Many popular Evangelical and Pentecostal teachers (Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, Dave Hunt, and John Hagee, to name a few) have adopted a view of prophecy in which the Antichrist must make his debut on earth in the Jewish temple. Therefore, according to this theory, the temple must be rebuilt at some point before the Second Coming.

This view relies on a particular reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4:
“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 revealed, 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, showing himself that he is God”

Since the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple in ad 70, many assume that in order for this Antichrist, who is in their view one specific person, to sit in the temple, it will have to be rebuilt But biblical clues point to a better interpretation.

A Spiritual House

Before King David died, he wanted to build a permanent temple in Jerusalem. Nathan the prophet told the king that he would not build this temple; rather, his son Solomon would do it. First Chronicles 17:11, 12 recounts, “It shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever” Later, David affirms that the Lord had told him, “Your son Solomon … shall build My house and My courts” (1 Chronicles 28:6). These passages are prophecies with dual applications. Yes, history shows that Solomon, David’s son, built a physical temple. Yet the New Testament says that Jesus is the true “Son of David” and is to build a kingdom that lasts forever. Jesus taught that He had come to transfer attention away from a physical building of worship to something greater: His body, the church.

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19–21).

Jesus’ prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple (Matthew 23:38; 24:1, 2; Mark 14:58) inspired the most intense rejection of His teaching. Even as Christ hung on the cross, mockers shouted, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40). But Jesus was not speaking of rebuilding a physical temple; He was speaking of building a spiritual one.

Ultimately, Jesus and His death were the embodiment of all the ancient temple rites; thus, there is no longer any need for a physical temple or sacrificial system. “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). This was signified when the veil that divided the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn in two at Jesus’ death (Mark 15:38). Indeed, we now have a new temple—the church, the body of Christ Likewise, every believer is part of a new nation of kings and priests (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6).

The New Testament Perspective

After Jesus’ death, Christians, who were nearly all Jews, knew Jesus to be the true Lamb of God. Since the Jewish temple was designed for animal sacrifices, New Testament writers saw the temple as no longer necessary and recognized the establishment of a new spiritual temple and priesthood: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, emphasis added).

“Now, therefore, you are … fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19–22, emphasis added).

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5, emphasis added).

Unfortunately, even after such evidence, many Christians still await the rebuilding of a physical temple on the Temple Mount. But while a physical temple may be rebuilt someday (which seems unlikely, as such an act would provoke a cataclysmic war in the Middle East), it will clearly not be a temple of God. So what does 2 Thessalonians 2:4 actually mean? The verse states that the Antichrist power will seat itself over the church of God, claiming the worship that belongs only to Jesus. Historically, Protestant scholars applied the apostle Paul’s words to the Papacy and its global influence over Christianity. (For a thorough study of this conclusion, see our Amazing Facts Bible Study Guide entitled “Who Is the Antichrist?”)

Caller: I’ve been told that the Jewish people are looking for a red heifer in these latter days that’s without blemish and I was wondering in the fifth year of Jubilee, I was wondering if that was in the Bible, and if so, where I could find that?

Pastor Doug: Well it does talk about they had a special red heifer offering that they would offer for – I think it was for cleansing a field where there had a murder – and it also talks about the blood of a heifer in Hebrews. But I have heard about this. It’s almost an obsession that some Christians have, that the Jews have to find these ashes of the red heifer offering.

And you know I really don’t find support for that in the Bible.

Caller: Ok.

Pastor Doug: I’ve read it in a lot of this conspiracy literature and some of the sensational things that are floating around out there.

But I’m kind of looking on my computer right now and, let me see. In Hebrews chapter 9, verse 13, I want to give you at least a Scripture or two. It says, ‘For if the blood of bulls and goats and ashes of a heifer sprinkling….’ Here it is. Numbers 19:2 is the one I’m looking for: ‘This is the ordinance of the Law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke….’ And they give it to the Priest and this was a special offering that the people had. But the idea that that needs to be found before something extraordinary happens in Israel, I don’t find that supported in prophecy.

