The Third Temple – Prophecy and Progress

** Breaking News **

Bible Prophecy discusses events that occur within the Jewish Temple.  Since a Temple hasn’t existed since 70AD, a new one must be built to at least partial completion (altar of sacrifice) before certain prophesied events can occur.  The closer the Third Temple comes to being a reality, the closer we must be to other end-time events.  However, before we discuss the Third Temple, let’s review God’s previous earthly dwellings:

Tabernacle:

  • Instructions were given to Moses in Exodus 25:9
  • It was to be patterned after the heavenly temple
  • It took 6 months to construct and was completed around April 1444BC (Exodus 40)
  • The Shechinah glory of God filled the Holy of Holies
  • The ark of the covenant was present
  • It lasted approximately 400 years
  • It was possibly set up at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1, 19:51; Judges 18:31; 1 Samuel 1:9, 3:3)
  • It was destroyed by the Philistines

First Temple:

  • Instructions were given to David, to be constructed by his son Solomon
  • God was very specific in all details, and it was to be patterned after the heavenly temple
  • It was built over 7.5 years. from 966-959BC (2 Chronicles 2-7; 1 Kings 5-8)
  • The Shechinah glory of God filled the Holy of Holies
  • The ark of the covenant was present
  • It lasted about 373 years
  • Traditionally believed to  be located on Mount Moriah, but recent archaeological evidence suggests it may have been located ~600 feet south of the current Dome of the Rock in the City of David
  • It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar on 9 Av 586BC (2 Chronicles 36:16-19; 2 Kings 24:13-14)

Second Temple:

  • Construction began by Zerubbabel in June 535BC (Ezra 3 records the dedication service)
  • It was completed February 516BC
  • The Shechinah glory of God DID NOT fill the Holy of Holies
  • The ark of the covenant was NOT present
  • It was desecrated on December 15, 168BC by Antiochus Epiphanes
  • It was reclaimed and cleansed on December 25, 165BC by the Maccabbees – instituting the celebration of Hanukkah
  • Herod begain rebuilding and adding to it in 20BC, which was completed in 64AD
  • Jesus taught in this Temple
  • It lasted about 585 years
  • Traditionally believed to  be located on Mount Moriah, but recent archaeological evidence suggests it may have been located ~600 feet south of the current Dome of the Rock in the City of David
  • It was destroyed on 9 Av in 70AD by Titus (Romans)

A note on the First and Second Temples:

Matthew 24:1–2 says, “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”  Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, writes that the entirety of the temple was indeed taken down to the very last stone.  The Israelites were then effectively scattered among the nations as prophecied.  Thus, the location of the temple site was lost to history.

Church Age:

  • God’s Holy Spirit currently resides in the hearts of all true believers (Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? – 1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • The removal of the church from earth / end of the church age of grace / rapture could occur before, during, or after the construction of the Third Temple.  God’s Spirit will not come and fill the Third Temple with the Shechinah glory of God.  The Millennial Temple in Christ’s Messianic rule will be filled with the glory and presence of God.

Third Temple:

  • In Revelation 11 we are told:  “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,  but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.  And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (V1-3)  John sees and measures a future temple which will exist during the times of the end.  We will discuss the ministry of the two witnesses elsewhere, but here we notice that the outer court of the gentiles may or may not be constructed in this Third Temple.
  • In the books of Daniel and Matthew (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15), we are told that during the yet future 70th week of Daniel, an event known as the “abomination of desolation” will occur to desecrate the Temple/altar.  For this to occur, a Jewish Temple needs to be in place, or at the very least, an altar of sacrifice.
  • We also know from Daniel that there will be Jews in Old Covenant relationship with God, and that they will be offering daily sacrifices.  At some point during the 70th week of Daniel (likely at the abomination of desolation), a strong ruler (the lawless one) will cause the sacrifices to cease.  So thus, we know the sacrifices will be restarted before this stopping can occur.
  • In 2 Thessalonians 2:4, we are told the man of lawlessness will “set himself up in the temple and proclaim to be god”.  For this to be possible, there must be a Third Temple in place.
  • The prophet Ezekiel describes a temple in chapters 40-48, the likes of which has never existed.  The third temple may try to follow these very detailed plans.  It is unclear if the Third Temple will become the Millennial Kingdom Temple, or if a Fourth Temple will be built.  It will depend how exactly the Third Temple meets Ezekiel’s Millennial Temple description.
  •  Note that the temple Ezekiel describes is far larger than the current temple mount could hold, so even if the third temple is built on Mount Moriah, the entire city of Jerusalem will need to be resurfaced in the Millennial Kingdom to allow the temple to be built to specification.

