all of the sudden become a discrete pillar of holiness and righteousness in the world. Such a self-righteous attitude runs counter to everything the scripture teaches us, because individuals can never become sanctified and holy in-and-of themselves. Rather, when a person is brought from darkness to light through Christ, they become a vessel or conduit of his holiness.

We know that Christ offered himself one time upon the cross, for the forgiveness of sins, "Nor yet that he [Christ] should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9.25-26 KJV bible). It is because of the perfect nature of Christ's offering that it does not have to be repeated, and persists unfaded and undiminished forever.

However, through faith we must continue to abide in Christ's sacrifice to be partakers of his triumph over sin and death. Christ continually sustains, purifies, and renews us in exchange for our faithfulness to him, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth [stays] in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide [stays] not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered..." (John 15.5-6 KJV bible). So Christ suffered once, and has risen from the dead, but we should think of the result of his crucifixion as an ongoing cycle in our lives.

As Christians, each transgression is fully and wholly forgiven one time, but we must continually receive from his sacrifice to renew us in our day to day struggles with sin, in a sinful world, "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10.26 KJV bible). This continual "partaking" of Christ is not only necessary in this age, but it will be in the millennium as well, even after the resurrection of the righteous.

Now we can begin to understand what the blood sacrifices depicted in the millennium truly signify. They are representations of the ongoing and unfailing spiritual reality of Christ's crucifixion, and can therefore be thought of as the blood and body of Jesus Christ.

Remember that Messiah was born according to the flesh as a descendent of David, through the nation of Israel. This is why in the millennium, Israel is depicted as bringing forth the produce from their land for the sacrifices at the altar, "Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are an homer: And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD" (Ezekiel 45.14-15 KJV bible). The different sacrifices described here are all spiritual constituents of Christ's perfect offering on the cross, and representative of his blood and body.

God's nation will regularly partake of Christ's perfect sacrifice throughout the millennium, in order to renew and sanctify themselves while teaching and leading the dead (see ch.24 Millennium People). However, the dead ones will only be allowed to partake of Christ's offering, and the resulting forgiveness of sins, if they are received by him in the second resurrection. This is why they are not mentioned in attendance at the millennial assemblies, and while they will enter Jerusalem, they are excluded from the millennial sanctuary, "Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel" (Ezekiel 44.9 KJV bible).

Ezekiel's vision of the living waters is symbolic of the reformation that will take place during the millennium.

In Ezekiel 47, we are given an in-depth spiritual metaphor that reveals information and details about the millennium. In his vision, Ezekiel sees a stream of water flowing outward from the altar of the temple, and downward into the countryside. Wherever this living water flows the ground brings forth lush vegetation, and there is abundant life, "And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh" (Ezekiel 47.9 KJV bible). However, in the places where the river does not go there is stagnation and the accumulation of salt, which prevents life, "But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt" (Ezekiel 47.11 KJV bible).

To understand Ezekiel's revelation, we must remember that in the millennium, the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11.9 KJV bible). We know that the truth will go outward from Jerusalem and eventually reach to the ends of the world. So in Ezekiel's vision, the stream of living water is symbolic of this downward flow of life-bringing knowledge to the nations. In the places where it goes there is renewal and vitality, but where it does not go there is a barren and lifeless landscape.

God's servants are then depicted as fishermen, drawing from the bounty of the living waters, "And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many" (Ezekiel 47.10 KJV bible). These fishermen are not desiring food, but rather seeking the souls of men from the waters (see ch.27 Children of the Millennium). Jesus uses this same metaphor for conversion when he says, "And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1.17 KJV bible). God's elect, from the first resurrection, will be drawing from the bounty of souls carried by the living waters.

Ezekiel also describes trees growing alongside the banks of these living waters, that bring forth fruit, "And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine" (Ezekiel 47.12 KJV bible). The fruit and leaves of these trees is not for sustenance of the flesh, but rather for the nourishment and healing of the soul. These trees bring forth fruit according to the twelve months of the year, and are therefore representative of the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel at this time will be a great blessing unto the nations, as they provide them with spiritual sustenance, (see ch.26 Millennium Nations).

