Question for Amillennialist

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au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The same thing I do with the beasts in Daniel's visions, the olive branches in Zechariah's visions, etc. Jesus is the final temple, the heavenly temple to which the earthly temple pointed. His body is the temple, and the old typical temple is done away - for ever. The Church is the temple of the Holy Ghost because we are Christ's mystical body by our union with Him. See, for example, Matthew 24, the whole book of Hebrews, etc.
 

GoodTreeMinistries.com

Puritan Board Freshman
The same thing I do with the beasts in Daniel's visions, the olive branches in Zechariah's visions, etc. Jesus is the final temple, the heavenly temple to which the earthly temple pointed. His body is the temple, and the old typical temple is done away - for ever. The Church is the temple of the Holy Ghost because we are Christ's mystical body by our union with Him. See, for example, Matthew 24, the whole book of Hebrews, etc.

Thank you for your response! In Daniel the Bible tells use what is meant so we do not need to guess. I understand your point on the olive tree and Zechariah references. I think however you have a problem since it talks about animal sacrifices inside the temple and gives exact measurements. I will agree with your side that the kingdom has come Spiritual. However it will not be fully come until it is here physically. Yes the church is Spiritual Israel but there is still a physical Israel the Bible takes about. I see this last part of Ezekiel as a big problem for the amill side. Just like when we take about Election Romans 9 is a huge problem for the other side.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think the argument for a "literal" temple out of Ezekiel
(in opposition to an alternative approach, not in consideration of precise differences in millennial expectation)
comes down to this:

1. Ezekiel's description is lengthy

2. Ezekiel's description is detailed​

From these two points it is deduced (falsely) that there must be a physical, that is to say: stones, beams, and full spatial aspect elaboration of the "blueprint;" further, which expectation comes about in history--that is, prior to the final consummation of this world, and the inauguration of the new heavens and earth.

But this understanding is only a grand (grandest?) expression of the "literalist" hermeneutic, as applied to the prophetic Scriptures (i.e., if it can be conceived in a physical way, then the supposed natural expectation is that it will be fulfilled in that way). If these points are taken away, there is no argument here.

There may be other reasons--intertextual relations, interpretive commitments, etc.--that one may choose to approach and interpret the Ezekiel material in a spatio-temporal manner. But a simple appeal to the number of chapters, or the amount of detail recorded, do not constitute a substantive argument. That is, this appeal to length and detail isn't a rebuttal, but only a statement of interpretive preference. It does not overturn alternative proposals by simply dismissing them on these two bases.

Why do these criteria make such a difference? What about the value of a symbol? Or the value of a single detail in another prophecy? Shorter prophecies we know of were fulfilled after a literal manner; longer prophecies than those were fulfilled after a metaphorical manner. The length of a prophecy or its detail don't correlate to any kind of expectation (metaphoric or symbolic), so far as fulfillments have already been recorded in the Scriptures themselves.

Ezekiel's entire report is that of a vision. Unless we are prepared to argue that every vision received by anyone in Scripture is intended for a kind of "video-reference,"--the substance of which is then "replayed in real-life" at a later hour--an occasional form of the argument is exceeding weak. And since we already know that numerous visions in the Bible are not "preplays" (as opposed to replays), the strong-form of the argument is insupportable, and the lesser claim is not compelling.

So, once again it comes down to the length and the detail of Ezekiel's description. If you already think that there shall be a new temple in/about Jerusalem in the future; if you already think there will be sacrifices reinstituted in that context, etc., then it makes sense to interpret Ezekiel's vision in something along the lines of a physical structure.

If you do not think that any such expectations are firmly established from any other place in Scripture; and if you do not believe that Ezekiel or his believing contemporaries (or later Jewish generations) themselves received Ezekiel's prophecy as a physical-expectation; then you have no impulse to interpret the text in a spatio-temporal manner. Unless, as already shown, one is predisposed to take the length and the detail of the description as prime indicators of a physical construction yet to come.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Jeremy,

Welcome to PB!

This question of the millennial temple is what pushed me over the line of premil to amil. I was in a colloquium with two Jewish pastor friends (I also am a Jew) discussing what impact our being Jewish had on our faith in Christ. Well, my two friends were talking about the glories of the new temple-to-be-built in Jerusalem when Messiah returned to reign there, and it of a sudden struck me how strange that was, and I said to them, “Haven’t you guys ever read the Book of Hebrews?” As there it talks about the doing away with the old temple worship and Levitical priesthood and offerings. I know premil folks will talk about the millennial temple sacrifices as being simply a memorial of Messiah’s sacrifice, but how lame is that!?

It is written, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old [obsolete NASB ESV]. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb 8:13). Thus, they are no longer priests who are of the Levitical/Aaronic order, and have no right to make sacrifices, seeing as the temple veil was rent and the holy place removed from earth, as God now dwells in the heavens, Jesus is the sole and high priest, and we have boldness “to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19).

The Lord of glory having anything to do with a temple made of crumbling stones, unauthorized priests, and bleeding livestock after He has offered the sacrifice of Himself once for all on the cursed tree, is shameful!

Is He not building a temple of living stones (1 Peter 2:5), in which He dwells, and which is the glory of New Jerusalem on New Earth, the Lamb and God the light and glory of it? Into this temple I call my countrymen after the flesh, to seek the favor of the High Priest, and to rejoice in the ongoing celebration and praises offered the living God. This is the eternal temple, never to crumble, the house of light in which God and His people abide forever in His care and glory.

