Third Temple

This article is about the unrealized Jewish temple as described in the Book of Ezekiel. For Herod the Great's massive renovation of the Second Temple, see Herod's Temple.
The visionary Ezekiel Temple plan drawn by the 19th-century French architect and Bible scholar Charles Chipiez

The Third Temple, or Ezekiel's Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש השלישי: Beit haMikdash haShlishi  lit. (The) House, the Holy, the Third), is a Holy Temple architecturally described and prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel, a house of prayer for all people with a sacrificial service. It is noted by Ezekiel as an eternal edifice and permanent dwelling place of the God of Israel on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Pieter de Witte (also known as Peter Candid), based his sketch of the Temple on the description found in the Book of Ezekiel. Pen and wash bistre or ink on paper, 321 x 234 mm. Weimar, Germany



Third temple floor sketch based on Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michal's commentary to the Hebrew text of Ezekiel
An image by Henry Sulley of Ezekiel's Temple.
Gateways of Ezekiel's Temple, as described in the Book of Ezekiel, drawn by the Dutch architect Bartelmeüs Reinders (1893–1979)

The architecture of the temple is described in detail in Chapters 40 to 42 of Ezekiel. Maimonides qualified those chapters as complex for the common reader and even for the seasoned scholar. Bible commentators who have ventured into explaining the design detail directly from the Hebrew Bible text include Rashi, David Kimhi, Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller, and Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michal – all producing slightly varying sketches of the temple envisioned by Ezekiel. The layout and measurements of the building are described in detail, and decoration of "carved cherubim and palm trees. Palm trees alternated with cherubim. Each cherub had two faces: the face of a human being toward the palm tree on one side and the face of a lion toward the palm tree on the other. They were carved all around the whole temple" Ezekiel 41:18–19

In Jewish prayer

The Third Temple is also portrayed as a religious notion and desire in Judaism rooted and expressed in many of Judaism's prayers for the return and rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem that had once stood as the First and Second Temples that were destroyed by the ancient Babylonians and the Romans.

Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, religious Jews have expressed their desire to see the building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount. Prayer for this is a formal part of the Jewish tradition of thrice daily Amidah prayer. Though it remains unbuilt, the notion of and desire for a Third Temple is sacred in Judaism, particularly Orthodox Judaism, and anticipated as a soon to be built place of worship. The prophets in the Tanakh called for its construction to be fulfilled prior to, or in tandem with, the Messianic age. The rebuilding of the Third Temple also plays a major role in some interpretations of Christian eschatology.

Architectural plans for the third Temple exist most notably in Chapters 40–47 of the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel's vision pre-dates the Second Temple) and some scholars entertain the notion that the Temple Scroll also describes the Third Temple.

Since a number of Jewish scholars have stated that the deadline for the arrival of the Jewish Messiah is the Jewish Year 6000 (2240 CE), this would also seem to be a deadline for beginning the construction of the Third Temple.

Orthodox Judaism

General views

Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, by Francesco Hayez

Orthodox Judaism believes in the rebuilding of a Third Temple and the resumption of Korban (sacrificial worship), although there is disagreement about how rebuilding should take place. Orthodox scholars and rabbinic authorities generally believe that rebuilding should occur in the era of the Jewish Messiah at the hand of Divine Providence, although a minority position, following the opinion of Maimonides, holds that Jews should endeavour to rebuild the temple themselves, whenever possible.[1] Orthodox authorities generally predict the resumption of the complete traditional system of sacrifices, but Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist authorities disavow all belief in the resumption of Korban. This belief is embedded in Orthodox Jewish prayer services. Three times a day, Orthodox Jews recite the Amidah, which contains prayers for the Temple's restoration and for sacrificial worship's resumption, and every day there is a recitation of the order of the day's sacrifices and the psalms the Levites would have sung that day.

The generally accepted position among Orthodox Jews is that the full order of the sacrifices will be resumed upon the building of the Temple. Maimonides wrote in his great philosophical treatise, "A Guide for the Perplexed", "that God deliberately has moved Jews away from sacrifices towards prayer, as prayer is a higher form of worship". However, in his Jewish legal code, the "Mishneh Torah", he states that animal sacrifices will resume in the third temple, and details how they will be carried out. Some attribute to Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook the view that animal sacrifices will not be reinstituted. These views on the Temple service are sometimes misconstrued (for example, in Olat Re'ayah, commenting on the prophecy of Malachi ("Then the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to God as in the days of old and as in former years" [Malachi 3:4]), he indicates that only grain offerings will be offered in the reinstated Temple service, while in a related essay from Otzarot Hare'ayah he suggests otherwise).

