NOTE TO THE READER: I am just learning to dig deeply into God’s Word, and into His prophecies. I started about two to three years ago, and I quickly learned that it requires the study of ancient Hebrew, Hebrew poetry, idioms and the Hebrew culture. The Bible cannot be fully appreciated until these things are properly understood. This study has also shown me why the Lord brought me to this point the way He did. Had I not followed the path I traveled, I would not have been prepared to learn as quickly as He has been teaching me, nor would I have been able to make the connections I make. Now, I do not claim to be a prophet, or to have special revelation. In fact, most of what I am learning is the work of greater men. I just put pieces together: that is all I do. That said, what follows in this series is an alternate understanding of prophecy from what the Church has come to understand. It is how I now see and understand God’s prophetic Word, and I share it in hope that it will help others and, God willing, bring at least one person to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. But I caution you: the study of Scripture — especially prophecy — is not to be taken lightly. If you read any of the posts in this series, please take the time to read everything, including the links. They have been provided because they are necessary to understanding the message.
The Bible foretells a third temple, but the majority of Jews and Christians have misunderstood the nature of this Temple. People are looking for another building to be built on the temple mount where sacrifices will begin again. The problem with this is that it would cause Scripture to come into conflict with itself. Paul tells us we are not under the law anymore (Romans 6:14). We are under the New Covenant, under Grace. This is the third Temple: it has already been built! We’ve just missed it because of our human tendency to read per-conceived notions onto God’s Word. If we would just read Scripture and let it testify for itself, we could avoid many of these mistakes and, in the process, gain a better understanding of and closer relationship with God.
The Restoration of Israel
11 “In that day I will raise up the fallen [a]booth of David,
And wall up its breaches;
I will also raise up its ruins
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom
And all the [b]nations who are called by My name,”
Declares the Lord who does this.
The Hebrew word translated here as ‘booth’ is ‘sukkat.’ It means booth or temporary shelter, but is often translated as tent or tabernacle. Many have read this passage and assumed it refers to a Third Temple. Now, God was telling His people that there would be a third Temple, but because they placed their faith in the Law of Moses and not in God, they did not understand what God was telling them. So, before I explain where we find the third temple, let me cite a passage that tried to explain it to the Jews:
Acts 15:14-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,
16 ‘After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the [a]tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
17 So that the rest of [b]mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles [c]who are called by My name,’
At this point, you should read this passage. It do not believe it is a complete or completely accurate understanding of this passage, but it clearly explains that Amos was telling us this third Temple will be connected to the remnants of Adam seeking the Messiah (‘so the rest of mankind may seek the Lord):
There is still one more piece to God’s prophetic puzzle we need to understand before the pictures should start falling into place. Exactly what was David’s tabernacle, and was it different from the other two Temples.
David was forbidden to build a Temple, so he built a tabernacle in a tent. David’s tabernacle was a type of the third Temple to come. There was no veil, no Holy of Holies. There were no priests and no sacrifices. David came boldly before the Mercy Seat of God. As such, David’s tabernacle represents the Grace of the New Covenant! And under the New Covenant, God lives in the heart of every believer!
There is the Third Temple: the heart of the believer! This is exactly how it was in the days of old, when Adam walked with God, and Abraham and Moses. Amos was foretelling the return to this personal relationship with God. Amos was telling us of the New Covenant. The prophecy has been fulfilled! We live in these days now, and because of Christs atoning work on the cross, the gentiles can now seek Him, as well.
Understood this way, history fits the prophecy like a glove. What’s more, Scripture supports the doctrine in this understanding whereas a third physical Temple with a return of sacrifices would be in conflict with other Scriptures. It even explains 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:
The Man of Lawlessness
3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the [a]apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above [b]every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
God deals with every one of us personally: one-on-one. Since the third Temple is in the heart of man, then every individual who exalts himself and presumes that he is his own god is taking his seat in the temple of God. This is lawlessness and it leads to destruction: both Spiritual and physical. And we have plenty of examples of men who have openly declared that man is his own god:
If you think about it, this is a blessing. God knew the Second Temple would be destroyed, and that the Jews would be kept in the wilderness (gentile nations) for a long time. If they were kept under the law, this would leave them without hope. So God raised up the tabernacle of David to preserve the Jews and — at the same time — make it possible to graft the Gentiles into the vine of Israel. In this case, we are dealing not with physical or tribal Israel, but with Spiritual Israel (the sum total of all believers whose names are written in the Book of Life). When we look at Amos 9 in this light, it all falls neatly into place without any need to force anything to fit.