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Basic Worldview:
314 End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)

Premillennial Temple Study

Premillennial Temple Study Part 1
Premillennial Temple Study Part 2
Premillennial Temple Study Part 3
Premillennial Temple Study Part 4
Premillennial Temple Study Part 5
Premillennial Temple Study Part 6
Premillennial Temple Study Part 7
Premillennial Temple Study Part 8
Premillennial Temple Study Part 9
Premillennial Temple Study Part 10
Premillennial Temple Study Part 11
Premillennial Temple Study Part 12
Premillennial Temple Study Part 13
Premillennial Temple Study Part 14
Premillennial Temple Study Part 15



The Pre-millennial Temple


The overwhelming thrust of the historical evidence demonstrates that the Temple was located in the area south of the Moriah Platform. But we also know that this site has suffered several catastrophic destructions. The Roman destruction of 70 AD demolished all of the major structures of Jewish Jerusalem. Descriptions from the sources indicate that there was left no trace of these buildings including the Temple because their walls were dug up to the foundations. A subsequent destruction followed the second Jewish revolt in 136 AD.


The thorough nature of the Roman devastation indicates that archeological remains of the Temple itself may not be identifiable today. If this is the case, then being able to locate the exact site of the Temple through archeological data may remain elusive. This would fit with Jewish concepts that the Temple cannot be rebuilt until a prophet emerges to identify the Temple’s true and exact location. While this may be the case, it should also be noted that the place of the Holy of Holies and the Temple building itself did not occupy the exact same space over the course of its many reconstructions and renovations.


The first indication that the Temple does not need to be placed in any single, exact location comes from the fact that God dwelled in a tabernacle within the Fortress of Zion before the Temple was built by Solomon. While biblical and historical data has shown that the location of this tabernacle was near the future site of the Temple, the two were not the same. And yet David did not move the Ark of the Covenant from the tabernacle in the Fortress of Zion to the threshing floor of Ornan. This demonstrates that, although God did designate a specific general area for His dwelling, God did not limit His dwelling place to a single, small spot.


Second, it is a well-known fact that Solomon’s Temple was the smallest in size. The Holy of Holies was a square of 20 cubits long by 20 cubits wide (2 Chronicles 3:8, 1 Kings 6:20). Depending on whether the royal cubit or the common cubit is meant, the Holy of Holies itself would measure between 30 and 35 feet square. The entire Temple building including both the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place measure 60 cubits by 20 cubits (2 Chronicles 3:3). Again, depending on the length of the cubit this would result in a Temple building somewhere between 30-35 feet wide and 90-105 feet long. The porch at the front of the Holy Place was the same width as the Temple building, but its height is also mentioned. It was 120 cubits (between 180-205 feet) high. The height of the Holy of Holies was 20 cubits while the height of the Temple building itself was between 30 cubits (30-35 feet, 1 Kings 6:2, 20).


2 Chronicles 3:3 Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.

1 Kings 6:2 And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits. 20 And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.


Solomon’s TempleThe Kadosh Kadoshim, the Temple's Most Holy Place (1 Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the "inner house" (6:27), and the "Holy of Holies" (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length, breadth, and height. The usual explanation for the discrepancy between its height and the 30-cubit height of the temple is that its floor was elevated, like the cella of other ancient temples.[5] - wikipedia.org


The dimensions of the outer courts of Solomon’s Temple are not given in the Bible. However, Josephus explains that the shape of Solomon’s temple was a quadrangle.


9. Solomon made all these things for the honor of God, with great variety and magnificence, sparing no cost, but using all possible liberality in adorning the temple; and these things he dedicated to the treasures of God. He also placed a partition round about the temple, which in our tongue we call Gison, but it is called Thrigcos by the Greeks, and he raised it up to the height of three cubits; and it was for the exclusion of the multitude from coming into the temple, and showing that it was a place that was free and open only for the priests. He also built beyond this court a temple, whose figure was that of a quadrangle, and erected for it great and broad cloisters; this was entered into by very high gates, each of which had its front exposed to one of the [four] winds, and were shut by golden doors. – Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 8, Chapter 3, Paragraph 9


The post-exilic Temple, built under the guidance of men like Nehemiah, Ezra, Zerubbabel, Joshua, Zechariah, and Haggai was a much humbler edifice. But both the size of the Temple and the Temple mount are thought to have been larger than those of Solomon.


