A Place For The Soles Of His Feet

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2, NIV 1984)

My Musings – Impressed by the magnificence of Herod’s temple (which was actually the restoration of Zerubbabel’s Temple), the disciples were likely startled to hear Jesus prophesy the destruction of such a massive structure, or that God would permit it. Yet Jesus was emphatic: “not one stone would be left on top of another.”

It had happened once before. The first temple, the original temple, was conceived by King David and built by his son Solomon around 960 BC. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

The temple that the disciples were marveling about, was the second temple. The Persians (under Cyrus) allowed the Jews (under Zerubbabel) to return to Jerusalem to build a second temple. It was considerably smaller than Solomon’s, but King Herod later enlarged it and adorned it with marble and gold. Herod’s building projects were masterpieces that were designed to last “forever,” and some still stand to this day. Yet the temple, which was his proudest accomplishment and the most magnificent and massive of his structures (the project took 84 years to complete – from 20 BC to 64 AD), was destroyed just a few years after its completion. In 70 AD, Jesus’ prophecy was literally fulfilled when the Roman general Titus and his legions, did exactly what Jesus had predicted. While a portion (the wailing-wall) still stands today, it is merely a remnant of the retaining wall of the temple courtyard and not part of the temple proper. Not one stone was left on another.

Many believe there will be a third temple. This belief stems from a vision that the prophet Ezekiel had. “I [Ezekiel} heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever.'” (Ezekiel 43:6–7, NIV 1984). The preceding passages (Ezekiel 40:5 – 43:17) contain detailed specifications of what appears to be a third temple. “Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple—its arrangement, its exits and entrances—its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations.” (Ezekiel 43:10–11, NIV 1984).

It could not be Solomon’s temple, because that one had already been destroyed. The second temple rebuilt under Zerubbabel and expanded by Herod does not appear to match the description given by Ezekiel. It too was destroyed. Not someplace “[He could] live among the Israelites forever.” Additionally, the Abomination That Causes Desolation seems to require a third temple.

Interpretations concerning this as yet unbuilt temple have generally fallen along one of three lines.

Millennial View. This view anticipates a literal fulfillment, with a physical temple and a real earthly King in Jerusalem for an intermediate era before the final consummation of all things.

Spiritual View. In this view, the vision is assumed to refer to the Christian age with the Church seen as a figurative “temple” and Christ as the Church’s Lord.

Eternal View. The prophecy is fulfilled in the eternal state.

My Advice – Don’t assume that this third temple will be built before the beginning of the Tribulation. There is nothing in the Millennial View that requires that the literal physical temple must be rebuilt before the Tribulation period begins. With modern construction technology, the first 3½ years of the Tribulation could provide sufficient time to complete it, before the Abomination That Causes Desolation that occurs midway through the Tribulation period.


Mills, M. S. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Mt 24:1–Lk 21:6). Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries.

Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (pp. 633–634). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

Easley, K. H. (2002). Holman QuickSource guide to understanding the Bible (p. 164). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Mt 24:3). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

Author: thebrewisamusing

I was raised in a Christian family and my earliest childhood memories include regular Sunday school and Church attendance as a family. I was taught that our Judeo-Christian values were not just a part of our Sunday routine they should be part of our character and influence all aspects of our lives. I was also taught that as important as these values were they could not save us. We must also be “born again” by accepting Christ.

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