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Fighting for Real Estate: Part #4

“Why Would God Build Another Physical Temple for Worship that Was Done Away in Christ?”

This is a continuation of a previous Blog: “Why Do the Scribes Say Elijah Must Come First?” As I stated in that Blog, there are many modern-day commentators who “spiritualize away” the teachings of Jesus Christ and His New Covenant – all to teach their “doctrines of men.” In Example #1 I provided their mishandling of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 17:12, where Jesus himself said that “Elijah had come,” and he was John the Baptist! The lengths to which they “spiritualize and negate the Words of our Lord are actually frightening. Now for Example #2, let’s look at how they also twist and negate the Words of the Apostles and Early Church, teaching that another physical Temple will be constructed, where thousands of sacrifices will be conducted daily!


Example #2 is a bit different than Example #1 from the previous Blog, that Example showed the faulty exegesis of men – negating and spiritualizing away Christ’s teaching of Old Testament Prophecy.  Example #2 will show another problem for these modern-day thinkers and their system: They are “disingenuous with the text of Scripture!”  Whoa, that’s a serious charge to bring against others who profess the name of Christ. So, let me give the example, and show their dishonesty with a New Testament text, from Acts Chapter 15:


“‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,’ says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old” (Acts 15:16-18).


With a complete absence of any Scriptural support, Dispensationalists teach that this passage predicts the rebuilding of yet another physical Temple during the Tribulation and into the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. But even a cursory examination of Acts 15 reveals something quite different. It’s not a physical temple building as Solomon’s, Nehemiah’s or even Herod’s edifices. Nor is it the portable Tent Tabernacle with which the Israelites traveled during their 40 years of wandering, and after their possession of the land. Acts 15:16-18 is a quote from the Prophecy in Amos 9:11-12 regarding a very special structure that David built early in his Kingly reign. We need to be aware that a subtle yet profound transition was happening prior to Chapter 15 in the Book of Acts. The Holy Spirit changed the trajectory of Gospel Preaching. After the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:4) – the Church was scattered – preaching the Gospel in Synagogues and to Jews only. But by Acts Chapter 11, God directed Peter to the House of Cornelius, to convert the first Gentiles recorded in Acts. In obedience to God’s command, Peter had violated Jewish customs by entering the home of Gentiles.  He then used his Apostolic Gift as Jesus had foretold (Matthew 16:19) on Gentile converts. In obedience to God’s vision and command, Peter used the “keys of the kingdom” to “bind and loose” men in, or from their sins. So, the Holy Spirit was poured out onto Gentiles, making them One with the Jews as God’s People! 


As Peter would later explain in his defense: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). Even though Paul (the Apostle to the Gentiles - Romans 11:13; Galatians 2:9), was already on the scene – it was Peter whom God sent to Cornelius. As Peter opened the door to the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius’ whole household – just as the Holy Spirit had fallen on the Jews at Pentecost – so Peter reported the whole event to the Church Elders in Jerusalem. It’s clear that the early Church had “no idea that ‘go ye into all the world to preach the Gospel” meant that Gentiles would be saved. When the Jewish Church leadership heard Peter’s account of the Holy Spirit sovereignly “baptizing Gentiles into the Body of Christ,” the writer of Acts simply says: “When they heard these things, they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’ ”  (Acts 11:18). But what is even more amazing is what happens next:


“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists (Greeks) also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all (the Gentiles) to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (Acts 11:19-23).


Paul and Barnabas had been proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus across Asia Minor (present day Turkey), preaching in Synagogues to the Jews, but also to Gentiles. The Holy Spirit of God had orchestrated “opening the door” to the Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles – and had used Paul and Barnabus to do it!  But when they returned from this “1st Missionary Voyage” to the Church at Antioch (who had sent them out), they joyously reported all that God had done through them:


“And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).


Not everyone was excited that God was blessing their message, and saving Gentiles. The first verse we read in Acts 15 says as much:


“But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’  And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question” (Acts 15:1-2).


This is the context of Acts 15, a dispute over whether Gentiles could: “Repent, be Baptized in the Name of Jesus and Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38), or did they need to: “Be Circumcised and keep the Law of Moses?” Understanding the context is everything to discerning James’ teaching in the passage quoted above. Acts 15:13-19 is an amazing passage when understood in its context.


“After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon (Simon Peter) has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this, the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’ Therefore, my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God” (Acts 15:13-19).


