It seems to me that the only acceptable place to build the Third Temple according to modern Jews is the Temple Mount, where the first two temples stood, and where now is Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock.

However, I read Ezekiel 45 today and was totally surprised to find:

1 Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, ye shall offer an oblation unto the LORD, an holy portion of the land: the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds , and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about. 2 Of this there shall be for the sanctuary five hundred in length , with five hundred in breadth , square round about; and fifty cubits round about for the suburbs thereof. 3 And of this measure shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the sanctuary and the most holy place.

Does this not clearly state that the Temple shall be built in a newly allocated area instead? Note that the designated size (25000 reeds * 10000 reeeds, that several kilometres in each direction) far exceeds the area of the current Temple Mount, so to have it there would mean to destruct half of jerusalem.

So is everyone wrong about building the Temple on the Mount or how shall we understand this passage?

  • Why do we think the passage is about the third temple and not the second? The commands to sacrifice animals, unnecessary following the sacrifice of Jesus, would tend to preclude the idea that this is a Christian temple. Apr 8 '14 at 18:33
  • @DJClayworth Interesting thought; there are some problems though: The same chapter (even in verse 1 above, but also later in detail) speaks about dividing the land between the tribes anew. Clearly, that did not happen in Serubbabel's time. More serious: even the dead sea shall come alive when this temple is built, so if we take that literally, then it can't have referred to the second temple. Also, there are things missing like the women's part, the curtain and some other things which were necessary in the second temple. Apr 8 '14 at 19:58

Not everyone in Christianity believes that the third temple will be built as a physical temple. Many believe the ginormous dimensions given for the temple in Ezekiel indicate that it is actually just a spiritual temple being referred to.

Some passages indicting that the view of the NT writers was that the third temple was spiritual are Acts 7:48 and surrounding, 1 Cor 3:16 and surrounding, and 1 Peter 2:5 and context. Mark 14:58 and similar passages that can be interpreted as being about the resurrection of Jesus' body can also be interpreted as being about the church as Christ's body, a "temple made without hands." See also Revelation 21:22.

  • 2
    Thanks for your answer; however, I don't find that quite satisfactory, given the huge amount of detail Ezekiel uses to describe the temple. Also, John's statement that the outer court is given to the heathens until their time is fulfilled somewhat implies a physical temple. Apr 8 '14 at 3:47
  • @Mike Hartl, I didn't figure my answer would end up being the accepted one. :) "John's statement that the outer court is given to the heathens..." Are you referring to a non-canonical source? Apr 9 '14 at 4:32
  • only if you don't consider Revelation canonical. ;-) Rev 11,2: "but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months." Apr 9 '14 at 11:16

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.