Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Temple

More On The Temple

Q. I seem to remember the Bible speaking of the Jews having had two “Temples.” Was one David’s tabernacle like the one in the Wilderness, and the other Solomon’s Temple.

Is it possible, in the great scheme of things, that the first to be raised will be a portable tabernacle, and that it is there that the AC will declare himself to be God? That would considerably advance the nearness of End Times since there would be no need to wait to resolve the political aspects of actually building a Temple of stone? Are we sure that it is the formal stone Temple that is referred to in prophecy of the End Times?

A. The Jews actually built two permanent stone buildings on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The first was built by Solomon in about 900 BC and was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The second was built by Nehemiah after the Babylonian captivity and was substantially remodeled by King Herod in the time of the Lord’s first Coming. It was destroyed by the Romans in 68-69 AD.

The next Temple to be built is described in Ezekiel 40-47 and is likewise a stone building. I suppose there could be a temporary structure in the mean time, but the Bible doesn’t specifically describe one.

By the way, the tabernacle used by the Jews up to the time of the first Temple was the same one Moses built in the wilderness. It lasted 400 years.

Third Temple Or Fourth?

Q. To quote from your recent Revelation study; This Temple (The one the Jews will build for use in the tribulation) will be the source of the living water that begins flowing on the day the Lord returns (Zech 14:8). After a cleansing and re-dedication similar to the one memorialized in the Feast of Hanukkah, it will be used during the Millennium. It’s purpose will be to recall the Lord’s work at the cross and provide the perspective for children born during the Kingdom Age to choose salvation. Acts 15:14-16 confirms that after the Lord has chosen a people from among the gentiles for Himself (the church) He will return and re-build David’s fallen Tabernacle (the Temple). This is the Third Temple, so vividly described in Ezekiel 40-48.

So reads one paragraph from your recent newsletter but there seems to be some discrepancy here, if the temple built by the Jews is to be (used during the millennium) what is the purpose of Jesus building the temple which you call “The third” ? [Surely the one Jesus builds is the fourth!] Where does the bible say when it will be destroyed so the final one can be built?

A. You’re reading the passage from Acts 15 as if would the Lord would personally come and build the temple. But that’s never been the case. He didn’t personally build any of the temples. The full context of the passage means that He was pausing to take a people for His name’s sake from among the Gentiles after which He would return His attention to Israel and cause a Temple to be built. It’s the third Temple.

And as far as it’s destruction goes, that was my point. The Bible never describes it’s destruction, only its defilement. It will be cleansed and rededicated for use in the Millennium.

Where’s The Temple Going To Be?

Q. Your article “the Coming Temple” mentions it being where a Tabernacle once stood in Shiloh but I don’t see how this can really take the place of where the Temple of Solomon came to be built. There is no doubt that God dwelt in King Solomon’s temple and while God is not confined to one place I really don’t see the any push for other sites to be considered.

In doing some key word searches and such regarding King Solomon’s Temple, the second Temple (of which Herods’s renovations are considered part) and the “third temple” some questions come up. All references, to include the Temple Institute in Israel, put the location of the temple where the current Muslim site is. There is no mention of Shiloh or another possible location off that mount. There are three variants as to its position on the “temple mount” but they are all on the Temple Mount.

While it is puzzling how the temple would not be destroyed in the ensuing splitting of the Mt. of Olives could the valley not extend all the way there in a straight line, rather veer off on a tangent?

A. You’re taking the same approach as many others, and that’s the problem. The Jews call the next Temple the 3rd Temple and Ezekiel’s Temple, but no one looks in the Book of Ezekiel to see where it will be. Instead they focus on where the previous two temples were. Some Christians even add another Temple into the mix, calling Ezekiel’s temple the 4th one, and build their new 3rd Temple in one of the three possible locations on the Temple mount.

I’ve attended several Temple conferences in Jerusalem, with leadng Jews and Christians in attendance, and heard all the arguments for this. They make some reasonable human assumptions, but in my opinion there’s nothing in Scripture to support them.

