By Nathan Jones
Will the Third Temple be built in our lifetime?
I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll marvel at Jesus' prophecy concerning the destruction of the Temple.
Desecrating the Temple
Vic: Let's look at a passage that hints about the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, and that's Revelation 11.
Nathan: The Antichrist 3.5 years into the Tribulation will break his peace treaty with Israel. He will come to Jerusalem and kill the the two prophets who are called the Two Witnesses. They are super-evangelists who preach out from Jerusalem to all the world. They cannot be hurt. They can do amazing things like the Old Testament prophets did, such as call down fire and cause droughts and supernatural things like that. The world hates them for it.
As soon as their supernatural protection is taken away by God for His purposes, the Antichrist comes to Jerusalem and kills them. He leaves their bodies lying in the street for 3.5 days. The passages says the whole world will rejoice over the fact that the Two Witnesses are dead.
The Antichrist next walks into the Temple and declares himself to be God. All other religions, such as the false one-world Babylonian religion that will spring up during the first half of the Tribulation will be destroyed. The Antichrist declares that all will worship him now. Of course, Satan's possessing the Antichrist, so it's really Satan who the world will be forced to worship.
The Antichrist will desecrate the Temple by setting up an image of himself to be worshiped there. The passage says the desecration will cause a remnant of the Jews to flee out of Israel. They will flee to southern Jordan where there God will protect them for the remainder of the 3.5 years of the Tribulation.
Built in Our Lifetime
Vic: We see now that the world is being prepared for this event. Do you think we could start seeing this new Temple being built in our lifetime?
Nathan: The answer is really tricky in how it plays into Bible prophecy. Before the Tribulation begins, there are two prophetic wars that must occur first. The first is the Psalm 83 War where Israel will finally have to subdue its hostile neighbors. We're talking about Gaza, which is in the news every day lately, and Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. These are all those nations that attacked Israel back in 1948, 1967, 1973 and so on. Psalm 83 says that Israel will finally one day subdue those nations.
The second prophetic war is found in Ezekiel 38 and 39. That's the Gog-Magog Battle. It is the most detailed prophetic battle in all of Bible prophecy. Ezekiel prophesied that Russia will make an alliance with Iran, Turkey and Libya and all those other 'Stan countries. They will come to destroy and loot Israel. Russia particularly wants to loot Israel of all its wealth. The nations surrounding Israel aren't mentioned in the Gog-Magog Battle, so we know that's a separate war from the Psalm 83 War. Israel's military is one of the strongest in the world, but it can't stand up against the might of the combined Russians and the outer ring of Islamic nations. We're told that everyone will see God's hand in Israel's victory over this massive threat.
Vic: That's right. Israel couldn't possibly defeat all those armies on their own.
Nathan: With the victory over this aggression, God steps into human history. He destroys those armies with hail and earthquakes, and even by causing them to turn on each other. Ezekiel says God sends fire back down on their countries and almost annihilates them. These nations won't even be around during the Tribulation.
The result of God's victory will be that the nation of Israel will turn back to God. All the rest of the Jews from around the world will emigrate to Israel. Once fully regathered, the Jews will worship God once more, but not yet His Son, Jesus Christ.
That being said, without Islam being a threat during the Tribulation, I believe the Jews could then rebuild the Temple without any problems. It could be that the Antichrist's peace treaty with Israel guarantees them that they can rebuild the Temple without any trouble as well.
Vic: Excellent point! That's why we need to look at these prophecies slowly and carefully so that we don't misinterpret how these events are going to be played out.
Nathan: Exactly! And, we also have to filter the fulfillment of these events based on the three questions the Apostles asked Jesus in Luke 21 and Matthew 24. The Apostles own questions about Jesus show they were talking about three different time periods. First, they wanted to know when the Temple would fall, which historically was four decades later in 70 AD. The second pertained to the signs leading up to the end of the age, which is the Church Age we're living in now just before the Rapture. The third pertains to the end of the Tribulation, which is Jesus' Second Coming.
Vic: We see evidence of this Third Temple being built back in Daniel 9. Matthew 24:15 also reveals, "Therefore, when you see the 'abomination of desolation' spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand)."
