A Simple Question about Temple-Worship

The year is 2050, and Jesus has not yet returned. Things have radically changed. Muslim buildings have been completely removed from Palestine, the Jews have rebuilt a temple in Jerusalem, and the Mormons have built a temple of their own in Samaria.

What would Jesus say to them concerning the “hour”?

Can you imagine a Jew and a Mormon discussing whether either place was more appropriate to worship at? It’d be the first century all over again.

The words of Jesus two thousand years ago still ring true and relevant for today.


HankSaint asked, “Why Samaria?”, and Martin gave a great answer:

Possibly Aaron is referring to Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman (John 4:4-26) [Aaron’s note: exactly]. She asks Jesus his views on the Temple in Jerusalem, and He answers “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem (John 4:21-23).

We often intepret this as meaning that the worship of the heart is more important than the physical location of the worshipper Its a valid exegesis, but it goes from A to C whilst leaving out B.

What’s not immediately apparent from the text is that the Samaritans had actually built a Temple on Mount Gerazim to rival the one in Jerusalem. It had been destroyed by John Hyrcanus, one of the Maccabees, about 130 years earlier.

If we note the Jews’ dislike of their gentile neighbours, then the subtext of the encounter between Jesus and the woman becomes apparent. Jesus, a Jew, passes through a Samaritan town, and after a discussion about buckets and water, the woman confronts Jesus with the most important issue of her day; something like “We had a temple, but your guys came and ripped it down. Now we have to go to Jerusalem to worship, but when we do, you treat us like dirt.”

Here’s the important bit. If Jesus had been promoting a temple-building movement, he would have said something along the lines of “Your temple was illegitimate, but ours is the real deal” – kind of “our temple is better than yours”. He should have defended the Temple in Jerusalem.

But he doesn’t. In fact he removes both temples from the equation, stating that true worship doesn’t come from the Temple, it comes from the worshipper; “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24).

So, Jesus did not consider the Jerusalem Temple to be an essential part of true worship. It was destroyed in AD 70, never to be rebuilt and I believe the early Christians saw this as God vindicating their message.

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140 Responses to A Simple Question about Temple-Worship

  1. setfree says:


    Notice what Jesus says in Matt 11:14-15? “And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

    He’s talking in code for those who know what He’s talking about. IF YE WILL RECEIVE IT…

    The problem is that though the Jews were anxiously awaiting the coming King and Kingdom, they rejected Jesus, thus rejected Him as King and His establishing His Kingdom right then and there.

    In Acts 1:6, the people ask “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

    Well, He’s in the middle of saying something about John when they ask this, but He answers them “it’s not for you to know the time”.

    John (in the spirit and power of Elias/Elijah) came to get people to repent and turn their hearts toward God. Then Jesus came, and could have set up His Kingdom. But the Jews did not receive Him.

    Of course, He knew this would happen. He knew He had to come first as the Suffering Servant, and the second time to Reign.

    That there will be another come “in the spirit of Elijah” to turn people back to God right before “the great and dreadful day of the LORD”, you bet! But it won’t be someone who doesn’t believe the Old Testament, you can count on it!

    (and yes, the Jews want to build the temple. They are still looking for Christ to come the first time!)

  2. setfree says:


    You have yet to realize that “priesthood” is an office someone holds, not a power. And there is only one current Priest after the order of Melchezidek, the only one who could ever actually BE THE PERFECT LAMB, and then ATONE ONCE AND FOR ALL for our sins, and then SIT DOWN because the job (of temples) is complete.

  3. gundeck says:


    I really don’t want to pile on you, but this is so simple, Jesus said, “This is he of whom it is written…” (Matt 11:10) this is not an ambiguous statement. You cannot twist it without adding to the words of Jesus Himself. Jesus also said “I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him…” (Matt 17:12). It seems that you have the same problem.

  4. setfree says:

    God has just shown me something really beautiful.

    I believe every word of the Bible is there for a reason. But I also think we can get bogged down in the details and miss the bigger picture.

    What is the larger picture in Malachi? What it always is. Jesus.

    God says the people aren’t bringing flawless sacrifices. Why did he ever want them to sacrifice anything in the first place? Why does He want the animal to be unblemished?

    Because JESUS who is the Perfect Lamb who God provides as The Sacrifice for our sins.
    (& the people are making light of Him).

