Should We Yearn For A New Temple? – LIVE Q&A – November 30, 2023

Should We Yearn For A New Temple? - LIVE Q&A - November 30, 2023

Should Christians Push for a Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem?

I believe there will be a third temple, a Jewish temple on what is now called the temple mount in Jerusalem.

Like many aspects of eschatology, this is something that Christians differ about.

  1. Because of what Daniel said about the daily sacrifice and the abomination of desolation in Daniel 11:31 and 12:11

Daniel 12:11

And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days

It’s easy to think this was fulfilled by the desecration of the temple in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes in the intertestamental period. In a sense, it was – as a prefiguring of an ultimate fulfillment.

  1. Because of what Jesus said about the abomination of desolation and the holy place of the temple in Matthew 24:15.

Matthew 24:15

Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),

The concept of the abomination of desolation is often spiritualized with explaining it as idolatrous worship established in the hearts of God’s people (His “temple”). But in what sense can people be called God’s temple if they worship the Antichrist – an emissary of Satan himself? Certainly this isn’t the most plain or straightforward interpretation.

  1. Because of what Paul said about the man of sin and the temple of God in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

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 worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

  1. Because of what John said about the temple of God in Revelation 11:1

Revelation 11:1

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.

Plus, several other passages in Revelation 11-13 that have some kind of reference to a temple.

I believe that the simplest explanation of all these passages is to see a real Jewish temple on the temple mount in Jerusalem, yet to be built – but coming soon.

In point of fact, today there are Jewish people very interested in rebuilding the temple and resuming sacrifice, and are making preparations to do that exact thing even now.

Today you can visit the Temple Institute in the Jewish Quarter of the old city in Jerusalem. There, a group of Jews absolutely dedicated to rebuilding the temple attempt to educate the public and raise awareness for a new temple. They are trying to replicate everything they can for a new temple, down to the specific pots and pans used in sacrifice.

Israel is a nation again, and efforts to rebuild the temple are for real. The main Jewish group leading the charge to rebuild the temple is an organization called Faithful of the Temple Mount, who say they will continue their efforts to re-establish the Jewish temple on the Mount. One leader in the group said, “We shall continue our struggle until the Israeli flag is flying from the Dome of the Rock.” In Israel, there are students being trained for the priesthood, learning how to conduct animal sacrifices in the rebuilt temple.

It is important to understand that most Jews – religious or secular – do not care one bit about building a temple. And if there were one rebuilt, sacrifice would be difficult in a day of aggressive animal rights activists. Yet, there is a small, strong, highly dedicated group who live to see a rebuilt temple – a temple that will fulfill prophecy.

Many Christians get excited when they see efforts to rebuild the temple – it is prophecy being fulfilled right before their eyes! At the same time, Christians should understand that the basic impulse behind rebuilding the temple is not of God at all – the desire to have a place to sacrifice for sin. Christians believe that all sacrifice for sin was finished at the cross, and any further sacrifice for sin is an offense to God, because it denies the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

  • If this is God’s prophetic plan – it’s going to happen, whether Christians are excited about it or not.
  • Believers should temper any excitement with the knowledge that those who would build this temple would not be doing it for any Christian purpose.
  • In this sense, Christians shouldn’t “support” the building of the temple. If they believe it is in God’s plan, then let God work it.
  • I wouldn’t contribute money for a third temple – but I would likely visit it if I had the opportunity (I’m thinking I wouldn’t be around for it, but let’s speak hypothetically).

Why would I hypothetically visit a third temple? Because Paul did. It’s often overlooked that Paul participated in temple rituals as a Christian, as an apostle.

  • Acts 18:18-22: Paul went to Jerusalem with a handful of hair he had cut off in a vow, where almost certainly the hair was offered at the temple for the completion of a Nazirite vow.
  • Acts 21:23-26: Paul sponsored four Christians (from Jewish backgrounds) who were completing a vow of dedication at the temple. He went to the temple with them for the ceremonies.
  • These were not ceremonies or sacrifices related to atonement, but for dedication or consecration – and apparently permitted for Christians. By any measure, Paul endorsed this. Again, not atonement – but dedication, gratitude, consecration.

