A Third Temple WILL Be Built PRIOR to Christ’s Return!
Not everyone will agree with the headline of this editorial, but it points out a FACT, as CLEARLY prophesied in the Bible. Some cannot comprehend this, as God has not opened their eyes. After all, the Holy Spirit is a spirit of prophecy, and only those who are being led by God’s Spirit will grow in God’s understanding, and the more we submit to God and are obedient to Him, the more our minds will be opened to the prophetic Truth. We read that God does not do anything unless He reveals it first to HIS servants the prophets (which includes God’s ministers speaking under inspiration). God will most certainly not reveal His Truth to false prophets or those who falsely CLAIM to be prophets.
A wild accusation has been made against us that we do not preach what the Worldwide Church of God taught on the subject of the Third Temple. Selected articles from 1979 and 1981 were quoted to support this claim. In the articles, it was emphasized that Christ will come back to His glorious temple—the Church of God (Haggai 2:9; Malachi 3:1). And that is of course very true. On the other hand, do those Scriptures negate the teaching that there will ALSO be a physical Temple in existence when Christ returns? Are those truthful who quote from SOME Church articles which seem to hold a particular position, while ignoring other Church articles which hold a different position? Are those truthful who quote selectively from some articles, out of context, only to cement their own opinion on a matter? Of course not—such conduct is misleading.
The point is, in an article which quotes from a speech from Herbert Armstrong in 1981, he said this (as quoted from the Internet):
“[Christ] shall suddenly come to His temple.’ What kind of a temple is He coming to? Are the Jews going to tear down the Dome of the Rock and build a new temple? Oh no! You see no evidence of anything like that happening. I know the people well enough that if the Jews over there were going to do anything like that they would certainly have mentioned that to me. But, He will ‘suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant [which] you delight in.’ A holy temple! Christ is coming to His Church! Christ is coming to His temple! And the Church is the temple. Do we see that? The Church is the temple.”
We should be able to see that Mr. Armstrong believed that Christ’s Second Coming was very near, and since he did not see any evidence for the building of a physical temple at that time, he concluded that it would not happen. However, Christ still has not returned yet, and today, more than 35 years later, events have changed dramatically, as we have been pointing out in our weekly Updates.
The same must be said about a statement which the Church published in The Plain Truth on August 1979, which reads: “It is inconceivable that the Israelis, in the present international turmoil over their possession of old Jerusalem, could ever demolish the Arab Moslem Dome of the Rock—now on the site of Solomon’s temple—and build a new one there of greater splendor and glory than Solomon’s! However, as the second temple Zerubbabel was building was a typical forerunner of the temple to which Christ shall come, even so Zerubbabel was the typical forerunner of one Christ would use in building the far more glorious temple to which Christ shall come in His GLORY!”
Note, the context is again “the present international turmoil over their possession of old Jerusalem.” The timing of the writing was almost 40 years ago.
What has been conveniently overlooked or suppressed are statements in Church articles which clearly pronounced that a THIRD temple WILL BE built prior to Christ’s return–or, which left this question purposefully unanswered.
In Die Reine Wahrheit of October 1967 (German edition of The Plain Truth), it was stated on page 10 (in the article, “2,300 Evenings and Mornings”): “Yes, a temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, as incredible as it may sound.” In The Good News magazine, November-December 1987, the following was stated on page 12 in “A Sealed Prophecy,” at least implying the existence of a Temple before Christ’s return: “The ‘sanctuary’ is to be ‘trampled underfoot.’… the taking away of daily sacrifices and trampling of a sanctuary underfoot is yet a future event. We are nearing the fulfillment of these amazing prophecies about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem…”
In a two-part series in The Good News, February and March 1985, titled, “Coming… A Temple in Jerusalem?”, the answer to this question was purposefully left open. Many issues were raised—pro and con—but no position was taken in these two articles, one way or another.
However, we should also take note of the fact that in times past, the Church taught dogmatically that a Temple would be built before Christ’s return (and it is simply dishonest to suppress this fact when it does not fit into one’s paradigm; or, if one is unaware of these articles, then his research is sloppy and unreliable).
In Herbert W. Armstrong’s editorial in The Plain Truth, June 1967, titled, “Jews take Jerusalem!”, the following was stated (as quoted from the Internet):
“There will be a Jewish Temple built in Jerusalem, with animal sacrifices once again being offered… It is going to take some time to build such a Temple… For a long time the Jewish people have had in mind the rebuilding of the Temple, though they keep it pretty secret. And it must be built on the exact site of Solomon’s Temple. The wealthiest Jews in the world, in the United States, Britain, France and other parts of the world, are going to pour money into that…
“So now, putting the two accounts of Jesus’ Olivet prophecy together, Matthew 24 and Luke 21, two things are to occur, just before the Great Tribulation. 1) There will very soon be a Temple in Jerusalem, with daily sacrifices once again being offered. But the ruler of the soon-coming resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ a political-military union of ten European nations–will stop the daily sacrifices and profane the Holy Place in the Temple; and 2) Jerusalem will be surrounded and captured [Zechariah 14:1-2] by the… armies of the European Empire, already starting to rise now out of the Common Market. They will invade Jerusalem, and take charge of the Temple…
“This European power, resurrecting for a very short while the Roman Empire, will take over the city of Jerusalem [Zechariah 14:2]. They will take the Temple, and plant the palace of their headquarters there. With this coming military leader, pictured in Revelation 17 as the symbolic ‘beast,’ will be a supreme religious leader, called ‘the False prophet,’ [Rev. 16:3; 19:20; 20:10] and the ‘man of sin.’ So will you turn next to II Thessalonians 2:3-4:
“‘Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day’–the Day of the Lord, verse 2–’shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.’
“So there will have to be the Temple there!… And they will put there the ‘abomination’ of which the statue of Jupiter Olympus, placed by Antiochus Epiphanes was the type…
“Then Revelation 11 shows there will be a Temple in Jerusalem, at the time of the two witnesses, who preach for three-and-one-half years, ending at Christ’s coming. Also the prophecy of II Thessalonians 2 shows there will be a Temple.
“So putting all these prophecies together, it is plain the Israelis must soon flood over the ‘no-man’s land’ of the divided city of Jerusalem, and take at least the territory where the ancient Temple stood, and then start to build a Temple.”
The Scriptures which Mr. Armstrong cited in his editorial and many other biblical passages prove convincingly that a Third Temple WILL be built. It is true that the position of the Church, in the past, may not have always been consistent on this point. It is therefore important that we realize that we must always believe the Bible. We have produced several booklets which PROVE to you THAT the Bible PROPHESIES the building of the Third Temple prior to Christ’s return. We challenge you to read them for yourselves. They are, for example: “The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation”; “The Book of Zechariah”; “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire” and “The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People.” And please continue to read our weekly Updates and view our StandingWatch programs which regularly inform you about ongoing developments in the Middle East and Jerusalem.