The earthly TEMPLE in the city of Jerusalem was rebuilt by Herod the Great (b.73bc, d.4bc). The work to rebuild the sanctuary (Holy Place and Holy of Holies) was begun in 20-19 BC, the eighteenth year of Herod’s reign.(Josephus Antiquities: 15.11.6). The Temple complex, other than the Temple itself, was in its 46th year of construction in the first year of Christ’s public ministry in AD 26-27 (John 2:20).
Herod the Great was the Roman appointed king of Judea when Christ was born. He died in 4 BC in Jericho of Judea. He built fortresses, palaces, and cities during his reign between 37 BC and 4 BC. However, in the last years of his life he was mentally unstable. He ordered the killing of all infants in Bethlehem, under two years of age, just before he died (Matt. 2:16).
The TEMPLE was decorated with gold and by it oaths were made (Matt 23:16). The temple was adorned with beautiful stones and donations (Luke 21:5). Jesus drove out the money changers and overturned tables because of the way the Temple was being used.
“12Then Jesus went into the TEMPLE of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the TEMPLE, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Matt. 21:12-13).
Jesus healed people in the courts of the temple (Matt. 21:14). Christ taught there daily in the courts of the “TEMPLE.” (Matt. 26:55). One day He departed from the TEMPLE and spoke to His disciples as they sat on the Mount of Olives. He said that the TEMPLE would be completely destroyed in THEIR generation.
“1Then Jesus went out and departed from the TEMPLE, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the TEMPLE. 2And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, NOT ONE STONE SHALL BE LEFT HERE UPON ANOTHER, THAT SHALL NOT BE THROWN DOWN.”
The disciples asked Jesus when this would occur. They asked what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the Jewish age (Matt. 24:1-3). In verses 4-32 of Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus explained to them the signs and events that THEY would see and hear occur before and during His second coming Parousia. These were to all occur in the generation of His disciples.
“33So YOU also, when YOU see all these things, know that IT IS NEAR—at the doors! 34Assuredly, I say to YOU, THIS GENERATION WILL BY NO MEANS PASS AWAY till ALL THESE THINGS take place.” (Matt. 24:33-34).
Just as Christ had prophesied to His disciples, all of those things occurred in their generation. The TEMPLE was completely destroyed in AD 70 by the Roman armies and the Jewish Zealots. The Jewish age came to an end. Christ fully established His eternal New Covenant Kingdom with a new “consummated” spiritual TEMPLE (Eph. 2:19-22).
[Also see: “Messianic Temple”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 12 Messianic Temple”]