Likewise, historical evidence indicates that the Hasmoneans enlarged the size of the Temple mount in the period after they had regained control of the sacred house and cleansed it of its defilements. This conclusion is held by archeologist Leen Ritmeyer. (Ritmeyer is a proponent of the view that the Temple was located at the Dome of the Rock.)


Temple Mount – Evidence of a Hasmonean expansion of the Temple Mount has been recovered by archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer. – wikipedia.org


Similarly, Josephus reports that in later times the size of the Temple was enlarged to take in a new area equal to the previous size of the entire Temple. In this way, we see that the Temple was doubled in size and that this increase in area was predominately toward the north. As Josephus explains the enlargement involved tearing down the northern wall and rebuilding it along with two other walls. These walls must be identified as the western and southern walls since Josephus states that the eastern wall of the Temple structure was that which was constructed by Solomon.


1. NOW this temple, as I have already said, was built upon a strong hill. At first the plain at the top was hardly sufficient for the holy house and the altar, for the ground about it was very uneven, and like a precipice; but when king Solomon, who was the person that built the temple, had built a wall to it on its east side, there was then added one cloister founded on a bank cast up for it, and on the other parts the holy house stood naked. But in future ages the people added new banks, (12) and the hill became a larger plain. They then broke down the wall on the north side, and took in as much as sufficed afterward for the compass of the entire temple. And when they had built walls on three sides of the temple round about, from the bottom of the hill, and had performed a work that was greater than could be hoped for, (in which work long ages were spent by them, as well as all their sacred treasures were exhausted, which were still replenished by those tributes which were sent to God from the whole habitable earth,) they then encompassed their upper courts with cloisters, as well as they [afterward] did the lowest [court of the] temple. The lowest part of this was erected to the height of three hundred cubits, and in some places more; yet did not the entire depth of the foundations appear, for they brought earth, and filled up the valleys, as being desirous to make them on a level with the narrow streets of the city; wherein they made use of stones of forty cubits in magnitude; for the great plenty of money they then had, and the liberality of the people, made this attempt of theirs to succeed to an incredible degree; and what could not be so much as hoped for as ever to be accomplished, was, by perseverance and length of time, brought to perfection. – Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 5, Paragraph 1


The Temple building constructed by Herod was 50 cubits (75 feet) long and 20 cubits (30 feet) wide.


4. As to the holy house itself, which was placed in the midst [of the inmost court], that most sacred part of the temple, it was ascended to by twelve steps; and in front its height and its breadth were equal, and each a hundred cubits, though it was behind forty cubits narrower; for on its front it had what may be styled shoulders on each side, that passed twenty cubits further. Its first gate was seventy cubits high, and twenty-five cubits broad; but this gate had no doors; for it represented the universal visibility of heaven, and that it cannot be excluded from any place. Its front was covered with gold all over, and through it the first part of the house, that was more inward, did all of it appear; which, as it was very large, so did all the parts about the more inward gate appear to shine to those that saw them; but then, as the entire house was divided into two parts within, it was only the first part of it that was open to our view. Its height extended all along to ninety cubits in height, and its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth twenty. – Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 5, Paragraph 4


More importantly, Herod doubled the size of the Temple platform (courts) from its previous dimensions.


Temple Mount – Around 19 BCE, Herod the Great further expanded the Mount and rebuilt the temple. The ambitious project, which involved the employment of 10,000 workers,[6] more than doubled the size of Temple Mount to approximately 36 acres (150,000 m2). – wikipedia.org


1. ACCORDINGLY, in the fifteenth year of his reign, Herod rebuilt the temple, and encompassed a piece of land about it with a wall, which land was twice as large as that before enclosed. – Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 21, Paragraph 1

However, he explains that the eastern wall of the Temple of Herod was the same wall that had been originally built by Solomon. At the end of the quote Josephus states that Solomon’s eastern wall, founded in the Kidron Valley, was preserved immovable for future generations. – Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 21, Paragraph 1


In the next paragraph Josephus describes Herod’s renovations of the Temple complex and specifically notes that the southern portion of eastern wall was built by Solomon, was founded within the Kidron, and was “preserved” with “the joints immovable for all future times.”


