The prospect of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem continues to captivate the hearts and minds of millions of Christians around the world. When will it be rebuilt? Will there still be animal sacrifices? What would happen next? How will it work with the sacrifice already offered on the Cross? Those are just some of the questions that sincere Christians are asking.
Whatever we think about the possibility of such a building project, we must remember that the New Testament, while confirming its great respect for God’s Temple in Jerusalem, posits that the Jewish Christ and those in Him are the ultimate Temple of God (1 Pet. 2:5).
Jesus’ incarnation, described in terms of God “tabernacling among us”, is one of the clearest examples of this connection in John’s gospel (John 1:14). The clearest connection with the eschatological Temple described by Ezekiel, however, can be found in the words of Jesus uttered during the priestly watering-pouring ceremony during the Feast of Tabernacles.
Jesus declared: “He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38) The Scripture to which Jesus is undoubtedly referring describes the river that makes the desert green and all dead things alive again. That river flows directly from the belly of the Temple that Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 47:1-9).
So, will the Temple be rebuilt? Perhaps, but we must always remember that the ultimate Temple is located in the person of Jewish Christ and in the lives of his Jewish and Gentile followers.