This passage, as you know, describes a temple and temple worship that has obviously not yet existed. Several details from this passage seem to place it in the future kingdom age. This is called the thousand year reign in Revelation 20 and it refers to the time when Jesus Christ returns to the earth and rules on it for a thousand years. It is the period after the time of tribulation and before the destruction of the earth and heavens and the creation of a new heaven and earth. Here are some reasons I place it in the kingdom age.
- The temple described here is larger and greater than any previous temple--even grander than the temple of Solomon. It must belong to a grand age like the kingdom age.
- It is a time of peace on the earth. According to Ezekiel 47:22-23, the strangers (foreigners) that are born among the Israelites shall have an inheritance with Israel among the tribes of Israel.
- A prominent person in this passage is called the prince (Ezekiel 44:3; 45:7, 16-17, 22; 46:2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 16-18; 48:21-22). Ezekiel is writing about the same time as Daniel who speaks of "Messiah the Prince" (Daniel 9:25). This refers to Jesus Christ and He is most likely the prince in Ezekiel. Christ is called the "Prince of Peace" in Isaiah 9:6, the "Prince of life" in Acts 3:15, and "the prince of the kings of the earth" in Revelation 1:5. Acts 5:31 says that God has exalted Him "with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour." The thousand year reign is when Christ rules on the earth (see also Psalm 2:6-12). This is evidently the time of Ezekiel 40-48.
- We know that it is not referring to the time of the new earth (which occurs after the great white throne judgment) because of the prominence of the sin offering in this passage. The sin offering is mentioned 14 times in Ezekiel 40-48. But God says that righteousness dwells in the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13). That is, there will be no sin in the new earth. However, we know from other passages that there will still be sin during the kingdom age. Those born during this time will still have a sin nature and will even rebel against Christ when Satan is loosed for a little season at the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20:7-9).