The Third Temple: Does scripture anticipate a future Jewish Temple?

third temple

The First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar about 586 BC. The Second Temple replaced it only to be destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. The Third Temple has yet to be built. Many believe Bible prophecy implies a Third Temple will take its place in the End Time.

The argument for a Third Temple by Professor John F. Walvoord is as follows:

On the basis of Matthew 24:15 with supporting Scriptures from Daniel, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation 11:1, it may be concluded that Scriptures anticipate a future temple with a sacrificial system which will be under way at the time “the prince that shall come” exercises his authority, desecrates the temple, and establishes himself as the object of worship.- Walvoord, J. F. (1968). Will Israel Build a Temple in Jerusalem? Bibliotheca Sacra, 125, 99–106.

Not mentioned in the Professor’s argument is the changed reality created by the Advent of Christ, the creation of the “Israel of God“:

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Gal. 6:15-16 NKJ)

That changes how Old Testament prophecy is to be interpreted, often in a way not suggested by the Old Testament context.

For example, Paul applies Hosea 1:9; 2:23 which context applies ONLY to Israel, to the Church (Rom. 9:24-26). Israel is now “enlarged” to Paul’s mind, Gentiles were grafted in (Rom. 11:17-20) to become one redeemed “Israel of God” (Eph. 2:11-13, 19; 3:6). Therefore, texts which the OT has fulfilled in Israel, are fulfilled in the Greater “Israel of God” which includes the church. Having been grafted in, the “wild olive tree” is now a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree (Rom. 11:17) and only when fulfillment is seen in all those once “not my people” Jew and Gentile (Hos. 1:9-10) that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26).

[The words would be “sealed” to Hosea’s understanding, but unsealed to Paul knowing its application to the Israel of God.]

Another example, God makes a New Covenant with Israel in Jeremiah 31:33-34, but Paul applies it to the Church in Hebrews 8, because the Church is now part of the “Israel of God”. The context of the Old Testament however, applied this to “the house of Israel” and “house of Judah” (Hebrews 8:8-12), not Gentiles. Therefore, a “Biblically partial literal hermeneutic”, which omits the New Testament “Israel of God” reality created by Jesus Christ”, will fail to correctly interpret Jeremiah’s prophecy. The words are in effect, “sealed” until future New Testament revelation “unseals them”.

[One could suppose if Jeremiah saw in his vision the Israel of God while receiving the words of the prophecy, he would have been confused, the words being “closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Dan. 12:9 NKJ). But Paul knowing the Christ Event, easily perceived its actual fulfillment. To Paul the words were unsealed.]

That is why Walvoord’s founding presumption is wrong. He interprets the Abomination of Desolation and its effect on the Daily Sacrifice solely as if it refers to Antiochus’ IMAGE in Daniel 11:31. THEN the need for a Temple is obvious. BUT the New Testament doesn’t look back at the Antiochus image, it looks forward to the ANTICHRIST PERSON who stands up where he ought not. Antiochus is not the Antichrist and he never did what scripture says the Antichrist will do.

Christ cautions us NOT to generalize the Abomination of Daniel 12:11 with Antiochus, when he prays “let the reader understand” (Mat. 24:15; Mark 13:14). The Abomination set up in the end time (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14) is different than the image Antiochus set up. In the End Time the Abomination is a man; hestanding where he ought not” (Mk. 13:14 ESV), ἑστηκότα and δεῖ are masculine. Only the abomination in Daniel 12:11 (LXX) matches the precise Greek in Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14.

Absolutely lethal to Walvoord’s Biblically partial literal hermenutic, if the words describe an Antichrist who rises up in a Third Temple, why didn’t Daniel, enabled by God to understand enigma, dream and vision (Dan. 2:47; 4:8-9; 5:11-12), understand the words (Dan. 12:8). If Walvoord’s methodology is correct, why did our LORD say the words are “closed up and sealed?” (Dan. 12:9). That certainly is NOT what Walvoord is saying.

In other words, if the Antichrist rises in a rebuilt Third Temple and ends its Daily Sacrifice, what is “closed up and sealed” in these words (Dan. 12:7-11)? Answer: Nothing. Therefore, the Antichrist does NOT rise up in a rebuilt Third Temple, because the words ARE “closed up and sealed”. It was their “end time” fulfilment in the enlarged “Israel of God” which left Daniel confused (Dan. 8:27; 12:8).

