Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?

By COGwriter

Common, among those Protestants who tend to accept the idea of a literal understanding of the Bible and have interest in matters prophetic, is the belief that before Jesus returns there will have to be a new (or rebuilt) temple in Jerusalem.

Popular Protestant writers the late Dr. T. LaHaye & J. Jenkins (known for their promoting of the "rapture" position, please see Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?) go so far as to declare:

All prophecy teachers who interpret the Scriptures literally agree that a Jewish temple in Israel will be rebuilt… 

That there will be a third temple is predicted by the prophet Daniel, the apostles Paul and John, and none other than Jesus Himself.  They all taught that Israel's third temple will be rebuilt either before the Tribulation begins or soon thereafter, for it is seen in complete operation by the middle of the Tribulation.  Obviously, since Israel does not now have a temple, a third temple must be rebuilt for such an event to occur.

...the Antichrist desolates it near the middle of the Tribulation. (Are We Living in the End Times?  Tyndale House, Wheaton (IL), 1999, pp.122, 126).

But is that strictly true?  Did Daniel, Paul, John, and Jesus all specifically predict a third Jewish temple?  Did any of them?

Note: While a future temple is typically called the third temple, this is based on counting Solomon's as first, and the second temple as the one that was began around 538 B.C., including the the expansion that Herod did when he renovated it around 20 B.C.--some consider what Herod did was a 'third temple.' The late Dr. Ernest Martin claimed that there were others as well. This article will use the term 'third temple' as that is what a coming temple in Jerusalem is commonly called, while understanding that it could logically be called the 'fourth temple' or some other number.

The point of this article is to explain why another Jewish temple prior to Christ’s return is not strictly necessary according to an analysis of many of the relevant prophetic scriptures about "His temple."

Furthermore, if the Jews did rebuild a temple, would it be God's temple or a Jewish one?

Here, also, is a link to a releated sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.

The Hieron and Naos Temples

It needs to be brought out that the New Testament itself basically uses two Greek terms for temple: they are hieron (ίερόν) and naos (ναος or ναον). While the Greek term hieron always seems to refer to a physical temple in the New Testament (usually a Jewish built one, but sometimes a pagan built one, e.g. Acts 19:27), the term naos does not always do so. 

Perhaps because hieron is used more frequently (71 times) in the New Testament (and is the term most often translated into English as temple), some seem to have confused it with the naos term for temple.

Naos is used 47 times in the New Testament, and while it is clearly referring to a physical temple approximately 19 times (mainly in the Gospels and Acts), it is clearly not referring to a physical temple building on earth in many of the remaining verses.

Jesus was the first in the New Testament to use naos to refer to something OTHER than a Jewish temple in scripture:

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

21 But he spake of the temple of his body. (John 2:19-21, KJV)

So, while the Jews were thinking that naos was a referring to a physical Jewish temple in verse 20, the scripture is clear that in verses 19 and 21 that Jesus was referring to naos to mean something else.

Is the Temple of God in the Christian Era a Jewish Building?

The children of Israel clearly were the people of God in the Hebrew scriptures (e.g. Exodus 3:10) and built “the temple of God” (2 Chronicles 23:9) in Old Testament times.

But let's look at something in the New Testament:

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. (Hebrews 7:11-13)

There was a change. There is no need for animal sacrifices for sin as Jesus' one sacrifice provides eternal redemption:

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-13)

Jesus' eternal redemption eliminates the need for a temple with animal sacrifices.

The Hebrew scriptures state that the Jews were God’s holy people (Deuteronomy 7:6), yet the New Testament shows that God’s holy people are now Christians:

13 Jesus Christ…15 He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:13, 15-16)

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, (1 Peter 2:9)

Could Christians, God’s holy people (Daniel 12:7), represent God’s holy temple in the end-times?

Does the New Testament connect Christians (Jews or Gentiles) or non-believing Jews with the temple of God?

To determine that, let’s look at those passages in the New Testament that refer to a naos “temple of God” on the earth after Jesus' resurrection.

The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Corinth:

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19, KJV)

16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Notice that the inspired writings of the Apostle Paul demonstrative the view that the naos temple of God now has to do with Christians, not necessarily the Jewish peoples (except those who are Christians and have the Holy Spirit). Additionally, his wording "Do you not know" or “know ye not” indicates that this is something that they already should have known.

Despite scriptures like 1 Corinthians 3:17, some today who claim to be Christians believe that God would consider a Jewish Temple, to be built in defiance of the sacrifice of Jesus, to be holy. It is God's people in the church who are the Holy Temple in the church era, not a Jewish building.

Notice further that the Apostle Paul told the Christians in Ephesus about being God's building:

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Thus, Paul’s writings regarding the naos temple have to do with Christian people and not a Jewish building. 

And while I do believe that the Bible should normally be interpreted literally, it is clear that the Apostle Paul repeatedly used the term naos metaphorically to refer to true Christians.

Further consider what the deacon and martyr Stephen taught:

44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, 45 which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, 46 who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built Him a house.

48 "However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

49 'Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?
50 Has My hand not made all these things?' (Acts 7:44-50)

The temple of God in the New Testament are the Christians with God's Holy Spirit (the term temples above was not in the Greek manuscripts in the NA27, however a version of naos, is in the manuscripts known as the Textus Receptus). Christians are to live their lives with the knowledge that God dwells in them (see also Living as a Christian: How and Why?).

While He was on the earth, Jesus taught He was greater than the physical, hieron, Jewish temple:

6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. (Matthew 12:6)

And while the following does not use the either of the Greek terms for temple, it seems consistent with the view that the current temple, in God's eyes, is not a physical one as the hieron temple had a sanctuary and tabernacle (1 Kings 8:4-8):

1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. (Hebrews 8:1-2)

Years ago when I had a just taken a class on koine Greek, I attempted (with a lot of book assistance) to translate from the Greek, a second century writing from Church of God Bishop/Pastor Melito of Sardis. It is named Melito On Prophecy and is called the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus I. 5 (the Greek used was as shown in Paulsen H. New Test. Stud. 25, 1979, pp. 443-453). The document is a fragment, but my understanding of it suggests that Melito also taught that Christians were God's temple.

Getting back to scripture, here is more from the Apostle Peter:

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

"Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." (1 Peter 2:4-6)

Again, understand that the Apostle Paul wrote:

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? ( Corinthians 3:16)

According the the New Testament, in the Christian era, Christians are the temple of God!

In the future, Philadelphian Christians are promised to be pillars in the temple of God:

7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write ,... 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, (Revelation 3:7,12)

Notice something from the old Radio Church of God:

The Pillars in God's Temple

Just as Daniel wrote (Daniel 12:4), knowledge has been increased in this time of the end. Part of the knowledge which God has increased concerns the many prophecies of the Bible.

God has promised that the overcomer of the Philadelphia era of God's Church will become a "pillar" in the temple of God (Rev. 3:12).

This is speaking symbolically of a position of authority in the headquarters of the world, which will be at a new Temple to be built in Jerusalem. Do you know where the pillars are located in God's temple? Most people know that there are two large pillars that stand in front of the temple, but are they the physical types of the offices to which Christ refers?

The saints of this era who do overcome and endure to the end will be right at this temple of God. They will be here for the one thousand year period, and even on through the following one hundred year period (Is. 65:17-25). If you are one of God's faithful saints in this age, you will be assigned at the temple for this whole period. Here is an opportunity for you to have described, right now from your own Bible the description of that wonderful place, God's Temple in prophecy. ...

Ezekiel saw the World Tomorrow

The prophet Ezekiel was projected forward in time through many centuries to the soon-coming world tomorrow (Ezekiel, chapters 40 to 48). In this particular vision he even saw God's temple from which Christ will rule the whole earth! He saw the coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords in His new kingdom, the Kingdom of God. He saw the glory of Christ which will then fill the whole earth. Ezekiel was inspired of God to write of that world tomorrow. It was recorded and handed down to us today so that we might understand the details of the marvelous temple of God in prophecy. (Neff L. God's Temple in Prophecy, Chapter I, March 1961)

Christians are the Temple of God in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 3:16).

There is no Christian Need for a Jewish Temple

When did the 'Second Temple' cease to be the Temple of God?

Consider the following scriptures:

37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.

38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:37-39)

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”  21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another —  26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Hebrews 9:11-26)

After the execution of Jesus, the veil in the ‘Second’ Temple was miraculously torn and that building ceased to be the Temple of God as there was no longer a need for animal sacrifices. No Jewish building is the ‘Temple of God,’ although remnants of the first and second temples may exist (related to the second one, check out the article Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill).

God does not need a physical temple in the church age for the remission of sins as Jesus did that once for all (Hebrews 7:26-28).

As prophesied in Daniel 9:26, the 'second' Jewish temple ended up being destroyed by the Romans. That occurred in 70 A.D.

Did Jesus Predict a Third Jewish Temple?

Contrary to the assertions/implications of Dr. LaHaye & J. Jenkins, there is no verse in the New Testament by Jesus that is referring to a Jewish hieron temple being rebuilt related to the Tribulation (nor anything written by Paul nor Daniel for that matter).

While it is difficult to “prove a negative” I did a Greek word search of hieron in the New Testament and could find no verse that backed up the assertions of Dr. LaHaye & J. Jenkins in this area that a third Jewish temple is required before various end-time prophecies can be fulfilled.

However, there is another phrase that can be used to refer to the Jerusalem temple area and that is the Greek expression topos hagios (τόπου άγίου in Acts or τόπω άγίω in Matthew) which tends to be translated as “holy place” or sometimes “sanctuary.” The expression topos literally means region or place (Liddell H.G, Scott R.  Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford, 1996, p. 1806) and is most often used in the New Testament to mean a location as opposed to a structure.

Versions of the phrase topos hagios were used by non-Christian Jews for the temple (Acts 6:13; Acts 21:28). Yet, topos hagios can also be understood to simply be the area where the old temple of God was, as opposed to the temple building itself.  For example, notice the following:

28 ... and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (Acts 21:28b) 

The term temple above is translated from hieron, while the term holy place is from the Greek expression topos hagios—thus an apparent distinction is made between the building (hieron) and the location (topos hagios).

Also notice the following which uses the Greek terms topos and hagios and translates them as “place” and “holy” below:

33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground. (Acts 7:33)

Thus, the New Testament shows that the terms topos and hagios can refer to a holy location as opposed to being restricted to a structure.

It is in that context or perhaps context of the city of Jerusalem itself (as it is the “Holy City”, cf. Matthew 4:5; Revelation 21:2) or Zion which may be what Jesus was intending to convey when He used a version of topos hagios in Matthew 24:15 (which was the only scripture in Dr. LaHaye & J. Jenkins’ previously cited book, p. 122, concerning Jesus and the temple).

Let me also add that a Sabbatarian in the 19th century published the following:

What is the 'holy place'? I understand it to be the Church, which is called the temple. Turn to 1st Cor. 3:16, 17. (Watkins J. The Midnight Cry. Hope of Israel, October 28, 1863)

Notice what Jesus stated:

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:) (Matthew 24:15)

In that verse, Jesus says that we should look at Daniel (which is covered later in this paper). Jesus also taught that the one who reads this passage needs understand something—Jesus’ comment itself suggests that the what may be the most apparent idea that “a physical Jewish temple may be required” may not be correct. In December 2021, someone, via email, pointed to that verse and tried to tell me that this proved that a massive Jewish temple needed to be built.

Carefully notice that no temple of any kind is specifically mentioned in this passage. Bible literalists should realize that perhaps a future Jewish physical temple is not being referred to by Jesus here, but that Jesus is referring to either the area the temple was originally built at or to something else in the city of Jerusalem.

Anyway, I wrote a responding email the following:

You seem to forget that God would not consider a Jewish building at this time a holy place. A massive Jewish temple is not needed for prophecy to be fulfilled and nothing the Jews can build now would be holy.

That response was enough for the emailer to realize that Jesus was NOT teaching that a rebuilt Jewish temple would be the holy place in God's eyes. Jews cannot, at this time, make anything holy!

Since the abomination of desolation stands in the holy place, and Jesus points to wisdom to understanding it, there will be a way of finding out about what this holy place is. Consider that when Christ returns and rules over the earth, there will be those who can ascend Gods hill and stand in the holy place.

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
(Psalm 24:1-3)

The Psalm continues with the answer to this question in the following verses:

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. Selah (Psalm 24:4-6)

Notice that these are people who are receiving righteousness from God and are living at the time of Christ’s rule with His saints. This is not a reference to Jews which have rejected Jesus as Messiah.

Thus, it seems improper to insist that Jesus is specifically teaching that a third Jewish temple will be rebuilt as there is no scripture in the entire New Testament that shows that He specifically taught that.

Did Daniel Predict a Third Jewish Temple?

In their book Are We Living in the End Times?, Dr. LaHaye & J. Jenkins cited Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 11:31 presumably as proof that Jesus is somehow predicting the building of a third Jewish temple.

Let us quote both of those passages below, plus one other:

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)

31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. (Daniel 11:31)

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Daniel 12:11)

Understand that while those scriptures are referring to sacrifices, none of those passages says anything about a temple being built or involved. And while that may be an obvious assumption, it is simply not a biblically required conclusion. As far as the stopping of animal sacrifices goes, there is information on this in the article The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World.

The Hebrew text of Daniel 11:31 uses the phrase hammiqdash hamma'oz literally "the holy place stronghold," “the sanctuary stronghold” or "the temple stronghold" which supports the idea that it can be referring to a specific place or area (such as an area where an altar may be placed) as opposed to the idea of requiring a temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. (More on Daniel 11 can be found in the article Who is the King of the North?)

The Hebrew word (Strong's 1004) frequently translated as temple in the Old Testament, habayit, is used three times in the Book of Daniel. They are all part of the first chapter, where they are translated as a religious house:

2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. (Daniel 1:2)

The other Hebrew word (Strong's 1965) frequently translated as temple in the Old Testament, heeyk­laa°, is used twice in the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel:

2 While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. (Daniel 5:2-3)

Thus, we see that Daniel did not specify in his writings that a third Jewish temple must be built.

Perhaps it should be mentioned here that I do agree with Dr. LaHaye & J. Jenkins (cf. pp. 107,194) that Great Tribulation (cf. Matthew 24;15-21) begins in the middle of the week in Daniel 9:27 when the sacrifices are stopped (and 3 ½ years are left). See also End of Mayan Calendar 2012--Might 2012 Mean Something?).  

