The word Temple is derived not from the Hebrew but from the Latin word for place of worship, templum. The name given in Scripture for the building was Beit Yahweh or "House of Yahweh" (although this name was also often used for other temples, or metaphorically). Because of the prohibition against pronouncing the holy name, the common Hebrew name for the Temple is Beit ha-Mikdash or "The Holy House", and only the Temple in Jerusalem is referred to by this name.
Two temples stood in succession on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem:
- Solomon's Temple, from approximately the 10th century B.C., replacing the Tabernacle, destroyed by the Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 B.C.
- The Second Temple, built after the return from the Babylonian Captivity, around 536 B.C.
- Herod's Temple, was an expansion of the Second Temple, but is not usually counted as a third temple. This expansion project began around 19 B.C. by Herod the Great. It was destroyed by Roman troops under Titus in A.D. 70.
There was an aborted project by the Roman emperor Julian (331-363 CE) to allow the Jews to build a Third Temple. A few very small Jewish groups today support constructing a Third Temple, but most Jews oppose this, both due to the enormously hostile reaction from the Palestinians and Arab nations that would likely result, and because according to the Talmud the reconstruction of the Temple would require the recommencement of animal sacrifices, something which few Jews would like to happen.
Some fundamentalist and evangelical Christian groups, especially those who follow a dispensationalist theology, believe that the Jewish people will build the Third Temple shortly before, of perhaps after, "true" Christians have been raptured.