Three Third Temple Obstacles

 

In the previous two blog we talked about the obstacles presented by the Muslims, the unbelievers, and the question of who will build the Temple. Here are three more obstacles.

 

Knowing the exact location for the Temple

It is a well-known fact that when the Third Temple is built the Holy of Holies must be located on exactly the same spot as the Holy of Holies in the previous two temples. But there is a real uncertainty as to where that location is; and this is why most Orthodox scholars are backing away from building the Temple. They just don’t want to get it wrong and pay the consequence for it. They would rather wait for the Messiah to come and build the Temple.

As it stands now there are four possible locations for where the last Temples stood: 1) exactly under the Dome of the Rock, 2) just north of the Dome of the Rock, 3) about 200 meters south of it, and 4) somewhere between the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.32

But that doesn’t give us much help. As I see it, there is only one way to know for sure where this location is. They must excavate. Of course the Muslims will never allow it. But somehow, I think, one way or another, this is what they will end up doing.

 

Finding a red heifer

The ashes of a red heifer was commanded by God and used to purify the Jewish priests for Temple service during the time of the Tabernacle and the two former Temples (Nu. 19:1-10). However, since the destruction of the second Temple, there has not been a red heifer in Israel.

But recently, since hope has been revived for a Third Temple, the need for a red heifer is paramount for the spiritual cleansing of priests who will be serving in the Temple. Thanks to Jewish ingenuity there is great hope for the breeding of red heifers. According to an article in the Jewish Voice, Rabbi Richman has been heading up a project to restore the red heifer. He and other rabbis have been partnering with an Israeli cattleman and are using a technique of implanting frozen embryos of Red Angus cattle into Israeli domestic cattle.33 As far as we know, it seems to be working—but time will tell.

 

Finding the Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant has been missing for so long—since about 590 B.C., when the Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s Temple. As I have already written, Rabbi Shlomo Gordon claims to have found the Ark, but there has been no attempt to retrieve it because of the Muslims.

Apparently, since the Second Temple lacked the Ark, it is not absolutely necessary to obtain it; however, the Jews of the Temple Institute are hopeful in finding it; and if it is not found they will regard it as a great obstacle to the world’s spirituality.

My guess is that, if it is really where Rabbi Gordon says it is, it will most likely be retrieved by the authority of the Antichrist just before the Temple is put in service. I can imagine all the rejoicing to see this long lost vessel.

32 Wikipedia, “Third Temple.”

33 Dr. Randall Price, “Update On the Building of the Third Temple.”

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Third Temple Obstacles: Unbelievers

 

In addition to the Muslims and their dome structures on the Temple Mount, here are two more obstacles that are preventing the construction of the Third Temple.

 

Third Temple Unbelievers

In some respects, an even greater obstacle than Muslims are Third Temple unbelievers—those who have no desire for the Temple and don’t believe that a Temple is necessary. Generally speaking, we can probably divide Temple unbelievers into two groups: secular Jews and religious or spiritualized Jews. According to more Orthodox leaders, the secular Jew is not living on a spiritual level and he blames it on the absence of “the Shekinah,” which of course would be remedied by the Temple.

The religious Jew has another problem. He is over-spiritual, and he tends to spiritualize everything. So he has no hope or need for a Temple. In fact, he is just fine with everything the way it is, Muslims and all.

Another way to look at it is by religious denominations. Those who call themselves Conservative Jews generally believe in a rebuilt Temple but are not in favor of the restoration of animal sacrifices.

Another more liberal group, Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, do not believe in the rebuilding of a Temple or in the restoration of animal sacrifices.

So presently it seems that this widespread Jewish Temple unbelief is a great obstacle. And I’m sure it tends to be discouraging to those who are so dedicated to the Third Temple construction. But from what I have read, it seems that they have hope that once the Temple is beginning to be constructed, and especially when the Ark to the Covenant is found—and it is seen by everyone in all its glory!—many of those unbelievers will start to believe. That is the hope.

