The Tabernacle, the dwelling place of ‘I AM’ among His people was built in the wilderness. It was a shadow of the Tabernacle in the heavenly realm and took one year to construct. The objects within the Tent of Meeting were created from specific instructions given to Moshe. The Menorah was built according to what Moshe was shown on the mountain. The Temple services were performed by a Levitical priesthood with a high priest from the lineage of Aaron, Moshe’s brother (Exodus 35-36). This Tabernacle was where Adonai met with and lived with His people.
“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle. Moshe was unable to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34).
The First Temple
The first Temple was built by King Solomon, the son of King David, on what is traditionally accepted as the Temple mount. (There is some speculation that this Temple was actually in the City of David near the Gihon Spring.) This Temple was geometrically similar to the Tabernacle and took seven years to build (1 Kings 6). It replaced the traveling Tabernacle and all of the ‘high places’ in Isra’el. King David desired that Adonai should not live in a tent, but in a beautiful building made of stones. Because he was a warrior, he was not allowed to build it. His son, Solomon, who was a man of peace, built it. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer and the armies of Babylon on the 9th of Av in 556 BCE (2 Kings 24-25).
“When Shlomo had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of Adonai filled the house, so that the cohanim could not enter the house of Adonai; because the glory of Adonai filled Adonai’s house. All the people of Isra’el saw when the fire came down, and the glory of Adonai was on the house; they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the flooring; prostrating themselves, they gave thanks to Adonai, “for he is good, for his grace continues forever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).
The Second Temple
After being exiled to Persia for disobedience, the Jews returned to Jerusalem and through the leadership of Ezra, and Nehemiah rebuilt the Temple, the Altar and the walls around Jerusalem. The rebuilding process took about 23 years. The second Temple was expanded by Herod the Great. It was in the second Temple that Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Altar of Sacrifice with a pig and set himself up as God. After the Jewish people fought against Antiochus’ Hellenization of their faith and regained their Temple, they cleansed it from the defilement of an ‘anti-messiah.’ This became known as the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah.
“But in the first year of Koresh king of Bavel, Koresh the king gave authorization to rebuild this house of God. Moreover, the gold and silver articles belonging to the house of God, which N’vukhadnetzar had removed from the temple in Yerushalayim and brought to the temple of Bavel, Koresh the king took out of the temple in Bavel; they were turned over to a man named Sheshbatzar, whom he had appointed governor. He said to him, “Take these articles, go, put them in the temple in Yerushalayim, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its original site” (Ezra 5:13-15).
Yeshua was circumcised, redeemed as a firstborn, and came with his parents to celebrate the Feasts of the LORD at the second Temple. He taught in its Courtyard and threw the money changers out of the area designated for prayer for the gentiles. Outside the city gates and walls of the second Temple, he was crucified. he disciples gathered in the second Temple courts on Shavuot and received the outpouring of the Spirit of Adonai (Acts 2).
During the second Temple period, the Word of God became flesh and delivered the nation of Isra’el from sin. Miracles were performed by the disciples outside the second Temple courts. On the 9th of Av in 70 CE, this Temple was destroyed by Roman armies leaving no stone upon another as was predicted by Yeshua (Matthew 24:2).
For two thousand years, there has been no standing Temple in Jerusalem. There has been no Altar for the offerings and sacrifices. There has been nowhere for the Levites to serve Adonai and draw the people of Isra’el closer to Him. There has been nowhere for the glory of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh to be revealed except through His Son, Yeshua.
The Third Temple
The third Temple is referenced by Yeshua in Matthew. He quotes the prophet Daniel and the coming “abomination of desolation.” Yeshua had already told his disciples the Temple standing in Jerusalem would be destroyed so he was alluding to another Temple that would be defiled. The purpose of the third Temple would be to show how easily Isra’el, along with the nations, can be deceived through a sincere desire to serve God. This Temple will only be partially used because the gentiles, non-believers, trample some of its holy areas making them desolate. Also, the anti-messiah will place himself in this Temple to be worshiped; he will deceive the whole world except for the elect.
