THE HOUSES OF GOD
The Houses of God
God wants to be with His people on earth, and commanded different structures to be built to do this. His first structure was the portable Tabernacle that the Jews carried with them during the 40 years of wandering, and into the settlement days of their time in the Promised Land. Next came the First Temple built by King Solomon in Jerusalem as a permanent house of the Lord. After that was destroyed, the Second Temple was initially rebuilt by Zerubbabel and others in Jerusalem, and enlarged by King Herod. That too was destroyed in 70 A.D. A Third Temple will be built for use during the Great Tribulation, which will also be destroyed. The final and most magnificent Fourth Temple will be built by and for King Jesus to rule in during the Millennial/ Messianic Kingdom.
The Tabernacle, and later the Temple, are important for it was here the High Priest and other priests carried out their work to bring God to the people. The first dwelling for God’s Presence (in Hebrew, “presence” is the word Shekinah) in the world was in the Sanctuary of the Tabernacle. (The Hebrew word for tabernacle is Mishkan). The Tabernacle accompanied the Jews on their journeys in the desert as they traveled from Mount Sinai to the Land of Israel. The Shekinah glory came into the Tabernacle and resided in the inner most chamber called the Holy of Holies. The High Priest would meet with God there once a year on Yom Kippor, the day of Atonement, to pray for the forgiveness of his sins and the Children of Israel’s sins.
Moses was commanded to make a tabernacle for Him to dwell in on the earth, and it was to be patterned after the perfect Tabernacle in Heaven:
8And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it (ASV, 1901).
Everything from the structure to the implements was to be made in all respects exactly according to the view, or images, Moses received from God. Moses then communicated these instructions and directions to the workmen. This was not to be made as an impression of the pattern, but an exact replica, or a perfect model of the patterns impressed on the mind of Moses. The image below one conception of is how the Tabernacle looked.
After the Jews entered the land of Israel, the Tabernacle stood in Gilgal for 14 years. Afterwards the Tabernacle, including the ark, was moved into a permanent structure at Shiloh. This structure was erected with the same dimensions as the Tabernacle in the desert. In contrast to the original Tabernacle, which had wooden walls, the building erected at Shiloh was stone.
The First Temple
The next step was the construction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by King Solomon that replaced the Tabernacle at Shiloh, and was to be a permanent building. Solomon was chosen to do this, not King David (2 Samuel 7:1-17):
I Kings 5:1–5
1And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. 2And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, 3Thou knowest how that David my father could not build a house for the name of Jehovah his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until Jehovah put them under the soles of his feet. 4But now Jehovah my God hath given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary, nor evil occurrence. 5And, behold, I purpose to build a house for the name of Jehovah my God, as Jehovah spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build the house for my name (ASV, 1901).
Construction of the Temple began about 960 B.C.
I Kings 6:1
1And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of Jehovah (ASV, 1901).
Among the differences between the Temple and the previous Tabernacle was an increase in the size of the altar and an increase in the size of the Temple building. The construction was completed in seven years, the number of God indicating completeness:
I Kings 6:37–38
37In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of Jehovah laid, in the month Ziv. 38And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it (ASV, 1901).
God’s glory enters the Temple when King Solomon conducted the opening ceremonies:
II Chronicles 7:1–3
1Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of Jehovah filled the house. 2And the priests could not enter into the house of Jehovah, because the glory of Jehovah filled Jehovah’s house. 3And all the children of Israel looked on, when the fire came down, and the glory of Jehovah was upon the house; and they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and gave thanks unto Jehovah, saying, For, he is good; for his lovingkindness endureth for ever (ASV, 1901).
The Lord Leaves the First Temple
The Jews greatly sinned. This caused the Lord to leave the Temple in 586 B.C. when He brought the Babylonians into Jerusalem to sack the Temple, and punish the nation Israel for turning against Him:
36Jehovah said moreover unto me: Son of man, wilt thou judge Oholah and Oholibah? then declare unto them their abominations. 37For they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands; and with their idols have they committed adultery; and they have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass through the fire unto them to be devoured (ASV, 1901).