To add onto Pastor Bruce’s remarks above, it is the very details that refute the literal hermeneutic. For instance, in the first chapters of Ezekiel 40 the information given is not sufficient for an architect to build the temple; to quote Pastor Iain Duguid’s Ezekiel commentary, for “many details....are lacking, most notably the height dimensions and construction materials” (p 479). Daniel Bock in his commentary on Ezekiel concurs: with reference to the outer East gate he says, “Like most of the account to follow, the materials used to construct the item are not specified” (Vol 2, p 517), and, “The information offered by the narrative is insufficient to construct the gates. We do not know how high they were or the material used to build them” (Ibid, p 523). Compare this with the minute detail given Moses in constructing the sanctuary, which was meant to be built.

This temple shown Ezekiel was not so meant! If one considers its structure it is more like – for those times – a massive fortress, especially the gates. It is symbolic, like the heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation 21 is symbolic. They both are meant to convey the impenetrable holy of holies by anything that would defile it. They both depict – but especially the Revelation vision – the holiness and exquisite perfection of beauty of God’s temple, which is Himself, and the Lamb (Rev 21:22), and His bride, and the renewed earth which is home to the Godhead and His children, for God will walk among us in the glory of His Person.

The very last words of Ezekiel and his prophecy are “The LORD is there” (Ezek 48:35), Jehovah Shammah, even as our Jesus is named Immanuel, God with us, world without end.

__________

From Edmund P. Clowney’s, The Final Temple:

Ezekiel’s vision of the new temple is part of this prophetic pattern of a restoration so total that it sublimates the ceremonial structure in glory. Ezekiel’s restoration returns David to the throne, and sees a temple that is a sanctuary of Paradise where the river of life flows from God’s throne past trees whose leaves are for the healing of the nations (Ezek 47:1-12). Consummation glory burns in the name of the city, “The Lord is there” (Ezek 48:35).
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
May I recommend The writings of Charles. D. Alexander, Grace Alone site. if you click on
Prophecy Spiritually Understood.He has a series, No6 headed. 'No Third Temple'. Such was the ire of the Brethren
against his attacks on Pre-millennialism, that they used to publicly burn his writings. All his writings are highly profitable,
and he was a great loss to us when he was called home, but great gain to him.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
May I recommend The writings of Charles. D. Alexander, Grace Alone site. if you click on
Prophecy Spiritually Understood.He has a series, No6 headed. 'No Third Temple'. Such was the ire of the Brethren
against his attacks on Pre-millennialism, that they used to publicly burn his writings. All his writings are highly profitable,
and he was a great loss to us when he was called home, but great gain to him.
Many thanks for the reference. Went to the Grace Alone site and found sermons by G.I. Williamson and Francis Nigel Lee, among others. Welcome to GraceAlone.COM

I'm assuming the site you pointed to is All By Grace ; Charles D. Alexander
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Here is another look at the matter (an article written a while ago, and not directed specifically to any here at PB!):


WHAT JERUSALEM? WHAT TEMPLE?


There is an ancient plot of land in Jerusalem the Jews call the Temple Mount, while the Muslims call it (and the building on it) Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), aka, the Dome of the Rock. A journalist recently said of this place, “That is the epicenter of Jewish-Arab tension in this land since the beginning of the national conflict.”[SUP][a][/SUP]

The back cover of this journalist’s book on the subject reads, “Here nationalism combines with fundamentalist faith in a volatile brew. Members of the world’s three major monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—hold this spot to be the key to salvation as they await the end of the world, and struggle to fulfill conflicting religious prophecies with dangerous political consequences.”[SUP] [/SUP]

The matter before us now concerns the Christians. A great block of them agree with certain fundamentalist Jews that the Temple must be rebuilt on this piece of land, and the Muslim mosque which stands there now — the third holiest shrine in Islam — must come down, one way or another. For these particular Christians, the imagined scenario is: the church will be raptured out[SUP][c][/SUP], the Antichrist will be revealed, and the Tribulation period will commence; after three and a half years the Antichrist will proclaim himself God from the rebuilt Temple precincts, and in another three and a half years the Lord Jesus will return, fight Armageddon, and His Millennial reign over the earth from Jerusalem will commence, and after this eternity proper will ensue. Thus saith the Left Behind books and the Dispensationalist teachers!

There is no room to refute these latter here (the interested reader is referred to a couple of books for this, one brief[SUP][d][/SUP], one comprehensive[SUP][e][/SUP]), but we will look at some vital Biblical principles involved: a) Where is the Jerusalem in which God’s Temple is located? b) Where is the Israel in which God Himself dwells, in great power? And, c) What is the Temple God is building?

We know there are two Jerusalems: the apostle Paul puts it like this, “…Jerusalem which now is…is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”[SUP][f][/SUP] Elsewhere the Scripture speaks of “the heavenly Jerusalem”[SUP][g][/SUP], and “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven.”[SUP][h][/SUP]

Is there a Temple in the Jerusalem above? The 21st chapter in Revelation tells us “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.”[SUP][/SUP] Is not the Temple with which Jesus’ brothers and sisters have to do this very one? For Scripture says, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”[SUP][j][/SUP] Do we not now “enter into the holiest”[SUP][k][/SUP], and is not our mercy seat the very “throne of grace”[SUP][l][/SUP] where mercy is lavished on those sprinkled with that precious blood?

If we have so great a salvation, the substance of which was only shadowed by the great types of the old covenant, why do we deceive the Jews, supporting their dreams of a paltry temple built of crumbling stones, and in which the blood of animals will be shed once again, which cannot cleanse their souls, thus ensuring their entrance into Hell? Do you think this is God’s agenda? The plumbline of discernment is this, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”[SUP][m][/SUP] Whatever prophetic or covenantal scenarios may be thought up, that standard determines the eternal destiny of men. Everyone who dies outside of Messiah, the High Priest of the everlasting Temple, perishes in the Gehenna of souls.

Why are we hiding from the Jews the proclamation of the true Temple, the true blood of sprinkling? Not only are the Christian supporters of the mock temple enemies of the Jews, foisting upon these lost souls their own agenda, they are enemies of the Arabs, as they incite the Jews to war upon them, also hinting that to destroy the Dome of the Rock would not be a bad idea, and as they do these things they utterly disgrace the name of the only One who can give eternal life to the Arab world. The Jews and Arabs are thus made expendable pawns as these Christians attempt to manipulate into actuality their version of the Apocalypse! (Please note: not all followers of Christ are of this ilk!)

Christians! Reason this out. Do you not know that the Temple of the living God is also here in this world now? By virtue of our union with Christ — made one body with Him[SUP][n][/SUP] — His people, along with Him, are now considered the temple of God. Speaking of the Gentiles (Arabs as well!) being included into “the household of God”[SUP][o][/SUP] — which Paul identifies moments earlier as “the commonwealth of Israel”[SUP][p][/SUP] — he says of these two peoples in Christ, they are, “an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”[SUP][q][/SUP] The Jews and the Gentiles in Christ are the household of God, His Israel, and His temple. Paul says it again: “for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”[SUP][r] [/SUP]

The apostle Peter puts it this way, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”[SUP][/SUP] Why do we not proclaim that the God of Israel is building a great house — His Temple — stone by living stone? What do you think Paul meant when he spoke of provoking the Jews to jealousy, if it is not this very thing? There is a great celebration going on in the nearly completed Temple! Can we not call both Jew and Arab to come in? Can we not tell them that to build upon the tears, sweat, and blood of those in Palestine is an affront to God, for upon His own blood, His own tears and sweat, He built a Temple eternal in the Heavens, and which He shall bring to earth after the great resurrection, with abundance of shalom for all those blessed to be in that glorious Kingdom?

The true Jerusalem for the Christian is the heavenly; the true temple is the Lord Jesus and those living stones built into Him; the true Israel is that Representative and King descended from the patriarch of that name — the only One now worthy of the name[SUP][t][/SUP] — and that community, that nation, which cleaves to Him, even becoming part of His body. Those of Jewish blood living in the Jewish state need to hear these things! They need to hear of Israel’s true and eternal return from exile in Messiah — or they perish! Why not tell them of the joy the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has prepared for those who return to Him in these last days? What? Have we been so saturated with the “blood and guts” of Hollywood’s “modern warriors” and “heroes” that we impose this conquest-through-violence on the kingdom of Christ? Beware, for those who live by violence — and incite others to it — shall die by it.

If these things be true – and a Reformed hermeneutic supports it – why do we not simply stand for the vision of Christ, holding forth the Kingdom He proclaimed, a kingdom not of this world? At least not yet of this world, as the day is coming when the new earth will contain only His kingdom, a kingdom of such glory and wonder we can barely imagine it.

But instead of this, Christians, why do you persist in fomenting the bloodshed between two peoples we are called to serve in love and illumine with the light of Messiah? You do the Jewish state (it is not worthy the name Israel) the gravest injustice in failing to call it to repentance. And you do the Arab world as grave an injustice by urging the Jews on in their aggression. How many of you know of Israel Shahak’s book, Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies, where he tells how close Moshe Dayan (then Commander-in-Chief of the Jewish Armed Forces) came to using nuclear weapons against Syria in 1973, declaring “the Syrian cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia should be obliterated.” He was only stopped by Golda Meir and Henry Kissinger (pages, 39, 48, 49). And then there is what the Jewish military calls “the last-minute option,” which could be used in the event the Jewish state is being defeated by means of conventional warfare, and consists of “a devastation by nuclear weapons of a considerable number of Arab urban centres and such crucial installations as the Aswan Dam (whose destruction was envisaged in Israel before 1973).” (page 38)[SUP][/SUP]

The “light of the world” you are urging the Jewish state to be is the light of nuclear holocaust upon its neighbors, an abomination you are supporting in the name of Christ. This “Christian” influence pushing for a conflagration of violence in the Middle East comes mostly from America.

In your deceiving the world about what “being Israel” means — this very heart of the issue of salvation! — do you think you will continue in this with impunity, putting the world at such awful risk with your hard-hearted delusion and blindness? You might unwittingly err in your distorting the prophecies, but your eyes are wide open to see the consequences and cost in terms of human suffering. May God silence you.

----------

Footnotes:

a “Jerusalem Holy Site a Tense Crossroads Again,” by James Bennet, NYTimes.com article, August 29, 2003.
b The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, by Gershom Gorenberg (Oxford Univ. Press, 2002). From the back cover.
c Some other Dispensational views have the church raptured — taken to Heaven — during or after the Tribulation.
d An Examination of Dispensationalism, by William E. Cox (Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1963)
e Wrongly Dividing The Word Of Truth: A Critique Of Dispensationalism, by John H. Gerstner (Soli Deo Gloria Pub., 2000)
f Galatians 4:25, 26
g Hebrews 12:22
h Revelation 21:2
i Revelation 21:22
j Hebrews 12:22, 24
k Hebrews 10:19
l Hebrews 4:16
m 1 John 5:12
n 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:15, 16; 5:29, 30
o Ephesians 2:18
p Ephesians 2:12
q Ephesians 2:21, 22
r 2 Corinthians 6:16
s 1 Peter 2:5
t Genesis 32:28, “as a prince hast thou power with God and with men.” Isaiah 49:3 (cf 49:1-3, 5-10)
u Another shocking and revealing book by Shahak is, Jewish Fundamentalism In Israel (Pluto Press, 1999)
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
Jim, if it has the list of his writings that's the one. Steve
thanks for your contributions on the subject, it gets lonely
where I am combatting the other views.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Quite simply, Acts 15 shows that the divine rebuilder is God, not man, and that it was a-fulfilling in the calling of the Gentiles. Without this redemptive-historical development the Jews would have every right to denounce Gentile worship as idolatrous. Those Gentiles who insist on the rebuilding of a literal temple only succeed in denouncing themselves.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
As the Book of Ezekiel was written during the Babylonian exile, and the Israelistes would later return to the land and build the second temple, is it possible he was prophesying both the rebuilding of the second Temple and types and shadows of Christ being the temple?
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
What do you do with your view on the last temple spoken of in Ezekiel? Can a temple this descriptive really be symbolic or metaphorical? This temple seems to be a physical not spiritual temple.