    God says the Israelite men are divorcing their Israelite wives to be with pagan women. Why did he set up marriage in the first place? Why does He hate divorce?

    Because JESUS is the Bridegroom of the Church. (Isa. 62:5, Eph 5:23-33, Rev 19:7,8)
    (& the people are turning away from the true Lover of their souls).

    God says the Israelites do not pay their tithe. Why does He want them to tithe?
    Why does he need the firstfruits of their increase?

    Because JESUS is the Firstfruits of those who get to live with God again because of Him.
    (1 Cr 15:20-23).
    (& the people are forgetting how great God’s Blessing really is).

    God says in Malachi 2:2 that He will curse their blessings. Jesus is God’s greatest blessing to mankind, and He was cursed for us.

    God says in Mal 2:7-8 that the priests lips should keep knowledge, but that the Levite priests have corrupted the covenant and led people astray. Jesus is the only Priest that always keep knowledge and never corrupt a covenant with God.

    God says in Mal 2:16 to take “heed to your spirit” so that you don’t go seeking another ‘wife’. It is Jesus’ death and resurrection that makes it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell us, thereby creating a new creature who does not want to walk away from God.

    God says He will spare people like a father spares his own son. Jesus laid down his own life so that we could be the “sons of God”.

    Jesus is God’s greatest blessing.

  5. What a great comment for me to go to bed to.

    Jesus brings the New Covenant, is our substitute righteousness, and grants his people a heart to cleave to him.

    For all have sinned and become covenant-breakers in the sight of God, but the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ is a substitute covenant-keeper on our behalf. All who receive this gift will ironically then be given a heart by the Great Covenant-Keeper to cleave to the Covenant-Groom who will never divorce his bride.

  6. shematwater says:


    If John the Baptist is the same man as the Elijah who was taken up into heaven the only conclusion is that Elijah was literally born a second time to women, which is the basics of reincarnation.
    Now, this is not the only belief you can have. As I pointed out, you can also believe that the Malachi prophecy was not speaking of Elijah the prophet, but of one who would be like Elijah, or have the Spirit of Elijah, as the Angel told Zacharias.
    However, you cannot believe that this prophecy is a direct reference to Elijah who went up to heaven and believe that John is the same man and still reject the basic premise of reincarnation. There is no way to reconcile the ideas.
    You can sit back and say that Christ understands more than we do all you want, it doesn’t change anything. All that tells us it that you don’t know which of the options are true, but that you really don’t care.

    The only three options you have are the three I outlined.
    1. They are the same man and reincarnation is true (at least to some degree).
    2. They are not the same man and Malachi was not talking about Elijah who was taken, but about John.
    3. They are not the same man, Malachi was talking about Elijah who was taken, and thus when John is called Elias there must be a different meaning to the word.

    One of these three has to be true. I really don’t care which you believe, but to say they are all wrong is illogical.

  7. gundeck says:


    I never said that John the Baptist is the same man as Elijah did I?

    You can ignore the fact that Jesus Christ knows more that we do about prophesy all you want but the simple fact is he said, “This is he of whom it is written…” (Matt 11:10). There is a fourth option and that is that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as the source of revelation, knows a little bit more about this prophesy in Malachi than you or I do about. When looking at the fourth option you should remember that God is the source of divine revelation, and that no interpretation is private (2 Pet 1:20). The fourth option includes the fact that when the Second Person of the Holy Trinity interpreted this prophesy for us when he said that, “Elijah has already come” (Matt 17:12) and we should humbly submit to his infallible and inerrant Word with the full knowledge that he always speaks the truth.

    Now if you want you can accept Joseph Smiths rendering of these prophesies, you can accept D&C 110, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

  8. setfree says:

    I ran out of space earlier, but I’d like now to finish up on my Malachi-study thoughts.

    The last chapter (Chap 4) of Malachi ends the prophecy of Malachi on severe warning: There is a big and disastrous judgment coming which will burn the wicked to the ground (actually more than that, there will be no more roots it says in verse 1).

    And yet…

    God is so patient.

    God sent John the Baptist in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn men from their wicked ways and get them ready for Jesus.

    But He knew that the people (just like us) would be able to perfect themselves by their own power.

    He had to first give us Jesus to conquer sin and death, take our judgment on Himself, and make it possible for us to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit…

    Before He would ever bring the promised judgment and wipe the world clean.

