The Temple: Built, Destroyed and Rebuilt

By C. Eldon McNabb

“(David) found favor before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.  But Solomon built Him an house.  Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” (Acts 7:44,48)

About nine hundred and fifty years before our Savior ascended into Heaven and sat down “at the right hand of God exalted,” Solomon built God a natural temple. (1 Ki. 6:37,38)  About 475 years later, the armies of Nebu­chad­nezzar destroyed that tem­ple, and it laid waste until its reconstruction was finished, some seventy years after that. (Ezra 6:15)

Most of us have been taught to consider this to be an histo­rical comment, because it is recorded in 1 Kings, 2 Chron­icles, and Ezra – Books of the Bible which are persistently, and officially, asserted to be merely historical books.  So I must remind us again that what Jesus and the writers of the New Testament said about these books should be our guide in considering their intent and usefulness.  A portion of the Holy Scriptures may be histo­rical, but we certainly cannot dismiss them as mere history.

Throughout Christianity, ministers of repute insist that one third of the Bible is prophecy.  But the author of the Holy Scriptures Himself tell us in Matt. 11:13, “All the prophets and the law prophesied.”  In John 10:34, Jesus included the Psalms in the Law, saying, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (Psa. 82:6)  Jesus spoke of the O. T. as having three parts, but made no mention of history.  He said, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.”

Insomuch as Jesus said, in Matthew 11, that the entire text of the O. T. was prophecy, we must know that the building, destruction and rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple was a prophecy of the New Testament Temple.  Accordingly, in Heb. 10:1, Paul called those things “A shadow of good things to come.”

About thirty years after the Birth of our Lord, the time came for the Spiritual Temple to be built.  According to the shadow, “In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid.” Jesus clearly fulfilled that prophecy, for in the fourth year of Jesus’ ministry He had laid the foundation of Apostles and Prophets. (Eph. 2:19-22)  But when Jesus ascended back to the Father, the Spiritual Temple – the Church of the Living God – had not yet been built. (1 Tim. 3:15)  In Eph. 2, Paul went on to say, “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In Whom ye also are builde­d together for an habi­tation of God through the Spirit.”

In the process of the next seven years (1 Ki. 6:38) of Jesus’ ministry, Peter brought the Church to perfection, as Jesus had commanded him in John 21:15-19. (See also Matt. 24:45-47 and John 14:12-14)  “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my father.”  Enough is said in the Acts concerning Peter’s ministry to make us know that it was he of whom Jesus was speaking.

Jesus was not here to personally finish the entire eleven and a half year prophecy set forth in the building of Solomon’s Temple.  Therefore, in Matt. 16:16-19, Jesus told Peter, “I will build my Church,” but in John 21:15-19, He gave Peter the commission to finish the task in His absence.  And “Simon, son of Jonas” obeyed Jesus, and finished the building of the House of God, in the manner of Heb. 3:4.

The Church which Peter built, upon the foundation which Jesus had laid, consisted of 144,000 Jews.  That fact is attested to in James 1:1,18 and Rev. 7:1-8.  That sealed group, with the probable exception of John, all suffered martyrdom by about seventy years after the beginning of the ministry of our Savior.  From the end of that seventy years, it evolved into a Gentile church, and, in 325 a.d., it became what John the Reve­lator called, “Mystery, Babylon the Great.”  But in Rev. 14:1-5, John had prophesied of the rebuilding of that great and no­table Spiritual Temple which “a greater than Solomon” had built.

The rebuilding of the New Testament Temple is foreshad­owed, and prophesied of, in the books of Ezra, Haggai and Zech­ariah.  “The elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah. – And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.” (Ezra 6:14)

It is God who has command­ed that these two temples, natural and spiritual should be built, destroyed and rebuilt – The building of the first was under the command of a Jewish king, but the rebuilding of it was under the command of Gentiles kings.  It follows, then, that the Spiritual House must be built under the Command of Jesus Christ, and the rebuilding of it under a succession of three Gentile Prophets of God during the last one hundred and twenty years of the sixth Millennium.  After the death of the second one of those prophets, “that man of sin, The Son of Perdition,” would exalt himself to sit in the chief seat of the Spiritual House of God which those two prophets had built, and thereby accomplish the fulfillment of Ezek. 21:25-27 and. Ezra 4:24.

I know that most students of the Bible have considered 2 Thess. 2:3,4, to be speaking of a natural temple, and some great world leader.  But we might ask ourselves, “in what capacity was the work of the Son of Perdition during the time of the Jewish Church?”  The record is clear;  He was one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles!  This Son of Perdition was to have a somewhat different, and more extensive manifestation.  Paul’s prophecy requires that he sit as Chief Bishop of the Spiritual Temple – The Church of the Living God.  “No!” you say.  What will you do then with verses 1 & 2 of 2 Thess. 2?  Paul is very specific.  The main point of his remarks is that Jesus will not return until “That man of sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition.”

In Luke 21:24, Jesus showed us that the Spiritual House of God would be rebuilt by that third Gentile Prophet, right at the end of this age.  He said, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”  When we place this verse with its mate in Rev. 11:2, we see that the rebuilding of the House of God will take place in that forty-two month period wherein Jerusalem is trodden under foot of the Gentiles.  Some time after that, Jesus will come, resurrect the Jewish Church, immortalize the Gentile Church, join them together to form “the Bride the Lamb’s Wife” and present to Himself that “glorious Church – holy and without blemish.  Praise the Living God!