However, I would like to use this post to show the "other side" of the temple issue, namely issues associated with the end times temple that are spoken of in ways that are to say the least, unusual. I am just simply free flowing my thoughts here and seeing what others think. I have not yet come to a conclusion.
I will firmly state that I cannot, nor will not depart from the idea of an eschatological Antichrist. The reasons are manifold, but the strongest arguments have to do with his relationship with the second coming and especially, being destroyed by Jesus at that time (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19).
Let it be said again that the following notes are not necessarily my view, nor how I view the situation. They simply express my confusion. The first post "temple issues" I basically contend with my frustration of a lack of a literal presence of a Jewish temple and how some Scriptures, when viewed together, seem to require this. It is my intention in this post to take a "devil's advocate" idea, using the Bible as support as well. Bible translations either ESV (literal with words and thought for though) or NASB which is literal with words and sentence structure.
I will go book by book:
When discussing passages associated with the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 7, Daniel 11:36-12:13) the temple building itself is NEVER mentioned in those passages:
"And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of (EM)abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a (EN)complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
"Then the king will (HY)do as he pleases, and he will exalt and (HZ)magnify himself above every god and will (IA)speak monstrous things against the (IB)God of gods; and he will prosper until the (IC)indignation is finished, for that which is (ID)decreed will be done.
11"From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the (JN)abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
However, when discussing the history associated with his "type" Antiochus Epiphanes, the temple is specifically mentioned (at least the sanctuary fortress).
30"For ships of (HL)Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31"Forces from him will arise, (HM)desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice And they will set up the (HN)abomination of desolation.
Most Bible scholars would relate all the verses up until 36 as to relate to this man, the persecutor of the Jewish people in 168 B.C. The phase shifts to the end times in v 35, when it talks about the wise being purified until the end, and that the end WILL still come. Verses 36-39 then to go on to describe a character that Paul directly alludes with the second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:4). In Daniel his career continues to be discussed in the terms of the end times.
Even in the passage that doesn't hesitate to speak of the destruction of the temple, (Daniel 9:26) it goes on to speak of desolation and even someone causing desolation, in relation to idols "abominations," but no mention of the temple specifically being desolated.
The term abomination of desolation means an abomination (mostly related to idols) that causes desolation (something to be left abandoned or empty, laid waste). When Antiochus set up the image of Zeus near the altar in 168 B.C. this fulfilled the prophecy of the "abomination of desolation." At that point, and even up until today, that has been the only historical event that is specifically called by that term. So when Jesus comes along and says there will be another "abomination of desolation" right before his second coming, the disciples have no other choice but to think of that event, which by definition serves as a model or type to the last one. It seems by implication, Jesus speaks of extreme idolatry in the end times relating to a specific object/person. Revelation 13 describes the extent of this in a very horrifying and vivid way.
This verse specifically shows the Hebrew words associated with the first "abomination of desolation." If one clicks on "abomination" it is a disgusting or detested thing, especially relating to idols. If one clicks on desolation, it has to do with being desolated, appalled, or amazed.
So in conclusion, regarding Daniel, idolatry is certainly associated with the Antichrist. But as far as what is made desolate or a temple building, it is not specifically mentioned in relation to the Antichrist passages. But in contrast, it is mentioned "sanctuary fortress" is mentioned in regards to Antiochus Epiphanes. It will also be duly noted that, historically, i don't think it can be proven that Antiochus put the Zeus statue IN the holy place, but it was near the altar (I think).
This fact has always weirded me out a little bit. No temple desecration is ever spoken of in the book of Revelation!!!!! Even though it is supposed to be one of the most important end time events. Even when discussing the image of the beast (revelation 13) which many consider to be the abomination, it is assumed by writers to be placed in a temple. The text doesn't even say that much.
It is also strange in Revelation 12, when the Jews flee to the desert. We know that at the sighting of this idol (abomination of desolation) standing in the wrong place the Jews should flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). In Revelation 12, we see the Jews fleeing to the desert to be protected for 3.5 years. But no idolatry is mentioned in connection with any temple. Idolatry is only seen in Revelation 13, and even then, there is no discussion of an end times temple being desecrated. Whatever is happening, it is causing "desolation" (immediate flight to the desert.) But no idolatry (abomination) mentioned until Revelation 13.
Revelation 11:1-2 talks about a temple of God (naon) and an altar. John is supposed to measure this and count the worshipers inside, but to exclude the outer court because the Gentiles will trample it for 42 months.
1Then I was given(A) a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2but do not measure(B) the court outside the temple; leave that out, for(C) it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for(D) forty-two months.
This raises many issues, some of which have been raised before.
1)If the Antichrist specifically desecrates the temple, then why is it only the outer court that is trampled on by Gentiles? Wouldn't trampling the court + antichrist in temple, entail trampling the whole thing? Is the temple in another location as some have suggested? Is it even there at all?
2)John never gives us the results of his measurements. It is my understanding that all other instructions to measure the temple in the whole bible result in actual blueprints. This one does not.
