A brief word study reveals that the word ‘temple’ can take on several meanings in the Bible:
The Jerusalem Temple
We all understand the word temple to mean the earthly place of worship – the Tabernacle – as in both the first and second temples in Jerusalem. We will not be covering much about the Jerusalem temples. Our primary focus will be on the next two uses of the term.
The Temple in Heaven
The second meaning of the term is the temple in heaven where God dwells. Revelation 21:22 tells us that John saw no temple in heaven because “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Since God Almighty and the Lamb ARE the temple in this context, we know it would be wrong to assume it is a physical building as we understand it in our world. We consider the heavenly temple, or the encompassing presence of God himself (God Almighty and the Lamb) to be the same temple referred to in many other places throughout the book of Revelation. In the following verses we can conclude that the wording or context points to a heavenly temple. (See Revelation 7:15; 11:19; 14:15; 14:17; 15:5-6; 15:8; 16:1; 16:17).
“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (Revelation 7:15)
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Revelation 11:19)
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Revelation 14:15)
“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.” (Revelation 14:17)
“15:5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.” (Revelation 15:5-6)
“And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” (Revelation 15:8)
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” (Revelation 16:1)
“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” (Revelation 16:17)
The Human Body as a Temple
The third and final meaning we will mention is that used by Jesus when he refers to his own body as a temple. In John 2:19-21, Jesus stands in the Jerusalem temple as he prophecies that his body, the temple, will be rebuilt in three days upon his resurrection.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:19-21)
This use of the term, meaning Christ’s physical body, is later applied when referring to every saved Christian as his or her body becomes a dwelling place of the Holy Ghost. In 1 Corinthians, Paul states it succinctly for us.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
The Human Body is the Antichrist Temple
Thus we gather that the human body, God’s own creation, is the new temple of the Holy Ghost on Earth as revealed by Christ in the New Testament. The New Testament writings make a much bigger deal about this than many people today might assume.
Let us make a logical leap and assume the temple of God, the body, is the same one referred to in passages about the antichrist. Let us also assume that the new temple of God refers not to rebuilt tabernacle of modern day Israel. If this is in fact true, we would have to conclude the antichrist’s temple is the human body. And, the antichrist spirit is in each and every man who calls himself God in his own body, “showing himself that he is God”. Just try to read 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 with this in mind:
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
The focus of the passage above that drives home the point most effectively is in verse 4. If we try to set aside everything we may have been taught in the past about this verse, and we choose to read what the Bible says plainly, we may be surprised at what we discover: “so that HE AS GOD SITTETH IN THE TEMPLE of God, SHEWING HIMSELF that HE IS GOD.”
Does the antichrist sit in the temple (the body) – in the place where the Holy Ghost should dwell? How else could sitting in the temple show himself his own apotheosis? Could this passage actually mean the temple that he sits in is his own body?
We covered in another blog post, The Antichrist Unveiled, that the ANTICHRIST is not just a name for one man. The Bible states quite clearly that the antichrist is a spirit that indwells anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is “come in flesh,” or denies his deity.
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3)
In coming to this conclusion, we are not exempt from error. But until there is reason to believe otherwise, the premise remains. If any reader can make known a better way of understanding the scriptures, let them speak. But let us not have conjecture instead of argument, nor private interpretations in the place of illustrations from analogy and history. Most of all, let the Holy Spirit continue to lead us to a greater understanding of God’s Word. Amen.