Aangeleverd door: It’s Me
Just Build the Third Temple…Is It Really That Simple?
During this waiting period until our sudden rescue, redemption, and transfer to God’s heavenly temple, I finally ordered a copy of Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s systematic treatment of end-time events entitled The Footsteps of the Messiah (revised edition, 2004). I had been meaning to read his work for a while now, but there were always other pressing matters at hand.
Fresh out of the packaging, I immediately turned to the “Scripture Index” in the back of the book to find all citations of Isaiah 66. Much to my delight, not only does Fruchtenbaum associate Isa. 66:7 with Rev. 12:5 (Appendix XI, “Old Testament References in the Book of Revelation,” pg. 796), he also includes some perceptive insight about Isa. 66:1-6 that I had never considered before.
Coming from a messianic-Jewish perspective, Fruchtenbaum offers the Gentile-dominant body of Christ a unique perspective on this crucial eschatological passage. In a section of the book on the Third Temple, he provides a verse-by-verse commentary and analysis of Isaiah 66:1-6. This adds to our overall understanding of the prophetic sequence of events during the Tribulation period, including the birth of the male-child of Isa. 66:7-8 before Israel’s hour of trial.
Fruchtenbaum’s summary of Isaiah 66:1-6:
Isaiah speaks of a house or temple being built for God which He does not sanction [in the sense of “approve” or “authorize”]. It cannot refer to Solomon’s Temple or the Temple built by Zerubbabel, because God did sanction both of them. Nor can it refer to the Millennial Temple. That one will be built by Messiah, and God will certainly sanction it. Therefore, the only temple that this could refer to is the Tribulation Temple. So Isaiah the Prophet foresees the building of a temple that God will not sanction. What God wants Israel to do at this time is to return to Him in faith, not merely to build Him a house” (pg. 136, emphasis mine).
Fruchtenbaum’s verse-by-verse rundown of Isaiah 66:1-6:
This passage begins with a protest from God, Who makes it clear that no temple built by Israel at this time will be acceptable, for God will not come and reside in this one (v. 1) as He did in the first temple. What God will require at this time is not a new temple, but faith (v. 2). He will not accept these re-instituted Levitical sacrifices any more than He would accept human sacrifices, swine, or idolatry in the Old Testament (v. 3). The very fact that they will build this temple shows their failure to listen to God’s word (v. 4) and come to God by faith in Jesus the Messiah. Then Isaiah has a word of encouragement to those faithful Jews who will not participate in the rebuilding of the Temple (v. 5), but are seeking to do God’s will. So there will be a faithful remnant who will not participate in the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple for the Tribulation. Finally, Isaiah states that this new Temple will only end in judgment (v. 6) and not in forgiveness of sin or acceptable worship” (pgs. 136–37, emphasis mine).
If you were wondering what the LORD thinks about the current push for a Third Temple in Jerusalem, there’s your answer. After Israel achieves the “mother of all deals” with the help of her Gentile neighbors, one aspect of the self-assured cry of “peace and security” (1 Thess. 5:3) involves constructing the temple and re-instituting the Mosaic sacrifices.
Fruchtenbaum also notes the difference between the Tribulation temple and Messiah’s Millennial Temple. They are not the same, and the location + dimensions will be radically different as well. Check out John Schmitt’s full-scale model of the Millennial Temple as seen by the prophet Ezekiel (here).
When Israel begins construction of the Third Temple, there will be one major element missing from their blueprints:
…the LORD God said: ‘Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable” (Isa. 28:16, HCSB).
And the apostle Peter agrees:
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders [the people of Israel – v. 10], which has become the cornerstone…and ‘a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They [Israel] stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do” (Acts 4:11 + 1 Peter 2:8, ESV).
Isaiah’s implicit depiction of a hardened Israel’s choice to build the Third Temple aligns with Paul’s words in 1 Thess. 5:3. The unbelievers rejoice “Let the LORD be glorified…,” and as a result of their zeal without knowledge (Rom. 10:2-3), they persecute their faithful brethren for choosing not to participate in temple activities (Isa. 66:5). It’s the first century all over again, and faithful Jews must heed the words long written down:
“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins…[f]or by one offering He [Jesus] has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:4, 14, HCSB).
Paul writes, “When they say ‘peace and security,’ then sudden destruction comes…,” and Isaiah recorded the LORD’s own words, “…I will bring on them what they dread…” (Isa. 66:4). What they dread: The Gentile armies are going to lay siege to Jerusalem once again until the Times of the Gentiles are complete (Lk. 21:24).
Israel’s deal with Death (Isa. 28:14-15) and the covenant of Dan. 9:27 provokes the LORD to wrath and begins the 70th week—it is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. The Lion roars from His temple in heaven, not from Jerusalem on earth (Isa. 66:6). The LORD will stay silent no longer (Isa. 65:6).
However, there is good news for the Church, the body of Christ, and the “foolish nation” saved by His grace. At the LORD’s call, we answered (Isa. 65:1; contrary to those of Isa. 66:4). At the sound of the LORD’s voice, there is both judgment and deliverance, because 66:6 turns into 66:7:
Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child” (NKJV).
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, take heart. Last time I checked, the Tribulation hadn’t started yet. Yes, Revelation 12:1-2, the “great sign” of the end has been fulfilled. But the actual events that it signifies has yet to occur, including the pre-Tribulation Resurrection and Rapture of the Church (Rev. 12:5).
Keep waiting for Him. Waiting for the shout. Waiting to take shelter in His heavenly temple.