THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TEMPLE
In Part I & II we listed seven usages of the word “temple” from the Bible. Our focus now is on what is called “The Third Temple” or the “Messianic Temple” – the one which the Jewish Messiah will build (Zechariah 6:12-13).
Since there is a great deal of disagreement about this coming Temple, we thought it might be helpful to list some of its characteristics and try to answer some of the objections about it being a “literal” Temple.
IS THE THIRD TEMPLE (or the Messianic Temple) A LITERAL BUILDING THAT WILL RESTORE JEWISH CELEBRATIONS AND WORSHIP?
(Consider the following SIX ISSUES)
1. The PROPHECIES about a future temple must be considered carefully.
(1) Is there any contextual evidence that
these prophecies should be considered as allegorical or simply word pictures of the church?
There is no symbolic language used – the Bible treats it as though it is going to happen exactly like it is predicted. There is no mention of the church being the future temple of these prophecies!
(2) Do these prophecies refer to the coming and presence of the Messiah after the period of time known as “the day of the Lord”?
cf. Zechariah 14:1-2, 9, 16
(3) Do these prophecies concerning a future temple involve “all nations” of the world?
Haggai 2:6-9; Revelation 15:4 – “for all nations shall come and worship before Thee”
Psalm 86:9 – “All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord, and shall glorify Thee.”
2. The PERSON Who will build the temple –
Zechariah 6:12-13 – “The Branch”
3. The PARTICULARS about the construction of a future temple must be explained – Ezekiel 40-48
The words “he measured” appear 25 times in Ezekiel. The details of the first three chapters (Ezekiel 40-42) point to a literal temple. Also, the word “build” in Zechariah 6:12-13!
4. The PRESENCE of the Shekinah glory of God – referred to in the case of the Tabernacle of Moses in Exodus 40:34-35 and the Temple of Solomon in I Kings 8:10-11 & II Chron. 5:13-14; 7:1-3 – but never used of the temple of Zerubbabel and Joshua nor of the tribulation temple, but it is used of the future temple of the Messiah – Ezekiel 43:1-5
Ezekiel 44:4 – “the glory of the LORD filled the house of the Lord”
5. The PURPOSE of the Third Temple
(1) It is a place of worship – We are told in I Chronicles 29:1 that this “palace” we call the “temple” was “not for man, but for the LORD God.” In Deuteronomy 12:9-14 we are told that the offerings, sacrifices, tithes, etc., should be offered in the “place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His Name to dwell there.” David said in Psalm 5:7: “But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy; and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple.”
Psalm 138:2 – “I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy Name for thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth; for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy Name.”
(2) It is a place of peace – Haggai 2:9: “and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts”
(3) It is a place of prayer – Isaiah 56:7 – “for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” cf. I Kings 8:22-30
Psalm 27:4 – “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to
behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.”
(4) It is a place of remembrance – I Kings 8:21: “I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD”
(5) It is a place of teaching – Isaiah 2:1-3
(6) It is a place of praise – Jeremiah 33:7ff
cf. Psalm 134:1-3; 135:1-4
(7) It is a place of the Lord’s presence – Psalm 11:4 – “The LORD is in His holy temple”
Ezekiel 48:45 – “and the name of the city from that day shall be, THE LORD IS THERE.”
6. The PROMISE to the believer
Psalm 23:6 – “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”