3)This temple is referred to as a temple of God. At the end of the chapter 11, a "temple of God" (Same phrase in Greek as Revelation 11:1-2, by this i mean strong's numbers are the same) is seen in heaven. Any temple in the NT that is spoken of as "temple of God" is undebatably a place of God's actual residence, as seen here (Revelation 11:1-2 and 2 Thess2.4 are disputed). But any Jewish temple would not be blessed with God's special residence. Perhaps the temple spoken of in 11:1-2 is the temple in heaven, because it has worshipers in it and it is the "temple of God."
Which leaves us with the remaining passages by Jesus and Paul
Jesus speaks of the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24 and mark 13. He speaks of desolation by armies in Luke 21, but no "abomination" or idol is mentioned. I believe this is explained by the fact that most end time Bible scholars would say that Luke 21 is not primarily about the end times, but the recording of Christ's response to the disciples question about the destruction of the temple, not the end. The answer to their question pertaining to the end is mainly seen in Matthew 24, and largely Mark 13, though some elements of the past are in Mark 13. However, I do believe Luke 21 has some elements of end times, as it says the city will be trampled on until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Then Christ goes on to describe cosmic signs of his return. (Which of course, happens at the end of the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled).
As far as the end time abomination of desolation, we see this spoken of by Jesus.
15"So when you see the abomination of desolation(AD) spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in(AE) the holy place ((AF) let the reader understand), 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
14"But when you see(AD) the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be ((AE) let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Both of these don't necessarily require a temple. "Holy Place" is a technical term for a room in the inner sanctuary of the temple. The author of Hebrews discusses this in regards to the tabernacle structure in Moses time. Hebrews 9
For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place.
But it is interesting to note that Jesus does not use the exact Greek phrase that the author of hebrews uses when he speaks of the holy place.
The author of hebrews to refer to the term "Holy Place" says "hagion."
The interlinear refers to it as "sanctuary."
Jesus says "topos hagios."
As far as I'm aware, the only other times that "topos hagios" are used are in Acts 6 when the Jews riot and say that Paul speaks against the holy place and when they accuse Paul of bringing a Gentile into the temple.
Now, I do not think they are suggesting that Paul brought Titus into the "HOLY PLACE" (the room called by that). They just mean he took him in past the court of the Gentiles. So here, "holy place" is a very general reference to the temple. I don't think they even applied the term to necessarily the Holy Place room, so I don't think this necessarily means it is a building. The Jews today even consider that place to be sacred, to the point that they don't want anyone up there. This is evidenced by the sign by the temple mount.
In light of all this, is Jesus suggesting that the abomination stands in the temple building? Certainly allowable. But required?? I think not.
So far, I think i can definitely be shown that the Antichrist commits idolatry by idolizing himself. Also, the image of him is also extreme idolatry. (Revelation 13). And all those horrible blasphemous things he says which raise himself about all gods are also are idolatry. (Revelation 13; Daniel 11:36-39). He also makes "desolate" (Daniel 9:27 he is the "one who makes desolate"). Also, Mark 13:14 uses a masculine pronoun, referring to the "abomination of desolation," to the point that one major translation even us the word "he" instead of "it" (also, NIV footnotes that "it" is masculine). Also, he makes desolate because the Jews must immediate flee upon sighting him. However, up until this point, I don't think it can be proven that a temple building must be desecrated or present even.
This leaves us with 2 Thessalonians 2.
This passage has been the topic of much discussion and debate in another thread, especially how it relates to the temple. I will simply summarize my thoughts here. I am in much internal conflict over these verses.
1Now we request you, (A)brethren, with regard to the (B)coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our (C)gathering together to Him, 2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a (D)spirit or a (E)message or a (F)letter as if from us, to the effect that (G)the day of the Lord (H)has come. 3(I)Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the [a](J)apostasy comes first, and the (K)man of lawlessness is revealed, the (L)son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself above (M)every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, (N)displaying himself as being God. 5Do you not remember that (O)while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6And you know (P)what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7For (Q)the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only (R)he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then that lawless one (S)will be revealed whom the Lord will slay (T)with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the (U)appearance of His coming; 9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of (V)Satan, with all power and (W)signs and false wonders, 10and with all the deception of wickedness for (X)those who perish, because they did not receive the love of (Y)the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason (Z)God will send upon them a (AA)deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12in order that they all may be judged who (AB)did not believe the truth, but (AC)took pleasure in wickedness.
This at first glance appears to have completely shot down the idea that a temple is not necessary in the end times, especially relating to the Antichrist.
However, here are some facts we can gather:
1) Paul never says "heiron," here nor does any passage that could potentially be speaking of an end times temple. He says "naos" (so does Revelation 11:1-2). Heiron is most commonly used to refer to the Jerusalem temple. But "naos" can also be used, but it only denotes the inner sanctuary room. Compare the meanings below:
2) As far as "naos" is concerned, that is the word Jesus used when he spoke of destroying the temple and raising it in three days. (Speaking of his body). Jesus has also used that word to denote the physical sanctuary. Whenever Paul says our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, he uses "naos."
