We will include Eze 40 with today’s reading also, which is the beginning of Ezekiel’s vision of the temple.
This vision of a temple was shown to Ezekiel after the destruction of Solomon’s temple while the children of Judah were still in captivity in Babylon. When Judah returned to Israel, when Cyrus, king of Persia, became king of the Babylonian empire, they rebuilt the temple. The temple that they rebuilt, that Herod added to, which was the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was on the earth, was not this temple that Ezekiel is seeing.
Because Messiah the prince figures in the vision in later chapters, it has been proposed that this vision is of a third temple which is yet to be built, but which will be built before or during the Millennial Kingdom.
My own belief is that Jesus said that when the second temple is destroyed, He will rebuild the temple of God in three days:
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. Joh 2:13-22
The third temple, that will follow upon the destruction of Herod’s temple, is the one that Jesus will raise up in three days, the temple of His body. Beloved, we are the body of Messiah (1 Cor 12:12-27). We are the third temple, the dwelling place of God in the earth in these days (1 Cor 3:16, 1 Pet 2:4-5).
Therefore I think we have to be careful, when we listen to end time teachers say that the antichrist will do thus and so in a third temple which will be built in Jerusalem. It may be that the antichrist will do thus and so in the third temple before the return of Messiah Yeshua, but are we absolutely certain that those things will take place in a physical building? We must know the Scriptures, so that we are not deceived.
So what is Ezekiel seeing? I do not know for sure — speculation is out on that, and we will not know for sure until the prophecy has come to pass. I have found some helpful research linked below:
For further reading:
The Temple of Ezekiel by Lambert Dolphin
The Millennial Temple by Paul Jablonowski (please be sure to read part 4, Millennial Temple Order of Service, and the answer to the question, Are animal sacrifices in a future temple blasphemous towards the finished work of Jesus. Since Ezekiel clearly sees animal sacrifice as part of his temple vision, this discussion attempts to answer that question thoughtfully and scripturally.)