Solomon’s temple – Built by King Solomon, the son of David.
When Moses delivered the Israelites out from Egypt as a new community, he built a tabernacle so that God can be worshipped and revered in one place. Since they were travelling from one place to another, the tabernacle could be dismantled and also set up. Later Joshua, Moses’ assistant led the Israelites into Canaan land, defeating the natives there and formed a nation as God instructed him to do. And in the days of Judges, when they sinned and rebelled, the nation was disunited and in chaos. The furnitures in the tabernacle were taken and transported from place to place!
When King Solomon took over the nation after a superb rule by King David, he built the temple for God as instructed by Him. It was built in 972BC and stood 210 feet high.
The primary reason is that temple in Jerusalem signifies to the world that Yahweh is the God of Israel and there is none other.
The secondary reason for this temple is to unite the nation of Israel to worship Yahweh, the one true God.
The temple was destroyed 586BC by the Babylonians! The Israelites were shaken to the core because they thought there were other gods who could be more powerful than Yahweh. But God had shown to them that He was not just the God of Israel but the God who controls the whole world! He does not confine Himself in the temple, of course!
Tribulation Temple – Still in the minds of some at this time of writing.
The second temple, Zerubabbel’s or Herod’s temple, was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, just as predicted by Jesus Himself. When Jesus died, the veil that separated the holy place from the holy of holies was torn into two from top to bottom. This is to signify that the time has come to enable everyone to come before God without fear. Instead of only the high priest could enter, that is only once a year, now everyone can go before the presence of God but through Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb, dying for the sins of the world.
Will this third temple be built?
Definitely it will be built because it was written clearly in the Bible. Since everything in the first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, second temple by the Romans, this temple will be built without those original articles, perhaps some replica ones. When the New Testament was written, there was no Israel as a nation since they fell to the Babylonians. Since then, the Jews were dominated by Persian, Greeks, and the Romans and after the destruction of AD70, they were dispersed all over the world.
But the Word of God had said there would be a rebuilding of a temple in Israel (2 Thess. 2:4; Daniel 9:27; Rev. 11:1-2; see also, Matthew 24). And in 1948, miraculously, Israel became a nation and thus the Word of God was proven right yet again.
There is this group who called themselves Temple Mount Faithful where they already prepared the foundation stone for the building (or rebuilding) of the temple of Solomon. The garments for priests and furnitures are all ready for service once the temple is built. There is also an increasing attempt to produce a red heifer (currently there is a farm in America doing that) to initiate back the animal sacrifices. Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute claimed to be ready for the temple to be built and that the Red Heifer has now been qualified for temple sacrifice. (Whew! How close we are to the rapture? A time where God would snatch away believers from His wrath in what is known as The Great Tribulation) There are many religious nationalistic Jews in Israel today who are all for the rebuilding of the temple but there are also many secular Jews who don’t bother about it.
The only major obstacle to the building of the temple is that the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic architecture and a mosque in the vicinity that stand in the way. The Dome is in an area called the Temple Mount where the original Solomon’s temple once stood. That particular area of the Temple Mount is controlled by a Muslim Trust (Jordanians) named the Wakf. This control was handed to them by Israelis themselves after they annexed Jerusalem from the Arabs in 1967! Although the overall security is still under the jurisdiction of the Jews, that place itself has become a hyper sensitive issue for both the Jews and the Palestinians.
Recently, some people had suggested building the Temple Mount side by side with the Dome of the Rock. One young scholar of Jewish law, Frankel, spearheaded the thought. Dome of the Rock could be the outer courts for non-Jews. Since most of the world is weary of the wars between the Jews and Palestinians, so there could be a possibility that Jerusalem to become an international city for all. This could lead to the temple being built. However, there are oppositions all round by Muslims as well as Jewish people who wanted to do away with the Dome of the Rock.
There is also this political guy called Moshe Feiglin who harbours the ambition to become the next Prime Minister and rebuild the temple by all means. He said the temple is the essence of the Jewish state.
No one knows how the temple will be built but according to the Bible, God already did away with the temple of God as Jesus had set everyone free from animal sacrifices and rituals. These are but shadows of things to come! So the tribulation temple is not what God intended it to be yet I believe God still views it as important because it would cause Jews to come together for the worship of the true God. It will be trampled by the Gentiles in the last days as they attack Jerusalem again. The temple will be destroyed but to what extend no one knows.
Many Christians believe that when the temple is built, rapture will take place and when Jerusalem is being attacked, led by the Anti-Christ, Jesus would return. He would defeat the enemies and rule for 1,000 years. During those days, a millennium temple (fourth temple) will be built in which we now turn.
There are some differences in the Ezekiel’s temple as compared to the others. The outer court mentioned there in Ezekiel did not speak of Gentiles at all. During that time, God receives everyone who wants Him. No articles of the temple, no high priest or a change in order of priests, no ceremonies or rituals except the animal sacrifices. Why do animal sacrifices still needed during the time of Christ’s physical reign on earth?
Animal sacrifices in the Millenium Temple could be used as a illustration of a Greater Sacrifice of Christ in Israel during that time, just like we do communion in the church. It is like a remembrance that Christ has become the ultimate Sacrifice for sins. Anyway, animal sacrifices before Jesus died on the cross could not forgive sins, just a covering of sins, in wait for the death of Christ on the cross (Hebrews 10:4, 11)
The articles and rituals exclusion I believe are reminders that Christ is the center of worship!
There are still entrances and gates which are also reminders of God’s holiness and to keep out unholy things. As far as Jerusalem is concerned, the city has become the ultimate worship center in the millennium reign of Christ (Isaiah 4:2; 62:1-3)
After 1,000 years are over, there will be a new Jerusalem coming from heaven (Rev. 3:12; 21:2) and note this, without a temple! (Rev. 21:22)