Here is a link to why I am a Premill person. Examining Amillennialism

I believe the temple is symbolic precisely because of the details of the description.

Fairbairn writes:
There are things in the description which, taken literally, are in the highest degree improbable, and even involve some natural impossibilities. This was long ago marked by Lightfoot, in regard to the dimensions of the temple and city: "And now, if any one will take up the full circuit of the wall that encompassed the holy ground, according to our English measure, it will amount to half a mile and about 166 yards. And whosoever likewise will measure the square of Ezek. xlii. 20, he will find it six times as large as this, the whole amounting to three miles and a half and about 140 yards--a compass incomparably greater than Mount Moriah divers times over. And by this very thing is showed that that is spiritually understood. ... Ezekiel's temple is delineated larger than all the earthly Jerusalem, and his Jerusalem larger than all the land of Canaan." ...

What in this passage is called the city, it must be borne in mind, includes the oblation of holy ground set apart for the prince, the priests, and the Levites, whose residence was to be in immediate connection with the city. Taken thus, the statement of Lightfoot is not far from the truth. ... According to the most exact modes of computation, the prophet's measurements give for the outer wall of the temple a square of an English mile, and about a seventh on each side, and for the whole city a space of between three and four thousand square miles. There is no reason to suppose that the boundaries of the ancient city exceeded two miles and a half in circumference ... while here the circumference of the wall of the temple is nearly twice as much. So that the first part of Lightfoot's statement, that the bounds of Ezekiel's temple exceeded those of the whole city, is perfectly correct; but in regard to the other part, in which he asserts the bounds of the city to be greater than those of the whole land of Canaan, some exception must be taken, if by Canaan be meant the whole that Israel ever possessed on both sides of the Jordan, which is computed at fully double of Ezekiel's square--somewhere between ten and eleven thousand square miles. If understood of Canaan proper, the land lying between Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, the portion here allotted for the city might in that case equal the whole land. But taking the land at the largest ... is manifest proof of the ideal character of the representation; the more especially when we consider that that sacred portion is laid off in a regular square, with the temple on Mount Zion in the center.

--An Exposition of Ezekiel, pp 437,438

Get Fairbairn's commentary on Ezekiel. It will change the way you read prophesy. It did for me.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I'm sorry if my post #11 above What Jerusalem? What Temple? comes across as harsh. Nor was it meant to individuals here, but to the Dispensational-based doctrine prevalent widely in the U.S., and especially among our politicians and policy-makers (at least as formulated in years past). This is one teaching that, when gotten wrong, leads to bloodshed. When our government, or private sector fundraisers, respectively, send military armaments, and large amounts of money to the government in Jerusalem – seeing this nation as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and blessed of God in its activities this translates into sanctioning violence against non-Jewish non-combatant peoples. I think specifically of Palestinian friends of mine in Bethlehem, Presbyterian pastors (a father and son) whose people are regularly oppressed by Israeli forces and policies. Note: I am not referring to "Christian Palestinianism", a non-Biblical movement of anti-Israel politics and false theology.

Our Palestinian brethren in Christ suffer at the hands of the Jewish state (of course, resisting terrorism and terrorists is legitimate!). If the gospel were preached in truth to the Jewish people, rather than the Dispensational perversion of it which supports ungodly activities of the government and military, and a false view of Christ's kingdom, we would be bringing souls to Messiah, and not being complicit in injustice and bigotry.
 
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GoodTreeMinistries.com

Puritan Board Freshman
I am a Plank of Woodist. Here is video Plank of Wood - YouTube This is slightly different than New Covenantalist. The difference is how End Times are viewed. I disagree with Dispensationalism as a system. Great video if you have time!

With that said I like the Puritan Board because I know most of the responses on here are thought out and have been studied. I have looked into the articles posted above and still do not see the Temple as just a vision but a vision that had a description of a temple to come. This is not the second temple because it has different measurements.

I do not understand how a lot of people on the reformed side can say spiritual Israel is the same as Physical Israel. I agree spiritual Israel and the spiritual kingdom are both here now. I also understand both of these have not physically taken place yet. I am glad I am in the Spiritual Kingdom as of when the gospel was preached to me and God gave me faith to enable me to repent and believe. I also look forward to this being a physical reality in my life one day. The only way you can explain the Jews still being here today is because God wanted them to be. It seems the only thing people can agree on is they hate the Jews. I think the amill side took a big hit once the Jews became a nation again and started to come back as a physical people. It makes since they would go back to their roots and build a temple. All of this seems to be in the bible just as it is happening now. This temple will start out with animal sacrifices again. There will be no need for the sacrifices once Jesus returns and they realize who Jesus really is.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Remember that amillennialism, postmillenialism and historic premillenialism all agree that the new Israel is believers, Jews and Gentiles, together, based on verses like this. That is, that there is one continuous people of God, Old Testament to New Testament. The notion that "Israel" and "the church" are separate and somehow have different plans of redemption is relatively recent, beginning with Mr. Darby in the mid 1800's.

