Question / Comment - Does the Antichrist site in a literal temple?
I just happened to come across a page on your site after scanning
someone's dissertation on Hippolytus and Irenaeus. The upshot of the
dissertation was, as you summarize on your page, that the man of sin or
AntiChrist will be an actual person at the end of time who comes into a rebuilt
temple in Jerusalem to present himself as the Messiah and be worshipped as God.
The page that I came across was the one where you answer a question that is posed
from an historicist and asserts that futurism is a later invention (1500's).
I have a few thoughts that I wanted to present on some of these things. Not an
overall argument, per se, but some thoughts that your site prompted me to put in
a brief email.
Basically, my thoughts concern the man of sin entering
the temple as Paul writes to the Thessalonians about.
1. Paul was
writing to a Gentile church - not a Jewish church. The Gentiles were not looking
for a Messiah to appear in a physical temple - nor would they be deceived by one.
The temple was something the Jews would certainly look to, but as Paul was
speaking to Gentiles, one wonders why Gentiles would think any better of someone
who enters a physical temple to be worshipped as God. Paul warns them not to be
deceived, but why would they be deceived by such a man? Which leads me to my
2. The phrase translated as "the temple of God"
is used 4 times by Paul (1 Corinthians 3:16, I Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians
6:16 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4). In the other 3 cases, there is no doubt that Paul
is speaking about a spiritual temple - i.e. the body of believers called the
church - and not a physical building. That certainly makes it likely that this
usage is no different. In fact, the alternative word "hieron" (Strongs
#2411) is ALWAYS used in reference to a physical temple (Paul uses it once in 1
Cor 9:13). In fact, ignoring the gospels and Revelation, ALL the epistles use the
word "naos" (meaning "temple" as well - the same in the
phrase "temple of God") to mean a spiritual temple. Not a physical one.
I omit Revelation because, while I believe it to be a spiritual temple, they are
in visions and physical analogs are used. So I don't want to dispute that.
I'm confining this to Paul's writings (and noting that all NT epistles
use "naos" spiritually). That leads me to my third point.
Look at the phrasing of the passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:
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;
opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is
worshipped; so thathe as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that
he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
By itself, I
would agree that this position might seem a bit hard to accept. But with the
above points together with this thought, I think it is a pretty strong argument
that the AntiChrist (or man of sin) will enter a spiritual temple. That is, at
the least, it will be a man from within the church who presents himself as Christ
or to be worshipped as Christ. What do I mean? This man of sin
himself above all that is called God or worshipped SO THAT he sits in the temple
Think about it. If this were a physical temple, his presence in
the temple would demand worship. He would be worshipped because he enters the
temple. However, if his being worshipped makes it SO THAT he sits in the temple
of God, the spiritual meaning of "temple of God" makes a lot more
sense. The fact of his being worshipped puts him in a place of eminence in the
church - it doesn't put him in a physical temple. Contrarily, the fact of
his being in some rebuilt temple doesn't make him worshipped. The phrasing,
if a physical temple were in view, would more likely be reversed. Something like
"...sits in the temple of God so that he is exalted above all that is called
God or worshipped...".
And with verses like Acts 7:48 where
Stephen preaches to the Jews in the synagogue, it becomes apparent that there is
no physical temple in view. The temple of God, it is clear, is a spiritual temple
here, as well.
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with
So for Paul to speak of "the temple of
God" so matter of fact, it seems clear to me that this is not a man entering
a physical temple, but rather a pretender or replacement of Christ (subtly - thus
the deception implied) who enters the church.
I won't go into
identifications because that's another issue. But suffice it to say that I
believe this passage clearly shows the AntiChrist or man of sin to be a
counterfeit in a spiritual sense and in the midst of that which calls itself
Thank you for your time and consideration.
thanks for the email and your thoughts on this matter.
Sorry it has taken a while for me to reply. You've obviously read some of my
thoughts on this in the article on the website and have seen the quotes from the
early church (and no doubt had debates with others who believe these passages
should be taken literally) so you'll have to forgive me if I only reply
But just a couple of things concerning your points -
1. 'Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to
him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or
alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying
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 is revealed...'
you're a little mistaken over what the deception was that Paul was talking
about. The deception that Paul talks about in verse 3 is the letter or prophecy
that the Thessalonians had received, supposedly from Paul (which it wasn't)
that stated that the day or the Lord had already come. He didn't say the
deception was that the Antichrist would put himself in the temple claiming to be
God. Paul only wrote this because he didn't want them to be deceived by the
letter or prophecy going around so he told them what will happen first before the
day of the Lord occurs. When the 'deception' that Paul talks about is
correctly identified, your first point is no longer valid.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that
God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys
God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and
you are that temple.
It is interesting to look at those other verses
you mentioned and ask yourself what exactly the 'temple' is. I could be
wrong but it seems to be that the the temple is our physical body (for Christians
have received the Holy Spirit and God's Spirit lives in us as Paul points
out). I'm not sure it is completely accurate to use these passages and say
the temple is the Church.
But that aside (as I may be wrong), you will
notice that what Paul does do when he uses 'temple' in a not literal
sense such as the Corinthians passages, is that he defines what he means. That
is, he explains that he is using temple in a spiritual sense so that his readers
will not get confused. Obviously in 2 Thes 2 he doesn't do this which would
suggest that he wants the temple to be defined in it's normal literal sense
without spiritualizing the interpretation. The Gentiles had and were quite used
to temples as the Jews were. With no extra explanation from Paul, they would have
interpreted this literally - a literal man sitting in a literal temple.
As for the point you made about 'naos' being used in 2 Thes 2... I
actually found that point quite misleading. A simple concordance will show that
the N.T writers used both naos and hieron of a physical temple. So why use naos
when Paul could have used hieron? Because it is more specific. According to
Strongs, Naos is 'used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the
sacred edifice (or sanctuary) itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy
So Paul wanted to be clear about the
Antichrist's mission... It's not just entering the doors of the
temple... He would put himself right in the Holy of Holies, where God should be,
and proclaim himself God. Makes total sense for a literal temple.
I'm not wanting to be critical but there is a saying that 'if you
torture the data long enough it will confess to anything.' And the
'facts' concerning naos and hieron that you have presented are one
sided and seem to show a bias.
3. You wrote 'By itself, I would
agree that this position might seem a bit hard to accept. But with the above
points together with this thought, I think it is a pretty strong argument that
the AntiChrist (or man of sin) will enter a spiritual temple.'
I'm glad that you agree that a simple reading of the 2 Thes 2 passage makes
a spiritual interpretation of the passage hard to accept. I agree. You then said
that when combined with your first two points it becomes a strong argument.
Maybe, just maybe, I have shown above that the first two points weren't
maybe as strong as you thought.
Anyway, enough arguing. Thanks again
for your points which I was interested in reading. It is all worth thought and
consideration. While you said you wouldn't identify the Antichrist, I'm
thinking that you're pointing the finger at the Pope/Catholic Church. Feel
free to comment if you like. I'm no fan of the Roman Catholic Church but for
what it is worth, I would personally see them playing a leading role in the
Mystery Babylon of Rev 17 - the woman (false religion) that rides (temporarily
controls) the beast (Antichrist).
Anyway, thanks again and have a good