The living waters are described as continuing their course eastward from the temple, and ultimately draining into the Dead Sea, "Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed" (Ezekiel 47.8 KJV bible). So the living waters issue forth from the temple, travel across the countryside, and then finish their course at the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is so-called, because its waters have such a high concentration of salt in them that no plants or animals can live there. However, in Ezekiel's vision, he describes the living waters draining into the Dead Sea and healing it, so that it can support life, "...which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed" (Ezekiel 47.8 KJV bible). The Dead Sea is used here to represent the sea of the dead, which is millennial Hades, "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [Hades] delivered up the dead which were in them..." (Revelation 20.13 KJV bible). So the flowing of the living waters into the realm of the dead (see also ch.24 Millennium People), will help many of them to reject darkness, and seek the Lord before it's too late.

However, there are places where the living waters will not bring forth life, and these places will be given to salt. The salt describes a state of spiritual stagnation and entrapment, similar to what happened to Lot's wife when she looked back at Sodom (Genesis 19.26). During the millennium, there will be many souls who remain encased in deception and lies, because the living water finds no place within them. They will most likely be deceived by Satan when he is released at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20.7-9).



Comments

Manny      11 Mar 2009, 14:17

Hi Doug,
I think I told you before that I used to study with Pastor Murray. I still think he is the best Bible teacher on TV. Lately I have been studying with Nick Goggin via his website www.biblestudysite.com, he happens to also be a former student of Pastor Murray. They agree pretty much on most things but their Millennium teachings. After further studying the Bible, Nick figures that the Millennium of Ezekiel was only to happen if Christ wasn't crucified, and so that now the Millennium of Revelations after the 7th trump is a new one and quite different than the Ezekiel Millennium. He goes into detail on his site and I was hoping that you could go to it and tell me what you think. I tend to feel and believe that this is the true plan of God for us. God bless you and keep up the good work.

Doug Buckley      11 Mar 2009, 18:24

Hi Manny,

His opinion about the millennium, particularly Ezekiel's millennium, is that the descriptions found in the Old Testament were only one possible outcome. In other words, if the Jews had received and accepted Messiah, then a literal flesh and blood millennium would have taken place, and Christ would have ruled as King from the temple. However, since he was rejected by the priesthood, a new covenant was made and therefore a different millennium will take place.

The problem here is that it's clear that it was God's plan from the beginning for Messiah to be crucified, and that God himself would make restitution for his people. This doesn't mean that God made the people do it, but God knew it would happen because of human nature being what it is, just like he knew Adam would transgress in the garden. Some OT references to the crucifixion are the "bruising of the heal" (a clear Messiah prophecy) all the way back in Genesis. We have Psalms 22, which describes the crucifixion, and the dividing of the garments. We have Joseph being sold into slavery for 30 pieces of silver, and then delivering his people as a type of Christ. We have the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. We have "strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered" in Zechariah 13.7. A lot of these verses are quoted in the NT as crucifixion references. So we know that there was no way that Christ would be received.

So then why describe a future millennium that couldn't happen? That would make Ezekiel's millennium a false prophecy, or at least very misleading. Ezekiel's millennium and many other passages have details that point to a spiritual interpretation. I address much of that in the millennial sections of "Risen From the Dust". Psalm 49 says we shall have "dominion over the dead", and so on. I don't interpret every single verse about the millennium, and there's a lot of stuff to cover still, but I think that there are many clues and ample evidence to interpret the OT millennium spiritually and not literally. I deal with issues like millennial children, and the "healing of the waters". There's other issues as well, but they all have answers to be sought out. I admit there's also some ridiculous interpretations of Ezekiel's millennium out there, but I think if its rightly-divided, a good and consistent spiritual interpretation can be made from it, since it is so rich in symbolism. - Doug Buckley

Chris      11 Mar 2010, 15:56

My Question is Why are your telling me a new blood offering has to be done after the cross ?