3. So Herod took away the old foundations, and laid others, and erected the temple upon them, being in length a hundred cubits, and in height twenty additional cubits, which [twenty], upon the sinking of their foundations (23) fell down; and this part it was that we resolved to raise again in the days of Nero. Now the temple was built of stones that were white and strong, and each of their length was twenty-five cubits, their height was eight, and their breadth about twelve; and the whole structure, as also the structure of the royal cloister, was on each side much lower, but the middle was much higher, till they were visible to those that dwelt in the country for a great many furlongs, but chiefly to such as lived over against them, and those that approached to them. The temple had doors also at the entrance, and lintels over them, of the same height with the temple itself. They were adorned with embroidered veils, with their flowers of purple, and pillars interwoven; and over these, but under the crown-work, was spread out a golden vine, with its branches hanging down from a great height, the largeness and fine workmanship of which was a surprising sight to the spectators, to see what vast materials there were, and with what great skill the workmanship was done. He also encompassed the entire temple with very large cloisters, contriving them to be in a due proportion thereto; and he laid out larger sums of money upon them than had been done before him, till it seemed that no one else had so greatly adorned the temple as he had done. There was a large wall to both the cloisters, which wall was itself the most prodigious work that was ever heard of by man. The hill was a rocky ascent, that declined by degrees towards the east parts of the city, till it came to an elevated level. This hill it was which Solomon, who was the first of our kings, by Divine revelation, encompassed with a wall; it was of excellent workmanship upwards, and round the top of it. He also built a wall below, beginning at the bottom, which was encompassed by a deep valley; and at the south side he laid rocks together, and bound them one to another with lead, and included some of the inner parts, till it proceeded to a great height, and till both the largeness of the square edifice and its altitude were immense, and till the vastness of the stones in the front were plainly visible on the outside, yet so that the inward parts were fastened together with iron, and preserved the joints immovable for all future times. – Josephus, Antiquities, Book 15, Chapter 10


And again, Josephus explains that the eastern wall of the Herodian Temple’s outer court above the Kidron Valley remained the work of Solomon.


7. And now it was that the temple was finished. So when the people saw that the workmen were unemployed, who were above eighteen thousand and that they, receiving no wages, were in want because they had earned their bread by their labors about the temple; and while they were unwilling to keep by them the treasures that were there deposited, out of fear of [their being carried away by] the Romans; and while they had a regard to the making provision for the workmen; they had a mind to expend these treasures upon them; for if any one of them did but labor for a single hour, he received his pay immediately; so they persuaded him to rebuild the eastern cloisters. These cloisters belonged to the outer court, and were situated in a deep valley, and had walls that reached four hundred cubits [in length], and were built of square and very white stones, the length of each of which stones was twenty cubits, and their height six cubits. This was the work of king Solomon, (27) who first of all built the entire temple. – Josephus, Antiquities, Book 20, Chapter 9


It was this southeastern corner and the eastern and southern walls which extended from it that remained from the time of Solomon. This southeastern corner of the Temple Mount was the highest point above the Kidron Valley.


