Closely Related:
- In John, how many years did it take to build the Second Temple?

1. Question : Request for Scriptural / Historical References

When Jesus was dedicated in "The Temple", was it considered a "Third Temple"?

Is there any Scriptural support that it was considered "Ezra's Temple", the "Second Temple", or as a "Third"? Is there any Historical evidence either way?

NASB, Luke 2:27 - Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,

2. Out-of-Scope : Rabbinic Opinion

Rabbinic opinion has a "creative" solution to this - which may be addressed in Judaism.SE, Why is Herod's Temple Not Considered a “Third Temple”?

2 Answers 2


Excellent question. It was the second temple. More specifically it was King Herod's rebuilt second temple. He began the project in 19 BC and aspects of this rebuild lasted 75 years. This information is from the book 'Ready to Rebuild' by Thomas Ice and Randall Price.

We would not consider King Herod's rebuild a 3rd temple, even based on his own description of the project which he said "it was only intended to be regarded as an enlarging and further beautifying of that of Zerubbabel’s.".

Dating the rebuilt temple of King Herod is easy due to historical reference; "He who has not seen Herod's building, has never in his life seen a truly grand building." -Talmud-Bava Basra 4a

"Viewed from without, the Sanctuary had everything that could amaze either mind or eyes. Overlaid all round with stout plates of gold, the first rays of the sun it reflected so fierce a blaze of fire that those who endeavored to look at it were forced to turn away as if they had looked straight at the sun. To strangers as they approached it seemed in the distance like a mountain covered with snow; for any part not covered with gold was dazzling white..." The Jewish War, pg. 304.

  • The second was called the second because the first had been completely destroyed for several decades. Herod's reconstruction is counted as the second because the second was never fully demolished, and continued to function more or less as normal, during the whole reconstruction process.
    – user2910
    Jun 20, 2017 at 14:50
  • Do you have a citation for Herod's own description of the project? Oct 19, 2018 at 5:09

An interesting question. The first temple in Jerusalem was built by King Solomon probably around 957 BCE although there are later dates suggested as late as 833 BCE (according to Jewish sources). Using the earlier date, the first temple would have been completed in 950 BCE. That temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE.

The second temple was begun in about 538 BCE, supposedly on the same sight as the first temple, and is commonly believed to have been completed under King Darius I in 521 BCE. It was never considered to be as glorious as Solomon’s first temple.

Then in 19 BCE, Herod the Great began an expansion and renovation project to beautify and enlarge the second temple to include his palace. The original walls were taken down one at a time and carefully replaced never allowing the temple to be desecrated. This temple became known as Herod’s Temple. However, this was still the second temple and would have been the temple where Jesus was dedicated.

Herod’s Temple was completely destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, as predicted by Jesus Christ, in retribution to the Jewish uprising against Roman rule. The Temple has never been rebuilt in Jerusalem.

  • Thanks. Do you have a reference for the claim about the walls, etc? Another thread discussed how the temple was completely torn down first... So, it would be helpful to see a source for this. Oct 19, 2018 at 5:07
  • One reference is found in Secrets of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, Leen Ritmeyer, Kathleen Ritmeyer, 1998. Another is found in Between Rome and Jerusalem, OLA 208, Leuven: Peeters, 2012, pp. 147-165. Hope this helps.
    – Joe
    Oct 20, 2018 at 11:26

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