The Lord begins this concluding section to the twenty-third chapter of the book of Ezekiel with an arraignment of the nation Israel. The central theme of Israel’ sins against God had been discussed in chapters 20 to 23. Ezekiel is instructed to refer to the Northern Kingdom of Israel as the prostitute “Oholah” and the Southern Kingdom of Judah as the harlot “Oholibah”, against whom formal charges are brought for their “abominations”. The general crime against God is spiritual adultery committed by the nation Israel for their behavior as a prostitute instead of a loving wife. They prostituted themselves to the pagan cults, and were guilty of seven detestable practices listed in verses 36-37 including:
- Desecration of the Sabbath
- Desecration of the Temple
- Making forbidden foreign alliances
- Committing adultery
- Engaging in innocent bloodshed
- Committing child sacrifice
So, the verdict is reached in this section of Scripture and the sentence is given for execution in chapter Ezekiel 24:1-27. Jehovah God leads Ezekiel to the inner court of the Temple to witness more abominations of the Jewish religious leaders. These corruptions were the worst Ezekiel ever saw.
16And he brought me into the inner court of Jehovah’s house; and behold, at the door of the temple of Jehovah, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of Jehovah, and their faces toward the east; and they were worshipping the sun toward the east (ASV, 1901).
These men were probably twenty-five priests located between the covered entrance and the altar, with their backs to the Temple and their faces toward the sun. They were worshipping the sun, which they knew of from their days in Egypt, and now brought sun worship into God’s Temple. Moses warned against these practices (Deuteronomy 4:19). In attempting to avoid this, the Lord established the position of the sanctuary in such way so the entrance was facing west. In this configuration, those entering the Sanctuary would be facing the Holy of Holies with their back to the sun in the east. These twenty-five men had defied the Lord, faced the east, and bowed down to it in obeisance. In this way they were showing their contempt for the Temple of the God, and Him as well. Some Jewish interpreters see this act of defiance being carried out by the twenty-five defecating toward the Temple in obscene insolence as they bent over. They had uncovered themselves and evacuated downwards toward the Temple. (Eisenmann and Sherman, 1977, 167) The Jewish interpreters translate the Hebrew word meeshtachvtem as “bowing down destructively”, not worshipping respectfully.
The sense of defiance toward God is apparent, which is why this particular abomination is the worst one of the seven listed above. The downward slide is clear for Israel. They had descended into idol worship, with its attendant sexual immorality and defiance to God. The New Testament letter of I John writes to the Church, “My little children, guard yourselves from idols “(I John 5:21). This makes it apparent that it can happen to us if we do not heed the Word of God, and become ensnared by the things of this world. Many churches have fallen victim to this as they move away from the Word of God and promote worldly practices. Consider the quote from Kent Dobson, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan upon resigning:
“I have always been and I’m still drawn to the very edges of religion and faith and God,” Dobson said. “I’ve said a few times that I don’t even know if we know what we mean by God anymore. That’s the edges of faith. That’s the thing that pulls me. I’m not really drawn to the center. I’m not drawn to the orthodox or the mainstream or the status quo.” (Vande Bunte, 11/23/2015)
God’s presence left the Temple before the sentence was executed. All was set in motion to move God out of the Temple due to the sin of the religious leaders.
15And the cherubim mounted up: this is the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar. 16And when the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the wheels also turned not from beside them. 17When they stood, these stood; and when they mounted up, these mounted up with them: for the spirit of the living creature was in them.
The cherubim went in, the wheels went beside them in perfect unison. Upon command, the cherubim began lifting the Shekinah Glory up from the Temple The mighty wings of the cherubim lifted the Golden Chariot and the Lord up from the earth, and the wheels never swerved from their side. When the cherubim stood, the wheels stood. The energizing Spirit was in everything associated with this vision. The Glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the Temple. Then in Ezekiel’s sight the cherubim mounted up from the earth.
Jehovah Moves Out of the Temple
18And the glory of Jehovah went forth from over the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. 19And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight when they went forth, and the wheels beside them: and they stood at the door of the east gate of Jehovah’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
This was the second stage of the various ascensions as He left from the Holy of Holies. The Lord mounted His Golden Chariot in the Holy of Holies, went to the threshold and then upon His magnificent vehicle, stood over the east gate. It is important to note that God is not one with the Chariot, but above it ,and the cherubim and chariot are obedient to Him as His need dictates. As God moved from The Holy of Holies upon the Chariot it moved Him to the threshold of the Temple, and then to the outer side of the east gate. The Glory is the same as seen before:
20This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim. 21Every one had four faces, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings. 22And as for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces which I saw by the river Chebar, their appearances and themselves; they went every one straight forward (ASV, 1901).