This would seem to settle the case of the temple issue. However, the next fact those a wrench into things. I will spell out my internal conflict before you.
3) Paul does not simply say "temple" he says "temple of God."
Here I will debate with myself:
This wouldn't be a problem, except the new testament never refers to anything as the "temple of God" unless God is actually there. This is also the case of the Old Testament. The Old Testament refers to places as the "temple of God." It is known that God actually lived in the first and second temples. (though not always, due to sin I think). It is a temple specifically for God to live in. These were legitimate temples, because of the Old Covenant. But in the new covenant, to call something the temple of God, is unusual to me. (Credit to Ampersand for exploring this possibility).
The only exception to this is possibly Revelation 11:1-2 (discussed earlier) and possibly the passage in question. All others involve God's actual dwelling. For this reason, in the New Testament, the "temple of God" often refers to the church/believers, because that is where God actually lives.
Also, when Paul speaks of idolatry in the church, he makes this very telling statement.
14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? [b]16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[c]
17"Therefore come out from them
and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you."[d]
18"I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
So Paul says there is no harmony between the temple of God and idols. It is likely he was thinking of Antiochus Epiphanes at this time as well, who desecrated the Old Covenant temple (a legitimate temple) with an image of Zeus. He here also applies the statement that mixing the temple of God and idols as incompatible, and extends it so far as to say that the church is the temple of God.
Here is just a theory, I have not fully resolved it yet. But perhaps, Paul is thinking in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the end time abomination of desolation is far worse than a man going inside a building and saying he is God. It is the temple of God (Christians) succumbing to idolatry of Antichrist worship. This "abomination of desolation" one of believers putting the Antichrist in their heart where Christ belongs, is a far worse desecration of a very real temple (where God actually lives) than any desecration of a building on the Temple Mount.
I could be accused of being overly allegorical (if you believe so, please say so). However, I believe that we could hold such a view even with a literal interpretation of prophecy. If I say "temple of God" in normal conversation, I could literally be speaking of the church or a believer, because that is where God literally dwells and lives and "tabernacles". Same applies if I say "sanctuary of God" and "house of God."
I am not at all saying that the Antichrist won't enter a physical place and defile the area (such as the Temple mount). I think Jesus and Daniel and Revelation strongly indicate that. I just think that Paul may not be limiting himself to that and using the opportunity to show the complete picture.
However, I do disagree with myself in this regard and have not fully resolved this. Perhaps Paul is simply specifying that this is a temple for YHWH (may his holy name be praised), instead of one of a pagan deity, like Diana. Because the word "naos" to a Gentile audience can mean any shrine. Perhaps Paul is simply specifying that this is a Jewish shrine, not a pagan one.
(interesting side note that the dome of the Rock is over the holy of holies and is called a "shrine" and a "sanctuary.")
Adamantine suggests this in his great end times powerpoint here: http://unsealedprophecy.wordpress.com/
Also, I have seen an argument that, since Thessalonians is written very early, that the metaphor of referring to the "temple of God" as meaning believers had not fully come into use yet and the old definition (physical building) remained. This author argues that the building has the literal notion in view in 50 AD (around the time Thessalonians was written). The church/believers definition was developed in the mid 50's, and in full use by the 60's.
Also, my biggest problem with this idea is the use of very physical words in respect to this temple. Especially the word "sit." A man cannot physically sit inside the body of a believer (definitely not Paul's idea). Nor can a man physically "sit" in the church. One can physically "sit" in a church building somewhere, but I could not physically "sit" down in the Church in the sense that it is all members of the body of Christ. (By sit down physically I mean in the same sense that someone sits in a chair.) The Greek word supports the physical idea.
Also, he "sits" and displays himself as God. The sitting in the location seems connected with who he is making himself out to be.
Also, the Thessalonians, who had very serious theological troubles that none of us have (like the idea that the wrath of God is happening now and that the day of the Lord has already come). This warranted a letter, to clarify confusion about the second coming. It is difficult for me to believe that he expected the Thessalonians to have such a deep theological understanding that they would automatically assume "temple of God" to mean themselves, when they were such a new group of Christians and the idea that we are God's temple is still being taught. Though he had previously discussed end times with them, it is difficult for me to simply assume that is when he told them they are the temple. When Paul speaks of us being the temple of God, he always clarifies it instead of leaving the words "temple of God" there all alone.
So that was yet a very longwinded post that was not intended to be so. In this post, I intended to show the "other side" of the temple issue. In my first post "temple issues" I show how I struggle with the idea that the temple wouldn't be rebuilt. This post is meant to show my struggles with the other side, namely, the extreme unusual character of the times that do discuss what may be an end times temple, and how an end times temple is not necessarily required.
Other post here:
As far as sacrifices are concerned, I am still exploring that.
Any feedback anyone is willing to give is appreciated.
Just an FYI, many ideas presented here I learned from this webpage. Nevertheless, I do not take the exact same view as the author:
I also find the discussion of "kanaph" there to be interesting and of significance, but I am not sure what that points to, only that it would be weird to use that phrase in regard to a temple.
Love to hear from you guys.