Role in prayer

Orthodox Jewish prayers include, in every prayer service and at the times when corresponding sacrifices would have been offered in the Temple, a prayer for its reconstruction and resumption of sacrifices. The morning prayer service also includes a study session of the daily Temple ritual and offerings as a reminder, including detailed study of the animal sacrifices and incense offerings. The service also contains the daily and special-occasion psalms the Levites used to sing in the Temple. Following the weekday Torah reading there is a prayer to "restore the House of our lives and to cause the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) to dwell among us", and the Amidah contains prayers for acceptance of "the fire-offerings of Israel" and ends with a meditation for the restoration of the Temple, "And may the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing, as in former days and ancient times" (Malachi 3:4). In addition, the theological and poetic language of Hebrew is filled with words with dual connotations, which are both literal references to elements of Temple architecture or ritual, and also have metaphorical theological and poetic meanings regarding the relationship between the worshipper and God. Translations and commentary on prayers with this language tend to discuss both meanings in Orthodox Judaism. (Examples of dual-meaning words: deshen refers to both the ashes left after a burnt-offering, and also means "acceptance with favor"; kodesh refers to "the Holy", i.e. the Sanctuary portion of the Temple, and also means "holy" generally; and chatzrot refers to the courtyards of the Temple, and also connotes nearness to God; "korban" means both "sacrifice" and "drawing near".)

Preservation of rules of tumah

Main article: Tumah and taharah

The Temple had elaborate rules of ritual purity forbidding entry to people with tumah, ritual impurity, arising from contact with the dead, seminal emissions and menstrual blood, contact with non-kosher (unclean) animals, certain diseases, and a number of other sources. While many of the original purification ceremonies involved (such as the Red Heifer ceremony) became impossible in the absence of the Temple and its rites, Rabbinic Judaism, and later Orthodox Judaism, considered Jews obligated to observe such laws of ritual purity as are possible, and retained a large number of the rules as principles for ordinary life. The laws of "family purity" are directly based, in function and terminology, on the Temple rules. A number of other requirements, such as the practices of immersing in a mikveh before Yom Kippur, washing the hands in the morning, before meals, and after a funeral, derive from these principles. Many contemporary and seemingly unconnected rules for ordinary living are intimately linked with these Temple rituals and rules. For example, the Shema Yisrael prayer is said at the time of day when Kohanim who were tamei completed a portion of their purification ritual, and the kind of plant material that can be put on the roof of a contemporary Sukkah is the kind that is not susceptible to tumah. In addition, authorities who permit Jews to ascend the Temple Mount require observance of a larger set of ritual purity rules than have been retained in daily life, such as a requirement of immersion following a seminal emission.

Attempts to re-establish a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount

In August 1967, after Israel's capture of the Mount, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the chief rabbi of the IDF (and later chief rabbi of the State of Israel), began organizing public prayer for Jews on the Temple Mount. Rabbi Goren was also well known for his controversial positions concerning Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount. On August 15, 1967, shortly after the Six-Day War, Goren led a group of fifty Jews onto the Temple Mount, where, fighting off protesting Muslim guards and Israeli police, they defiantly held a prayer service.[2] Goren continued to pray for many years in the Makhkame building overlooking the Temple Mount where he conducted yearly High Holiday services. His call for the establishment of a synagogue on the Temple Mount has subsequently been reiterated by his brother-in-law, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, She'ar Yashuv Cohen.

Goren was sharply criticized by the Israeli Defense Ministry, who, noting Goren's senior rank, called his behaviour inappropriate. The episode led the Chief Rabbis of the time to restate the accepted laws of Judaism that no Jews were allowed on the mount due to issues of ritual impurity. The secular authorities welcomed this ruling as it preserved the status quo with the Waqf, the Islamic authority. Disagreeing with his colleagues, Goren continually maintained that Jews were not only permitted, but commanded, to ascend and pray on the mount.

Goren repeatedly advocated or supported building a Third Temple on the Temple Mount from the 1960s onward, and was associated with various messianic projects involving the site. In the summer of 1983, Goren and several other rabbis joined Rabbi Yehuda Getz, who worked for the Religious Affairs Ministry at the Western Wall, in touring a chamber underneath the mount that Getz had excavated, where the two claimed to have seen the Ark of the Covenant. The tunnel was shortly discovered and resulted in a massive brawl between young Jews and Arabs in the area. The tunnel was quickly sealed with concrete by Israeli police.[3] The sealed entrance can be seen from the Western Wall Tunnel, which opened to the public in 1996.

