Will a Literal, Physical Temple be Built in Jerusalem?

One feature of dispensational premillennialism is that a literal, physical temple will eventually be rebuilt in Jerusalem. It is sometimes referred to as “Ezekiel’s Temple” or the third temple. In his new book, Kingdom Come, Sam Storms addresses this early on. His thoughts are very thought provoking.

“In his judgment against the Jewish people, the temple complex was abandoned by our Lord, both physically and spiritually, as he departed and made his way to the Mount of Olives. ‘Your house,’ said Jesus, ‘is left to you desolate’ (Matt. 23:38). It has thus ceased to be ‘God’s’ house. When Jesus died and ‘the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom’ (Matt. 27:51), God forever ceased to bless it with his presence or to acknowledge it as anything other than ichabod (the glory has departed).

Just as dramatically as Jesus had entered Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-17, the so-called ‘Triumphal Entry’) and its temple, he now departs. . . . Indeed, the action of Jesus in departing the temple and taking his seat on the Mount of Olives (Matt. 24:3) recalls Ezekiel 11:23 where we read that ‘the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city.’

This applies equally to any supposed future temple that many believe will be built in Jerusalem in the general vicinity where the Dome of the Rock now stands. It’s entirely possible, of course, that people in Israel may one day build a temple structure and resume their religious activities within it. The political and military implications of such, not to mention the religious furor it would provoke, are obvious. Whether or not this will ever occur is hard to say, but if it does it will have no eschatological or theological significance whatsoever, other than to rise up as a stench in the nostrils of God. The only temple in which God is now and forever will be pleased to dwell is Jesus Christ and the Church, his spiritual body.

It would be an egregious expression of the worst imaginable redemptive regression to suggest that God would ever sanction the rebuilding of the temple. It would be tantamount to a denial that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It would constitute a repudiation of the Church as the temple of God and thus an affront to the explicit affirmation of Paul here in 2 Corinthians 2 and elsewhere.” (Emphasis his. 20-21)

For an example of someone who believes in a literal fulfillment of the future temple here’s a video from Grant Jeffrey.

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This entry was posted in Biblical Studies. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Will a Literal, Physical Temple be Built in Jerusalem?

  1. Rev. Bryant J. Williams III says:

    Dear Louis,

    Daniel 9:27 is clear that the the sacrifice and offering, and that one who causes an Abomination that causes Desolation will be put in the “Temple.” This occurs mid-week during the last week of the Seventy Weeks, The Tribulation. Thus, the text indicates that another Temple has been rebuilt for sacrifices and offerings to cease and for the Abomination of Desolation to be placed in the Temple.

    Now, whether or not this Temple is the Temple of Ezekiel is another story altogether. It could, but then again, it could not. There are Dispensationalists who view the Temple of Ezekiel to be the Millennial Temple.

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  2. Doug Ward says:

    I disagree with Storms’s reading of Matthew’s Gospel. For another view on Jesus’ attitude toward the Temple in Matthew and the meaning of the torn temple curtain, see the dissertation of Dr. Daniel Gurtner published as _The Torn Veil_.

    Also, someone apparently forgot to tell the early church (including Paul) that something was wrong with the Temple. The Pentecost event took place in the Temple Courts, and the early Jerusalem Christians spent a lot of time hanging out at Solomon’s Colonnade. And what exactly was Paul up to in Acts 21:26?

    I don’t know exactly what the future holds as far as temples go, but I can do without antijudaic, supersessionistic readings of the New Testament..

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    • Rev. Bryant J. Williams III says:

      Dear Doug,

      Acts 1:13 has the disciples at the Upper Room. Acts 1:15 still has the disciples (120 in number) still in the Upper Room to choose the successor of Judas Iscariot. Acts 2:1 implies that the gathering of the disciples on Pentecost is still in the Upper Room area. In fact, 2:2 uses OIKOS, “house” to indicate where the disciples were when the Spirit descended upon them. Finally, Peter is addressing the crowd gathered in front of the house in response to the crowd’s claiming that they, the disciples, were drunk in Acts 2:5-8, 12-15. Thus, the Temple is not where the disciples were located on Pentecost.

      Regarding Storm’s view of Matthew. Some of what is reported is good, but since I have NOT read it I will withhold judgement as to whether or not he is correct other than what I stated above in the first post.

      Finally, regarding your last paragraph. Acts 4:12 is quite clear. John 14:6 is also quite clear. That does not mean that the New Testament is anti-semitic. In fact, Paul goes out of his way in Romans 9-11 that the nation of Israel is still the “people of God.” He has not rejected them, “for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). The unconditional promise made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21). That is one of the reasons for the Tribulation. It is the completion of the judgement upon them and the returning of His grace upon them. A person has to believe in Christ to be saved (Romans 10:9-10,13).

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