But I disagree that this means that a Jewish temple must be built.

Some Jewish Scholars Claim a Temple is Necessary for Sacrifices, But Does the Bible?

The Bible is clear that a third temple will eventually exist (Ezekiel 40-48), but it is only clearly in existence after Christ returns (cf. Ezekiel 48:35). Information related to where it is to be built is in the article Location of the Prophesied Physical Temple. As to its purpose, it is to help those who survived the Great Tribulation better understand the harm of sin and sin leading to death, as well as giving a focal point for God's headquarters in the millennium.

As it turns out, much of mainstream Orthodox Judaism seems to believe that the rebuilding of the temple is not to occur until the coming of the Jewish Messiah and may be done by Divine Providence (e.g. Clorfene C. The Third Temple: Who Will Build It?  Jewish Magazine, issue 16). 

Yet, while certain other contemporary Jewish scholars seem to contend that a physical Jewish temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, Bet HaMikdash; "The Holy House") is required for the resumption of sacrifices, this appears to be based more upon certain Jewish tradition than the Bible (cf. Ezra 3:6).

Jesus Himself, however, specifically warned against taking the traditions of Jewish religious teachers above those of the Bible (e.g. Mark 7:13) (see also Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings).

It should be understood that the Bible itself nowhere teaches that animal sacrifices require a temple in Jerusalem. Also, the position of certain other Jewish scholars is that a physical temple, while helpful, is NOT required.

Until Solomon built the first temple (1 Kings 6:14), the Bible shows that the Jews sacrificed on altars. David, Solomon's father, for example sacrificed on an altar (2 Samuel 24:25), as did Aaron and his descendants (Exodus 20:24; Leviticus 1:10-11).  And prior to all of that, Abel (Genesis 4:4), Noah (Genesis 8:20), Abraham (Genesis 22:9-13), and others sacrificed animals to God. 

So for over 3,000 years, animal sacrifices were offered without a Jewish temple.

Even after the first Jerusalem temple was destroyed and left in ruins, the Bible itself specifically shows that sacrifices were made in the time of Ezra BEFORE the second temple was ready:

6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. (Ezra 3:6)

One may argue that since it takes the participation of Jewish religious leaders in order for Jewish animal sacrifices to be resumed in the 21st century, that the above scripture is a moot point.

And it might be if there were no Jewish religious leaders that thought that they could not sacrifice without a temple. 

Yet the fact is, that although they are in the minority, there are significant numbers of Jewish religious leaders who are intent on starting animal sacrifices as soon as possible. And these Jewish leaders do not believe that they have to wait in order for a temple to rebuilt in order to do so.

Notice the following:

The 71 members of the "Re-established Sanhedrin" say they want to begin sacrificing animals again, despite the absence of the Temple, the ritual altar and all the required implements listed in the Bible. Rabbi Dov Stein of the group admitted…

"We want to do the sacrifice, but we have political problems," Stein said. "We hope there will come a time when the government will agree. We will push for that to happen.” (Rabbis aim to renew animal sacrifices. Associated Press. Feb 28, 2007. http://www.jpost.com)

The “Sanhedrin” group referred to above began to form in 2004 and claims to have “the consent of hundreds of rabbis, scholars and leaders” (http://www.thesanhedrin.org/en/index.php/The_Sanhedrin_Initiative viewed 09/11/08). It also has been working on implements, including those related to having an altar.

Notice somethingin 2016 from the then leader of the Sanhedrin:

April 19, 2016

Breaking Israel News asked Rabbi Hillel Weiss, secretary of the Nascent Sanhedrin, if the mitzvah of korban pesach is incumbent upon the Jews today by Jewish law, despite the lack of a Temple or an altar. “Of course. There isn’t even a question,” Rabbi Weiss answered. “There is nothing in Jewish law that prevents us from performing this sacrifice. The only obstacle is the government that will not allow the Jews to do this great mitzvah, so the sin is on them, and not, God forbid, on the Jewish people.”

The Sanhedrin established a committee in 2004 concerning the korban pesach to work in cooperation with all religious, legal, and administrative authorities. The committee has attempted several times to obtain the government’s permission. Legal documents were sent to the Prime Minister, the Supreme Court, and the Chief of Police. The Prime Minister did not respond. The Supreme Court appeared to uphold the right to perform the sacrifice, but denied it on grounds of security. This answer was reiterated by the Chief of Police.

Indeed, the korban pesach is not dependent on the presence of a Temple and continued long after the Second Temple was destroyed. http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/66076/passover-sacrifice-makes-comeback-overlooking-temple-mount-photos/#zchLRxxm8yeAtXsO.99

This group has made some attempts to offer sacrifices in the past, but has often ran into political opposition. Israeli courts have generally agreed that Jews have the right to perform animal sacrifices, but have repeatedly denied this right as the timing would have excessively negative consequences. And to rebuild a temple in the area that the Muslims consider sacred would be even more problematic politically–especially at this instant. Yet, because the Muslims have a strong presence at the site of the old Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) with their al-Aqsa Mosque, some consider the actual construction of a Jewish temple there to be impossible. 

Though it may well take a war, peace deal, and/or political gridlock for that to happen.

But it will come to pass. The Sanhedrin wants it (watch also Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices). In late 2016, they appointed Rabbi Baruch Kahane as the next Kohen Gadol--high priest (see Reconstituted Sanhedrin names high priest in preparation for the restoration of sacrifices; to begin as early as the Day of Atonement?). More on the Sanhedrin can be found in the article Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices–this would fulfill prophecy!

Furthermore, perhaps it should be realized that the government of Israel does have a certain amount of respect for Yisrael Ariel, the founder of the Temple Institute. Yisrael Ariel is also a member of the "Re-established Sanhedrin." Actually, the Israeli government announced that Yisrael Ariel was winner of the Yaakov Egerst Memorial Award for Jewish Culture by the Ministry of Education for some of his work (Rabbi Yisrael Ariel to Receive the Jewish Culture Award for 5769. Israel National News. Oct 7, 2008).

As far as other 'obstacles' to taking actions, the Temple Institute (whose leader is a member of the Nascent Sanhedrin) already has indicated that it has a 'red heifer' (see he Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World) needed for cleansing (cf. Numbers 19:1-10) that some believe is necessary for animal sacrifices to resume.

It also has a moveable altar of unhewn (cf. Deuteronomy 27:5-6) stones (see Temple Institute Completes Altar of Unhewn Stones) as well as implements needed to perform the sacrifices (some of which I personally saw in October 2013).

And since the high priest is not the only one that would be authorized to perform daily sacrifices, the Temple Institute announced in August 2016 that it had established a school to train others in the ways of being Levitical priests (see ‘Temple Institute Announces School to Train Levitical Priests’)--it basically thinks it is read--but intends to continue with more regular training.

The Sanhedrin and the Temple institute keep taking steps aligning with properly understood end time biblical prophecies about this (see the 2020 post, BIN: Jerusalem School Trains Priests to Perform Temple Rituals in Anticipation of 3rd Temple). Biblical prophecies will come to pass (2 Peter 1:19).

The Temple Institute itself is not planning on building the temple until after what seems to be politically impossible. This is what its website has stated:

When will the reconstruction of the Holy Temple Commence?

There are two approaches to answering this question.

One approach is based on the geo-political dynamics of the Temple Mount, and the other approach is based on the desire of the nation of Israel and her fellow nations to rebuild the Holy Temple.

Geo-politically, the Temple Mount has to be cleared of the Dome of the Rock and the mosques which are presently located upon it before the physical rebuilding of the Holy Temple can begin. Many scenarios can be imagined which would accomplish this, the most promising, and not necessarily the most far-fetched, would entail Moslem recognition of the Mount as the intended location for the rebuilt Temple. With the acquiescence of the Moslem world the Moslem structures currently on the Mount would be disassembled and reassembled elsewhere...

the Temple Institute is not building the Temple offsite. We are building a stone altar offsite so that when the opportunity arrives we can move it to its proper location on the Mount. The Divine service, including the offerings can begin before the building of the Temple itself, once the altar is built and standing in its proper place. (http://www.templeinstitute.org/frequently-asked-questions.htm viewed 11/10/13)

Of course, the Muslims are not interested in getting their famous Dome of the Rock and mosques (like the al-Aqsa mosque) removed. So, that type of change is not likely, even after a war.

Yet in a nation as politically fragmented as modern Israel, the time may come when a ruling coalition will itself have in it some members of a small religious group that will insist on the resumption of sacrifices for it to remain in office. And allowing sacrifices on a small altar certainly would seem politically more plausible than the construction of a Jewish temple with the removal of the Dome of the rock or een otherwise next to the al-Aqsa Mosque. While this may not be seen as viable in every possible Israeli administration, it certainly is a possibility for a future one.

But be that as it may, as shown earlier, the Bible itself allows for the resumption of animal sacrifices without a physical temple being rebuilt. Hence, from a biblical perspective, a rebuilt third Jewish temple is not required for the prophecies in Daniel (or any other part of the Bible) to be fulfilled--and its proper place does not seemingly need to be where the current Dome of the Rock is.

Notice also an interesting scripture from Ezekiel:

12 This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple. (Ezekiel 43:12)

So, there is a wide area that the Jews were scripturally authorized to continue.

Currently, all that is required are Jewish religious leaders willing to sacrifice in Israel--and anywhere on or sufficiently near the Temple Mount would apparently do (or some other place may be acceptable). Plus, there are enough willing Jewish religious leaders currently to conclude that animal sacrifices can occur at almost anytime.

Perhaps I should mention that when I visited the Temple Institute in October 2013, one employee I spoke to there essentially admited that they did not need a temple to sacrifice--and that is consistent with scripture and published statements from the Temple Institute as well as the Nascent Sanhedrin.

Response From the Sanhedrin

For formal clarification of the position of Jewish leaders, I contacted the reconstituted Sanhedrin years ago and asked why it felt that sacrifices could be started before a temple is rebuilt.

The response I received was:

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander wrote:

רמב"ם, מעשה הקרבנות, פרק יט , הלכה טז והלכה יז:

טז [טו] מִי שֶׁשָּׁחַט קֳדָשִׁים בַּזְּמָן הַזֶּה, וְהֶעֱלָה חוּץ לָעֲזָרָה--חַיָּב: מִפְּנֵי שְׁהוּא רָאוּי לִקָּרֵב בִּפְנִים--שֶׁהֲרֵי מֻתָּר לְהַקְרִיב, אַף עַל פִּי שְׁאֵין בַּיִת, שֶׁקְּדֻשָּׁה רִאשׁוֹנָה קִדְּשָׁה לְשָׁעָתָהּ וְקִדְּשָׁה לָעֲתִיד לָבוֹא, כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ.
יז [טז] הַשּׁוֹחֵט קָדְשֵׁי גּוֹיִים בַּחוּץ, חַיָּב; וְכֵן הַמַּעֲלֶה אוֹתָן בַּחוּץ. וְהַגּוֹיִים מֻתָּרִין לְהַקְרִיב עוֹלוֹת לַה', בְּכָל מָקוֹם--וְהוּא, שֶׁיַּקְרִיבוּ בַּבָּמָה שֶׁיִּבְנוּ. וְאָסוּר לְסַיְּעָן, וְלַעֲשׂוֹת שְׁלִיחוּתָן--שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱסַר עָלֵינוּ לְהַקְרִיב בַּחוּץ; וּמֻתָּר לְהוֹרוֹת לָהֶם, וּלְלַמְּדָם הֵיאַךְ יַקְרִיבוּ לְשֵׁם הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא.


Hichot Maasei HaKorbanot [The Procedures of Offering Sacrifices]

Chapter 19

Paragraph 17:

He who slaughters a Sacrifice in this period [when we have no Temple], and offered the sacrifice outside the Azara [the alloted area of the Temple] - is culpable, because the offering must be performed in the Azara, SINCE IT IS PERMITTED TO PERFORM SACRIFICES despite having no Temple, since the sanctity of the Temple is eternal.

Paragraph 18:

He who slaughters the sacrifice of a gentile outside the Azara is culpable, as is one who performs the offering. NON JEWS are permitted to offer burnt-offerings anywhere, on an alkter which they built. Jews may not help them in the performance of this sacrifice, since Jews may not offer sacrifices outside the Azara. But we may instruct them and teach them how to perform sacrificesto the ASlmighty God, Blessed be He.

Additionally, it is worth noting that on 5766, Rabbi Benyamin Fuss published a 445 page book on Sacrifices of non-jews, of which the text proper is of 372 pages [the rest are indices, etc.] called Torat Habamah: Regarding sacrifices on an Altar outside the Temple. (Email from the Sanhedrin webmaster Abrahamson to Bob Thiel September 17, 2008).

So, the Sanhedrin clearly believed it did not need a third temple to sacrifice.

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander is the English language spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin.

The webmaster of the Sanhedrin added the following in a subsequent email to me:

This quote comes from Maimonides' (Rambam) work the Mishneh Torah.

The nascent Sanhedrin sees itself as the continuation of rabbinic jurisprudence, and must take into account all halachic works written to date, and proceed from there. (Email from the Sanhedrin webmaster Abrahamson to Bob Thiel September 17, 2008).

Therefore, it appears to be a longstanding position of some Jewish scholars that Jewish sacrifices can be started on an altar and, as long as it is in the area of the old temple, that a physical temple is not first required. 

This is consistent with Ezra’s previously quoted practice.

Furthermore, in a case heard in 2010 by the Supreme Court in Israel concerning the sacrifices, there was the following report:

The organizers also demanded to be allowed to celebrate this coming Passover holiday on the site of the Holy Temple by offering the Paschal sacrifice. They noted that according to Jewish Law, the Holy Temple does not need to be built in order to resume the sacrificial offerings. They emphasized accordingly that the Temple Mount organizations are not trying to change or make modifications to any existing structures on the Mount, but rather aim to receive permission to build a temporary altar, which would be dismantled immediately following the Passover Offering. (Fendel H. Supreme Court: No Passover Sacrifice Again This Year. IsraelNN.com, March 24, 2010. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/136699)

Although the court ruled against allowing this THEN on current political grounds, the point is that there are many Jews are willing to resume the sacrifices without a temple being built or the Temple Mount at all modified.

