by John R Ecob DD
There is increased desire among Jews to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount. After the 1967 six-day war the Muslims were given control of the Temple Mount on condition that the Jews could have free access to it and be allowed to prayer without any being harassed. The Jordanian Waqf which manages the Mount through a Muslim Trust has not kept the conditions and when a Jew is seen praying in the Temple Mount precincts the police remove him for fear of a Muslim riot.
In September 2000, the presence of Jews on the plaza was so controversial that a brief tour by Israeli politician Ariel Sharon helped trigger a Palestinian uprising (Intifada) that lasted more than four years. Yet more and more Jews are risking arrest to pray on the Temple Mount.
There have been eight groups identified that are planning to rebuild the Temple and the Temple Institute has already made many of the instruments, furniture, and priestly garments that will be required. The priesthood is being identified by DNA methods and since 1998 the holy half shekel has been minted and sold to provide funds for Temple maintenance.
In 2004 the Sanhedrin was re-established after it was dissolved at Tiberius in AD358.
Each year the ‘Temple Faithful’ organization has taken a foundation stone to the Temple Mount to symbolically indicate that they will rebuild as soon as possible.
Some attribute this fervor to fanaticism on the part of a small number of orthodox Jews but interest is growing and we must ask whether this interest is an indication that the Temple will be rebuilt in the last days. If it does then the present movement may well be the beginning of preparations for the fulfillment of prophecy and that the coming of the Lord is very near.
There are seven Temples mentioned in Scripture. They are:
- Solomon’s Temple usually called, The first Temple which was completed about 950BC
- The Second Temple was completed in 516BC by Zerubabbel after the Babylonian It was refurbished by Herod the Great and his sons beginning about 20 BC.
- The future Tribulation Temple will be built in the first half of the Tribulation.
- The future Millennial Temple will be built after the Lord returns to reign.
- The Church of Jesus Christ is described as “an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye are builded for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22) and each believer is “a living stone” in a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).
- The body of every believer is called “the temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
- Finally, there is a “Temple of the tabernacle of testimony” in heaven which is where the throne of God is now This is what Moses saw on Mt. Sinai and was the pattern used for construction of the Tabernacle and the First Temple on earth (Revelation 15:5).
For nearly 2,000 years there has been no Temple at Jerusalem and the larger sections of Christendom have accepted the lie of replacement theology which teaches that God has finished with Israel and replaced it forever with the Church. This was NOT the view of the early Church.
Irenaeus lived AD120 to 202 about 100 years after the Jewish Temple had been destroyed by the Romans. Irenaeus was a personal disciple of Polycarp who in turn was a personal disciple of the Apostle John. One would expect that Irenaeus might know how John interpreted the Book of Revelation; whether he believed the Temple would be rebuilt. Irenaeus wrote in his “Against Heresys”. “But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that “many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
The Temple had not existed for 100 years when Irenaeus wrote his book so he obviously believed the Temple would be rebuilt in the Tribulation: He specifically refers to the Temple as “the Temple at Jerusalem”.
Bible prophecies indicate that a third Temple will be built in the first half of the seven-year Tribulation before Christ returns. Daniel made this clear when he foretold that the Jews would offer sacrifices and that Antichrist would cause them to cease half-way through the last 7 years.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (seven): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Daniel 9:27).
If Antichrist is able to cause Jewish sacrifices to cease in the Temple “in the midst of the week” then the Temple must be rebuilt in the first half of the Tribulation.
Jesus referred to Daniel’s prophecy in the Olivet Discourse when He said:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).
For Antichrist to place his idol in the “holy place” there must be a “holy place” or Temple building standing. Jesus foretold the destruction of the Temple which occurred in AD70 and He made it clear that a FUTURE Antichrist would occupy the Temple in “the end of the age”.
Paul confirmed that there would be a Temple at Jerusalem when Antichrist reigned during the Tribulation also called, “the day of the Lord”:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away (the departure) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Antichrist is to reign during the 42 months of the second half of Daniel’s 70th week so there must be a Temple existing at Jerusalem at that time.
Again Daniel wrote of Antichrist occupying the Holy Mount in Daniel chapter 11 and verse 45.
He shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him (Daniel 11:45).
In chapter 12, Daniel indicates that Antichrist will defile the sanctuary for “a time, times, and an half a time” i.e. 3.5 years before he comes to his end at the return of Christ (Daniel 12:7).
In the Book of the Revelation John described the seven-year Tribulation in chapters 6 to 18 and during the first half there will be two special Jewish prophets at Jerusalem who prophesy for 1,260 days before Antichrist is able to slay them at Jerusalem. After 3.5 days both prophets will be raised up and ascend to heaven in the sight of all the people. These prophets will be ministering at the Temple for John is told to:
Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months (Revelation 11:1-2).
John could not measure the Temple if it was not constructed or being constructed. The outer court is not measured because it is given to the Gentiles who will occupy it until the end.
The Dome of the Rock was built 100 metres south of the Temple site on the Temple Mount in AD 691 and the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the south end was added later in memory of the Muslim Caliph, Omar, who captured Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire in AD637. These will continue to operate beside the Tribulation Temple until Christ returns.
From all of the above Scriptures it is abundantly clear that there will be a Temple built on the Temple Mount in the first half of the seven-year Tribulation and that the Jews will offer sacrifices until the mid-point when Antichrist will reveal his demonic character and place his idol image in the Temple causing the sacrifices to cease.
In view of these Scriptures we are not surprised that the Jews are pressing for permission to rebuild and, as a first move, are going onto the Temple Mount in increasing numbers to pray. It is rumoured that they already have the Temple prefabricated ready for erection.
How long would it take to build? Having spent my whole life in the construction industry I can confidently say, no more than 8 months. I built a church of similar size in 10 months and the average age of my voluntary helpers was 71 years! The Jews would do better.
When Christ returns Antichrist will be judged, the Temple sanctified, and a new glorious Temple will be erected and operated to specifications given in Ezekiel chapters 40 to 46. There will be an earthquake that will change the topography around Jerusalem and the mosques will disappear.
Though the Jews do not realize it, the movement to rebuild the Temple fits perfectly with the prophetic Scriptures and prepares the way for the events of the Tribulation.