Thus, gradually, in solemn majesty, the Glory of the Lord, which had dwelt visibly in the Temple in the midst of His people, was departing. Verse 22 of chapter 11 connects with verse 19 of chapter 10. The complete departure of the Glory of the Lord from the midst of the city is recorded there. God moves to an unnamed mountain on the east side of the Temple. The diagram below numbers the progression of God leaving the First Temple.
The Glory has not abandoned Israel, for it will return: “And the Glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose front was toward the east” (Ezekiel 43:4). It will return in the same way as it departed. And that will be when the King, our Lord, comes back to earth again. At that time, the Glory will cover Israel and Jerusalem (Isaiah 4:5; 60:1), and the knowledge of it will cover the earth as the waters cover the deep. This is the Millennial Temple, or Fourth Temple, where once again the Glory of God will inhabit the Temple.
What Ezekiel saw here is the same that he saw in chapter one during his first vision. The despair he senses with the Shekinah Glory departing the Temple is relieved in the chapter forty-three visions when Christ returns. The fact is God will never abandon His Chosen People:
44And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am Jehovah their God; 45but I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am Jehovah (ASV, 1901).
3that then Jehovah thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither Jehovah thy God hath scattered thee. 4If any of thine outcasts be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will Jehovah thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5and Jehovah thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers (ASV, 1901).
God corrects Israel, and His presence leaves the Temple, but He takes up residence at the unnamed mountain on the east side of the Temple. He is still near to them.
1But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. 2When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3For I am Jehovah thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour; I have given Egypt as thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in thy stead. 4Since thou hast been precious in my sight, and honorable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men in thy stead, and peoples instead of thy life. 5Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; 7every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made (ASV, 1901).
Jesus says the same thing to the Church. He will never leave us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).
Dating the Judgment
1Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this selfsame day: the king of Babylon drew close unto Jerusalem this selfsame day 3 And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them (ASV, 1901).
This verse started with Ezekiel stating the date this message from God was given. On January 15, 588 B.C. of the Gregorian, also known as the western calendar, this message was received by Ezekiel. This most significant event was also recorded in three other places in the Old Testament:
II Kings 25:1
1And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it round about (ASV, 1901).
1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and besieged it (ASV, 1901).
4And it came to pass in the ninth year of his (Zedekiah) reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it round about (ASV, 1901).
This was the long prophecied day when the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar set their siege against Jerusalem. This started two and a half years before the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. So, ends the first Temple.
The Babylonian Captivity Ends
175 years before Cyrus was born, the Lord foretells that Cyrus the Mede, His servant, will conquer Babylon and deliver the Chosen People back to the Land:
1Thus saith Jehovah to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him, and I will loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut: 2I will go before thee, and make the rough places smooth; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron (ASV, 1901).
Here is a timeline of these events:
549-530 B.C. Rise to world-rule of Cyrus the Persian.