The hill was a rocky ascent, that declined by degrees towards the east parts of the city, till it came to an elevated level. This hill it was which Solomon, who was the first of our kings, by Divine revelation, encompassed with a wall; it was of excellent workmanship upwards, and round the top of it. He also built a wall below, beginning at the bottom, which was encompassed by a deep valley; and at the south side he laid rocks together, and bound them one to another with lead, and included some of the inner parts, till it proceeded to a great height, and till both the largeness of the square edifice and its altitude were immense, and till the vastness of the stones in the front were plainly visible on the outside, yet so that the inward parts were fastened together with iron, and preserved the joints immovable for all future times. When this work [for the foundation] was done in this manner, and joined together as part of the hill itself to the very top of it, he wrought it all into one outward surface, and filled up the hollow places which were about the wall, and made it a level on the external upper surface, and a smooth level also. – Josephus, Antiquities, Book 15, Chapter 10


…but the fourth front of the temple, which was southward, had indeed itself gates in its middle, as also it had the royal cloisters, with three walks, which reached in length from the east valley unto that on the west, for it was impossible it should reach any farther: and this cloister deserves to be mentioned better than any other under the sun; for while the valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen, if you looked from above into the depth, this further vastly high elevation of the cloister stood upon that height, insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth. – Josephus, Antiquities, Book 15, Chapter 10


Scholars agree that the eastern wall of the Temple, the high and massive retaining wall descending into the Kidron valley, remained the same from the time of Solomon.


Now, you know that all of us believe because of what we have in Josephus and in the Gospels that the eastern wall of the Temple Mount was common to the two Temple Mounts. In other words, if this is the eastern wall, this is the Golden Gate. The eastern wall is common to the two. – Dr. Dan Bahat, 1995, The Coming Temple, Presentation 2, 36 minutes and 50 seconds, Koinonia House, http://store.khouse.org/...


The addition of Herod the Great, onto the earlier Temple Mount to which the laws of purity pertain, the additions were from south, west, and north. Whereas the east was still original, ancient Temple Mount, was retaining wall, was still there. This is clear to us and I’ll tell you why. First of all, as you know from the Gospels, the name of the eastern portico is the portico of Solomon. Why is it called the portico of Solomon? Because during the second Temple period, everything, especially for the later part, everything which was, which seemed to be very old, was believed to be made still by King Solomon. – Dan Bahat, The Traditional Location of the Temples, 35 minutes and 41 seconds, http://www.templemount.org/lectures.html


So, the Temple mount was successively enlarged on two different occasions (the Hasmonean renovation and the Herodian renovation). Since the southeastern corner of the Temple mount remained the same for all of the Temple’s constructions, we know that the Temple mount’s successive enlargements must have been predominately towards the north and the west. These enlargements of the Temple mount tell us something very important about the location of the Temple building (and the Holy of Holies).


In every construction of the Temple, the actual Temple building (containing the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies) was placed at the western side of Temple Mount with the courts laid out to its east. Depictions of the Temple always show it centered within north-south dimension of the Temple mount. Therefore, for the Temple courts to be increased in size towards the north indicates that the Temple building itself was repositioned slightly northward during each reconstruction and enlargement. This was done in order to keep the Temple building itself centered within the north-south axis.


Additional proof of such this repositioning is exhibited by the fact that the Herodian reconstruction of the new Temple building took 18 months.


6. But the temple itself was built by the priests in a year and six months; upon which all the people were full of joy; and presently they returned thanks, in the first place, to God; and in the next place, for the alacrity the king had showed. They feasted and celebrated this rebuilding of the temple: – Josephus, Antiquities, Book 15, Chapter 10


The Jews would not have consented to a cessation of the Temple activities for a year and a half while Herod demolished the Temple and rebuilt a new one in its place. To the contrary, the Temple rituals continued uninterrupted during the Herodian construction process.


Second Temple – Renovation Under Herod – Around 19 BCE, Herod the Great began a massive renovation and expansion of the Second Temple complex. The Temple itself was torn down and a new one built in its place. The resulting structure is sometimes referred to as Herod's Temple, but it is still called the Second Temple because the sacrificial rituals continued unabated throughout the construction process. – wikipedia.org


In order for the Temple rituals to continue without cessation during the construction of a new Temple building, the previous Temple building would have had to remain intact. But the only way the previous building could remain intact while the new building was being constructed is if the two buildings did not occupy the exact same space. This means that the Herodian Temple building was constructed alongside the Hasmonean building.