In 2011, some Jews intend to ask for permission again. The following was in an email that was sent from Israel on Febraury 20, 2011 from Boruch Fishman:


I received permission from Rav Ariel, Director of the Temple Institute, to request permission from the Jerusalem Police to bring the Pesach offering this year. I will be going to the Police the last week before the Jewish month of Nissan. This week I will be writing to King Abdullah of Jordan via his web site to let him know of our plans and to request his special support for bring the knife onto the Temple Mount, which will be the most difficult part of our request.

The alter will be a special temporary alter, and after arranging the wood we will wait a certain amount of time for fire to descend from Heaven, as it did in first Temple times. If we are unworthy of that we will light the fire with a match.

(Email from Boruch Fishman to COGwriter. Received in California, February 19, 2011)

Now, because of the political situations in Israel and Jordan (Jordan has had protests this year), it is almost impossible that official permission will be granted by either or both governments.

Perhaps I should mention that the government of Israel does have a certain amount of respect for Yisrael Ariel, the founder of the Temple Institute. Yisrael Ariel is also a member of the “Re-established Sanhedrin.” Back in September 2013, my son Michael confirmed with someone at the Temple Institute that they were willing and able--within hours--to begin animal sacrifices without a ‘Third Temple’–they only needed governmental permission. And the next month, I also personally confirmed that with someone at the Temple Institute when I was in Jerusalem.

This was essentially publicly confirmed in 2019:

March 25, 2019

“The Passover sacrifice can only be offered in one place; on the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Weiss told Breaking Israel News. “It does not require an actual Temple structure but it does require an altar that is built to adhere to the Biblical requirements. This altar we have and it can be transported and lowered into place in a matter of a few hours.” https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/125231/israeli-elections-passover-sacrifice/

The fact is that many Jews intend to sacrifice and ultimately will fulfill Bible prophecy related to this. It should also be noted that Boruch Fishman, like me and the Sanhedrin, does not believe that a temple is actually needed to start sacrifices.

What About the Red Heifer? What About Jacob's Sheep?

Some Jews, based upon their interpretation of Numbers 19 and some Jewish non-biblical literature believe that the next Jewish temple cannot be rebuilt until a red heifer without blemish is found and handled in a certain manner. In the Mishnah (Parah 3.5) it was claimed that “Moses prepared the first, Ezra prepared the second, and five were prepared after Ezra.”

Thus, supposedly there have been only nine proper prepared ones and certain Jews believe that the tenth one is now what is needed and then a temple can be built (see The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World). Whether or not the Jews build another temple now, biblically it is not required. However, as many Jews will not sacrifice without a red heifer it is likely that there will need to be one that they find acceptable. Currently, there is a potential one that the Temple Institute is monitoring (it is a red heifer, but the Temple Institute wants to monitor it for rabbinical purity). See also The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World.

Is a flock of special sheep a sign?  Some prophecy watchers seem to think so:

January 7, 2017

Some are calling it the fulfillment of prophecy. A step toward the rebuilding of the Temple.

A flock of sheep described in the pages of Genesis have returned to Israel for the first time since Jacob walked the Holy Land.

In Genesis 30:32, Jacob leaves his father-in-law Laban’s household and takes a very specific part of the flock as payment. The animals he takes are described as “every speckled and spotted one, and every dark one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and of such shall be my hire.”

The sheep followed Jacob from Canaan to North Africa. Though they have spread throughout the world, they had not returned to Israel – until now.

An Israeli couple living in Canada, Jenna and Gil Lewinsky, raised a group of the “Jacob sheep,” which, as a “heritage” breed, have retained most of its characteristics since ancient times.

In a repeat of how the Jewish diaspora returned to its country after thousands of years, the couple sought to bring the sheep back to their ancient homeland. But it required detailed negotiations between Canada and Israel. Indeed, the case of the sheep reportedly cleared the way for a sweeping trade agreement between the two nations.

A total of 119 of the distinctive four-horned sheep are now in their homeland. Gil Lewinsky says the sheep will eventually be part of a “Heritage Park” which will allow people to come see the animals.

However, the the sheep will also be used to produce raw wool for Jewish religious garments and horns for the production of shofars. They would also be used in rituals if and when a Third Temple is reconstructed.http://www.wnd.com/2017/01/3rd-temple-looming-1-event-considered-a-sign/#JejAvqYzlMx2yeXj.99

Return of Jacob’s Sheep to Israel Could be Precursor To Third Temple

The miraculous and prophetic ingathering of the exiles to Israel now includes four-legged returnees: descendants of Biblical sheep. Rare and listed as a threatened breed, Jacob’s sheep, believed to be the breed which Biblical forefathers shepherded across Israel, are making a comeback. …

Small, piebald, and crowned distinctively with four horns, Jacob’s sheep thrive in desert climates. They are a ‘heritage’ breed, meaning the sheep retain many of their genetic traits and remain relatively unchanged from their origins. The sheep are unique, with devotees who claim the breed is living proof of the Biblical story of Jacob’s deal with Laban for which it is named.

No longer found in the Mideast, Israeli flocks today are made up of Awassi sheep which originated in Syro-Arabian desert and are white, with brown or black faces. Jacob’s sheep are distinctly speckled or striped, conforming to the story found in the book of Genesis 30.

Israel’s Awassi sheep are numerous and most people naturally associate them with Israel, as Palestinian shepherds are often seen wandering the hillsides with large flocks. Nonetheless, the Awassi are not indigenous to Israel and, though kosher for the Temple service, it is much more likely that Jacob’s sheep, and not Awassi, were brought as sacrifices in Biblical times.

Though the prophecies describing the Jews’ return to Israel didn’t mention sheep, there is a precedent for flocks being essential to the Jewish return to Israel. 03/22/16 https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/64144/flock-biblical-sheep-set-out-journey-holy-land-jewish-world/#6P2iQkLmJeLIBAOb.99

So, is any of this relevant?

Four-horned ‘Jacob’ sheep (photo by Crosa from Nuernberg)

Some of this sheep matter might be. But not as some seem to think.

Although having Jacob’s sheep might be a preference, according to the Temple Institute (who I met with) and the reconstituted Sanhedrin (who I emailed) the Jewish priests already have everything they need to perform sacrifices, other than permission from the Israeli government to do so.

While these particular sheep are not required according to the Bible, the fact that they are available might be considered a sign to certain Jews that the time for sacrifice is getting closer. Furthermore, having the sheep may be one of many factors that those who wish to sacrifice will bring up when they ask for permission to conduct animal sacrifices--and we know such sacrifices will resume.

Roman Catholic View on a Future Temples

Thomas J. Nash, a Roman Catholic apologist, wrote the following published by the Catholic World Report:

Divinely Planned Obsolescence

Why the Temple in Jerusalem will never be rebuilt and how the Sacrifice of the Mass is “the source and summit of evangelization”. …

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: ‘Watch’” (Mk. 13:33-37; Gospel, First Sunday of Advent, Year B).

The Church understands Jesus’ Second Coming will be precisely that: A Second and Final Coming in which Christ will definitively judge the living and the dead at the Last Judgment (CCC 1038-41). This doctrine is sometimes called “amillennialism,” which recognizes that the reign of Christ the King began with his earthly ministry, including the founding of his Catholic Church, and that Jesus continues his reign through his Church until he comes again at the climax of the world. The Church’s teaching stands in stark contrast to the popular, latter-day Protestant view of premillenialism, which holds that Jesus will return to earth and have a literal 1,000-year reign. Included in that proposed reign will be the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed in A.D. 70, and the accompanying reinstitution therein of Old Covenant sacrifices. …

This premillennial perspective was prominently promoted in Hal Lindsey’s 1970 mega-bestseller The Late Great Planet Earth, as well in the Left Behind books and movies of more recent vintage.

But Lindsey and likeminded Christians, who continue to preach the rebuilding of the Temple, are, along with some well-meaning Jews, mistaken. The great and sad irony is that these Christians undermine the biblically based, New Covenant work of Jesus, who in his one Sacrifice of Calvary fulfilled and thus made obsolete the Old Covenant sacrifices (Heb. 8:6-7, 13), which had to be offered at the Temple in Jerusalem. …

The Letter to the Hebrews makes clear that Jesus definitively ended the need for the repetitive animal sacrifices of Temple worship, when he suffered and died once for all (Heb. 7:27). In doing so, he culminated his one Sacrifice of Calvary in everlasting glory in the heavenly sanctuary, not a mere earthly one, (Hebrews 8:1-3; 9:11-12, 23-24); and he makes that Sacrifice present on earth “as a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek,” (Heb. 5:6; see Heb. 5:5-10; 7:23-26;), i.e., under the appearances of bread and wine (see Gen. 14:18-20; Mt. 26:26-29). …

So to think that God would authorize the reinstitution of Temple sacrifices is to misunderstand his salvific work and also, unwittingly, blaspheme Jesus, who rendered void the need for such inferior sacrifices (Heb. 9:11-12, 23-28).

Been there, done that

Many Christians mistakenly believe that the biggest obstacle in rebuilding the Temple is the major international conflict that would result from having to destroy the Islamic Dome of the Rock. While some Jews and Muslim argue that the Dome of the Rock could be spared in rebuilding the sacrificial heart of the Temple, the whole argument is—charitably stated—moot. http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/12/03/divinely-planned-obsolescence/

The above is a mix of truth and error. Thomas Nash is correct that God does not need a Jewish Temple for the remission of sins.

It is true that Hal Lindsey believes that a Jewish Temple must be rebuilt and that he is a premillenialist. Yet, it is not true that he, and others who believe that the Jews will rebuild the Temple, believe that God requires this for sins. They believe that Jesus paid the penalty for sins by His one sacrifice, hence they do not accept the Roman Catholic view that Jesus needs to be sacrificed daily via the Roman Catholic Mass–which, by the way, was not the original liturgy of even that church (for details, see What was the Liturgy of the Early Church?).

When You See the Abomination, Where?

Jesus warned:

15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16)

But where is that?

It could be the first church building in Jerusalem (see Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill). Or maybe it could be something else.

The late Protestant minister Irvin Baxter taught that this is when the Beast of the Sea (who he mislabels as the final Antichrist) "stands on the Temple Mount" (Baxter I. "This Generation Shall Not Pass," episode 258. End of the Age, 2014. End-Time Ministries).

It is possible that this is another place. In several places in the Hebrew scriptures, Mt. Zion is referred to as holy (Psalm 2:6; Isaiah 64:10; Joel 2:1; 3:17; Zechariah 8:3).

As far as the second temple goes, understand that some do not believe that Jewish Temple was in the Temple Mount area (Cornuke R. TEMPLE: Amazing New Discoveries That Change Everything About the Location of Solomon’s Temple. Lifebridge Books, 2014; Martin E. The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot. ASK Research, 1994), while others note that early Christians moved many of the bricks from the last Jewish Temple to a western hill, also known as Mt. Zion (see also Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill).

Jesus, referring to what is commonly considered as the 'second temple,' told His disciples:

2 "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2)

The first century Jewish historian Josephus wrote about this:

1. NOW as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done,) Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind. (Josephus. Wars of the Jews, Book VII, Chapter 1, verse 1)

So, there was not one stone left upon the other for the Temple and the related buildings.

The Bible teaches this about the first temple that Solomon built:

1 Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Chronicles 3:1)

1 Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the City of David, which is Zion. 2 Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 3 So all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. 4 Then they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up. 5 Also King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be counted or numbered for multitude. 6 Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. 7 For the cherubim spread their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles. 8 The poles extended so that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place, in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside. And they are there to this day. 9 Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

10 And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:1-11)

The Jewish historian Josephus wrote:

223 Abraham also placed his own happiness in this prospect, that, when he should die, he should leave this his son in a safe and secure condition; which accordingly he obtained by the will of God: who being desirous to make an experiment of Abraham’s religious disposition towards himself, appeared to him, and enumerated all the blessings he had bestowed on him; 224 how he had made him superior to his enemies; and that his son Isaac, who was the principal part of his present happiness, was derived from him; and he said that he required this son of his as a sacrifice and holy oblation. Accordingly he commanded him to carry him to the mountain Moriah, and to build an altar, and offer him for a burnt-offering upon it for that this would best manifest his religious disposition towards him, if he preferred what was pleasing to God, before the preservation of his own son. 225 2. Now Abraham thought that it was not right to disobey God in any thing, but that he was obliged to serve him in every circumstance of life, since all creatures that live enjoy their life by his providence, and the kindness he bestows on them. Accordingly he concealed this command of God, and his own intentions about the slaughter of his son, from his wife, as also from every one of his servants, otherwise he should have been hindered from his obedience to God; and he took Isaac, together with two of his servants, and laying what things were necessary for a sacrifice upon an ass, he went away to the mountain. 226 Now the two servants went along with him two days; but on the third day, as soon as he saw the mountain, he left those servants that were with him till then in the plain, and, having his son alone with him, he came to the mountain. It was that mountain upon which king David afterwards built the temple. (The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1)

"Moriah 1. A district in Palestine containing several mountains, on one of which Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen. xxii. 2). 2. A mountain at Jerusalem on which Ornan the Jebusite had a thrashing-floor and on which Solomon later built the Temple (II Chron. iii. 1)." (Moriah. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906).

There are several views of where the old Temple was.

Here are three views:

The Traditional Site

The traditional site of the Temple is said to lie beneath or very near to the Moslem shrine known as the Dome of the Rock. Certain historical accounts say that this building was built by the Moslems to overlay the location of the original Jewish Temple(s) and most rabbis in Israel today associate the original Temple location with this site. Dr. Leen Ritmeyer has researched and written on the original 500 cubit square boundaries of the original Temple Mount site based on this assumption. ...

The Northern Conjecture

Based on a number of topological and archaeological considerations, research by Dr. Asher Kaufman over the past two decades has resulted in serious consideration being given to a site 330 feet to the north of the Dome of the Rock.

The Mt. Moriah bedrock outcrops within the Dome of Rock, as is well known. Although the bedrock elevation drops sharply to the south in the direction of the City of David, the level of the bedrock is just beneath the paving stones for over 100 meters to the North of the Dome of the Rock shrine. One particular level outcropping of this bedrock lies under a small Islamic shrine known as "The Dome of the Tablets" or "The Dome of the Spirits," to the Arabs. Both names suggest an association with the Jewish Temples. It is under this small, unimpressive canopy supported by pillars that Dr. Kaufman locates the Temple site.

