We Must Courageously Struggle Against
Religious Misinformation Even as We Preach
the Gospel of the Grace of God
by Mark Mountjoy
Unsuspecting Christians, some baptized into Christ as babies or who chose as a minor to become believers (as I did) are inculcated with certain ideas that are taught in Sunday school and a steady stream of doctrinal ideas that are difficult to doubt and hard to question—about God’s Chosen People and their hoped-for Third Temple and the Second Coming of our Lord. This is a very sensitive subject and I want to ask everybody evaluating this data and material to be mindful of the feelings of fellow believers so as not to use this information as a weapon or cudgel with which to harm, offend, or needlessly injure the hopes and certainties of others. We pray and ask God for the wisdom, gentleness, and extreme patience to at least inquire of others from whence they derive these ideas and hope that, in due time, their own studies in God’s Word will eventually lead them into a more balanced view of the will of God and the beginning, nature, and duration of the kingdom of God.
The idea of the necessity of the eventual building of a Third Temple for the Jewish People is not universally admitted all over the entire Christian world. It can be surmised that eschatologies like Amillennialism (of which the majority of Christians subscribe) would not agree that a Third Temple will ever be built. Nor is it a belief of Postmillennialism that such a structure is in the prophetic future. Preterist eschatologies would also deny the possibility and would, in fact, be the staunchest defenders of the idea that Temple building is, by all means, a thing of the past. But there are enough Christians of Premillennial or Dispensational Premillennial upbringing and Messianic Believers (Israeli Christians) and Muslim Background Believers (Arabic, African, Pakistani, Indonesian, and Farsi) individuals who love and serve Jesus who may not be entirely acquainted with the Bible or its Jewish and Israelite antiquities long enough or deeply enough to properly pose the toughest challenges and most critical questions about the viability of this seemingly harmless and hopeful idea.1
When believers (myself included) are taught, mentored, and led to believe and expect these things it is difficult to be coldly objective about how the idea of a Third Jewish Temple really fits in with the overall gist of New Testament prophecy. As you may know, very young people and people new to the Christian way, and seniors who never became familiarized with the twists, turns, and nuances of Apostolic interpretive idiosyncracies will not necessarily detect or realize that the New Testament actually points directly away from this.2 We will demonstrate, in the clearest way possible, that the true belief of Christians was that the Building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens is God’s true Temple of the Spirit and God’s only true Third Temple (not anything than can or should be built by man!). Moreover, and just as importantly, each Christian must be totally aware of what consequences and dangers each historic attempt at building a Third Temple in the past brought. Without exception, disastrous outcomes and reverberations and calamities came down on the heads of the Jewish People in the wake of past efforts to accomplish this feat.3 New Christians may be misled to believe the Jews never built a third Temple or never tried to build one. They may be misled to believe the Jewish people were ejected out of the Holy Land in A.D.70 only to regain their statehood again on 14 May 1948.4 They may be led to believe that the promises of Christ’s blessed Second Coming are intricately bound up with the renaissance of the Israeli State and the impending building of a Third Temple.5
Accepting these ideas without critical examination in light of the teachings of our Lord, Stephen, the Apostle Paul, the Hebrew writer, the Apostle Peter, and the Apostle John can lead one to the false conclusion that a successful bid to build a sacerdotal structure featuring a Levitical priesthood, Sabbath days, festivals, tithes, offerings, and animal sacrifices in Jerusalem is bound up in the will of God and is totally and absolutely necessary to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy when that is only an illusion and the farthest thing from any New Testament claim, interpretation, or insinuation from Matthew to the Book of Revelation.6 A variety of Christian churches, including a brand new multitude of Muslim Background Believers can be inexperienced enough to fall into the trap of spreading teachings about Bible prophecy that actually do not square with the sound doctrine taught by our Lord Jesus, their dear Savior, and ours. So I write this, praying and hoping that it will be received, not as an instance to display contempt against hopes and expectations, but as a cautionary warning borne from my own embarrassment and shame when I realized, in 1981, that the surprising and phenomenal second century resurrection of the State of Israel was irrelevant to Bible prophecy progress which was underway and in no way hindered all the way to its thunderous and earthshattering conclusion at the end of the Israelite State in the spring and summer of A.D.136.7
The New Testament Treats the Old
Testament Along Specific Trajectories
The New Testament has a lot to say about the Old Testament but it is a mistake to think that this is done in a straightfoward or necessarily simplistic way. Among the variety of interpretive methods plain sense and allegory dominate almost equally, but there are also other considerations to look out for.