Some years ago Clarence Larkin wrote a book entitled Dispensational Truth. On page 92-93 of that book is the best map I’ve seen for locating Ezekiel’s Temple. It’s based on instructions given in Ezekiel 48 that you can even plot yourself if you’re of a mind to. Either way, you’ll see that it’s in Shiloh, not Jerusalem.

A Question About Ezekiel’s Temple

Q. Can you explain more about Ezek 40-47 representing the tribulation temple and not the millennial temple and the nation of Israel being in the land during the kingdom?

A. Actually I believe the Temple described in Ezekiel 40-47 will be for both the Tribulation and the Millennium. I think it will be defiled by the anti Christ and then cleansed just like the 2nd Temple was defiled by Antiochus and then cleansed by the Maccabees. I take this view from the fact the the river flowing out from under the Temple mentioned in Ezekiel 47 is said to begin flowing on the day of the Lord’s return (Zech 14:8) and the earthquake mentioned earlier in chapter 14 will have destroyed the current temple mount.

I think that the anti Christ, in enforcing His covenant with Israel, will use Ezekiel 48 to point out to the Jews that their own Scriptures call for the 3rd Temple to be built north of Jerusalem in Shiloh, not on the current Temple Mount. This will make the Moslem presence on the current Temple Mount irrelevant.

Ezekiel 43 contains specific references to God dwelling in the Land with Israel forever. Ezekiel 48 describes the Nation of Israel as occupying all the land west of the Jordan River and extending from about 100 miles north of Damascus to about 100 miles south of Jerusalem during the Kingdom Age, what we call the Millennium. If you plot this on a map of the Middle East, you can see which area each tribe receives, and you’ll also see that the Holy City and Temple area are to the north of the current city of Jerusalem. My study called the Coming Temple will give you more detail on this.

The Coming Temple

Most people believe a new Jewish Temple would require destruction of the Dome of the Rock. What does the Bible say?

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

According to Prophecies in Daniel 9:27, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4, a Temple will exist in Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed by Revelation 11:1 which describes John measuring a Temple during the Tribulation. Its location is the “Holy City.” Chapter 11 also introduces the 2 witnesses who preach in the “Great City” and are ultimately killed there, their bodies left lying in the street. The Great City is identified as the place where the Lord was crucified: Jerusalem. But is Jerusalem also the Holy City?

According to Zechariah 14:6-9 on the day of the Lord’s return an earthquake will split the Mt. of Olives in two along an East-West line that creates a great valley through the center of Jerusalem. Immediately a river will fill the valley creating a waterway from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. If the Lord returns to the same area of the Mt. of Olives from which He left, as suggested by Acts 1:11, the earthquake creating this East-West valley will destroy the current Temple mount and anything that may be standing upon it.

Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes a great river flowing from under the south side of the Temple and then eastward to the Dead Sea during a period of time that most scholars believe has not occurred yet. Revelation 22:1-2 confirms this. If as it appears, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation all describe the same river, then an interesting scenario begins to emerge.

This scenario requires a Temple to be present on the day the Lord returns, but since the current Temple mount will have been destroyed by the earthquake mentioned above, this Temple must be somewhere else. Since the river originates under the Temple and flows from its south side before heading East and West, the Temple must be north of the newly created river valley.

Where Are The 12 Tribes?

Plotting the land grants for the 12 tribes given in the 48th chapter of Ezekiel on a map of Israel places the precincts of the Holy City somewhat north of the current City of Jerusalem. This new location is the ancient City of Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for nearly 400 years after the Israelites first conquered the Land. This is the Holy City and its name is Jehovah Shammah according to the last verse in Ezekiel. The Hebrew translates as “the LORD is here.”

If accurate, this location would meet all the requirements for the Temple mentioned in the above references. The current Temple Mount in Jerusalem would not.

