A Voice in the
May 26, 2002
Man of sin in the Temple of God? (Re: "Temple Not Necessary")
"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is unveiled, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, declaring of himself that he is God." (2Th2:3-4)
It clearly states that, in the end times, there will be a temple and the antichrist (man of sin) will sit in that temple and impersonate God. My understanding is that The Branch will build the final temple in the New Jerusalem, but there will be another temple built during the tribulation or just before that. This is the one that the antichrist will desecrate.
It is quite unthinkable that The Branch is to build it and bear its glory for a season then give it up to the antichrist to desecrate it.
Notice he sits "in the temple of God". It is buit first ostensibly for God, and afterwards the son of perdition takes over it. The fact that Israel rebuilds it in unbelief as to the Messiah does not alter the fact that it is built in the place that God chose for His name to dwell there, although the glory will certainly not dwell in it, as it did not inhabit in Zerubabel's or Herod's Temple, which were albeit considered by the Lord Jesus as "my Father's House" ...
So, the thing we need to figure out from Scripture is: will there be another -physical- temple built prior to the Millennial Age temple?
Notice that Dan9:27 speaks of "sacrifice" and "offering", which we already established was the daily ritual morning and evening sacrifices. (Ezra3:3, Ex29:38-42) And also notice that the "abomination" is related to a "corner". KJV uses the word "overspreading", likely because the word also includes aspects of "fringes of garments, borders, edge", so perhaps, concluding it refers to a "garment"; what does one do with a garment or cloth? "Cover" or "spread" over things. But the word also includes "corner", and comes from a word whose primary meaning is "corner". As we see recent efforts to lay the cornerstone by a militantly active group, it becomes easier to see how these sacrifices may actually be taking place on a 'corner' -stone-?? (Which hasn't had a "tool" used to "hew" it.-Ex20:25)
What does Jesus say about this prophecy? That the "abomination" will be "standing in the holy place". (Mt24:15) or... "where it ought not" (Mk13:14) Notice that He does -not- say "temple".
The fact that a "holy place" does not require a 'building' is apparent when God says to Moses, "..the place where you stand is holy ground" (Ex3:5)
On the other hand, how is the word "temple" used? We obviously don't need to look at the references that speak of the -physical- 'building'. Solomon, Ezra/Zerubbabel and Herod built -physical- buildings. But how does Jesus speak of it, specifically? The Jews ask Jesus for a sign and He says, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (Jn2:19) His hearers thought He spoke of the 'physical' temple, and even use this when He is on trial prior to crucifixion (Mt26:61) But the text, itself, explains what He meant, "But He was speaking of the temple of His body." (Jn2:21)
2Th2:3-4 is written by Paul. How does Paul use the word "temple"? The "temple of God" is the Believer's body. (1Cor3:16,17, 6:19, 2Cor6:16) The Believers growing together, the -Church-, is a "holy temple in the Lord". (Eph2:21)
Now... what is the context of what Paul is talking about? Christ's 1) second coming, -and- 2) the resurrection/rapture. (2Th2:1) Due to trials they were experiencing, some were apparently telling the Thessalonians that they had missed the rapture, because they were 'now' -in- the tribulation. (vs2) That they were now experiencing the wrath of the "Day of Christ". (Some passages it's called, "Day of the Lord") Paul had already told them that God has not appointed the Believer to His wrath. (1Th5:9) Apparently the same error that exists today, was being spread around way back then, like they say today, that the Church must go through the "refining fires"..?
But before that "Day" comes, there "first" comes something else. "..the falling away.." (vs3) Is this not what we see today. Remember above, the "temple" is Believers, both individually and collectively. And what were the disciples called? "Christian" (Acts11:26) And what is this collective bunch of Christians called? The "Church", His body. (Eph5:23, Col1:18,24)
But what are two characteristics of the "falling away"? By definition, falling away from everything Scripture teaches; yes, "doctrine". One person even specified their reason for unsubscribing recently, because we speak too much about "doctrine"; their claim, that salvation isn't about doctrine, but love.
And the other? The "god within". All the various religions and denominations that are joining into the world-unity movement have one thing in common: the concept, either declared or practiced, that each person's authority is within himself. Each person is attaining unto god-hood. Catholicism eats "Jesus' body", eastern mysticism shamanizes the cosmic forces into one's own essence and consciousness, and charismania calls it being "spirit-filled", as they presume to -command- all the forces of the heavenlies...that which is the domain only of the Most High. After all, the serpent's original claim to Eve was, "You will be as God" (Gen3:5) It has not changed throughout the millennia since then.
Now, while we know that there will be a primary global leader during the 70th week, John tells us that while there is -the- Antichrist who is coming, "even now" there are "many antichrists". (1Jn2:18)
Do we not see today these "many antichrists" with the man-of-sin sitting in God's "temple"? That which started out as His "Church"? But there has been a great "falling away" from doctrine. It has a -label- called "church" (God's temple), but the man-of-sin is sitting in it, declaring himself to be supreme.