“So when you see the abomination that causes devastation spoken about through the prophet Daniel standing in the Holy Place” (let the reader understand the allusion), “that will be the time for those in Judah to escape to the hills. If someone is on the roof, he must not go down to gather his belongings from his house; if someone is in the field, he must not turn back to get his coat. What a terrible time it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on Shabbat. For there will be trouble then worse than there has ever been from the beginning of the world until now, and there will be nothing like it again!” (Matthew 24:15-21).
The second mention of the third Temple is by Sha’ul in 2 Thessalonians. The only person to have taken a seat in the Temple of Adonai, proclaiming himself to be God, was Antiochus Epiphanes. Because this happened 200 years earlier, Sha’ul prophesies about another ‘son of perdition’ who will sit in ‘another temple’.
“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Messiah Yeshua and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God,” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
A third reference for the the desecrated Temple is given by John in Revelation 11:1-2.
“I was given a measuring rod like a stick and told, “Get up, and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count how many people are worshiping there! But the court outside the Temple, leave that out; don’t measure it; because it has been given to the gentiles, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months.”
The Temple Institute in Jerusalem is preparing to rebuild the third Temple. They have made the Menorah, the Altar of Sacrifice, the Table for the Bread of Presence, the Bronze Laver and the Altar of Incense. They are only waiting for the Messiah to sit in the Temple and begin the Levitical priestly service with the offerings and sacrifices.
The third Temple will be made by the hands of man and a false messiah will sit in its holy place. The artifacts will not be made through the Spirit as they were in the days of the Tabernacle and King Solomon.
Sadly, the Jewish people and their leaders do not accept the prophecy in Daniel about the coming Messiah in the context of the destroyed Temple in 70 CE. According to the prophecy, the Messiah must come before the destruction of the Temple. Yeshua came before the destruction of the second Temple and was ‘cut off’ (Daniel 9:24-27). Because of willful ignorance, the Jewish people will be deceived and follow a false messiah who will be the Adversary’s puppet. Only when Yeshua returns in the clouds and the glory of Adonai is restored to Jerusalem will their eyes be opened.
The King, the Priests, and One Thousand Years
“Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands. They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years.”
From where will King Messiah rule in Jerusalem? A King needs a throne. From where will Yeshua, the High Priest, serve? A High Priest needs a Temple. Who will serve as His priesthood? A Kingly High Priest needs a royal priesthood who knows and understands His rules.
“Take silver and gold; make crowns; put one on the head of Y’hoshua (yeshua) the son of Y’hotzadak, the cohen hagadol (high priest); and tell him, ‘Adonai-Tzva’ot says: “There is coming a man whose name is Tzemach [Sprout]. He will sprout up from his place and rebuild the temple of Adonai. Yes, he will rebuild the temple of Adonai; and he will take up royal splendor, sitting and ruling from his throne. There will be a cohen (priest) before his throne; and they will accept each other’s advice in complete harmony” (Zechariah 6:11-13).
The Fourth Temple – The Millennial Temple
According to Zechariah, the returning Messiah will build a fourth Temple. He will have ‘royal splendor’ like a King and rule from a throne. He will have priests that minister before his Altar as he is High Priest. These priests will be resurrected saints who will serve him before the throne for one thousand years.
Peter states that believers in Messiah who obey God’s commands are considered the King’s priests, the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). According to Sha’ul, those who sleep in Messiah are waiting to be resurrected to receive immortal bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1-5). The royal priesthood will be raised from the dead at the first resurrection and transformed into immortality ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ to rule and reign with Yeshua from Ezekiel’s Temple.
Ezekiel’s Temple Vision
Ezekiel’s vision for the Millennial Temple are found in the last eight chapters of Ezekiel. He was given a tour of the Temple by a “man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, and who had a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand” (Ezekiel 40:3).