The Chief Rabbis of Israel, Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim, together with other leading rabbis, asserted that "For generations we have warned against and refrained from entering any part of the Temple Mount."[4] A recent study of this rabbinical ruling suggests that it was both "unprecedented" and possibly prompted by governmental pressure on the rabbis, and "brilliant" in preventing Muslim–Jewish friction on the Mount.[5] Rabbinical consensus in the Religious Zionist stream of Orthodox Judaism continue to hold that it is forbidden for Jews to enter any part of the Temple Mount[6] and in January 2005 a declaration was signed confirming the 1967 decision.[7] On the eve of Shavuot in 2014, or 6th Sivan, 5774 in the Hebrew calendar, 400 Jews ascended the Temple Mount, some were photographed in prayer.[8]

Role in Conservative Judaism

Conservative Judaism believes in a Messiah and in a rebuilt Temple, but does not believe in the restoration of sacrifices. Accordingly, Conservative Judaism's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards has modified the prayers. Conservative prayerbooks call for the restoration of Temple, but do not ask for resumption of sacrifices. The Orthodox study session on sacrifices in the daily morning service has been replaced with the Talmudic passages teaching that deeds of loving-kindness now atone for sin.

In the daily Amidah prayer, the central prayer in Jewish services, the petitions to accept the "fire offerings of Israel" and "the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem" (Malachi 3:4) are removed. In the special Mussaf Amidah prayer said on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, the Hebrew phrase na'ase ve'nakriv (we will present and sacrifice) is modified to read to asu ve'hikrivu (they presented and sacrificed), implying that sacrifices are a thing of the past. The prayer for the restoration of "the House of our lives" and the Shekhinah to dwell "among us" in the weekday Torah reading service is retained in Conservative prayer books, although not all Conservative services say it. In Conservative prayer books, words and phrases that have dual meaning, referring to both Temple features and theological or poetic concepts, are generally retained. Translations and commentaries, however, generally refer to the poetic or theological meanings only. Conservative Judaism also takes an intermediate position on Kohanim and Levites, preserving patrilineal tribal descent and some aspects of their roles, but lifting restrictions on whom Kohanim are permitted to marry.

In 2006, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards adapted a series of responsa on the subject of the role, in Conservative Judaism, of Niddah, a description of a woman during menstruation, which was considered in relation to the role of Temple-related concepts of ritual purity within contemporary Judaism. One responsum adopted by a majority of the Committee held that concepts of ritual purity relevant to entry into the Temple are no longer applicable to contemporary Judaism and accepted a proposal to change the term "family purity" to "family holiness" and to explain the continuing observance of niddah on a different basis from continuity with Temple practices.[9][10] Another responsum, also adopted by a majority of the Committee, called for retaining existing observances, terminology, and rationale, and held that these Temple-related observances and concepts continued to have contemporary impact and meaning.[11] Thus, consistent with Conservative Judaism's philosophy of pluralism, both views of the continuing relevance of Temple-related concepts of ritual purity are permissible Conservative views.

Theodor Herzl includes the reconstructed Temple in his novel Altneuland, but along with an intact Dome of the Rock.[12]

Role in Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism

Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism do not believe in the rebuilding of a central Temple or a restoration of Temple sacrifices or worship. They regard the Temple and sacrificial era as a period of a more primitive form of ritual from which Judaism has evolved and should not return. They also believe a special role for Kohanim and Levites represents a caste system incompatible with modern principles of egalitarianism, and do not preserve these roles. Furthermore, there is a Reform view that the shul or synagogue is a modern Temple; hence, "Temple" appears in numerous congregation names in Reform Judaism. Indeed, the re-designation of the synagogue as "temple" was one of the hallmarks of early Reform in 19th-century Germany, when Berlin was declared the new Jerusalem, and Reform Jewry sought to demonstrate their staunch German nationalism. The Anti-Zionism that characterized Reform Judaism throughout much of its history subsided somewhat with the Holocaust in Europe and the later successes of the modern state of Israel. The belief in the return of the Jews to the Temple in Jerusalem is not part of mainstream Reform Judaism.

Ancient attempts at rebuilding

Bar Kochba revolt

Main article: Bar Kokhba revolt

Initially, the Emperor Hadrian granted permission to rebuild the temple but then changed his mind. The forces of Simon bar Kokhba captured Jerusalem from the Romans in 132 CE, and construction of a new temple continued.[13] The failure of this revolt led to the writing of the Mishna, as the religious leaders believed that the next attempt to rebuild the temple might be centuries away and memory of the practices and ceremonies would otherwise be lost. As punishment for the revolt, the Romans renamed the city to Aelia Capitolina and the province to Syria Palaestina and Jews were prohibited in the city except for the day of Tisha B'av. However, the Rabbis that survived persecution (see Ten Martyrs) were allowed to continue their school in Javnia, as long as they paid the Fiscus Judaicus.


There was an aborted project by the Roman emperor Julian (361–363 CE) to allow the Jews to build a Third Temple, part of Julian's empire-wide program of restoring and strengthening local religious cults. Rabbi Hilkiyah, one of the leading rabbis of the time, spurned Julian's money, arguing that gentiles should play no part in the rebuilding of the temple.

