posted on Jan, 10 2020 @ 05:03 PM
The full title of this theme ought to be “Things that won’t happen in the end-times”.
I’m referring to those anticipated events, featuring frequently in speculations about the end-times, which are based on misinterpretations of what
the Bible says.
In this case, I’m looking at “the rebuilding of the Temple”.
This expectation does not come directly from any New Testament promise.
It’s mainly an inference from the statement that the “man of sin… takes his seat in the temple of God” (2 Thessalonians ch2 vv3-4).
Similarly, Jesus confirms that an abomination of desolation will be standing “in the holy place” (Matthew ch24v15), and there’s a reference to
the temple of God and its altar in Revelation ch11v1.
Since the one Temple of the Biblical God has already been destroyed, these references would seem to imply the building of a Third Temple (or Fourth
Temple, if Herod’s building is counted separately).
So any critique of the “rebuilding” theory needs to be based on a better understanding of what these references mean.
Paul speaks of a temple in other places.
He tells the believer that his body is a temple, as a place where God dwells;
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” (1 Corinthians ch6 v19).
More to the point, he tells the Christian church in Corinth that they themselves, as a community, are a temple, as a place where God dwells;
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (! Corinthians ch3 v16).
It isn’t clear in modern English, but that “You” is in the plural. All of them together make ONE temple.
That is why the fostering of disunity is so offensive to God. Anyone who breaks up the unity of the church is breaking up the temple of God, which is
an act of sacrilege; “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him” (v17).
We may compare this with what Jesus says about the Temple in John’s gospel;
“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up’… But he spoke of the temple of his body” (John
There may be one further level of meaning, referring to the future “body of Christ” as the re-established Temple.
So the church, as a corporate body, is the temple of God of the New Testament era.
If we read that conclusion back into the reference from Thessalonians, then the implication of “taking his seat in the temple” would be that the
man of sin seizes control of the visible church.
When he “proclaims himself to be God”, and obliges the church to accept that proclamation, that would be the “abomination” (that is, the focus
of idolatry) predicted by Jesus.
The same proclamation would have the (disguised) effect of suppressing the church’s worship of the Biblical God and breaking off their contact with
him. That would be the “desolation” (that is, the sense of isolation) which accompanies the abomination.
These results, between them, would reproduce what was accomplished by the original “abomination of desolation” established by Antiochus
The passage in Thessalonians should also be compared closely with the passage in Revelation ch11.
If both passages are talking about a literal physical temple, then they are flatly contradicting each other. Paul sees the man of sin taking over the
temple, while in Revelation the integrity of the temple and its worshippers are preserved from the invasion of “the nations”.
The best explanation is that both passages are speaking metaphorically, but using the metaphor in different ways.
Since Paul is echoing the image already used by Daniel and by Jesus, his “temple” must be something external and accessible to human control.
In the Revelation vision, the external structures of the church, which the enemies of God are able to control, are labelled as “the outer courts”.
The real “temple” is the inaccessible spiritual sanctuary of the church- that is, the unquenchable faith of the stubborn saints who are resisting
With that qualification, we ought to recognise both versions of the temple as the Body of Christ.
For New Testament purposes, that is the dwelling-place of God.
No other temple would be necessary.
So there is no reason found in the New Testament to suggest that any other temple will be built.