    When you see the “abomination of desolation”
    : Essentially, the abomination of desolation speaks of the ultimate desecration of a Jewish temple, the establishment of an idolatrous image in the holy place itself, which will inevitably result in the judgment of God. It is the abomination that brings desolation.

    Standing in the holy place: This means that the abomination of desolation takes place in the Jewish temple. This is the only plain meaning of the phrase holy place. Some believe it happened in a prior Jewish temple, before it was destroyed in a.d. 70. Others – more properly – believe it will happen in the holy place of a rebuilt temple.

    i. For centuries, there was only a small Jewish presence in Judea and Jerusalem. Their presence in the region was definite, and continuous, but small. It was unthinkable that this weak Jewish presence could rebuild a temple. Therefore the fulfillment of this prophecy was highly unlikely until Israel was gathered again as a nation in 1948. The restoration of a nation that the world had not seen for some 2,000 years is a remarkable event in the fulfillment and future fulfillment of prophecy.

    ii. Those who believe that the events of Matthew 24 were all or mostly all fulfilled in a.d. 70 have a difficulty here. There is no good evidence at all that what they believe was the abomination of desolation (the Roman armies or their ensigns) were ever set up as idolatrous images in the holy place of the temple. Instead, the temple was destroyed before the Romans entered.

    iii. Therefore, those with this interpretive approach often re-define what the holy place is, as does Bruce: “One naturally thinks of the temple or the holy city and its environs, but a ‘holy place’ in the prophetic style might mean the holy land.”

    “The normal meaning of hagios topos (‘holy place’) is the temple complex… But by the time the Romans had actually desecrated the temple in a.d. 70 it was too late for anyone in the city to flee.” (Carson)

    As spoken of by Daniel the prophet: The mention of the abomination of desolation is taken from the book of Daniel. They shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation(Daniel 11:31). This describes a complete desecration of the temple, prefigured by Antiochus Epiphanies in the period between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

    Paul elaborates on the future fulfillment of this in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:

Daniel 12:11 gives additional insight:

(until the end). When this sign is set up, the end may be determined – there will be almost three and one-half years to go until the consummation of all things.

Through the centuries, the most common interpretive approach to the predictions Jesus made in this chapter is to see them all or mostly all fulfilled in the great destruction that came upon Jerusalem and Judea in a.d. 70. This approach is attractive in some ways, especially in that it makes the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:34 (this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place) easy to understand.

Yet the approach that sees this chapter as all or mostly all fulfilled in a.d. 70 is completely inadequate in its supposed fulfillment of the abomination of desolation. In this approach, the abomination of desolation is almost always understood to be the Roman armies or the ensigns they carried.

Yet when we understand the importance and what is said about this event – the abomination of desolation – we must give priority to this event, even more than the easiest interpretation of Matthew 24:34.

It is the critical sign mentioned in Matthew 24.

It is the warning to flee mentioned in Matthew 24.

It is the sign of the consummation of all things in Daniel 9:27.

It is the sign foreshadowed by Antiochus Epiphanies in Daniel 11:31.

It is the precise marker of days to the end in Daniel 12:11.

It is the revelation of the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

It is the image of the beast in Revelation 13:14-15.

Taking these passages in their most plain meaning, the abomination of desolation cannot be the Roman armies or the ensigns they marched under; it cannot be totalitarian governments or any other conjecture.

The abomination of desolation must be some kind of image of the Antichrist set in an actual temple, and is the decisive sign for the end. This means that for the most part, Jesus’ predictions in Matthew 24 have not been fulfilled; or at least that the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 was a foreshadowing fulfillment, even as the desecration of the temple under Antiochus Epiphanies was a foreshadowing of the ultimate abomination of desolation.

Whoever reads, let him understand: Here Jesus (assuming that He said these words, and that they were not added by Matthew) directed us again to the central place of understanding, the abomination of desolation. It was almost as if Jesus said, “Don’t miss this. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand many other things.” And this is exactly the error of many who, with good intentions, misunderstand the plain meaning of the abomination of desolation. Let him understand!

