Many Christians believe that a third temple will be built in Jerusalem as part of the end times prophecy leading to the second coming of Christ.
And because of this, there was recent excitement on several end-times websites, when Israel365, an Orthodox Jewish website in Israel, reported that Orthodox Jews have started building the third temple.
For the most part, a group of Orthodox Jews has manufactured all the utensils and furniture necessary for a functioning temple, including the sacrificial altar. They have also set up a school to train the priests on how to perform sacrificial offerings.
All that is missing is the temple itself.
Though at the moment there is no political will in Israel to build a temple, that would undoubtedly face violent resistance from the Muslims, there is sufficient room on the Temple Mount for a Jewish Temple. The Jordanian Waqf currently administers the site.
Israel365 reports that several Orthodox Jews have started preparing the stones that would eventually be used for the construction of the temple.
According to the Jewish Mitzvah, a Jewish oral tradition since compiled into a written form called the Talmud, the stones needed for the construction of the third temple needed to be manufactured off-site.
During the construction of the first temple, the Jews dressed the stones at a quarry so far from the site, that nobody could hear the stones being chipped. These Jews then transported the stones to the Temple Mount for final construction:
7 In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built. (1 Kings 6:7 NIV)
Rabbi Aryeh Lipo, who is leading the project, told Israel365 that he came up with the idea of starting to prepare the stones while he was on his way to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky’s funeral in March this year.
They made the decision to start dressing the stones on Israel’s Independence Day, May 14, 2022.
Because Arab groups operate most of the stone quarries in Israel, the Jews collected stones from fields and are in the process of preparing 23 large stones for the temple’s construction.
Though it’s not possible, at this point, to build the actual temple, Rabbi Lippo said there was nothing stopping them from dressing stones in preparation for construction.
“All of the rabbis we consulted agreed that we should begin preparing the stones,” Lipo told Israel365. “This wasn’t just a physical action to produce dressed stones. We had to be very careful about our intentions. Of course, this was not a political statement. The intention was to unify the Jews and all of the world in making God One and His Name One.”
Israel’s two previous temples
Over the course of its history, Israel has had two temples, one constructed by King Solomon that was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586-7 BC and a second constructed under Ezra and Nehemiah that was later renovated by King Herod. This second temple was the one that Jesus visited. It was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.
Many believe a third temple will be built, in part due to two Biblical prophecies.
In Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48, the prophet had a vision of a temple that was unlike either of the two temples constructed in Jerusalem so far, leading to speculation that it was a description of a yet unbuilt third temple.
The Book of Revelation also describes a temple, Revelation 11:1-2, when God told John to measure the temple. This command is similar to what happened in Ezekiel, where the prophet was similarly ordered to measure the temple (Ezekiel 41:13), suggesting the two are referring to the same, yet unbuilt temple.
Is the church, the third Jewish Temple?
However, there is Biblical evidence that God has already constructed the Third Temple.
It may in fact be the body of Christ, the church, and the people of God, who now contain the very Presence of God, which was the intended purpose of the Temple.
First, we read that Christ’s Body is the Third Temple:
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:18-20 ESV)
The church which is the Body of Christ is described as the Third Temple, the dwelling place of God:
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[a] the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22 ESV)
Who currently controls the Temple Mount?
At present, the Jordan Waqf administers the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, at the behest of Israel. However, due to the recent violence on the site that involved Palestinian rioters setting fire to the Al-Aqsa mosque, the Waqf is demanding that Israel turn over total control and security to Waqf.
This means that Jordanian soldiers would provide security on the Temple Mount instead of the Jewish police.
Jordan is concerned that the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is using the riots to wrestle the custodial control of the Temple Mount from the Waqf. This move may even be backed by other Arab groups.
Did Jesus actually predict that the physical temple would not be rebuilt?