Is 'Pharisee' an antisemitic slur?

Oh, there is no shortage of scathing criticism of Temple corruption in the Bible – many of the Prophets went on at great length about it. But they were all calling for reform of the institution, not its abolition.

The traditional Jewish point of view is that the Temple was the greatest gift God ever gave us, that it was taken away as punishment for our sins (priestly corruption high on the list), and that it will eventually be returned when we achieve a sufficient degree of repentance.

The Christian view, in contrast, is that the Temple is now entirely obsolete and will never be rebuilt.

So criticism of the Temple from a Christian point of view risks being offensive, even if the criticisms are accurate. Similarly, if you’re Catholic and someone brings up the topic of the Medici popes, your reaction is going to differ depending on whether that person is a fellow Catholic with an interest in Church history or a Calvinist with a bone to pick.

It’s my understanding that rebuilding the Temple is a required sign of the Second Coming of Christ according to some Christians.

Well, it’s never good to generalize about groups of hundreds of millions of people. I feel safe in saying that that is the mainstream Christian position, however.

I’m pretty sure the mainstream Christian position isn’t that it will never be rebuilt, just that it’s irrelevant to Christians.

To be honest the political and religious climate, not to mention the fact that the Dome of the Rock is built over it, makes it unlikely that the Temple will be rebuilt on it’s traditional location in our lifetimes- or our children’s. That’s just Realpolitik.

Conveniently, the normative Jewish position is that we don’t need to and shouldn’t actively work toward rebuilding the Temple; God will miraculously make it appear when the time is right. So (choosing words carefully) the chance of that happening at any particular time isn’t really affected by the political climate, per se.

But if it ever IS rebuilt, it will have to be a follow-on to the removal of the Dome of the Rock, and the likely circumstances surrounding such a removal would probably generate an apocalyptic war, such as is supposedly predicted to coincide with said Second Coming.

(I gotta say, Jesus certainly does seem to have an exceptionally long refractory period…)