Over the past 175 years as Dispensationalism developed, the teaching of a “Rebuilt Temple” in Jerusalem has become a center-piece of their system. Since the New Testament teaches a contrary view – that is, We, The Church of Jesus Christ Are Being Built into a Spiritual Temple to the Lord, (Ephesians 2:22). Acts 15:16 has been erroneously used to teach that it was prophesied in the Book of Amos and repeated in the Book of Acts that God purposed to rebuild the physical Temple in Jerusalem at some point in the future!  At the Church Council in Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas give their account of the Holy Spirit’s powerful work in converting and bringing Gentile Believers into the Kingdom. Then James quotes Amos 9:11-12, and ties this prophecy to rebuilding David’s Fallen Tent that housed the Arc until the days David’s son, Solomon built the Temple. James is saying that Gentiles being made a part of “The People of God” was the Fulfillment of Amos’ prophecy that the “tent of David would be rebuilt,” NOT a physical Temple! 


It’s here that J.N. Darby, C.I. Schofield and others were disingenuous with the text. Amos, as virtually all scholars – both Jewish and Christian, have taught for over 2,000 years – that the Hebrew text of Amos and the Greek text of the Book of Acts – are referring to a Temporary Tent.  David built this structure to house the Arc of the Covenant after he successfully brought it back to Jerusalem (1 Samuel 6:17; Chronicles 16:1). This Tent was NOT the portable “Tabernacle” (the large tent-like structure) that Israel carried with them as they wandered for 40 years, nor is this passage Talking About a Physical Temple Made of Stone and Wood to Be Built in The Future! This structure was much smaller, and its construction unlike the temple. The Arc of the Covenant sat in a “Tent” without the “tabernacle’s” formal restrictions, keeping the people away from God. There was no Holy Place, nor an inner room walled off by a Curtained Veil. The people of God were in the presence of the Arc, that is, in the presence of God! David offered sacrifices for the people, while both men and women partook of the food, wine, singing and celebrating that David had provided. This wasn’t the normal solemn priestly separation with the worshipers excluded from the presence of God. We really need to ask: What is happening here?


Let me leave you with the account from 1 Chronicles Chapter 16:


“And they brought in the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. Asaph was the chief, and second to him were Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom, and Jeiel, who were to play harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord by Asaph and his brothers” (1 Chronicles 16:1-7).


So, what was this Tent of David, and what did it prefigure in God’s plan of Salvation? I’ll explain it in more detail in our next Blog, but suffice it to say: The Holy Spirit inspired James, an Elder in the Church in Jerusalem to link the Gentiles coming to Faith in Christ with rebuilding David’s Tent. There must be something about the Gentiles believing the message of “Faith Alone,” and the Old Testament event where David built a Tent to house the “presence of God.” But to be more specific: David building a Tent for God’s presence, and Gentiles being restored without Circumcision, Law-Keeping and Rituals!  James explains, what Paul and Barnabas were reporting, was “just like the joyous occasion at the beginning of David’s reign as the King of Israel, where David provided his worshiping people, both Male and Female, Slaves and Free (no doubt even some Gentile servants in the mix), bread, meat and a cake of raisins along with worshipful singing and praise music!   How’s that for a clue!


Soli Deo Gloria!

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Question: If there is no physical rebuilt temple coming in the End Times, how do we reconcile Rev. 11 with this (Measure the temple of God and outer court...)?


What about 2 Thess. 2:4 (AC sits in Temple of God saying he is God)? And Christ spoke of the man of sin standing in the "holy place", where he ought not. Mark 13:14, Matt. 24:15. (Aside: I personally read Dan. 9:27 as something like this: Because of the enormous amount of abominations going on in the world, God will make it all desolate. Remember that all over the OT Prophets God promises to cause desolation due to His abhorring all the sin going on. (Lev. 26:22, Jer 4:7, 9:…


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Great question. Firs off, the dating of the Book of Revelation has been skewed, many believing that it was written "post-70 AD" after the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. They base this date on a non-biblical statement made by Clement. Let me refer you to a great book that will challenge your thinking about the dating of Revelation: "Before Jerusalem Fell" by Kenneth Gentry. Great book.


So, like many others before me, one of the things that makes John's gospel different, and not called a "synoptic gospel" like Matthew, Mark and Luke is the absence of an Olivet Discourse. I believe that John accomplished the same Spirit-inspired goal that the other gospel writers accomplished with the Olivet Discourse, he tell…


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34Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. Dan 2, 34-35


A perfect clue about THE PROPHECIES OF ALL PROPHECIES of a TENT OF GOD ALMIGHTY'S CHILDREN made out of THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ONLY!

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" Over the past 175 years as Dispensationalism developed, the teaching of a “Rebuilt Temple” in Jerusalem has become a center-piece of their system. Since the New Testament teaches a contrary view – that is, We, The Church of Jesus Christ Are Being Built into a Spiritual Temple to the Lord, (Ephesians 2:22). Acts 15:16 has been erroneously used to teach that it was prophesied in the Book of Amos and repeated in the Book of Acts that God purposed to rebuild the physical Temple in Jerusalem at some point in the future! At the Church Council in Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas give their account of the Holy Spirit’s powerful work in converting and bringing Gentile Believers into th…


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