    God says in the first part of Chapter 3, ‘I’ll send Jesus, BUT… who is going to be able to survive Him?’ Jesus had to come sacrificially first so that anyone could survive the judgment.

    In Malachi 3:6, God says “I am the LORD, I do not change, therefore you are NOT consumed” See how merciful and patient He is with us?

    Malachi 1:2 “I have loved you” says the LORD. It’s His opening statement. And of course He’s true: He has always loved us, though we have never been able to love Him back as He deserves.

    I believe that we are approaching the time when God will finally judge us. All the signs seem to be in place for Jesus to come back. But I think we’re living on borrowed time… God is patiently waiting for just a few more souls to accept His Son and trade their life for His. (Gal 2:20)

    I want to thank Jim Olsen for asking the question that led to me having to really get in and study Malachi. It has been a blessing to me.

    I hope that you (Jim) have read what I’ve written above, and been blessed by it as well. I also hope that you feel your question has been answered?

  9. setfree says:

    Oops! I think this is my last comment for today, but I’m going to use it up to correct what I wrote cuz it’s a biggie..

    I wrote “But He knew that the people (just like us) would be able to perfect themselves by their own power.”

    There should be a big “NOT” after the word “would” in that sentence.

    God knows that we, just like His people in Jesus’ day, can NOT perfect ourselves by ourselves. In fact, the more we try to live the law, the worse we get. (Romans 7:10-11)

  10. Olsen Jim says:


    I appreciate your time in looking at the text- what a great return we get when we invest in such a study!

    But I still disagree with your interpretation of the verses in chapter 3 and 4. And I respectfully say that I think most textual critics would say the same thing.

    Consider the question “But who may abide the day of his coming?” This contrasts His first coming with His second coming. The second coming will be much different. The major difference is that, unlike the first coming, when Christ returns, the wicked will not “abide the day”- but rather will be burned. It will be a day of judgement. I will concede that the day of His mortal ministry was, in a symbolic way, a day of reckoning only in the sense that people chose whether or not to follow Him. But those who did not follow were not burned- they were able to “abide” His presence.

    And He didn’t “suddenly” come to His temple during His ministry.

    Consider also the statement that “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord” which follows the statement about Him coming to His temple. Look at what happened to Jerusalem after Christ’s mortal ministry. In no way would I say that their offering was “pleasant unto the Lord.” Rather, his statement is about the period after the second coming- a time of peace and righteousness.

    I agree with you that we are approaching the day of judgement and Christ’s second coming. Next year, 20 years, who knows. But things certainly do seem to be playing out the way ancient prophets invisioned.

    Gundeck- I see why you interpret the verses about John and Elijah the way you do. But our interpretation does not contradict the verses. I hope you can see that, from our perspective, our doctrine makes sense of the verses as well.

  11. jackg says:

    Mormons have to grasp at straws and resort to passages that are highly debated, all the while denying the truth of those that are plain to understand and, when understood, bring to light the other passages. I have noticed that they reject Is. 43:10, because it soundly puts to rest the notion of other gods and becoming gods. But, hey, they have to do what they have to do because the prospect of agreeing with God that the Mormon Church is false is too daunting. It’s easier to perpetuate the lies by setting up smoke screens and resorting to their testimonies, which have replaced the Word of God as the measuring stick for their lives. It’s all very sad.


  12. Olsen Jim says:


    You have asked me to comment on Is 43:10 before in a completely unrelated discussion. I didn’t respond at that time because I think you were changing the subject- jumping to the topic of the trinity/godhead to argue I didn’t understand the Bible, and thus allow you to dismiss my interpretation of the “last days” verses. Still no answers to all the verses I cited as evidence by the way.

    Isaiah 43:10 poses no problem for the LDS view of God. There is no God beside the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Understanding who was speaking, to whom He was speaking, and what He was trying to communicate helps a little in understanding the context.

    Jackg- By what authority do you claim any basis for saying your are correct about religion?

    Shem- would you e-mail me? I give the moderators permission to give you my e-mail.

  13. setfree says:


    I am sorry that I was so verbose in my reply that you got lost in the middle.

    I didn’t say that the final verses of Malachi were not talking about the last days. I’ll try to be more concise.