Does the Bible teach that Christians must give at least 10% of their income (tithing)? What verses support your view?

The Bible doesn’t require Christians to give 10% of their earnings. Yet, it emphasizes generosity among believers. The Old Testament presents tithing as a reference point and the New Testament speaks favorably of it, but it’s not mandated as a strict rule.

Instead, biblical teachings nurture a giving spirit. The Bible’s Second Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 explain the principles of giving, which is a practice recommended for all believers. The apostle Paul stresses that giving should be in proportion to one’s blessings, as guided by the Holy Spirit. Those receiving more should give more.

As for a specific percentage, I, together with my wife Inga-Lill, follow a giving pattern of 10% of our income. While the New Testament does not directly command tithing, it is still viewed positively and serves as a guideline rooted in biblical principles. However, I do not believe it should be seen as the definitive standard; rather, it highlights the value of generosity.

Ultimately, the Bible does not impose a strict 10% requirement on Christians, but rather encourages a giving and generous attitude. In fact, some might even find giving more than 10% appropriate. This perspective is worth considering when deciding how to approach one’s giving.

How should a church respond if a church elder exclusively wants to teach but not pastor?

How should I interpret repeated statements by a Senior Church Elder that he doesn’t want to “do pastoring” but he only wants to teach – especially as the only other Elder is not gifted in pastoring?

I think an elder who doesn’t fully embrace their responsibilities reflects a questionable viewpoint. Elders and pastors must primarily shepherd their congregation by actively engaging in their lives. It’s understandable that not everyone finds this role easy, and it can be demanding to spiritually and practically support, care for, and serve the congregation. It’s not tiring because of what the congregation needs, but because of how deeply involved you must be. It’s possible that people might not fully understand how significant and calling it is to be an elder or pastor.

I am no longer serving as a pastor of a congregation. For the past six years, I have been focused solely on my work with the Bible commentary and Enduring Word. Having been a pastor for almost thirty years, I can say that it often feels like an amazing dream – something you are beyond grateful for. Yet at times, pastoring can be overwhelming, leaving you to wonder if it’s all worth it. Things fluctuate, depending on the situation.

I understand the sacrifices involved of this role. I firmly believe there’s a crucial demand for people who aren’t just teachers but are also intimately involved with the congregation on a pastoral level within God’s community. Churches need pastors who are honest and meet the criteria in Titus and 1 Timothy. These pastors should have the qualities of leaders in God’s service. They play an important role in caring for the people.

How should Christians regard Christian rock music?

This is a matter of conscience for the individual Christian. Nothing in the Bible says that all Christians must reject or accept Christian rock music. I believe it’s a matter between the Spirit of God and the individual believer.

If someone tells me that they feel God is guiding them to avoid this music, I would encourage them to wholeheartedly follow that guidance and refrain from listening. However, I don’t think they should judge other believers who feel free to enjoy it, nor should they feel superior for their choice. Each person should simply follow what they sincerely believe God is leading them to do.

This falls under Christian freedom, unless there’s a clear and proven harm it could cause to someone’s life. In that case, it’s a chance for fellow believers to offer guidance within the church. The Bible doesn’t list the particular music genres for Christians to listen to or avoid, as music has varying associations for people based on their past and present experiences.

I strongly believe that personal discernment between the individual believer and the Holy Spirit is crucial. It’s important for Christians to not overlook the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide believers individually, especially in matters related to their freedom. The Holy Spirit can offer specific direction to different individuals, approving one person’s choices while warning against others. Ultimately, it’s all about being led by the Spirit in these areas.

​Is sanctification our responsibility or God’s?

Can you explain sanctification being from God? Aren’t we responsible for our growth too? Should a believer expect sanctification?

There is much debate within Christian teaching on sanctification. Some think it happens gradually, while others view it as a series of key moments in a Christian’s life where they dedicate themselves to God. Also, some emphasize that sanctification requires God’s transformative work in the believer.

