Rebuilt Temple


Gary DeMar writes, "There is nothing in Daniel 9:24-27 that even hints that there will be a rebuilt temple" (DeMar, Last Days Madness, 95).

Let us take a look at the events that will happen at the end of the seventieth week:

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies" (Dan.9:24).

In regard to the words "holy of holies" Leon Woods says:

"The phrase "holy of holies" (qodesh qadash'm) occurs, either with or without the article, thirty-nine times in the Old Testament, always in reference to the Tabernacle or Temple or to the holy articles used in them. When referring to the most holy place, where the Ark was kept, the article is regularly used (e.g., Ex. 26: 33), but it is not when referring to the holy articles (e.g., Ex. 29: 37) or to the whole Temple complex (e.g., Ezek. 43: 12). In view of these matters, it is highly likely that the phrase refers to the Temple also here, which, in view of the context, must be a future Temple; and, since the phrase is used without the article, reference must be to a complex of that Temple, rather than its most holy place" [emphasis mine] (Wood, A Commentary on Daniel [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973], 250).

The "most Holy" was not annointed at any time after the Lord Jesus was crucified. And since the temple standing when the Lord Jesus was crucified was later destroyed in A.D.70 the reference to "anoint the most Holy" must remain in the future. In order for this verse to be fulfilled a new temple must be rebuilt.

As already demonstrated, James stated that when the Lord Jesus returns that He will once again begin to deal with national Israel (Acts 15:16-17). The following prophecy shows the Lord Jesus returning, and when He returns there will indeed exist a rebuilt temple:

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple...And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years" (Mal.3:1,3,4).

Some Bible commentators say that this prophecy was fulfilled at the Lord Jesus' first advent and that the "messenger" spoken of in this verse was John the Baptist. However, at that time there was never an occasion when the "offering of Judah and Jerusalem" was pleasant unto the Lord "as in the days of old, and as in former years".

Even some non-dispensationalists, such as noted Christian author Alfred Eldersheim, understand that John the Baptist "was not really Elijah to Israel". He writes that John the Baptist "was sent 'in the spirit and power of Elias,' that is, with the same object and qualifications. Similarly, it is true...what the Saviour said of him, 'Elias is indeed come,' but 'they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.' But on this very recognition and reception of him by the Jews depended his being to them Elijah--who should 'turn the hearts of the fathers to the children'...and so 'restore all things.'...so also in very fact the Baptist, though Divinely such, was not really Elijah to Israel--and this is the meaning of the words of Jesus: 'And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come' " [emphasis mine] (Eldersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book 1, 340-341).

Even though the Baptist only came in the "spirit and power" of Elijah the Lord Jesus stated in no uncertain terms that a time will come when Elijah will come "Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things" (Mt.17:11).

And when Elijah does come then at that time the Lord Jesus will "suddenly come to His temple" and "then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years."

Objections

Matthew 24:2: Gary DeMar writes, "But what of those who say that the Olivet Discourse is a prophecy about a still-future temple that must be rebuilt in Jerusalem and destroyed like the temple that was destroyed by the Roman military leader Titus in A.D.70? This supposed future temple would have to be rebuilt with the same stones that made up the temple that was destroyed. Not just any stones will do. Jesus said that 'not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down' (Matt. 24:2)" (DeMar, Last Days Madness, 52).

The words of the Lord Jesus at Matthew 24:2 are indeed in regard to the temple then standing. And He goes into more detail here:

"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh...And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Lk.21:20,24).

This prophecy was fulfilled in A.D.70 when Jerusalem was destroyed, including the temple. Neither of these verses were included in the accounts of the Olivet Discourse given by Matthew and Mark. Here the "sign" is Jerusalem surrounded by armies, while in Mark and Matthew the "sign" is the "abomination of desolation" being set up in the temple (Mk.13:14; Mt. 24:15).

By the words of the Prophet Haggai we can see what might be described as a "principle of continuity" in the history of the temple. The temple that stood at the time of the Lord could be leveled to the ground and then be rebuilt and still be considered the same temple. At the time of the rebuilding of the temple after it had been destroyed, Haggi says:

"Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?" (Hag.2:3).

The Lord of hosts says, "The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former"(v.9).

So a rebuilt temple can be considered a continuation of the two preceding temples according to the words of the Lord. Therefore any future temple will not have to be rebuilt with the same stones as was the temple standing when the Lord Jesus walked the earth in order to be considered the same temple.

Ezekiel 45:15,17,20: Dispensationalists say that the "sacrifices" depicted in the verses "will be memorial in character". Gary DeMar says that "nothing in the text gives any indication that the sacrifices are 'memorial in character' "(DeMar, Ibid., 97).

There is nothing in the following text about the "passover sacrifices" that indicate that these sacrifices are "memorial in character" either:

"But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt" (Deut.16:6).

However, we do know that this sacrifice was indeed memorial in character: "...it is the LORD's passover...And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations" (Ex.12:11,14).

Atonement: Gary DeMar writes that "This supposed millennial temple is of special interest since it depicts animal sacrifices 'to make atonement' (Ezek. 45: 15, 17, 20). The word 'atonement' is used in the Pentateuch to describe Old Testament propitiatory sacrifices, the very thing Jesus came to abolish through His own shed blood...The Book of Hebrews was written to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the entire Old Covenant system...with its priests, sacrifices, ceremonies, and temple...has been done away with in Christ" (Ibid.).

Gary DeMar is correct that in the present dispensation that the entire Old Covenant system has been done away. However, that does not tie the Lord's hands in regard to any dispensation which will follow at the end of this one. After all, it was not the blood of bulls and goats which provided the means to take away sins and to make atonement under the Old Covenant (Heb.10:4). The Lord could take away the sins of those who brought the sacrifices based on that person's "faith", all the while knowning that He would be able to place those sins on the Lord Jesus at His crucifixion.

Under the Old Covenant these sacrifices served as "types" for those living in the present dispensation. There is no reason to believe that these same sacrifices in the millennial temple will not be memorial in character.

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