After the Jews returned to Israel from Babylon, Haggai had a word from the Lord to the leader Zerubbabel and the High Priest Joshua to rebuild the Temple of the Lord.
“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Haggai 2:6-9 KJV
The people that returned were saying “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.” (Hag. 1:2) because the surrounding peoples (Gentiles) were opposing it and causing trouble for them and they feared causing an uprising. But, the Lord had different ideas and said “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” He said –
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD.” – Haggai 1:7, 8
The people of Israel find themselves in a similar position today. They have returned to the land but, not as Israelites. They can never be Israelites without the Temple. And the ‘wailing wall’ will not suffice! They are just a secular nation, like any other nation, who was given permission to exist by the will of man (the UN). They try to claim the promises of God to return them, which are given in the Old Testament but, they don’t want to acknowledge God for fear of the Gentiles around them. The prophet Ezekiel proclaimed –
“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” – Ezek. 37:21-28
Much of Israel has been brought back from the nations but, not all. And they are now one nation, not two. But, they are yet defiling themselves with secular idols, with homosexuality, and with abortions. And they are not following one shepherd yet. Also, the Sanctuary of the Lord is not yet in their midst. Because of that, the nations do not know that it is the Lord God who sanctifies Israel. In short, they are not the “children of Israel gathered from among the nations.”
This process of gathering has begun but, it not yet complete. Daniel prophesied –
“Seventy weeks (sevens) are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.” – Dan. 9:24
Israel has certainly not made an end of sinning and it has not yet brought in everlasting righteousness nor made an end to visions and prophesy. And it has no “Most Holy” (Temple) to anoint. However, it will, because the word of the Lord says they will but, not without the testing of Jacob’s Trouble.
Daniel also prophesied that the Antichrist would sit in the Temple declaring himself to be God and thus bring in the ‘abomination that desolates’.
“Then he (the Antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” – Dan. 9:27
Jesus spoke –
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” – Matt. 24:15, 16
Paul taught –
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin (Antichrist) is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” – 2 Thes. 2:3, 4
All of these Scriptures say that a Temple must be built before the Antichrist comes on the scene. But, is it the Temple Ezekiel is speaking about when he prophesied “I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore”? I think not. I believe this will be a Temple built in unbelief (unbelief of their true Messiah, Jesus Christ). And when the true Messiah comes, this temple will fall in the great earthquake that follows as He begins His deliverance of His people. It will be as Zechariah prophesied –
“Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You. (Septuagint, Targum, and Vulgate read Him.)” – Zech. 14:1-5
The Book of Revelation also speaks of a great earthquake to hit the city of Jerusalem when the two witnesses are resurrected –
“In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” – Rev. 11:13
Revelation 12 also describes this struggle as Satan is cast down from heaven and makes war on the woman (Israel) and the woman flees into the wilderness –
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.” – Rev. 12:14-16
For 3½ years the woman will be nourished in the wilderness as the time allotted to the Antichrist runs out. Then the Lord will come, as Zechariah says, “Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with Him”. Then, the word given to Ezekiel will come to pass –
“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.”
So, how close are we to these events happening? As the Dead Sea Scrolls have been found, and the Copper Scroll among them, and the promise of buried 2nd Temple relics is hanging like the proverbial carrot on a stick, I would say we are very close. Once these relics are uncovered the pressure to build the 3rd Temple will be strong and international. This means, we are just a few years away from the revealing of the Antichrist, who will be introduced to the world as a ‘man of peace’ and may even be involved in the building of the 3rd Temple.
It is time to remember the words of Jesus as He taught about these end-time events –
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” – Luke 21:28