The Holy Temple of God, Will It Ever Be Rebuilt?


The New Jerusalem

There are many who have been taught that when Jesus comes back on the clouds of glory that He will establish a new Jerusalem; a literal, physical city, in what we know today as Jerusalem, which is currently also the capital city of the restored nation of Israel. Many Christian theologians and some Hebrew scholars contend that near the end of time God will allow the rebuilding of the Holy Temple of God in Jerusalem (on the site currently occupied by the Islamic “Dome of the Rock”). Many of these same people contend that, with the restoration of the physical building of the temple, sacrificial rites will also be restored including the sacrifice of “red heifers”, etc. Let’s see what the Bible has to say regarding this issue.

With regard to the possibility that this earth will even exist beyond Jesus’s second coming (Judgement Day), In 2 Peter 3:7, we read, “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.”  Further on in verse 10, we read, “But the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  God reiterates this point in verse 12 and finally in we read, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

In Revelation 21:1, it reads, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

Regarding the new Jerusalem, however, in the very next verse we read, “and I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Later, at the end of verse 9, one of the seven angels told John, ” Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”  And in verse 10“and he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain and shewed me that great city, holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.  We can readily see that the city, the new Jerusalem is not some literal, physical, city, but rather the kingdom of God encompassing the body of all true believing Christians, the true eternal Church, which God looks upon as the bride of Christ!

To see that the new Jerusalem is a spiritual representation of the kingdom of God that is made up of the body of believers, we just have to turn to Revelation 3:12, where we read, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall no more go out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalemwhich cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.”  This truth is also evident in Galatians 4:25&26 which contrasts the earthly Jerusalem and her children (the Jews of national Israel), described as being in bondage (to the works of the law), with the heavenly spiritual “Jerusalem which is above is free (through the grace of God), which is the mother of us all (all true believing Christians).”

Additional support is found in  Hebrews 12:22-23 , where we read, “But ye are come unto Mount Si-on and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,”.

As to the timing of the fulfillment of the coming of the new Jerusalem we are told in Matthew 24:29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

       The Holy Temple of God, Where is it Now?

This brings us to another problem.  There are those in various religions today who claim to have access to a literal, physical, earthly holy temple of God.  As was indicated above, the holy temple of God is a spiritual structure made up of true believing Christians (described as pillars in the temple) coincident with the new Jerusalem in heaven.  This is entirely consistent with what we read in 1 Peter 2:5-8, where God equates the true believers to “lively stones” that are part of the spiritual temple of God of which Jesus Christ is the “Chief Cornerstone.”  “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, (Found in  Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22behold I lay in Si-on a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he (The Lord Jesus Christ) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (See also Isaiah 8:14Matthew 21:42Mar 12:10&11, Luke 20:17Acts 4:11, and Romans 9:33)

And 1 Corinthians 3:16 we are explicitly told that a physical temple, like the one that was destroyed in 70AD, is no longer in view as we read, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.”

The believers are also not only the “lively stones” in the wall, but are also “co-builders” of that wall with Jesus Christ, as we are informed in 1 Corinthians 3:9-11. “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilderI have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Note how this is also consistent with the last words of Nehemiah 2:16…as “the rest that did the work” is historically referring to those co-laborers with Nehemiah in building the earthly wall of the physical Jerusalem, who spiritually represent the believers with Jesus Christ in building the eternal church encompassing the New Jerusalem.

So that there can be absolutely no doubt that the holy temple of God could never, ever, again be defined by physical stones and mortar (whether in Jerusalem or anywhere else for that matter), we read in Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

In 2 Corinthians 6:16, we read, “…Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said (see Ezekiel 37:26 &27), I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

And note this harmony showing the difference between and earthly, temporal abode and an eternal, heavenly abode as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:1&2, “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:

Finally, we are instructed by God beginning in Hebrews 9:11 and continuing all the way to the end of the chapter Hebrews 9:28 that the earthy temple was just a “figure” of the eternal Temple of God in Heaven can never be built with human hands. “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with handsthat is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament [is] of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle,and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. [It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the truebut into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after thisthe judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Conclusion: The Role of the Earthy Temple of God Ceased with Jesus’s Death on the Cross

To more clearly understand why there could never again be any need for an earthly, physical temple of God following the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we have only to search the scriptures to review what happened at the precise moment of His death.  We read in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 that, at that very moment, the veil of the temple was rent in twain (torn in two) from top to bottom.  The result was that the “Holiest of all,” (see Hebrews 9:3) the tabernacle altar of God (where only the high priest, alone, could venture once a year to make an atoning sacrifice of blood on the Day of Atonement) which had heretofore always been hidden from outside view by the veil, had now been fully exposed by God to show that the sign or figure that the “Holiest of all” of the temple represented had been perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; as He was both the sacrificial Lamb of God and the High Priest that offered the perfect atoning blood sacrifice.  God was showing that the function of the earthly temple had come to an end! (Read all of Hebrews chapter 9 to see that this is so).   Although the Jewish high priest (Caiaphas) no doubt rushed in to repair the torn veil so that he, and the other Jewish high priests that followed him, could continue the yearly atonement sacrificial rite until the physical temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the priestly action would have been pure vanity and rebellion against God.  They could not have had any effect or substance so far as God’s plan of salvation was concerned.  In fact, (according to Isaiah 66:1-4) they would have only been an abomination in God’s sight (because by carrying out those rites, the Jews were continuing to deny that Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the law of sacrifice, which had all along been the sole focal point of the blood sacrifices that were carried out in the temple before Christ died).  This is the most likely reason why God finally allowed the physical temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed for the third (and last) time, and why he scattered the Jews (until our day).  Additionally, because God also subsequently allowed the Islamic Dome of the Rock to be built on the temple site in Jerusalem, the Jews have been, and will continue to be, prevented from rebuilding the temple ever again (despite the fact that the Jews have had political sovereignty over Jerusalem since 1967) right up to the time of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ on the clouds of Glory that will herald Judgment Day.

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