With Pres. Trump promising to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem from the homosexual capital of the world in Tel Aviv, Israel, now there is talk among prophecy “experts” that the temple will be built again. The thing of it is, there is nothing in the New Testament about a rebuilt temple. Rebuilt-temple advocates Tommy Ice and Randall Price admit, “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘There is going to be a third temple.’”1 Even so, they claim “that there will be a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem at least by the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation period.”2 As we will see, the Bible says no such thing. (For a biblical study of how prophecy writers get a future “seven-year tribulation period,” see my book Truth About the Rapture).
One third-temple advocate writes, “Trump’s role [is] similar to the one played by Cyrus, the Persian king who ended the Babylonian exile and helped build the Second Jewish Temple.” (WND) The difference is that we’re told in the Bible that Cyrus would be instrumental in rebuilding the temple after it was destroyed by the Babylonians. There is no mention of the temple being built again in the NT. In fact, in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah there are four commands by Median and Persian kings that refer to rebuilding the post-exile temple (Ezra 1:1-11; 4:24; 6:1-12; 7:7-26; Neh. 2:1-8), and a direct reference in Isaiah 44:26-28 that Cyrus would be involved in rebuilding the post-exile temple. As we’ll see, there is no comparable scriptural support in the NT that mentions rebuilding the temple a second time.
A Literal Reading of the Bible Means No Rebuilt Temple
Does the Bible predict that a third temple will be built, one following Solomon’s temple and the post-exile temple that was still standing and going through a period of renovation in Jesus’ day? Don Stewart and Chuck Missler insist,
The crucial issue boils down to how we interpret prophecy. There are two basic ways to interpret Bible prophecy. Either you understand it literally or you do not. If a person rejects the literal interpretation then they [sic] are left to their own imagination as to what the Scripture means…. We believe it makes sense to understand the Scriptures as literally requiring the eventual construction and desecration of a Third Temple.3
The authors are careful to say only that another rebuilt temple is required. A third temple is required only if your end-time system requires a rebuilt temple. Jesus’ completed redemptive work makes the need for a rebuilt temple unnecessary. His ministry begins with the declaration that He is our tabernacle (John 1:14), “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29), “the temple” (John 2:19-21), and the “chief cornerstone” (Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20). By extension, believers are “as living stones, … being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Those “in Christ” are the true temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21; Rev. 21:22).