    God (through Malachi) speaks of sending Elijah to turn the hearts and restore things. Jesus says John was to do that, and did. HOWEVER, the Jews (as a nation) did not accept Jesus. So even though John was there to do his job, God did not show up with a final judgment at the time.

    What God knew needed to happen first was for Jesus to pay the sin debt and make it possible for believers to be indwelt.

    I believe that Malachi is prophecying of both … the messenger would come before Jesus (this is John coming before Jesus first advent — see Malachi 3:1 and Matthew 11:10)… BUT the great and dreadful day would not come yet, because when Jesus arrived on the scene as promised, the Jews rejected Him.

    Jesus quoted a verse once, and left it hanging in the middle. Remember? Luke 4:17-21. Because in Old Testament prophecies, there can be two different times of prophecy in once sentence. One part was being fulfilled when Jesus was here. The other part is still coming.

    It’s the same in Malachi.

    God says “But who can endure the day of His coming.” Well, God had to provide a way for believers to be able to stand. The Church will be safely in Jesus hand when God burns up the earth and gets rid of all the evil.

    But He couldn’t have done that without Jesus doing what He did on the cross.

    So there’s a jump in those verses between Elijah/John’s part and Jesus two parts.

    There MAY BE yet someone who comes to tell the world to get right with the Biblical God so they don’t get burned to stubble. Maybe it’s many people. Maybe it’ll be just before Jesus gets here (in the same way that John was His contemporary).

    But it sure wasn’t Joseph Smith, who tore and mangled the Bible to suit himself (and of course falsely prophesied that Jesus would return in 1891 before JS’s death

  14. setfree says:

    Getting back to this: “You said “I believe that the problem you’re having with Martin’s verses is that he is looking at them from the frame of mind of knowing the entire Bible and what it is about at a very studied level.”

    In other words- you like his interpretation better. What do you know of my knowledge of the Bible? The circular nature of the logic of some LDS critics here is mind-boggling.”

    What I know of your knowledge of the Bible I can only determine by what you write, same as with Martin or anyone else.

    What you write reeks of LDS manuals.

    It may be interesting to you to know that I don’t know the church where any of the other EV’s here go. I don’t know how they’ve learned what they’ve learned. But I can say with certainty from reading their material that they actually READ the Bible, they don’t just take a verse here and there as you do, and as the LDS manuals teach you to do.

    And this: “By the way, Israel functioned under the Aaronic Priesthood under the Law of Moses and not the Melchizedek. Hence, the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood were not practiced in the temple in Jerusalem from Moses to Jesus.”

    Yep. Nor from Adam to Moses. And there’s no mention of the “ordinances” in the NT either. Isn’t that so odd?

    Of course, you go by what Joseph Smith said, which is stupid, since he tried to write himself into the Bible, made up a story about some papyri, looked for treasure through peepstones, changed his version of the “First Vision” many times, etc etc etc.

    You said: “This is really becoming tiresome.” You bet it is! Because when you get an answer or a good argument, you simply ignore it. And you act like you know the Bible, when you’re obviously going off of LDS manuals. I’m sorry, Jim, but LDS manuals will never show you the truth of the Bible. Only the Holy Spirit will. Which Holy Spirit you can get only AFTER accepting the fact that there is only ONE GOD, and Jesus is your true Savior as part of that ONE GOD.


  15. setfree says:

    OH yeah, and you keep asking that “authority” question. Which is why, of course, you keep ignoring what I’ve been posting about Freemasonry and them having “the keys and the authority” and the secret handgrips, tokens, names, etc.

  16. Just a footnote ‘authority’.

    The chief priests and elders asked Jesus this very question; “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” (Matt 21:23)

    Now, why did ‘the chief priests and the elders’ ask this question, unless it was because Jesus had not been initiated into their priesthood (at least in the way they understood it)?

    You don’t get ‘authority’ by passing through initiation into the ‘right’ priesthood.

    Olsen Jim might have to get used to the idea that God excercises His authority through people who have not been initiated into his church’s priesthood.

  17. Olsen Jim says:


    What’s with the manuals thing? All my comments are my reading alone of the Bible text- I have not consulted or quoted even one outside source. Have you?

    Show me where I have taken a verse out of context. I have shown from the text itself what I think is a pretty convincing argument that 1. We live in what the Bible usually refers to as the “last days” 2. There will be a temple in the last days- BEFORE Christ’s second coming. I have used Malachi chapters 3 and 4 as well as 2 Tim 3:1-5 and 2 Peter 3 to set the time frame for the “last days.”