The Southern Conjecture

Many people who have been following these developments may not yet be aware of a third view, which might well be called "the Southern Conjecture." Since this model is less well known, it will be more fully described here and on these web pages. This view has been championed in the past five years by Tuvia Sagiv, a prominent Israeli architect.

There are a number of problems with each of the previously mentioned locations. (On The Location of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem by Lambert Dolphin and Michael Kollen. Created July 21, 1995. Updated, July 20, 1996. http://www.templemount.org/theories.html accessed 12/11/15)

The late Ernest Martin wrote a book about where he thought it was. Here are comments at his website (which I believe is still maintained by his son) about it:

" Two Academic Reviews of my New Research in the Book "The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot."

The first is from: Prof. James D. Tabor, Dept. of Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223. Given in May, 2000.

"When I first read of Ernest L. Martin's thesis that both the 1st and 2nd Jewish Temples, those of Solomon and Herod, were located south of the presently accepted Dome of the Rock location--down in the area of the ancient City of David over the Ophel spring, my reaction was short and to the point--impossible, preposterous!! Having now read his arguments I am convinced this thesis, however revolutionary and outlandish it first appears, deserves careful, academic and critical consideration and evaluation. I am not yet convinced that Martin has ironed out all the problems or handled all the potential objections, yet he has set forth a case that should be heard. His arguments regarding the size of the Fortress Antonia, based on Josephus and other evidence we have about Roman military encampments, must be addressed. He also makes a most compelling argument based on Luke, writing a decade or so after the 70 C.E. destruction, and obviously wanting to report on the lips of Jesus an accurate prediction of the state of things regarding "not one stone left upon another" in the post-War city of Jerusalem. Historians of the Byzantine, Islamic, and Crusader periods are more qualified to judge his arguments from subsequent epochs, however, my initial reading of Martin's presentation has left me with the same impression--all of this evidence needs to be reexamined in the light of this radical proposal. Martin's thesis is so bold, so utterly non-conventional, and so potentially upsetting, radically altering central aspects of the theological, historical, cultural, and political understanding of Jerusalem and its holy places, it should not be ignored. I hope Martin's book will begin a most interesting debate and critical discussion of all relevant issues."

The second is from: Dr. Michael P. Germano, Editor, bibarch.com. Professor Emeritus Ambassador University, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and who holds earned doctorates from the University of Southern California and the University of La Verne. He has completed post-graduate study in anthropology, archaeology, and theology at Southern Methodist University and Texas A&M University at College Station in Texas. You can contact him at PO Box 2494 Cullowhee, NC 28723-2494. It is my pleasure to recommend his excellent BibArch Web Site that explores the world of biblical archaeology. It is fully scholarly and is at http://www.bibarch.com ]. Given in May, 2000.

"This is an unexpected, exceptional analysis of the historical and archaeological data of the Temples of Jerusalem. This new explanation of the venue of the First and Second Temples provides the solution to heretofore incongruous statements in Josephus with the evidence of the biblical and archaeological records. Not only a work of significant scholarly impact it may well serve as the awaited stimulus for the building of Jerusalem's Third Temple by shifting our collective focus from the Haram esh-Sharif to the area of the Gihon Spring."

I do know both Dr. Tabor and Dr. Germano. And also spoke to Dr. Germano about this as recently 03/29/17. He is not convinced that Dr. Martin was correct--but also has reservations about the place many consider to the be the Temple Mount. I, too, have concerns about Dr. Martin's assertions, especially since he claims that someone intentionally mistranslated a portion of Josephus (War V. 4,1) so that it supposedly contradicts what Josephus wrote elsewhere (Antiquities VII.3,1) (Martin, pp. 262-263). Having read and researched this, I cannot agree with Dr. Martin on this, hence I have reservations about his conclusions. Too much would have had to be added to Josephus' War V. 4,1 for one of Dr. Martin's arguments to make sense (Martin, pp. 262-264).

Yet, notice something else:

Coins from 17AD found under Jerusalem's Western Wall hints sacred site NOT built by Herod

November 25, 2011

Newly found coins underneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall could change the accepted belief about the construction of one of the world’s most sacred sites two millennia ago, Israeli archaeologists said Wednesday.

The man usually credited with building the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary is Herod, a Jewish ruler who died in 4 B.C.

Herod’s monumental compound replaced and expanded a much older Jewish temple complex on the same site.

But archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority now say diggers have found coins underneath the massive foundation stones of the compound’s Western Wall that were stamped by a Roman proconsul 20 years after Herod’s death.

That indicates that Herod did not build the wall - part of which is venerated as Judaism’s holiest prayer site - and that construction was not close to being complete when he died.

'The find changes the way we see the construction, and shows it lasted for longer than we originally thought,' said the dig’s co-director, Eli Shukron.

The four bronze coins were stamped around 17 A.D. by the Roman official Valerius Gratus. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2065254/Coins-Jerusalems-Western-Wall-hints-sacred-site-older-Herod.html#ixzz4nDFT5dX3)

September 10, 2016

Archeologists believe they have found new proof that Herod’s Second Temple once stood on the site of the current “Dome of the Rock” in Jerusalem, walked upon by Jesus, but others are saying “not so fast.”

Jerusalem-based Temple Mount Sifting Project announced earlier this week it has successfully restored a unique architectural element of the Second Temple.

It’s known as “opus sectile,” which Latin for “cut work,” an ancient Roman method of cutting polished stones and inlaying them in very expensive floors to make a beautiful design. The tile segments were inlaid with such precision that one could not insert a sharp blade between them. ...

“It enables us to get an idea of the Temple’s incredible splendor,” stated Dr. Gabriel Barkay, co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. The restored tiles were presented to the public on Sept. 8, at the 17th Annual City of David Archaeological Conference.

The exact place where the tiles came from is not 100 percent locked down but Barkay says he is certain they originated from a building within the present-day Temple Mount.

But all are not sold on the idea that the luxurious tiles found and restored by the Temple Mount Sifting Project actually came from the Second Temple.

One of the skeptics is Robert Cornuke, who in 2014 published the results of a years-long investigation into the location of the ancient Jewish Temple. The true location, he believes, is not on the traditional site where Jews pray at the Wailing Wall and Muslims gather for Friday prayers at the Dome of the Rock. Rather, he says, the true Temple site is about 600 feet to the south in what is the ancient City of David. The traditional Temple Mount that includes the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock is actually the remains of Fort Antonia, an ancient Roman fort that boarded thousands of Roman troops, he says.

Otherwise, how could Jesus’ prophecy about the Temple in Matthew 24 that “not one stone would be left standing upon another” be true?

When Cornuke’s book, “Temple: Amazing New Discoveries that Change Everything About the Location of Solomon’s Temple,” came out in late 2014 it turned heads in scholarly circles. It’s pure audacity in challenging mulit-generational scholarly consent on the Temple location defied the established archeological order among those who deal in biblical antiquities.

Cornuke calls his research “biblical kryptonite” because, if it’s true, it would set the established order on its head in terms of Jewish-Muslim relations. Right now the Muslim Waft controls the Temple Mount and dictates where Jews can pray, where Christian and Jewish pilgrims can walk, the whole shebang. But if the actual temple site was in the City of David, on a strip of land already under the control of the Israeli government, then the rebuilding of the ancient temple could begin without the consent of the Muslim Waft, which is based in Jordan.

Cornuke believes the Temple Mount Sifting Project is making a huge leap, an unwarranted assumption, by assigning the tiles to the actual Jewish Temple.

“Finding exquisite tiles does not necessarily make them from the Temple area and at best only proves there are beautiful tiles,” Cornuke told WND. “This find is an assumptive interpretation at best which may be correctly assigned to the temple or they also may have been for other Roman usage.”

David Sielaff, director of Oregon-based Associates for Scriptural Knowledge and an expert on sifting projects, said Cornuke’s investigation served as independent verification of his organization’s research, originally performed more than 20 years ago by the late Dr. Ernest Martin. http://www.wnd.com/2016/09/was-latest-archaeological-find-really-from-jewish-temple/#cGv2f4IX80e3ExoS.99

Anyway, I provided all the information in this inset to point out the fact that there is controversy as to the true historical location of the first and second temples. For various views of the temple locations, see A Critique by Dr. Leen Ritmeyer and a Rebuttal by Dr. Ernest Martin. While there are issues with Dr. Martin's work, perhaps I should mention one of the Leen Ritmeyer's statements wrote:

To accommodate his theory, Martin claims that the Herodian Temple Mount walls do not belong to the Temple Mount but to the Antonia Fortress. This idea is untenable however because Josephus said that Titus had “ordered the troops that were with him to raze the foundations of Antonia,” an undertaking that took seven days to complete (JW 6.93, 149).

Although Josephus wrote that Titus gave that order (Josephus. War of the Jews, Book VI, Chapter 2), something remains--as I have personally seen the wall. What remained is the subject of debate. Also, Josephus wrote that three towers and part of the wall were intentionally left by Titus, probably because of his understanding of Caesar's orders (Ibid, Book VII, Chapter 1).

All that being said, while I am not certain where those two/three temples (Solomon's as first, the second temple, and Herod's expansion of the second temple) physically once stood, I am certain that biblically another Jewish Temple is not required to be built in Jerusalem before Jesus returns.

While in the Radio Church of God, the late evangelist Leroy Neff wrote:

Chapter VIII:

Will This Temple be Built on Mt. Moriah?

   Where will this new temple be built? Will it be built on the same site as the older temples of Solomon, Zerubbabel and Herod?
   The Bible alone has the answer. There is no other inspired prophecy available.

What is the Correct Name?

   The first thing we must establish is what is the correct name of the place where it is to be built. Then, the only remaining problem is to learn for sure where that place is located.
   Many places in the scriptures refer to ZION as the place of God's future habitation. It is from Zion that Christ will rule the world during the millennium. Let us notice a few of these many places.
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion" (Ps. 2:6).
"Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings" (Ps. 9:11).
   Some people have applied these and similar scriptures to something already past. But that is not so!
   These scriptures refer to the time when Christ, the King over the whole earth, and David under him will rule from Mt. Zion!
   The whole 48th Psalm has reference to that future time when Christ will rule from Zion. Here is just a part of that Psalm.
"Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation the joy of the whole earth is mount Zion, on the sides of the north is the city of the great King" (Ps. 48:1-2).
   This is not referring to the kingdom of David in ancient times. It is a prophecy of God's throne during the millennium.
"In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion" (Ps. 76:2).
   Salem was the place where Melchizedek ruled in ancient times. When we read carefully in both Old and New Testaments about Melchizedek, it becomes clear that He is actually the same personage of Jesus Christ of the New Testament, and Salem was the place where he was King. It later was a part of Jerusalem and is the same part of Jerusalem where he will rule again.
"For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (Ps. 132:13, 14).
   There are many many more scriptures similar to this. The law will go forth from Zion (Isaiah 2:3 and Micah 4:2), the Lord dwells in Mt. Zion (Isaiah 8:18, and 18:7), and reigns in Zion (Micah 4:7). He is to be there with the one hundred forty four thousand (Rev. 14:1) immediately after his coming.
   These texts cannot refer to Old Testament times when Christ also ruled from His temple. They can only refer prophetically to the coming time when Christ the Lord will rule from Mt. Zion.

Solomon did not Build the Temple on Zion!

   Where was Solomon's temple built? Was it built on Mt. Zion? The answer from the Bible, though surprising when you see it, is no!
"Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah" (II Chron. 3:1).
   Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Solomon built his temple on Mount Zion. This same scripture makes that plain. Mt. Moriah was the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite that David bought (I Chron. 21). It was also at this place where Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2).
   Mount Moriah is acknowledged by all students of the Bible to be the easternmost hill of ancient Jerusalem, where the present Moslem "Dome of the Rock" is located. It is on this hill that all ancient temples — Solomon's, Zerubbabel's and Herod's — have been built. Josephus remarks that the second temple was built in the same place as the first one and of course it was still standing when Herod built his.

Which Way is Up?

   Can this Mt. Moriah be the same as Mt. Zion? The answer should be plain from the following scripture.
"Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion" (I Kings 8:1).
   The Bible here states that the Ark of the Lord was brought from Zion to the new temple. As we have already seen, the temple was built on Mt. Moriah. The ark was moved from Zion to Moriah. Certainly this plain clear scripture should prove forever that Zion and Moriah are two different places.
   This scripture also shows that the city of David is Zion. Zion is a part of Jerusalem; Zion does not mean all Jerusalem. The two words are different and not synonymous.
   There is another important point to notice in the preceding text. Notice that the ark was brought "up." It was not brought down, across or over. There is a companion place to this scripture in II Chronicles 5:2-5. The account in Chronicles uses the expression that it was brought "up" four different times.
   We generally refer to taking something up in two ways, either up in the sense of height, or to the north. In this particular place, it will become evident as we proceed further that the ark was brought not only up in altitude, but also up north.
   Mount Moriah was formerly the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. David sinned against God by numbering Israel. And as a result there was a plague from God. The prophet Gad went to David and instructed him to buy the threshing floor of Ornan and raise up an altar on the site. The account is found in II Samuel 24 and in I Chronicles 21.
   The Biblical account tells how David went from his home in Zion, to the threshing floor.
"And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him: 'Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.' And David went up according to the saying of Gad, as the Lord commanded" (II Sam. 24:18-19).
   This account shows how David also went up to Mt. Moriah.

Modern Zion?

