Malachi 3:1 states â€œBehold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming â€ says the Lord of Hosts. NASB. To which temple does this refer, and who constructed it?
Without a doubt the NT is clear that John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy (Mark 1:2 = Malachi 3:1). In that case the temple that the Lord or Messiah visited would be Herodâ€™s temple. History shows that Herod The Great demolished and renovated this Second Temple originally built by the returning Babylonian exiles (but it was still called the Second Temple because the altar service and other ceremonies were never interrupted).
However, we must always keep in mind with prophecy that usually they are dual. The former or intermediate fulfillment will fulfill certain aspects but not all of the entire prophecy. Later, the entire prophecy will be fulfilled in a latter or final fulfillment.
A classic example of this is Isaiah 61:1-2 which Jesus read in the synagogue of Nazareth at the start of his ministry in a Sabbath year. He proclaimed the Sabbath year and the start of his ministry by reading those two verses saying that they were now fulfilled. However, he stopped short of finishing verse two because it contained something he was not going to fulfill until his second coming, namely, â€œthe day of vengeance of our God,â€ a clear reference to the Day of the Lord, or Yom Kippur at the end of the Great Tribulation.
Itâ€™s clear that Malachi 3 is another case of a dual prophecy of Jesusâ€™ first and second comings because if you keep reading to Malachi 3:2-5 it, too, speaks of his coming at the time of Godâ€™s judgment and wrath right before the tribes of Israel are returned and purified for service in the Millennial Temple.
Who Will Build the Malachi 3:1 Temple?
If you want to know who I think will build that temple, I would have to guess the Jews of this generation. Weâ€™re told by prophecy that a Third Temple will be built before the Great Tribulation (Rev 11:1-3) so that the Antichrist can sit in it and declares himself God (2The 2:4) and delude the whole world in this way (2The 2:11). This temple is already slated for prefab construction by the current Sanhedrin in Israel, if it has not already secreted been. This must be the temple that is referred to as the Lord coming suddenly to, rather than the Millennial Temple of Ezekiel 40 which will be built later under the purified Levites mentioned in Malachi 3:3.