Progress of the Third Temple — Part One

 

Both of the major organizations that are now dedicated to building the Temple (the Temple Institute and the Temple Mount Faith Movement) have only been in operation for thirty-two years (since 1987), yet, as you will see, they have made tremendous strides. According to them, they have the direct command of God to build the Temple and to make the Temple vessels. And they also have been guided by ancient, Jewish Torah scholars known as the Maimonides.9

The building of the Temple really can’t be compared to any other building project. There is so much that goes into it, and so much detail that has to be followed according to biblical specifications. Eventually, we will discuss the progress of the Temple in the following six parts; in this blog we will cover the first three parts

 

Temple Research and Restoration

These departments are of primary importance for the Temple structure as well as for making the vessels and garments according to God’s orders set out in the Scriptures. The research is performed by a team of dedicated and highly trained rabbis, scholars, and scientists in various fields. The conclusions of the research are then transferred to the restoration department where architects, carpenters, craftsmen, artists, and others go about the meticulous work of making all of the things in the Temple. It is a work that continues to this day.

 

Temple Education and Promotion

These departments are vital for the progress of the Temple for at least three reasons: to educate the public on why the temple is necessary—focusing mainly on the spiritual implications; to raise awareness and excitement of the ongoing Temple construction, and; to raise money and support for the unending costs.

In my research I found the following  ways Temple education and promotion have been accomplished:

  • Through conferences, mainly to stimulate excitement.
  • Through seminars, to provide an instructive atmosphere.
  • Through videos, which are an important tool to reach probably millions of people.
  • Through publications, in the form of pamphlets, magazines and books.
  • Through demonstrations, in the form of parades, banners and signs, and speeches. The Temple Mount Faith Movement has been the most known for this activity. They began mostly as a protest movement (for being denied access to the Temple Mount), but unlike other radical movements, they have remained relatively peaceful and have operated within Israeli law.10 In recent years this movement has been less of a demonstration group and now focuses more on restoration for the Temple. It also has close ties with Christian groups, mainly from the United States.11
  • Through museums. The Temple Institute runs a museum in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is called Treasures of the Temple. There, many of the remade Temple vessels are exhibited (behind glass).12 I would love to go there and see them!
  • Through a Third Temple coin. About two years ago from this writing, the Sanhedrin and the Temple Education Center minted a commemorative medallion with an image of President Trump and King Cyrus on one side and an image of the Third Temple on the other side. So far the coin has been a great success around the world, not only for the money it has produced, but also because of its advertisement of the Temple.13

 

Spiritual Development

The spiritual development of the Temple is of primary importance; for without it the entire purpose for the Temple would be lost. Therefore, rabbis and spiritual leaders are taking great care to develop a spiritual desire for the Temple and to pray for the Temple.

Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, religious Jews have established a tradition of prayer three times a day. They call it Amidah prayer. The prayer is rather long—nineteen point. Points 15, and 17 have to do with the Temple. Point 15 asks God to bring the descendant of King David who will be the messiah. And point 17 is asking God to restore the Temple services and the sacrificial services.14

Now it is my guess that only a few Jews pray this long prayer three times a day. But if they forget or are lazy, the Tempe Institute has recently released a series of videos encouraging Jews to hope for the building of the Third Temple. One of the titles is “The Children are Ready,” which is expressing the fact that they should be ready to see the Temple built.15

 

9 Wikipedia, “Maimonides,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maimonides.

10 Wikipedia, “Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement,”              at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Mount_and_Eretz_Yisrael_Faithful_Movement.

11 Ibid.

12 YouTube, “Welcome to the Temple Institute,” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB8W0cLM9uA.

13 Adam Eliyaha Berkowitz, “Global Support for Third Temple Coin,” https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/103700/global-support-third-temple-coin/.

14 Wikipedia, “Third Temple.”

15 Tzvi Joffre, “Temple Institute encourages Jews to hope for Third Temple in new video,” at https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Temple-Institute-encourages-Jews-to-hope-for-Third-Temple-in-new-video-597873.