I’ve spent a lot of time doing seminars on Revelation and Daniel and studying Ezekiel and Zechariah and I’ve really never found anything in prophecy that says that these ashes of a red heifer have to be found.

Caller: Ok. I just thought that was one of the signs of the end times but I guess it’s not.

Pastor Doug: Well I’ve heard that before. Some people are saying that the Ark of the Covenant must be found before Jesus returns and there have been a number of speculations but – that’s the best I can do.

Caller: I sure thank you very much.

Pastor Doug: Ok. God bless.

Caller: You’re sure doing a fine work.

Pastor Doug: Thank you very much.

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“Inside the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. One wing of the cherub was five cubits, and the other wing of the cherub five cubits: ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. And the other cherub was ten cubits; both cherubim were of the same size and shape. … Then he set the cherubim inside the inner room; and they stretched out the wings of the cherubim so that the wing of the one touched one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall. And their wings touched each other in the middle of the room” (1 Kings 6:23–27).

When the Lord instructed Moses to make the first tabernacle, it was made small and simple so as to be portable for the nomadic Hebrew people. After the nation was established in Israel, King David instructed his son Solomon to build a stationary temple that was “exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious” (1 Chronicles 22:5). Thus, Solomon spared no expense, placing a pair of golden cherubim 15 feet high with wingspans of seven and a half feet in the inner sanctum (2 Chronicles 3:11, 12). The ark with its two kneeling angels on the lid was placed under the overshadowing wings of these two giant angels.

Angels were depicted throughout the structure, woven into the veil (v. 14) and engraved in gold plating on the walls (v. 7) and temple doors (1 Kings 6:31–35). The golden cherubs in the temple were miniature models to help us picture the dwelling place of our Creator in heaven. The prophet Daniel also saw these ministering spirits surrounding the dwelling place of God. Daniel 7:10 reveals “a thousand thousands” ministering to God and “ten thousand times ten thousand” standing in front of Him.

Caller: Hi!

Pastor Doug:Hello Mark. How are you doing?

Caller: Oh Wonderful. How are you?

Pastor Doug:Well I think we’re okay?

Caller: Good. I have a question about the Heavenly Sanctuary. Can you give me some idea what exactly is Jesus doing today in the Heavenly Sanctuary?

Pastor Doug:Well the Bible says that we don’t need to guess about that. Jesus is making intercession for us. It says in Hebrews chapter 7, verse 25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” See Christ is before the Father, and He’s pleading His blood. He did not stop pleading when He went through a transition in His ministry. He still is our High Priest He’s still pleading His blood on behalf of repentant sinners.

Caller: When you say He’s ‘pleading His blood,’ He’s making intercession for us now, why is all this taking so long to do, if this is what He’s doing? What is taking such a long time? Why does He need to spend so long in the Sanctuary before He comes again?

Pastor Doug:Well you’ve asked two questions: Why is He waiting so long? In 2 Peter 3 it says, “He is not willing that any should perish, but He’s longsuffering to us ward.” Now He wants to save as many as He can, so He’s holding the train as long as He can before it leaves the station. Why is He still pleading His blood? Because people are still sinning and claiming His blood. That doesn’t mean that Christ is continuing to die on the Cross, but you know He poured out His blood, and His blood is still effective today. And so as long as people are needing the blood and sinning, He’s holding out His Hands before the Father.

Caller: Ok um, ok well thank you very much.

Pastor Doug:Thank you Mark. God bless.

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“Without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sin]” (Hebrews 9:22). The sacrificing of animals was a gruesome rite designed to help people understand the dire consequences of sin. In the Hebrew system, the guilty sinner was to kill the animal with his own hand (Leviticus 1:4, 5; 4:24, 29). It was bloody and shocking. By personally slaying the animal, the sinner was graphically taught that his sin caused the innocent animal’s death. The sinner’s guilt was transferred to the lamb, who paid the price for the sin with its life.

