(Chapters twenty-one and twenty-two deal with the literal versus the non-literal interpretation of Scripture).
The Literalist View: Sees this passage as the continual, exact description of our inheritance and hope—Heaven. This passage also sets up the second coming of our Lord. Some in this camp debate whether the Temple will be rebuilt and if this, along with the previous and coming passages, describes this new temple built on the mount, as the armies of the Muslim world seek to destroy it while God protects it. Some of this theory’s main points are that God will use this altar of the Holy of Holies as His main communion with humanity in a millennial kingdom or in a Heavenly kingdom. Some in the non-literalist camp hold to this view too.
The Non-Literalist View: They see this passage as clearly symbolic drawing mainly from the Old Testament in Ezekiel 47 and the New Testament in John 7 as meaning God keeps His promises and will provide for us in abundance now and forevermore. This is about how God dwells among us through His Church and that our purpose is to worship Him. Others see this as our future abode of Heaven and eternity. Some see this as about the advancement of the Gospel and the building of the Church for His glory. The Church becomes the refuge of Ezekiel (Ezek. 17:22-23; 47).
The point in these views?
Most in the literal camp are the futurists and dispensationalists who do not always do a good job at looking to context or word meanings or genres, which are essential for accurate Bible interpretation. In contrast, many in the non-literalist camp miss the point of the passage all together. Remember, these are man’s theories read into the text, and not necessarily taken from the text. What do we need to know? God does not always give us explanations to live by; He gives us His promise and His empowerment! God is most concerned with what these images represent—the “living water” from John 7:37-39. He is our substance, hope, and life that we are to live for now and that we will have forevermore.