The Near Future: The Tale of Two Temples

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” Matthew 24:15  

The key to understanding Bible prophecy is the nation of Israel , Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem .  In the Bible, the Temple Mount is called Mount Zion .  The Temple Mount can be viewed as ground zero for Bible prophecy.  An understanding of this prophecy of 2000 years ago leads right to the present time.

Just a few days before His crucifixion, the Lord Jesus spoke with His disciples on the Mount of Olives about the future of the temple and His second coming. The Mount of Olives is directly east of the temple and projects above it.  From the top of this mountain, the disciples could look directly down on the temple as the Lord Jesus spoke to them.  The temple was the focus of their attention.

He told them of the coming destruction of the temple and events to occur just prior to His return.  His disciples asked Him three questions connected to the destruction of the temple.  The questions the disciples asked were:  What will be the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the temple; What will be the sign of His second coming; and What will be the end of the world? These questions are found in Matthew 24:1-3:  

Matthew 24:1 “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. (2) 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.”

(3) “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”  

The answers to these questions are found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.  Luke gives the clearest answer to the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the temple.  He warns that when the people see the armies gathering around Jerusalem , they would know the destruction of the temple was near.  The surrounding of Jerusalem was the sign the temple was going to be destroyed.  

Luke 21:20 “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”  

Luke then went on to say that after the temple was destroyed, the Jews would be slaughtered and the survivors dispersed into all the nations.   Jerusalem would be destroyed and under non-Jewish control for only a certain period of time, until God’s plan was fulfilled.  The Bible calls this non-Jewish control of Jerusalem the time of the Gentiles.  

Luke 21:24 “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”  

Luke 21:24 has been in effect from the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Roman armies in 70 AD until today.  Remember, this destruction is not an indefinite time period.  It will come to an end. Matthew 24 picks up at the end of the times of the Gentiles with the events to occur directly before the second coming of Jesus.

Matthew warns that just before the Lord’s return there were going to be worldwide wars, famines, earthquakes and pestilence.  He then gives the key to the sign of the second coming.  He told that something dreadful would happen in the temple.  This event is called the “abomination of desolation” which was written by Daniel the prophet.  This event in the holy place of the temple would be the key event to recognize that His coming was near.  The people living at this time were given instruction to flee.

This event in the holy place would trigger the awesome worldwide events that would bring about the near destruction of mankind.  The key to the events leading to the second coming of the Lord Jesus has to do with the temple in Jerusalem .  Luke reported that the temple was going to be destroyed, but Matthew shows that there will be a temple standing just prior to the Lord’s return.  These verses follow:  

Matthew 24:15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (16) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains”

(21) “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.”  

Luke reports the destruction of the temple, yet Matthew shows that one will be standing just prior to the Lord’s return.  This means that the temple, or some form of it, has to be rebuilt at the end of the age sometime prior to the second coming.

Matthew reports that the holy place of the temple is going to be the scene of something horrific.  He does not say exactly what this is.  The prophet Daniel and the apostle Paul write about what is going to happen.  Daniel shows that Israel is going to make a covenant for seven years with a world ruler, but half way through, this world ruler is going to break it. The covenant involves the Jews being able to offer sacrifices in the temple, but the abomination of desolation is going to end the sacrifices.

Paul writes that a person of unspeakable evil is going to go into the most holy place of the temple and declare that he is God.  The abomination of desolation is when a world ruler goes into the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declares that he is God.  This will be the event that the Bible warns will occur immediately prior to the awesome second coming of the Lord Jesus.  The verses to show this follow:


Daniel 9:27 “And he 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.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3 “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; (4) 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, showing himself that he is God.”  

The person that Paul identifies as sitting in the temple of God is called by various names in the Bible.  Daniel calls him the beast, Daniel 7:11.  John refers to him as both the anti-christ and the beast, 1 John 2:18, Revelation 19:20.  Paul calls him the son of perdition and man of sin.

Luke wrote that the destruction of Jerusalem would have a specific time period, and prophet after prophet in the Bible wrote about the rebirth of the nation of Israel and Jerusalem as the capital.  The prophet Ezekiel, for example, writes about the restoration of the nation.  

Ezekiel 37:21 “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:”  

After being destroyed as a nation for 1900 years, Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948, just as the prophets wrote would happen.  The prophets wrote about both the literal destruction of the nation and the literal restoration of the nation.

In 1967 during the Six-day War, Israel captured East Jerusalem .  This is the section of Jerusalem where the Temple Mount is located.  For the first time since 70 AD, Jerusalem was once again the capital of the nation of Israel .  This is nearly a 1900 year gap.  The times of the Gentiles, just as the Lord Jesus said would happen, were coming to an end!  

The restoration of Israel and the rebuilding of the temple are to be viewed as literal.  There is nothing in the Bible to indicate otherwise and current events show this to be literal.  The following Scripture shows that Jerusalem was going to be restored as the capital of Israel :  

Zechariah 12:6 “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”  

On September 28, 2000, fierce fighting broke out in Jerusalem over the Temple Mount .  This fighting expanded to a low-grade war between Israel and the Palestinians. This fighting has the possibility to escalate into a regional war using weapons of mass destruction that could destroy entire nations.  Remember, the Temple Mount is ground zero of Bible prophecy.

All this is very important because just prior to the second coming of the Lord Jesus, a temple will be built in Jerusalem .  This temple will not be the one from which the true King Messiah will rule.  This temple will be built along the lines of the Solomon’s temple and will not be King Messiah’s temple as described in Ezekiel 40-48.

