People sometimes wonder whether there may come a time in which an attempt is made to rebuild the Temple.
An attempt already was made. Under an Apostate Christian Emperor, Emperor Julian, the Apostate. In order to snub the Christianity he once confessed at least on his lips, he sought to rebuild the Temple. He threw lots of imperial money that way. Transferred Alypius from Britain to the Holy Land.
To no avail.
The pagan historian alive at that time, known for accuracy and learning, Ammianus Marcellinus, informs us that balls of fire burst forth from openings in the earth, so as to prevent the workers from finishing their job.
Christians at the time regarded this defeat as a fulfillment of a prophecy in Cyril’s Catechetical Lectures, written some ten to fifteen years earlier. Cyril had stated that when Antichrist comes, Not one stone shall stand upon another (15.15). From Christian accounts at the time, we gather that there was a great wind that made a mess of the equipment and that there was an earthquake. The earthquake apparently heaved up some of the foundation stones, causing the Temple to fall yet further into degeneration. Cyril’s pronouncement about Antichrist implied that Jesus’ announcement, “Not one stone…” had yet to be fulfilled, as there were, at the foundations of the altar, yet standing certain foundation stones.
Gregory of Nazianzus, writing his 5th Oration (not one of his 5 theological orations), denounced Julian and recounted this very event. He delivered this oration the very year of the event itself. Ammianus wrote his account also that same year. Gregory thus exposed himself to utter ridicule if there were testimony contrary to his account.
All accounts were agreed that marvelous a marvelous event of nature prevented Julian from accomplishing his task. Thus, even today, the Temple does not exist. The Christians are right, John Henry Newman is right: This event was the hand of God (Essay on Miracles).
The Old Covenant is fulfilled only in the new, lives on only in the new, as transformed and not as still expectant of the Messiah to come. The divine appointment of the Temple has ceased. The only divinely appointed worship presently is that of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.