1) Pesher, Remez, Sod far dominates the Peshat (the literal method of interpretation); detailed and careful studies will substantiate this.
2) If literal (Peshat) was the only way nobody would be put out of the synagogue, nobody would be opposed, persecuted, or killed in the first place.
3) The mystery hidden in Old Testament texts is brought out and revealed in the New Testament texts and a Christian must walk and talk, and preach in accordance with the revelation of the mystery, not pervert the Gospel to conform to Rabbinic sensibilities and vain messianic and nationalist hopes.
4) The Premillennial, Dispensational Premillennial, and Ultradispensational exegetical methods are questionable, at best, and should be thoroughly scrutinized to discover where they stray from and distort the New Testament narrative.
5) The idea that a building project is ‘on the verge of happening’ needs to be examined coldly, lucidly, and dispassionately.
This idea that there needs to be a Third Temple and that it is about to be built is nothing new. Multiple attempts have been made, leading to disaster each and every time.
The Idea That the Second Coming Will Now Be
‘Soon’ Retards New Testament Promises, Too!
Many Christians, in their eagerness to be eyewitnesses of the return of Jesus in glory, have not taken the time to notice that this promise in the New Testament is circumscribed by context, terms, and historical conditions that do not allow it to be lifted out of the contemporary generation of our Lord’s visitation to this earth with impunity. Now, some surmise that the idea of a short time to the Lord can be a long time to us, and that he really did not mean he was coming soon in their [first and second-century] lifetime. but that he’s coming soon in the broader lifetime of the collective Church.8 But if such logic is used it can be recycled again and again to validate that Christ could be on the verge of returning 20 centuries from now. If one is justified to use it to nullify an imminent first-century return, anyone can use it to discredit an imminent Second Coming in the 21st century. If it is good to neutralize the one, it is also valid to neutralize the other!
Early Second Coming in the New Testament is demonstrated along reasonable lines of inquiry, to wit . . .
1 The Fourth Kingdom of Daniel 7 has already come and gone. By calculating the time of Babylonian rule over the Jewish people we discover that it was 70 years (i.e., to 609 B.C.―539 B.C.), Medeo-Persian rule over the Jews was 228 years (or 539 B.C.―311 B.C.9), Ptolemaic and Seleucid rule of Judea was 170 years (or 311 B.C. to 141 B.C.), the Hasmonean Dynastic rule over the land of Israel lasted 104 years (or 141 B.C. to 37 B.C.), Herodian rule over the Holy Land was 103 years (or 37 B.C. to A.D.66). The Judæo-Idumean coalition government over Judæa lasted 42 months (or A.D.66―A.D.70), the Judæa Capta period lasted 59 years (or Nisan A.D.73 to Nisan A.D.132), the Bar Kokhba Israelite State lasted 42 months (or A.D.132-A.D.136).
As one can see from this inventory, trying to squeeze in 20 centuries into this roster does not match the flow, rhythm, or heartbeat of the changing governments (Jewish or Gentile) that ruled over the Holy Land. Even worse, the idea that the fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire and not the Hasmonean royal dynasty conflicts with the facts of Jewish self-rule before the Romans ever entered into the picture (which was in 63 B.C). In other words, if this evidence is correct a Roman fourth kingdom is irrelevant and inaccurate and, therefore, a myth.
