THE COMING TEMPLE
By William L. Payne
One thing that is
very clear in God’s Word is that Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth
and set up his kingdom, ruling out of Jerusalem, Israel. Jesus’ return is
referred to 1,845 times in the Bible, with 1,527 of those being in the Old
Testament and 318 in the New Testament. For every reference to his first coming,
there are eight references to his Second Coming. The Bible exhorts us, over
fifty times, to be ready for his return. I personally believe we are living in
those days now. The signs are everywhere, which brings us to this teaching on
the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Two of the most important subjects in regard to Bible prophecy have to do with the reestablishment of Israel as a nation and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is interesting that the Israeli government, as well as the orthodox Jews, believe that there are two things that are necessary in order to bring about the complete restoration of Israel, one being that the nations of the world recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, and the other, the rebuilding of the Temple. According to God’s Word, as well as secular history, we know that the First Temple, built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., and the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. But the Bible speaks of two other Temples that will be built in Jerusalem, one before the Tribulation Period, and the other during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. The millennial Temple is spoken of in Ezekiel, chapters 40 through 48, Zechariah 6:12-15, Isaiah 2 and Micah 4. In this teaching I will deal primarily with the soon coming Tribulation Temple.
Randall Price, in his book The Coming Last Days Temple, page 24, quotes a prominent Jewish historian, Israel Eldad, in regard to the Temple "We are at the stage where David was when he liberated Jerusalem. From that time until the construction of the Temple of Solomon only one generation passed. So will it be with us". Israel took the Temple Mount back on June 7, 1967, which has now been 38 years. Although the Muslims run the Temple Mount, it is still under Israel’s sovereign control, and one day soon there will be a Jewish Temple built on that 35 acre site. This 35 acres is the most valuable and most volatile piece of real estate on the planet, and only God can work out the solution on the rebuilding of this next Temple since the Muslims will not give up the Temple Mount. However, we can rest assured that a Temple will soon be built.
God’s Word Requires the Temple to Be Rebuilt.
For over 2,000 years the Jewish people have been without a Temple in Jerusalem, but the Bible states that one day the Jewish people would return to their own land and rebuild their Temple. Over the last 57 years, since Israel became a nation again in 1948, and especially since 1967 and the Six Day War, when the Israeli army captured Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, there has been a major move among the Jewish people to rebuild their Temple. In October of 2004 a new Jewish Sanhedrin was established for the first time in 1600 years. The former Sanhedrin was the legal-religious governing authority in Israel when Jesus Christ was on earth the first time. Last month the new Sanhedrin elected a head, along with seven committee members to oversee everything. Their primary objectives are two-fold. First, they want to become, once again, the legal and religious governing authority in Israel. And secondly, they want to rebuilt the Temple. Architectural drawings and plans are being brought together right now in order to expedite this.
According to Acts, chapter 15, verses 13 through 18, during the first Jerusalem Council in Jerusalem, James, the brother of Jesus, stated that a remnant of Jews would return to the land of Israel in the last days, become a nation again and rebuild the Temple.
James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, (Amos 9:11-14) After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. (Emphasis mine).
Then in Revelation, chapter 11, verses 1 and 2, it shows that there must be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation Period of these last days before Jesus Christ returns. John, the apostle is writing about his revelation from the Lord, and what will happen during the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27), as we know it, the Tribulation Period.
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
There are those who believe that this was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed the Temple, but the Word of God and history disagree. Let’s look at Daniel 9:26-27.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (seven years, each day in this particular week represents one year): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
In verse 26, it says that Messiah will be cut off. That represents Jesus’ crucifixion. Secondly, it says that "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." In other words, the people of the prince represent the Romans, who destroyed the city and sanctuary in 70 A.D., but this prince would come later, which shows that there is a time gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel. This is also borne out in verse 27 where it says that he "will confirm the covenant with the many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease..." This tells us that there has to be another temple rebuilt because this prince, who will come from the revived and revised Roman Empire, will: 1. Make a covenant with the many, which I believe includes Israel, but not only Israel. (Rome, nor Titus, the Roman general, who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D. never made a covenant with Israel), 2. This man, the antichrist, desecrates the rebuilt temple, and afterward he is destroyed. Titus did not fulfill this role. As Randal Price says, "If the desecrated and destroyed Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. was the fulfillment of the abomination of desolation, it leaves no correspondence with Daniel 9:27, for both the covenant is missing and the destruction of the desolator has to be construed differently. These points show us that these scriptures are yet to be fulfilled in our days".
