When examining the various Temples in Jerusalem, as presented in the Scriptures, from a chronological perspective, it provides a unique methodology to uncover specific dispensational periods. The periods include the past, present and the prophetic (or future dispensational prophetic) times, which God has, is and shall bring to exact fulfillment. This study provides a unique methodology in the passionate pursuit of excellence in Bible interpretation.
This first article in a series focuses on the overview of five temples—two physical Temples that existed in Jerusalem, one church age temple (which currently consists of individual Christians) and two future prophetic physical Temples that will be built in Jerusalem.
In 2009, my wife and I took our first study trip to Israel. The Bible we had studied for years turned into a living visual of the past, present and the prophetic as we toured the land of the Bible. The most impactful event for me took place when the tour bus began the ascent to Jerusalem and the bus driver began playing the beautiful song, The Holy City. The tour bus completed the ascent and I looked to my side and viewed the historical Temple Mount, which now supports the Al-Aqsa Mosque and what is rightly described as the beautiful Dome of the Rock—a Muslim shrine with its stunning gold dome. I must admit that along with my fellow travelers, tears filled my eyes when, for the first time, we knew that we were unequivocally looking at the most sacred piece of real estate in the entire world. Over the next few days, my life was changed as I stood on and near the Temple Mount—the place that the Bible and historical records described as the very location of the former two Temples.
Five Temples Tell the Times
Two distinctly Jewish Temples, which God mandated for construction and subsequent destruction, covered the period from 960 B.C to A.D 70. The First Temple Period, which existed under the law, stood from 960 B.C. until it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple Period, which also existed under the Old Testament law, stood from 515 B.C. until A.D. 70 when the Romans, under General Titus, destroyed the Second Temple. Jesus prophesied during the week of His crucifixion that “not one stone” of the Second Temple would “be left here upon another” (Matt. 24:2). Just as Jesus foretold, a temple dedicated to the God of Israel no longer exists on the Temple Mount. This brings about a notable change that occurred toward the end of the Second Temple Period and marked the beginning of a new dispensation.
The current temple consists of the individual spiritually-baptized bodies of true Christians in the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit’s indwelling of Christians marked the beginning of the church age dispensation. The new “temple” during the current dispensation does not consist of bricks and mortar, but of the bodies of God’s children (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19). The church age comprises a distinct, newly-formed mystery body of believers, which God had “kept secret” (Rom. 16:25), or unrevealed, from the beginning of time (Eph. 3:1-7; Col. 1:24-27). The church age, which had a specific beginning, also has a God-given specified literal end date, however that date is only know to God. The current dispensation will cease to exist when the next major event on God’s prophetic timeline takes place—the rapture, or removal of the church age saints (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-54), also known as “the body of Christ” (Rom. 7:4; 12:5; cf. 1 Cor. 12:12-13, 27; Eph. 3:6; 4:12; Col. 1:24). This event must transpire between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy (cf. Dan. 9:24-27). This issue will be considered in a future installment.
God outlined in the prophetic Scriptures the reality of two future Temples that mark two very specific future periods. The Bible reveals that the next Temple will exist during the next dispensation in God’s prophetic calendar, which is the seven-year tribulation period (cf. Dan. 9:27). The Jewish people are prepared to build their next Temple on the Temple Mount, and this shall come to fruition as prophesied (cf. Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 11:1). The fourth physical Temple that God will build in Jerusalem comes to fulfillment during the beginning of the Lord Jesus Christ’s 1,000-year millennial kingdom on Earth (cf. Ezek. 40-46; Rev. 20:1-7). The dispensational truths become evident when examining the various Temples in Jerusalem, as presented in the Scriptures, from a chronological perspective.
More to Come
The serious debate between the dispensational methodology of Biblical interpretation and those who allegorize and spiritualize the Scriptures demands a rock-solid Biblical eschatology. Future articles will pinpoint the plethora of Scripture’s literal prophesied events that must unequivocally take place in association with the current temple, the body of Christ, and the prophesied tribulation and millennial Temples. Here we stand, we cannot and we must not be moved!
(To be continued)
Dr. Richard Schmidt is the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2015 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.