   At the present time some people consider the southwest hill of Jerusalem to be Mt. Zion. It is so labeled on some maps. It is part of the old city of Jerusalem.
   This particular mountain is some one hundred feet higher than Moriah. Certainly it could not be said that this was the City of David. It would have been said that the ark was brought "down" instead of "up," from this mountain to Moriah. This cannot with any stretch of the imagination be the Mt. Zion of the Bible.
"Till a few years ago it was the general opinion that the southwest hill, the most massive and dominant of the heights of Jerusalem, was Zion, but the trend of opinion is now decidedly toward the whole or southern part of the Temple hill" (Peloubet's Bible Dictionary, F. N. Peloubet, D.D., article Jerusalem).
   Just where is Zion then? It is obviously not the southwest hill. We have seen that it cannot be Moriah.
   The previous quotation offers a suggestion, that Zion is either "the whole or southern part of the Temple hill." The temple hill of course is Moriah. Since it cannot be Moriah, it might be the southern part of the same ridge or hill, which is often called Ophel.
"The southern part (of Moriah) was called Ophel. Most scholars now regard this or the whole Temple hill as the famous hill of Zion, David's city, his original fortress which he captured from the Jebusites" (Ibid).
   The southern part of this hill is quite a bit lower than Moriah. Certainly it would have been proper to say that the ark was taken up to Moriah, if this is the place.
   But now for further Bible proof on this location of Zion. What is Zion supposed to be like in this end time, before it is made the capital of the whole world? Keep in mind that these prophecies are often dual in meaning. We are concerned with the physical aspects of the prophecies concerning Mt. Zion. We are not now concerned with the spiritual type of Zion, God's people, who are also referred to as Zion (Isaiah 51:16).

Prophecies Concerning Zion

   The world is not concerned about Zion today as this scripture states.
"This is Zion whom no man seeketh after" (Jer. 30:17, King James version).
   Some people look to a hill in the southwest section of the old city called Zion. Some look to the site of the old temple, now occupied by the the Dome of the Rock. The Moslems, the Christians, the Jews look to the place of the dome of the rock as being desirable. It seems no one is interested in seeking after the real Zion.
"Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field" (Micah 3:12).
   Where is the only place within the area of ancient Jerusalem which would fit this prophecy? Only Zion.
   The southeast hill has been of little concern over the centuries. Even into this century it has been so.
"It (Jerusalem) has grown considerably on the northwest and left the southeastern portion in the hands of the farmer and market gardener. 'Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Zion shall be plowed as a field.' Jeremiah XXVI, 18" (Pictorial Palestine-Ancient and Modern, C. Lang Neil, page 22).
   There are a few things we should know about Zion. It was known as the City of David, and before that it was the Jebusite stronghold. Before that it was called Salem during the time of Melchizedek's earthly priesthood.
   In ancient times the only source of water in the area was Gihon. Gihon has in modern times been named the "Fountain of the Virgin." The site now in question, sometimes called Ophel, in its northernmost area, is immediately adjacent to the spring. The spring is immediately overlooked on the west by this hill. In ancient times it was necessary to have a source of water close to any stronghold, so that in the time of attack water would be available. Such a stronghold would naturally be close to such a source.
   In this particular case, the Jebusites made a "gutter" or entry down to the spring. It was through this gutter that many believe Joab first entered into the city to open it to attack so that David could take the city (II Sam. 5:8).

Zion is the Extreme Southeastern Hill

   This lower extremity to the south is now generally accepted as being the location of the old Jebusite stronghold. David made this stronghold his city, adding to and strengthening it. Certainly this can be none other than the Bible Zion.
"If the words of I Kings 8:1, 4 (Cf, II Sam. 24:18-19) are to be taken literally it must have been to the south of the Holy Place of the Jews. In this direction, on a site so situated as to command the spring, it has been placed by Birch...Stade...Robertson Smith...(Encyclopedia Britannica) Sayce...Von Alten, Klaiber...G. A. Smith...and the majority of recent authorities" (Hastings Bible Dictionary, Article, Zion).
   Since we take the Bible to be literal, we also must come to this same conclusion. Here is further evidence supporting this same conclusion.
"Zion (which is synonymous with the Ophel) is properly the southern part of the eastern hill on the top of which was built the temple, so that the name came to be given to the whole hill" (Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh edition, Article, Zion).
   This same source in a footnote to the same article states as follows:
"Christians of the 4th century removed the name to the S.W. hill, and this tradition has persisted until modern times, when archaeological and topographical evidence has re-identified Sion with the E. hill" (Ibid).
   Another source states as follows:
"For a very long time people were mistaken about the exact situation of the old Jebusite city...Enlightenment came only with the excavation of the southeastern hill, much lower than the one to the southwest, and outside the present city walls. This revealed that the original Zion must have stood on the southeastern hill...Although the spur (several times referred to in the Bible as Ophel, meaning 'swelling' or 'hump') on which the city of David stood is lower than the surrounding mountains, a strong town could be built there, thanks to the deep valleys on either side and the spring which rises at its foot; but its weakest point, the northern side, had to have very strong defenses. This may have been the site of the sector of the defenses called the Millo in the Bible. The Jebusites had sunk an almost vertical shaft into the limestone hill within their ramparts, so that in the event of a siege they could still obtain water from the spring, the normal approach to which was then walled up. The account of the capture of the town...seems to imply that Joab crept up the shaft and took the Jebusites completely by surprise. At the beginning of the century, an English climber demonstrated on the spot that this unusual style of mountaineering must have called for extraordinary agility" (Atlas of the Bible, L. H. Grollenberg, pages 68 and 70).
   Because of the much lower elevation compared to the hills around it, some may say that this must not be the right place. But Mt. Zion is sometimes referred to as a hill and not as a mountain. It is a narrow spur of raised ground when seen on a map or in a photograph. In a spiritual type this same idea is mentioned by the prophet Isaiah (chapter 49). He refers to Zion in verse 14. Later on, still in reference to Zion the prophet says that the place is too "narrow," verse 20.
   This small spur of land might well be considered a very unlikely place for God to set His temple, because of its low relation to other nearby hills. The scriptures tell us that one of the punishments on the city is that it will be low (Isaiah 32:19). But it will not always be that way.

Zion To Be Raised

   There is some evidence in Josephus that part of the hill of Zion was at one time cut down to a lower elevation. If men made it lower, God will someday raise it up. It will be exalted above the hills (Isaiah 2:2 and Micah 4:2). It will be established as the top of the mountains (Micah 4:1). Christ will build up Zion (Psalms 102:16). Since it will be exalted, it must be low now.
   We read that mountains are going to be made low and valleys exalted at the revealing of Christ. He will exalt Zion and it will become an high mountain (Isaiah 40:9).
   David never had his tabernacle in Mt. Moriah. He had it in his own city, which was Zion. It has since been completely ruined. Since David lived in Zion here is another reference to show how it will be raised up.
"In that day will I raise up The tabernacle of David that is fallen, And close up the breaches thereof, And I will raise up his ruins, And I will build it as in the days of old" (Amos 9:11).
   Is it possible that the place called Zion by God has changed to mean a different place today. Or, is it the same Zion as David and the Bible refer to. David answers the question for us. Zion could never be changed or moved to another place.
"They that trust in the Lord are as mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abideth forever" (Psalms 125:1).
   Christ will again rule from that same Zion. Just as He did while in the office of Melchizedek from Salem, which was Zion. Just as He did as the Lord of the Old Testament during the days of David, when the ark of the covenant was there.
   God has shown by His word where Zion is. He will raise it up in the time He has set. Then the beauty and glory of Zion shall be the joy of the whole world. (Neff L. God's Temple in Prophecy, March 1961)

Although I agree with Leroy Neff that the Bible tells of an end time temple and that Mt. Zion will be the location, I am not convinced that he had the right location for Mt. Zion (see also Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill).

The Bible is clear that God is putting together a spiritual building, that has connections to at least a type of Mt. Zion:

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

"Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." (1 Peter 2:4-6)

Leroy Neff's partial reliance on a source that claims that the western hill location was not called Mt. Zion until the 4th century is in error. But that of itself does not prove nor disprove the actual location. Mt. Zion, wherever it is, is the location of the coming physical temple.

It should also be noted that Josephus seems to have pointed the location of the temple closer to the area now called Mt. Zion than Leroy Neff has (for more details, check out Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill).

What Temple is Jesus Returning To?

As far as what temple Jesus would be returning to, Herbert W. Armstrong taught:


Everybody's wondering what temple is Christ coming to? Are the Jews going to build another temple over there? Oh, poppycock! I'll show you the temple He's coming to! YOU, BRETHREN, ARE THAT TEMPLE; and all the rest of us. I had a crowd, just about this size, over in the Philippines just about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I had a crowd about this size in London about (When was that?) maybe two months now. I don't know. Time flies so fast. We're all over the world. But I'm going to show you that. Now, let's go on a little bit further. Well, let's turn over to the next chapter now; of Malachi, the fourth chapter, beginning with verse five.

Malachi 4:5 Behold, [He's talking about the time at the very end of the whole world, and the time at the end of the Millennium even; and they're all part of the fourth chapter. But the fourth chapter, verse five: "Behold,"] I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
Now, here again, just before the Day of the Lord — when the gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to the world. And it hasn't been preached for 1950 years. In fact, it was one century of time cycles (or 1900 years) when it began. Exactly, if that means anything to you; and if it not, well, Mr.... What'd you call him? I can't think of names when I want to. Uh...

Malachi 4:5-6 ...before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (6) And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

The word "curse" is used in the Hebrew language; otherwise translated as total destruction, utter total destruction. It's just before lest He does that, and the earth would be in total destruction if Christ didn't come.

Now then, John the Baptist was asked, "Are you the Elijah that was to come?" He said, "No, I am not." I have been asked, "Are you Elijah?" And I have said, "No, I am not." Jesus Christ said one time, "But if you will bear it, the Elijah has already come." Then they questioned Him a little further. And then Jesus Christ said Elijah in person, the same Elijah, didn't come. But John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah. That prophecy meant and referred to John the Baptist coming, but that was only the First Coming.

The prophecy is someone to prepare the way for the Second Coming. The first was physical — the physical Jesus coming to the physical temple, to a physical people. Someone to prepare the way for the Second Coming is preparing the way for THE SPIRITUAL CHRIST to come to HIS SPIRITUAL TEMPLE for the marriage of the Lamb (of Christ) with the Church; and the Church is that temple! ...

Ephesians 2:19-21 Now therefore you [You people up at Ephesus, who were born Gentiles. You...] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. [Now they are citizens. That is like a country. But they are in a household. That is, a family. Notice, they are a family.] (20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone [They're the Church.]; (21) in whom all the building fitly framed together [The Church is a building fitly framed together.] groweth unto A HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD.

"Grows into a holy temple in the Lord." THE CHURCH IS THAT TEMPLE. The Church is to meet Christ in the air. The Church will be changed from human to divine. We won't be human beings. We'll be God-beings. We'll be God-persons, just like God is. GOD IS REPRODUCING HIMSELF. Now that temple has to be built for Christ's coming.


Now let me show you another prophecy about building that temple. Let's go back now for just a moment in the Old Testament, to Haggai; Haggai the second chapter beginning with verse three. Now, I want you to notice the time he's talking about. This is a prophecy; and duality is here again (a first and a latter; a first and a second).

Notice it now.

Haggai 2:3 Who is left among you...
This is not a history, but it's talking about the time when they were building the temple to which Christ came the first time. Zerubbabel was a governor of the colony, and he was sent there to build that temple.

Haggai 2:3-9 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? [It's talking about Solomon's temple that was so glorious as a physical temple.] And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? (4) Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel [The second temple was like nothing compared to Solomon's. It was bigger, but it was not as fine. Now "Be strong, O Zerubbabel"], saith the [ETERNAL]; and be strong, O Joshua, son of [Well, his father; and so on.] ...and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD [That is, work in building the temple.]... (5) According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. (6) For thus saith the LORD of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I WILL shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; (7) and I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come [Meaning, peace which will come with Christ.]; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. (8). The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. (9) THE GLORY OF THIS LATTER HOUSE SHALL BE GREATER THAN OF THE FORMER...
The glory of the house he was building was NOT ANYWHERE NEAR as glorious as the former temple of Solomon. But he's talking about a time when the thrones of nations will be destroyed; when God is going to shake the earth, and shake nations. He's talking about our time, now. He's talking about the Second Coming of Christ.

Can you see that? He's not... It's a prophecy. It's not a history.

Malachi 2:9 ...and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

He hasn't given that yet; but He will, at the time He's talking about. Now, He's talking of a time of building the temple for Christ to come to. That temple is a spiritual temple. Zerubbabel was a TYPE. He built the physical temple to which Christ came the first time. Someone has got to be, not in the physical wilderness of the Jordan River, but amidst the spiritual wilderness and Babylon of religious confusion of our twentieth century, who is paving the way for the Second Coming of Christ to HIS GLORIOUS TEMPLE, a spiritual temple; and not to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God, but TO SET UP THE KINGDOM OF GOD and to rule it right then and there. ...

Zechariah 4:6 Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the[ETERNAL].
And, anyway, it says that... (Armstrong HW. Building the Temple. Sermon: February 14, 1981)

Each individual is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will come in each one of us and our bodies become a temple of the Holy Spirit. But on the other hand we speak collectively as a church. The whole church of many members becomes a temple to which Christ is going to come in His second coming. He’s not coming to one single body but the collective temple. I will dwell in them. (Armstrong HW. Bible Study on 2 Corinthians. 1981)

Again, that is not a physical Jewish building,

Who Builds the Final Temple?

World Net Daily (WND) editor Joseph Farah wrote the following:

December 27, 2019

When people tune in to most Second Coming fare, they expect to see people battling over the Third Temple. Many Orthodox Jews and prophecy-minded Christians are eagerly waiting for someone to rebuild – amid controversy over the inconveniently placed Islamic shrines the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. …

But there’s one thing Jesus has planned, according to Scripture. He’s pretty clear about it. And it doesn’t look like He’ll need anyone to build a Temple for Him. Nor is he waiting for a pre-fabricated version.

It seems that the Master Builder has plans of His own for the Sanctuary and Holy City.

Consider Zechariah 6:12-15:

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. … And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

Here God speaks clearly through His prophet Zechariah, unmistakably of Jesus, as “The Branch.” We’re told specifically he “shall build the temple of the Lord.” If that’s not clear enough, he repeats it. “Even he shall build the temple of the Lord.”

Clear enough? Who gets the glory?

If there is any confusion about this “Branch” and His fondness for David, it should be settled in Jeremiah 23:5:

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” …

Amos 9:11:

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.”

But still there’s more.

There’s even a prophecy way back in Exodus 15:17 that seems to point the way:

“Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”


While I have many major differences in doctrinal and prophetic matters with Joseph Farah, yes, he is right that we do not need a ‘third’ temple built before Jesus returns (while Herod’s project is commonly called the second temple, he actually rebuilt the second temple, and thus, his project could be perhaps considered as the third.)