2 The Second Temple of Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 has come and gone. The Second Temple was commissioned by Cyrus the Great of Persia and built by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel in 515 B.C. in the sixth year of King Darius (Ezra 6:15). It was destroyed by the Roman general Titus on Saturday 9 Ave, A.D.70 after being in the hands of the Zealots for 42 months (Revelation 11:1-2).
3 The Gospel has ALREADY been preached to every creature under heaven (Colossians 1:23). The Apostle Paul affirms on more than five different occasions (see below).
4 The Abomination of Desolation that was foretold to happen in the Second Temple was assuredly fulfilled see Wars 2.17.1:408-409, see Wars 2.17.3:413-416, see Wars 2.19.2:517-522, see Wars 2.19.4:529-530, see Wars 2.20.1:556-4:568, see Wars 2.22.1:648-650, see Wars 126.96.36.1995-386, see Wars 4.3.6:147, see Wars 4.3.6:150, see Wars 4.3.7:151, and see Wars 4.3.8:155-157).
These are just eleven of the many terrible reports that Josephus preserved for us that record for posterity the banning of foreigners from offering sacrifices in the Second Temple all the way to the election of new priests by rabid murderers and the dissolution of the legitimate priesthood at that point early in the war. Of course, this is not even a fraction of the references; it is only the start. But it gives us a terrifying glimpse of the gruesome atrocities that blossomed, in bloody and ghastly colors, in the Second Temple in its last infamous forty-two months of existence.
5 The armies of the Lord already appeared over the skies of Holy Land Judæa in the first century as Christ promised they would!
6 If the Lord did not fulfill his direct sworn promises within one hundred years that is a direct threat to the inspiration of the New Testament and falsifies the Word of God, pure and simple!
So the need for a Third Temple is, first of all, not borne by any real necessity. It arises out of the Rabbinic need to deny that Jesus is the real Messiah. Its roots are in the objection that our Lord actually fulfilled what was spoken of him and that it actually happened before the destruction of the Second Temple (as it foretold this in Daniel 9:25-27).
It is also fostered by the disregard to facts: The Olivet Discourse is entirely about, first of all, the Destruction of the Second Temple. Nowhere in Matthew, Mark, or Luke is there a suggestion (not even once, about a Third Temple). In 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation 11:1-2 the same thing holds true: There is not a word, a need, a demand, or insinuation about a Third Jewish Temple, either. To discuss a Third Temple would demand that the Second Temple be destroyed first and when the New Testament was being written the Second Temple was still standing. Regarding any other thing Jesus did speak of preparing a Place for us . . .
In fact, our Lord did promise to prepare a Place for us:-.
“Ye believe in God, believe also in me. I go to prepare a Place for you. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it was not true I would not have told you so. I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again to receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also. And where I go they way ye know.” (John 14:1-6).
But the Jews said they heard Stephen say something objectionable about the Second Temple:-
“We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this Place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered unto us.”
Near the end of his speech to the Sanhedrin Stephen said unto them,
“The heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool, what is the house ye will build unto me. And where is the place of my rest?”
The Jewish officials were offended by the idea that God no longer wanted a house built by human hands. They took issue with this and wished such talk would cease and desist!
But the Apostle Paul was of the same mind as our Lord and Stephen, he said:-
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”10
The Hebrew Writer was no less certain in his comments:-
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:8-15).
“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
The Apostle John (in Revelation 11:1 through 13:1-18) reiterated what the prophets foretold the Jews would do to the Second Temple, but by the end of the Jewish age he could say of the House God built for us:-
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:22-27).
We want to be perfectly clear here: The realization of Ezekiel chapters 40-48 is not a Third human Temple, but God’s own everlasting House envisioned standing majestically in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. This Place is for every Christian, whether that Christian be Semitic or Gentile. To argue otherwise is to advocate returning to a dismal archetype, a temporary motif, a beggarly shadow that couched the mystery of God’s plans for all mankind in ages past, but was made known through Christ and the Holy Apostles.