In my view, all three perspectives are partly true. First, God’s work within us contributes to an undeniable aspect of sanctification. As individuals seeking to follow God’s path, we cannot achieve sanctification solely through our efforts. Even our participation relies on God’s action within us.

Second, sanctification involves a gradual journey that develops over time. Continuous growth, learning, and refinement are necessary in our Christian journey.

At times, there are pivotal moments in sanctification where a Christian may experience a significant breakthrough. These moments provide an understanding of the necessity to align more closely with God, turn away from certain behaviors or attitudes, and seek repentance or a renewed commitment to His ways.

I believe that sanctification is a gradual process, combined with pivotal moments of personal commitment, and God’s work. You can find more information on this topic in a video on our YouTube channel by searching for ‘sanctification.’ For further understanding of this subject, my commentary on Romans 12 is available.

How can a person break a sinful habit that has been a years-long struggle?

I have been struggling with quitting looking at certain illicit material for 8 years now, and I don’t know what else to do. I study my bible and memorize, I pray and fast too. But I still fall, what should I do?

God bless you, brother. I’m saddened to hear about your struggles, but it’s essential to understand that your struggle isn’t identical to everyone else’s. However, it’s common for every believer to grapple with their own challenges, much like what you’re experiencing. Every believer faces a battle against sin.

What encourages me most about your inquiry is your perseverance. You haven’t given up. If you need direction on what to do next, the best advice I can give you is to keep following Jesus. Share your problems with Him. You may falter but not necessarily fail completely, or at least not stray far from Him. Admit your imperfections and genuinely ask for forgiveness by saying, “Dear Lord, I know I’m a sinner. I struggle with this persistent sin. It causes me deep distress every time I fall short. I come to You seeking Your forgiveness and restoration.” This shows your true repentance. The Lord values this sincerity. The primary step in progressing on my journey with God is already done.

You’re already engaging in many recommended practices, such as studying the Bible, memorizing scriptures, praying, and even fasting. However, you could make yourself accountable to a fellow Christian brother and confide in him about this struggle if you haven’t already.  As a man, seek a brother you trust and respect to hold you accountable. For women in this situation, find a Christian woman for accountability. For many people, they struggle fighting against sin without someone to hold them accountable.

You’ve taken meaningful actions, so I’m not suggesting this be your first step. However, if your efforts haven’t quite worked, consider finding a trustworthy person to hold you accountable. They can challenge you and you can commit to being truthful and transparent with them. Persist in your journey and hold yourself accountable. These are two essential pieces of advice I would like to offer. May God bless you.

Is the role of the pastor and elder in a church the same?

There are many similarities among the roles of elder, overseer, and pastor. There is certainly overlap between them. Elders should have godly character and embody the heart of a pastor.

The main difference is that the Bible recognizes a distinction between elders who rule and those who teach. 1 Timothy suggests that not all elders are teachers. While each elder should have the skill to teach, it might only apply to a one-on-one context rather than addressing a congregation. Therefore, some elders may not have the proficiency to teach a larger audience.

In essence, although there are minor variations, there is significant overlap in the roles of elders, pastors, and overseers. Some argue that they are the same, but I hesitate to call them completely identical. Instead, I recognize their significant similarities. The roles of elder, overseer, and pastor are essentially synonymous, but there are some nuances that can be discerned upon closer examination.

Is the gift of healing prevalent today or do healings result from a prayer of faith?

Is the gift of healing prevalent today or would you say that healings we see today are more of a “prayer of faith” for others? I believe 9 gifts are still valid, maybe not as in Paul’s day.

Let me tell you my thoughts. Soon, I’ll be releasing a video series named “10 Reasons Why I Think Cessationism Is Wrong.” Cessationism is the belief that the spiritual gifts, or at least most of them, have ceased to operate today. I disagree with cessationism and have ten reasons to back up my disagreement. I believe it is an incorrect doctrine.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the gift of healing. Some people think that those with the gift of healing could move around healing people at will, as if they had complete control over the gift. But I don’t see this consistency in the Bible. Even Jesus Christ, in my opinion, did not operate this way. He specifically stated that He only did what the Father told Him to do. Even Jesus’ healing acts were done under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Father’s guidance in each specific situation.

