The original temple of Solomon set the standard as the perfect prototype of what the Lord’s temple should be. The temple was totally destoyed in less than 500 years, as a result of the Israelites’ rebellion against God. After the Israelites were held captive in Babylon for 70 years, Zerubbabel led the chosen people in the rebuilding of the second temple. It was of much humbler constitution than the first temple, nonetheless it was the house of worship and place where the Israelites gathered in order to meet their God. It was modified and enhanced in the centuries that followed, the greatest additions occurred during the reign of King Herod the Great. Amazingly, just as Jesus Christ forecasted towards the beginning of the Olivet Discourse, the entire temple would once again be destoyed. The destuction of the second temple happened about 37 years after Christ’s resurrection in 70 A.D. The Roman Emperor Titus led in the annihilation of the second temple. Fast forwarding nearly two millenium, the Israelites are once again occupants of the Holy Land and have been there since 1948. They have been primarily a secular nation during the past 63 years but there is a great movement that is gathering momentum to erect a grandiose temple whereby they can once again worship God. As we focus on the tribulation period in the final week of the 70 weeks of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27), we observe in vs. 27 that …”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 desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (KJV) It is the antichrist who will cause the sacrifice to cease in the middle of the tribulation period. This passage of scripture obviously intimates that a temple will be in place where the sacrifices will be offered. Erecting a great edifice whereby God may be worshipped is still first and foremost in the Israelite spiritual mindset. The implications are very plain to see– IF WE CAN OBSERVE THE NATION OF ISRAEL AGGRESSIVELY PLANNING ON THE ERECTION OF THEIR THIRD TEMPLE, WE COULD BE AT THE THRESHOLD OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION PERIOD.
The New Temple and the Second Coming (2007) by Grant R. Jeffrey, hosts a plethora of information and possibilites describing the reinstitution of worship in the new temple.
There is a great error in popular opinion that the Islamic Dome of the Rock stands in the way of the building of the third temple. The new temple is to be built upon the foundation of the original temple of Solomon which is located due north of the Dome of the Rock, hence the Islamic structure is not a hindrance to the building of the temple in the least. There is already detailed planning for all of the needs in temple worship. The famous Sanhedrin has already been formed on January 20, 2005 and has convened together, and the positions of high priests and levites are in the planning phases as well. The Copper Scrolls (part of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and many other sources suggest possibilities of where the sacred instruments used in temple worship may be found. The ark of the covenant for instance, is alleged by some to be located in subterranean Jerusalem beneath the old temple. Others believe it is in Ethiopia and there are a myriad of detailed stories as to how it arrived there. Of course there is the probability that the ancient implements used in temple worship will simply be re-created. Other important vehicles which further lay the foundation for future temple worship are 1) recovering the recipe for the Oil of Anointing and 2) preparing for the Red-Heifer sacrifice. The very rare and unique Red-Heifers are currently being bred and raised. From the ancient days of Tabernacle worship until the destruction of the second temple in 70 AD, only nine sacrifices of the Red-Heifer are on record to have occurred! Jewish law and tradition indicates that the next sacrifice of the Red-Heifer is to occur when the Messiah comes. The Oil of Anointing was a formula given to Moses by the Lord. Since the recipe is well documented in ancient manuscripts, this too will be re-created and will come into usage when needed. The stage is set for the temple to be built in God’s perfect time. For a thoroughly detailed and comprehensive expose of the new temple please refer to the aforementioned book by Grant Jeffrey. These are indeed exciting days we live in! Pastor Steve