    I also showed from the text how Martin was getting the timing wrong in Revelations 21:22 and Hebrews 12:28- those verses refer to Jerusalem after there is a new heaven and new earth- clearly not the city or kingdom before the second coming.

    I never wanted to jump to a connection to essentially anything associated with the church. I maintained that my goal was to show that there was still a role for a temple in the last days, the days before the second coming of Christ.

    I did comment on the Elijah issue to try and show how our doctrine does not contradict the statements of the angel to Zacharias, John, or Jesus.

    And I maintained that the ordinances of the Jerusalem temple were a function of the Aaronic Priesthood. This really is another topic all together.

    Again, show me where I am wrong in the issue of the temple in the last days. I get your take on the references to Christ’s mission of salvation and atonement in Malachi- I do not disagree with that part. But you have yet to show how I am wrong about a temple in the last days.

  18. jackg says:


    Thanks for showing that Mormonism convolutes God’s Word to fit their heretical teachings into the mix. Synchretism has always been an abomination to the LORD.


  19. Olsen Jim says:


    You said regarding Malachi: “So there’s a jump in those verses between Elijah/John’s part and Jesus two parts.” You are seeing that there are two time frames referenced in these prophecies. That is good.

    Now consider that the prophecy regarding Elijah too has “two parts.” That is what we maintain. 1st part is John acting “in the spirit of Elijah” and the 2nd part is Elijah actually returning himself. Again- this is a different topic, but I thought I would point out how you see an element of the “two parts” idea.

    The freemasonry issue is another whole topic of its own- not one I really want to jump into. But it is interesting that 2nd century documents record ceremonies that resemble the endowment quite closely as well as some elements of freemasonry. So could both the endowment and some elements of the freemason thing have ancient origins. Interesting that the endowment is closer to the 2nd century document than anything in freemasonry. But I really don’t want to get into this now.

  20. setfree says:

    hmmm yes, the mystery religions of Egypt maybe? super. what a terrific place to get your authority from

  21. setfree says:

    Is Everyone already clued in on what Jim’s deal is with this Malachi passage? If not, here it is:

    Joseph Smith History 1:37-39

    “Moroni” has come to visit Joseph Smith and quotes from the Bible differently. He says (changing Malachi for us):

    “For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. …Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord…. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming”.

    “Moroni” then goes on to quote from Isaiah 11, saying this is about to be fulfilled. Then Acts 3:22-23, Joel 2:28-32 and also said these were about to be fulfilled.

    Isn’t it amazing that JS said Jesus was coming back in his (Joseph Smith’s) lifetime, but Jesus didn’t? What a let down!

    This: “All my comments are my reading alone of the Bible text- I have not consulted or quoted even one outside source. Have you?” is misleading isn’t it?

    You didn’t pick up your Bible and start reading, and put the above verses together yourself. You came to them biased, and you have been trying to work them around to fit Joseph Smith’s concoction into them.

    If you want to show me where anyone was doing ordinances in the Melchezidek Priesthood between Adam and Moses, BY ALL MEANS, DO! (and yes, please let them be the same as your temples now)

  22. setfree says:

    I don’t want to keep harping on the Freemason deal, but what exactly is it about that that you feel good about?

    Yes, they have ancient roots. They derive their substance from Egyptian Isis and Osiris, Canaanite Baal, and Hiram the widow’s son (1 Kings 7:13-14). (Here’s another terrific example of the trouble you can get yourself into by just stealing a little bit of the Bible and running away with it).

    Masons at lower levels (like Mormons at lower levels) don’t know all that goes on at the “top” of their religion, but many “top” Masons have gotten out and told their stories.

    Masons have to believe in a “higher power”, but in the end, it cannot be the God of the Bible.

    They use the same symbols as Mormons do (especially on the Nauvoo and Salt Lake City temple), like the “all-seeing eye” (Egyptian beginnings), the pentagram, the beehive, etc.

    But since the Bible uses Egypt as a parallel for “sin”, what in the world do you want to connect yourself to Egypt for?

    If you haven’t already, you really really need to study up on Masonic origins (especially from the writings of those who have been at the top levels).

