A Place of Worship, "Consecrated For My Name"
The original Temple was consecrated for God's Name, and called a Temple of God, or House of God, even though God remained in heaven e.g "The Lord is in His Holy Temple, The Lord's throne is in heaven." (Psalm 11:4). It could perhaps be compared to the principle of a country opening (or closing, temporarily or permanently, whenever a decision is made to do so) an embassy in a foreign land, that is to be treated with the utmost respect and never to be violated, where official diplomatic business is conducted. The Temple of God was meant in a possessive sense, even though the "Head of State" remained at home:
Regarding the original Temple in Jerusalem:
"But if you turn aside from following Me, you or your children, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and the house which I have consecrated for My Name I will cast out of My sight." (1 Kings 9:6-7 RSV) (see Why Babylon?)
The original Temple of God was destroyed, that is, God had it destroyed, not because He turned His back on the Israelites, but because they turned their back on Him. Later however, at the appointed time, the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity because God had a Persian king release them and allow them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God as a sacred place of worship. It was God's command to rebuild that Temple (or sacred "embassy," if you wish), not something that the Jews took it upon themselves to do:
"My Father's House"
From a Christian point of view the term Temple takes on a much greater meaning:
"Do you not know that you are God's Temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's Temple, God will destroy him. For God's Temple is holy, and that Temple you are." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 RSV)
Nevertheless, Jesus Christ, Who we may be absolutely certain knew what He was talking about, had no problem calling that re-built physical Jewish Temple in Jerusalem "My Father's House," or God's House, a sacred place, not because God lived there, since Jesus plainly always prayed to The Father in heaven, but because God was worshiped there. He used the term Temple in a possessive sense.
"You shall not make My Father's House a house of trade." (John 2:16 RSV)
An End-Time Jewish Temple of God?
There are a number of Jewish groups working toward the construction of an end-time Jewish Temple - a physical, Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Their preparations are genuine, professional, and well financed. They would begin building today if the political situation permitted it.
But will it happen?
Many Christian-professing people reject the thought of any such possibility, or deny Jesus Christ's own words and say that such a Temple could not be called a Temple of God, because their own perspective of Temple is now purely spiritual. But unconverted Jews aren't Christians, who nevertheless worship and are subject to the true and only God. Jews have a religious perspective of their own, and since 1948, the Jewish state of Israel has been a reality.
Christians and Jews worship the same God, the true God, but differently, at different stages of understanding and fulfillment. Is the Jewish religion now to be considered irrelevant? Most certainly not, according to the Christian apostle Paul: "Then what advantage has the Jew? ... Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles [NIV words] of God." (Romans 3:1-2 RSV)
A great many other Christians, including this writer, believe that the Jewish people will indeed construct another Jewish Temple of God (the exact form that it will take is yet to be seen) that will be a focal point of many Christian prophecies. These Scriptures of Bible Prophecy, among others, can only mean an actual physical Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem, just prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ -
"Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told: "Rise and measure the Temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the Temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant My two witnesses power to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (Revelation 11:1-3 RSV)
"Forces from him shall appear and profane the Temple and fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate." (Daniel 11:31 RSV)
"Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God." (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 RSV)
"So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place, let the reader understand, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:15-16 RSV)
Fact Finder: What is going to be the fate of the "beast" and the "great false prophet"?