Now, however, Jesus is not the only one involved in the building. Notice more verses of the Zechariah prophecy:

12 Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying:

“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!
From His place He shall branch out,
And He shall build the temple of the Lord;
13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘

14 “Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the Lord for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. 15 Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the Lord. Then you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.” (Zechariah 6:12-15)

So, yes, Jesus will get the temple built, but others will be involved.

This temple is discussed in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.

But that one is not shown to last.


Notice the following related to New Jerusalem:

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." ...

22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:1-4, 22)

Notice that the Father and the Son are the temple in New Jerusalem and no temple came down from heaven. Again, this is a reference to a naos temple.

As far as other temple prophecies go, there are several in Revelation that are related to a temple in heaven (cf. Revelation 15:8, 16:1). Yet, the temple in heaven is not a Jewish one.

Inset: What About Donald Trump as a Cyrus?

Area called the Temple Mount (Andrew Shiva)

Many have wondered if Donald Trump is a modern type of Cyrus the Great, who God used to help get the second temple built.

Because of Donald Trump’s decision on December 6, 2017 related to Jerusalem, some think this will make it easier for a ‘Third Temple’ to be built there:

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, “founder/president of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations” wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “Christians recognise the Jews’ biblical connection through King David’s establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of ancient Israel and the location for both the first and second Temples. According to the prophets, Ezekiel, Isaiah and the Apostle John, all Israel awaits the rebuilding of the Third Temple. President Donald Trump may implement one of the most biblically historic initiatives of his presidency by allowing the first step of the Jerusalem Embassy Act to go into effect. “ http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jerusalem-donald-trump-israel-capital-decision-reason-why-evangelical-voters-us-fear-a8099321.html

President Donald Trump’s epic proclamation on Wednesday acknowledging Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people was a major step towards establishing the Third Temple and bringing the Messianic era, said a number of Jewish activists working to rebuild the Holy Temple.

“What he did … was an enormous step in bringing the Temple,” Asaf Fried, official spokesman for the United Temple Movement, an association of organizations working towards making the Third Temple a reality, told Breaking Israel News.

He added, “This necessarily had to come from a non-Jew in order to bring them into the process, so they will be able to take their part in the Temple.”

Fried compared Trump’s role to that of Cyrus, the Persian King who ended the Babylonian exile and helped build the Second Jewish Temple. Fried cited Proverbs to emphasize this point.

Like channeled water is the mind of the king in Hashem’s hand; He directs it to whatever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1

“There have been amazing advances towards bringing the Temple this year. It was clear that Trump was part of that process, guided by Hashem (God),” Fried declared.

Yakov Hayman, the United Temple Movement chairman, saw Trump’s statement as part of a historical progression joining a number of major shifts in modern history for Israel and the Jewish people.

“1917 was the Balfour Declaration establishing Israel for the nations,” Hayman told Breaking Israel News. “2017 was Trump’s declaration.” https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/99002/trumps-jerusalem-declaration-next-step-third-temple/#Ap8UZx67GjXtkqEp.99

Now, I am aware that many have considered that Donald Trump was a type of modern Cyrus–essentially a non-believer that God would use to do things, in Donald Trump’s case, to reduce abortions, overturn the LGBTQ agenda, etc. Actually, in March of 2017 Donald Trump did attribute a quote to Cyrus the Great (see Donald ‘Trump of God,’ Cyrus, or Apocalyptic?) which, at least in my view, he was trying to make the Cyrus connection that he must be aware that others have claimed him to be a type of.

Here is the Cyrus prophecy:

24 “This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” ’ (Isaiah 44:24-28)

45:1 “Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held —
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
2 ‘I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me. (Isaiah 45:1-4)

We see that this was fulfilled in Ezra:

1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,

2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:

All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.

5 Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. 6 And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.

7 King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; 8 and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. (Ezra 1:1-9)

The Pulpit Commentary states about the prophecy in Isaiah:

It is certainly a very marvellous thing that Isaiah, living at the close of the eighth and the beginning of the seventh century B.C., should -mention a king by name who did not ascend the throne till the middle of the sixth; but no one can suppose that God could not have made such a revelation to him if he pleased.

Donald Trump is NOT doing the same thing and the Cyrus prophecy was fulfilled thousands of years ago.

But various Protestants and some others have attempted to claim that Donald Trump is a modern day Cyrus and/or the “trump of God” (e.g. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Has-God-Raised-Up-a-King-Cyrus–.html?soid=1111272225814&aid=n0ARlA9mD3Q).

Donald Trump is apocalyptic–chapter 7 of my book Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse is titled “20 Reasons Why Donald Trump is Apocalyptic,” and world events have already began to confirm many of those 20 reasons (watch Trump Presidency Magic 8 Ball or Bible Prophecy?).

But unlike Cyrus, Donald Trump was not prophesied by name to get a Jewish temple rebuilt.

Bas-relief of a winged ‘Cyrus the Great’ (Pentocelo) and Donald Trump

Notice also the religious news report:

As all eyes are focused on Jerusalem once again because of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. …

In the messianic era, the third and final Temple is prophesied to be built in Jerusalem. In the extensive vision of the new Temple given to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40–48), which includes detailed descriptions of the restoration of the Temple, the altar, the priesthood, and the land of Israel, he is told that the name of the new city from then on will be “the Lord is there.”

Isaiah 56:7 tells us it will be “a house of prayer for all nations” and the direct connection between heaven and earth will be established once again. Jewish people long for this day. In the Amidah prayer, which observant Jews pray three times daily, they ask God to rebuild Jerusalem and to restore the Temple worship.

Many Christians also believe the Third Temple will either precede or coincide with the arrival of the Messiah. The Christian Scriptures, specifically the book of Revelation, contain a description of the end times, including more than one mention of “the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God” (Revelation 3:12). https://www.christianpost.com/voice/the-biblical-significance-of-jerusalem-to-jews-and-christians.html

But real Christians should realize that in the New Testament church, it is Christians, not a Jewish building, that represents the Temple of God.

A video of related interest may be: Jerusalem, Donald Trump, and Prophecy.

2 Thessalonians 2:4

In the Protestant world, 2 Thessalonians is often cited as the proof that there must be a Jewish physical temple before certain end-time prophecies can be fulfilled.

Essentially, what some Protestant prophecy writers seem to believe (as well as CBCG and some others in COG groups) is that since sacrifices are mentioned as being stopped (Daniel 9:27) and a temple is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, that the two MUST be directly connected.

The “temple” Paul referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (a key end-time scripture involving a temple and the one most commonly pointed to as proof that a Jewish temple is required) is also translated from the Greek word naos:

3 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;

4 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. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, KJV)

Since the Greek term naos is used, those who take the Greek literally realize that it is not necessary that it is a “Jewish temple in Israel” that the “man of sin” sits in. (The man of sin could possibly sit on something that has been called "Satan's throne" if it is relocated to Jerusalem.)

Consider further, that the Jews cannot make a temple of God, only a temple for Jews.

While the audience of 2 Thessalonians may have concluded that Paul was referring to the Jewish temple, I simply do not believe that in the Christian church era that “the temple of God” must be expected to be a Jewish temple. And there are other physical options, like for example, Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill or going into the midst of where some Christians are gathered in the end time.

Before going further, notice also something written by Anglican curate Stephen Sizer:

Even though many Jews and Christians believe the Temple must be rebuilt, there is one small problem. It is essential that any future Temple is built on the same foundations as the previous ones. (Sizer S. Will the Jewish Temple be Rebuilt?  http://www.stephensizer.com/2014/02/will-the-jewish-temple-be-rebuilt/ accessed 03/05/19

Curate Sizer does not believe that a future Jewish temple is required by scripture, but it was his comment about the foundation that caused me to post his comments. Various ones have suspected that the large stones (called ashlars) that are the foundation of the 'Cenacle' building (originally called Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill), actually came from the Herodian Second Temple. And, if this is so, this is another reason to believe that the Jews would not use the foundation stones for a massive new temple as various ones (like the Church of Rome which wants that building) would not stand for its destruction.

Furthermore, because it is commonly believed (Ryrie Study Bible. Moody Press, 1985, pp. 1758, 1784, 1811, 1842) that 2 Thessalonians was written (c. 51 A.D.) BEFORE the letters to the Corinthians (c. 56 & 57 A.D.) and the Ephesians (c. 61 A.D.), this may possibly be part of why the Apostle Paul specified in his later letters that Christians were the temple of God. 

But is probable that even those in Thessalonica may have known that Paul was speaking of some type of a future Christian building as Paul had spent time with them (and regularly preached to them, per Acts 17:2) before he wrote his letters to them.  

The fact that Paul expected that the Corinthians should have known that they were the “temple of God” before he wrote his letter to them (cf.1 Corinthians 6:19), strongly indicates that he considered this to be a known concept.

Hippolytus of Rome (c. early third century) thought that the man of sin (who he sometimes misidentifies as the final Antichrist) would build the Temple:

And after that he will build the temple in Jerusalem, and will restore it again speedily, and give it over to the Jews. (Hippolytus. On the End of the World, Chapter 25. Translated by J.H. MacMahon. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0504.htm>)

Scriptures also aforetime spoken of Antichrist as a lion, on account of his tyranny and violence. For the deceiver seeks to liken himself in all things to the Son of God. Christ is a lion, so Antichrist is also a lion...The Saviour raised up and showed His holy flesh like a temple, John 2:19 and he will raise a temple of stone in Jerusalem. (Hippolytus. On Christ and Antichrist, Chapter 6. Translated by J.H. MacMahon. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0516.htm>)

However, the Bible does not teach that nor certain other early supporters of the Greco-Roman churches.

Yet, it should be added that even among earlier professors of Christ there has long been the view that another Temple would NOT be rebuilt.

Catholic Saint Thomas Aquinas (died 1274):..."Others, however, maintain that never will...the temple be rebuilt (Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp. 76,78)

Hence, the idea that no temple will need to be rebuilt in Jerusalem is not a new concept, but is consistent with some earlier understandings (it is not totally clear what all the actual sources Thomas Aquinas used for his report).

An altar is all that is needed for sacrifices, though some may wish to put up a tent or build an actual temple in Jerusalem--but such a building is not strictly required. Even some, like Dr. David R Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries, who believe in a third Jewish Temple, accept that a tent would be adequate for the start of sacrifices (see also ‘Jerusalem Third Temple PROPHECY: How Third Temple will trigger END OF THE WORLD’).

Now, as far as a physical building related to 2 Thessalonians 2:4 goes, that is a different matter (see also the article Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill). As far as the identity of the 'man of sin,' please check out the article Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? and/or watch the video Who is the Man of Sin?

One of the problems with understanding 2 Thessalonians 2:4 is that some seem to believe that naos refers to Christians when no definite article is next to it in the New Testament, but that when a definite article is with it in the Greek that it is always referring to a Jewish temple.

On the surface, this belief seems to be supported by one of the leading Greek lexicons (Bauer W. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. University Of Chicago Press, 2000, pp. 665-666), which shows the definite article when mentioning the temple of Jerusalem as the definition of naos, but not when naos is defined as related to Christians.

However, this understanding seems lacking for at least two reasons. 

The first is that the use of the definite article in koine Greek does not mean that a “Jewish” temple must be referred to in the New Testament when the combination of a definite article and naos appear in scripture.  

Because, for one example, that combination occurs in I Corinthians 3:17 where it (τοῦ ναον) is clearly (though metaphorically) referring to Christians.

The second is that the term naos itself was never limited to buildings that were either Jewish or Christian. For proof of the latter, consider that the Book of Acts refers to a silver naos built for Diana (Acts 19:24). 

Another respected Greek lexicon (Liddell, p.1160), also makes it clear that naos has historically been used to refer to a variety of religious shrines and buildings. And it would appear that since the definite article would have assuredly been used in combination with naos for them, to believe that in the New Testament that this MUST always be referring to the Jewish temple simply seems to be an unfounded conclusion.

Two Alternative Buildings

If a Jewish temple is not necessarily being discussed in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, then where else might the “man of sin” sit?

While there may be several explanations, the one that I currently believe makes the most sense is that the “man of sin” (also known as the King of the North in Daniel 11 and “the Beast” in Revelation 13) may be sitting in some type of formerly Christian occupied building for some short while during the Great Tribulation.

The Bible teaches that just before the Great Tribulation begins that the most faithful portion of the Church will be protected, but other Christians will not be:

14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent ...

17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:14,17)

Even Roman Catholic scholars have long tended to believe that the woman in Revelation 12:14 represents the true church:

The Church shall flee as to a desert in Antichrist's time, but not decay or be unknown, no not for so short a time. (Apocalypse, Annotations Chapter 12, Rheim’s New Testament of 1582, p. 556)

Which part of the church? 

The same Roman Catholic commentators call them “the faithful elect” (ibid, p. 557). 

This would seem to be the most faithful, Philadelphia portion of the Church, which are the “people of God” (Hebrews 4:9) that seems to hold onto some type of “Jewish” characteristics (Revelation 3:7-9). 


Because they are the only ones to whom Jesus promises protection from the period that is apparently the Great Tribulation:

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write…9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:7,9-10)

Hence, since it is the most faithful Philadelphia Christians that are protected on the earth during the time of the Great Tribulation that comes upon the whole earth (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra), then perhaps the building that the man of sin sits in will be a building that once was used by of the Continuing Church of God.

On the other hand if Revelation 11:1-2 allows for it (which it may or may not, see below), there is an ancient building, usually now referred to as the "Cenacle" (the word is a derivative of the Latin word "cena," which means dinner), that may be the possible location. It is believed to have been used by the original Christians in Jerusalem until the Greco-Romans took it through with Imperial support in the fourth century. A better designation than 'Cenacle' may be the Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill as it was long called the "church of God" and it is located on a western Jerusalem hill that is commonly referred to as Mt. Zion (more information about this location is in the article Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill).