  23. shematwater says:


    The fourth option you give is not an option. What you are saying is that instead of looking at the different possible interpretations you are just going to ignore the whole thing and leave it to Christ. This is not an interpretation of the text, but an avoidance of actually dealing with the implications.
    Personally, I really don’t care that you take this view of things. It is a lagitamate stand and I truly commend you for it.
    However, it still does not change the fact that the three options I outlined are the only three actual interpretation that can be gotten from the text, and that was my point. If you are content to leave it in Christ’s hands, good for you. But there is nothing wrong with wanting to know which of the three is the right one.

  24. shematwater says:

    Also, I find it kind of funny, as well as insulting, for all the Non-LDS to speak as though we members have no real intelligence or reasoning power.
    Such statemennts as “But I can say with certainty from reading their material that they actually READ the Bible, they don’t just take a verse here and there as you do, and as the LDS manuals teach you to do,” and “What you write reeks of LDS manuals,” are highly insulting to us.

    For me, I have read the entire Bible. I have read the New Testiment multiple times. I have engaged in extensive study of them on various subjects. I know the Bible, for its words are in my mind at all times. There are many things that I have descovered in the Bible that are not in the LDS manuels, and thus I learned them on my own.

    To suggest that we do not know the Bible, or that we pick and choose verses, shows an ignorance of the spirit of the LDS faith, as the Holy Ghost will always move the faithful to study the words of all the Prophets, as well as anything that is good for the soul.

    Now, in these threads I have yet to see anyone speak without picking and choosing verses, as we are accused of. Why is this. Because these threads to no lend themselves to lengthy discourses and a reference to all verses that support each doctrine. But them, all the “christians” do the same thing on these threads. They choose a few verses that support what they are saying and give the references. I do not complain, because, as I said, there is really no other way to do it on these threads.

    I have never posted anything that I could not give a several pages in discourse using only the Bible as my reference. However, space does not permit. (When I say this, I speak to those things that are contained in the Bible. No, I can’t tell you what Brigham Young said using only the Bible.)

  25. gundeck says:


    Not only is the fourth option viable but it is Biblical. The fourth option does not only work when you are trying to determine the meaning of the prophesies of Malachi, it works for Scripture in its entirety. The Westminster divines taught that Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith and the infallible rule for interpreting Scripture is Scripture itself (1 Peter 1:20, 21 and others). For you there is no infallible rule, neither the Bible, your other standard works, nor your prophets claim infallibility. This leaves you kind of in a lurch.

    I do not think or claim that you do not have any reasoning power and I accept that you read the Bible, but you read it from the presupposition of the apostasy and restoration taught by Joseph Smith, while I read it in the presupposition of the Reformation and historic confessional Protestantism. The difference in our hermeneutic is substantial and I would say the reason that you reject the fourth option.

  26. gundeck says:


    Now, do I have a coherent explanation of why Malachi chose to claim that “Elijah the prophet” was to come before “day of the Lord” (Mal 4:5)? Certainly. Does it involve reincarnation or a repeat of the extraordinary revelation of the Mount of Transfiguration? Certainly not. The problem is that our worldviews are so diametrically opposed we cannot even agree on the nature of the Kingdom of God, arguably much more important to this passage than the identity of John the Baptist.

    When you look at these passages you have to fit them into your worldview that Joseph Smith fulfilled this prophesy on or about April 3, 1836. You have to make these passages fit into a worldview where there is an Elias and an Elijah. You have to make these passages fit into a worldview where a Mount of Transfiguration like revelation occurred at Kirtland, Ohio in the nineteenth century.

    I am under no such obligation. Instead I must make my worldview match what is revealed in Scripture. Instead of squeezing scripture into my worldview I let Scripture shape my worldview. So I know that John the Baptist fulfilled the role of the messenger of the Lord because my Lord tells me so, I embrace and look forward to the already and not yet of salvation and the coming of the Kingdom of God because this is the testimony of the prophets, the apostles, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself. I’ll stick with that fourth option.

  27. shematwater says:


    Actually, what you give here as the fourth option was the second interpretation that I outlined. If you read it it is in complete agreement with what you say, that John the Baptist Fulfilled the prophecy, and thus Malachi was speaking of him and not the ancient Prophet. At least, this is what it sounds like you are saying.

