Bible Answer

Why is there a temple in the Millennial Kingdom? Who builds it?

Will the Millennial Temple be built by believing Jews who were living at the end of the Tribulation? Will the Priests come from this same group (not yet in glorified bodies)?

Why a Temple in the Millennial Kingdom?

The Bible teaches consistently that the seven-year period of Tribulation is intended by God to chasten Israel for Her sins under the Mosaic Covenant, but it will lead the nation as a whole to repent and turn to Christ. We teach extensively concerning this period of judgment in our Revelation, Isaiah, Luke and Ruth studies on our website.

Every age since Israel's formation has included a temple and a sacrificial service; even in the age of the Church, there is a temple on earth and a sacrifice. The Bible says that the temple today is found in the body of all believers:

Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,
Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
Ephesians 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,
Ephesians 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

In the future Kingdom to come on earth the temple will no longer be our physical bodies. Instead, a new physical temple building will be constructed for the Kingdom period, according to Ezekiel and Isaiah, and the Lord will inhabit that building as He once did in Israel’s past. 

Similarly, the Old Testament requires physical sacrifices but these sacrifices happened where God resided – which was either in a temple or tabernacle. These sacrifices did not remit for sin, nor will the Kingdom sacrifices serve as a means to righteousness or forgiveness of sins. Rather, these rituals are a means of restoring fellowship for sinners living in the Kingdom and will also serve as a memorial of Jesus' redemptive work in the prior age. 

Although the Kingdom sacrificial system appears to be a continuation of the Mosaic sacrificial system found in the Old Testament, it is not. The Mosaic Law came to an end in Christ, therefore introducing a new law, which Pastor Stephen Armstrong refers to as the "Kingdom Law", set in place for the sinners of that age. 


Mosaic vs. Kingdom Law

As we study the Book of Ezekiel we begin to realize the Lord gives Ezekiel a nine-chapter, guided tour of the future temple, and we accompany the prophet on that tour. The length of this section should tell us something about the importance of this temple and offers clues to who will build the Millennial Temple; The Lord considers His presence dwelling among men to be the ultimate demonstration of His glory and the fact He chooses to make Israel His home communicates how special that nation is to Him. 

In the first half of Ezekiel Chapter 43 the Lord’s glory returns to dwell in that temple, the first time since the Babylonian exile. In the second half of Chapter 43 and through to 46 we learn how worship at the temple will operate in the Kingdom. Finally, in Chapters 47-48 we learn about Israel’s geography and borders to accommodate the massive new temple complex.

The mere size of this temple reflects the need for many millions of people to stream to this place from all over the world. God will use this temple to provide a means to endorse the physical sacrificial system that in turn will point all humanity towards salvation with Jesus, not just the Jewish people. The location reinforces the truth that Israel is the center of the world, all worship and government.

The reality of an operating temple of this scale (priests, guards and the like), reminds us of how prevalent sin will be in that world as we enter the Millennial Kingdom. Because of Christ’s perfect rule, the effects of sin will be greatly mitigated and controlled but it will still be in the world, which will make Christ’s perfect rule all the more amazing to see operating.

Many theologians today negate the fact that this is a real, physical temple where animal sacrifices will take place, however, the precision from Ezekiel suggests the reality of this building, removing any suggestions that it’s a metaphor or symbolic reference. It’s clearly a literal description of a real structure but is unlike one that has ever existed in Israel thus far.

Additionally, Ezekiel 43 tells us that this temple will be the dwelling place of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ as confirmed throughout the scriptures:

Psalm 110:1  The LORD says to my Lord: 
“Sit at My right hand 
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
Psalm 110:2  The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, 
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
Psalm 110:3  Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; 
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, 
Your youth are to You as the dew.
Psalm 110:4  The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, 
“You are a priest forever 
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

This passage describes our Lord ruling over His enemies in the Kingdom of power and in this position the Father places Jesus Christ. The passage also states the Lord will be our Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek, David says. That is an unmistakable reference to Jesus, according to the New Testament writer of Hebrews:

Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.
Hebrews 7:15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,
Hebrews 7:16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.
Hebrews 7:17  For it is attested of Him, 

The Lord Jesus Christ will remain in this location for the duration of the Kingdom age, which you can study about in depth through our Revelation course. That leads us into the question:


Who will build this magnificent Millennial Temple that will one day indwell the reigning King Jesus? 