What Are the Purposes for Rebuilding?
The First and Second Temples were the focal point of Jewish social, religious and political life. It was here that they offered their sacrifices to the one true God. It was here that the Shekinah (glory) of God dwelt. And it was from here that the Jewish Feasts were carried out. Everything evolved around the Temple. As I stated earlier, the Jewish people have been scattered throughout the world for over 2,000 years. During all of this time Jerusalem, and the land of Israel, for the most part, lay desolate. A rebuilt Temple would do several things.
1. A rebuilt Temple would unite the world’s Jewish people. It would represent the national sovereignty of Israel.
2. The rebuilt Temple would become the focal point of prayer for the Jews. It would unite them in prayer. When we look at the Bible in I Kings, chapter 8, beginning with verse 22 through 53, we see King Solomon kneeling before God on the Temple Mount and praying with the people, asking God that whether they go out to war, seek forgiveness, need rain, need their crops to grow, etc., when they pray toward the Temple that He would hear from heaven and answer their prayers. Solomon also included in his prayer the stranger that would come to Jerusalem to worship. In verses 28 through 30 Solomon petitions God.
Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee today: That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place:..
The Bible tells us in Isaiah 56:7 that in the millennial reign of Christ, the Temple will be a House of Prayer for all nations. Although, we as believers in Jesus Christ pray directly to God the Father, the Jewish people as a whole are still blinded to the fact that Jesus Christ is their Messiah. God will use the coming rebuilt Temple as a central gathering place where they can offer up their prayers to Him.
3. A primary reason for the rebuilding of the Temple is in order for the antichrist to fulfill his role before Jesus Christ returns. Daniel 9:27 states that this man of sin, the antichrist, will desecrate the last days Temple, committing the abomination of desolation, and set himself up as God, in the Temple of God.
...and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Daniel also speak of this in chapter 12, verse 11.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Jesus also spoke of this in Matthew 24:15.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
The apostle Paul relates the same thing in II Thessalonians 2:1-4 when speaking about the rapture of the church. He makes it very clear that two things have to happen before the church is raptured. One, the great falling away, known as the apostasy, and two, the antichrist must be revealed.
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (the rapture), that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first (the apostasy), and that man of sin (the antichrist) be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (Emphasis mine).
We must remember that God had all of this planned beforehand, and written in His Word, for us to know and understand when we would be living in the last of the last days before Jesus Christ returns to earth.
4. The last, and most important reason for the rebuilding of the Temple is to fulfill biblical prophecy in regard to Jesus‚ return, and His defeat of the antichrist and his armies.
In the above point number 3, in II Thessalonians 2:1-4, we showed how the antichrist would enter the Temple and set himself up as God. As we continue on to verse 8, it tells us that Jesus will return and defeat this antichrist who has made himself out to be God.
And then shall that Wicked (the antichrist) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. (Emphasis mine).
In Revelation 19:11-16, 19-20 we find a greater understanding, and fulfillment, of the above verse as the apostle John sees heaven open and Jesus Christ coming back riding upon a white steed, and following behind Him the saints of God; the Redeemed Church. He is coming to defeat the antichrist, and the armies of the world and set up His kingdom rule in Jerusalem, Israel.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns, and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
At the end of the Tribulation Period the Lord Jesus Christ will descend upon the Mount of Olives, the same place where He ascended to heaven 2,000 years ago. The nations of the earth will have gathered in the Middle East, in Israel in particular, to not only fight against one another, but to try and destroy the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. It is then that Jesus Christ will return to defeat these nations, save His people, and establish His kingdom rule in Jerusalem.
...ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. Acts 1:11-12.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;...Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west...And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. Zechariah 14:2-4,9.
Yes, a Temple is soon to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Everything is in place for this to happen, and when it does, we as true followers of our Lord Jesus Christ will know of a certainty that our time of redemption is close at hand.
In closing, I hope this teaching has brought clarification to God’s plan in regard to the last days Temple, and in doing so will cause us to draw closer to the Lord, knowing of a certainty that we are living in the last of the last days before Jesus Christ returns. Shalom!
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