Q. There’s more in the news than there used to be about building the Temple, even though religious Jews have been wanting this for a long time. Why is this? Is it another sign of the times?
A. Israeli citizens who are religious have been divided on the issue of building the Temple ever since Israel became a nation again. They have traditionally fallen into one of two camps. Either they believe the Messiah can’t come until they build the Temple, or they believe that they can’t build a Temple because when the Messiah comes he’ll bring the Temple with Him. This division has always been significant enough to prevent them from building it.
What’s different today is that for the first time a majority of Jews in Israel want to see the Temple built whether they believe in God or not, and that’s why it’s making the news. While this is commendable, I think a lot of it comes from a desire to bolster Jerusalem’s Jewish identity, rather than a desire to return to their covenant relationship with God.