It's an idea that excites many followers of Messiah who want to see God's kingdom come, and I completely understand the appeal. After all, the Temple in Jerusalem was the focal point of YHVH's kingdom in the past, yet none of us alive today have had the privilege of witnessing it. However, we need to exercise discernment, for the Bible speaks negatively about people who have zeal without knowledge. I believe that those who would support a new Temple have good intentions but haven't carefully considered the possibility that Adonai might not want the Jews to rebuild the Temple which he had the Romans destroy.
THe Function of the Temple
It's fairly well recognized by Christian theologians that the structural pattern and divinely-designed elements of the Holy Temple are a way of physically representing the spiritual characteristics of God the Son (see Heb. 8:5). The Temple whereby men find reconciliation and intimacy with God is a "shadow" of Y'shua, who is the exclusive mediator between mortal men and the Immortal Father (Similarly, the annual mo'ediym, or holy days, are also a shadow of Messiah, as stated in Col. 2:16-17.)
This blog post is not the place to put a study of the many elements and characteristics of the Temple, and what they all represent, but I can provide a couple of examples.
The fact that the Tabernacle had only one gate teaches us that there is exactly one way to approach Elohiym. Y'shua said that he is the Door, the only way to access the Father's courts (Jhn. 10:7-9; cf. Jhn. 14:6). Another example is the wool of the curtain blocking the Most Holy Place. Wool comes from sheep, and we know that Y'shua is the lamb and ram of God. Moses was instructed to dye the wool of the Tabernacle with three colors: blue, purple and scarlet. Blue is the color of the sky, telling us that Y'shua is divine; purple is the color of royalty, telling us that Y'shua is king; and scarlet is the color of blood, telling us that Y'shua's blood is involved in gaining access to the Father.
We can take this understanding further, realizing that there was a spiritual lesson encoded in the distinction between the Tabernacle and the Temple. Why was the first meeting place a tent instead of a building? The heavenly Temple was not mobile, so why was Moses' copy of it mobile?
A permanent home for the Temple was certainly part of the plan. It is stated at least twelve times in the Torah that YHVH would choose a place to put his Name. In Kings and Chronicles we find it recorded repeatedly that God had placed his Name in Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 11:36, 14:21; 2 Kgs. 21:7; 2 Chr. 12:13, 33:7). The mobile Tabernacle was only for use while the people were in the wilderness. Once they entered the Promised Land, it was time for the greater and immovable structure to reside in Jerusalem.
God's people are like mobile Tabernacles in which his Spirit resides—Yeshua was the epitome of this--but that impermanent situation will change soon. Right now, we're spiritually in the wilderness of a world ruled by the Adversary, but the Sabbath Millennium to come is the Promised Land, where Y'shua will give us rest, and we will not wander.
Interestingly, not only are individual saints temples, the assembly of saints is also collectively considered to be a temple. The apostle Peter pointed that out:
"You, too, as living stones, are building yourselves up into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, so that you may offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus, the Messiah." (1 Pet. 2:5)
Paul also addressed this concept:
“That is why you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the Messiah Yeshua himself being the cornerstone. In union with him the whole building is joined together and rises into a holy sanctuary for the Lord.” (Eph. 2:19-21)
The Temple at the End of the Road
Let's look to Daniel first. In chapter nine, an angel explains to the prophet that there will be seventy shemitahs (cycles of seven years) between the end of the Babylonian exile and the end of the age, with a gap of indeterminate length inserted after the crucifixion of Messiah. In the middle of the last shemitah (i.e., the one closing out the age), an unnamed ruler will terminate the daily sacrifices and oblations, and will set up an abomination on a wing of the Temple (Dan. 9:24-27). In order for such desecration to occur, there must be a Temple standing and operational.
Y'shua endorsed this interpretation of Daniel during his Olivet Discourse. That discourse was a response to his disciples' inquiry about the end of the age and which signs they should look for. During his monologue, Y'shua warned his disciples who would be living at the end, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Mat. 24:15). By so saying, he affirmed that the Jewish holy place would be defiled preceding a time of great tribulation leading up the climax of the story.
This scenario is further reiterated in the Book of Revelation. In his vision, the apostle John is given a reed and told to measure the Temple and altar and those worshiping in it (Rev. 11:1). However, he is not allowed to measure the outer court because the Goyim (unbelieving foreigners) will be treading within it for forty-two months. During that entire period, two very special witnesses will be prophesying in Jerusalem and sending plagues upon the unrighteous, and at the end of the forty-two months the Antichrist will murder them. The unique situation with the Goyim in the Temple, the short ministry of the two witnesses, and the arrival of the Antichrist are three clear indicators that this is a vision of the future. That being the case, we can be sure that a Third Temple will be constructed before the arrival of the Two Witnesses.
The Case For WithHolding Support
I didn't get the chance to talk to Hanoch Young after the congregation dismissed, but I would have liked to have asked him a question. "Why do you think that Adonai brought destruction upon the Second Temple?" I would have asked. The answer is obvious to a disciple of Y'shua, or course. The Temple was destroyed because the Jewish religious leaders and the majority of those following them rejected and crucified the Messiah sent by God. Nor did most of them repent of that atrocity.
After the death of Y'shua, something changed in the earthly Temple. We have it recorded by rabbis that beginning in 30 AD, God gave signs that he was abandoning the Temple:
"Our masters taught: During the forty years preceding the destruction of the Temple, the lot 'For the Lord' did not come up in the high priest's right hand, nor did the crimson strand turn white, nor did the westernmost lamp burn continually. And the doors of the Temple Hall would open by themselves.” (Yoma 39b)
Nothing has changed about the Jewish attitude towards Y'shua since that time. How can we think that the Lord would suddenly approve of a Jewish temple after striking it down before? Does God change?
What Judah will be doing in the Third Temple will be in vain because Adonai will be absent. No matter how thoroughly the Levites follow the instructions for sanctifying the building, the glory of the Lord will not descend. And in fact God will tear that Temple down just like he did the second one, this time with an earthquake instead of a Roman army.
Please don't misread this as being an anti-Semitic diatribe. It's certainly not. God still loves the descendants of Jacob as a people-group, and the Prophets clearly teach a future time when Jacob will repent and be accepted again. But facts are facts, and the people of Judah have been apostate for two thousand years. We cannot in good conscience enable them to rebuild something that God tore down.
Don't worry, though, only have patience; we'll have an incredible Fourth Temple to enjoy after the Messiah arrives!