According to various sources of that time, including Sozomen (c. 400–450 CE) in his Historia Ecclesiastica and the pagan historian and close friend of Julian, Ammianus Marcellinus,[14] the project of rebuilding the temple was aborted because each time the workers tried to build the temple using the existing substructure, they were burned by terrible flames coming from inside the earth and an earthquake negated what work was made:

Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work, and was seconded by the governor of the province; when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorchings, could approach no more: and he gave up the attempt.[15]

The failure to rebuild the Temple has been ascribed to the Galilee earthquake of 363 CE, and to the Jews' ambivalence about the project. Sabotage is a possibility, as is an accidental fire. Divine intervention was the common view among Christian historians of the time.[16] Shortly thereafter, Julian was killed in battle, and the Christians reasserted control over the empire.

Medieval attempts at rebuilding

Sassanid vassal state

In 610 CE, the Sassanid Empire drove the Byzantine Empire out of the Middle East, giving the Jews control of Jerusalem for the first time in centuries. The new rulers soon ordered the restart of animal sacrifice for the first time since the time of Bar Kochba. Shortly, before the Byzantines took the area back, the Persians gave control to the Christian population, who tore down the partly built edifice,[17] and turned it into a garbage dump, which is what it was when the Caliph Omar took the city in the 630s.

Muslim conquest of Syria

An Armenian chronicle from the 7th Century CE, written by the bishop Sebeos, states that the Jews and Arabs were quarreling amongst each other about their differences of religion during the Siege of Jerusalem in 637 CE but "a man of the sons of Ishmael named Muhammad" gave a "sermon of the Way of Truth, supposedly at God's command" to them saying that they, both the Jews and the Arabs, should unite under the banner of their father Abraham and enter the Holy Land.[18] Sebeos also reports that the Jews began a reconstruction of the temple, but the Arabs expelled them and re-purposed the place for their own prayers. In turn, these Jews built another temple in a different location.[19]

During the Mongol raids into Syria

In 1267, during the Mongol raids into Syria, an interregnum period between the complete domination of the Levant by the Crusader states until 1260 and the conquest of Levant by the Mamluks in 1291, Nahmanides wrote a letter to his son. It contained the following references to the land and the Temple:

What shall I say of this land ... The more holy the place the greater the desolation. Jerusalem is the most desolate of all ... There are about 2,000 inhabitants ... but there are no Jews, "for after the arrival of the Tartars, the Jews fled, and some were killed by the sword. There are now only two brothers, dyers, who buy their dyes from the government. At their place a quorum of worshippers meets on the Sabbath, and we encourage them, and found a ruined house, built on pillars, with a beautiful dome, and made it into a synagogue ... People regularly come to Jerusalem, men and women from Damascus and from Aleppo and from all parts of the country, to see the Temple and weep over it. And may He who deemed us worthy to see Jerusalem in her ruins, grant us to see her rebuilt and restored, and the honor of the Divine Presence returned.

Modern rebuilding efforts

Although in mainstream Orthodox Judaism the rebuilding of the Temple is generally left to the coming of the Jewish Messiah and to Divine Providence, a number of organizations, generally representing a small minority of Orthodox Jews, have been formed with the objective of realizing the immediate construction of a Third Temple in present times. These organizations include:


The Temple Institute and the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement each state that its goal is to build the Third Temple on the Temple Mount (Mount Moriah). The Temple Institute has already made several items to be used in the Third Temple.


The most immediate and obvious obstacle to realization of these goals is the fact that two historic Islamic structures which are 13 centuries old, namely the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, are built on top of the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock is regarded as occupying the actual space where the Temple once stood, and Israel has undertaken to preserve access to these buildings as part of international obligations. Any efforts to damage or reduce access to these sites, or to build Jewish structures within, between, beneath, beside, cantilevered on top of, or instead of them, would lead to severe international conflicts, given the association of the Muslim world with these holy places. However, some 20th and 21st century scholars believe that the Dome of the Rock is not the actual location of the First and Second Temples, and that the Temples were actually located either just north of the Dome of the Rock, or about 200 meters south of it, with access to the Gihon fresh water spring, or perhaps between The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.[20][21][22][23]

In addition, most Jewish-Orthodox scholars reject any attempts to build the Temple before the coming of Messiah. This is because there are many doubts as to the exact location in which it is required to be built. For example, while measurements are given in cubits, there exists a controversy whether this unit of measurement equals approximately 1.5 feet (0.46 m) or 2 feet (0.61 m). Without exact knowledge of the size of a cubit, the altar could not be built. Indeed, the Talmud recounts that the building of the second Temple was only possible under the direct prophetic guidance of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Without valid prophetic revelation, it would be impossible to rebuild the Temple, even if the mosques no longer occupied its location.