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The Christian View of the Third Temple

 

The Old Testament Tabernacle and the following two Temples were definitely ordered by God to be a sanctuary for God, in order that He would dwell with His people the Jews (Ex. 25:8-9). Likewise, all of the articles in the Temple, and the garments of the priests, and the sacrifices, were typical of Christ and His work as Priest and of the coming Redeemer (Ex. 25:10-31:18). Yes, everything in the Tabernacle and the Temples pointed to Christ.

So looking back on it, as a Christian, everything about the former Tabernacle and the Temples were good and appropriate. However, now, since we know that Christ has come and has lived a sinless life and has died on the cross for our sins, there is no longer a need for the Temple as it was originally ordered by God. For Christ has come and He has fulfilled in His life and death and resurrection all of the truth that the Temple and its articles taught us about Him.

So, sadly, the Christian, even the Jewish Christian, must reject the Third Temple as something unnecessary—because Christ has come! And He has come to dwell in every heart. And now every believer is a temple! As the Apostle Paul has written, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16). What a marvelous thing this is. So this is why we as believers, even Jewish believers, must reject the Third Temple as unnecessary.

Now there will be a future Temple in the Millennial Kingdom. But it will be quite different. You can read about what it will be like in the book of Ezekiel (Ezek. 40-48). This Temple will reflect on what Christ has already done for us. Thus it will be a Temple of worship and praise to Christ (Read my book, The Coming Millennial Kingdom, where I write in detail about this Temple 8).

Though this coming Third Temple will have no meaning for believers, we know that it will be constructed, and all of the preparations for its construction is a sign and an encouragement for us that His coming is near.

Yes, we know from Scripture that there will be a Third Temple in place, with sacrifices and offerings at the mid-point of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27). We also know from Scripture that we (the church) will be raptured sometime before the Tribulation, since God has not destined the church for wrath (Jer. 30:7; 1 Thess. 5:9-10; Rev. 3:10). Therefore, as we now see the great progress of the Temple, with so many of the Temple vessels made, and the blueprints of the Temple made, and most everything ready to go, this should tell us that His coming is very near. And it should greatly excite us!

Yes, the more we see bible prophecy falling into place, and the more we see the Temple progress, and even the obstacles of progress being solved, and potentially solved, this should be great news to us, as we sense His soon coming. Moreover, this excitement should draw us closer to Him in holiness and purity.

 

8 Stephen Nielsen, The Coming Millennial Kingdom (published by Stephen Nielsen, 2017), pp. 43-48.

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Purpose and Goal of Building the Third Temple among the Jews

 

Since there are so many Jewish religious denominations and beliefs, the Jews in Israel are not at all in agreement on the purpose and goal of the Temple. We will take a look at four different Jewish denominations, beginning with the most traditional, to briefly examine how they view the rebuilding of the temple

 

Orthodox Judaism

Orthodox Judaism is the most traditional and contemporary branch of Judaism because it regards the Torah as literally revealed by God, and it advocates a strict observance of the Jewish Law.1  Not all of its branches, however, are conservative. The two groups that are perhaps the most well-known are what may be called Modern or Mainstream Orthodox Judaism, and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

In Mainstream Orthodox Judaism its scholars reject any attempt to build the Temple, mainly because they believe that it should be left to the coming Messiah to build it, so that it will be built correctly and on the exact location.2 Hence, their purpose and goal is to do nothing but to pray and wait for the Messiah.

Ultra-Orthodox Judaism is more conservative, and its members are said to be more reclusive.3 It is this small branch that has the belief that they already have the command from God to build the Temple (in Exodus 25:8). Hence, with this mandate they have formed several organizations to carry out this order. Two of the most well-known organizations are the Temple Institute and the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faith Movement. Each of these groups has the goal of building the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.

Since this relatively small group of Jews are the only ones that are excited about building the temple with its original requirements (including animal sacrifices), we will spend a little more time drawing out what its leaders believe about the Temple, or what they believe its purpose is.

