The history of the Jewish Temple begins and ends in prophecy. The Sanctuary (a term inclusive of God's dwelling in all its forms) was proleptically revealed to Abraham in its sacrifical service and permanent location on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:2, 14). Enlarging the Abrahamic revelation in similar terms, Moses receives prophetic instructions at the time of the Exodus for Israel's relationship to the Sanctuary (Ex. 15:17). Later on Mount Sinai, he receives the heavenly blueprint for the Sanctuary and its vessels (Ex. 25:8-9, 40). This verse is important in that it shows that the divine ideal for the Sanctuary is God's manifest Presence on earth among His people (vs. 8; cf. its Millennial expression - Zech. 2:10-12), and that the same celestial pattern (vss. 9, 40) was used for both the Tabernacle and the Temple (cf. 1 Chron. 28:11-19; cf. Rev. 15:5). The Tabernacle is distinguished from the Temple in that it was a portable and temporary dwelling place for God's Presence (Ex. 40:36-38; cf. 2 Sam. 7:6) whereas the Temple was to be a permanent and eternal habitation (2 Chron. 7:16; Ezek. 37:26-28). In token of their mutually prophetic purpose, when the First Temple was built, the Tabernacle/Tent of Meeting was apparently included within it (1 Kgs. 8:4; 2 Chron. 5:5).
It is King David who, meditating on the divine ideal (cf. Psa. 132) is moved to begin the process of building the First Temple (2 Sam. 7:2; 1 Chron. 17:1). However, since the Temple was designed to regulate the universal peace brought by God's Presence on earth during the Millennium (David only understands the restricted concept, cf. 2 Sam. 7:1), it could only be completed by one who was a fitting representive of God's peaceful program (1 Kgs. 3:3-14; 5:3). Yet David was in prophetic succession to those to whom God had previously revealed the Temple's program. This is seen in God's reminding David of the Abrahamic promise (2 Sam. 7:10), and repeating to him the Mosaic revelation (1 Chron. 28:11, 19). On this basis (as a founder, not a builder), David was qualified to make financial and material preparations for the Temple (1 Chron. 29). Solomon ("His peace") however, was to construct the Temple based on the terms of his father's covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-13;1 Kgs. 5:5; 6:12-13). In his prayer of dedication (1 Kgs. 8) is revealed both the Temple's divine ideal as the place of God's Presence (vss. 27-34) and its universal (Millennial) function (vss. 41-43, 56-60).
The Davidic Covenant which provided for a permanent Temple in Jerusalem was nonetheless conditioned upon the Nation's obedience. This meant that throughout Israel's future history the Temple could be removed and returned as often as Israel was fickle or faithful to the covenant. As history unfolded, the First Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. as a direct result of covenantal violations. The downward slide began already in the time of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11:1-13) and culminated with king Manasseh (2 Kgs. 21:7-14), and were especially prolonged with respect to violations of the Sabbath (2 Chron. 36:21).
Restoration began with the return and rebuilding of the Second Temple under Zerubbabel in 515 B.C. (Ezra 1-6), but because of continued covenant violations (cf. Ezra 9; Neh. 13; Mal. 1-4) the Millennial restoration envisioned by the Prophets (cf. Ezek. 40-48) was postponed (cf. Hag. 2:1-9). Half a millennia later, perhaps a decade before Jesus was born in Judea, the Second Temple was in such severe need of repairs that the reigning king Herod the Great refurbished it completely, even expanding its size. Although newly restored, it was still subject to the old terms of the covenantal contract, and with the Nation's rejection of Jesus as Messiah the Temple was again doomed to desolation. All of Jesus pronouncements of the Temple's destruction (Matt. 24:2/Mk. 13:2; Lk. 21:6, 20-24) must be viewed in this light, and not as a rejection or replacement of the Temple as a legitimate institution. In fact joined immediately to Jesus' own pronouncement of the Temple's desolation (Matt. 21:38) is His promise (in the word "until") of Israel (and the Temple's) restoration (Matt. 23:39). This and Jesus' positive statements concerning the Temple elsewhere (Matt. 12: 4; 17:24-27; 23:16-21; Jn. 2:16-17) and especially in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14) hold out the prophetic promise that the history of the Temple would be continued in the future (see Temple, Future).
Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews; Jewish Wars; Mina C. Klein & H. Arthur Klein, Temple Beyond Time: The Story of the Site of Solomon's Temple (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1970 [general Jewish perspective], Joan Comay, The Temple of Jerusalem (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975) [general Jewish perspective], Benjamin Mazar, The Mountain of the Lord (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1975) [Conservative Jewish perspective], Rabbi Shaul Schaffer & Asher Joseph. Engl. ed. Rabbi Asher Feuchtwanger, Israel's Temple Mount: The Jews' Magnificent Sanctuary (Jerusalem: Achva Press, 1975) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], Meir Ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple: The Discovery of Ancient Jerusalem. Trans. Ina Friedman (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1982) [secular Jewish perspective], Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1985) [Jewish, higher critical, perspective], Rabbi Leibel Reznick, The Holy Temple Revisited (New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc., 1993) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services [updated edition] (Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994) [Evangelical, Jewish-Christian perspective
The prophecy of a future Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (see Temple, History of) is part of the greater restoration promise made to national Israel. This promise, made at the close of the First Temple period (cf. Isa. 1:24-2:4;4:2-6; 11:1-12:6; 25-27; 32; 34-35;40-66 :Jer. 30-33; Ezek. 36-48; Amos 9:11-15; Joel 2:28-3:21; Micah 4-5; 7:11-20; Zeph. 3:9-20), again by the prophets who prophesied after the return from captivity (cf. Dan. 9-12; Hag. 2:5-9; Zech. 8-14; Mal. 3-4), and reaffirmed in the New Testament (cf. Acts 3:19-26; Rom. 11:1-32) contained inseparably linked elements of fulfillment: the return of Israel to the Land of Israel (in unbelief), the experience of the time of Jacob's trouble (Tribulation), the rebuilding of the Temple, the return of Messiah, the redemption of Israel, and the restoration of Israel's glory (Millennium). Biblical texts (see above) which support this promise likewise generally support the future rebuilding of the Temple.
The future Temple is in view by the biblical writers throughout this period commencing with the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (see Daniel, Seventy Weeks) and moving through the Kingdom age. This is to be expected as the Temple is the symbol of both Israel's national and spiritual existence and this future program involves both national desecration (Tribulation) and spiritual restoration (Millennium), which historically was experienced by Israel in relation to her Temple (cf. desecration: 2 Kgs. 24:3-4; cf. Jer. 7:1-8:3; Ezek. 8:6-18; Zeph. 1:9; Ezra 5:11-12; restoration: 2 Chron. 36:20-23/Ezra 1:1-4; 6:14, 22; Hag. 1:7-9 with 2:15-19; Zech. 1:15-16; Mal. 3:7-12).
It is necessary to distinguish in the context of the Old Testament whether the future Tribulation or Millennial Temple is in view. The Tribulation Temple will be built by unbelieving Jews and desecrated by Antichrist (Dan. 9:27; cf. 11:36-45). The Millennial Temple will be built by the Messiah (Zech. 6:12-13) and redeemed Jews, and as a particular sign of restoration, assisted by representatives from Gentile nations (Zech. 6:15; Hag. 2:7; cf. Isa. 60:10). It will be distinguished from the Tribulation Temple as the restoration Temple by a return of the Shekinah Glory of God (Ezek. 43:1-7; cf. Ezek. 10:4,18-19; 11:22-23) and by Gentile worship (Isa. 60:6; Zeph. 3:10; Zech. 2:11; 8:22; 14:16-19). These traits also distinguish the Millennial Temple from any previous historical Temple (the First Temple lacked Gentile worshippers; the Second Temple lacked the Shekinah). In addition, the literal dimensions and architectural and ritual descriptions of the Millennial Temple are distinctly unique. The primary text in the Old Testament which speaks directly about the Tribulation Temple is Daniel 9:27 (cf. 12:11), although the Temple's presence is stated or indirectly implied in other Tribulation contexts (cf. Isa. 24:2, 23; Mal. 3:1-3). Specific texts which speak about the Millennial Temple are Isa. 2:2-4; Jer. 33:18; 60:7, 13; Ezek. 37:26-28; 40-48; Hag. 2:9; Zech. 6:12-13;14:20).
In continuity with the Old Testament program expected for Israel's restoration, Jesus and the New Testament writers likewise present a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem as part of their eschatological program. Basing his interpretation on Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 9:27), Jesus sets the Temple as the signal event dividing the Birthpangs of the Tribulation from the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14). Paul also builds upon Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 9; 11) in his account of the descecration of the Tribulation Temple by Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:4). In like manner, John, who understands a coming Antichrist (1 Jn. 2:18), describes the desolation of the Temple courts by Antichrist's Gentile forces during the last half of the Tribulation period (Rev. 11:1-2).
Dispensational Premillennial perspective unless otherwise noted: Don Stewart and Chuck Missler, The Coming Temple (Orange, California: Dart Press, 1991), Thomas Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild: The Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1992), J. Randall Price, The Desecration and Restoration of the Temple as an Eschatological Motif (Ann Arbor, Michigan:UMI, 1993), J. Randall Price, In Search of Temple Treasures (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), Roger Liebi, Jerusalem - Hindernis für den Weltfrieden?: Das Drama des jüdischen Tempels (Berneck: Schwengeler-Verlag, 1994), esp. pp. 97-114, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and Chaim Richman, The Odyssey of the Third Temple (Jerusalem: G. Israel Publications & Productions, Inc./The Temple Institute, 1994) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], Rabbi Shalom Dov Steinberg, The Third Temple according to the Prophecy of Ezekiel. Trans. Rabbi Moshe Leib Miller (Jerusalem: Moznaim Publications, 1994) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], T. Ice and T. Demy, The Truth about the Last Days' Temple. Pocket Prophecy Series (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1995).
Dr. Randall Price is the Author of Ready to Rebuild and has appeared on the nationally televised CBS special "Ancient Secrets of the Bible." He is president of World of the Bible Ministries, Inc. He is a Th.M. graduate of Dallas Tehological Seminary and holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew Languages and Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and is personally acquainted with many leading figures in Scroll research.
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