|Dr. Couch, I keep hearing about the fact that there are some in Israel who are planning to reconstruct the temple in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Is this so?|
ANSWER: Yes, there is an organization of very conservative orthodox Jews who are planning to construct the temple. You asked the question, Where? And that I don't know. I do not put much credit to this, and I'll explain below why.
How many temples have there been? The (1) first temple was the one constructed by Solomon. It was destroyed in BC 586. Then there was a kind of (2) reconstruction or rebuilding of the temple when Nehemiah and Zerubbabel returned to Judah from Babylon. Some do not count this as a distinct temple construction project, though I do. Then (3) there was the Herodian temple that was still under construction while Christ was ministering. It was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD. There will be an (4) "Antichrist" temple that will be built by the orthodox Jews who may think that he is the Messiah. He will apparently give them permission to build the temple, probably after the signing of the seven year peace pact that begins the tribulation. He will enter it and desecrate it according to Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10. "He will take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." Finally, there is the (5) Millennial temple as described in Ezekiel 40-48.
Some argue: how can there be a restored sacrificial system, since Christ completed the needed sacrifice for our sins? I must remind you that we do a mini-Passover when we take communion. In fact, it is called a "memorial." The revised temple sacrifices are memorials as to what Christ did on the cross. They are not efficacious or required as if under the law. But they are a reminder of the fact that something (or someone—Christ) innocent had to die for our sins!
I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch