Technically, there have been three temples. The FIRST TEMPLE was built by Solomon in about 957 B.C. which is recorded in detail in 1st Kings chapters 5 & 6. It was completely destroyed in 586 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies. The SECOND TEMPLE was built by Zerubbabel and the exiles who returned from Babylon from 537 B.C. to 515 B.C. (see Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-3, 8-10; Zechariah 4:6-9). This temple was smaller than the original temple and inferior in design and those who had seen the first temple wept after the foundation was laid (Ezra 3:12). It was attacked and nearly destroyed more than once. The THIRD TEMPLE was rebuilt by King Herod beginning in 19 B.C. and finished in 9 B.C. (though the elaborate “work of decoration” was not finished until A.D. 64. It was much larger than the Second Temple and he spared no expense in building it. In A.D. 70 it was completely burned to the ground by the Roman armies and there has been no attempt to rebuild it. It should be said that some only count TWO TEMPLES since the SECOND TEMPLE was never completely destroyed. Either way you look at it, there have been at least two temples that have been utterly destroyed and the “temple mount” has been vacant for nearly 2,000 years.

Will there be another temple and who will build it? Actually, there will be TWO MORE TEMPLES! We read in Daniel 9:27 and 12:11, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate….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.” This prophecy speaks of a time in the future when the Jews will make a 7-year covenant with a powerful Roman leader (the “Prince that shall come” in verse 26) who will guarantee them protection from their Arab neighbors and allow them to resume their sacrificial system under the Mosiac Law. This will necessitate a new temple where the priests can offer those sacrifices. We are not told who will BUILD it. We do know that the Jews living in Israel today are preparing for the building of this temple and they even have a “priesthood” ready to offer these sacrifices. The Antichrist will be ruling over Israel at that time and will be instrumental in the signing of this covenant with the Roman Prince. He may very well be overseeing the building of the temple just as Solomon, Zerubbabel and King Herod were when those temples were built. We know from 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 that he will stand in the rebuilt temple and declare that he is God. Yet after 3 ½ years the Roman Prince will order the sacrifices and offering to cease and we learn, from Revelation 13:11-15, that the Antichrist will make an image of the Roman Prince which he will put in the temple and cause all to worship it. This will be the “abomination of desolation” that we read of in Daniel 12:11. The passage in Revelation 13 doesn’t say it will be in the temple but the Lord Jesus does in Matthew 24:15 which says, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, STANDING IN THE HOLY PLACE….then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Because of this act of idolatry, the Lord will allow Jerusalem to be invaded and the temple to be destroyed again by the “one who makes desolate” (please read Daniel 8:23-24; 11:40-41 with Zechariah 14:1-2; Joel 2:1-11).

Yet there will be a FINAL TEMPLE built that will never be attacked or destroyed. It will be built after Christ returns in power and glory to establish His 1,000-year kingdom (Matthew 24:29-30; 25:31). You can read of the building of this glorious temple and the sacrifices that will be offered in worship there in Ezekiel chapters 40-46.  (DO)  (543.1)