Beale: The Geography of Worship

“[An issue arises] whether to take literally Ezekiel’s apparent portrait of Jerusalem as the center of the world to which Gentiles must come in order to be related to God (Ezek. 47). If taken in a narrowly literal manner, then the redemptive-historical principle of John 4:21, 23 would be radically violated: ‘an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father but an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in [the Holy] Spirit and truth’.

This principle is related in Jesus’ mind to Ezekiels’s vision. Jesus alludes to the water flowing from Ezekiel’s end-time temple in John 7:38 and interprets it of himself and of the Spirit in relation to believers, a passage that further develops the ‘living water’ theme of John 4. One could say, therefore, that just as the picture in Ezekiel 47 of Jerusalem as the center for world worship is meant to be taken figuratively on the basis of Jesus’s teaching, so also is all of Ezekiel 40-48 to be taken.”

-G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, 2004, 345.

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