Gershon Salomon, the director of the Temple Mount Faithful organization has said that the rebuilt Temple has a double role of redeeming both the people of Israel and the people of the entire world.4

Similarly, Rabbi Chaim Richman, the director of the Temple Institute has said,

There is a connection between the need for a new level of spiritual attainment and the rebuilding of the Temple: “The Shekinah is brought about only through the Temple.…In terms of our mission as a people, we cannot in any way reach our spiritual status without the Temple.” For Orthodox Jews committed to reestablishing the Temple, both the present problems of the world and the problems faced by the Jewish people will be solved only by rebuilding.5

Again, Rabbi Richman said that the Temple will be a “House of prayer for all nations.”6

So we see that this Ultra-Orthodox group of Jews, particularly in these two organizations (and other likeminded groups), have a very high purpose for the Temple. And its goal of building the temple on the Temple Mount and to reinstate animal sacrificial worship, aim to bring that purpose about.7

 

Other More Liberal Denominations of Judaism

I’m sure there are several Jewish denominations, each with interesting beliefs, but I will mention just two more. A group called Conservative Judaism wants a rebuilt temple, but not animal sacrifices. This I think is the belief of many Jewish groups. They would say that animal sacrifices is a thing of the past and that it is just too archaic and not at all needed.

Another group is called Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism. They are more liberal and more progressive in their faith; and because of the evolved nature of the faith they no longer see the need for a Temple or sacrifices.

 

The Antichrist

Now there is one more person that has a purpose and a goal for the Temple—the Antichrist. And the reason why I think it is necessary to mention him is because we know that half-way through the Tribulation he will order the end of sacrifices and offerings in the Temple (Dan. 9:27), and he basically steals it away from the Jews and makes it his own; for Scripture says that “he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thess. 2:4). And in Matthew’s gospel Jesus warns the Jews that on that day they should flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:16).

So we get the picture that it is at this time, on this day that the Antichrist will reveal himself as Antichrist and he will take the temple as his own, killing the Jews. The Third Temple, from this point on, will take on an entirely different purpose. It will be a Temple of evil—Satan’s Temple. Scripture doesn’t tell us what he plans to do in the Temple and with the Temple. But we can assume that either he will destroy it, it will be destroyed by an earthquake (or some other natural disaster), or it will be destroyed by Jesus when he returns at the end of the Tribulation. For when Christ sets up His Kingdom in the Millennium, He Himself  will build another greater Temple, which is described in great detail for us in the book of Ezekiel (Ezek. 40- 48).

 

1 Wikipedia, “Orthodox Judaism,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Judaism#p-search.

2 Wikipedia, “Third Temple,” at https://en.wikipdia.org/wiki/Third_Temple.

3 Wikipedia, “Orthodox Judaism.”

4 Dr. Randall Price, “Update On the Building of the Third Temple,” at https://www.jewishvoice.org/read/article/update-building-third-temple.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Wikipedia, “The Temple Institute,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Temple_Institute.

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Timeline for the Construction of the Third Temple

 

Recently I have been hard at work gathering information on the third Jewish temple: on how far along plans are, and what is the thinking as far as when construction will begin. I am doing this not just for this blog but for the book I am presently working on. Well sometimes when we get so bogged down in our study we need a point of reference—context. So this is what I have done here. It is a suggested five-point, chronological timeline of events leading to the building of the third temple. These point are not set in stone, but will help us to keep our mind straight as to how we think events will transpire.

 

1. Present temple interest is growing. Though most Jews in Israel are not very interested in the construction of a new temple, among those that are interested (about 35%), it seems that their interest is high and climbing.

2. The Rapture. Even though people all over the world are getting more and more excited about the temple, I really don’t think that construction will begin until after two major events transpire. The first of those events I think will be the Rapture of the church. Yes, I think this will be the next major world event, and nothing needs to happen before it. I hope you are ready.

