DIG: When will the tribulation temple be built? Will it receive God's blessing? Why or why not? What Most Holy place was Dani'el prophesying about? What does the abomination that causes desolation mean (see Dani'el 9:27 and 11:31)? When will it be destroyed? By whom?
The Bible is not clear if the tribulation temple will be rebuilt before the Great Tribulation begins or shortly thereafter; however, it is mentioned in four passages.
The first mention is found in the book of Dani'el. The prophet tells us that the antichrist will confirm a covenant with the Jews for one seven year period. In the middle of the seven years of tribulation he will put an end to the daily burnt offering sacrifice. And on the wings of the tribulation temple he will set up an abomination that causes it to be spiritually deserted as far as the LORD is concerned. The phrase on the wings is taken from the Hebrew root word kanap, which means to cover over, and as in Isaiah 8:8, it definitely has the idea of overspreading in a destructive sense.143 In the middle of the Great Tribulation, Satan, the embodiment of the antichrist himself, will fulfill his desire to be worshiped in place of ADONAI (Is 14:13-14; Ezk 28:2). At that time the false prophet will set up an image (13:14b) of the antichrist in the Most Holy Place. Through the power given to him by Satan, the false prophet will make the image appear to come to life and force people to worship it (13:15). As a result, the man of lawlessness will demand to be worshiped until the end of the Great Tribulation that God has decreed to be poured out on him and the world (Dani'el 9:27).
The second passage, found in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14, finds Jesus referring to Dani'el’s prophecy. He said: So when you see the abomination that causes desolation standing in the Most Holy Place spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand. Once again the tribulation temple is mentioned here. Up to the mid-point in the Tribulation, Isra'el will consider the antichrist an ally. But when they see his image standing in the Most Holy Place, demanding to be worshiped as god, the spiritual scales will fall from the eyes of the Jews and they will see him for who he truly is. That will start the second half of the Great Tribulation where Satan and the rest of the Gentile world will attempt to hunt down and destroy Isra'el for the last time. It is Satan’s final solution.
The third passage is found in Second Thessalonians 2:3-4. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until an active, intentional rebellion occurs and the man doomed to destruction is revealed. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that people call a god or is worshiped, so that he sets an image of himself up in the Most Holy Place in a temple supposedly dedicated to ADONAI, proclaiming himself to be God.144 The movement of apostasy will have a leader and he will be a man of lawlessness.
The fourth and final passage is found in Revelation 11:1-2. John was given a lightweight reed like a measuring rod and was told to go and measure the apostate temple, supposedly dedicated to God and the altar, meaning he was to measure the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. But John will exclude measuring the outer court. He will not measure it, because it will be given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. This passage deals with the takeover of the tribulation temple and Jerusalem by the apostate Gentiles for 42 months or three-and-a-half years. This will cause the sacrifices to stop being offered. The apostate tribulation temple and its worshipers failed to measure up to ADONAI’s standards and its dimensions were not even recorded.
All four passages describe events that surround the apostate temple in the middle of the Great Tribulation. The point is that the Bible sees what is known as the tribulation temple functioning in the mid-point of the Tribulation. There can be only two conclusions. This temple must be rebuilt either before the start of the Great Tribulation, or during the first half of that seven year period.
Four points should be made about the tribulation temple. First, once the it is rebuilt, the sacrificial system of the Torah will resume. The fact that it will not receive the Lord's blessing is clear (see my commentary on Isaiah Ks – The Rejection of the Tribulation Temple). In fact, Isaiah tells us that there will be a faithful remnant that will not participate in the rebuilding of that apostate temple because it will only end in judgment, not in acceptable worship or forgiveness of sin. Secondly, half way through the Great Tribulation the antichrist sets up an image of himself to be worshiped by the whole world (see Dn – All Inhabitants of the Earth will Worship the Beast). Thirdly, the physical tribulation temple building itself will be destroyed during the Seventy-Five Day Interval (see Ey – The Seventy-Five Day Interval). Fourthly, like Malachi, Isaiah saw that Yerushalayim and its apostate temple would be the scene of God’s final judgment on faithless Isra'el (Malachi 3:1-5).
Then, opposed to the apostate tribulation temple, there are several things that are very interesting about the coming millennial Temple (see my commentary on Isaiah Db – The Nine Missing Articles in Messiah’s Coming Temple). First, under the Torah, the tribe of Levi is the only tribe allowed to take care of the Temple or conduct the sacrificial system. It is interesting to note that while all the other eleven tribes have lost their tribal identity since the records were destroyed in 70 AD, the tribe of Levi has not. Unless a Jew is a member of the tribe of Levi, he or she is unable to know which tribe he or she descended from. However, the tribe of Levi has kept their identity. Jews having the names such as Kasdan, Levi, Levy, Levin, Levine, Leventhal, Levinson, Cohen and other comparable names are members of the tribe of Levi. Today, the other Jews only know themselves in general terms as a member of the tribe of Isra'el. But the tribe of Levi know who they are and that is crucial to the sacrificial system of the millennial Temple. So in every way, the stage is set for the tribulation temple to be rebuilt.
Secondly, preparations are being made today for the resumption of worship in a rebuilt temple. One group, based in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, is in the process of making the furnishings for the next temple. While another group, located in the Moslem Quarter of Jerusalem, is training Cohens, or the descendents of Aaron (the first high priest and a descendent of Levi), in how to perform the sacrificial rights. So while the tribulation temple itself is not yet being rebuilt, other preparations for it are being made. It is not possible to know exactly when it will be rebuilt. It might be rebuilt before the Tribulation begins, or it might be rebuilt during the first half of the Great Tribulation. If it is rebuilt before the Great Tribulation begins it could be the eighth birth pain.
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017