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Will God allow a third Jewish temple to be built?


View of the Dome of the Rock and Western Wall. Many believe the Muslim Dome of the Rock is built on the original site of the Jewish Temple destroyed in 70 AD. Credit: Boris G/Flickr/Creative Commons

A photo of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem that includes a view of the Muslim Dome of the Rock and Western Wall. Many believe the Dome sits on the original site of the Jewish Temple destroyed in 70 AD. Credit: Boris G/Flickr/Creative Commons

Many orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians are looking forward to the day when Jews build a third temple in Jerusalem, replacing the one destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD during the Bar Kokhba Jewish revolt.

Both groups believe its construction would fulfill Biblical prophecy.

And recent events in Jerusalem added to the excitement. According to Breaking Israel News (BIN), the Jewish Sanhedrin reenacted the Jewish Passover on Thursday, April 5, 2017 near the site of the original Jewish Temple.

This was the fifteenth year that they held the Passover in Jerusalem that included building an altar and the actual sacrifice of a lamb using Jewish Priests.

According to BIN, this year’s Passover was held closer to the Temple’s location than it had been in earlier years.  In order to accommodate a sacrifice this close to the Temple Mount, the Sanhedrin used the courts to get police protection.

Jewish priests performed the sacrifice with instruments, utensils and clothing provided by the Temple Institute an organization dedicated to rebuilding the Jewish Temple.

Attendance at the Passover has grown each year. This year, the group responsible wanted to hold the Passover ceremony at the Davidson Center just across from the Temple Mount. However, fearing Muslim violence, the police refused to issue a permit.

Though they moved the Passover celebration to the Jewish quarter, it was still the closest they have been to celebrating it on Jewish Mount, where it was traditionally held.

Some in Israel’s Liberal media attacked this year’s event as a purposeful intent to provoke the Muslims. However, Rabbi Wenzel stated the Passover is the most important ceremony on the Jewish calendar traditionally held at the Temple and Jews have the right to celebrate it.

The biggest hindrance to building a temple is the Muslim Dome of the Rock that most believe sits on the temple’s original location. Since the Dome wasn’t completed until 692 AD, why didn’t the Jews rebuild the Temple before this?

In fact, there was an attempt.

In 363 AD, Roman Emperor Julian ordered construction of the Jewish Temple and was even willing to pay for it from government coffers.

Though construction actually started on the new Temple, it was never completed. According to Wikipedia, a friend of the Emperor described what happened this way:

Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work, and was seconded by the governor of the province, when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorchings, could approach no more: and he gave up the attempt. — Ammianus Marcellinus

It is uncertain what he was trying to say, but it suggests fires broke out at the site stopping the work. It is uncertain what the source of the fire was.

Others write that the earthquake that hit Galilee that same year destroyed what had been rebuilt ending any thoughts of constructing a third Temple.

Christian historians of the day described the stoppage as Divine intervention.

The Gospel writers stated that Jesus prophesied the destruction in the Temple a few times during His ministry.

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. (John 2:19-21 NASV)

Not only was God going to destroy the Temple, but according to the Apostle John God would replace it with Christ’s body, the Church.

Yet there seems to be references to a temple in the book of Ezekiel that describes a building that fits neither Solomon’s temple or Herod’s temple, suggesting a third temple (Ezekiel 40).

The Book of Revelation also mentions a Temple (Revelation 11:1-2). Though some Christians suggest these passages imply the Jews will build a third Temple, others believe they refer to a spiritual building — the Church (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Sources:

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