Because of these biblical and historical facts, we can conclude that, although the Temple building has to be within the same specified area or precinct, it does not have to remain in the exact same spot as the original Temple building of Solomon. Historically speaking, the idea that the Temple building or the Holy of Holies remained in the same exact location during the Temple’s reconstructions is not sustainable. Likewise, David did not seek to move the tabernacle of the Lord from the Fortress of Zion to the site of the future Temple. These facts indicate that the Temple and the Holy of Holies do not need to be reconstructed on an exact, singular location. Rather, the Temple building only needs to be built within a certain acceptable area.


We know that Herod’s Temple Mount was approximately 600 feet square (at the least). This size represents an enlargement twice that of the earlier Hasmonean temple. This enlargement was northward. Because of this we know that Herod’s new Temple building was north of the former Hasmonean building. If the Herodian Temple mount was 600 feet square and it doubled the Hasmonean Temple mount in a northern direction, then the Hasmonean Temple mount was likely a rectangular shape (as were previous Temple mounts) whose north-south dimension was roughly half the 600 feet (approximately 400 cubits) Josephus assigns to Herod’s Temple.


This would make the Hasmonean Temple roughly 200 cubits (300 feet) in its north-south dimension with its east-west dimension being the longer measurement.


Likewise, the Hasmonean Temple mount doubled the size of the earlier Temple mount. If the Hasmonean Temple mount was around 200 cubits (300 feet) north to south, then the previous Temple mount was only 100 cubits (150 feet) in this same dimension. Since most of the enlargements were toward the north, the east-west dimension of both the Hasmonean and post-exilic Temple would have remained roughly equivalent to one another. Noting that some expansion went toward the west as well, we will use a distance of 450 feet (300 cubits) to denote the east-west dimension of the pre-Herodian Temple mounts.


It is true that Tractate Middot provides dimensions of the Temple’s courts. However, it is unclear which of the Temples the Mishnah is measuring. Some scholars conclude that it is the Hasmonean Temple. But the text itself does not identify which Temple it is referring to. It is conceivable that the measurements are from the Solomonic Temple, the post-exilic Temple, the Hasmonean Temple, or the even the Herodian Temple’s inner courts. Because of the lack of specificity provided in the Mishnah we will simply estimate the size of the Hasmonean temple. For our purposes it is not necessary to be exact in our estimation of intervening Temple constructions. More significant is the basic size difference between the Herodian Temple complex and that of Solomon.


The accompanying graphic demonstrates the resulting changes in the site of successive Temple buildings within the enlargements of the subsequent Temple complexes. (See Temple Mount Expansions.) While it cannot be taken as precise, this estimate does provide a reasonable estimate for the movement of the Temple building within the outer court platform during the Temple’s various reconstructions and expansions. The illustration shows that the acceptable site of the Temple building (and the Holy of Holies) is within a larger area approximately 300 foot (91 meter) square in its dimensions. (This is equivalent to the length of an American football field in both directions.)


If we take into account Josephus’ statement that the Herodian Temple mount was 600 feet south of Antonia Fortress, we can then reposition our illustration of the Temple mounts’ expansions the appropriate distance south of the Moriah Platform. If we do so we can get a general idea of the acceptable area for the reconstruction the pre-millennial Temple building. This can be shown using another illustration. (See Temple Building Areas diagram) This graphic can then be overlaid on top of our photo of modern day Jerusalem to identify the basic area where the Temple would have stood in terms of today’s geography. (See Temple Today1 and Temple Today2 image.)


The location of the Temple(s) shown in this diagram fits very well with the historical facts. The Temple would have been on the hill of Zion just as biblical texts and Josephus state. It would have been in the middle of the city of Jerusalem just as Aristeas and biblical texts indicate. It would have the Ophel mound on its eastern side just as Josephus records. It would be 600 feet south of Antonia as Josephus states. And it would have been right above the Gihon Spring and the Gihon water system as Aristeas, Tacitus, and biblical texts indicate.


