Question: Why will there be a temple during the millennium? Will there be sacrifices and if so, why?
Biblical theologians have grappled with this interesting question over the centuries. But all are left with the same dilemma… Scripture seems to indicate that, in fact, there will be a renewed physical temple and a system for worship practiced in the millennial kingdom!
Scripture indicates that the millennium will be a time of special ministry by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 32:15) to not only the church-age saints, but also Israel. In fact, Scripture indicates worship will be at the center of millennial life! (Joel 2) A large portion of the activities during the millennium are direct fulfillments of God’s promises to Israel, and those promises often center upon the complete and unfettered worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
So it stands to reason that God’s covenant relationship with Israel would include specific promises being fulfilled during this time. For example, Ezekiel 40-48 declares that a magnificent temple will be constructed and a system of priestly and memorial sacrifices will be set up during this time. It seems clear that the sacrifices are not for the removal of sin, as they were in the OT system, but rather now serve as a unique means of memorial worship to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for His “once for all” atoning sacrifice for His people!
While a complete answer to the question of the temple and sacrificial system remains somewhat confusing, the main point is clear:
In keeping with God’s promises to Israel, there will be an ordered system of worship once again in a renewed temple in Jerusalem.
In the final verse of the 48th chapter of Ezekiel, a glorious purpose for the renewing of Jerusalem and construction of the magnificent millennial temple is given;
‘The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city form that day shall be, ‘The Lord is there’ “(Ezek 48:35)
For a fuller discussion on this and other related topics regarding the millennium, I recommend the following article:
‘The Glorious Restoration of Israel in the Millennium” by Dr.John Walvoord
this article can be accessed at bible.org