I received the following question:

Am I understanding you correctly that the prophesied temple won’t be rebuilt by man, but will be a “resurrected” temple of the second temple? If this is the case it would explain Matt 24:2-3.

Verse 2 we see Jesus saying that the second temple would be completely destroyed.  Most people see this fulfillment at 70 AD.  But what if that wasn’t the fulfillment of this prophecy? Verse 3 we see the disciples asking several questions, the first one being, “When will these things happen?”  It appears that the these things refer to the destruction of the temple.  But Jesus’ description is concerning His second coming. What if Jesus’ prophesy of the destruction of the temple concerns not 70 AD, but it destruction which would occur as a result of His second coming.  And that the temple of the kingdom is the same temple (resurrected) as the second temple.

Any thoughts?

You are probably referring to my quotation of Psalm 127:1, which reads,

1. Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

I believe this applies completely to the temple of the LORD. Unless the LORD is involved in the building of it, it cannot be His temple. No one can just decide, “I am going to build the temple of the LORD.” In order for it to be His temple, He has to command the building of it, and He must be involved in the whole process.

Notice that “they” are building the house, so this does not mean that it is built by the LORD with no human hands involved. This was not true of either of the two temples. They were both built by men, but with God’s direct help and by His command. So it will be with the third temple. It will be built by God’s command. That alone indicates that this temple could never be built in the dispensation of grace.

It will be built according to His specifications. He will be laboring with those who build it. But He will not miraculously cause it to appear out of nowhere. That is not what I meant.

Some argue that 70 AD was not the fulfillment of Matthew 24. They think that the temple would be destroyed during the tribulation. But I believe this is a result of not really understood the kingdom very well. There are two problems with that idea.

1. No two stones of those buildings they saw are left on one another, which means what He said has already taken place.
2. There is no indication that the temple will be destroyed in the tribulation, just that it will be defiled.

“When will these things be” was only their first question. The second was, “And what will be the sign of Your coming,” (parousia,) “and of the end” (consummation) “of the age?” (aion) They seemed to assume that these two must happen at the same time. The Lord did not say that they were right or wrong. But He seems to only directly answer the second question, telling them about His parousia. He never mentions the temple being destroyed again throughout His discourse.

However, it could be that the Greek word kai there translated “and” should mean “even” here and be used appositionally. In other words, these questions were actually unrelated to the question about the destruction of the temple. What they were saying was “When will these things be, that is: what will be the sign of your parousia and of the consummation of the eon?”

Ezekiel seems to give a layout of the kingdom temple that doesn’t really match with Ezra’s temple. I think the Lord was referring to the very temple they saw, and not a different one, and not one “resurrected” later exactly the same.

So to conclude, it is an interesting idea, but I do not think that is how the temple is restored in the kingdom. I could be wrong, however.