The Temple of YHVH
What is the Temple of YHVH and what is its significance? It doesn’t exist right now, but will it be rebuilt? Does it even need to be rebuilt? What can the Hebrew pictograms for the word Heykal, or temple, tell us about its purpose? Does anything in the Hebrew letters point us to Messiah?
There is a great deal of interest today in the site of the prophesied third temple in Jerusalem.
The first temple was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 587 BC. The second temple, the last great Jewish temple, was the temple of Zerubbabel. It was rebuilt under the ruler ship of Herod and destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. The Jews have been praying for this temple to be rebuilt for nearly 2000 years.
Under the direction of the present-day Temple Institute in Israel, many elements of this project have been recently completed. This includes blueprints for construction, implements for worship, and training of the priests. You might ask, why all the interest in reconstruction? Why now, after all this time?
The first temple was built by King Solomon according to the instructions given to his father David by YHVH. This was a place where relationship with YHVH blossomed. In 2 Samuel Chapter 22 verse 7 we read this cry by King David:
"In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears."
The word temple is the Hebrew word Heykal. In conventional Hebrew Heykal is usually translated sanctuary, palace of a king, or temple. In Isaiah Chapter 6 verse 1 we again find that this temple or Heykal is a place where God dwelt even before the earthly temple was built by Solomon:
"In the year King Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."
Why does this third temple need to be built in Jerusalem? Because this is where God established the first Heykal on earth as we see in Psalm 68 verse 29:
"Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee."
Jerusalem is, after all, God’s holy city. But what can the ancient Hebrew pictograms in Heykal tell us? What is the significance of the temple? Heykal is spelled Hey Yood Kaf Lamed.
Hey is the picture of the man with hands lifted to the heavens and means to behold or to pay attention to what follows.
Yood is the picture of the hand and means a work or a mighty deed.
Kaf is the picture of the palm of the hand and means to cover, to open, to allow, or to atone.
Lamed is the picture of the shepherd’s staff and means to control, to shepherd, to have authority, or the voice of authority.
These four pictograms tell us we are to behold or pay close attention: the temple is a place where the mighty works of the one in authority will be revealed. And what is the chief of all these works? That work is the atonement for sin. How do we know for sure this is what is being described to us?
Each of these ancient letters is also a number. These numbers also contain information that is determined by how these numbers are used throughout the scriptures.
Hey is the number 5 and stands for grace or unmerited favor.
Yood is the number 10 and means something ordained in heaven or ordinal perfection.
Kaf is the number 20 and refers to redemption.
Lamed is the number 30 and points to a blood sacrifice, especially the blood of Christ.
This tells us the great work we will behold is the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ which was ordained by His Father in heaven. This work, performed under the authority of His Father and by His grace, will result in redemption.
The Heykal has always been a place where relationship was established between God and His people. The numbers in Heykal show us the temple was also a picture of something more to come. In 1Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 19 the Rabbi Paul explains a mystery now revealed:
"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? "
Now that we see that the body of anyone who receives Christ literally becomes His temple and is indwelt by Christ, does the third temple even need to be rebuilt?
There are a number of scriptures that describe the third temple. Paul provides this chilling warning for us in his second letter to the Thessalonians in Chapter 2 verses 3 and 4:
"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;
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. "
The third temple must be rebuilt because God’s word predicts it will be rebuilt. But this temple will not be for YHVH; it will instead be built for the false messiah, the son of perdition. Israel has returned to the land in unbelief and will be temporarily deceived into following a false messiah. He will be able to command authority by promising peace, and he will do mighty works attempting to copy and replace the True God. But he can never counterfeit the work of atonement performed by Jesus Christ; those who put their trust in this false messiah will suffer death.
Thankfully this is not the end of the story. The reign of this false messiah will be ended at the return of Jesus Christ. Then we will see another Heykal established where Jesus rules and reigns in Jerusalem for a thousand years.