Despite obstacles, efforts are under way by various analytical groups to articulate the benefits to local and regional constituents and participants to encourage developments that would progressively align in support. It is known from the Talmud[24] that in the time of King Agrippa, Jerusalem was filled with millions of visitors and pilgrims from the entire region. Today the potential of spiritual tourism would support the growth goals of the Mayor of Jerusalem[25] for 10 million tourists annually. This would provide a significant boost to the economy and would benefit people locally and regionally, many of whom live in poverty.[26] Since the rebuilding of the Temple can come only through a process of peace,[27] it must be preceded by numerous efforts, including the financial and project infrastructures to support such a large increase in tourism, local and regional co-operation agreements to enable its construction and the success of modern attempts to revive the Sanhedrin, the authority which must be empowered for such an event to occur.

Status of Temple Mount

Main article: Temple Mount

Israel currently restricts access by Jews to the Temple Mount on both religious and political grounds. Many religious authorities, including the Chief Rabbinate, interpret halakha (Jewish law) as prohibiting entering the area to prevent inadvertently entering and desecrating forbidden areas (such as the Holy of Holies), as the Temple area is regarded as still retaining its full sanctity and restrictions. Moreover, political authorities, are concerned about past violent clashes at the Temple Mount. One such clash, involving a visit to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon, coincided with the beginning of the Second Intifada. Authorities seek to reduce the likelihood of further violent confrontations between Jewish religious activists and Muslims worshipping at the mosques, which could cause damage to local architecture and further damage the area's delicate political fabric.[28]

During the Sukkot festival in 2006 Uri Ariel, a National Union member of the Knesset, ascended the Mount and said that he is making plans for a synagogue on the Mount.[29]

Christian views

While there are a number of differing views amongst Christianity with regard to the significance or the requirement of a third temple being built in Jerusalem, according to the writers of the New Testament, the New Covenant (spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31–34) is marked by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer (Ezekiel 36:26–27) and that therefore every believer's body and every gathering of believers comprise the temple, or that the temple has been superseded. Paul illustrates this concept in his letter to the believers at Corinth:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?(1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB)

This idea is related to the belief that Christ himself, having claimed to be and do what the temple was and did, is the new temple (John 2:19), and that his people, as a part of the "body of Christ" (meaning the church), are part of this temple as well (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19–22; 1 Peter 2:4–5). The result, according to N. T. Wright, is that the earthly temple (along with the city of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel) is no longer of any spiritual significance:

[Paul] refers to the church, and indeed to individual Christians, as the ‘temple of the living God’ (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19). To Western Christians, thinking anachronistically of the temple as simply the Jewish equivalent of a cathedral, the image is simply one metaphor among many and without much apparent significance. For a first-century Jew, however, the Temple had an enormous significance; as a result, when Paul uses such an image within twenty-five years of the Crucifixion (with the actual temple still standing), it is a striking index of the immense change that has taken place in his [Paul’s] thought. The Temple had been superseded by the Church. If this is so for the Temple, and in Romans 4 for the Land, then it must a fortiori be the case for Jerusalem, which formed the concentric circle in between those two in the normal Jewish worldview.[30]

In the teaching of both Jesus and Paul, then, according to Wright,

God’s house in Jerusalem was meant to be a ‘place of prayer for all the nations’ (Isaiah 56:7; Mark 11:17); but God would now achieve this through the new temple, which was Jesus himself and his people.[30]

Ben F. Meyer, also, argued that Jesus applied prophecy regarding Zion and temple to himself and his followers:

[Jesus] affirmed the prophecies of salvation with their end-time imagery Zion and the temple—belonging to the eschatological themes that the "pilgrimage of the peoples" evoked. But contrary to the common expectation of his contemporaries, Jesus expected the destruction of the temple in the coming eschatological ordeal (Mark 13:2=Matt 24:2=Luke 21:6). The combination seems contradictory. How could he simultaneously predict the ruin of the temple in the ordeal and affirm the end-time fulfilment of promise and prophecy on Zion and temple? The paradox is irresolvable until one takes note of another trait of Jesus' words on the imagery of Zion and temple, namely, the consistent application to his own disciples of Zion- and temple-imagery: the city on the mountain (Matt 5:14; cf. Thomas, 32), the cosmic rock (Matt 16:18; cf. John 1:42), the new sanctuary (Mark 14:58; Matt 26:61). The mass of promise and prophecy will come to fulfilment in this eschatological and messianic circle of believers.[31]

Some would therefore see the need for a third temple as being diminished, redundant, or entirely foreclosed and superseded, while others take a position that the building of the third temple is an integral part of Christian eschatology. The various perspectives on the significance of the building of a third temple within Christianity are therefore generally linked to a number of factors including: the level of literal or spiritual interpretation applied to what is taken to be "end-time" prophecy; the perceived relationships between various scriptures such as Daniel, the Olivet discourse, 2 Thessalonians and Ezekiel (amongst others); whether or not a dual-covenant is considered to be in place; and whether Old Testament promises of the restoration of Israel remain unfulfilled or have all come true in the Messiah (2 Corinthians 1:20). Such factors determine, for example, whether Daniel 9:27 or 2 Thessalonians 2:4 are read as referring to a still-future physically restored third temple.

