I know my fellow Pre-Millennial Futurists are very afraid of any interpretation of Scripture that can be viewed as less then Literal. I have more and more come to feel Literal is not the right word, what I say is that I take The Bible seriously.
What I want to discus here is that denying that the Old Testament Prophecies of a future Temple might very well be fulfilled by the New Testament Doctrine of The Church as The Temple of God, demeans the importance of that NT Doctrine in ways that I feel damage our Understanding of God's Word more then any allegorical interpretation of Scripture ever could.
And I don't view it as merely symbolic, as of Pentecost The Church is absolutely the literal definition of what a Temple is, in both Pagan and Judeo-Christian thought a Temple is what houses the Divine. It is only what sounds like the description of a building and sacrifices that is interpreted as symbolic here.
And this Doctrine isn't limited to Paul, which I mention not just because of the Anti-Paul people out there, but because a Doctrine needs more then one witness. It's in Revelation, both in the message to the church at Philadelphia and in the description of New Jerusalem (The 12 Apostles as Pillars is referencing Paul's own terminology in Ephesians 2 and Galatians). And if you don't think Paul wrote Hebrews, Hebrews alludes to it. Jesus teaches in John 4 that a time will come when God no longer dwells in a Temple building. And it's implied that's what Stephen was stoned for teaching in Acts 6-7. And it's in 1 Peter 2:4-5.
I've seen people say that Paul teaches the doctrine in the sense of an Individual Believer's Body being God's Temple only once so we can't build Doctrine on that (in 1 Corinthians in chapter 3 and 6). However Peter refers to his Body as The Tabernacle in 1 Peter 1:13-14. That is a second Witness more so then another reference from Paul would be.
Meanwhile in John's Gospel Chapter 2, we see Jesus refer to His Body as "This Temple". That means that the doctrine of The Church as the Temple of God is inherently related to The Church as The Body of Christ.
And I've already talked about how The Body of Christ and Bride of Christ doctrine are related because of when Jesus says a Husband and Wife become one Flesh, and how Eve was made from Adam's flesh. And the same passages of Revelation I alluded to above also reference the Bride of Christ doctrine.
And plenty of Prophecies about either The Millennium or the New Jerusalem lack any reference to a Temple. The Christian Doctrine of The Millennium is dependent on Revelation 20 and 1 Corinthians 15, neither mentions a Temple building. Ezekiel 37 I view as about The Millennium and it mentions no Temple, Paul quotes Ezekiel 37 when building his Church as the Temple doctrine in 2 Corinthians 6:16. Even Zechariah 14 while talking about the Feast of Tabernacles being observed doesn't mention a Temple, Torah observant Christians observe that Feast without needing a Temple.
Isaiah 65 and 66 are viewed as about The Millennium by many but the New Heaven and New Earth by me. Either way he makes clear there will be no Sacrifices.
Ezekiel 40-49 is the only presumed Prophecy of The Millennium that in detail describes a Temple Building and Sacrifices being carried out, there is no second Witness, other passages you can take as referring to a Temple in The Millennium lack details. Yet the part on Yahuah-Shammah is clearly among what Revelation is drawing on in it's account of New Jerusalem, where all Christian agree the only Temple is The Church.
And when The Holy Days are discussed in Ezekiel 45, First Fruits, Pentecost, Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are left out. Those happen to be the Holy Days most dependent on the Temple rituals.
And so here I point back to my past discussions on Ezekiel's Temple.
So now you may ask, what about the "Third Temple" as in a Temple The Antichrist will desecrate?
Historicism is predicated on saying The Temple Paul refers to in II Thessalonians 2 is the same one he means in the Corinthian Epistles and Ephesians 2. My issue there is mainly that Paul clearly means something unmistakable. Even so the idea that the literal and symbolic meaning could both true is possible, I have for many reasons become convinced The Antichrist will be within The Church. But the issues with saying The Pope fulfilled this already are endless.
I firmly believe the Eschatological portions of the Thessalonian Epistles were Paul's commentary on the Olivite Discourses. Jesus didn't use the word Temple there, but in both Matthew and Mark there is no denying he is using geographical terms.
Mark 13's Abomination of Desolation reference has often been interpreted to imply the location of The Temple but not necessary require the building itself to still be standing. Which is why many have seen Hadrian's Temple built after the Bar Kokhba Revolt as fulfilling this.
However most of my fellow Futurists feel Matthew 24 saying "in" and 'Holy Place" mean inside a Temple building. But in fact the Greek terminology there can refer to an outside as well as inside location, the word for "in" is sometimes also translated "on".
The only reference to an Earthly Temple building in Revelation is at the start of Revelation 11. In that case I recently read someone arguing that what the Greek Text actually says is that in 42 months Jerusalem will be trodden under foot of the Gentiles for an indeterminate amount of time. I have shown that Luke 21 begins that time frame when The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
This person was a Futurist in their overall view of Revelation. But argued this passage is about the time John received the Revelation being 42 months before September of 70 AD when Titus fully secured control of the City. However this was an Anti-Paul website that teaches a lot of bad doctrine.
What's most important is that I have come to an understanding of the Image of The Beast that says the final Abomination of Desolation won't happen till after The Beast's mortal wound is healed. Which in turn can't happen till after the Abyss has been unlocked is Revelation 9. And that is why the Historicist view of II Thessalonians fails.
At the same time, I am now open to a Pre-Millenial Futurist view that does not require any future Temple Building.
But also, since I now think The Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple were originally Domes. And the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque are both Domed buildings. Is it possible one of them could be considered close enough? The issue of where the Holy Place was in relation to those buildings I've discussed in the past and will again.
Long time viewers of this Blog may recall that there not being enough time to rebuild The Temple was why I abandoned my 2018-2025 70th Week model (that came from the Suleiman the Magnificent theory). Am I now willing to revive that? Maybe, but I don't want to definitively predict anything.
I'm not saying for sure there will be no Third Temple. But I'm saying i don't think it's quite as required as it used to be.