Fire in the Temple

How many temples are in the Bible?

Temple #1 – Solomon’s Temple (Fire)

After Solomon’s prayer of dedication, God’s fire filled the Temple.

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.

2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house.

3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

2 Chronicles 7:1-3

Temple #2 The Temple of Zerubbabel (No Fire)

After the dedication of this temple, fire did not fall.

And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,

17 And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which [is] at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.

Ezra 6:15-18

Herod’s Temple (No Fire)

Herod’s Temple was not a separate temple. It was a restoration and expansion of Zerubbael’s temple.

By the way, when Herod’s work was completed, fire did not fall.

King Cyrus of Persia allowed the temple to be rebuilt (Ezra 1:2) under the leadership of Zerubbabel.

Over the next four hundred years, a series of Gentile rulers alternatingly built up and defiled the second temple. The cycle culminated in a 39 BC battle in which King Herod took control of the temple, slaughtering many of the priests and defenders in the process, but also keeping the Roman soldiers from entering the sanctuary. Herod proposed to renovate the temple in 20—19 BC, his reason being the post-exilic temple was sixty cubits shorter than Solomon’s original. Despite the Jews’ fears that he meant to tear it down and never rebuild, the main work on the temple was completed in one-and-a-half years, and the outer courtyard in eight years. Finishing touches continued until AD 63. Herod’s temple, then, was a restoration and expansion of Zerubbabel’s second temple.

Jesus taught in the second temple, but he ultimately left it desolate (Matthew 23:38). Jesus called the temple building, “Your house.” The Second Temple was not God’s house.

Temple # 3 – Christ Followers (Fire)

Spoiler alert: The fire fell upon the third temple. We can understand this as follows.

Jesus changed the way we think of the Temple.

He signaled a paradigm shift regarding the temple. Hands of men no longer build the temple. God builds the temple in the form of humanity.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

John 2:19-21

Later, fire fell upon the Third Temple of God:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4

The Second Temple still stood. People met there. The temple God inhabits, however, became born again believers, not an inanimate building.

Apostle Paul affirms this and expresses the horrific consequences of defiling God’s temple:

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Summary so far

God has dwelt in two temples. The temple in the middle was “their temple,” not God’s

What does that mean for the future?

If we consider 3 as God’s number, we should look for another temple inhabited by God.

The 4th Temple (Fire)

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

Revelation 11:19

And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

Revelation 15:8

No More Temple

Ultimately, the need for the temple ended.

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it

Revelation 21:22

The Antichrist and the Temple

Many “scholars” have taught the necessity of rebuilding the physical temple. Although that may be true, consider a radically different view.

The second temple which God inhabits is here right now. The final temple is in heaven. In light of these facts, we see neither need nor room for a rebuilt physical temple as a requirement for the End Times.

Consider a couple verses that speak of the Antichrist creating a seat in God’s temple.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Matthew 24:15

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;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

See? The Antichrist comes with the falling away. The falling away comes in the Temple of God.

In the Last Days, the temple which the Antichrist defiles is the current temple of God which is you, me, and others who have accepted God’s salvation.