A number of these perspectives are illustrated below.

Christian mainstream

The dominant view within Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christianity is that animal sacrifices within the Temple were a foreshadowing of the sacrifice Jesus made for the sins of the world through his crucifixion and shedding of his blood on the first day of Passover.[32] The Epistle to the Hebrews is often cited in support of this view: the temple sacrifices are described as being imperfect, since they require repeating (ch. 10:1–4), and as belonging to a covenant that was "becoming obsolete and growing old" and was "ready to vanish away" (ch. 8:13, ESV). See also Abrogation of Old Covenant laws. Christ's crucifixion, being a sacrifice which dealt with sin once and for all, negated any need for further animal sacrifice. Christ himself is compared to the High Priest who was always standing and performing rituals and sacrifices. Christ, however, having performed his sacrifice, "sat down" — perfection having been finally attained (ch. 10:11–14,18). Further, the veil or curtain to the Holy of Holies is seen as having been torn asunder at the crucifixion – figuratively in connection with this theology (Ch 10:19–21), and literally according to the Gospel of Matthew (ch 27:50–51). For these reasons, a third temple, whose partial purpose would be the re-institution of animal sacrifices, is seen as unnecessary and thus superseded. Iraeneus[33] and Hippolytus[34] were among early church writers who foresaw a rebuilding of the Temple, as necessary for the preparation for the reign of AntiChrist.

Additionally Jesus himself stated when asked where to worship, "neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem... But in spirit and in truth". He stated of the Herodian temple, "Not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down" – John 4:21, Luke 21:6.


"Ground Plan of Ezekiel's Temple" by dispensationalist author A. C. Gaebelein

Those Protestants who do believe in the importance of a future rebuilt temple (viz., some dispensationalists) hold that the importance of the sacrificial system shifts to a Memorial of the Cross, given the text of Ezekiel Chapters 39 and following (in addition to Millennial references to the Temple in other Old Testament passages); since Ezekiel explains at length the construction and nature of the Millennial temple, in which Jews will once again hold the priesthood; some others hold that perhaps it was not completely eliminated with Jesus' sacrifice for sin, but is a ceremonial object lesson for confession and forgiveness (somewhat like water baptism and Communion are today); and that such animal sacrifices would still be appropriate for ritual cleansing and for acts of celebration and thanksgiving toward God. Some dispensationalists believe this will be the case with the Second Coming when Jesus reigns over earth from the city of New Jerusalem. interprets a passage in the Book of Daniel, Daniel 12:11, as a prophecy that the end of this age will occur shortly after sacrifices are ended in the newly rebuilt temple.

In 1762, Charles Wesley wrote:[35]

We know, it must be done,
For God hath spoke the word,
All Israel shall their Saviour own,
To their first state restor’d:
Re-built by his command,
Jerusalem shall rise,
Her temple on Moriah stand
Again, and touch the skies.

Dispensational Evangelical

Many Evangelical Christians believe that New Testament prophecies associated with the Jewish Temple, such as Matthew 24–25 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12, were not completely fulfilled during the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (a belief of Full Preterism) and that these prophecies refer to a future temple. This view is a core part of Dispensationalism, an interpretative framework of the Bible that stresses Biblical literalism and asserts that the Jews remain God's chosen people. According to Dispensationalist theologians, such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye, the Third Temple will be rebuilt when the Anti-Christ, often identified as the political leader of a trans-national alliance similar to the European Union or the United Nations, secures a peace treaty between the modern nation of Israel and its neighbours following a global war. The Anti-Christ later uses the temple as a venue for proclaiming himself as God and the long-awaited Messiah, demanding worship from humanity.

Hal Lindsey

According to American fundamentalist Protestant author Hal Lindsey, the Third Temple could be built right next to the Dome of the Rock.[36] He believes, based on the theory of Dr. Asher Kaufman regarding the location of the Eastern Gate, that the Dome of the Rock was built on what the Bible refers to as the Court of the Gentiles. He states that according to Revelation 11:1–2, the rebuilding of the Third Temple was not to include the section of the temple mount known as The Court of the Gentiles. Therefore, he believes that the Third Temple and the Dome of the Rock could stand side by side.

