This article will be tackling an issue that is found within the circles of Christianity which I think may benefit the Body of Christ. Considering I am tackling end times, I would ask all who read this to check out what I am saying and even give me some feedback on this subject. Let's begin.
Firstly, read the following chapters with respect to the Temple that Ezekiel sees before carrying on reading the article in context.
Though the concept of a third temple is not referred to by all Christians, I consider the third temple has a future. The chapters give a description of what is present in the temple and what is going to transpire within the confines of the temple. This I believe will occur in the Millennial Reign of Christ, which has not occurred yet but shall transpire in the future. Offerings are presented at the temple and they are literal offerings within the context.
"Ezekiel 40:38 A room with a doorway was by the portico in each of the inner gateways, where the burnt offerings were washed. 39 In the portico of the gateway were two tables on each side, on which the burnt offerings, sin offerings[n] and guilt offerings were slaughtered. 40 By the outside wall of the portico of the gateway, near the steps at the entrance of the north gateway were two tables, and on the other side of the steps were two tables. 41 So there were four tables on one side of the gateway and four on the other—eight tables in all—on which the sacrifices were slaughtered. 42 There were also four tables of dressed stone for the burnt offerings, each a cubit and a half long, a cubit and a half wide and a cubit high.[o] On them were placed the utensils for slaughtering the burnt offerings and the other sacrifices. 43 And double-pronged hooks, each a handbreadth[p] long, were attached to the wall all around. The tables were for the flesh of the offerings."
These offerings wouldn't present a problem, they are going to be present within the Millennial Reign itself, but the reason they are going to be carried out, is in commemoration of what the Messiah has done for them, the atonement for the sins of humanity and that those who have continued to believe in him would have salvation. Another noteworthy point are the priests of Zadok who are going to be administering in the temple. Again it is worth noting that these offerings are literal offerings as stated earlier:
"Ezekiel 40:44 Outside the inner gate, within the inner court, were two rooms, one[q] at the side of the north gate and facing south, and another at the side of the south[r] gate and facing north. 45 He said to me, “The room facing south is for the priests who guard the temple, 46 and the room facing north is for the priests who guard the altar. These are the sons of Zadok, who are the only Levites who may draw near to the Lord to minister before him.
47 Then he measured the court: It was square—a hundred cubits long and a hundred cubits wide. And the altar was in front of the temple."
"Ezekiel 43:18 Then he said to me, “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: These will be the regulations for sacrificing burnt offerings and splashing blood against the altar when it is built: 19 You are to give a young bull as a sin offering[bh] to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who come near to minister before me, declares the Sovereign Lord. 20 You are to take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the upper ledge and all around the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it. 21 You are to take the bull for the sin offering and burn it in the designated part of the temple area outside the sanctuary."
"Ezekiel 44:15 “‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and serve me as guards."
Now you may ask "How are the priests of Zadok going to administer in the temple?" Easy answer, They will be resurrected from the dead to not only reign with Christ as saints saved by him, which is another topic regarding how the saints in the TANAKH were saved by his blood. Not only this, after the resurrection and during the Millennial reign, they shall administer in their priestly offices and run the temple as they should.
Now the question is, This temple be around forever? or only for a time? Revelation 21 gives the answer:
"Revelation 21:9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia[c] in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits[d] thick.[e] 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.[f] 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."
Now how do I reconcile with what I said about the third temple regarding the Millenial Reign? Simple answer, the temple is not eternally established, but rather remains throughout the Millenial Reign until it's purpose if fulfilled.
Another thing to consider is the feasts such as Tabernacles and Passover may be celebrated in the Millenial reign. This is a section from my on of my responses to Sherri Shriner:
"The feasts and the traditions of YHWH will be observed in the Millennial reign, not while Christ has not come again yet. Though Revelation doesn't speak of the feasts themselves, the TANAKH certainly does, such as in Zechariah 14.
"16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord[b] will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite[c] in the house of the Lord Almighty."
Some Rabbinic Jews, though deniers of Yeshua's Messiahship, affirm that Zechariah 14 is messianic in nature. In fact one Jewish fellow, Limitbreak9001, when I asked him, he said that it was and hasn't been fulfilled yet, and if it was, I would be celebrating Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles with him. I believe the feasts will be done in the Millennial reign, not while Christ hasn't returned. No problem here Shriner."
As you can see in Zechariah 14, it mentions the subject of the Gentiles going from their nations to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts of God, however, this has not occured yet and occurs when Jesus establishes the Millennial reign and the Messianic Kingdom, and those who refuse to celebrate the feasts, will expect a fearful judgement.
Will the Anti-Christ build the temple?
Let's start with Daniel 9:24-27:
"24 “Seventy ‘sevens’[a] are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish[b] transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.[c]
25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One,[d] the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing.[e] The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’[f] In the middle of the ‘seven’[g] he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple[h] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.[i]”[j]".
Putting aside the Jewish-Christian debate as to who the anointed one is, If the anti-Christ is the one who makes a covenant with unbelievers, whether they be Jews or Gentiles, the context doesn't suggest the Anti-Christ backing the building of the third temple, but quite to the contrary, he is going to DEFILE the temple. Jesus will cleanse the temple of it's impurities ready for the Millennial Reign when he returns.
Also let's read 2 Thessalonians 2:4
"2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."
The lawless one is understood to be the Anti-Christ, which is exactly the case. Notice when you read the chapter, the Anti-Christ is not responsible for the construction of the temple, even implicitly. What does take place is Anti-Christ entering the temple, seating himself within it and proclaiming himself to be the Most High. There is no implicit or explicit evidence in the scripture to show Anti-Christ building or constructing the temple at all, This is a sheer invention or misinterpretation that is not substantiated by the text itself.
As to who is responsible for building the temple, this is a point that needs further thought. If the Lord Wills, I may add something to this article regarding that issue.
Hope this article as been a blessing.