Question: TBC has referred to the rebuilding of the temple in which the Antichrist will sit, etc. Has no one noticed that the verse reads, “He will sit in the temple of God…”? If the Jews rebuild the temple…will it be the temple of “God”? I don’t think so….It seems more reasonable that the Antichrist will make his way into the Church, from which he will demand to be worshiped.
Answer: You raise a good question and your argument has some appeal to human reason—but it is not supported by Scripture. Jerusalem was still called “the holy city” even when unholy people in it practiced unholy things (Mt 4:5; 27:53). Jerusalem never ceased to be the “city of God” (Ps:46:4; 87:3), in spite of being trodden underfoot by the Gentiles through the centuries (Lk 21:24). It will remain “the holy city” during the Great Tribulation, though still trodden “under foot” (Rv 11:2).
You question whether a temple rebuilt by unbelieving Jews with Antichrist’s blessing could still be the “temple of God.” The temple in existence during Christ’s day was built by Herod the Great. He was an Idumean, a most ungodly, wicked tyrant, murderer of John the Baptist and of countless others. Yet the Bible called the temple Herod built, “the temple of God” (Mt 21:12), and Christ calls it “my Father’s house” (Jn:2:16). In further contradiction to your thesis, the temple that will be rebuilt by the Jews under Antichrist during the Great Tribulation is called “the temple of God” (Rv 11:1).
When Solomon built the temple, it was indwelt by God, who manifested His holy presence in the cloud of His glory (1 Kgs 8:10-11). This “temple of God” was on the summit of Mt. Moriah, now known as Temple Mount. It was defiled, destroyed, and rebuilt. And in each rebuilding, it was still the temple of God.
Paul’s statement that Antichrist will sit “in the temple of God,” (2 Thes:2:4)cannot mean, as you claim, that “Antichrist will make his way into the Church, from which he will demand to be worshiped….” The church is the body of Christ with no physical location wherein Antichrist could take a seat for this declaration—but the rebuilt temple will provide such a place.
Correction: In the March 2005 issue of The Berean Call“Q&A” section, Dave referred to Herod the Great as the murderer of John the Baptist. A sharp reader pointed out that it was Herod Antipas, his son, who killed John. Dave apologizes for this error, which also got past all of the TBC staff.