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox

Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that the Eucharist, which they hold to be one in substance with the one self-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, is a far superior offering when compared with the merely preparatory temple sacrifices, as explained in the Epistle to the Hebrews. They also believe that Christ Himself is the New Temple, as spoken of in the Book of Revelation and that Revelation can best be understood as the Eucharist, heaven on earth. Their church buildings are meant to model Solomon's Temple, with the Tabernacle, containing the Eucharist, being considered the new "Holy of Holies." Therefore, they do not attach any significance to a possible future rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple.

The Orthodox also quote Daniel 9:27 ("... he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease ...") to show that the sacrifices would stop with the arrival of the Messiah, and mention that according to Jesus, St. Paul and the Holy Fathers, the temple will only be rebuilt in the times of the Antichrist.

Quotations: Matthew 24:15 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)".

2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 "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."


Mormons believe that the Jews will build the Third Temple and after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Jews will accept Jesus as the Messiah and most Jews will then embrace the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, it is believed, the Third Temple will be God's temple as Christ reigns on the earth and it will become the Jerusalem, Israel LDS Temple. There will be many LDS Temples but two main temples will jointly serve as the central governing places – the Jerusalem Temple will function as the resurrected Jesus Christ's Eastern Hemisphere governing place and the New Jerusalem Temple in Independence, Missouri will function as the resurrected Jesus Christ's Western Hemisphere governing place. Both of these two temples will have thrones for Jesus Christ to sit on during his millennial reign.[37]

The Community of Christ, the second largest denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement, has operated a temple, open to the public, in Independence, Missouri, since 1994.

Muslim view

Most Muslims view the movement for the building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount as an affront to Islam due to the presence of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in the stead of the former Holy Temple. Today the area is regarded by the majority of Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam. Furthermore, the mosque and the shrine have been on the mountain for a greater length of time than the Temples were.[38] Thus, Muslims are resolute in calling for recognition of their exclusive rights over the site and demand that it be wholly transferred to Muslim sovereignty; furthermore, some Muslims deny any association with the Mount to the former Jewish Temples which stood at the site.[39][40]

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was initiated in reaction to Denis Michael Rohan, an Australian Christian who set fire to a 12th-century pulpit of the Al-Aqsa mosque, in an attempt to initiate the second coming of Christ. The protection of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in the primary mandate of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Bahá'í view

In the Bahá'í view the prophecy of the Third Temple was fulfilled with the writing of the Súriy-i-Haykal by Bahá'u'lláh in pentacle form.[41] The Súriy-i-Haykal or Tablet of the Temple, is a composite work which consists of a tablet followed by five messages addressed to world leaders; shortly after its completion, Bahá'u'lláh instructed the tablet be written in the form of a pentacle, symbolizing the human temple and added to it the conclusion:[42]

Thus have We built the Temple with the hands of power and might, could ye but know it. This is the Temple promised unto you in the Book. Draw ye nigh unto it. This is that which profiteth you, could ye but comprehend it. Be fair, O peoples of the earth! Which is preferable, this, or a temple which is built of clay? Set your faces towards it. Thus have ye been commanded by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.[43]

Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Bahá'í Faith in the first half of the 20th century, explained that this verse refers to the prophecy in the Hebrew Bible where Zechariah had promised the rebuilding of the Temple in the End Times as fulfilled in the return of the Manifestation of God, Bahá'u'lláh, in a human temple.[42][44] Throughout the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh addresses the Temple (himself) and explains the glory which is invested in it allowing all the nations of the world to find redemption.[41][45] In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh states that the Manifestation of God is a pure mirror that reflects the sovereignty of God and manifests God's beauty and grandeur to mankind.[41] In essence, Bahá'u'lláh explains that the Manifestation of God is a "Living Temple" and Bahá'u'lláh addresses the organs and limbs of the human body and bids each to focus on God and not the earthly world.[41]