That doesn't automatically mean the late is wrong. But it does mean the witness of church history is overwhelmingly different than that which has become popular of late :

Galatians 6:16
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I am a Plank of Woodist. Here is video Plank of Wood - YouTube This is slightly different than New Covenantalist. The difference is how End Times are viewed. I disagree with Dispensationalism as a system. Great video if you have time!

With that said I like the Puritan Board because I know most of the responses on here are thought out and have been studied. I have looked into the articles posted above and still do not see the Temple as just a vision but a vision that had a description of a temple to come. This is not the second temple because it has different measurements.

I do not understand how a lot of people on the reformed side can say spiritual Israel is the same as Physical Israel. I agree spiritual Israel and the spiritual kingdom are both here now. I also understand both of these have not physically taken place yet. I am glad I am in the Spiritual Kingdom as of when the gospel was preached to me and God gave me faith to enable me to repent and believe. I also look forward to this being a physical reality in my life one day. The only way you can explain the Jews still being here today is because God wanted them to be. It seems the only thing people can agree on is they hate the Jews. I think the amill side took a big hit once the Jews became a nation again and started to come back as a physical people. It makes since they would go back to their roots and build a temple. All of this seems to be in the bible just as it is happening now. This temple will start out with animal sacrifices again. There will be no need for the sacrifices once Jesus returns and they realize who Jesus really is.

The terms "physical Israel" and "spiritual Israel" are not in Scripture. Neither, actually, are "New Israel" or "true Israel". The terms used are "Israel after the flesh" (I Cor.10) for the Jewish people, and the "Israel of God" (Gal.6:16) for all Jews and Gentiles who believe in Christ. We learn from Romans 11 that there will always be an overlap between Israel after the flesh and the Israel of God, and some of the Reformed, e.g. John Murray, believe that there will also be a national conversion of the Jewish people before the Eschaton.

The return of some of the Jewish people to what was historically their ancient homeland is interesting and providentially significant, and if and when they turn to Christ will appear more so,but the historical connection between the Land and the Jewish people, although ongoing and real, outlived the typological significance it had before Christ's advent, when the whole earth, including Israel/Palestine became the sphere of inheritance for the Israel of God (e.g. Matt.5:5).

Talk of physical and spiritual Israel is misleading in that all human beings are physical, including Jews and Gentiles who are circumcised in heart; it sounds as if "physical Israel" and "spiritual Israel" are completely distinct entities when there are "physical Israelites" who are also "spiritual Israelites" and thevonly way of salvation for "physical Israel" is to come into "spiritual Israel"; the salvation of "spiritual Israel" is not just "spiritual"; the terminology encourages the notion that the "physical" typology of the OT, in which spiritual realities were taught to the childhood church by "weak and beggarly elements" should be clung to by "physical Israel", whether they are converted or not, ultimately in the rebuilding of the Temple.

The whole terminology of "physical Israel" and "spiritual Israel" is just bad, misleading and unbiblical.


Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Jeremy,

I listened to the video on what “Plank of Woodist” means. Here are some of the thoughts of the speaker:

“What does the text say? That’s what the text means to say. . . . We don’t interpret the text, we read and understand it at face value.”

“We need to be brave enough to say everything the Bible says . . . But, we have to be cautious enough, we have to be reverent enough, we have to be respectful of the word enough to not say what the Bible doesn’t say.”


The problem with this “method of interpretation” (for it is an hermeneutical method) is that it seems to ignore differing genres in the Bible, which by their very nature are to be understood according to how they are meant to be understood, which are not always at their face value. For example, in Genesis 40 and 41 Joseph is told some dreams with symbolic images in them and he interprets the meanings the various symbols signify. Likewise Daniel in Daniel 2, 4, 5, 7, 8-11 interprets symbolic images, given by God – or a God-sent angel – to discern the realities those images signify.

Likewise this is true in other books of the Bible, and in Revelation, which is also full of symbolic imagery needing to be interpreted (by the way, the words interpreted, interpretation, etc are used many times in the Bible).

I recommend the mp3 lecture by Greg Beale, “Two Witnesses in Revelation”, on understanding symbolism as used in Revelation 11, according to the apocalyptic-prophetic genre.

About “spiritual Israel vs physical Israel”, that has already been well addressed by others, but I would like to say that the crux of the matter pertains to the name “Israel”. What is Israel? Paul does use the word referring to the Jews, but this was before the destruction of the Temple and disbanding of the nation. Jesus had warned the leaders of the nation this would happen in Matthew 21:43: “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” The nation that gathered around their king, and by virtue of their union with the one true representative of Israel, were likewise denominated Israel. Even today, there is God’s Israel in the world, a multi-national nation, and it is a nation comprised of actual, living, physical people. This brief piece states the case:


SPIRITUAL IDENTITY THEFT: Stealing God’s Gift

The identity under consideration is the name “Israel,” and as its origin and usage come from the Bible, we will first look there. When this name was bestowed upon Jacob by God at Peniel, after he had wrestled with Him through the night (see the account in Genesis 32:24-32), it was given to designate the patriarch’s new spiritual status: in the LORD’s own words, “Thy name shall be no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”

This name is utterly unique! The Lord, set to purify and equip His patriarch of the covenant people, Himself wrestles with Jacob (as with us in all our adversities – truly it is Him in like graciousness behind the scenes) granting him strength to continue – and even prevail – in his desire for the blessing. Jacob’s own strength unequal to the task, and crippled in the struggle, he received strength from God: “with the name He gives the thing itself which the name implies.” [SUP]1[/SUP] The name was conceived and bestowed by God to designate a blessed state of being; it was passed on to his descendants as well, and the name was also removed from some of them by the same Bestower, for serious violations of the covenant, as seen in Exodus 12:15, 19; 30:33, 38, and Isaiah 9:13-17; 48:16-19,[SUP]2[/SUP] and shown in the expressions, “that soul shall be cut off from Israel,” “…shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel,” “…shall even be cut off from his people,” “…destroyed from among you,” and “…destroyed from before Me.”