Paul says, "..the mystery of lawlessness is -already- at work" (2Th2:7) We already see the nature of what he is describing. But it is not yet "time" for -the- man to be unveiled. If we are seeing what we see today, my imagination cannot conceive what it will be once he is unveiled. If we think today's deception is great, apparently it is nothing compared to what will be. If a person refuses to trust Christ now, once -the- man is unveiled "God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (vs11-12)
But something (some-ONE-) is restraining. Who might that be? The Holy Spirit. In the "days of Noah" (Mt24:37) God said, My Spirit shall not continually strive with man.." (Gen6:3) and He then destroyed the world, saving -seed- in the ark. The Holy Spirit's work is to "guide" Believers (Jn16:13) and to "convict" the world (Jn16:8). Thus, today, in like manner, the Holy Spirit is restraining the world; but at some point He is going to "arise from out of the midst". (2Th2:7) Now, if a prime characteristic of a True Believer is the indwelling Holy Spirit, and without Him, one is not saved (Rom8:9); when the Holy Spirit "arises" out of the midst, if Believers are also not "arising" with Him, that would suddenly make them -UN-saved, wouldn't it. So, obviously, this includes the True Church, the Believers. What event is that? That which has gained the label, "Rapture".
Now, in Scripture there are really a paltry -few- words indicating sequence of timed events. One of my gripes about the NKJV is its continual use of the word "then" to begin new verses, to suggest a timed order of sequential events, when the passages often indicate no such thing...especially when it concerns prophecy. So, when such a word does truly exist, we can take special note of it. Vs8 says, "and -THEN- the lawless one will be unveiled". "Then", after what? The "arising from out of the midst". (vs7) Using the words "until" and "then" gives us a very clear understanding of the order of events, and a very specific 'time' around which these events are connected. There is a definite point-in-time "until" the Rapture, and "then" the man of sin will be "unveiled".
Paul is writing to Gentile Believers. They did not have the -physical- Jewish temple. Paul often speaks of "mysteries" regarding prophecy. The rapture/resurrection is one such mystery. (1Cor15:51) Another is the man-of-sin sitting in the temple of God. This mystery is "already at work", and as we see it progressing, we see that it obviously does not involve a -physical- temple in Jerusalem. So, why should it suddenly change after he is unveiled?
This person will be ruling the whole world. Apparently regarding Israel, he will stop the sacrifices that will have resumed by then. Notice that Paul in 2Th2 says nothing about "sacrifices" when addressing Gentiles. The Gentile "Church" does not have that tradition; only Israel does. For Israel, their devotion to God was manifest through animal sacrifices. For Gentiles, the Holy Spirit resides in the "temple". It is called, the "Church". But when addressing Israel, prophecy about this does not include the "temple".
We presently see a Russia-EU union forming, to become the world's new super-power. The vatican is hoping to be a "member" of that union. Ah yes, "the church"; whose leader's authority and edicts are even above that of Scripture/God. The 1) political and 2) spiritual. Remember in Revelation there are two (2) "beasts"... political and religious.
A few years ago I would not have accepted this explanation I'm giving right now, either. I was also looking for signs of a -physical- temple to be built in Jerusalem. But I believe, when seeing all of Scripture, that Christ the "Branch" will be building the physical temple from which He will rule, that this is what God's Word says. I think many well-meaning people are making the same mistake the Jews of Jesus' day did, when He spoke of the "temple of His body", but all they could see was that structure built from stone.
All I can say now, is to echo Paul's words, "Consider what I say, and the Lord will give you understanding in all things." (2Tim2:7) If I am wrong, He will show me; but I don't believe I am.
As for Rev13:6...
The -beast- is blashpeming God, God's wings/tent/tabernacle of refuge (in Heaven), and "those who dwell in Heaven" (under that refuge of God's tabernacle). The saints of all ages will have been resurrected, and will be in Heaven at that time, under God's refuge... His Tabernacle.
And in the -new- Heaven and Earth God's Tabernacle (dwelling refuge) is with men. There will be nothing that harms because all is under God's "wings of refuge" (as birds protect their young under their wings); or God's "Tabernacle" as historic nomadic Israel used to live...this dwelling (place of protection) -moved- with them wherever they moved. For those who love God, wherever they/we are, God's Tabernacle is over us.
The beast/dragon is blaspheming God and those who belong to God IN HEAVEN. Then the passage continues that He is given authority to "overcome" the saints ON EARTH. (vs7) And by contrast to Heaven and God's tabernacle (in Heaven), those "who dwell on the earth will do homage to him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (vs8)
Thus, is it clear? Rev13:6 is not talking about the temple in Jerusalem.
Why doesn't Israel sacrifice now?
Actually, over the past few years, the Temple Mount Faithful people have done some sacrifices at various times, at places overlooking the Temple Mount.
However, aside from politics, there are also the matters of the priesthood. These regular sacrifices are only to be done by descendants of Aaron. And there is also the matter of the special purifying water that is made using the ashes of a red heifer. (Numbers ch19) Over the past half-dozen years I read of a "red heifer" here or there. A few years ago there was one in Texas that they were going to specially fly over to Israel. In more recent years I think there have been a couple in Israel, proper. I haven't read anything about this in most recent months...the Islamic jihad attacks against Israel have overshadowed any possibilities of considering any such offerings and rituals.
Could it be that, once Ps83 has been fulfilled, and in conjuction with the "confirm the covenant" (Dan9:27), that this will become part of the agreement of that covenant? There are two major entities at war with God right now... Islam and the so-called "babylon/church". Ps83 will probably take care of Islam. And then, the rest will happen in its time.
Other than these bits and pieces, my answer otherwise is, "I don't know".