In early September, Dr. Ghassan Weshah, an archaeological professor from the Islamic University of Gaza in Palestine told the media that the Biblical references to the Jewish Temple existing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem are all a complete lie.
He made these claims despite the fact the Muslim Koran refers to the temple at least twice, and even refers to King Solomon building the temple (34:13).
Another Koranic verse describes the Muslims praying towards Mecca and the Jews towards their temple (Sura 2:145).
However, a handful of Islamic scholars try to get around this problem by insisting that Solomon actually built a mosque, even though Islam did not appear on the scene until 1,600 years later.
According to the Biblical record, Solomon built the first temple around 1000 BC and it was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians who them promptly hauled thousands of Jews into captivity.
Ezra constructed what is called the second Temple around 520 BC when the Persians who had defeated the Babylonians allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. This was the temple that Jesus visited after it underwent major renovations by King Herod. The Romans obliterated the second temple in 70 AD and it has not been rebuilt.
According to Muslim tradition, the Koran was written between 610 AD and 632 AD after the archangel Gabriel recited it to Muhammad. Two Muslim buildings currently sit on the Temple Mount today including the Dome of the Rock that was completed around 692 AD and the Al-Aqsa Mosque that was finished in 705 AD.
Though not mentioned in the Koran, the Dome of the Rock is considered the site where the archangel Gabriel took Muhammad to heaven to visit the prophets and God.
However, not only does the Old Testament speak of the Jewish Temple, so do the Christian Gospels that were written 500 years before the Koran was written. It records Jesus actually visiting the temple several times including once as a child (Luke 2:41-52).
There was no conspiracy to undermine Islam’s claim to the Temple Mount, because Koran did not exist when both the Old Testament and New Testament were written.
Of course, the even bigger controversy revolves around the construction of a third Jewish temple. Orthodox Jews believe there will be a third temple and often tie it to the coming of the Messiah.
The reason is that the prophet Ezekiel received a vision of a temple (chapters 40 – 48). Since the size, design and even how it functioned does not fit either the first or second temple, many believe the prophet was looking ahead to a third temple.
The biggest hindrance to building a third temple today is because the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is controlled by the Muslims (Jordanian Waqf), who at this point would not allow its construction. However, despite this, a group of Jews (the Temple Institute) has already made most of the utensils and furniture, including the brazen altar, for a third temple and has even ordered the architectural drawings needed for its construction.
So is there a third temple in the offering in end times? Perhaps.
But maybe it has already been constructed?
The temple was built to house the Presence of God that hovered over the Ark of the Covenant and since Jesus was God incarnate, the Gospel writers understood that Jesus’ body was the Temple of God:
And with the infilling of the Holy Spirit that took place on the Day of Pentecost, the early church leaders also understood that since the very Presence of God could now reside inside people because of Christ’s perfect redemption, that would make Christians (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) and the church the Temple of God (Ephesian 2:19-22).