The Idea That a Third Temple Needs to Be Built
for the Millennium Worship is a Different Gospel
We saw that the idea that a Third Temple needs to be built to herald the dawn of our Lord’s Second Coming is totally and utterly false, but that idea is also used to suggest there will be the establishment of millennial Aaronic [Levitical] worship, which is erroneously and enormously deceptive as well. The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21:5-36) speaks only about the Destruction of the Second Temple but never ever speaks a single word about the building of a Third Temple for any purpose or any duration.11
The video below advocates that the Lord Jesus predicted the building of a Third Temple and that, when he returns, the whole world, during the millennium will be flocking to Jerusalem to worship God there.
This is not what Jesus says anywhere in Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John―and while it is true that there is no version of the Olivet Discourse in John, but even in John the need for any future Temple built by man and centered in Jerusalem is denied:
“[the Samaritan woman said] our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:20-24). 12
The course of events from the time of our Lord to A.D.70 saw the building of the Second Temple completed (in A.D.64) and fell afoul to violence and bloodshed in the Jewish civil war that began in A.D.66. For the next forty-two months, it was shamelessly desecrated in terrible sacrilege including multiple instances of mass murder of past 8,500 people and then another 12,000 people in a matter of weeks! Even after that, there was an endless string of attacks and injuries against the priests, Jews, and proselytes as they went about performing their religious obligations there.
First, the fourth kingdom of Daniel 7 has already come and gone. If we try to support a present-day scenario that the Book of Revelation is only of late shaping up for the final countdown we have to seriously re-imagine that any real fourth kingdom ever materialized or existed in the past.
To be sure, many speak of a ‘revived Roman Empire.’ But where do they obtain their information about the actual need for this? Where is the necessity for this? Why does there need to be a revived Roman Empire in order for Bible prophecy to come true? Was not the historic Roman Empire good enough and did not it have time enough for God to accomplish his purposes in Christ in the past?
I mean, after all the western Roman Empire fell around A.D.410 when Rome was sacked by the barbarian forces of Aleric I, but this was long after the days of the Apostles and early Christians. However, the eastern empire proved to be much sturdier and came into its own glory, with the help of Christianity itself.
Before Rome was ever attacked by anyone Constantine moved the capital of the empire to a brand new location (in A.D.330). Only 33 years passed by and in A.D.363 Jewish hopes for a Third Temple again intruded and caused Christian anguish, trepidation, and consternation. Why? The Emperor Julian wanted to prove Christianity was a false religion by defying the claim that a Jewish Temple would never be built again!13
This is exactly why Christians wouldn’t want a Third Temple in the fourth century and be glad about it. But we need to ask why any Christians be happy about the prospects of a Third Temple in the twenty-first century?
What is the difference between fourth-century Christians and twentieth and twenty-first-century Christians?
Is it because twenty-first-century Christians have a different understanding of the imperatives of the New Testament, or maybe they have a poorer grasp of what would be the nemesis of Christian claims to truth and verity? My brothers and sisters, we each have to reach down deep and grapple with this and ask the hard questions!
Second, the Second Temple of Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 has come and gone. It is a trick of light and smoke and mirrors to pretend, for the sake of hope, sensationalism, and manufactured horror to claim that Daniel 9 does not have the beginning and end of the history of the Second Temple in mind.
A plain reading of the passage informs any clear-eyed person that the edifice authorized to be restored and rebuilt by Cyrus in (Ezra 4:13) was fulfilled. Under the authority of the Persian king Jerusalem and the Temple were rebuilt and the time came when the Jews saw the death of the Messiah (our Lord Jesus). Thirty-three years then passed by till its destruction because of the goings-on in a mysterious abomination of desolation and now we have to fight a very hard fight to convince people that the Second Temple is what is important and a Third Temple is really meaningless!