3. The Ezekiel Invasion. Not long after the Rapture, it is my guess that this is when Russia and many Muslim countries will invade Israel, seeking to destroy her and take much plunder. But as we know, according to Scripture that is not what happens. Instead, God will destroy them and Israel will plunder them!

4.The rise of the Antichrist. After the Rapture and the Ezekiel invasion, the Antichrist will seek to take advantage of the tragic nature of these events. He will try to convince the world that the disappearances (both in the Rapture and in all that were killed in the Ezekiel war) will make the world better—more peaceful. He may even try to say that he had something to do with Israel’s victory.

Now, from the failed Ezekiel invasion until the signing of the peace covenant, there will be a duration of time of at least three and one-half years. This period of time, as I have indicated in the previous chapter, is necessary in order to allow for the seven years that it will take to burn the enemies’ weapons (Ezek. 39:9).

During this time (which may be longer than three and one-half years) the world will be desperately seeking answers, and leaders will be working feverishly to set up a global government and a new global religion. Moreover, at some point they will install a great man of peace over them—which will be the Antichrist. He will be the leader and prime mover in all things global. But at the same time he will be leading the effort to plan and build the third temple. Yes, he will have a great interest in the temple.

5. The Peace Covenant is signed and the construction of the temple begins. I suppose the building of the temple could begin before the signing of the covenant, but waiting until the peace covenant is signed makes good sense. It will be a package deal that will help to reinforce both the validity of the seven year covenant and the promise to finish the temple without Muslim interference.

 

 

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How the Ezekiel Invasion (Ezekiel 38-39) Sets the Stage for the Peace Covenant

  

Whether the invasion happens just before the Rapture or sometime after the Rapture, I think it will definitely set the stage for the signing of the peace covenant by the Antichrist. Here are three factors that will help to move it along:

 1. The position of the Antichrist. As I have written previously, since the Antichrist will probably reside in the E.U., he may be one of those who will question the invasion. This will put him in a good position after the failed invasion is over. He may, in fact, claim that he had something to do with the defeat of the invaders. This will, of course, set him up for being a hero and a peacemaker.

2. The scheming of the Antichrist. Whether the invasion is before or after the Rapture, it is probable that the Antichrist will scheme to take advantage of the situation—both of the failed invasion and of the disappearances of the Rapture.

In the case of the invasion being before the Rapture, here is what I see happening:

First, when the Muslims are wiped out in the invasion, I see that initially most people will look to God and praise Him; for they will see and know that He is the Lord (Ezek. 39:6-7). Now whether some people cling to those thoughts about Him and are converted at that time, it is uncertain. Certainly, in the end we know that one-third of the Jews will be saved and will go into the Millennium.

I take it that Ezekiel 39:21-29 is meant as a prophetical statement of what will soon happen to Israel and not necessarily something that will happen right then. Thomas Ice put it this way: “What was meant to result in the physical death of the nation of Israel by Gog is turned around by God in such a way that it will provide an opportunity for spiritual life for Israel (Ezek. 39:25–29).”11

Later, when the Rapture occurs and all Christians mysteriously disappear, many of those people who praised the Lord, and many others, may at that time begin to praise the Antichrist, particularly if he takes credit for the invasion and also gives a good explanation for the Christian disappearances.

In the case of the invasion being after the Rapture, here is what I see happening:

When the Christians disappear in the Rapture, the Muslim nations will see the Rapture as an ideal time to invade.

After the invasion is over and the Muslims and Russia are wiped out, the Antichrist will quickly take advantage of the situation. Since he will see both Christians and Muslims as a hindrance to his fake peace effort, he will see their absence as an ideal time to sign the peace covenant and to establish himself as a man of peace and world ruler.