    Notice that I never said which of the three is correct, only that one of them had to be. However, I will still argue that both the second and the third can be supported by the Bible, for the reasons I gave. (I do not think Reincarnation can be supported by the Bible, and never intended to claim you did.) This is without considering the LDS doctrine or the events of the 1800’s.

  28. gundeck says:


    I’m sorry but you claim that option 2 is, “They are not the same man and Malachi was not talking about Elijah who was taken, but about John.” This in no way reflects what I believe. I do not think that Malachi knew the specific identity of the prophet or “messenger”. I think that he chose the two prophets that he talked about, Moses and Elijah, guided by the infallible Holy Spirit and for a specific purpose of connecting to the understanding of his Jewish audience in the mid-fifth century BC. He spoke of Moses because of his connection to the Law and the Exodus and the importance of this theme in the prophets writing as a type of salvation for national Israel. I think the prophesy regarding Elijah has more to do with Malachi’s understanding of Deut 18:15 than it does with Malachi’s knowledge of the work or the person of John the Baptist. I think that Elijah fits the “type” of prophet that Malachi looks to when he reads Deut 18:15

    It seems to me that If Malachi would have predicted that “a man named John the Baptist is going to come” the people in his day would have had no connection to the importance of what John the Baptist was to do. I am not sure that we can infer from the text that Malachi had a perfect understanding of how this prophesy would be fulfilled only that it would in fact be fulfilled. With that being said I hope that you understand why option 4 of letting Scripture interpret Scripture is the option that I must stick with.

  29. shematwater says:


    It is what I said. Malachi may not have understood this, as you say, but the prophecy was about John the Baptist, and not about the ancient prophet who was taken. This is what you are saying. Malachi used the name of Elijah to indicate the nature of the calling of this messenger, but not to indicate the prophet of the past.
    This is what I meant by the second interpretation.

  30. gundeck says:


    That may have been what you meant but it is not what you said.

  31. setfree says:

    Have you been over to the “Gods and Goddesses” thread lately? If not, would you mind going over there to see the question I left, and seeing if you can answer it? Thanks.

  32. Olsen Jim says:


    I have clearly defined my points and goals for this thread. I will outline my argument one more time. You have provided general opinions, but have yet to provide much in the way of a coherent argument against my points about the temple (the topic of this thread).

    My argument is the following points:
    1. There is still a role in God’s plan for a temple.
    2. A temple will be established in the last days.
    3. The “last days” are the period that we live in- before the second coming of Christ
    4. That temple will be Christ’s.
    5. He will “come” to His temple at His great and terrible day.

    Isaiah 2- “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

    Summary point- in the “last days,” the “mountain of the Lord’s house” will be “established.” It will be a center for the Lord’s kingdom and people will go there to learn about Him.

    Malachi 3- “BEHOLD, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?….. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.”

    Summary point- Christ will have a temple when He returns. This is not a reference to his ministry 2000 years ago. He will come “suddenly” before the day that many will not “abide.” After that, the offering of Judah will be “pleasant.”

  33. Olsen Jim says:


    That has not happened yet.

    Next point:
    These are the last days:
    “THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” 2 Timothy 3

    Is there another period of time you suggest these verses apply to?

    “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, where is the promise of his coming?” 2 Peter 3:3-4

    Scoffers will doubt the 2nd coming of Christ before His coming (in the “last days”).

    Your claim that I am quoting or using material outside the Bible is a distraction to avoid countering these clear verses. These verses stand quite clearly on their own. They clearly support every point I made. You cannot explain them away by simple statements that I do not understand the Bible, or that it all simply alludes to the fact that Christ is the path to salvation. Even thought that is true, the gospel is a little more nuanced and developed than that.

  34. setfree says:

    Let me reply even more directly:

    1. There is still a role in God’s plan for a temple.
    Yes, for THE TEMPLE that the Jews have been waiting to build in Jerusalem.

    2. A temple will be established in the last days.
    Yes, as soon as they (the Jewish nation) have a perfect red heifer, among other things

    3. The “last days” are the period that we live in- before the second coming of Christ
    Yes, among other descriptions of the “last days”, like when the Apostles were here, and maybe a hundred years from now, should the LORD tarry…

    4. That temple will be Christ’s.
    Yes. Even though many Jews do not believe in Christ, He will be coming back to Jerusalem, where the Mountain of His House has been since he got the Jewish nation a place to call home. They are looking for Him to come as King and bring them Peace. This is the temple in Jerusalem that the verses are talking about (“for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem”… yes, I know the LDS call Utah or Missouri (depending on who you ask) Zion, but the Bible is talking about Jerusalem).