The Apostle John wrote in the Book of Revelation that a temple would be built just before the second coming of the Lord Jesus.  There is no doubt that, in the near future, Israel will build a temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem .  The rebirth of the nation of Israel was literal. Jerusalem being the capital of this state was literal.  The rebuilding of the temple on Mount Zion is also literal.  

Revelation 11:1,2 “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God , and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.”  

In the near future, two temples are going to be built.  The one just prior to the second coming of the Lord Jesus will be similar in design to the previous temples and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.  This temple will be destroyed at the second coming.  The next will be built after the Lord’s second coming.  This temple will be built radically different from all the previous temples because it will be built, not under the law of Moses, but under the New Covenant.

In certain Jewish and Christian circles, there is an increasing fervor about the building of a temple on the site in Jerusalem where the previous temples stood.  In anticipation of the coming temple, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem is preparing the items needed to furnish this temple.  These items include the menorah, table of shew bread, altar of incense, high priest garments and many other temple related items.  This temple will be built.  The question is how soon?



How to identify the Messiah’s Temple  

It is very important to be able to identify the temple from which the true King Messiah, the Lord Jesus, will be seated on the throne of David.  The temple built before His coming will be used by the beast or anti-christ to proclaim that he is God.  A knowledge of the temples will prevent anyone in mistaking the temple built on the present day location of Mount Zion as being the one for the true King Messiah.

The easiest way to recognize the true temple is that awesome geographical changes have to take place in the area around Jerusalem .  There has to be a massive earthquake that will literally split the Mount of Olives from the east to the west.  This earthquake will produce a great valley, as half the mountains will move north and the other half south.  This will produce a great valley several miles wide!  

Zechariah 14:4 “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”  

This area around Jerusalem has to be leveled and then raised up as a high mountain or plain.  The temple will then be built on this high plain.  Ezekiel reported the temple and Jerusalem would be built on a very high mountain.  While Zechariah said it would be leveled and turned into a plain.  The temple grounds will be a square, approximately 1.5 miles on each side that would be impossible to fit in modern Jerusalem .  

Zechariah 14:10 “All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.”

Ezekiel 40:2 “In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel , and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.”  

Another sure way to recognize the true temple is to understand the second coming of the Lord Jesus.  The true temple is going to be built after His coming, not before.  The Lord is coming in awesome glory and power.  His glory will be brighter than the sun.  He is returning as awesome events are happening in the heavens.  The powers of the heaven will be shaken at His return.  

Matthew 24:29 “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:

(30) And then shall appear the sign of 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.”  

He is not coming as the head of any world organization or as an elected ruler.  He is coming in supernatural power in awesome glory.  Any world ruler that comes to power naturally, as the head of a world power or organization, does not fulfill the second coming of the Lord Jesus.  

2 Thessalonians 1:7 “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (8) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…”  

At the Lord’s return, He will destroy all the armies of the nations that have gathered to destroy Jerusalem .  These armies will be destroyed supernaturally by the brightness of His glory and not by any man-made means.  After the destruction of these armies, then He will build His house.  

Ezekiel 39:21 “And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.”  

He will then set His magnificent temple in Jerusalem and rule in His glory from Mount Zion .  This is the true King Messiah sitting on His throne of David in the temple.  The Bible calls it the throne of glory.  

Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:”  

The last way to tell the true Messiah’s temple is by the articles in the temple.  King Messiah’s temple will have His throne in the most holy place.  In the holy place will be a small table located just in front of the entrance to the most holy place.  Just outside the entrance to the temple will be the altar of sacrifice.  King Messiah’s temple will have just three articles in it: the throne, small table and altar of sacrifice.

The temple before the coming of King Messiah will have all the articles described under the law of Moses.  There will be an altar of sacrifice, brazen laver, menorah, table of show bread, altar of incense, veil of separation and the Ark of the Covenant.  In addition, this temple will have a high priest like Aaron.  This temple will not have the throne of David in it.

With the understanding of the Scriptures, it is impossible to be confused about the true identity of King Messiah’s temple.  The rebuilding of the temple under the law of Moses is the sure sign that the period of time before the second coming of Jesus Christ is near.  It is not the sign that He is going to reign from this temple.  The beast, anti-christ, or man of sin as he is called will first have to go into this temple and proclaim that he is God.  This is the abomination of desolation which will be the sure sign of the second coming of the true King Messiah to set up His temple.

The beast is coming with all lying signs and wonders.  He will have some level of supernatural occult power.  Do not be fooled into thinking this ruler, with lying signs and wonders, is the second coming of the King Messiah.  The Lord Jesus is coming in flaming fire in full manifestation of His glory.  The contrast of the anti-christ with the true King Messiah follows:  

The false messiah or anti-christ:

2 Thessalonians 2:8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”  

The true King Messiah:

Matthew 24:29 “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:

(30) And then shall appear the sign of 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. (31) 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.”



By John McTernan: Defend and Proclaim the Faith
Blog: John McTernan's Insights at www.johnmcternan.name

Meet author John McTernan
During numerous appearances on television, radio and in seminars, he has publicly defended Israel in light of Biblical prophecy. His current best selling book is As America Has Done To Israel.
He is author of the acclaimed book God's Final Warning to America, and co-author of the bestseller Israel: The Blessing or the Curse. From his experience debating, John wrote the Only Jesus of Nazareth series. This series includes: Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Sit on the Throne of David and Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Be Israel's King Messiah. Additionally, he has written several tracts, including Muhammad or Jesus: The Prophet Like Unto Moses, and The Koran vs the Bible.

As America Has Done to Israel

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