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    14 THE SANCTUARY OFFERED BY EZEKIEL

    JERUSALEM, the temple, and the sanctuary, were destroyed in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, B.C. 588. Fourteen years after this, B.C. 574, Ezekiel, himself among the captives of Israel, was moved to describe a very remarkable sanctuary, into possession of which they were to come, if on their part they would comply with certain conditions. This is recorded in chapters 40 to 48, of his prophecy.STTHD 162.1

    It is certain that this sanctuary has never been built. It becomes therefore a matter of interest to inquire why. Is it because the conditions were not complied with on the part of the people? or is it because, as some of late years have claimed, this prophecy pertains to the future, and the time has not yet come for its fulfillment?STTHD 162.2

    Let us then see if we can ascertain from the specifications of the prophecy itself, in what dispensation it was to be fulfilled. The conclusion is very easily reached, that it was designed to be fulfilled, not in the future dispensation, which is the immortal state; not even in the present dispensation; but in the past. This will appear evident from a few of its statements.STTHD 162.3

    1. It was to be fulfilled while circumcision was in force. Ezekiel 44:9. But circumcision was abolished at the first advent. Galatians 5:2; 6:12.STTHD 163.1

    2. It was while divorce was allowed. Ezekiel 44:22. But this is now done away. Matthew 5:31, 32; 19:8, 9.STTHD 163.2

    3. It was to be while the distinction between meats, clean and unclean, was recognized. Ezekiel 44:23, 31. But that does not now hold. Acts 10:11-16; Romans 14.STTHD 163.3

    4. Sacrifices, offerings, burnt-offerings, and sin-offerings, of bulls and goats, were then in force. Ezekiel 46. But they are not now acceptable to God. Hebrews 10.STTHD 163.4

    5. The feasts and the Jubilee were then in force. Ezekiel 45:21-25; 46:9, 11, 17. But they were nailed to the cross. Colossians 2:14-17.STTHD 163.5

    6. The Levitical priesthood was then in force. Ezekiel 40:46; 44:15. But the priesthood of Melchisedec, which passeth not to another, has taken its place. Hebrews 5:6.STTHD 163.6

    7. It was to be while “the middle wall of partition” existed, as all these ordinances prove, as well as the acknowledged distinction between “the seed of the house of Israel” and the stranger. But this wall of partition is now broken down, and this distinction no longer exists. Ephesians 2.STTHD 163.7

    These facts point out with sufficient distinctness the time when this sanctuary was to be built, if it should be built at all. Why, then, was it not built? The answer is clear: The people did not comply with the conditions on which it was offered. It was to be established with them on the condition that they were ashamed of their iniquities, and put them away. Ezekiel 43:11. But Jeremiah, speaking prophetically of what would be, says, 6:15, that they were not ashamed when they had committed abomination. And this the event proved; for when the offer was made by Cyrus to all in the captivity to return to their own land, only a few availed themselves of the privilege to go back to Jerusalem. Thus they slighted the inestimable blessings offered them; and the sanctuary set before them in their captivity, which they might have had, was never erected.STTHD 164.1

    What then shall we say of those who make this a prophecy to be fulfilled in the future age? A few considerations will show the folly of such an application.STTHD 164.2

    1. In the future state, Christ is to be the Prince over Israel; and there is to be but one. Luke 1:32, 33. But the prince brought to view by Ezekiel is a poor, frail mortal, as is shown by the following representations made concerning him.STTHD 165.1

    2. He is commanded to offer a bullock, as a sin-offering for himself. Ezekiel 45:22. But Christ, the Prince of the future state, is himself the great sin-offering for the world. 1 John 2:1, 2.STTHD 165.2

    3. He was to offer all manner of offerings for himself. Ezekiel 46:1-8. But Christ caused all this to cease at his death. Daniel 9:27.STTHD 165.3

    4. God says to the princes mentioned by Ezekiel, Take away your exactions from my people. Ezekiel 45:9. But when Christ reigns there will be nothing oppressive; for the officers will be peace, and the exactors, righteousness. Isaiah 60:17-19.STTHD 165.4

    5. Ezekiel’s prince was to have sons and servants to whom he might, if he chose, give an inheritance; but it was to return to him in the year of Jubilee; and he was forbidden to oppress the people. Ezekiel 46:16-18. Surely it would be blasphemous to apply this to Christ, to whom it must apply if this prophecy has reference to the future state.STTHD 165.5

    6. And finally, in the state of things Ezekiel brings to view, there are marriages, divorces, and deaths. Ezekiel 44:22, 24-27. But in the future state they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are equal unto the angels, and can die no more. Luke 20:35, 36.STTHD 166.1

    Thus it is demonstrated, first, That Ezekiel has no reference to the world or age to come; secondly, That he has no reference to the present dispensation; thirdly, That his prophecy refers wholly to the past or Mosaic dispensation; fourthly, That the prophecy was conditional, and the time having passed and the conditions never having been complied with, it never has been, and never is to be, fulfilled.STTHD 166.2

    To the building offered by Ezekiel, the word sanctuary is eighteen times applied in the following instances: Ezekiel 41:21, 23; 42:20; 43:21; 44:1, 5 (verses 7, 8, refer to Solomon’s temple), 9, 11, 15, 16, 27; 45:2, 3, 4, 18; 47:12; 48:8, 10, 21.STTHD 166.3

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