See also


  1. "Reb Chaim HaQoton- ר' חיים הקטן".
  2. "Forcing the End. (Evangelicals and rabbis' look at the Six day War and views about End Times)".
  3. "Preparations for a Third Jewish Temple. (Goren about Temple Mount)".
  4. Lapidoth, Ruth; Ruth E Lapidoth; Moshe Hirsch (1994). The Jerusalem Question and Its Resolution: Selected Documents. Jerusalem: Martinus Nijhoff. p. 542. ISBN 0-7923-2893-0.
  5. Hassner, Ron E., "War on Sacred Grounds," Cornell University Press (2009), pp. 113–133
  6. These rabbis include: Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel; Zalman Baruch Melamed, rosh yeshiva of the Beit El yeshiva; Eliezer Waldenberg, former rabbinical judge in the Rabbinical Supreme Court of the State of Israel; Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Chief Rabbi of Palestine (Mikdash-Build (Vol. I, No. 26)); Avigdor Nebenzahl, Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem.
  7. These rabbis include: Rabbis Yona Metzger (Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shlomo Amar (Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Ovadia Yosef (spiritual leader of Sefardi Haredi Judaism and of the Shas party, and former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron (former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shmuel Rabinowitz (rabbi of the Western Wall); Avraham Shapiro (former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shlomo Aviner (rosh yeshiva of Ateret Cohanim); Yisrael Meir Lau (former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv). Source: Leading rabbis rule Temple Mount is off-limits to Jews
  8. "Temple Mount is Jewish for a Day". Arutz Sheva. Archived from the original on 2014-06-04. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  9. Rabbi Susan Grossman (December 6, 2006). "Mikveh and the sanctity of being created human, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards" (PDF). Rabbinical Assembly.
  10. Rabbi Miriam Berkowitz (December 6, 2006). "RESHAPING THE LAWS OF FAMILY PURITY FOR THE MODERN WORLD, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards" (PDF). Rabbinical Assembly.
  11. Rabbi Avram Reisner (December 6, 2006). "Observing niddah in our day: An Inquiry on the status of purity and the prohibition of sexual activity with a menstruant, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards" (PDF). Rabbinical Assembly.
  12. Herzl, Theodor (1941). Altneuland. English Translation by Lotta Levenson. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishing and the Herzl Press. p. 109. ISBN 9781558761605.
  14. See Britannica Deluxe 2002 and Stewart Henry Perowne
  15. (The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus, Book 23 Chap. 1 Line 3).
  16. See "Julian and the Jews 361–363 CE" and "Julian the Apostate and the Holy Temple".
  17. Karmi, Ghada (1997). Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?. Garnet & Ithaca Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-86372-226-1.
  18. Sebeos' History Translated from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian
  19. Sebeos' History, Chapter 31. See also Crone & Cook, Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 10; Suermann, H. "Early Islam in the Light of Christian and Jewish Sources" in Neuwrith, Sinai, & Marx (eds.), The Qur'ān in Context (Brill, 2010), pp. 135–148; and Wright, Robert, The Evolution of God, ebook edition, chapter 16 (Little, Brown and Company, 2009) for discussions of this and related accounts.
  20. "Location of Fort Antonia".
  21. "Re-Locating Herod's Temple".
  22. On The Location of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, by Lambert Dolphin and Michael Kollen
  23. "The Real Site of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem".
  24. Psachim 64b
  25. "An Interview with Nir Barkat". Foreign Policy.
  28. " International". CNN. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
  29. "Rightist MK Ariel visits Temple Mount as thousands throng Wall". Haaretz. October 9, 2006.
  30. 1 2 N. T. Wright, "Jerusalem in the New Testament" (1994)
  31. Ben F. Meyer, "The Temple at the Navel of the Earth," in Christus Faber: the master builder and the house of God, Princeton Theological Monograph Series no. 29 (Allison Park, Pa.: Pickwick Publications, 1992) 217, 261.
  32. Assuming Nisan 15, see Chronology of jesus#Day of death for details.
  33. Iraeneus 'Against Heresies', Book V, Chapter 30, Paragraph 4
  34. Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, Pt.2. Sn.6. s:Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus/Dogmatical and Historical/Treatise on Christ and Antichrist
  35. "A Wesley 'Zionist' Hymn? Charles Wesley's hymn, published in 1762 and included by John Wesley in his 1780 hymn-book, A Collection of Hymns for the use of the People called Methodists". The Wesley Fellowship. 2010-07-01. Archived from the original on 2014-07-05. Retrieved 2014-07-05.
  36. Revived Sanhedrin discusses Temple 2005
  37. Smith, Joseph Fielding (1954–1956). Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 3 vols. compiled by Bruce R. McConkie. Bookcraft Salt Lake City, Utah.
  38. The First Temple lasted 373 years (960BC–586BC); the Second lasted 585 years (516 BC–70 AD). The Dome of the Rock has been on the Temple Mount for 1318 years. The current Al-Aqsa Mosque is 976 years old.
  39. Fendel, Hillel (November 6, 2006). "Israeli Sheikh: Temple Mount is Entirely Islamic". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 2006-11-12. We remind, for the 1,000th time, that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque, including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute Muslim property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it.
  40. Sheikh Salah: Western Wall belongs to Muslims, February 18, 2007
  41. 1 2 3 4 Taherzadeh, Adib (1984). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 3: `Akka, The Early Years 1868–77. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 133. ISBN 0-85398-144-2.
  42. 1 2 Universal House of Justice (2002). "Introduction". The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. p. 1. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
  43. Bahá'u'lláh (2002). The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. p. 137. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
  44. Effendi, Shoghi (1996). Promised Day is Come. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 47–48. ISBN 0-87743-244-9.
  45. Shawamreh, Cynthia C. (December 1998). "Comparison of the Suriy-i-Haykal and the Prophecies of Zechariah". Retrieved 2006-09-30.

Further reading

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