 

The Question of Who Will Build the Temple

Among the Jewish Orthodox Third Temple believers there is a huge divide. Most of them believe that the rebuilding of the Temple should be left to the coming Jewish Messiah. Only a small minority believes that they can build it now before He comes.29

I’m not sure if there is an agreement on why the mainstream wants to wait for the Messiah to build the Temple, but it seems to me that they fear making any mistakes in building it, and also in building it in the wrong place. Apparently, they don’t feel that they have the same prophetic guidance as the Old Testament prophets gave to the builders of the second Temple—and I’m sure they are right.

However, this minority group, mainly consisting of the dedicated Jews of The Temple Institute and The Temple Mount Faithful Movement, don’t seem to be dissuaded in the least by the majority’s beliefs—or fears.  I’m sure they don’t even consider them an obstacle. For their beliefs are strong and backed by Scripture.

Indeed, they believe that they already have the command of God to build the Temple—“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8, KJV). According to this command, and according to the Temple Institute’s Statement of Principle, it is their goal, “firstly, to restore Temple consciousness and reactivate these ‘forgotten’ commandments.”30

Moreover, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the founder and head of The Temple Institute, has said in his writings that…

Every generation is obligated to do all within its power towards rebuilding the Holy Temple… G-d does not intend for us to wait for a day of miracles. We are expected to act. We must accomplish that with which we have been charged: to do all in our power to prepare for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, and the renewal of the divine service.31

 

29 Wikipedia, “The Temple Institute.”

30 “The Temple Institute.”

31 Ibid.

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Third Temple Obstacles: The Muslims

 

Though there has been great progress with the Temple and its vessels in the last few decades, there are still many obstacles that need to be solved or overcome before the Temple can be completed and before Temple worship can be resumed. In the next three post we will  consider six Third Temple obstacles. In this post we will focus on the Muslims.

By far the greatest obstacle in constructing the Third Temple is the Muslims. And the most visible indication of this is the fact that there are two historic Muslim domes, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, sitting on top of the Temple Mount, the very place where the Third Temple must be built. So how will the Jews remedy this? Here are three possibilities:

  • Those Islamic structures will be destroyed in God’s time by an act of God: an earthquake, or a tornado, etc.
  • The structures will be destroyed by war. Though the Ezekiel war (Ezek. 38-39) does not mention the structures, I think that this would be an opportune time for the Jews to destroy them. In fact, the costly materials of the domes may be part of the plunder mentioned in Ezekiel 39:10.
  • The present situation will be remedied by some political action. Who can say what this might be, but there are those who suggest that a great leader, likely the Antichrist will come up with a solution that all will agree on.

In the meantime, before something is done with the Muslim Domes, the Jews must put up with both the Israeli police and the Muslim authorities who are constantly guarding the Temple Mount. For all Jews are banned from praying on the site; and if they wish to visit the site they are only allowed to enter through one gate; and any religious items such as prayer books are not allowed.

In addition, any talk of the reconstruction of the Temple, as one source said, “Sends the Muslim world into a frenzy.”28  In fact, history shows us that Muslims are quite willing to start riots over the slightest infraction of their rules. What can be done?  So far the Israeli police are trying to keep the peace, but are doing nothing for the Jewish side—to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. We will just have to wait and see what happens next.

28 Stewart Weiss, “In Plain Language: Talking temple,” at https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/In-Plain-Language-Talking-temple-497633.

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Progress of the Third Temple — Part Two

 

In my last blog post on this subject we covered the administration aspects of the Temple. In this post we will talk about the progress of the Temple itself: the building, the vessels, and the ministry.

 

Planning the Temple Structure

In my research I was not able to find anything complete, but, apparently, as one source wrote, there is somewhere stored away…

a complete and highly detailed architectural plan which has been prepared for the immediate construction of the Holy Temple. The plan includes all of components that will be used in building: marble, stone, concrete, wood, flooring materials, overlay of gold, etc.16

This detailed plan apparently was made according to both former temples. There is an on-line 3D animation of the Temple sanctuary, however, it looks rather bland. But, according to the video description, “[The plan] includes room for further innovation by professionals and craftsmen, including decoration…”17  I imagine it will really be something!

