By Pr Isaiah White
Hope is a very powerful thing. In fact it is the justification of every difficult life lived today. Prophets of Israel presented this truth through their oracles and Ezekiel presents to us the global one.
It begins with the Temple
Hope in the book of Ezekiel does not end with the restoration of Israel and the defeat the Gog and Magog of the nations. There is a hope which is the last thing (eschaton) of the last things (eschatology) and that hope is one of the creation of all things anew.
The creation of the new world, however, begins with the temple. According to prophet Ezekiel the hope of the new world order begins at the temple. To the prophet, the Temple is the source of all the peace, prosperity and stability of the entire creation. The problems of the entire world begin with the defilement of the Temple (Ezekiel 8:5-6, 10-11, 14-16) and can only be solved by its restoration (Ezekiel 40-48).
The hope of the universe, therefore, is in the Temple. Ezekiel in his endeavour to constitute the hope for new world order begins with the truth that the Temple is not to be rehabilitated but to be replaced by a New Temple (Ezekiel 40:1-47). While the Temple motif is rampant with Ezekiel, it runs through almost all the exilic and post-exilic prophets to the New Testament gospels (synoptic).
Seven realities of the Temple
In most of the prophets, the temple is conceived as the place of seven realities:
- Yahweh’s presence
- A centre of God’s self-manifestation, home of His glory
- A centre of divine worship, thus a religious centre of the world
- A place of human meeting with the divine and a social centre
- A channel of salvation
- An emblem of the community’s autonomy and distinctiveness
- The economic and administrative centre of the community
You are that Temple
Though the Prophet imagines a new, bigger and better Temple in relation to the Babylonian shrines he sees and the Jerusalem Temple he knew (1Kings 6-7), he is inspired to communicate to us that the Temple prophesied here is different and it can only be what Apostle Paul talks about (1Peter 2:5; 1Corinthians 3:15-20; 6:14-19; Ephesians 2: 19-22) and what Jesus Christ confirmed (Mathew 12:6).
A New World Order
The imaginative theology of Ezekiel is about the new Temple. He goes ahead on the Temple restoration and discusses the restoration of the Temple area (40:1-47), the restoration of the great altar (43:13-27), the reinstitution of a better priesthood (chapter 44), the return of a pure theocratic order of government (chapters 45-46), and the return of God’s glory (43:112).
With this hope of the temple, restoration comes with a public hope of the river of life from the temple (Ezekiel 47:1, revelation 22:1), the gift of land (47:13-23; 48:1-29) and an eternal city (48:30-35). A serious look of this portion of hope for the New World Order communicates that the prophet envisions a new and better garden of Eden (Genesis chapters 1-2) and anticipates the eschatological new city of Revelation (3:12; 21:1-27).
Right here in the prophets, we have Christian eschatology explained and our hope of the Second Coming and the coming of the new world order proclaimed. Our hope is not that of a better and friendlier super-power against the existing one solving the same problems of God and Magog whose destiny is ultimate defeat but a divine undisputed New World Order is our hope.