Summary: Antichrist will sit in the temple of God in the end times. The Bible says so. Where and what is that temple? The Bible answers that very clearly. Come see.
The context of these verses is Christ’s Second Coming: (vs. 1 - “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered unto Him…”). Some Thessalonian Christians (vs. 2) were falsely thinking that the day of the Lord had already come. The apostle was correcting that error.
Paul told them that Jesus’ second coming would not take place before two things happened:
And that brings us to our main question from our opening verses:
I will attempt to answer that from a number of clear New Testament scriptures. It is very important to interpret often-times difficult Old Testament prophecies in the clear light of New Testament revelation. For example, the widely-debated “70-week prophecy” of Daniel 9:24-27 becomes clearer when examined in the light of Matthew through Revelation. With that in mind, let’s address the nature of “the temple” as it relates after Christ’s cross to New Testament believers.
At the very moment when Jesus expired on the cross, the curtain of Jerusalem’s temple was torn in two from top to bottom, apparently by God. Bible scholars offer various theories of the meaning of that, and a few of those seem to fit the New Testament context well.
In Old Covenant Judaism, the temple building was a place for the Name and the Presence of God. No longer! Now in the New Covenant, instituted by Christ’s shed blood, the believer's body individually and all Christians corporately are the temple of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit. As the Amplified Bible says of born-again Christians, “You [the church] are the temple of God.”
Jesus and His disciples were leaving the temple. One of His disciples began to marvel at the temple’s magnificence. Jesus replied prophetically that not one of its stones would be left intact. All would be thrown down. This happened in A.D. 70, when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. And, please note, neither Jesus nor the apostles ever prophesied a rebuilding of that temple in Jerusalem or even a hint of return to the sacrifices of the Old Covenant or its priestly ministry. Absolutely not! The New Covenant purchased by Jesus’ blood is a far better covenant than the Old one — a better hope (Hebrews 7:19), a better covenant established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6), built upon a better sacrifice [Jesus’ blood] (Hebrews 9:22-28).
The apostle Paul, preaching to unconverted listeners in Athens, put “temples” clearly into their New Testament context: God “does not live in temples built by human hands.” We have just seen above, and more below, that the New Testament temple of God is His people, His Church. Let’s see that some more:
The apostle was telling the Ephesian Christians that they were being constructed as a building. They (and we today) were being “built” on an apostolic and prophetic foundation, with Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. And that “whole building” was and is still rising to become “a holy temple in the Lord … a dwelling which which God lives by His Spirit.” Never will God abandon His people as His dwelling by the Spirit to reoccupy a literal temple building.
“House” here is the same Greek word used by Jesus when He went into the temple and drove out the moneychangers and said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’.” (Matthew 21:12f) Likewise in John 2:16, where Jesus called the temple “My Father’s house.”
Paul clearly told born-again Christians that the “house of God is the church of the living God.” Do you see the pattern? Scripture after Scripture (more to come) is saying that physical temples are old, obsolete, gone from God’s worship patterns. His New Covenant “house/temple” is His people the Church.
If any doubt remains, let another Spirit-inspired apostle (Peter) remove that. He said that we believers in Jesus are a holy priesthood. We are living stones being built into a spiritual house, a spiritual temple. Who is/are the “spiritual house/temple”? You are! says God’s Word.
The context is the resurrection of believers at the Lord’s coming. The principle applies broadly: first the natural, after that the spiritual. Old Covenant Israel had a natural, very limited line of kings; New Covenant believers are all “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6; 5:10). Under the Old Covenant, only sons of the natural line of Aaron could be priests; but all New Covenant believers are a “holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices” (1 Peter 2:5). Under the Old Covenant many animals were sacrificed to God daily; under the New Covenant Jesus, the man from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47), made the once-for-all, never-to-be-repeated sacrifice for our sins.
