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Will the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt before Jesus comes?

Will the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt before Jesus comes?

With the constant turmoil preventing stability in the Middle East, many are speculating about whether the Jewish temple will be rebuilt. Entire Christian ministries are established to assist in the building of the temple to, they say, hasten the return of Jesus. For many, a rebuilt temple will signal the start of the final events of earth’s history.

However, most of this speculation for a rebuilt temple springs from a single vague reference in 2 Thessalonians 2 dealing with the antichrist:

“Let no one deceive you ... for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (verses 3, 4).

Many say that for the antichrist to sit in the temple, it will need to be rebuilt. Those who support this belief are known as “Christian Zionists,” and they include such popular writers as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, and John Hagee. Their published book sales exceed 70 million copies—including the popular Left Behind series. Their beliefs are endorsed by some of the largest theological institutions.

But are they correct? To begin, let’s go to 1 Chronicles 17:11, 12: “When your days are fulfilled … I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.”

This prophecy given to King David says his offspring will build the temple. This text is one of the clearest examples of a dual prophecy in Scripture. It is primarily speaking of Jesus, the Son of David, who built a spiritual temple, His church. This is why Jesus told the religious leaders, “ ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19–21).

And, of course, the church is called the body of Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12.) So, when Paul spoke of the antichrist sitting in the temple of God in 2 Thessalonians, he was not referring to a rebuilt Jewish temple but rather to the antichrist power placing himself at the head of the Christian church.

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