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.”