Since there are so many Jewish religious denominations and beliefs, the Jews in Israel are not at all in agreement on the purpose and goal of the Temple. We will take a look at four different Jewish denominations, beginning with the most traditional, to briefly examine how they view the rebuilding of the temple
Orthodox Judaism is the most traditional and contemporary branch of Judaism because it regards the Torah as literally revealed by God, and it advocates a strict observance of the Jewish Law.1 Not all of its branches, however, are conservative. The two groups that are perhaps the most well-known are what may be called Modern or Mainstream Orthodox Judaism, and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism.
In Mainstream Orthodox Judaism its scholars reject any attempt to build the Temple, mainly because they believe that it should be left to the coming Messiah to build it, so that it will be built correctly and on the exact location.2 Hence, their purpose and goal is to do nothing but to pray and wait for the Messiah.
Ultra-Orthodox Judaism is more conservative, and its members are said to be more reclusive.3 It is this small branch that has the belief that they already have the command from God to build the Temple (in Exodus 25:8). Hence, with this mandate they have formed several organizations to carry out this order. Two of the most well-known organizations are the Temple Institute and the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faith Movement. Each of these groups has the goal of building the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.
Since this relatively small group of Jews are the only ones that are excited about building the temple with its original requirements (including animal sacrifices), we will spend a little more time drawing out what its leaders believe about the Temple, or what they believe its purpose is.
Gershon Salomon, the director of the Temple Mount Faithful organization has said that the rebuilt Temple has a double role of redeeming both the people of Israel and the people of the entire world.4
Similarly, Rabbi Chaim Richman, the director of the Temple Institute has said,
There is a connection between the need for a new level of spiritual attainment and the rebuilding of the Temple: “The Shekinah is brought about only through the Temple.…In terms of our mission as a people, we cannot in any way reach our spiritual status without the Temple.” For Orthodox Jews committed to reestablishing the Temple, both the present problems of the world and the problems faced by the Jewish people will be solved only by rebuilding.5
Again, Rabbi Richman said that the Temple will be a “House of prayer for all nations.”6
So we see that this Ultra-Orthodox group of Jews, particularly in these two organizations (and other likeminded groups), have a very high purpose for the Temple. And its goal of building the temple on the Temple Mount and to reinstate animal sacrificial worship, aim to bring that purpose about.7
Other More Liberal Denominations of Judaism
I’m sure there are several Jewish denominations, each with interesting beliefs, but I will mention just two more. A group called Conservative Judaism wants a rebuilt temple, but not animal sacrifices. This I think is the belief of many Jewish groups. They would say that animal sacrifices is a thing of the past and that it is just too archaic and not at all needed.
Another group is called Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism. They are more liberal and more progressive in their faith; and because of the evolved nature of the faith they no longer see the need for a Temple or sacrifices.
Now there is one more person that has a purpose and a goal for the Temple—the Antichrist. And the reason why I think it is necessary to mention him is because we know that half-way through the Tribulation he will order the end of sacrifices and offerings in the Temple (Dan. 9:27), and he basically steals it away from the Jews and makes it his own; for Scripture says that “he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thess. 2:4). And in Matthew’s gospel Jesus warns the Jews that on that day they should flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:16).
So we get the picture that it is at this time, on this day that the Antichrist will reveal himself as Antichrist and he will take the temple as his own, killing the Jews. The Third Temple, from this point on, will take on an entirely different purpose. It will be a Temple of evil—Satan’s Temple. Scripture doesn’t tell us what he plans to do in the Temple and with the Temple. But we can assume that either he will destroy it, it will be destroyed by an earthquake (or some other natural disaster), or it will be destroyed by Jesus when he returns at the end of the Tribulation. For when Christ sets up His Kingdom in the Millennium, He Himself will build another greater Temple, which is described in great detail for us in the book of Ezekiel (Ezek. 40- 48).
1 Wikipedia, “Orthodox Judaism,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Judaism#p-search.
3 Wikipedia, “Orthodox Judaism.”
4 Dr. Randall Price, “Update On the Building of the Third Temple,” at https://www.jewishvoice.org/read/article/update-building-third-temple.
7 Wikipedia, “The Temple Institute,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Temple_Institute.