It should be clear that this is not a name to be bestowed by men,[SUP]3[/SUP] as God has created and reserved it for His own special use. It should also be clear He retains the right to strip the name from whom He will, and specifies when this is to be done.

To use this name when it has not been given, or after it has been removed, is to steal a prerogative reserved by God to Himself. It is stealing the right to confer an identity from the Almighty God!

We will look at a modern instance of this in a moment, but let us first look at a warning to the people of Israel given by God through Moses in his Fifth Book, which bears directly on this:

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. (Deut. 18:18, 19)​

This is a warning to heed the words of those appointed to the prophetic office, and in particular Him who is the culmination and fulfillment of that office, the Messiah, whom New Covenant believers know as Jesus of Nazareth. The phrase, “I will require it of him,” means in this instance, “I will require his place among My people and his life.” Consider the destruction to be visited on those who with wicked hearts refused to “hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments…” (Deut 28:15), which promised destruction is shown in the verses following, so you may comprehend the dread import of the words “I will require it…” [SUP]4[/SUP] to the Jewish nation after Messiah appeared among them.

Messiah’s apostle, Peter, in quoting from this passage[SUP]5[/SUP] as he spoke to the people of Israel, rendered it, “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22, 23)

We have looked at the pertinent Biblical data, and have seen the name Israel given by God and taken away by Him (from those who did not warrant it). We have seen it specifically taken away from those in the Jewish nation who, in the time of Christ and the apostles, refused to “hear that Prophet,” who would not “hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name.” Simply put, God openly cleft all those who refused His word through Messiah from the people of Israel, like a butcher cuts away gristle. As with a great cleaver He divided the nation, those who were His, and those who were not, even as aged Simeon prophesied over the infant Jesus in the temple, “Behold, this child is set for the falling and rising again of many in Israel…” (Luke 2:34; Cf. Isaiah 8:14, 15)

From this point on, the people of Israel gathered around their King, Messiah Jesus. Those who did not were “cut off” from the people by the judicial decree of God. Jesus Himself foretold this event when He announced to the chief priests and elders of Israel, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). Immediately prior to that statement He told them the same thing in the parable of the vineyard, there holding up a mirror to their motives and actions (verses 33-41). Many of the priests, and some Pharisees, did turn to Him.

We look now at the “identity theft” spoken of earlier, which, amazingly, is abetted by some in the Community of Messiah, God’s authentic “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).

On May 14, 1948, descendants of those Jews who were declared no longer people of Israel by Messiah (and by the word of Moses) declared themselves a sovereign nation in the land of Palestine, to be called the State of Israel. Those Jews who denominated themselves thus, had for 2,000 years maintained their identity as Jews through subjection to rabbinic teaching devolved from the first century Pharisees, who were, in the main, the leaders of the apostasy from – and rebellion against – the God of Israel, and His appointed King. This stealing the name only God may give is an act of unbridled defiance.

I hear many Christians declaiming from various prophetic Scriptures and schemas that the Jewish state is still God’s Israel, and they go quite on about it, overlooking – or avoiding – the foundational decree on the matter.

But God’s decree stands eternal: A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up…Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.

He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. [Jesus said,]…I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak. (John 1:10-12; 12:49, 50)​

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My [the Father’s] words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.

Whoever abides in the word and Spirit of the King of Israel partakes of His identity and Kingdom, be they Jew or Gentile. Any others who call themselves Israelites, on any other basis, will answer for this identity theft – this stealing of that which belongs to God – on the Day that is coming quickly. Do not support them in their grievous delusion and sin!

_________

[SUP]1[/SUP] Commentary Upon The Book Of Genesis, by John Calvin, on 32:28
[SUP]2[/SUP] Further references on this wise: Deut. 4:2, 3; Lev. 7:21, 25, 27; 18:29; 19:8; 20:6; 23:29, 30; Num. 9:13; 15:30, 31; 19:13; Psalm 94:23; 101:8; etc.
[SUP]3[/SUP] This is not referring to parents who name their children after Biblical characters, even such as Israel, Jesus, Moses, etc., which may be a way of honoring heroes of the Faith, and seeking the blessing of their children.
[SUP]4[/SUP] It is the same usage as in Genesis 9:5; 42:22; and 2 Chron. 24:22.
[SUP]5[/SUP] Deuteronomy 18:15, 19.
 

Mr. Bultitude

Puritan Board Freshman
I have trouble understanding the argument that "because it's so detailed, it must be literal." I remember encountering this before when I listened to the eschatology round table from Desiring God with a dispensationalist-leaning friend of mine. He kept asking, "How can this just be metaphorical if it's talked about so much in the Bible?" I'm not certain, but I think his word "just" (also found in post 17) has something to do with it; I suspect that those who insist on a literalist reading of Scripture believe that metaphor cannot possibly have any value except as filler. Which is of course nonsense, unless you want to throw out the parables of Christ as having any value.

