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If you want to be a Temple priest in Israel, make sure you weren’t born in a hospital


The Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem seen from the Mount of Olives. Photo: Boris G./Flickr/Creative Commons

The Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem seen from the Mount of Olives. Photo: Boris G./Flickr/Creative Commons

Jerusalem’s Temple Institute has just announced it is accepting applications for priests to serve in a yet to be built Jewish Temple.

The Institute, which started in 1987, is dedicated to seeing a third temple built in Jerusalem replacing the Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Over the years, it has completed a number of items in preparation for this third Temple. This includes constructing 70 pieces of temple furniture part of which one is a massive altar, that can be taken apart and moved to the Temple once it is constructed.

Walking up the ramp of the Temple Institute's Altar of the Lord. Photo Temple Institute

Walking up the ramp of the Temple Institute’s Altar of the Lord. Photo Temple Institute

Everything was meticulously prepared according to Biblical instructions.  They have also ordered the architectural drawings for a third temple. This is a tricky task because it must meet Biblical specifications as well as modern building practices.

The Institute is even creating a herd of red cattle using imported embryos from red Angus beef in America. An unblemished red heifer is necessary for some of the Temple sacrifices.

Recently the Temple Institute announced it is now accepting applications for positions of Temple priests.

When you fill out the application form you will be asked routine questions such as are you a descendant of Israel’s first high priest — Aaron? Basically a person has to be of the tribe of Levi to be a priest (Exodus 28:1).

But there will be some odd questions as well such as:

  1. What country were you born in?
  2. Were you born in a hospital?
  3. Have you ever visited a cemetery?
  4. Have you ever visited a hospital (either for yourself or to see a friend or relative)?

For the first question, they are requiring applicants be born in Israel that was miraculously restored in 1948.

But the next three questions deal with an odd problem that they have to solve. For anyone wanting to serve in the temple they must be ritually pure, and this includes having not come in contact with a dead person.

They are presuming if a person had visited a hospital or were even born in a hospital, they were in contact with someone or something that touched a dead body, making them unclean.

Anyone wanting to visit or work in the temple had to go through a ritual cleansing bath — mikveh — that they could do themselves. This removed most uncleanness.

However, it did not remove any uncleanness associated with coming in contact with a dead body.

When that happened, the person (including priests and temple workers) needed a priest to sprinkle them with water mixed with the ashes of a red heifer to be ritually purified before they could enter the Temple.

Since there hasn’t been any priests for a couple thousand years, there is no one to do this ceremony.

So to solve this problem, the Institute will require the first batch of priests not to have been around any dead people. Once confirmed, these priests can then perform the ritual cleansing for any new recruits.

After they have sorted through the applicants and verified they have fulfilled the necessary requirements, the Institute will send the selected trainees to a special school set up three years ago to train priests.

The biggest hindrance to rebuilding the Temple is that it is generally believed the Muslim Dome of the Rock sits on the site of the old Temple. Any attempts to remove this Dome would result in war.

However, there is growing Biblical and archaeological evidence  that the original Jewish Temple may have actually been constructed on the Temple Mount 600 feet south of the Dome where there is still room to build.

The wailing wall, which is traditionally believed to have been the outer wall of the Temple, may actually be the wall of the Roman garrison, Fort Antonia, that once stood in the area.

Temple2MountMapopenthewordGettyImages

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2 Comments

  1. Steve in Tampa says

    I RESPECT their efforts and their faith. I also EXPECT that they might as well put a big bulls-eye on the dome and the artifacts to be contained. You
    have to realize what a prize target that will become.

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