The principle, common in the Bible, is that of “first the natural, after that the spiritual.” And that applies precisely to our temple discussion. The Old Testament temple was a physical building where God recorded His name and dwelt among His people behind the veil in the Holiest Place. On the Cross Christ rendered that obsolete. Now the believer’s body individually and all believers corporately are God’s temple, God’s spiritual house, the dwelling of God by His Holy Spirit. Never will God abandon this better hope, this better covenant established upon better promises and a better, perfect sacrifice to go back to a physical temple.
While on earth Jesus met a Samaritan woman. She mentioned to Jesus that the Jews worshiped “in Jerusalem” and the Samaritans worshiped “on this mountain” (presumably, Mt. Gerizim). Jesus’ answer is of supreme importance. He spoke to her of a change in worship that had now come—likely referring to His personal presence on earth to bring in the New Covenant by His sacrificial death and resurrection.
Jesus said that the “true worshiper” would no longer worship either on Mount Gerizim or in Jerusalem. Rather, the true worshipers would worship the Father “in the Spirit and in truth.” Why? Because “God is Spirit.” And His worshipers would worship Him most properly on the spiritual level. Not in Jerusalem! said Jesus. That shoots a big hole in the thought of worship returning in the last days to a rebuilt physical temple in Jerusalem. Neither Jesus nor His apostles or prophets spoke of any such return to Old Covenant temple practices, which would be an abominable insult to Christ’s perfect, once-for-all sacrifice for our salvation.
Just to further cement the truth of the permanent departure from physical temples since the cross of Christ, look at the eternal state described in Revelation 21-22, the Bible’s closing chapters. In the holy city “New Jerusalem” that had descended from heaven to earth (21:2), there was no physical temple. Instead, we see the glorious scenario of eternity unfold, where “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb [Jesus] are its temple.” And all the redeemed “shall reign for ever and ever” with them (Revelation 22:5).
And that brings us back to our opening question: Which temple will the Antichrist sit in? The New Testament Scriptures have made it clear that God will not insult the sacrifice of Calvary by returning to physical temple worship. I might add that it’s possible that people in Israel might choose to rebuild a temple there. But that will have nothing to do with biblical truth, which speaks correctly of God’s plan that His Church be the New Testament temple of God.
So where or what will be this “temple” in which the end-time Antichrist sits? I believe the Scriptures declare that it will be the Church! Please read and ponder the next verse carefully.
This confirms where the Antichrist "will sit" — in the Church. The tendency of antichristal persons, even in John’s day, is to go “
I foresee the last-days Antichrist as a man well known in the Christian Church, perhaps even an end-time apostle. We see a precedent for this in Judas, one of the first 12 apostles. There’s an even earlier precedent in the fall of Lucifer/Satan from the very presence of God in heaven in prehistoric times. Like Lucifer, like Judas, it’s possible for the Antichrist to walk for a while in the favor of the Lord before turning in rebellion against Him. And sadly, according to the Book of Revelation, multitudes will follow him.
In sum, the Bible does not prophesy or teach a rebuilt temple in end-time Jerusalem. The Bible does not teach a returning to the ordinances associated with physical temple worship. The Church is now and continues to be the Lord’s “spiritual house.” I expect the Antichrist to be well known, and probably highly influential, in the Lord’s Church before he eventually (like Satan of old) rises up with the desire to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Jesus Christ will dispose of the Antichrist and his false prophet at His Second Coming, casting them into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 19:20).
What is one final takeaway from our Bible study today? Be alert. As Jesus said, watch and pray! He warned of false Christs and false prophets. Don’t be dazzled by magnetic personalities or cleverness of those claiming to be the Lord’s ministers. There are millions of true ministers out there, who love Jesus, love God's Word the Bible, love the Church, and love people. Find and relate to a pastor and church that are undeniably Jesus-centered, Bible-honoring, pursuing the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit, and in great humility are trying to bring the Gospel of salvation to a lost and dying world. Follow those principles and you will not be deceived by the Antichrist’s siren song if we happen to be the last-days generation.
May the Lord bless you as you continue to honor Jesus the Son even as you honor God the Father (John 5:23).
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©2021, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
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