I suppose there could be another reason too. In the English language, metaphors tend to be used for limited purposes and then discarded. It's in fact a common trope of comedy to get lost in a convoluted metaphor, and something we try to avoid in common conversation. But the fact remains that allegory exists as a genre. The Pilgrim's Progress is extremely long and detailed, but nobody questions that's what it is. Because it would be doing a disservice to the author's intent.
 
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KGP

Puritan Board Freshman
Quite simply, Acts 15 shows that the divine rebuilder is God, not man, and that it was a-fulfilling in the calling of the Gentiles. Without this redemptive-historical development the Jews would have every right to denounce Gentile worship as idolatrous. Those Gentiles who insist on the rebuilding of a literal temple only succeed in denouncing themselves.

This is a great point. I'd never considered that God building the temple actually maybe says something about an eschatological system that has a physical temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem?

I studied dispensational eschatology for a while; my wife's grandfather is a big name in Bretheren and Gospel Hall circles around the world, so I have had encouragement in that direction for sure since we've been married. I remember reading Zechariah 14 around a year ago and wondering "how can you take that any other way than literally?" I was convinced at that point.

But since reading some testimonies of people who left premil for amil (such as Sam Storms) I have begun to wonder; and Steve, having read a few of your posts on these forums, especially THE CHURCH HAS NOT REPLACED ISRAEL (great article!), the amil position has been more and more appealing.

Rev. Winzer's comment on Acts 15 makes perfect sense in connection with Jesus' claims about rebuilding the temple in three days, and what Paul said later about being living stones built up into a spiritual house. God is building his temple with the gentiles whom he has intervened to choose for his name; not on the basis of their worth or choice, but of his good pleasure.

I will have the opportunity to preach through Matt 23 and 24 shortly; I will be looking through Sam Storms' book Kingdom Come: The amillennial Alternative. Has anyone here encountered it? Would you recommend something else for Matt 24?
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
What do you do with your view on the last temple spoken of in Ezekiel? Can a temple this descriptive really be symbolic or metaphorical? This temple seems to be a physical not spiritual temple.

Here is a link to why I am a Premill person. Examining Amillennialism

I believe the temple is symbolic precisely because of the details of the description.

Fairbairn writes:
There are things in the description which, taken literally, are in the highest degree improbable, and even involve some natural impossibilities. This was long ago marked by Lightfoot, in regard to the dimensions of the temple and city: "And now, if any one will take up the full circuit of the wall that encompassed the holy ground, according to our English measure, it will amount to half a mile and about 166 yards. And whosoever likewise will measure the square of Ezek. xlii. 20, he will find it six times as large as this, the whole amounting to three miles and a half and about 140 yards--a compass incomparably greater than Mount Moriah divers times over. And by this very thing is showed that that is spiritually understood. ... Ezekiel's temple is delineated larger than all the earthly Jerusalem, and his Jerusalem larger than all the land of Canaan." ...

What in this passage is called the city, it must be borne in mind, includes the oblation of holy ground set apart for the prince, the priests, and the Levites, whose residence was to be in immediate connection with the city. Taken thus, the statement of Lightfoot is not far from the truth. ... According to the most exact modes of computation, the prophet's measurements give for the outer wall of the temple a square of an English mile, and about a seventh on each side, and for the whole city a space of between three and four thousand square miles. There is no reason to suppose that the boundaries of the ancient city exceeded two miles and a half in circumference ... while here the circumference of the wall of the temple is nearly twice as much. So that the first part of Lightfoot's statement, that the bounds of Ezekiel's temple exceeded those of the whole city, is perfectly correct; but in regard to the other part, in which he asserts the bounds of the city to be greater than those of the whole land of Canaan, some exception must be taken, if by Canaan be meant the whole that Israel ever possessed on both sides of the Jordan, which is computed at fully double of Ezekiel's square--somewhere between ten and eleven thousand square miles. If understood of Canaan proper, the land lying between Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, the portion here allotted for the city might in that case equal the whole land. But taking the land at the largest ... is manifest proof of the ideal character of the representation; the more especially when we consider that that sacred portion is laid off in a regular square, with the temple on Mount Zion in the center.

--An Exposition of Ezekiel, pp 437,438

Get Fairbairn's commentary on Ezekiel. It will change the way you read prophesy. It did for me.

Yes, Fairbairn's books on prophecy are very good.

Also, with regard to Ezekiel's temple, you will note the water coming out of it. Taken literally, the entire city would be flooded and uninhabitable within a few hours.

We know from several references in John (chapters 3 and 7:37,38) that water can refer to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is the same thing meant about the waters flowing from Ezekiel's temple.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
To understand the amillennial view (realized millennium in Christ between His first and second coming), here are two excellent books. You will be a believer after reading these, even if you come to a nuanced view:

A Case for Amillennialism, Kim Riddlebarger
http://www.christianbook.com/case-a...e=WW&netp_id=1056971&event=ESRCG&view=details

The End Times Made Simple, Sam Waldron
Christianbook.com: The End Times Made Simple: How Could Everybody Be So Wrong About Biblical Prophecy?: Samuel E. Waldron: 9781879737501

Amillennialism, with its variations, is a Christ centered millennium.
 