3. The witness of the world. Not only will the world see the Antichrist as a hero and a peacemaker, they will also see how God has dealt with Israel (over the centuries until this time) and saved them from their enemies (Ezek. 39:21-29). Hence, even if many are fooled by the false peace of the Antichrist, what they will witness in God’s judgments on the Muslim nations will plant a seed of faith in many hearts as they see God glorified and sanctified in His work on behalf of His people Israel (Ezek. 21, 27). Therefore, it is my belief that God will work to bring salvation to many in the following days and months and years, and even in the Tribulation.

Now if we step back and look at the entire picture—and certainly at the five points that will lead to the peace covenant, as I have laid out earlier, I think we will see that this failed invasion, together with the Rapture, will strengthen the unity that Satan and the Antichrist will hope to achieve. Therefore, we will see that …

  • With the Antichrist proclaiming victory in the invasion and in the Rapture, people will admire even more the unity of the E.U.
  • People will see his great friendship with Israel.
  • Religious unity will be at an all-time high.
  • The Antichrist will appear to be more unified with the religious leaders (the harlot).
  • The Antichrist will be perceived as a very good man. This, of course, is the perfect set up for when, at the middle of the Tribulation, he will declare himself to be God.
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When Will the Ezekiel Invasion Occur? Narrowing the Possibilities

 

Okay, to narrow the possibilities down, I think the first thing to do is to look at all the bible references in Ezekiel 38 and 39 that would best influence those possibilities. Here is a list of those references and what they pertain to.

Ezekiel 38:2-6, 15. The nations will come out of the north (of Israel).

Ezekiel 38:3-4; 39:1-4. God is against Gog and He is the one who will bring the nations to war.

Ezekiel 38:8, 12; 39:27-28. Israel is restored from the sword and gathered from many nations.

Ezekiel 38:8-11. Israel is living securely in a land with unwalled villages.

Ezekiel 38:10-13. They will come to seize plunder.

Ezekiel 38:13. Some nations that will question the invasion.

Ezekiel 38:16, 23; 39:6-7, 21-29. God will be sanctified through it.

Ezekiel 38:19-23. God’s judgment on the nations: earthquake, infighting, pestilence, rain, hail, fire, and brimstone.

Ezekiel 39:4, 17-20. Birds and beasts will feed on the dead.

Ezekiel 39:12-16. It will take seven months to bury the dead.

Ezekiel 39:9. Israel will be burning he weapons for seven years.

 

Narrowing the Possibilities

 After studying these references, with an eye on the eight possible time periods (on the previous page), I deduced that there were four of the periods that I could eliminate right away. The first two were the non-literal view and the historical view. The non-literal view obviously must be eliminated because its originators would agree that the invasion has no time period. The historical view can also be easily proven false because the events of Esther 9 and Ezekiel 38 and 39 just don’t match up.

The other two questionable time periods would be the period between His Second Coming and the Millennium and the period at the end of the Millennium. In the period between His Second Coming and the Millennium, though Israel would definitely be at peace, the problem is that during this time period all the unbelievers will be dead and all wars will be over; Christ will be victorious over the world and the only humans left will be believers.

As for the period at the end of the Millennium, though Gog and Magog are mentioned (Rev. 20:8), I see three different problems: (1) the battle in Revelation 20:7-10 is by nations which are “in the four corners of the earth,” and not just in the north (Ezek. 38:2-6); (2) the nations here are gathered by Satan and not by God (Ezek. 38:3-4); and (3) there will be no time of seven years to burn the weapons, or seven months to bury the dead. In fact, there will be no need to do it; for immediately after this attempted takeover by Satan, God will bring His final judgment on  all unbelievers, and also upon the earth and the universe (2Pt. 3:10, 13; Rev. 21:1).

So we are left with four time periods: the time period before the Rapture; the period between the Rapture and the Tribulation; at the middle of the Tribulation; and at Armageddon. I have considered all of them, but again, I think we can eliminate two more periods.