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). According to Hebrews 10:4–11, however, these animal sacrifices only symbolically washed away a person’s sin. For the actual forgiveness of sins, God sent His own innocent Lamb, Jesus Christ. The sacrificial system taught, through the symbol of the slain animal, that God would give His Son to die for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus is not only our Savior but also our substitute (Hebrews 9:28). When John the Baptist met Jesus, he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). For Jew or Gentile, there has never been another source of salvation other than Jesus.

Co-Host: We want to talk with Paul in Bangor, California.

Caller: Basically my question is on Daniel 12, verse 11, the first one.

Pastor Doug: Let me read that for our listeners ok?

Caller: Ok.

Pastor Doug: ‘And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.’

You know, I may as well go ahead and read the last verses here in the book of Daniel – Daniel chapter 12, verses 12 and 13. It says, ‘Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days but you go your way till the end be: for you shall rest and rise with your inheritance at the end of the days.’ All right.

Caller: Ok, basically my question has to do with the abomination that maketh desolate?

Pastor Doug: Yeah the abomination of desolation.

Caller: And basically, well actually I opposed a thought that I’ve had on it, and I don’t know if it has any value or not, but there’s a lot of talk about the animal sacrifices that Israel wants to start again. And I was looking at that and thinking of what else would be an abomination to God than to have a sacrifice again, when Christ has already died as our Sacrifice – if there’s any correlation with that?

Pastor Doug: Well let me read this verse to you in 2nd Thessalonians 2 verse 4. And it says, ‘Let no one deceive you by any means.’

I’m actually reading 2nd Thessalonians 2 verse 3 first. ‘Let no one deceive you by any means, for that day [speaking of the Second Coming] will not come unless there come a falling away first.’

Now this falling away that Paul is prophesying about is not a falling away in the world. The world has already fallen. He’s talking about a falling away in the church. He says, ‘…unless there come a falling away first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that he, as God, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.’

Now many people have taken this verse, Paul, to say, “Yeah the Jews are going to rebuild the temple.” But I’ve got news for you, I’ve been to the Middle East twice, and if you talk to the average Jew that lives on the street, they know nothing about any plan to rebuild the temple.

Now I’m half-Jewish. My mother was Jewish. And uh, Jews do not sacrifice lambs anymore. Over the last 19 hundred years, the Jews have adjusted their theology where it is no longer necessary to sacrifice lambs for the forgiveness of sins. So there is no big under-surge or powerful movement among the Jews to rebuild the temple. The need for it hasn’t existed.

And so a lot of the Christians keep talking about the Jews rebuilding the temple and they’re talking about it much more than the Jews are.

So uh, what is this temple that it’s talking about here in 2nd Thessalonians? I don’t think it’s talking about a physical temple at all. Paul says over and over again that God’s church is the temple of God. This anti-Christ power is going to sit over God’s people saying he is God, receiving worship. But go ahead – you had another question. I might be steering off your track.

Caller: No. Basically I can see where you’re coming from and I find myself agreeing to it overall, but I’m thinking well if they do do it, ok, then that’s the reason why I thought there might – I guess the reason why I got, even thinking about it at all was because I was talking to a Messianic Jew, and they were mentioning that they had a red heifer now and supposedly the red heifer was something like two months’ old I think approximately. And she was mentioning that it needed to be sacrificed somewhere between one year old and three years old.

Pastor Doug: Yeah this is – if you don’t mind my saying so – there are a handful of extreme, and again, I want to be as gracious as I can be, but there are a handful of extreme, sensational people out there who talk about the red heifer.

The red heifer was a ceremony that you find in the Bible where it was a sacrifice for cleansing from leprosy and a few special things, and there was nothing unusual about a red heifer.

A Hereford is a red heifer. They’re all over the place. There’s nothing sacred about them. It was just a sacrifice they were to make for the cleansing of leprosy – a thank offering.