Once we have gained a basic concept of the area where the Temple building can be built we should take note of an important piece of information from Revelation 11:1-2. This passage describes the rebuilt, pre-millennial Temple. However, it clearly states that only the Temple building itself (Greek “naos,” Strong’s number 3485) will be rebuilt. The larger Temple complex (Greek “hieron, Strong’s number 2411), its structures and courts, will not be rebuilt prior to Christ’s return.


Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple (3485) of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple (3485) leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.


These verses from Revelation 11 greatly reduce the amount of area that is needed to build the pre-millennial Temple. If the measurements for Solomon’s Temple building are used in the premillennial Temple reconstruction, the new building will only require a space of less than 100 feet by 40 feet (30 meters by 12 meters).


Additionally, we must note that the altar of sacrifice, known as the brazen altar, was located within one of these courts (the court of the priests). Since Revelation 11:1-2 indicates that this court will not be rebuilt prior to the millennial kingdom, we can be sure that Temple activities during this period will not include animal sacrifices. Instead, Revelation 11:1-2 only mentions the construction of the altar that was within the Temple itself. This is a reference to the golden altar of incense which was within the Holy Place. The Book of Revelation repeatedly alludes to this incense altar (and the priests which will serve at it in their courses) during the period prior to Christ’s return (Revelation 5:8, 10, 8:3-4, see also Psalm 141:2 and Revelation 6:9).


For this reason, we may assume that while a brazen altar and animal sacrifices are not necessary for the pre-millennial Temple’s reconstruction, an incense altar must be included. Details about this altar are provided in Exodus 30:1-10, Exodus 37:25-26, Leviticus 40:9, 2 Chronicles 4:19, and Numbers 4:11. It was constructed of Shittim wood and covered in pure gold. It had four horns, one on each corner and a gold border around the top, with rings on opposite sides through which poles (staves) were placed to carry it (Exodus 37:25-26). It was rectangular in shape and measured one cubit wide, one cubit deep, and two cubits high (approximately 1.5 feet wide, 1.5 feet deep, and 3 feet high, Exodus 37:25). It was required that incense be prepared according to Moses specifications as contained in the Old Testament (Exodus 30:9, 23, 34-35). This incense was made from four weighed measures of 1 part pure myrrh, 1/2 part sweet cinnamon, 1/2 part sweet calamus, and 1 part cassia, plus a liquid measure of olive oil. The incense altar was covered by a blue cloth (Numbers 4:11). (There is some indication that this offering was seasoned with salt.)


Pre-millennial Temple activities will therefore include resuming the daily priestly task of lighting the menorah candles and the burning of incense. This duty took place twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening (Exodus 30:7-8). It was considered a regular or continual offering (Leviticus 24:2-4). And it was accompanied by the lighting of the menorah candle (Exodus 30:7-8).


The menorah was a seven-branched candle made out of a single talent of gold (2 Chronicles 4:20, Exodus 25:31-40). Each of the six branches (candlesticks) had an almond shaped knop (bulb) and a flower (Exodus 25:33). In the candlestick there were four bowls shaped like almonds with bulbs and flowers (Exodus 25:34-35). There was a bulb under two of the branches and another bulb under two of the branches on the other side. And there were seven lamps, one on each candlestick (Exodus 25:37). There were also snuffers, basons, spoons, and censers of pure gold (at the entry of the house) that were used in conjunction with menorah (2 Chronicles 4:22).


A third item that was placed in the Holy Place was the table of showbread. Descriptions of it are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 4:19, Exodus 25:23-30. It was 2 cubits long, 1 cubit wide, and 1.5 cubits high (approximately 3 feet by 1.5 feet by 2.25 feet). It was made of shittim wood and overlaid with gold. It had a crown of gold around the top that was the width of a hand. There were four rings of gold on the corners of the feet of the table into which rods of wood overlaid with gold were place to carry the table. Dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls were used with the table of showbread. All of which were also made of pure gold. Each day the showbread was placed on the table (Exodus 25:30). The table was covered with a blue cloth where the various utensils were placed (Numbers 4:7-8). The staves were covered with a cloth of scarlet (Numbers 4:7-8).


