A common objection to the consistent literal interpretation of Bible prophecy is found in Ezekiel’s Temple vision (Ezek. 40—48). Opponents argue that if this is a literal, future Temple, then it will require a return to the sacrificial system that Christ made obsolete since the prophet speaks of “atonement” (kiper) in Ezekiel 43:13, 27; 45:15, 17, 20. This is true! Critics believe this to be a blasphemous contradiction to the finished work of Christ as presented in Hebrews 10. Hank Hanegraaff says that I have “exacerbated the problem by stating that without animal sacrifices in the Millennium, Yahweh’s holiness would be defiled. That, for obvious reasons, is blasphemous.” He further says that such a view constitutes a return “to Old Covenant sacrifices.”1
“Is it heretical to believe that a Temple and sacrifices will once again exist,” ask John Schmitt and Carl Laney? “Ezekiel himself believed it was a reality and the future home of Messiah. Then, it becomes not heresy to believe that a Temple and sacrifices will exist; rather, it is almost a heresy to not believe this, especially because it is a part of God’s infallible word. The burden on us is to determine how it fits—not its reality.”1 At least four other prophets join Ezekiel in affirming a sacrificial system in a millennial Temple (Isa. 56:7; 66:20-23; Jer. 33:18; Zech. 14:16-21; Mal. 3:3-4), which supports a literal and thus futurist understanding of Ezekiel.