The Millennial Temple will be larger than any of the previous Temples. It will be about 875 square feet and will sit in a ‘holy district’ that is north of the city of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 45:1-8). There will be a place where the royal priesthood will minister to Yeshua, and a place for the Levites to minister to the people of Isra’el.
The Tabernacle and the first and second Temples had a mortal Levitical priesthood with a mortal high priest. The Millennial Temple will have both a mortal Levitical priesthood and an immortal royal priesthood with the resurrected and living High Priest, Yeshua. As the Tabernacle and the previous three Temples were “shadows of the things that are coming,” Ezekiel’s Temple will be a memorial to what has already been revealed and begins the vision of what is to come. The Millennial Temple will reveal the holiness of Adonai to Isra’el and the world without any interference by the Adversary.
In the Millennial Temple, there will be no wall of partition to exclude the nations from worshiping Adonai with Israel. There will be no Laver, no Table of Presence, no Menorah, no golden Altar of Incense, and no Ark of the Covenant because Yeshua the personification of each of those Temple objects (John 7:37-39, the bread of Presence (John 6:35), the Menorah of the world (John 8:12), he is mediator between his Father and man (Hebrews 9:15) and his Father’s presence on the throne of the Kingdom (John 10:30).
There will be no veil in the Millennial Temple. The veil between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place was torn in half at Yeshua’s death (Matthew 27:51). The Millennial Temple will be a memorial to what Yeshua has done, and the spiritual veil over the eyes of Isra’el and the Jewish people will be removed and they will clearly see the Son of Man in all His glory (Zechariah 12:9-11, 2 Corinthians 3:15, Revelation 1:7).
There will be an Altar of Sacrifice. It will be approached by stairs, not a ramp, from the east and not the south. The top of the Altar will be called an ariel meaning ‘Lion of God’ in Hebrew (Isaiah 29:1, Revelation 5:5). Burnt offerings and sin offerings will be re-instituted in the Temple; when there is a Temple, there must be regulations for its use.
The Kingdom of Yeshua on earth will be a joyous time for Jerusalem and the redeemed people of Adonai. Isra’el will receive their Messiah and there will be life from the dead! Satan will be in the Abyss, no longer blamed for mankind’s sinful and destructive behaviors. Sinners born will be instructed in matters of God’s Torah by a faithful priesthood from the lineage of Tzadok. These royal priests are so holy that they are instructed to change their linen clothes and turbans when they enter the Courtyard so their holiness will not be passed to the people. For allowing idolatry within the Temple, from the start of the Levitical priesthood through the anti-messiah sitting on the throne, the Levites will lose the privilege of ministering to Yeshua; they will only have the responsibility of maintaining the Millennial Temple.
River of Water
In the Millennial Temple, water will flow eastward from under the threshold of the House. It will flow down from under the right side of the Temple, south of the Altar. With the Temple mount’s current location, there is no spring or water flowing from or under the mount. The Gihon Spring in the City of David is the only water source in Jerusalem. In Hebrew, gihon means ‘gusher’ or ‘bursting forth’. Ezekiel waded through one-third of a mile of the stream trickling from the south side of the Temple area. The water came up to his ankles. The second one third of a mile, the water came up to his knees. The last one-third of a mile of water came up to his waist. The last measurement became a river that Ezekiel could not cross unless he swam because the water was too deep.
The river flowed down toward the Dead Sea suggesting the Millennial Temple will be in the same general vicinity as Mount Tzyion in the City of David. Since the holy district in Ezekiel 48 will be quite larger than the area around Mount Moriah, Jerusalem may be located south of the Temple Mount where the water flows toward the Dead Sea, and where the ancient City of David was located. When the water enters the Dead Sea, it becomes fresh water with all sorts of living creatures (Ezekiel 47:10-11).
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