Each day, in the morning and again in the evening, the sons of Aaron were to add oil to keep the menorah burning. At this time also twelve cakes baked from fine flour (two tenth deals in size) were set on the table of the showbread in two rows of six loaves each. Pure frankincense was placed on each of the two rows. (See Leviticus 24:1-7).

In the Old Testament period, these Temple activities required priests of Aaronic descent (Leviticus 24:3). In later biblical times, these priests were divided into 24 courses for regular service. David divided the priests for service before work had begun on the Temple (1 Chronicles 23:1-24:19). Similarly, the priests were divided into their course during the time of Ezra when the post-exilic Temple was completed (Ezra 6:18, 20). The New Testament records that (before the Temple was destroyed) the daily tasks of lighting the menorah and offering the incense were performed by priests who were selected for this task by lot (Luke 1:8-11). These priests had specific attire that they were required to wear when administrating their priestly tasks. This attire is described in Exodus 28:40-42. It included coats (tunics, long shirts), girdles (sashes, waste bands, belts), bonnets (turbans), and linen breeches (drawers, trousers) to cover their loins through their thighs. Under the Old Covenant, the priests had to be brought before the door of the tabernacle and washed with water (Exodus 29:2) and then dressed in the proper attire (Exodus 29:8-9).

However, the New Testament indicates that the Mosaic specifications for priesthood (including the requirement of descent from Abraham through Israel, Levi, and Aaron) are no longer in place in the new covenant. But, the occurrence of Temple rituals in the period before Christ’s return is established clearly in scripture. And, the operation of the Temple requires persons authorized by God to serve as priests even though those who attend to these future Temple activities may not need to be descendants of Abraham, Israel, Levi, and Aaron. (For more on this question please see our addendum to this study entitled “Daniel 9:27 and Future Temple Activities.” For more on priestly service in the New Testament please see section four of our study entitled “Priesthood and the Kinsman Redeemer” which can be found in the Redemption section of this website.)

The entrance of Holy Place of the Temple was formerly separated from the courts by a large curtain or veil. Because the New Testament is adamant that this veil was removed by Christ’s atoning work (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45, Hebrews 9:3, Hebrews 10:20), it is reasonable to conclude that the pre-millennial Temple will not include this curtain.


Likewise, it should be noted that the Old Testament required the Temple building and its instruments to be purified and consecrated for use. Under the Old Covenant this purification required animal sacrifices, specifically involving a red-heifer offering. However, the New Testament makes it clear that Christ alone has cleansed His people for service unto God (Hebrews 9:12-14, 10:20, Romans 12:1, 14:18, 15:16, Philippians 4:18, 1 Peter 1:18-19, 2:5, Revelation 7:14). The absence of animal sacrifices in the pre-millennial Temple and the adequacy of Christ’s own sacrificial work indicate that no sacrificial purification or consecration may be necessary for function to commence once the pre-millennial Temple has been built.


With these facts, in mind the pre-millennial Temple can be built. It will include a single building containing two compartments and no courts. The outer compartment of the Temple building will contain a menorah and an altar for burning incense. Temple activities will include the daily lighting of the menorah and the incense offering at morning and evening (Exodus 30:7-8). No animal sacrifices will take place. (This includes the annual sacrifices.) This regular routine will continue until the antichrist enters the Temple, defiling it, and ending the daily incense offering. This will occur at the midway point of the final week of years with 1,290 days remaining before the end of the age and Christ’s return.  


In accordance with these biblical and historical facts, it can be concluded that no additional information is needed before the Temple can be rebuilt. The work will be done by Jewish and Gentile followers of Christ, not by the antichrist or any treaty made between him and unbelievers. The Temple itself will be in a location to the south of the Moriah Platform in the area of Davidic Jerusalem somewhere near the Gihon Spring. And Temple activities will chiefly revolve around the offering of incense and prayers of the saints. In conclusion, the building of the Temple is simply a matter of God’s timing and the availability of people, resources, and the site itself.


Related Images

Aerial Photo Overlays

Overhead Schematics


Temple Model Photos

Photos from the
Mount of Olives

The Rock Under
the Dome Photo