According to Ezekiel 44:6-9, this Temple will have been defiled in a way never seen in history, therefore at a time yet future to us. A foreigner un-circumsized in heart (neither Christian) and flesh (nor Jewish) will have been given charge of the sanctuary while offering sacrifices. If we understand the chronology of Ezekiel, this event will have taken place after both the 1948 re-gathering prophesied in 36-37 and the national wake-up call prophesied in 38-39 but before the Millennial Kingdom begins. The only event we know of that fits that chronology is the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed by Paul’s prophecy of 2 Thes. 2:4 where the anti christ sets himself up in the Temple proclaiming himself to be god.

Here then is a rough outline of events. Following Israel’s return to God after the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, the Jewish people will re-establish their covenant (old not new) with Him. This will require a return to Levitical practices and so a Temple will be built. This is the Temple spoken of by Daniel and Revelation. Following instructions given by Ezekiel and needing to avoid the enormous problems a Jerusalem Temple would create in the Moslem world, this Temple will be located north of Jerusalem in Shiloh. It will be defiled in the middle of the last 7 years as outlined in Daniel 9:24-27, Ezekiel 44:6-9, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4 kicking off the Great Tribulation, but will be cleansed by living water that begins flowing on the day the Lord returns (Zech 14:8). This temple will be used during the Millennium to memorialize the Lord’s work at the cross and provide the perspective for children born during the Kingdom Age to choose salvation just as you and I have had the perspective of the Lord’s Supper in making our choice. Remember, He said, “Do this in memory of Me until I come.” Acts 15:14-16 confirms that after the Lord has chosen a people from among the gentiles for Himself (the church) He will return and re-build David’s fallen Tabernacle (the Temple). This is the Millennial Temple so vividly described in Ezekiel 40-48.

The New Jerusalem

The Ezekiel passage also solves the Jerusalem / New Jerusalem problem. For as long as I’ve been studying these things, there has been debate over the issue of the New Jerusalem. Some wonder how the Lord could permit redeemed believers and non- believing natural humans to co-exist in the Millennium. (The rotten apple spoiling the barrel theory) Others wonder how a city with a foot print 1400 miles square and tall could be located in Israel when the whole country won’t be that big.

Carefully examining Rev 21 and 22, we notice that John never actually says the city arrives on earth. We are only told he sees it coming down out of heaven, prepared as a bride. (Not that the city IS the bride, but that as with a bride on her wedding day, no effort has been spared to make it look its absolute best.)

I don’t believe the city ever rests on the Earth’s surface, but rather orbits in the proximity of Earth, like a satellite or perhaps another moon.

Also comparing the descriptions of New Jerusalem with Jehovah Shammah we see some similarities but enough differences to refute the notion that John and Ezekiel described the same place. Compare the following:

New Jerusalem
(All verses from Rev.)
Jehovah Shammah
(All verses from Ezekiel)
12 gates named after Israel (21:12) 12 gates named after Israel (48:30)
12 foundations named after Apostles (21:14) Foundation not described
1400 miles square and tall (21:16) One mile square (48:30)
Coming Down from heaven (21:2) Located in Israel on Earth (40:2)
No Temple … God and the Lamb are its Temple (21:22) Temple just north of the city (40:2)
No sin; nothing impure will ever enter (21:27) Daily sin offerings in the Temple (45:13-15,17)
No more death (21:4) Still death (44:25 also Isa 65:20)
No natural beings … only the perfected (21:27) Natural Beings (46:16)

With the differentiation of these two Holy Cities, the apparent conflict between Jewish and Christian eschatology is resolved. Israel was promised that one day GOD would come to Earth to dwell among them forever, while the Church is promised that Jesus will come to take us to heaven to live with Him there. Both promises come true.

Since Ezekiel specifically quoted the Lord’s promise to dwell among the Israelites forever (43:7) and then described the new Holy City, while Jesus promised to return for the Church to take us to be with Him (John 14:1-3), they must have been talking about two different destinations. They were. Heaven is the New Jerusalem where we will dwell with the Lord forever, while the Holy City on Earth is Jehovah Shammah where God will dwell in the midst of His people Israel forever.


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