Now, while it is true that Antiochus IV Epiphanes fulfilled acts of wrong-doing in this very place, in the second century B.C. Seleucid controlled Holy Land, (because obviously, that was the occasion of the successful Maccabean rebellion), but we also cannot deny the prophecy of the Olivet Discourse by blatantly denying that something on a more horrific scale happened within three decades after our Lord’s ministry.
And are those events which the Third Temple advocates wish to hijack and superimpose onto a building that was NEVER the topic of either Daniel 9:25-27 or the Olivet Discourse. And this is the essence of the deception.
To circumscribe and pretend that Matthew 24 and its Synoptic cognates in the New Testament plainly and boldly predicted tribulation, impiety, and atrocities in a Third Temple, an honest reading of each of their proof texts demonstrates no such thing!
Each of their proofs, if monitored, followed, and footnoted proves only that we are dealing with the end of the Second Temple and the very end of its authorized ministries and services and none other.
Third, the New Testament, on too many occasions, proclaims that the Gospel has ALREADY been preached to every creature under heaven (Colossians 1:23 cf. Titus 2:11). So that, not only is there a blackout on the reality of the final days of the Second Temple but also it is equally claimed that only now do we have the ability to preach the Gospel to every last human being on the face of the earth. In this way, a stipulation has been created for a future Second Coming when, in reality, that milestone is actually not there!
But was global Gospel preaching a Bible requirement our Lord supplied in the Olivet Discourse? Did he ever say that the Gospel must be preached over the whole planet, or did he only seem to say that?
Yes, indeed he seems to say that in Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10, but the problem that arises is this: The abomination and destruction of the Second Temple can only happen after the Gospel is preached. If the Gospel was not preached to the whole world (as we think Jesus seems to demand) would that not justify our taking the chapter to mean that a secondary fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse really does pertain to a Third Temple?
Admittedly, it could! It could mean just that!
But before we race ahead and conclude it means that we first need to find out if the New Testament anywhere proclaims that the Gospel was preached to every nation under heaven. Does it? Actually, it does!
It does so in Acts 2:5ff and we can surmise that the expression, ‘every nation under heaven’ might logically mean every nation which was ritually obligated to visit Jerusalem for the holy convocations—Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles)—three times a year. Understanding it this way has advantages, but we will get to that in a moment.
Luke writes ‘every nation under heaven’ but the nations he lists in Acts 2:5-11 did not include China, any place in the far east, or anywhere in North or South America. How can we understand what he means? What if he means that every nation but it would not have to include any other places if Jews and proselytes did not live there?
We also have claims from Jewish opposers 918 miles (1477.38 km) north of Jerusalem in Macedonia where they claimed that the earliest Christians had turned the world “upside-down” and how would they do that long before the Gospel was recognized as a present threat in Rome itself? Could it be that the Gospel, being preached faithfully at ALL the Jewish Jerusalem festivals three times a year, year in and year out? Such a regular dose of Gospel preaching to millions of pilgrims would have had an increasingly serious impact on the JEWISH WORLD (turning it upside down)?
That would make sense and that would take the strain off of claims of the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:5; Romans 10:14-21; Romans 16:26, Colossians 1:23, and Titus 2:11-12. It would seem, after taking a survey of all these seemingly inflated claims by Paul, that the early Christians, through the determined efforts of the Apostles, teachers, and traveling evangelist reached every Jew and proselyte before the A.D.66 rebellion which saw the Holy City closed off to the Romans, but left open to Jews and proselytes and plunged into a fatal and mysteriously unusual civil war.
All this does not add up to lend any credibility to the idea that the Olivet Discourse can be taken to mean such tragedies or eventualities (like a Second Coming) depends on anything like radios, satellites, T.V.s, and the building of a Third Temple. Rather, from what we know, so far, the conclusion runs the other way and should tell us that a Third Temple is irrelevant to the end of the world or the Second Coming of our Lord.