Third Temple Progress:

There are plans well underway to build the Third Temple:

Third Temple Location:

There are a few possible location options for the Third Temple:

One, is that it will be rebuilt on Mount Moriah, where the Islamic Dome of the Rock currently stands.  This has historically been considered to be where the First and Second Temples stood, and is what the Temple Institute monitors regularly.  In this case, it is quite likely that construction wouldn’t be possible until after a future war – that of Isaiah 17/Psalm 83 and/or Gog/Magog’s war “of many”.  These wars would effectively neutralize the Islamic influence in the area and release the Temple Mount to Israel’s hands.

Two, is that the Third Temple might be built near Jerusalem, to the north, in Shiloh.  This seems to be where the Tabernacle once stood.   Jack Kelley takes this viewpoint HERE.   He suggests that the earthquake that splits the mount of Olives, described in Zechariah 14:4-9, would destroy the current temple mount area on Mount Moriah.  Zechariah also describes “living waters” that flow as a result of this earthquake.  Jack Kelley then references Ezekiel 47:1-12 and Revelation 22:1-2 that describe a great river flowing from under the south side of the Temple and then eastward to the Dead Sea.  While Revelation 11 describes the location of the temple is described as being in the “Holy City”, does this Holy City have to be Jerusalem?  Kelley uses boundaries of the Promised Land given in Ezekiel 47-48 to place the “Holy City” somewhat north of the current city of Jerusalem, in the ancient city of Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood.  He states that this is the Holy City, and its name is Jehovah Shammah – “The Lord is Here”.  Kelley visualizes it occurring this way:

 

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.

(Source: Jack Kelley)

Three, there is yet an additional option besides the Dome of the Rock and Shiloh.  Recent archaeological evidence suggests that the First and Second Temples stood in the City of David, Zion, and not on Mount Moriah.  This is about a 12 acre area 600 feet south of the temple mount (Dome of the Rock).  This view is presented in THIS documentary, and more information can be found HERE and HERE.

Fourth Temple?

  • As mentioned above, the prophet Ezekiel describes the Millennial Temple very specifically in chapters 40-48.  The third temple may try to follow these very detailed plans.  If it is successful, the Third Temple may become the Millennial Kingdom Temple.  If it is unsuccessful, a Fourth Temple will be built.
  • When Jesus returns at the Second Coming, there is an earthquake that splits the Mount of Olives in two followed by the greatest earthquake of all time.  This greatest earthquake splits the city of Jerusalem in three parts, raises it up on a flat plain, and flattens the rest of the world.  This ginormous earthquake could conceivably destroy the current city of Jerusalem as well as the Third Temple.  If so, a Fourth Temple, following the plans laid out in Ezekiel 40-48, would then become the Millennial Kingdom Temple.
  • Note that the temple described by Ezekiel is absolutely huge – much larger than the temple mount area on Mount Moriah.  By its size alone, a fourth Temple seems quite probable.

Summary

Regardless of where the Third Temple will be built, it is clear that it *will* be built at some point.  It seems that in the near future, events will transpire that will be the catalyst for the Third Temple to be rebuilt and Old Testament sacrifices to resume.  Whether this will involve war or peace covenants, or both, remains to be seen.   However, it seems that preparations are all ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

A Disclaimer:    The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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