Caller: They were for the people?

Pastor Doug: Excuse me?

Caller: It was never for the people of Israel at all or anything?

Pastor Doug: No. You can read about the law regarding the red heifer in the Old Testament in the books of Moses. And it was just one of the many Levitical laws relating to cleansing and forgiveness for sin.

And uh, I’m looking it up right now as we’re talking about this. But I hear my charismatic friends and others saying, ‘Oh this is some sensational sign that the end is near.’ Well I don’t think that any of the prophecies – no prophesy in the Bible points to the red heifer.

Caller: No I’m not looking at it from the standpoint of whether a prophesy points to it or not. To me sometimes, when things occur, sometimes there could be simply a connection because of other another – that’s the reason why I thought well if they do sacrifice, it’s like slapping God in the face, because He has already sacrificed His Son.

Pastor Doug: Right.

Caller: And so that’s what I thought well that’s going to be like an abomination.

Pastor Doug: Well now I see what you’re saying, is that if they try and return to the sacrificial system, that it’s just reiterating that they don’t believe Jesus is the Lamb of God.

Caller: Yes. And it’d be like what if – I mean we can look at the Ten Commandments, rejecting that but what’s even worse than that is saying that God’s sacrifice isn’t good.

Pastor Doug: Right.

Caller: And to me, that’s even worse.

Pastor Doug: Well you know, that’s why it’s really a tragedy that many of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and a lot of my family, are still looking for the Messiah, and He already came.

Caller: I understand.

Pastor Doug: Now incidentally for our listeners out there, the passage about the red heifer is Numbers 19:2 – and it’s just a simple reference – and some people have turned it into a great, big, sensational sign of the end.

Caller: Ok.

Pastor Doug: We’ve got several people standing by Paul.

Caller: Ok. Thanks a lot.

Pastor Doug: And thank you very much for your call and your comments.

Caller: Ok.

Amazing Facts’ Resource Number: 800-835-6747

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). The word “antichrist” comes from two words: “anti,” which means “against” or “in place of,” and “Christ,” which means “anointed”. Any person who attempts to take the place of Jesus is an antichrist. The first person to strive toward this end, of course, was Satan. One of his primary methods is deception; he pretends he is Christ.

The apostle John tells us in this verse that “the Antichrist” (with a capital “A”) is coming In other words, it was still in the future in John’s day. Then he adds that antichrists (with a small “a”) have come, He later says, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (v. 22). False teachers in John’s day were against Christ and, therefore, were a type of antichrist. But the Bible teaches that there is a specific Antichrist power that will rise up in the last days. This power was also predicted by the apostle Paul: “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 revealed, 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, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4).

There are many other identifying points about this last-day power spoken of throughout Scripture. This Antichrist will work with a religious and political system (Revelation 13:4), seek to destroy God’s people (vv 15–17), and change God’s law (Daniel 7:25). It will attempt to take the place of Christ’s priestly work (8:11) and will even perform miracles to deceive (Revelation 13:13). (For a thorough study of this conclusion, see our Amazing Facts Bible Study Guide entitled “Who Is the Antichrist?”)

According to the Bible, God’s people no longer need to sacrifice a Passover lamb because Jesus is the Lamb of God, the fulfillment of the system of sacrifices. “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7, 8).

This same principle would apply to all of the other Jewish festivals because Christ is also the fulfillment of almost every symbol in the Jewish religious system. Those believers who are convicted to observe these days are certainly free to do so, but there is no real point in doing so in the Christian faith. Why stare at a loved one’s photo when he or she is standing next to you? Why celebrate Jesus’ shadow when you can embrace Him?

The festivals remembering the Exodus and the sanctuary services were “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:16); they were shadows (v 17), the handwriting of ordinances on paper. (By contrast, the Ten Commandments were written by God in stone.) Moreover, some feasts required sacrifices at the Jerusalem temple, which obviously are not possible to perform today.

