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The Jerusalem Temple
 
PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 79

August 3, 2002

WILL THE TEMPLE BE REBUILT IN JERUSALEM?

I long ago lost count of the number of men and women who have reminded me that the temple MUST be rebuilt before Jesus returns.  A majority of believers are certain that it must be rebuilt because antichrist must set in it “showing himself that he is God.”

As a young man I believed that it would be rebuilt before Jesus returned.  But as I studied the Greek language in Seminary, I began to say it would probably be rebuilt.  I now do not believe it will be rebuilt until the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ.  Why?

Much of what follows is quoted primarily from the “New Testament Greek-English Dictionary of the Complete Bible Library,” Volumes 13 and 14.

In the New Testament the word “hieron,” translated as “temple,” is found ONLY in the Gospels, in Acts, and in I Corinthians 9:13, where Paul’s ONLY use of the word appears as “temple.”

I Corinthians 9:13 – Jerusalem’s Literal Stone Temple

[13]  Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple (hieron)? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

“Hieron” refers to the entire temple including its precincts and the temple hill or, in a limited sense, any portion of the temple, such as the court of the women (Luke 2:37) where Jesus stood before the altar after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:11), the court of the Gentiles out of which Jesus drove the money changers (John 2:15), or the temple proper where the veil separated the Holy Place from the Holy of  Holies (Matthew 27:52).  “Hieron” is ONLY used in a literal sense in the entire New Testament.  This is in very sharp contrast to its closely related term “naos,” which is used both literally and figuratively in the New Testament. It is used figuratively at times to refer to the human body or a local church body.

I Corinthians 6:19 – The Human Body - Naos

[19] What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

I Corinthians 3:16,17 – The Local Church Body - Naos

[16] Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [17] If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

(All the “ye’s” in this verse are plural, and the “in” of verse 16 may be translated with equal validity as being “among” you, because “you” is plural.)

Now, let’s take a look at the word “naos,” translated as “temple” in the New Testament.  “Naos” denotes the “dwelling place of a god.”  Consequently, the “naos” was the inner “sanctuary” of a temple where the image of the God was placed, or where he dwelled.  It is frequently translated as “temple,” but the association with the word “sanctuary” should not be overlooked.

The following verses contain ALL the uses of the word translated “temple” in the writings of the Apostle Paul.

TEMPLE – HIERON – I CORINTHIANS 9:13

[13] Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

(This is absolutely referring literally to the great temple of stone in the city of Jerusalem)

TEMPLE – NAOS – I CORINTHIANS 6:19

[19]  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

(This is absolutely referring to the body of someone who has experienced the new birth as figuratively being a temple)

TEMPLE – NAOS – I CORINTHIANS 3:16,17

[16] Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [17] If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

TEMPLE – NAOS – II CORINTHIANS 6:16

[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

(All the “ye’s” and the “them” and “they” are plural, and the two “in’s” may be translated as “among”)

TEMPLE – NAOS – EPHESIANS 2:21,22

[21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

(The “ye” in verse 22 is plural)

It is perfectly obvious in the verses in the two books of Corinthians and Ephesians that Paul was not referring to the literal temple in Jerusalem, and it is also equally obvious he knew the distinction between “hieron” and “naos.”  That is why his ONLY other use of the word “naos,” occurring in I Thessalonians 2:4, is so puzzling. I am convinced that if he meant the literal stone temple in Jerusalem, then he would have used the word “hieron.”

TEMPLE – NAOS – II THESSALONIANS 2:4

[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, shewing himself that he is God.

The precise meaning of “naos” in this verse is uncertain.  I believe Paul pictures the antichrist sitting on the temple mount in a sinful body of flesh, with his inner soul and spirit claiming he is God to prove it to himself, and to show the world he is God.  This would parallel his use of the word “naos” in I Corinthians 6:19. In any case, I Thessalonians 2:4 falls far short of proving that the temple must be rebuilt before Jesus comes.

The companion Old Testament Scripture often used to link with I Thessalonians 2:2 to prove the temple must be rebuilt is Daniel 11:45.

Daniel 11:45

[45] And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

However, the word translated “palace” is “appeden.”  It is never translated as “temple” in the entire Bible.  So it means, in the context of this verse, that antichrist returns to Jerusalem just before the battle of Armageddon, and puts up a command post palace pavilion on the temple mount, from which he plans to sit and direct the final battle.  The tents (tabernacles – ohel) are the tents of all the troops from Europe, Eurasia, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa which have poured into Israel in answer to his call, and he will direct their final attack against Israel in the Negev from his “appeden” on the temple mount.  I have heard about the rebuilding of this temple for some 54 years.  For better or for worst, I do not believe the temple will be rebuilt until Jesus returns.