At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return to earth in all His glory. He will establish His Kingdom and throne in Jerusalem, beginning His 1,000 year reign on earth. A divine temple will be constructed, far surpassing the temples built by the Kings of the Bible. As mentioned previously, through the words of the Prophet Ezekiel, the Lord said that this temple will house Jesus:

Ezekiel 43:7 And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever. And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their prostitution and by the corpses of their kings when they die,

As seen in our Revelation Study there will be 75 days sandwiched between the end of Tribulation and the start of the Kingdom, held to present glorified bodies to the Old Testament saints and the souls of Tribulation saints martyred, while also pointing to the supernatural rebuilding of the Millennial Temple. See a timeline of these events, to include the 75 day interval:

Of this 75 day interval period, the first 30 days are to clean the temple from the abominations committed and presumably to cleanse the entire world of the destruction. The remaining 45 days will be a period to resurrect and reward those blessed to enter the Kingdom.The judgments of Tribulation have resulted in a global natural disaster of biblical proportions (literally), yet in Isaiah we read this same earth is the earth of the Kingdom:

Isaiah 65:17 For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; 
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
Isaiah 65:18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; 
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing 
And her people for gladness.
Isaiah 65:19 I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people;
And there will no longer be heard in her 
The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.

So if we are to enjoy the world with Christ during the Kingdom, this disaster must be cleaned up!

Ezekiel tells us that the earth will be renewed in ways that make it different in some key ways, especially around Jerusalem; a new and majestic temple will be built for the opening of the Kingdom as Daniel said in Chapter 12. Isaiah also describes new mountains and rivers around Jerusalem and a new temple that will become the centerpiece of life in the Kingdom:

Isaiah 2:2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
Isaiah 2:3 And many peoples will come and say,
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

All the repairs and reconstruction of the Millennial Temple will be done in the first 30 days as the world prepares for the Kingdom. Obviously, the world can’t be fixed in just 30 days without God’s supernatural intervention and that’s to be expected, after all, it was destroyed as a result of His supernatural judgments thus it’s up to the Lord to fix it.

The very fact that the Lord takes 30 days to accomplish this work (when He could do it instantly) tells us He has a purpose in the time spent on the rebuilding of His Temple. The numbers 3 and 10 (30 = 3x10) guide our understanding of His purpose in the delay. The number 3 is the number of the Godhead, which reminds us that God is at the center of this work and the millennial world to come. The number 10 is the number of testimony, so this moment and all the Kingdom itself is a testimony to Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Lord takes 30 days for us to observe and learn from what we see, understanding God’s character, power and purpose.

Although the Bible doesn't explicitly state who actually builds the temple, we see through evidence in scripture that this temple is supernaturally built by a renewed believing Israel that desires to fervently worship their Father in Heaven.If we understand the purpose of the 7 years of tribulation – God's wrath poured out onto Israel for the national sin of rejecting the Messiah – then we must conclude that by the end of tribulation, entering into the Millennial Kingdom, that the Nation of Israel has repented thus building the temple we read about in the Millennial Kingdom.


Who will be the Priests in the Millennial Temple?

As for the Priests who are present in the Millennial Temple, we observe through Ezekiel 44-46 there will be Gentile Priests, and in Ezekiel 40-43 we learn that Levitical priests will once again live around and officiate in the Kingdom temple. In essence, we have Jesus in the Holy of Holies filling the temple with His glory, with many different Priests entering. Under the Mosaic Law, only one man could enter this room on one day a year, however, under the Kingdom law, any priest may enter and it seems they will enter regularly. Still, that limits exposure to Jesus to those who are priests only, and though there will be Gentile priests, it’s unclear who will be appointed. According to Isaiah 66 all nations will see Him in the temple, and the Lord will take some of the people of these nations as His priests:

Isaiah 66:18 For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory.
Isaiah 66:19 I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.
Isaiah 66:20 Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.
Isaiah 66:21 I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the Lord.
Isaiah 66:22 For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,” declares the Lord, “So your offspring and your name will endure.
Isaiah 66:23 And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the Lord.

Isaiah says that all nations will see Him in the temple, and the Lord will take some of the people of these nations as His priests. Therefore, priests will include Gentiles in this period. If we are selected to be a priest in the temple, then we will have access to the glory of Christ in a regular way. Otherwise, our access will be more limited as a worshipper. Consequently, all nations will see Christ’s glory in some limited fashion and in ways similar to how Israel saw the Shechinah glory of God in the Old Testament – periodically and in a limited fashion.

You may find the Revelation, Daniel, and Ezekiel Study on our website most helpful concerning the Temple in the Millennial Kingdom and who will build it.

Additionally, you may find the following articles on our website helpful in further addressing the millennial age:
Will there be animal sacrifices in the Millennial Kingdom?
Will all believers be priests in the Kingdom?