549 B.C. Cyrus unites Persia and Media
546 B.C. Cyrus conquers Lydia
539 B.C. Cyrus conquers Babylon (this ends the Chaldean Empire)
The Persian Empire (539-331 B.C.) and the Restoration of Judah
538 B.C. Edict of Cyrus permitting Jewish repatriation of Judah (Ezra 1)
537-536 B.C. Return of 49,897 Jews to Jerusalem (Ezra 2; Nehemiah 7)
536 B.C. Altar rebuilt and sacrifices offered (seventh month)
535 B.C. Work on temple started, but then stopped (Ezra 3:1-4)
535-520 B.C. Hardships, economic depression in Jerusalem; people forget the temple and selfishly concentrate on their own needs (Haggai 1,2)
530 B.C. The death of Cyrus
530-522 B.C. Reign of Cyrus’ son, Cambyses II, who conquered Egypt
522-486 B.C. Darius I, The Great, saved the empire from civil war, erected the Behistun Inscription and was friendly to the Jews
520 B.C. Darius confirms the decree of Cyrus and aids in the construction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6:1-14)
520 B.C. Sixth month (September-October) first day of the month, Haggai’s first sermon (Haggai 1:3-11)
520 B.C. Sixth month, twenty-fourth day, Haggai’s second sermon (Haggai 1:12-15)
Seventh month (October-November), first day, Haggai’s third sermon (Haggai 2:1-9)
Eighth month, (November-December), first day, Zechariah’s opening sermon (Zechariah 1:1-6)
Eighth month, twenty-fourth day Haggai’s last sermons (Haggai 2:10-23)
520 B.C. Eleventh month (February-March) twenty-fourth day, Zechariah’s eight night visions (Zechariah 1:7-6:8)
Eleventh month twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth day the symbolic crowning of Joshua prefiguring Messiah King-Priest
518 B.C. Ninth month (December-January) fourth day, delegation from Bethel; Zechariah’s message of repentance and promised blessing (Zechariah chapters 7 and 8)
516 B.C. twelfth month (March-April) third day completion and dedication of the temple (Ezra 6:15)
490 B.C. Darius I’s campaign against Greece, Defeat at Marathon
486-465 B.C. Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) husband of Esther (Esther 2:16), reigns
480 B.C. Persians defeated at Thermopylae and Salamis by the Greeks
478 B.C. Esther becomes queen
465-424 B.C. Reign of Artaxerxes I
458 B.C. Ezra returns to Israel (some scholars date this event later)
445 B.C. Artaxerxes I authorizes Nehemiah to restore Jerusalem’s walls
445-432 B.C. Malachi’s ministry (approximate dates)
424-423 B.C. Xerxes II
423-404 B.C. Darius II
404-358 B.C. Artaxerxes II
358-338 B.C. Artaxerxes III
338-336 B.C. Arses
336-331- B.C. Darius III. Defeated by Alexander of Macedon
During the reign of Darius the First, the prophet Daniel receives a vision of the end of the desolations of Jerusalem:
1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, 2in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years whereof the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years (ASV, 1901).
THE SECOND TEMPLE
God chooses the correct new High Priest for the next Temple:
5And I said, Let them set a clean mitre upon his head. So they set a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by. 6And the angel of Jehovah protested unto Joshua, saying, 7Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou also shalt judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee a place of access among these that stand by (ASV, 1901).
Now, the prophet Zechariah describes the events in the Holy Supreme Court. Interjecting himself into the event, Zechariah clearly says to the attending angelic host to “set a clean mitre upon his head”. He is referring to Joshua the High Priest who is in the court, but dressed in filthy clothes. The Hebrew word for High Priest is Kohen Gadol. The filthy clothes Joshua is wearing represents the sin that the nation Israel has committed, which resulted in their persecution by the God of the Universe. This symbolic act of God forgiving their national sin is also going to happen on a future day at the end of the Great Tribulation when the entire nation will believe in Jesus as their Messiah (Romans 11:26).
Here we see the crowning of the High Priest’s change to festive clothes with the “mitre”, or turban. This capping signified his office, so to speak, being upon his forehead. We can assume that a golden plate that was attached to the headband of the mitre, on which was written “holiness to the Lord” (Exodus 28:38). This was a special command of the Lord when the original garments of the High Priest were ordered (Exodus 28:36-39). Now Joshua is appropriately dressed for his office. “Jehovah of hosts” now charges him to behave in such a way so that he would be emanating holiness. This holiness would be to represent the return to God of the redeemed Chosen People. The High Priest’s office had become extremely sinful, and therefore unable to render God’s holiness to the Jewish nation. With Joshua receiving the “mitre”, he acknowledges he is willing and able to execute the office of the High Priest to the nation so they can be provided with God’s holiness through this earthly assigned intercessor. The high degree of significance of this event must not be missed.
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah cover the period from the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C. to the second half of the 5th century B.C. They tell of the successive missions to Jerusalem of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah and their efforts to restore the worship of the God of Israel, and to create a purified Jewish community. In Ezra 1–6, God moves the heart of Cyrus to commission Sheshbazzar (whose other name is Zerubbabel) “the prince of Judah”, to rebuild the Temple. 40,000 exiles return to Jerusalem led by Zerubbabel and Joshua as the newly commissioned High Priest. The Second Temple was enhanced by Herod the Great.