 

The Temple Vessels and Garments

As for the vessels, according to Rabbi Chaim Richman, Director of the Temple Institute, all of the vessels that are necessary for the function of the Temple have already been produced,18  which, according to another source, is “many of the over ninety ritual items.”19

Some of the most prominent vessels are presently displayed behind glass in the Temple Institute Museum in the Old City of Jerusalem. In an on-line video called, Welcome to the Temple Institute, it mentioned five of these vessels: The golden Menorah, the Table of Showbread, the Incense Altar, the Silver Trumpets, and harps and lyres.20

Of course the most important article in the Temple that everyone is wondering about is the Ark of the Covenant. I don’t know if they would ever consider remaking it, since it is such a sacred vessel; but perhaps they won’t have to if they can find the original Ark. That is the hope. There are many speculations as to what happened to it or where it is. But it seems that the most believable theory that those of the Temple Institute are now holding is that it is hidden under the Temple Mount.

As the story goes, when Solomon built the first Temple he built a vast system of  chambers and corridors underneath the Temple Mount complex where the Ark could be hidden in case of impending danger. So apparently, they say that it is hidden there, and they also claim that they know exactly where it is.21 In fact, according to another source,

 

In the summer of 1983, Goren [Rabbi Shlomo Gordon, The Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces] and several other rabbis joined Rabbi Yehuda Getz, who worked for the Religious Affairs Ministry at the Western Wall, in touring a chamber underneath the mount that Getz had excavated, where the two claimed to have seen the Ark of the Covenant. The tunnel was shortly discovered and resulted in a massive brawl between young Jews and Arabs in the area. The tunnel was quickly sealed with concrete by Israeli police.[3] The sealed entrance can be seen from the Western Wall Tunnel, which opened to the public in 1996.22

 

What a story! And if it is true, then apparently they are now planning to use this very ancient Ark in the Third Temple. We will have to wait and see what happens next—how they will retrieve it.

As for the garments, the priests’ garments have already been made, as well as the uniforms for the High Priest, his ephod, the breast plate, and his crown. These items are on display for all to see in the Temple Institute Museum.

One interesting bit of information  is the recent discovery of how biblical crimson dye has been made for the production of the High Priest’s garments and also to make the huge curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the; Holy Place in the Temple. According to an article I found, “Professor Zohar Amar of Bar Ilan University discovered that the eggs of the tola’at shani (crimson worm) found in modern Israel would produce the crimson dye.”23

 

Animal Sacrifices and the Training of Priests

Some think that God has moved the Jews away from animal sacrifices and toward prayer as a higher form of worship.24 However, most Orthodox Jews believe that all animal sacrifices (as were originally ordered) should be resumed in the Third Temple. In fact, in the Jewish Amidah (prayer three times a day), prayer is offered to resume sacrifices.25

But in order to be ready for this type of worship, Jewish priests must be chosen and trained. The first step is to select only qualified priests who are descendants of the High Priest Aaron. Apparently this is already being done through DNA testing as well as through tracing their lineage through family trees.26

And the training is also being done. The Temple Institute has a school that is training the priest. And the Temple Movement is also training qualified priests, in which they hold reenactment Temple ceremonies.27

 

Notes

16 YouTube, “The Third Holy Temple Plans Have Begun,” from a written video description by The Temple Institute, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2IkxmwkayM.

17 Ibid.

18 Dr. Randall Price, “Update On the Building of the Third Temple.”

19 Wikipedia, “The Temple Institute.”

20 YouTube, “Welcome to the Temple Institute.”

21 “The Temple Institute,” at https://www.templeinstitute.org/main.htm.

22 Wikipedia, “Third Temple.”

23 Dr. Randall Price, “Update On the Building of the Third Temple.”

24 Wikipedia, “Third Temple.”

25 Ibid.

26 The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project, “Third Temple School Trains Jewish Priests for Service,” at https://free.messianicbible.com/news/school-jewish-priests-prepares-third-temple-service/.

27 Dr. Randall Price, “Update On the Building of the Third Temple.”

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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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