Gethsemane Bible Institute (GBI) classes on Ezekiel just ended last week. We thank God for all who attended it. The climax of the study of the Book was its prophetical description of a future temple, which we refer to as the Millennial Temple. Here is an overview of the Temples of Israel.
Temples of the Past
There were two temples in the past. Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem, which was eventually destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC. Some 70 years later, Jewish exiles who returned to Jerusalem, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, built the second temple and the walls of the city. This second temple was greatly enlarged and expanded by Herod the Great who recruited about 10,000 labourers to work on the second temple. It was in this latter temple that Jesus was dedicated. There He taught the Jews many a time, and cast out the money-changers on two occasions.
Jesus also predicted its destruction: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matt 24:1–2). As prophesied, the second temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Roman general Titus.
The Temple Mount of the Present
Since AD 70, the Jews have no temple. This situation was predicted by Hosea the prophet in 746 BC: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:4-5).
In AD 634, the temple mount was taken over by the Muslims. In 1099, the Crusaders captured it and turned the mosques into churches. Saladin returned it to Arab rule in 1187. The Jews liberated the temple mount from Jordanian control in the Six-Day War of 1967, but later returned it to the custody of the Muslim Waqf (Jordan). Today, the “Dome of the Rock” is situated near the centre of the temple mount, with the Al Aqsa Mosque built at its southern end.
Temples of the Future
There will be two temples in Jerusalem. The first will exist in the seven-year tribulation period, and the second in the millennial period.
The Tribulation Temple
During the tribulation period, there will be a place of sacrifice for the Jews, which the Antichrist will eventually desecrate. In Daniel 9:27, we read that the Antichrist (“the prince”) “shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”. The word “week” literally means “seven”. In the context of this verse, it refers to a seven-year period which will begin when Antichrist makes a covenant with the Jews. But in the middle of that period (i.e. after three and a half years), he will break his covenant with the Jews by ending their sacrifices and desecrating their place of worship. Though the word “temple” does not appear in Daniel 9:27, other Scripture portions that deal with the last days indicate the presence of a “temple” in Jerusalem. Jesus, in His message on the end times, foretold that the “abomination of desolation”, already mentioned in Daniel 9:27, shall desecrate “the holy place” (Matt 24:15).
What could Jesus have meant by the phrase “the holy place”? In the only other New Testament passage where the phrase is used, it plainly refers to the temple itself (Acts 21:28). David also referred to the temple as the Lord’s holy place (Ps 24:3). Moreover, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4, Paul said that the Antichrist will desecrate the temple: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Therefore, we conclude that there will be a temple in Jerusalem during the tribulation period – just as Daniel, Jesus and Paul had predicted.
(Next week, more on the future millennial temple.)
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
By God’s grace, we have some brethren regularly coming for our worship services. It has been our prayer and desire to teach them basic Bible doctrines, and add them to the communicant membership of the church. We managed to conduct two batches of “Basic Bible Knowledge” catechism class thus far. Those who finished these lessons have been given membership in our church on last Lord’s Day. All in, nine members who are part of the English services in City and Kotapadu have been given membership. We look forward to conducting catechism classes for Telugu worshippers in their local language, and issuing membership for them too. In the early church, members who became part of the church continued gathering even daily in houses for worship. They remained in fellowship with the church “with gladness and singleness of heart”. The Lord also added more members to the church (Acts 2:46-47). Please pray that all of us who become part of the church here, will also grow in the Lord and in the fellowship of the church.
We are coming to the end of another semester in the Gethsemane Bible Institute (GBI). Three students (Palivela Bujjibabu, Anand Taneti and Doddi Chinnarao), who have just finished their courses, will be graduating this year. We are planning for the Graduation and Thanksgiving Service on 3rd May 2023. Thank you for confirming your availability to visit us and preach during this service. We look forward to the reopening of the college in July 2023. We do have some new enquiries (for admission to GBI) from other states like Odisha and Meghalaya. Hope that these students will be able to seek enrolment soon, and join us for the upcoming semester.
Incidentally, the owner of the premises, which we currently use for GBI in Kotapadu, is preparing to sell the school and land. I heard from him that he is in the final stages of documentation work to take advance and sell it. It seems that he will officially finish the sale within four or five months. Please do pray for the provision of a new place for the college. I will be looking for suitable places available for rental during this term break.
We are grateful for the prayers and support of the church for the ministry here. May the Lord continue to bless the ministries of the church in Singapore and in other parts of the world.