Reconstruction and expansion of the Temple under Herod began with a massive expansion of the Temple Mount. Herod’s work on the Temple is dated from about 20/19 B.C. until 12/11 or 10 B.C. Religious worship and Temple rituals continued during the construction process.
The prophet Daniel received a prophecy of the destruction of the Second Temple:
24Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. 25Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times. 26And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined. 27And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate (ASV, 1901).
The purposes of this prophecy were:
- To finish the transgression. In this first purpose, sin is to come under control so that it will no longer flourish, specifically, Israel’s sin of the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus. Israel’s national sin is now to be firmly restrained, and brought to completion. The same point is brought out in Isaiah 59:20 and Romans 11:26. The first purpose, then, is to end Israel’s national transgression, which was the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus.
- To make an end of sins. The point in this purpose is that, while there may be sin among the Gentile nations, in the Kingdom there will be no sin in Israel. This very same truth is taught in Isaiah 27:9; Ezekiel 36:25–27; 37:23; and Romans 11:27. This is also the point of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31–34, where Jeremiah clearly predicts the day will come when all Israel’s sins will be removed and all Israel will be saved, from the least to the greatest.
- To make reconciliation for iniquity.The program of the Seventy Sevens is a cleansing of Israel that will include the removal of all three things: first, the national sin of rejecting His Messiahship; second, sinning daily; and third, dealing with the sin nature itself.
- To bring in an age of righteousness.The fourth purpose is to bring in an age of righteousness to establish the Kingdom. Daniel thought the Kingdom would be set up immediately after the seventy years of captivity. Now he is told that this will occur not after seventy years, but after seventy sevens of years or 490 years.
- To cause a cessation of prophecy.The fifth purpose of the Seventy Sevens is to cause a cessation of both oral and written prophecy, because the program of the Seventy Sevens will contain the final fulfillment of all prophecies. The function of all prophecies will cease at the Second Coming of the Messiah.
- To anoint the most holy place.The most holy place is not the First Temple of Solomon, nor the Second Temple of Zerubbabel, and certainly not the Third Temple of the Great Tribulation. Rather, it is the Fourth Temple, the Temple of the Messianic Kingdom, built by the Lord Himself, and it will be anointed as part of the program of Seventy Sevens.
- The starting point of the Seventy Sevens. Daniel 9:24 already stated that the program of the Seventy Sevens concerns not only the Jewish people, but also the Jewish city of Jerusalem. Now in Daniel 9:25a, he is told that the Seventy Sevens will begin with a decree, one that involves the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
- The first Seven Sevens. Daniel 9:25bstates the first subdivision, the seven sevens, is a total of forty-nine years and refers to the forty-nine year period that it took to rebuild Jerusalem. In speaking of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, it speaks of the city as being “built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times” The first subdivision of the Seventy Sevens, then, is the seven sevens, or forty-nine years, during which time Jerusalem was rebuilt. Only after forty-nine years was the rebuilding process brought to completion.
- The Sixty-Two Sevens or Four Hundred Thirty-Four Years.Combining seven sevens and sixty-two sevens gives a total of sixty-nine sevens. Or, combining forty-nine years with 434 years gives a total of 483 years. A total of 483 years will transpire from the time that the decree is issued until the coming of the Messiah, “the prince”. Hence the first 483 years of the 490 year period came to an end with the First Coming of the Messiah.
- The events between the Sixty-Ninth and the Seventieth Sevens. Daniel 9:26 states that while there was no gap of time between the first subdivision and the second subdivision of the Seventy Sevens, there is a gap of time between the second subdivision and the third subdivision. Verse 26 starts out: “And after the threescore and two weeks”, after the second subdivision, certain things must occur before the third subdivision begins in verse 27. When he says, “after the sixty-two sevens,” he means after the conclusion of the second subdivision of the Seventy Sevens and before the beginning of the third subdivision of the Seventy Sevens. This phrase clearly shows that a gap of time exists between the second and third subdivisions, that is, between the sixty-ninth seven and the seventieth seven. In this gap of time three events are to occur.
