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The third temple
Question from Tom on 8/27/2007:

I recently heard that Jewish thinkers considered the time of the "third temple" to be a sign of the end of days. That's why people referred to the Herodian temple as the second temple (even though it was kind of the third). Where would that come from? Is it in Scripture, rabbinic tradition, or elsewhere? Is this another symbol our Lord fulfills when he "rebuilt the temple in three days"?

Thanks and God bless you!

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 9/9/2007:

The temple in the period of King Herod (sometimes called Herodian, because he so vastly expanded it that it barely resembled the pre-existing structure) was the second Jewish Temple in existence: the first was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC and the second in 70 AD by the Romans, both as prophetic punishments upon Judaism for its apostasy. If the Temple is ever rebuilt--and some Jews seek to do this and some misled Evangelicals and others support them, with the hope of bringing about the return of the Messiah--it will be by the will and activity of the anti-Christ, and not the true Messiah. God destroyed the Temple through the Romans to bring an end to an obsolete form of worship, replaced by Christ and the Church. No Catholic should think it the will of God to rebuild it. If a new temple rises, be on the watch for the anti-christ.

Thanks, Tom

Father Echert

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