“All scripture is inspired and beneficial for…correction” (2 Tim. 3:16)

The words are “closed up and sealed” to all using the “Biblically partial literal hermenutic” used by Daniel and Walvoord. Without the added New Testament Scripture revealing the “Israel of God”, the words remain “closed up and sealed”.

Only a “Biblically complete literal hermeneutic” can unseal the words of Daniels END TIME prophecies. When the LORD said they are “sealed until the time of the end” (Dan. 12:9), that implies end time information “unseals them”, not divine revelation.

While the Old Testament defines the Temple and Daily in a Jewish Context, the expanded “Israel of God” New Testament reality gives it wider application. The Church is the Temple of God for all those once called “not my people,” and its Daily Sacrifice is taking up the cross of Christ daily.

Only a “Biblically complete literal hermeneutic” that defines words literally according to usage throughout the Bible, where the Christ Event changed their application or meaning, is the “literal hermeneutic” used by the apostles Peter and Paul..

So how did the Advent of Christ and the expansion of Israel into the “Israel of God” “unseal” the words? The Temple of God is the Church, and its service in Christ is the Daily Sacrifice, IN THE END TIME when these prophecies are fulfilled.

Both Paul and Peter transfer Temple imagery, its priesthood and the Daily Sacrifice to the church. The Church the Temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21), its members are Temple priests (1 Pet. 2:5). Christians offer up “the Daily Sacrifice” (1 Pet. 2:5; Rom. 12:1; Lk. 9:23; Heb. 13:15).

Other parts of Walvoord’s argument also fail upon close inspection. For example, the New Testament never hints the destroyed Temple will be rebuilt. If its so central to understanding end time prophecy, that is inexplicable. Against any possibility it will be rebuilt is God’s obvious wrath against it: “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). That total destruction implies God’s Wrath against it is eternal. In fact, that is expressly required by Hebrews 8:13. What is obsolete does not return, contradicting Walvoord’s conclusion totally:

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb. 8:13 NKJ)

Nor did the professor explain how Paul, an apostle of Christ, could call a Christ rejecting Temple built in the future “the Temple of God”. Its a fact of the New Testament, Paul ONLY calls the Church the “Temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19. 2 Cor. 6:16. Eph. 2:21) even while the literal Temple in Jerusalem still stood. It is unsound special pleading to interpret 2 Thessalonians 2:4 otherwise.

As for the Temple in Revelation 11:1-2, it is not a literal Temple:

1 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.
2 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.
(Rev. 11:1-2 KJV)

This Temple has only two compartments, the inner with the altar and worshippers, the outer given to the nations. That is unlike any Biblical Temple:

At Jerusalem the naos was the central temple building, which included an entrance hall, a forecourt, and an inner chamber, or holy of holies. This design was used for Solomon’s temple, the temple in Ezek 40–48, and the Herodian temple. In the first century CE a table, lampstand, and incense altar stood in the forecourt; the holy of holies was empty. The altar for burnt offerings stood outside the temple (Josephus, J.W. 5.216–25) -Koester, C. R. (2014). Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. (J. J. Collins, Ed.) (Vol. 38A, p. 484). New Haven; London: Yale University Press.

The apostates in Christendom are this outer court. They have been “cast out” (1544 ἐκβάλλω ekballo) from God’s presence and will soon be destroyed.

Therefore, Professor Walvoord’s argument was circular, it assumed what it hoped to prove, that the New Testament had to be forced to fit Old Testament definitions. Nothing in the New Testament suggests the Third Temple must be rebuilt.

The abomination of desolation in Daniel 11:31 is in the past, almost all commentators are agreed it was fulfilled by Antiochus IV about 164 BC. The Abomination set up in the end time (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14) is very different than the image Antiochus set up. This one is a hestanding where he ought not” (Mk. 13:14 ESV), breathing, speaking and killing all who refuse to worship (Rev. 13:14-15). Only the abomination in Daniel 12:11 (LXX) matches the precise Greek in Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14. It follows from our LORD’s prayer “let him that readeth, understand” that we should not generalize and ignore unique details when reading this text.