- The Messiah would be killed.It is not “the prince that shall come “who will destroy the city and the Temple, but rather, “the people of the prince that shall come”. The point of that second phrase in verse 26 is that the nationality of “the people” and “the prince that shall come” are one and the same. “The prince that shall come” in this context is the Antichrist of whom Daniel has already spoken of in chapters 7 and 8. By saying “the prince,” Daniel uses the article of previous reference, because he has spoken of him in the previous chapters. “The prince that shall come”, which is still future, is of the same nationality as “the people” who will destroy the city and the Temple. After the Messiah is cut off, the city and the Temple will be destroyed.
- The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. This occurred in A.D. 70, forty years after the death of the Messiah. It is known from history who “the people” “The people” who destroyed the city and the Temple in A.D. 70 were the Gentiles of Rome, the Romans. Since the Antichrist must be of the same nationality as the people who destroyed the city and the Temple, it is this verse that shows that the Antichrist will be a Gentile of Roman origin.Then he states: “and the end thereof shall be with a flood,” meaning that the end of Jerusalem and the Temple shall be the result of “a flood.” Whenever the figure of a flood is used symbolically, it always is a symbol of a military invasion. Jerusalem was destroyed by a Roman military invasion, first under Vespasian and then under Titus.
Jesus affirmed the destruction of the Second Temple
Jesus was taken the Second Temple by His parents on the eighth day of His life for His circumcision. This was the last time the Shekinah Glory entered the Second Temple (Luke 2:22-38). Years later, during the last week of His life, Jesus said the Temple would be destroyed:
1And Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way; and his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2But he answered and 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 (ASV, 1901).
The Third Temple of the Great Tribulation
Several passages of Scripture indicate that the activities of the Antichrist involve a future Jewish Temple:
- Daniel 9:27 – The prince who is to come confirms a covenant for the duration of the 70th Week of Daniel. In the middle of the week, “he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” This implies a preexisting Temple within which sacrifice and offering had been taking place.
- Daniel 12:11 – The daily sacrifice will be taken away and the Abomination of Desolation is set up. The context indicates that this occurs during “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a [Jewish] nation” (Daniel 12:1). A Temple must have been standing in which the daily sacrifices were being offered.
- Matthew 24:15 – Jesus predicted that the Abomination of Desolation would stand “in the holy place.” This refers to a location within the Temple.
- II Thessalonians 2:4 – Paul indicated that one of the acts of “the man of sin” would be to exalt himself “above all that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” [emphasis added]
- Revelation 11:1- John is told to measure “the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.” The context is during the Great Tribulation, prior to the return of Christ.
Implied Destruction of the Third Temple
Isaiah states the structure of the earth changes, and could be a cause of the Third Temple destruction:
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again (KJV).
One result of the Great Tribulation is the leveling of the earth surface through multiple earthquakes. Some of this occurs during the judgment of the bowls which follow after the judgment of the trumpets during the second half of the Great Tribulation:
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great (KJV).
The pivotal event, which signals the mid-point of the Great Tribulation, is the Antichrist’s takeover of the Jewish Temple. He breaks his covenant with the Jews, and declares himself “The Almighty God”. He also begins a serious persecution of the Jews, which will last for 1,260 days. The False Prophet sets up an inanimate image of the Antichrist in the Temple, and Satan causes it to become alive. The Antichrist is in control of the world for those 1,260 days, and then he will be killed:
11And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days (ASV 1901).
The image stays in the Temple for additional thirty days. The desecration of the Jewish Temple lasts an additional thirty days beyond the end of the Great Tribulation, then it will be destroyed, which brings the Abomination of Desolation to an end. From this passage it appears that the Tribulation Temple will be finally destroyed after the end of the Great Tribulation.
The Millennial Fourth Temple on the Millennial Mountain
As result of the leveling of the earth’ surface, the highest mountain on earth will be in Israel. The Lord spoke through the prophet Micah of His Millennial Mountain:
1But in the latter days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it. 2And many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem (ASV, 1901).