It should tell us that making the chapter about a building it never mentions is a serious error because it turns the subject of Bible eschatology on its head and perverts hope and expectations will, if given enough time, completely fail. And this failure will lead to disappointment, ridicule, embarrassment, and despair, but more than these, among unbelievers, skeptics, and critics of Christianity, it will serve as a potent fuel to empower their unbelief against the validity of the Gospel of the Son of God.
Fourth, if we are on point with what edition of the Jewish Temple our Lord speaks of, we can say with a large degree of confidence that the Abomination of Desolation that was foretold to happen in the Second Temple was assuredly fulfilled (See The Wars of the Jews 4.3.10:172, The Wars of the Jews 4.3.10:183, The Wars of the Jews 4.3.12:200-201, The Wars of the Jews 4.3.12:204, The Wars of the Jews 4.4.3:239-243 (!!), The Wars of the Jews 4.4.3:253, The Wars of the Jews 4.5.1309-313 (!!), The Wars of the Jews 4.5.2:323-333 (!!!), The Wars of the Jews 4.5.4:334-344, The Wars of the Jews 5.1.4:16 (!!), The Wars of the Jews 5.3.1:102-103 (!!), The Wars of the Jews 5.3.1:104-105. This litany of references ends with John Gischala’s troops seizing upon the inner Second Temple, but there is much more . . .
Fifth, it is often proclaimed that Jesus did not come back in the clouds of heaven in that time as he promised. But this is purely an assumption, in fact, the very opposite is true: The armies of the Lord already appeared over the skies of Holy Land Judæa in the first century just as Christ promised they would!14
Christians so want to see Jesus coming in the clouds tonight, tomorrow, next week or next year that there is hardly patience enough to reread the context of this promise to be double sure that it does not belong squarely within the lifetime of our ancient Jewish and Roman Christian ancestors! If we have the courage of our convictions we really need to review this again and beg God’s Holy Spirit for wisdom, insight, and humility. (Because this is not the time to harden our necks and say, No, to God!)
Sixth, the Book of Hebrews presents the Old Testament forms and Second Temple worship as a shadow that was, at that time, decaying and ready to vanish away (Hebrews 8:13). It does not envision any resuscitation of those forms for the future of the people of God in the presence of God, but only the holiest place of all, a building of God, a house not made with hands, which is beyond the veil.
Seventh, Revelation 19 and Revelation 20 DO NOT envision the Second Coming being followed by any Third Temple period or a utopian Jewish millennial paradise (on the contrary, these two post-Second Temple/post-Destruction of Jerusalem chapters show that that period would be anything but an earthly paradise!). In fact, Matthew 24 and Luke 21 and Revelation 19 through 20 depict this period as being a consummate disaster for the Jews—if they were war captives or struggling refuges in the Roman Empire, falling by the edge of the sword, or being sold to the lowest bidder in slave markets, which is exactly the way it turned out to be in recorded antiquity.15
This idea being promulgated and fostered in Premillennial and Messianic circles is not the message of Jesus of Paul or anything in the New Testament.
Paul, for example, makes much of the looming damnation of many of his contemporaries in some mysterious event to fall out in the Second Temple (2 Thessalonians 2:1-13). This makes sense when you understand that every able Jewish man or proselyte was required to pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the three festivals yearly. But to be obliged to do this during the deadly civil war years incurred not only the evident dangers of the unrest, but also the miraculous signs and wonders that were there designed to dazzle, entrap, and ensnare their fate to be destroyed with the city raises the stakes and points back to the original intent the Olivet Discourse had but loses in the wild-goose chase interpretations that refer the matter to a fabled Third Temple.
This Third Temple notion does not respect the way the New Testament has appropriated the Old Testament and, indeed, seeks to vaunt worn out and disappointed Jewish hopes for a restoration of the Levitical priesthood in order to rewind issues that have already been settled by the intervention of heaven itself long ago.
Therefore, what the video above advocates, and what many Christians now teach and expect, is NOT the Gospel of our Lord, nor the teachings of any of the New Testament Apostles. As such these are dangerous notions, not just because they will prove disappointing, but because they are deceptions that replace the real hope of glory which is this, Not an eternal Third Temple built by human [Jewish] hands, but an inheritance incorruptible reserved in heaven for you, built by God himself.
