Ezekiel’s Temple 2

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Picture show:
* Abomination of desolation: man of lawlessness proclaiming himself to be God
* Holy place
* Dome on the Rock on Temple Mount

Yesterday we discussed Ezekiel’s Temple and eliminated the historical (Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple) and symbolic views. There are some who suggested that Ezekiel described plans for a temple which the exiles are supposed to build upon their return, but which was never realized. I reject this view too, as God is not in the habit of giving detailed visions which never come to pass.

Today we continue with the prophetic or futuristic view. While the true church of believers is a living temple, there are at least 3 references in the NT to a future temple building:

Mt 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand–
2 Thes 2:4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Rev 11:1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there.

These 3 verses can refer only to a real, not a figurative temple, because:
* only a properly sanctified “holy place” can be made desolate;
* the man of lawlessness (AntiChrist) has to proclaim himself to be God in the real temple;
* the context (Rev. 11:2) refers to a literal temple with outer court.

While the preterist* school interprets these verses to have been historically fulfilled in AD 70 during the destruction of Jerusalem, premillennial* scholars believe they are yet future. However, since the Second Temple’s destruction, its site had been overtaken by the Muslims, who in AD 689-691 built the Dome on the Rock on it, where it sits to this day. For the Temple to be defiled, a Third Temple will have to be built, before it can be desecrated. Accordingly commentators speculate that the mosque will somehow be destroyed to allow the construction of the Third Temple, which some equated to Ezekiel’s Temple.

This identification is possible, but not highly likely. The Third Temple seems to have a short life time. It hasn’t been built yet, and it is likely that it will be destroyed shortly after its construction, just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:

Ezk 38:19-20 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.
Rev 16:18-19 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.

This leads to our last view that Ezekiel’s Temple refers to a Millennial Temple to be built upon our Lord’s return:

Zech 6:12-13 Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’

The Branch is one of the names of our Lord Jesus Christ. He built a spiritual temple the first time He came. It is believed that He will build a physical temple the second time, which will last throughout the Millennium. This is plausible, but there are just not enough verses to argue this definitively. Nonetheless this is the view of many conservative scholars. I personally subscribe to this view.

What’s the point of all this? That “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my (Jesus)words will never pass away.” (Mt 24:35, Mk 13:31, Lk 21:33) Mt 24:44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. See also Lk 12:40. Jn 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

*preterist – the interpretation that the events referred to had already taken place, or were taking place at the time of writing
*premillennial – the belief that Christ will return and then set up a period of His earthly reign for 1,000 years

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