Hebrews is a good book to use on this doctrine. "Animial Sacrifices in the Future"
I am sure no other way is nessesary to come to God. Even Paul said "If any come to you with another Gospel " they are cursed"

Its hard to use the old testiment for Salvation on this side of the cross.
Shadows are what we see in the Old testiment. Very gloomy and dim.
Peace.

Doug Buckley      12 Mar 2010, 15:17

Hi Chris,
I'm not sure what your objection is as far as Ezekiel's millennium is concerned. I'm making the case here that there will be NO animal sacrifice in Ezekiel's millennium, but rather the animal sacrifices depicted are spiritual representations of Christ's offering on the cross, which is the true and eternal offering. Is not Ezekiel's millennium part of God's Word, so we have to try our best to understand it.

Nancy Russell      30 Sep 2011, 21:06

REV 22.2 HOW CAN ONE TREE OF LIFE BE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE RIVER? NOONE SEEMS ABLE TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION

Doug Buckley      01 Oct 2011, 03:08

Hi Nancy, there's a bunch of explanations, everything from a copyists error (there are some), to the idea that its saying the water of life branches around the tree. Most likely it means tree of life as a particular and special kind of tree, and there are many of them.

Glenford Wagner      09 May 2012, 12:25

Nick, my brother in the Lord I thank our father for you. I enjoy reading & studying reading God's Word. I must say I enjoy your writings, commenteries & just the atmosphere you bring to the ear. As the elders who has passed on to be with the father would say "it feels right, sound right, & proven right". I am glad I found your site. I pray that the God of our father & of Jesus Christ our Lord strengthens,binds & show you much grac

Doug Buckley      10 May 2012, 01:28

Hi Glenford, I'm not really sure if that compliment is directed at me, but this is my website and I'll be glad to accept it, thanks brother.

Celeste Duckworth      11 Jun 2012, 08:03

Hi Doug,
We are studying Ezekiel right now. I noticed a comment about the trees that produce meet and healing leaves in the book of Ezekeil 47.
We noticed that often in dealing with trees in Scripture that trees represent men. So yes your comment about Trees that grow MEAT they study DEEP and their roots go deep as in Psalm 1. These then represent RIGHTEOUS tress. The leaves (in the Torah scrolls the columns of hand written Scriptures on animal skin are called leaves) So These trees are deeply embedded into the Torah/Word and they have meat for their listeners, healing, and bear fruit for the healing of the nations. What do you think?

Doug Buckley      12 Jun 2012, 06:48

Hi Celeste, I believe that's the right interpretation of the trees in Ezekiel 47. It's been a while since I've read Ezkiel 47 but that explanation seems on the right track.

Celeste Duckworth      12 Jun 2012, 07:31

I thought so. The puzzle piece must fit just right. :)

PRODDOKU MADAN SOLOMON      19 Oct 2012, 05:53

Hi, I'm an ardent believer of Jesus from India. We believe in non-violence and vegetarianism. I had all along believed that in the millennial kingdom of Christ, the lion and the lamb would eat grass; that there would be no sickness, sorrow, pain or sin. It was most upsetting when I heard many Bible scholars teach there would be animal sacrifices of the Old Testament times in the millennial kingdom to remind us of the sacrifice made by Christ. This was most indigestible! It is such a relief that Ezekiel's millenium is to be taken in spiritual sense and literally. I am now encouraged to hold on to my faith which had been shaken up by such controversial teaching. Praise the Lord!

Doug Buckley      21 Oct 2012, 15:05

Hi Proddoku, you're thinking on the Ezekiel's millennium is right. Ezekiel's millennnium chapters are some difficult scriptures, and there are alot of ideas about them. I don't claim to be the final word on Ezekiel's millennium, but I can tell you without a doubt that God will not have people sacrificing animals in the millennium. The idea of separate covenants and people doing old testament sacrifices in the millennium is a denial of Christ. Christ completely fulfilled all these rituals because they were created by God as symbols and types that looked forward to him on the cross.

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14 KJV).
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