Micah received nearly the same information as Isaiah which emphasizes its importance to the Lord. He also was privy to learn that the Millennial Mountain will be the highest, be exulted above all, and God’s Law would proceed from it. It will be the center of the world’s government activities. Ezekiel received the most information regarding the Millennial Mountain and the Fourth Temple that will be erected during that time.
The Location of the Temple
2Of this there shall be for the holy place five hundred in length by five hundred in breadth, square round about; and fifty cubits for the suburbs thereof round about. 3And of this measure shalt thou measure a length of five and twenty thousand, and a breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the sanctuary, which is most holy. 4It is a holy portion of the land; it shall be for the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, that come near to minister unto Jehovah; and it shall be a place for their houses, and a holy place for the sanctuary. 5And five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth, shall be unto the Levites, the ministers of the house, for a possession unto themselves, for twenty chambers (ASV, 1901).
This very high mountain, the highest in the world, will itself have a fifty-mile square plateau on top (v. 1). This square plateau will be subdivided into three sections. The northern section (vv. 2–4) will be twenty miles by fifty miles, having in its center the Millennial Temple, which will be about one mile square. The rest of the area of the northern section will be reserved for the Zadokites to live. These are “the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, that come near to minister unto Jehovah”.
The central section (v. 5) will also be twenty miles by fifty miles and will be reserved for the members of the Tribe of Levi. Chapter forty-eight will explain their allotment and positioning in greater detail. The text of verse five cites specific buildings for the Levites who will care for the more mundane activities in the Temple. Referred to as “for a possession unto themselves, for twenty chambers”, there is no explanation as to exactly how these chambers will be used. Instead of being scattered throughout Israel as before the captivity (Joshua 21:1-42), they will now live close to the Temple where they will minister.
Millennial Jerusalem in the Southern Section
6And ye shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long, side by side with the oblation of the holy portion: it shall be for the whole house of Israel. 7And whatsoever is for the prince shall be on the one side and on the other side of the holy oblation and of the possession of the city, in front of the holy oblation and in front of the possession of the city, on the west side westward, and on the east side eastward; and in length answerable unto one of the portions, from the west border unto the east border. 8In the land it shall be to him for a possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; but they shall give the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes.
The southern section (vv. 6–8) will be ten miles by fifty miles, the smallest of the three. The city of Millennial Jerusalem, which will be ten miles by ten miles square. The city proper will belong to all people not to any particular tribe. On either side of the city will be field areas, each measuring ten by twenty miles, for growing food. These areas will be overseen by the prince, the resurrected David, who will apportion the Land according to tribe, as detailed in chapter forty-eight. This section will be considered as ordinary (in the Hebrew “ordinary” is chol) because of the city and fields for produce for the people living in the city. This is different than the designation of the two northern sections that are called “holy” or “sanctified” (in the Hebrew, kadosh). Below is a diagram of the 3 sections:
Source: Daniel Woodhead
God Promises a Sanctuary in Israel
27My tabernacle also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28And the nations shall know that I am Jehovah that sanctifieth Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore (ASV, 1901).
During the Babylonian exile, God revealed a vision of the ultimate Millennial, or Messianic Temple, to the prophet Ezekiel. When the Jews returned from Babylon to build the Second Temple, they desired to build that structure in accordance with Ezekiel’s prophecy, but had difficulty comprehending all of its particulars. Therefore, they structured the building according to the plan of the First Temple, incorporating whatever innovations were clear to them that Ezekiel had envisioned.
God, in His Divine providence, is beginning to describe the home He is going to build for Himself on earth during the Messianic Kingdom:
12and speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying, Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: and he shall grow up out of his place; and he shall build the temple of Jehovah; 13even he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. 14And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah. 15And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of Jehovah; and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of Jehovah your God (ASV, 1901).
This will be a period of time on the earth where Jesus Christ will be running the government of the earth from Jerusalem. His Temple will be the place in which He will be.
Eisemann, Rabbi Moshe, and Sherman, Rabbi Nosson. (1977). Yechezkel: Translation and Commentary. Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications Ltd.
Vande Bunte, M. (November 23, 2015). “Rob Bell’s successor at Mars Hill is stepping down.” Retrieved January, 2020 from http://www.mlive.com/news/grandrapids/index.ssf/2015/11/rob_bells_successor_at_mars_hi.html