The period at the middle of the Tribulation has some valid points, but I see one major problem. The events (according to various bible passages), don’t match up with what happens in the Ezekiel passage. For as we know, according to Daniel 9:27, in the middle of the Tribulation the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel. Then he will take his seat in the temple and declare himself as God (2 Thess. 2:4), and many Jews will flee out of Jerusalem and into the mountains for safety (Matt. 24:15-16). But I see the events in Ezekiel 38 and 39 entirely different. Here we see nothing of the Antichrist taking over Jerusalem. We see only Russia and Muslim countries north of Israel that are destroyed before they even get there.

As for the time period at Armageddon, many may be convinced of this choice because of the seemingly identical description of the judgments (the earthquake, rain, hail, fire, and brimstone, etc.), and also of the birds and beasts that will feed on the dead. But I really don’t see why God couldn’t bring the same judgments on both events.

Also, there are definitely two problems that will eliminate this choice: first, the nations involved in the Ezekiel battle are out of the north (of Israel), and the nations at Armageddon, recorded for us in Revelation 16:14, are from the “whole world”; secondly, Israel at this time is hardly living securely and at rest. Many have fled to the mountains, and most of the rest are either killed by the sword or captured (Matt. 24:9).

So we are left with two options for the invasion: before the Rapture or between the Rapture and the Tribulation. And I see no valid reason why it couldn’t be either one. There are no problems with either view.

In fact, these two views are the best views of the eight that leave enough time for the burning of the weapons. Let me explain.

After the invasion is over Israel will be burning the weapons of the dead troops for seven years (Ezek. 39:9). Since most of Israel will flee into the mountains at the midpoint of the Tribulation, it is most probable that they will have finished burning the weapons at that time. Therefore, from the beginning of the Tribulation to the midpoint, they will have been burning the weapons for three and one-half years; so they will still need three and one-half more years previous to that time to burn the weapons. And I see this as very possible and also close to the time of the Rapture.

Moreover, either view will nicely set the stage for the signing of the peace covenant.

Posted in After the rapture, Antichrist, Bible Passages on Prophecy, Ezekiel 38-39, Millennium, Prophecy Topics, Rapture, Second Coming, The Final Rebellion, The Tribulation, The World Turns Against Israel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Will the Ezekiel Invasion Occur? — Ezekiel 38 and 39

 

When this invasion occurred, or will occur, has befuddled even the brightest scholars. There are at least eight different possible time periods for this invasion, and even those who are advocating for one view aren’t one hundred per cent sure of it.

I will give here the eight possible time periods.

1. The non-literal view. Those who take this view of this passage (and of Scripture) have determined that the timing of this event (and all prophetical events) cannot be determined by us—or should be. They suggest that prophetical passages as this one were written only to teach us great truths about God and is not bound to any particular time period.

2. Historical View. It seems that the only possible historical time period for this invasion would occur about 473 B.C., in the days of Queen Esther. Only a few insist on this view, but, this view is quite problematic. Things just don’t match up.

3. Before the Rapture. This view obviously will cause us to pay attention to what’s going on in the news today, and is the view that was used by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in their best–selling novel Left Behind.

4. Between the Rapture and the Tribulation. This is the view that Thomas Ice says that he holds “at this time,” and it also seems to be the view of Ron Rhrodes. Thomas Ice has said—and I agree—that, “one of the strengths of this view is the way in which it could set the stage for the Biblical scenario of the Tribulation.”

5. At the middle of the Tribulation. Those who take this view probably argue that Israel will be “living securely” as a result of the peace covenant signed by the Antichrist at the beginning of the Tribulation and enforced by him all during the first half of the Tribulation.

6. At Armageddon. Many bible scholars take this view, including John MacArthur, mainly because many of the events (earthquake, hail, birds, etc.) in the Armageddon passage in Revelation (Rev. 16) seem to be identical.

7. Between the Second Coming and the Millennium. One of the main arguments of this view is that Israel would definitely be at peace and living securely.

8. At the end of the Millennium. The most significant strength of this view is that Gog and Magog are mentioned in the text of Revelation (Rev. 20:8).

In the next blog or two I will look at the Scriptural data and try to narrow the possibilities down.

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