Nathan: Exactly, yes, Daniel is talking about the Abomination of Desolation in Daniel 11:31 and 12:11. The Antichrist will enter into and desecrate the Third Temple.
According to prophecy, Jesus declared that the Second Temple would be destroyed, and it was, not one stone was left upon another. But, there will be a second destruction, as well as another Abomination of Desolation. A few hundred years earlier before Jesus' time, there was a mad man named Antiochus Epiphanies who was a representative of the Greeks. He committed the Abomination of Desolation by sacrificing a pig on the Temple alter, which caused the Maccabean Revolt. But, this was not the Abomination of Desolation that Jesus is talking about. When Jesus said, "When you see the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel," He's not saying, "Yeah, back when Antiochus Epiphanies came." Jesus is speaking in future tense, which refers to what we read in Revelation about the Antichrist desecrating the Temple.
I don't believe we will be here to see the Temple being rebuilt because I believe we will be raptured up before that happens, but I do know that it will be rebuilt. I've even seen in person all the materials and the plans the Temple Institute has in preparation for building it.
Vic: Yes, I'm sure it's going to be a really nice Temple, but I'm with you, I really don't need to see it. I'd rather be in heaven with Jesus.
Nathan: Amen. Because we see God stepping back into Jewish history again at the end of the Gog-Magog War, I sincerely believe that's showing a total disconnect from the Church Age and the transition into the Tribulation Age. Because God's always promised Israel that a remnant would come to salvation through them, the Church doesn't need to be here for the Tribulation for the salvation of the remnant to happen. Believers in Christ are taken off this earth beforehand.
It could either be the Gog-Magog victory that allows the Jews to rebuild the Third Temple, or possibly the peace treaty with the Antichrist, which is still after the Rapture. So, Brother, we won't be here to see the Third Temple.
What we will be here to see is the Fourth Temple, and that's the Millennial Temple. That's when Jesus returns and sets up His thousand-year reign on this earth. That Temple will be more grand and vast then anything that's ever been built before, and Jesus will be right there in it in person.
By the way, the Third Temple won't last very long. It'll only last for as long as the duration of the Tribulation, which is seven years.
Vic: That's right. We're not so concerned with when the Temple is going to be rebuilt because we believe we're going to be out of here before then due to the rapture. I really believe that we could be that generation that's going to be alive when the Lord comes back for His Church at the Rapture.
Nathan: Wow, Pastor Vic, you're jumping way ahead to the end of Matthew 24. But yes, there's no doubt we are the generation that will be alive to see the Rapture happen.
Vic: I just wanted to wet the appetite of our readers. I just pray people will see how exciting Matthew 24 is and how it unfolds and ties to other parts of the Bible.
Importance of Bible Prophecy
Vic: Jesus Himself was quoting Daniel, so we know that Daniel was a legitimate prophetic book, right?
Nathan: Yes, indeed, Jesus' prophesies came true, and so too Daniel's prophecies. If you're looking for legitimacy, then study Bible prophecy. Prophecy has to be 100% fulfilled in order for it to be true prophecy from God. Every prophecy that the Bible has ever made has always come true, or will come true.
Vic: That's truly amazing! I want to encourage everyone to become students of the Bible and students of Bible prophecy by taking the time to dig into God's word. I also would like to encourage people to check out the wonderful resources at your website at lamblion.com.
Nathan, I'm a student like you. I'm a student and I don't claim to know everything, so any resources that will enhance my learning I take advantage of them.
Nathan: It's so important to learn Bible prophecy to gain an understanding of God's purposes. Nearly 31% of the Bible is prophecy, which in other words, God wants us to know what's going to happen. He has this big picture plan for not only all of humanity, but for yours and my life as well.
God has a plan for your life. He wants you to know that He wins in the end. He loves you. He wants to forgive you of your sins and so give you eternal life. You just have to accept that free gift that He paid for you by dying on the cross.
If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your savior, pray in your heart, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior." Jesus promises He will forgive you and give you a new life full of hope.