Should the temple prophesied in Ezekiel 40-48 be understood as literal, figurative, or both? What specifics in the Ezekiel passage and the Old Testament prophets give insight as to whether it is literal, figurative, or both? How does the further revelation in the New Testament impact the understanding of this OT prophecy? What specific NT passage bear most directly on this question?
Ezekiel 40-48 refers to the offering of sacrifices at the future temple. How is this aspect of the prophecy understood? What problems/issues does this raise? How does the New Testament influence whether we should understand these sacrifices literally or figuratively?
I will certainly assist you in completing your assignment.
This particular passage has been one of controversy among Biblical scholars so I will do my best to provide you with information that is accurate.
The following link provides seven views regarding the temple:
The Interpretation of Ezekiel 40-48
To summarize the information:
1. The temple was built by Solomon and destroyed by Babylonians prior to captivity.
2. The temple was a prophetic description of the temple built in Jerusalem after the return from the seventy years in Babylon.
3. Ezekiel's description of the temple and the ceremonies connected with it were intended as a pattern which the returning Jews were to follow.
4. Ezekiel's intent in these nine chapters was merely to present "a figure of the redeemed of all ages worshiping God in heaven.".
5. Allegorical view: Parallels are drawn between the various elements in the prophecy and elements within the relationship between Christ and the Church.
6. Prophetic Parable: Ezekiel's intent was to bring comfort and edification to his contemporaries in exile, and to the following generations.
7. Literal Interpretation: Belief in the reference to a literal temple where literal sacrifices are carried out through a literal priesthood, and that there is a literal stream issuing from the temple, etc.
This solution provides a guide in understanding the temple and offering of sacrifices as described in Ezekiel 40-48.