The precise phrase Christ used “βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως”[1] (Mat. 24:15; Mk 13:14) is found ONLY in the LXX Daniel 12:11, and the Hebrew it translates is also slightly different than that found in Dan. 11:31:

Part. שׁוֹמֵם the desolator (i.e. Antiochus Epiphanes [?]), Dan. 9:27. הַפֶּשַׁע שׁוֹמֵם (for פֶּשַׁע הַשּׁ׳), ibid. Dan. 8:13, the sin of the desolator, and שִׁקּוּץ שֹׁמֵם abomination of the desolator, Dan. 12:11, i.q. βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως, 1 Macc. 1:54; 6:7 (either the altar or the idol which Antiochus caused to be erected over the altar of the temple at Jerusalem.) [But see, Matt. 24:14, as to the “abomination of desolation,” as something even then unfulfilled].-Gesenius, W., & Tregelles, S. P. (2003). Gesenius’ Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament Scriptures (p. 835). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

The “Continual Sacrifice” ( תָּמִיד08548; ἡ θυσία 2378) διὰ παντὸς (“the sacrifice through all [day]”) ceases from “religious apostasy” (הוּסַ֣ר 05493; ἀποσταθῇ 868 lxx).[2]

In the NT Church, the “continual sacrifice” is the figurative offering of ourselves to God daily, in word and practice—it is the “taking up the cross of Christ daily” (Lk. 9:23):

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1) NKJ (Comp. Mk. 9:49)

Compare:

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Heb. 13:15) NKJ

you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:5) NKJ

Therefore the ending of the “continual sacrifice” does not require the Jewish Temple, to be consistent with the rest of the New Testament it requires the Church the Temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19. 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21).

When the already fallen away Church receives Adonikam the “man of sin” as “the Christ” (2 Thess. 2:3-4), sacrifice and offering to the True God has ceased (Dan. 12:11). After he morphs into the Son of Destruction 666 Beast at 1,260 days, it takes another 30 days to fully set up his image the abomination of desolation, 1,290 days. The desolation caused by this “breathing” image is unlike any before it. As it is the image of the Beast, both are the Abomination (Demon filled) causing desolation, the “son of destruction” (2 Thess. 2:3-4) aka the “Desolator” (Dan. 9:27; 12:11).

 

END NOTES
[1]Our Lord cautioned critical thinking was necessary. Analyzing this from every perspective and picking the solution that manifests elegance.

Jesus is God the Eternal Son, His perspective sees both fulfillments, that in the first century and that in the end time. Hence “let the reader understand” is written not just those hearing, but to US who read.

An abomination of desolation is any event or thing that causes the Temple of God to be desolate of God’s presence and consequently its valid use. It therefore can have dual fulfillment in the literal Temple, and the Church as the Temple.

The first century abomination can be found in two events, the pagan ensigns worshipped by the surrounding Roman armies (Lk. 21:20), Jerusalem being the holy place. Or the acts of the Zealots and Idumeans who took over the Temple and murdered thousands including the High Priest, installing “the clown Phinnas” in his place. Drunk in women’s clothing they celebrated. That was an abomination of desolation.

The abomination in the end time is a person “standing where he ought not.” (Mk. 13:14 ESV) What connection to an image does he have? In Revelation 13:15 the image of the Beast can breathe, kill any who don’t worship. Its given life by the dark arts of the false prophet, an abomination indeed. The 666 Beast himself therefore is the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not, in the holy place of the Church the Temple of God. When the fallen away church accepts him as “the Christ”, all sacrifice and offering to God ends because of their apostasy. At 1,260 days (Dan. 9:27; 12:7) the “man of sin” declares himself above every definition of God (2 Th. 2:3-4) and it takes him 30 days or on the 1,290th day (Dan. 12:11) the Quantum AI connected to every device is set up. This gives the Beast real time “God like” ability to see and hear everything, and react with deadly force anywhere if anyone try to resist. This abomination enforces his 666 Mark membership only economy (Rev. 13:15-18).

[2] Some insist it is unhistorical “the Daily” not refer to a sacrifice of lambs in a literal temple, or the “abomination of desolation” not be an idolatrous image like that of Antiochus. But it follows from Daniel’s not understanding the prophecy the words used have unfamiliar meaning (Dan. 12:9). What is the likeliest cause of Daniel’s confusion AND the unsealing of the meaning of the words in the end time? Only in the end time did reality uncover the additional meaning the words have. Daniel had no knowledge of the Church, that it would become the true Temple of God after the abomination of the crucifixion made desolate the Temple of the Shekhina Glory of God (Dan. 9:24, 26; Mt. 23:37-39; 27:51; 1 Ki. 19:11). He didn’t know Temple imagery and Priesthood were now properties of the Church.