Grant Van Leuven

Puritan Board Freshman
I am an amillenialist, and recently teaching through the Revelation I needed to consider the issue of the date of the book as related to whether the temple described in it was necessarily standing to be its reference (as some millennial views argue). We considered there that Babylon was spoken of too, but clearly in John's day Babylon was no longer around; she served there as a symbol as developed in the OT. So the temple in Revelation 11 that is described in some detail alluding to Ezekiel's description (although admittedly not as involved) is a symbol because it is a vision (which is similar to Ezekiel) and not literal (I'd argue because the temple in John's time of writing was no longer there either). Something perhaps helpful to look at, especially as Rev. 11:1ff intends to allude to Ezekiel 40. I too highly recommend Riddlebarger's A Case for Amillenialism.
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am an amillenialist, and recently teaching through the Revelation I needed to consider the issue of the date of the book as related to whether the temple described in it was necessarily standing to be its reference (as some millennial views argue). We considered there that Babylon was spoken of too, but clearly in John's day Babylon was no longer around; she served there as a symbol as developed in the OT. So the temple in Revelation 11 that is described in some detail alluding to Ezekiel's description (although admittedly not as involved) is a symbol because it is a vision (which is similar to Ezekiel) and not literal (I'd argue because the temple in John's time of writing was no longer there either). Something perhaps helpful to look at, especially as Rev. 11:1ff intends to allude to Ezekiel 40. I too highly recommend Riddlebarger's A Case for Amillenialism.

You need to read Kenneth Gentry's book Before Jerusalem Fell: the Dating of Revelation. I think he makes a rock solid case for an A.D. 65 dating, and at the very least "before Jerusalem fell," as the book is titled.
 

Grant Van Leuven

Puritan Board Freshman
I find William Hendriksen's work, More Than Conquerors, more than satisfying on the topic of dating The Revelation (along with my own study and teaching of the book--just began the seventh heptad--, which includes reading and listening to the commentary of a number of other men including Leon Morris, Herman Hoeksema, Joel Beeke, Richard Phillips, and Richard Bacon). Hendriksen writes:

" … remember that the Apocalypse reflects an age in which Ephesus has already lost its first love; Sardis is already 'dead'; Laodicea--which was destroyed by an earthquake during Nero's reign--has been rebuilt and is boasting of its spiritual wealth (3:17); John has been 'banished'--a very common form of persecution during Domitian's reign; the Church has already endured persecutions in the past (20:4); and the Roman Empire, as such, has become the great antagonist of the Church (17:9); when we remember all these facts we are forced to the conclusion that the late date (AD 95 or 96) is correct. The Apocalypse was written toward the end of Domitian's reign by the apostle John." (pp 14-15)

"It is of the utmost importance that we bear in mind that here [Revelation 11:1-2], as elsewhere, the apostle receives a vision [using symbolism]. Therefore, the assumption that the Herodian Temple must still have been standing in Jerusalem, and that the Apocalypse must have been written before the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Romans, is baseless. In a vision one can see things which no longer exist in literal reality." (p 126) See my earlier comment about Babylon on this note.

Leon Morris' commentary on Revelation gives a similar, although less polemic, conclusion with a compelling citing of early church history:

"The early tradition of the church strongly favors the time of Domitian, i.e. somewhere about AD 90-95." He provides this footnote: "Thus Irenaeus speaks of 'the apocalyptic vision' as 'seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign'." (p 34) He goes on to say, " … while the evidence is far from being so conclusive that no other view is possible, on the whole it seems that a date in the time of Domitian, ie. c. AD 90-95, best suits the facts."

Note: Dr. Richard Bacon (whom I note above as one of my study sources for my own teaching series on Revelation) thinks an early date is more likely, yet see his critique of one of Dr. Gentry's other books related to the topic that suggests some having reservations of Dr. Gentry having a "lock solid case" on the whole not illegitimate, here: Review: Gentry's "He Shall Have Dominion"
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello and welcome to PB, Grant. Thanks for your posts. I also like Dennis E. Johnson's, Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation (highly recommended), and Arturo Azurdia's, An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (81 MP3 sermons). Azurdia had Johnson as a seminary prof.

I liked Hoeksema's commentary, but did not like his view that Babylon is comprised solely of the apostate church, while I and most amil commentators do include it in Babylon.

Did you ever get into Greg Beale's, New International Greek Testament Commentary: Revelation ? He's very thorough, and an excellent resource on the OT and Jewish writings use of language and images utilized by John.

Are your sermons online? [never mind, I found them: Puritan Evangelical Church of America - SermonAudio.com]
 

Grant Van Leuven

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks, Steve.

Thanks for these other references that I was not familiar with. I have done my lectures on Revelation in a commentary form (typed up the notes), and if I ever go back and try to clean them up for public consumption, I would like to use it as an excuse to study more resources like these (including Gentry's when I have time). At some point I'd like to make them available along with the lectures in PDF form for whomever might like to have them (I distribute them at each study in church). I like to try and provide the best nuggets all in one place (and everyone has some nice insight the other's don't emphasize).

I absolutely agree with you about Hoeksema's take on Babylon. I think I even point out in my lectures (if I don't name him) that some take the view that Babylon is only the apostate church and I think this is a mistake (she mainly represents the attacking outside world upon the Visible Church as she did in the OT). I think there have been a few other places where I depart from Hoeksema, but on the whole I find him helpful and very quotable.

Should you take a listen to my lectures, let me qualify that these are on Wednesday night prayer and Bible studies, which I don't consider formal worship times. I explain this to the saints I serve at times to justify how I go about them as lectures with room for "antics", sometimes entertaining, that I would never do in a sermon nor in corporate worship (per the RPW). Hopefully that will be obvious, but when you used the word "sermons" I just wanted to give this disclaimer for my own conscience's sake. :)

PS: I'm from New York myself, although the other side of the state (Rochester, Great Lakes area). My folks are from Orange County (NY), just a train's hop-skip and a jump from your area (hoping to visit family there again this fall, and we like to take a trip to NYC). I meet a lot of New Yorkers out here, and my Yankees cap usually has something to do with that. :)
 
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