This, my Christian friends, is what the New Testament promises and it is up to us to courageously confute a sustained deception that continues to flout this truth and lead the unwary astray with false hopes of carnal glory that will only prove elusive and disappointing due to the passage of time.
1 If Christians become acquainted with the ideas of the New Testament believers, early second century Christians (e.g., the Epistle of Barnabus 8:1ff), the extant writings of Epiphanius of Salamis, Alexander the Monk, combined with the fourth-century Christian uproar over the prospects of Julian the Apostate’s blasphemous dare to build a Third Temple then they will grasp the truly negative reactions such a project has to the true Christian mindset about Jewish ambitions to lay the groundwork to make such a hope materialize.
2 The Midrashic science of interpretation, (Pesher, Peshat, Rez, Sod, allegory, types and shadows, parables, hyperbole, etcetera) familiar to Jews, was also utilized by Christians and makes what we are examining a bit more complicated than merely approaching texts, passages, and promises in a literal and wooden way. The real question is not what does the Tanakh say, but how does the New Testament deal with it and what unique claims are distilled from it? To circumvent New Testament claims, no matter how farfetched they may seem to be, is to falsify the Gospel message and run the risk of anathema and denial of the very salvation the Good News affords.
3 There were more or less twin claims first argued by the Jews: Before the A.D.70 Destruction, they argued that it was a false interpretation, a heinous claim, and unspeakable blasphemy to suggest that this sacred edifice would be destroyed and for this offense, they punished and killed our Lord (Matthew 26:61, Mark 14:58*).
Additionally, New Testament Christians starting with St. Stephen were arrested and stoned and otherwise killed just for this (see e.g. Acts 6:13ff, 7:47-49). The Book of Hebrews steadfastly interprets reasons why God objects to an earthly Temple (Hebrews 9:1-8, 11-12, 23-24), and John finally presaged the fatal Jewish siege and occupation of the Second Temple as a shop of tyranny (Revelation 11:1-2).
Now, the other strategy of the Jews came into play only after the Second Temple became a memory: We must build, we will have a Third Temple by the Sabbatical Year (i.e., A.D.132 on the Gregorian calendar). This was not a Christian hope to begin with, but a piece of Jewish defiance rooted in denial of the Altar of the Cross of Jesus, our Lord and theirs. Christians who are new to this issue must patiently research, study, and weigh the true significance of this Third Temple doctrine with its subtle, misleading, and unbiblical underpinnings.
3 Violence against the Romans to clear the way for the restoration of the nation of Israel starting in A.D.115 and trailing into the final Jewish war against the Romans saw the first battle victories, but final defeat to these ambitious and idealistically driven wars of desperation. During the wars of Trajan a half a million lost Roman lives was equally matched by the loss of a half-million Jewish lives, but in the end [under Bar Kokhba] the final result proved irresistible and the Jewish national history timeline, for all practical purposes, ceased.
4 The rebirth of the State of Israel around Hanukka in December A.D.131 was not the same as the restoration of the State on 14 May 1948. It was theocratic just as it was in 722 B.C. (i.e., rebellious against God’s will, as we see Bar Kokhba maiming 200,000 soldiers so they had only 9 fingers, and their song asking God not to help or harm them in their efforts to defeat the Romans). The twentieth century birth of the country saw the creation of a Democratic state, a state that is hardly interested in a Third Temple, animal sacrifices, or a tithe system. To superimpose Bible prophecy onto a country (such as it is almost with a majority of agnostic and atheists and a minority of Orthodox) is to hope against hope for a far-fetched dream based not on positive claims the New Testament writers support in any way, shape, or form, but what Rabbinic nostalgia and obstinance informs but has no practical value for establishing or maintaining what is Christologically true.