So, is the gift of healing widely present today? I don’t see a real gift of healing through laying on of hands that can instantly cure someone. The “Ray Gun” approach that some televangelists tout, where someone just points and heals, isn’t supported by the Bible nor is it how healing actually worked in biblical times. It’s not how the gift of healing should be used today. However, I do believe that God might use certain individuals in exceptional ways for healing, although I don’t see it as prevalent. In the Western world, such occurrences seem somewhat rare. These manifestations are more commonly witnessed on the frontiers where the gospel is expanding.

Did the Lord or Satan incite David to take a census in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 2?

Great question. Was it the Lord or was it Satan? Yes. What do I mean by that? I think Satan brought the temptation, but it was allowed by God because God wanted to do a greater work. We see this type of thing in the Scriptures from time to time.

The idea is that even though Satan is attributed to certain actions, they are allowed by God within the permitted scope. Essentially, Satan’s actions are permitted by God. When considering whether an action is done by Satan or the Lord, it could be seen as both. Satan initiates the action and God permits it. Both entities are involved.

The temptation Jesus faced in the wilderness can be viewed from a similar angle. Did Satan or the Lord initiate this temptation? The answer is both. It’s clear that God allowed Satan to present this challenge, but the actual act was carried out by Satan. In this scenario too, both played a role in the event.

What is the basis for the Catholic church to claim they gave us the Bible?

The premise of their argument is that, without the church, we would not know what books belong in the Bible. Their argument claims that the church provided the Bible’s information and gathered its contents, thereby giving it a status that equals or surpasses the Bible.  I disagree since the church only acknowledged the existence of the Bible and did not create it.  That’s how I would explain it.

The Bible is God’s eternal and enduring word, regardless of whether the church recognizes it or not. Roman Catholics believe that the church came before the Bible and determined which books to include in it, so that the church is equal or superior to the Bible. I disagree.

What is the gift of tongues, and how do I receive it? Is it the evidence of the Holy Spirit?

If I don’t speak in tongues does that mean that I don’t have the Holy Spirit? What exactly is it, and how do I make it happen (or SHOULD I) try to “will it” to happen to me?

We should not seek the gift of tongues to prove to ourselves or others that we have the Holy Spirit. Looking for the gift purely to validate one’s spiritual condition is not the goal. Instead, if one senses an inadequacy in their communication with God, they can seek Him for the gift of tongues.

I explore this topic in my upcoming series, “10 Reasons Why Cessationism Is Wrong,” which will come out in a few weeks. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul explains that speaking in an unknown language is not directed toward people, but to God. It is not given as a way of communication between individuals, but as a means of communication from a person to God.

When someone asks for my help with praying to receive the gift of tongues, I first ask if they ever feel like they can’t fully express themselves in prayer to God, or if they feel any limitations in their ability to praise or communicate with Him. If they don’t feel a lack in their ability to pray, I encourage them to return if and when they ever feel the need for help, and then we can pray for the gift of tongues.

The ability to speak in tongues should not be sought as proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the genuine evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit and is reflected in one’s life. Speaking in tongues enables communication between the believer and God.

If you do pray for that gift, and God puts unfamiliar words in your mind, speak them. If He doesn’t, don’t try to fake it and don’t worry about it. Trust that if and when God deems it necessary, He will grant you this gift.

Are personal “prophetic words” (re healing, job/life direction) biblical?

We see New Testament examples where God prophetically communicated with individuals. The Bible also mentions spiritual gifts like the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. However, many of the things that are claimed as prophetic occurrences today are often baseless and unfounded, simply invented by humans.

Yes, God can speak to someone through another person with the help of the Holy Spirit. It’s important that we take it back to the Bible’s instructions about words of prophecy. First, compare it with God’s Word since that’s the best means of evaluating it. If someone claims that “The Lord told me to share this with you,” don’t accept it immediately. After that, consult with wise and godly people in your life. Evaluate these prophetic words carefully. Christians can often falter when they disregard this important step of assessment.