Dr. Michael P. Germano wrote about that building:

In Jerusalem, just outside the Zion Gate of the Old City near the crest of Mount Sion, lie the partial remains of an ancient synagogue consisting of a niche, walls, floors, and foundations, incorporated into a dilapidated building…

Do these ancient ruins belong to the first-century Judeo-Christian synagogue seen by Roman emperor Hadrian on his grand progress? Are these the remnants of the building on Mt. Sion…called the Church of the Apostles and the Holy Church of God? These are the traditions…tradition suggests this is also the site of the Upper Room where Jesus of Nazareth observed his last Passover with his followers and where his disciples resided following his Crucifixion awaiting the Day of Pentecost…

The Cenacle

In this work its identity and title is simply “the ancient synagogue” or the Ancient Church of the Apostles. In the fourth and fifth centuries, however, orthodox…referred to the building in a variety of ways.

For Eusebius it was the “Holy Church of God” (Eusebius, Proof of the Gospel 6.18; Ferrar 1920b:30-31). Cyril said it was the “Upper Church of the Apostles” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 16.4; Schaff and Wace 1989a:116). Egeria often referred to it as “On Sion” (Wilkinson 1971:294). Epiphanius, alluding to it in its second century context, said when Hadrian visited Aelia Capitolina it was a small “Church of God” (Epiphanius, De Mensuris 14; Koester 1989:93). Theodosius said it was “Holy Sion which is the Mother of all Churches” (Wilkinson 1977:66)…

On July 30, 381, following the First Council of Constantinople, emperor Theodosius I issued an edict authorizing the seizure of the properties of all non-orthodox churches. This resulted in the ancient synagogue, then in possession of Judeo-Christians, passing into Greco-Roman Christian control.  The surrender was made to the orthodox bishops. (The AncientChurch of the Apostles. Copyright © 2002 by Michael P. Germano, pp. 1-4).

Even though the original Christians who used that location for around three centuries held to what are most often known as Judeo-Christian (as opposed to Greco-Roman) practices, the Catholics of Rome would like to expand their presence and basically takeover the Cenacle (Owen R. Vatican offers swap deal to regain site of Last Supper. The Times, October 13, 2005). Vatican-Israeli meetings related to this in June 2013 allowed the Catholics to once again hold their mass services there (Sontag R. Upper Room on Mt. Zion To Open for Catholic Worship. Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, June 18, 2013. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/6/prweb10836870.htm viewed 06/22/13). But I did discuss this at the site on October 24, 2013 with a Jewish rabbi named Avraham Goldstein. He said his group once owned this site and only allowed the Israeli government to have it under one condition that it had not (in his view) fully kept. And that condition would not allow the Catholics to have it--though they could share it in his view. There were archealogical items below the building of interest to the Jews that he felt would not be appropriate to leave Israeli hands. But not all agree (see Reform leader calls for Israel to Give ‘Mt. Zion’ to Catholic Church).

Now in addition to meeting Avraham Goldstein when I was in Jerusalem, he and I have also spoken several times over the telephone in regards to this location. In 2013/2014 I repeatedly warned Avraham Goldstein that the Vatican wanted this location and would attempt to gain control of it. When I first told him that, he dismissed it as he felt his group had an arrangement with the Israeli government that would prevent this. I told him that this would not stop the Vatican and that more steps were being taken. He looked more into it and then realized that some really do wish to turn the site over to the Vatican. He even led a protest against Rome attaining the building in May 2014 (see 200+ Jews protest the idea of the Tomb of David and ‘Mt. Zion’ Church to be given to the Vatican). The next time I am able to go to Jerusalem, I hope to meet with him.

Even though the nation of Israel has not agreed to allowing the Catholics of Rome to once again regain ownership of the "Cenacle" site, it certainly would seem possible as part of the peace deal of Daniel 9:27 (which most Bible-believing theologians seem to believe will be between the nation of Israel and the one who will be the Beast of Revelation 13), if it does not for other reasons possibly happen sooner.

It may be that what was possibly the first and original church building location of the early Christians could appear to be a potential location of the “temple of God.” Perhaps it should be mentioned that the Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill is believed to have been at least partially made up of stones that came from the temple in Jerusalem that was taken apart brick by brick from 70-73 A.D. Thus, from a Christian perspective, and possibly God's perspective, it may very well be that this is truly considered the physical remnant of the Temple of God. And although the original building has been mainly destroyed, a corner wall exists as most likely parts of the building's foundation. Hence, since it seems that the wall and foundation contain stones from the last Jewish Temple that the area around this building may also meet the requirements to be what the man of sin will want to sit in. More information about this location is in the article Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill.

However, because of Revelation 11:1-2 and the persecution of Christians during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 12:17), it may be that a building more recently used by the faithful Christians might be better used for political purposes by “the man of sin,” than the remains of this ancient one in Jerusalem. However, there may also be 'political reasons' that site of the original Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill may be better choice for him, including possibly also the fact that the Continuing Church of God has referred to it often, has it on its letterhead, and even the front cover of its first magazine. I believe that the Continuing Church of God will be leading the final phase of the work, and this would include publicly identifying this 'man of sin' before many others do.  And he may wish to demonstrate that he is above the faithful church, by placing something and sitting in the area of the original Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill.

Furthermore, since the Bible shows plans for Jerusalem apparently for eternity (cf. Revelation 21:2-3), perhaps it may be that the ancient location of where the apostles themselves (who became part of  “the temple of God”) may possibly be what God had in mind when He inspired Paul’s writings.

But irrespective of which building is referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, it would not seem to be possible for it to be a Jewish, non-Christian, temple in Jerusalem.

A former Christian building would seem to be much more likely.

Revelation 11:1-2 is Not Necessarily Discussing a Jewish Temple

Revelation 11:1-2 is the other place in the New Testament, not previously quoted herein, which uses the naos temple of God expression related to the earth that should be discussed.

Although this is a potentially tricky passage, carefully notice what it does and does not say:

1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. (Revelation 11:1-2)

While at first read, the above may suggest that a physical Jewish temple is being referred to, the fact is that the above passages do not state that a Jewish temple will be built (like some Protestants claim) or that the Jewish temple will be “the temple of God,” even though a “temple of God” and a reference to Jerusalem are both referred to in them. 

Interestingly, although he insists that a Jewish temple must be at least partially rebuilt, David Pack of RCG wrote:

It does need to be at least briefly stated, however, that the “temple” being measured in Revelation 11 is not the physical one that the Jews will rebuild. It is speaking of the New Testament Church (or Body of Christ), which is referred to in numerous places by the apostle Paul as the “Temple of the Lord” (I Cor. 3:17; Eph. 2:20-22). The more-than-curious reader will want to at least read these verses for proof of understanding how the true Church and the (spiritual) Temple of the Lord are synonymous terms in the New Testament. (Pack, David C. What Is the “Abomination of Desolation”? https://rcg.org/articles/witaod.html viewed 07/16/16)

Also, although some have suggested that the use of a measuring rod requires that a physical Jewish temple is required, it should be stressed that the Bible shows that Christians are measured (2 Corinthians 10:12-18) and hence this appears to be a scripturally valid way of viewing Revelation 11:2.

Some may say, but what about an altar? Well, the Book of Hebrews discusses that Christians do not have the type of altar used for blood sacrifices:

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Hebrews 13:10-16)

The Christian altar has to do with prayers to God and doing good, not animal sacrifices. Measuring the altar in Revelation 11 is be related to the amount of prayers Christians are sending to God (cf. Revelation 8:3-5).

But because so many have been told that the Bible prophesies a Jewish temple, they presume Revelation 11:2 must be referring to a sacrificial altar for animals, but it does not.

Revelation 11:2 specifically seems to contrast, or separate, what happens to the “temple of God” (which the Gentiles DO NOT tread upon) to what happens in Jerusalem (where the Gentiles do tread upon).

Notice the following:

Revelation ... 11:1-13 describes symbolically the mission and fate of the Church during the present inter-advent age, culminating in the final period of opposition and persecution by the Beast. On this view, the temple or sanctuary, together with the altar and the worshipers, stands for the church as God’s people (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5). The Greek word translated “temple” is naos which without exception in Revelation refers to the present heavenly temple (7:15; 11:19; 14:15,17; 15:5-6,8; 16:1,17) or to the temple of God’s presence in the age to come (3:12; 7:15 ?; 21:22). Thus “the people of God, the members of God’s temple in heaven, are referred to in their existence on earth as ‘the temple of God.’ Indeed, the only other use of the phrase ‘temple of God’ in Revelation (11:19) refers to the end-time heavenly temple, which is the same reality that protects believers during their sojourn on earth” (Beale, 562). ...

The measuring of the temple speaks of spiritual preservation from God’s wrath, but not from physical persecution and martyrdom. The people of God are sustained and protected in their faith while suffering greatly at the hands of the Beast. Thus this “measuring” is equivalent to the “sealing” of chapter seven and the “worshipers” in 11:1 are the same as the “144,000” in 7:4 (see 2 Sam. 8:2b; Isa. 28:16-17; Jer. 31:38-40; Ezek. 40:1-6; 42:20; Zech. 1:16; for OT examples of “measuring” as “protection”; for the notion of destruction see 2 Sam. 8:2a; 2 Kings 21:13; Amos 7:7-9; Isa. 34:11; Lam. 2:8). (Storms C. Revelation 11:1-13 - Part I. https://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/revelation-11:1-13---part-i accessed 06/07/19

(see also Revelation: A Shorter Commentary by s G. K. Beale, David Campbell. Edition reprint Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2015, p. 217 https://books.google.com/books?id=f5MfCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA217&lpg=PA217&dq=The+Greek+word+translated+%E2%80%98temple%E2%80%99+is+naos+which+without+exception+in+Revelation+refers+to+the+present+heavenly+temple+(7:15;+11:19;+14:15,17;+15:5-6,8;+16:1,17)+or+to+the+temple+of+God%E2%80%99s+presence+in+the+age+to+come+(3:12;+7:15;+21:22).&source=bl&ots=adez3MJovX&sig=ACfU3U0pXUWb6fp2myPl6dS2LaEmljGXtg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjet4n3tNjiAhXfHjQIHWpwBeEQ6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=The%20Greek%20word%20translated%20%E2%80%98temple%E2%80%99%20is%20naos%20which%20without%20exception%20in%20Revelation%20refers%20to%20the%20present%20heavenly%20temple%20(7%3A15%3B%2011%3A19%3B%2014%3A15%2C17%3B%2015%3A5-6%2C8%3B%2016%3A1%2C17)%20or%20to%20the%20temple%20of%20God%E2%80%99s%20presence%20in%20the%20age%20to%20come%20(3%3A12%3B%207%3A15%3B%2021%3A22).&f=false)

Yes, Revelation 11:1-2 is not referring to the old or a future Jewish temple.

Protestant prophecy scholar Dr. J.F. Walvoord wrote the following comments, after he quoted Revelation 11:1-2:

No explanation is given of this command … In the Great Tribulation the temple has already been desecrated … (Dan. 9:27; 12:11-12; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15) … The Holy City, Jerusalem according to the Scripture, will be trampled under foot of Gentiles for the final forty-two months preceding the Second Coming. (The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook.  Victor Books, 1990, p. 572)

Now Dr. Walvoord is correct in indicating that Jerusalem is the Holy City. And he seems to be correct when he indicates the Beast power will be apparently controlling Jerusalem from past of middle of the week of Daniel 9:27 on, just prior to the Second Coming of Christ.

Yet, if there was a modern Jewish temple (or its remains) in Jerusalem that these passages are referring to, it would seem that it would NOT be under the power of the Gentile Beast power. 

Thus, contrary to Dr. Walvoord’s apparent assumptions about a desecrated temple, Revelation 11:2 seems to be saying that “the temple of God” will NOT be in Jerusalem as the Holy City is only the outward court that is given to the Gentiles. This would tend to make the Cenacle location unlikely as well.

The way it would seem that Revelation 11:1 could be referring to be some building in Jerusalem would seem to be if the “man of sin” (for information on him, see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?) were to sit in the physical Cenacle for a day or two before the 42 months begin and then abandon it. And then that true Christians would worship in it after it was abandoned—and although seems far-fetched, essentially secret worship services did occur for some time in the Cenacle during the first few centuries A.D. 

Furthermore, consider the following:

23 How the hammer of the whole earth has been cut apart and broken! How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations! I have laid a snare for you; 24 You have indeed been trapped, O Babylon,And you were not aware; You have been found and also caught, Because you have contended against the Lord. 25 The Lord has opened His armory, And has brought out the weapons of His indignation; For this is the work of the Lord God of hostsIn the land of the Chaldeans. 26 Come against her from the farthest border; Open her storehouses; Cast her up as heaps of ruins, And destroy her utterly;Let nothing of her be left. 27 Slay all her bulls, Let them go down to the slaughter.Woe to them! For their day has come, the time of their punishment. 28 The voice of those who flee and escape from the land of Babylon Declares in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, The vengeance of His temple. (Jeremiah 50:23-28)

11 Make the arrows bright!
Gather the shields!
The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes.
For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it,
Because it is the vengeance of the Lord,
The vengeance for His temple. (Jeremiah 51:11)

The Bible teaches that end time Babylon will persecute the saints (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5-7) and God will have Babylon punished (Revelation 18). Twice, Jeremiah was inspired to write of "the vengeance of the Lord ... for His temple," is not referring to possibly temple built by the Jews.

Paul taught:

24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:24)

In the end time, God's Spirit dwells in those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

In the end times HIS TEMPLE is not something the Jews can make.

The actions against Babylon are not punishment for damaging a Jewish temple, but the temple of God--which in the end times are His saints (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16).

Dueling Commentaries

There are a variety of positions taking in commentaries on Revelation 11:1-2. To limit the size of this article, only two will be addressed here.

The first is from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary which states:

Verse 1-2. John is told to take a reed and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein (v. 1), which certainly implies that there will be some kind of temple building in Jerusalem at this time. The statement is made that the holy city will be trodden under foot for forty and two months (v. 2), a time period found also in Rev 13:5, and equal to the 1,260 days of 11:3, and 12:6. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Similar to Drs. Walvoord and LaHaye, the above asserts that Revelation 11:1 is referring to a temple building in Jerusalem, even though verse 2 seems to negate that.

A different (and much longer) explanation is offered in Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

I. How much was to be measured.

1. The temple; the gospel church in general, whether it be so built, so constituted, as the gospel rule directs, whether it be too narrow or too large, the door too wide or too strait.