5 There is no prophecy in the entire Bible about either the 1948 Israeli State or a Second Coming beyond the generation of those Jewish individuals who witnessed the ministry of our Lord in Judæa 20 centuries ago. A search for anything like this in the Old Testament or the New will come up empty and only by twisting Scriptures in the Olivet Discourse and alleging a late date for the writing of the autograph copy of the New Testament can Futurist Savants “force” the Bible utter this blatant claim.
6 The Book of Hebrews itself announces the end of the Levitical (Aaronic) Priesthood and lays out the reasons why the Melchizedek priesthood, of which our Lord is the one and only official, supersedes the former and lasts forever.
7 The implications of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion and the reverberations it caused in the disruption of the Jewish history timeline is a subject that is missing in serious discussions about a Third Temple and early Jewish and Christian attitudes about it and against it. Why would the earliest Christians be against Jewish and Israelite State hopes? Was the reason anti-Semitism in the Gospels? By no means!
One can allege anti-Semitism but the real reason why was three-fold: the interpretative disagreement between the Rabbis and the Apostles: They could not agree on how to combine and understand prophecies in the Tanakh via Pesher, Peshat, Remez, Sod, etcetera. Their difference included disagreements on if the Third Temple would be a destructible edifice built by man or an incorruptible one built by God (1 Peter 1:4)? Next, they could not agree on Jesus being the Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection. The Senate of Israel paid the soldiers to say the body was stolen when they knew otherwise. And finally, Christians had to resist and deny Bar Kokhba because they already accepted Jesus as the Christ. The second-century state belonged to Bar Kokhba and early Christians were not willing to fight in the Israelite army, so these are three reasons why there was such tension between the Jews and Christians at a time when the existence of Israel was fragile and hung in the balance.
A fourth contentious issue was who would build the Third Temple? If it was to be built by man, the Jews were correct, but if by God, the Christians genuinely had the Spirit of truth and this is what caused the rift and should be a reason why Christians even today should refrain from advocating any idea which threatens the highest and best hopes of mankind’s home in glory with God.
8 Multiple generations don’t count though and here is why . . .
9 Minyan Shterot (מניין שטרות) begins in 311 B.C. according to the agreement the Jewish High Priest made with Alexander the Great upon his visit to the Holy Land and Jerusalem - The Antiquities of the Jews 11.8.325-339 cf. 1 Maccabees 13:41.
10 In the Apostle Paul’s theology the Second Temple arrangement of a Court for Israel and a separate Court for the Gentiles is a thing that, in Christ, God no longer wants (see Ephesians 2:14).
11 Peter, James, John, and Andrew only asked the Lord about the fate of the Second Temple, and nowhere in the entire Discourse does Jesus broach the subject of a new state of Israel or the rebuilding of a Third Temple. Yet Dispensational eschatology has been relying on this false interpretation of this chapter for 500 years or more, without any success.
12 Even in the Gospel of John the esteem for a central Second Temple of worship is suggested and the threat of the loss of this place is a cause for consternation, and precaution by the Jewish authorities (see John 2:19 and John 11:48)
13 Julian the Apostate’s strategy to fund the building of a Third Jewish Temple was motivated by the Christian interpretation of Matthew 24 that no Temple would ever be built again, since the sacrifice of Jesus himself is the final and last, world without end.
14 Battalions of soldiers clashing over the Second Temple in A.D.66 (Josephus Dissertation 3, Book 5 chapter 13, was preceded four years earlier on the 21 of Iyar A.D.62 by chariots and troops of soldiers riding through the clouds up and down Judæa and surrounding its cities as noted by Josephus in The Wars of the Jews 6.5.3:296-299.
15 It is only logical to conclude that if the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation have a double fulfillment the SAME outcome will befall the Jews, why would it be any different, unless we selectively pick and choose what we prefer to believe could happen? But is this the way to interpret Bible prophecy? Or would we rather faithfully handle the Word of God in the same spirit as our Lord Jesus and his faithful Apostles from that distant day and obscure time?