However, in the place of Passover, Jesus did give Christians the communion service (See Matthew 26:26–29; Mark 14:22–25; Luke 22:19, 20.)

Caller: Hello.

Pastor Doug:Hi - welcome to the program.

Caller: I was wondering if you could help me with a question.

Pastor Doug:That's why we're here.We're going to try.

Caller: Ok.I went to the library the other day and I checked out the religious section and I found this book.It said that, if I understand it right, it said like in 1844 that Christ was suppose to return but for some reason, He didn't.And they said what happened was that He didn't come to the earthly temple with His people but went into the earthly Temple in Heaven.I was checking out the Scriptures and in Hebrews 10:19 - it was saying let us have boldness to enter into God's presence by the Blood of Christ.And it really confused me because, you know, how could that be that Christ had to wait that many years to enter in to the Temple, when His Christian people could by His Blood anytime?

Pastor Doug:Let me catch up our listeners on what we're talking about.I know what you're talking about and you know do, but a lot of people listening right now have a big question mark about their heads.There was a movement in the 1800's lead by William Miller and he had followers that were called Millerites.And they read the prophecies in Daniel chapter 8 and 9 that seemed to talk about the second coming of the Lord.In Daniel chapter 8 verse 14, the Angel Gabriel said, 'Unto 2,300 days, then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed' - and this ties in with our study tonight Dick on the Temple.

Co-Host:That's right.

Pastor Doug:Many dear Christians thought the Sanctuary was the earth and that God was coming to cleanse it with fire.Well when you add up the 2,300 years from the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem that's given in Daniel chapter 9, that was 457 B.C. - that reaches to 1844 - and they said that means Jesus is going to cleanse the earth, the sanctuary, with fire - that means Jesus is coming in 1844 and there was a movement from Christians from all different denominations.They called it the Great Advent Movement.They believed that Jesus was coming in 1844 and many people believed in the second coming.

Co-Host:Millions. Millions of people.All over North and South America, Europe, all over.

Pastor Doug:Yeah all over.And when He didn't come, a number of people reacted in different ways.Some got discouraged, some discontinued studying, some went back to their respective churches.One group that continued studying found out there's nothing in the Bible that calls the earth the sanctuary.And when it said the Sanctuary will be cleansed, the Sanctuary is two things.There's a Sanctuary in Heaven - Hebrews tells us Jesus is our High Priest in that Temple.There's a sanctuary on earth, and that's the church now.We are the temple of God.

In 1844, Christ entered into His last phase of cleansing His people on earth from the false doctrines of the Dark Ages.The Bible says in Daniel chapter 8, 'The truth would be cast to the ground.'Well a lot of truth was lost during the Dark Ages and - if you study the Sanctuary in Heaven, the Bible tells us that the last phase of that Sanctuary cycle, the sacred cycle, was the cleansing of the Sanctuary 10 days before Yom Kippur or, the Day of Atonement.They blew the trumpets it was a time of Judgment.And in 1844, it's believed that Christ entered the last phase of that Heavenly Judgment.

Now, there's a misconception.Some people think that Jesus never entered the Holy of Holies before then but when Christ first ascended to Heaven after His resurrection He temporarily, in any event, entered the Holy of Holies to present Himself and to activate the Heavenly Sanctuary where He's offering His own Blood that His sacrifice was accepted, and He serves as our High Priest there.

So now I've said a whole lot and I hope that's clear, but we can go now through the Blood of Christ into the Presence of God.We always have been able to go into the Presence of God through the Blood of Christ into the Holy of Holies by faith.And that's always been true.

Caller: Ok.That's right.

Pastor Doug:You're asking a deep question and we have people standing by.The lesson we're offering tonight, our special gift lesson tonight, specifically deals with the very questions you're asking and it gives a lot more Scripture.Would you mind calling our resource number?We'll send you that lesson free and it's a free phone call.

Caller: All right.

Pastor Doug:It's called, God Drew The Plans, and the number Pastor?


Caller: All right.Thank you.