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.

However, on the basis of Matthew 24:2 “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” without a hint that will be reversed, it can be said Matthew 24:15 and the scriptures Walvoord cited all support the Church is the Temple of God, not the Third Temple. For example, the book of Hebrews is founded upon the thesis the Old Covenant and its sacrifices are past and soon to vanish away (Heb. 8:13) in the 1st century. That certainly happened in 70 AD and nothing in the book of Hebrews hinted at any return of the “Old Covenant” and its Temple sacrifices.

Its impossible Paul, an apostle of Christ call any Christ rejecting Temple in the future “the Temple of God”. In fact, even while the Second Temple was still standing Paul calls ONLY the Church the Temple of God. Moreover, he transferred the imagery of the priesthood and Daily Sacrifice to the church even while the literal Temple in Jerusalem was still standing. The Church is “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). Christians offer up “the Daily Sacrifice” (1 Pet. 2:5; Rom. 12:1; Lk. 9:23; Heb. 13:15). Why would Paul reverse himself when speaking of future events?

This would explain why Daniel couldn’t understand his own end time prophecies (Dan. 8:27; 12:8), even though God the Holy Spirit had given Daniel special understanding into enigma, dream and vision (Dan. 2:47; 4:8-9; 5:11-12). The words Daniel “heard” while he “saw” end time events unfold, didn’t match his experience and knowledge. Daniel only knew Old Testament Temple and Sacrifices, not how those concepts had been transferred to the New Testament Church. Hence to Daniel and all living in his time, the words were effectively “sealed”.

The words are sealed because they refer to different things in the END TIME, than they did in Daniel’s day. Daniel “saw” the man of sin false Christ get accepted into the Church, defiling it and ending its Daily Sacrifice to God in Christ. But the words Daniel “heard” he would interpret refer to a defilement in the Jewish Temple and that ending its Daily Sacrifice. It was impossible he not be confused, to Daniel the words were sealed, the meaning required to unseal them didn’t exist in his day.

From the text we can deduce End Time events unseal the words, with some assist from Divine inspiration. The Wise would understand (Dan. 12:10), meaning they would read Daniels prophecy in the light of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, which replaced the Old Covenant and its Daily Sacrifice. Born again Bible believers are the “wise” who understand scripture interprets scripture, and they will interpret Daniel’s prophecy accordingly.

Also contradicting Walvoord’s[3] argument, Paul 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. As Paul does that everywhere else, to argue its different in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 is known as “special pleading”, logically unsound.

Moreover, if the Antichrist were to sit in the Third Temple fomenting apostasy against all called God or worshiped, THAT would NOT be a “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess. 2:7). Then the iniquity is easily apparent to all.

Furthermore, the Temple in Revelation 11:1-2 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.

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.