I have written several articles now about the rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem and momentum for this endeavor is growing but, let’s look at an alternative view. The prophet Malachi wrote –
“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.” – Mal. 3:1-3
The prophet is speaking about Elijah coming before the Messiah, as he clarifies later –
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” – Mal. 4:5
And when Jesus was talking about John the Baptist, He said –
“And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” – Matt. 11:14
Orthodox Jews say the Messiah must come to the Temple, therefore, the Temple must be rebuilt before Messiah can come but, according to Malachi and history, the Messiah did come to the Temple and they rejected Him and God did send Elijah before, in the form of John the Baptist. So, what of rebuilding the Third Temple? The New Testament declares God has already built the Third Temple. Paul writes –
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” – Eph. 2:19-22
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” – 1 Cor. 3:16, 17
Orthodox Jews look on Gentile Christians as refuse, as garbage, but, Holy Scriptures declare that we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. And we are the new Temple of God that the Spirit dwells in. Remember, they looked on those Jews who began the Church in the same way, even on the Lord Himself. They deny the work of the Cross because their father, the devil, denies it. But, today as Jews are being called back to their land of Israel, the veil is being removed from their eyes and many are receiving Yeshua (Jesus) as their Savior.
So what of the rebuilding of a Third Temple? Does Scripture indicate that one will be built? The prophet Daniel writes about a coming ‘prince’ that will bring an end to ‘sacrifice and offering’ (Dan. 9:27) and an angel told Daniel –
“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.” – Dan. 12:11
Sacrifices and offerings can only be done in the Temple, which would indicate a Temple being built. Then there is the instruction given to John in Revelation chapter 11 –
“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months (3½ years). And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” – Rev. 11:1-3
The Temple seems to be here as the Tribulation period begins and the two witnesses are speaking their message. The rebellion of the Orthodox Jews seems to last right up to the beginning of the Tribulation as they want their Temple and their sacrifices just as it was in the Old Testament, as if Jesus never came. The Temple will be here for the Antichrist to desicrate and Israel will be driven into the wilderness to the sheepfolds of Bozrah, as Revelation 12 indicates, to be delivered 3½ years later by the Lord.
So, it seems the Third Temple will be rebuilt. The first 3½ years of its existence will be like he lull before the storm and the last 3½ years will be a terrible time of tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble.
As Malachi writes, the tribulation, when the Messenger comes, will be terrible –
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.” – Mal. 3:2, 3
Shortly after the Lord came to the Temple the first time, the Jews experienced this cleansing and it went on for almost 2000 years. I feel quite certain that as this third Temple is built, they will accept a false Messiah. Jesus said –
“I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” – John 5:43
This one will be the false prince Daniel prophesied about. He also will unleash suffering like the Romans did after the first coming of the Lord. But, after 3½ years, the Lord will come to deliver His people from their hiding place in Edom and He will fight for them.
To those who know the Lord, as this time approaches, we need to be constant in prayer and we need to be busy doing the Lord’s work which is to proclaim the Gospel (Good News) of the coming kingdom of the Lord.