Let’s consider this in reverse. The Word of God testifies Daniel had “an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences” (Dan. 5:12-16). So why was he confused about “the Daily” and the “abomination of desolation”? When prophesying about Antiochus nothing suggests he was confused then, so why in the end time prophecy are the words causing Daniel confusion? What unseals them in the end time? The only plausible answer to both questions, these words gained meaning unknown to Daniel that becomes known when end time events add new meaning to them.

God the Holy Spirit dwelt in Daniel (Dan. 4:8. Cp. Lk. 1:15) granting him “knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas (Dan. 5:12 NKJ).

So why didn’t Daniel understand his own End Time prophecy? Nothing in it was mysterious to him. The “holy” (06944 קֹדֶשׁ qodesh) “people” (05971 עַם `am), the “Daily” (08548 תָּמִיד tamiyd), the “abomination” (08251 שִׁקּוּץ shiqquwts) of “Desolation” (08074 שָׁמֵם shamem) are things he fully understood. Yet Daniel says: ” Although I heard, I did not understand” (Dan. 12:8):

7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?”
9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.
12 “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
13 “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” (Dan. 12:7-13 NKJ)

This is like a puzzle. We have pieces to fit together, then its picture is revealed.

When Daniel asks the angel explain the prophecy, he declines explaining the words are sealed to the end. 1. Either God will unseal them in the end time supernaturally, reveal hidden meaning not known before. 2. End time events will reveal these words have new application, while retaining the essence of their original meaning.

Number 2 is correct, because “many…will understand” (Dan. 12:10) in the end time, not only prophets God might reveal hidden things to.

When a Bible Believer reads this text, having knowledge of things unknown to Daniel, he will interpret OT Temple imagery the way the New Testament does, applying it to Church the real Temple of God in the End Time. Hence, “the wise shall understand”. Bible believers are the wise referred to here, because Scripture makes even a child “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 2:15-17). Scripture interprets scripture.

As Christ fulfilled the law the “continual” [08548 תָּמִיד tamiyd] sacrifice (ἡ θυσία δι παντoς, LXX) is now a function of Christ’s ministry. Confirming this, the apostles apply Old Testament Temple imagery to the Church, calling it “the Temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 2 Thess. 2:4; Eph. 2:21). Its members Temple priests (1 Pet. 2:5). We offer up “the Daily Sacrifice”::

you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:5) NKJ

As we take up Christ’s cross daily (Lk. 9:23) our sacrifice and service is continual:

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Heb. 13:15) NKJ

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1) NKJ

Now that we have the “interpretive keys” to understanding the prophecy Daniel could not, lets interpret it:

7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, when the Man of Sin morphs into the 666 Beast (2Th. 2:3-4) at “mid-week”, all things will be fulfilled within three and a half years (Rev. 13:4-5. Seven years total).

8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?”
9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

10 “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand .

11 “And from the time that the daily of Christians is taken away by their apostasy (so the count begins at the start of the end time week), when the Man of Sin appears and is hailed as “the Christ”, there will be 1260 days. Then he morphs into the 666 Beast Adonikam at “midweek”. An additional 30 days passes when Britain and America join the Revived Roman Empire of the Beast and set up his 666 image mark membership only economy. To buy or sell his Mark must be on hand or forehead and all who refuse to take it will be slain (Rev. 13:11-18). 1260+30=1290 days.

This is the Great Tribulation, it will last 45 days during which most of the Church will be martyred. The Harlot Babylon’s religious ministry has no place in the New World Religion of the Beast so it is burned with fire (Rev. 14:8-12; 7:9-14).

12 “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days, for you will be raptured (Rev. 14:12-16).

13 “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” (Dan. 12:7-13)

[3] Professor John F. Walvoord’s book “Jesus Christ Our Lord” is a tour de force exposition of God the Eternal Son. I thank God for the Professor’s insight into the scriptures, including biblical prophecy. I am in his debt. He showed incredible grace accepting the phone the call of a no body like me, wanting to thank him for making clear just how great Jesus art, God the Eternal Son. I am forever in his debt and nothing on this site implies otherwise.

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