2. The altar. That which was the place of the most solemn acts of worship may be put for religious worship in general; whether the church has the true altars, both as to substance and situation: as to substance, whether they take Christ for their altar, and lay down all their offerings there; and in situation, whether the altar be in the holiest; that is, whether they worship God in the Spirit and in truth.

3. The worshippers too must be measured, whether they make God's glory their end and his word their rule, in all their acts of worship; and whether they come to God with suitable affections, and whether their conversation be as becomes the gospel.

II. What was not to be measured (v. 2), and why it should be left out.

1. What was not to be measured: The court which is without the temple measure it not. Some say that Herod, in the additions made to the temple, built an outer court, and called it the court of the Gentiles. Some tell us that Adrian built the city and an outer court, and called it Aelia, and gave it to the Gentiles.

2. Why was not the outer court measured? This was no part of the temple, according to the model either of Solomon or Zerubbabel, and therefore God would have no regard to it. He would not mark it out for preservation; but as it was designed for the Gentiles, to bring pagan ceremonies and customs and to annex them to the gospel churches, so Christ abandoned it to them, to be used as they pleased; and both that and the city were trodden under foot for a certain time-forty and two months, which some would have to be the whole time of the reign of antichrist. Those who worship in the outer court are either such as worship in a false manner or with hypocritical hearts; and these are rejected of God, and will be found among his enemies.  (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The above allows for the idea that Revelation 11:1 has to do with true Christians, and that verse 11:2 may be dealing with compromising Christians or the unconverted.

Alternate Explanations of Revelation 11:1-2

There are at least two alternative explanations for Revelation 11:1-2 which are a bit closer to Matthew Henry’s Commentary than The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

One explanation is that Revelation 11:1 is not referring to a physical building whatsoever, and instead is referring to the group of Christians which are protected during the tribulation (Revelation 12:14-16). The related explanation for Revelation 11:2 in that case would be that those “the court outside the temple” are the Christians that were not protected, but will be subject to Satan during that same time (cf. Revelation 12:17) (see also Laodicean Warning for God's People).

The other explanation is that Revelation 11:1 may be referring to a building which becomes the center for Christian worship by those protected during the Great Tribulation. This would seem to allow it to be understood fairly literally as there are people worshipping there (probably something not openly allowed in Jerusalem at that time). The same Greek word for altar in that verse, thusiasterionor, is also used in Hebrews 13:10 where it clearly is applicable for Christians. The “court outside the temple” could be referring to Jerusalem as it will not be the center of Christian worship then. Those outside are either not Christians (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12) or possibly Christians (and others) who are being persecuted throughout the world by the Beast power (Revelation 12:17;14:12-13).

But even if there are better explanations, Revelation 11:1-2 simply does not support the view that a Jewish temple must be rebuilt before the Great Tribulation can begin. 

Instead, of itself, it appears to contradict such a view—meaning that Revelation 11:1-2 does not seem to allow itself to be interpreted as requiring a Jewish temple in Jerusalem.  While a physical non-Christian temple can possibly be built prior to Christ’s return, it simply would not seem to be “the temple of God.”

Consider two more verses in Revelation:

15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. (Revelation 7:15)

19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Revelation 11:19)

Notice that the TEMPLE OF GOD there is in heaven. It is NOT a Jewish temple.

Does Malachy 3:1 Prove or Disprove the Need for a Temple?

There is an interesting verse in Malachy that discusses a temple. Notice:

1 Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,"
Says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

Again we see a prophecy about "His temple." Not a Jewish one.

Now when Jesus comes again, where does He go? Notice:

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

So, when Jesus returns, He will have His people come to Him. And then, notice where He will come on the earth:

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. (Acts 1:9-13)

3 Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:3-4)

The Mount of Olives should NOT be confused with the Temple Mount as it is a different mountain/hill. The Mount of Olives was never the site of any accepted Jewish temple.

So, it should be clear that the temple being referred to here is not a physical temple but His people. Jesus is going to come to His people and then will end up at the Mount of Olives, not a Jewish temple.

Furthermore, this is not a new understanding. The late Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

God made a prophecy in the third chapter of Malachy...Continuing, "...shall suddenly come to His temple..." What kind of temple is He coming to? Are the Jews going to tear down the Dome of the Rock and build a new temple? Oh, no!... A holy temple! Christ is coming to His church! Christ is coming to His temple! Do we see that? The church is the temple. "...in whom ye are also builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Armstrong, Herbert W. Congress of Leading Ministers Hears Defined and Reemphasized Spiritual Organization of Church. Worldwide News, March 6, 1981, p. 10)

Malachi 3:1-4 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 [What temple is He coming to? The Church! He is coming to the Church, at the Second Coming.] (Armstrong HW. We Are The Temple. Sermon, August 22, 1981)

Malachy 3 does not mean that a Jewish Temple must be built in Jerusalem before Jesus returns. The Jews cannot now build "HIS temple."

Church of God Authors

Notice something else that Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about the temple:

"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles [New Testament] and prophets [Old Testament], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord" (verses 20-21). So God reveals here that the Church is: 1) the HOUSEHOLD or begotten FAMILY of God; 2) a building—a HOLY TEMPLE—fitly joined together—that is, well organized (and, of course, on GOD'S pattern). As a building—the HOLY TEMPLE to which Christ will come—it is built on a FIRM FOUNDATION: the apostles, chosen by Christ, and the prophets. ...

There has been much perplexity and discussion as to when the temple will be built to which Christ shall come. Malachi's prophecy speaks of Christ's second coming to His temple (Malachi 3:1-6). In Haggai's prophecy it is referred to prophetically. Zerubbabel has been sent as governor of a colony to build the second temple 70 years after the destruction of Solomon's temple. He built the temple to which Jesus came, though it had been enlarged and embellished by the Roman Herod. But speaking of this temple, as a type and forerunner of the temple to which Christ shall come at His second coming , it is written, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the ' Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:9).

It is inconceivable that the Israelis, in the present international turmoil over their possession of old Jerusalem, could ever demolish the Arab Moslem Dome of the Rock - now on the site of Solomon's temple-and build a new one there of greater splendor and glory than Solomon's! However, as the second temple Zerubbabel was building was a typical forerunner of the temple to which Christ shall come, even so Zerubbabel was the typical forerunner of one Christ would use in building the far more glorious temple to, which Christ shall come in His GLORY!

Zechariah 4:9 : "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it . . .. " And as Zerubbabel's hands did finish that second temple, so shall the one Christ uses in building the temple to which He shall come in His GLORY!

And the Church of God of the present day shall be a "building fitly framed together [and growing] unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:21). (Armstrong HW. 7 Proofs of God's True Church, Part 6. Plain Truth. August, 1979, p. 38)

Many of us are being tried and tested as NEVER BEFORE--and for our own good! But, verse 11, "from the time the daily sacrifice shall be taken away ....Consider this a moment. This does NOT imply a material temple to be built in our time in Jerusalem. It does seem to imply the Israelis may restore the daily (twice daily) sacrifice--possibly at the wailing wall. (Armstrong HW. The Time We Are In, Now. Pastor General's Report-Vol 1, No. 15, November 20, 1979, Page 2)

Various ones who profess Christ misunderstand about the temple in the church age. Christians are the temple of God according to the New Testament (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16).

Despite this, various ones who claim to be part of the Church of God have taken a different position. There has been a trend among various groups (e.g. CBCG, RCG, CEG, COGFF, and TPM) to teach that a third temple is required.

Notice also, the following was in an advertisement from Don Billingsley of COGFF. It was found in the Connections' section of The Journal: News of the Churches of God in 2014:

The Construction of the Third Temple: Similar to King David, who stockpiled materials for the First Temple (I Chronicles 28:2), so have the Jews stockpiled materials for the building of the third Temple. However, considering the entirety of the Arab nations ready to do an all-out battle with Israel at their first move, virtually anyone would say this is ludicrous to even believe such a thing could possibly take place! And it would be– except for God being in the picture!

The Scriptures are very clear! This will indeed take place—and sooner than one might care to think! Most do not realize that Jesus Christ has a Master Plan with a Timetable in place. And, realizing that He rules in the kingdoms and nations of mankind, all these nations put together will be unable to stop His Plan from going forward—according to God’s timing. And nothing escapes His attention that would stand in the way of these prophecies taking place.

The above shows that COGFF is not a group that properly understands the Bible or certain aspects of biblical prophecy. COGFF, like RCG, is also a group that claims it is faithful to what the late Herbert Armstrong taught. Also perhaps it should be mentioned that the same ad insists (contrary to HWA's own writings) that Herbert W. Armstrong was the Elijah to come (see also The Elijah Heresies).

CEG, a group that came out of the group that took over GCG, insists on a third temple as well. Notice something from its May 4, 2018 newsletter:

Even though some uninformed and ignorant biblical “scholars” deny this FACT, a third temple WILL be built on the Temple Mount prior to Christ’s return.

It would be better if CEG did not call those who rely on the Bible ignorant, nor insist that a third Jewish temple must be built in Jerusalem.

Though it may not be officially held there, some of LCG's official publications seem to have taught it. Actually when LCG published something supportive of it in 2007 (Ames R. The Future of Jerusalem. Tomorrow's World, May-June 2007), I objected (I was attending LCG then) and asked that a retraction or clarification be placed in a subsequent edition. Basically, I was told that LCG would not publish any type of retraction or clarification, but that it would not do anything like that again. But later it did (Winnail D. Jerusalem's amazing future. Tomorrow's World, March-April 2008) and then it seemed to be taught more directly in one of its Tomorrow's World telecast. It is not clear, to me at least, what LCG really teaches about this--but overall other LCG writings have shown (correctly) that a third Jewish temple is not required.

But perhaps it should be mentioned that LCG has taught on matters related to the Temple Mount:

Bible prophecies indicate that just before Christ's return, Jerusalem will become the focus of international attention. Jesus spoke of a coming desecration of the holy place [the Temple Mount—see Matthew 24:15] and that Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies and taken over by Gentiles (Luke 21:20-24). (Winnail D. Are we living in the last days? Tomorrow's World, May-June 2000)

The Temple Mount has been called "the most volatile spot on the face of the earth." Bible prophecy indicates that significant events will occur on the Temple Mount just before Jesus Christ's return. These events will be a warning—for those who have eyes to see—that the end of this present age is near! (Winnail D. Jerusalem's amazing future! Tomorrow's World, March-April 2008)

Bible prophecy clearly indicates that more than prayer will occur on the Temple Mount prior to Christ’s return. In fact, the Bible indicates that Jewish sacrifices will again occur on the Temple Mount for a short time, before being stopped and replaced by what Scripture calls an “abominable” act of desecration (Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15-16). (Changes coming to Temple Mount worship. TW News & Prophecy, April 8, 2015)

Notice that LCG went from "indicates" in 2001 & 2008 to "clearly indicates" in 2015 while also tying it to Matthew 24:15. But what if what is now considered to be the Temple Mount, is not the Temple Mount? Then it would not be the 'holy place' and since LCG seems to think that it is, it will not understand the fulfillment of Matthew 24:15.

A group that formed from the old Global Church of God, the Church of the Eternal God asserted:

The Bible clearly prophesies that a MASSIVE Third Temple WILL be built in Jerusalem prior to Christ’s return, and it is indeed very likely that President Trump will in some way contribute to that development. (CEG Newsletter, August 9, 2019)

That asssertion--given by CEG without any scriptures--is in error.

As far as the temple goes, we in the Continuing Church of God clearly do not believe that a massive physical Jewish temple must be rebuilt for sacrifices and the fulfillment of prophecies prior to the return of Jesus. Sacrifices will be resumed, but a massive Jewish temple in not biblically required.

Concluding Comments on the Naos Temple of God

God's word states that Christians are “my people” in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 6:16; Romans 9:25-26). The New Testament is clear that Christians, and not non-Christian Jews, are the “temple of God.”

Understand, that Jesus took away the need for animal sacrifices (Hebrews 9:11-12), even though the Jews will resume them since they rejected Jesus. Jews simply cannot make a temple of God, only a temple for Jews. The prophesied "His temple" in the New Testament cannot be referring to a new Jewish building.

Yet, it is not the contention of this paper that a third Jewish temple cannot possibly be rebuilt, for that certainly is a physical possibility.

However, it is not absolutely required to be built in order for end-time prophecies prior to Jesus' return to be fulfilled. 

Nor would such a temple truly be “the temple of God.” Nor when Jesus returns is He planning on coming to the old Temple Mount to fulfill specific biblical prophecy--but He is prophesied to be coming to His people (who will be raised up to meet Him) and then come to the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11-12).

Thus, if a physical temple is NOT rebuilt and sacrifices DO begin, Christians should not think that there MUST be a physical Jewish temple for the events that Jesus spoke of related to the Book of Daniel to come to pass.  Those who insist on something that the Bible does not insist upon need to rethink their positions here.

As the article has shown, according to the Bible neither Jesus, Daniel, Paul, Malachi, nor John wrote anything that absolutely specifies that any Jewish temple will need to be built, prior to the Great Tribulation or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Serious modern Jews intend to sacrifice as soon as they can, and are willing to do it without a physical temple. The Old Testament clearly allows for this (Ezra 3:6).

Thus, even if a physical temple is or is not rebuilt, the Great Tribulation can still begin. Prophecy will be fulfilled. Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.

Many statements in the New Testament speak of the temple of God and His temple--they have to do with His people, the true Christians.

And while there is a prophesied temple to be built per Ezekiel 40-48, that is not for this age.

The temple prophesies in the New Testament do not point to a Jewish temple.

Many Protestants and even many in the COGs may therefore wish to reconsider their contrary positions on this.

Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to two sermons The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work and God’s Temple in Prophecy. And here is a version of the latter one in the Spanish: El templo de Dios en profecía.

Thiel B. Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? www.cogwriter.com/jewishtemple.htm (c) 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020/ 2021 / 2022 /2023 0730

Items of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, which is located on a Mount Zion, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building? There is also a video titled Does the 'Cenacle' deal have prophetic ramifications?
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Who really is left behind?
Laodicean Warning for God's People Is there really a place of safety? Do God's people need to be warned? Warned for what?

There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical 'place of safety' and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject--thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the "beginning of sorrows"? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000?
Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 This article explains how the CCOG views this, and compares this to Ellen White.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about "the Beast"? What is ahead for Europe?

Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders--here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Where Are the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel? Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?

Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it. Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? When does the six thousand years of human rule end?