    5. He will “come” to His temple at His great and terrible day.
    And so He will. He will remove the faithful, and then shake the earth to pieces. Got your food storage handy? You’ll need it (unless you die in an earthquake or something right at the very onset)

  35. jackg says:


    And yet you don’t get Is. 43:10. Interesting that you avoid me now.


  36. Olsen Jim says:


    OK- so you recognize that there is still a role for a temple. Therefore, the claims that there is no further place for the temple in the gospel of Jesus Christ are false.

    Let me know when such a temple is built or established that fulfills the following roles:

    1. All nations shall flow unto it

    2. God will teach many people of His ways, and they will walk in His paths in such a temple.

    3. Out of Zion shall go forth the law (I thought the law was fulfilled), and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (I thought we had all the word of the Lord).

    Do you believe the Jews will be converted to Christ before building His temple? How else would it be considered “His temple?”

    Jackg- I didn’t know I was avoiding you. Are you thinking that the verse in Isaiah somehow proves me wrong or counters what I have presented? That verse introduces no contradictions for me. Who was speaking? To whom was He speaking? What was He trying to impress upon their minds? What were those people battling that would cause Him to make that statement? Important questions.

  37. shematwater says:


    I have addressed this verse in another thread, in some detail. My explanation of it does not extend to other such verses, but only this one, and I will give it again.

    As it is so often asked of us, I will ask you to read all the verses in contexts with this one.

    10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
    11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.
    12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.
    13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

    I would point out that in both verse 11 and 12 he is referencing his role as the savior. Yes, he is God, but he is the savior. In this particular chapter I believe that he is speaking of his role as Savior, and he is the only savior of mankind. Before him there was none, nor will there be after him. He alone is the Savior. And as verse 13 points out, before the creation he was chosen to fill this role.


    I am not familiar with the thread you speak of. Is is part of this site, or another? Could you give a link to it?

  38. setfree says:

    Thanks, it’s okay though, I’ve asked it on the current thread now.

    I have just had a very cool discovery. You know what the Septuagint is? Just as a brief explanation (if you don’t, or in case someone else is reading who doesn’t), the Septuagint is the Old Testament translated from its original Hebrew language into Greek by 70 Greek scholars, pre-Christ.

    The word used for “temple” in Malachi 3:1 (where it says that the LORD will come suddenly to his temple) in the Greek is “ναὸν”.

    If you look in the Greek New Testament, the word that Jesus uses for “temple” when describing HIMSELF in Mat 26:61 and Jhn 2:21 is “ναός”.

    What’s cool about this is the two greek words above that we translate into our English “temple”, have a much more explicit meaning. They mean “to dwell” and are used explicitly of the Holy Place (where noone but priests were allowed to enter) and the “Holy of Holies” “which was entered only once on the great day of atonement by the high-priest alone”.

    The other Greek word often used in the NT is ἱερόν and means “a sacred place”, and was used to describe other temples (not God’s) and also the entire Jerusalem temple, with all its courts, etc.

    What is so cool about that is that it’s the first of these two defintions (“ναός”) that is used in 1Cr 3:16,17 and 1Cr 6:19 speaking of believers as the temple.

    Sooooo…. it appears that the Malachi verse may be talking about Christ coming suddenly to His believers. Totally awesome!

  39. shematwater says:


    I am not posting the current thread. However, I will check any recent posts for your question.

    As to what you say about the Greek words, it is very interesting. However, are you completely sure that the Jews got the translation correct when translating from Hebrew to Greek?

  40. Olsen Jim says:


    The Hebrew old testament (4th century B.C. is as follows:

    “Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall clear the way before Me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to His temple, and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in, behold, he cometh, saith the LORD of hosts.”

    The English translation of the Greek Septuagint is:

    “Behold, I send forth my messenger, and he shall survey the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into his temple, even the angel of the covenant, whom ye take pleasure in….”

    The ASV reads:

    “Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts.”

    Now, are you trying to argue that the word “temple” here corresponds to the word Christ used to describe His body, or the body of believers? Sorry but your analysis does not hold up. Interesting that the Greek reads “into His temple.”

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