The indications are that they will. Although there have been feeble attempts to build a new Temple ever since the destruction of the Second Temple of God by the Roman army in 70 AD, none have been successful—to date!
Some historical and contemporary background will shed light on the ongoing desire of Jews to once again establish a Temple in Jerusalem, which would include daily animal sacrifices in accordance with Old Testament guidelines, which are clearly revealed to commence soon in Jerusalem, before they are suppressed again by an invading power (compare Daniel 12:11).
Jerusalem itself has become a focal point of international concern, and the Temple Mount is considered the most contested religious site on earth. For centuries, various factions have challenged control of this area. Up until the Six Day War in 1967, Jews didn’t even have access to the area called the Temple Mount.
Considered to be the site of Solomon’s Temple as well as that of the Second Temple, the area is now occupied by the Dome of the Rock (built in 691 AD) and the Al Aqsa Mosque (built in 720 AD)—both of which are considered sacred to Muslims.
As never before, there is a rising sentiment advocating the building of another Temple in Jerusalem—both from Jews and Christians, whose views are generally considered extremist by most of the political leadership in Israel. Nonetheless, the movement is gaining support.
The complexities that surround this small parcel of land are staggering!
Although Jerusalem is under Israel’s political control, Muslims hold religious sovereignty over the Temple Mount. However, many religious Jews feel that Jews must be allowed to worship on the Temple Mount. At the present time, the chief Rabbinate of Israel forbids access to the Temple Mount by Jews, because the area once occupied by the Holy of Holies is believed to be there (although the exact location is unknown). No one, according to their reasoning, should therefore enter this area—hearkening back to the Biblical prohibitions established by God about anyone other than the High Priest being allowed access to this area–and that only once a year (compare Leviticus 16:1-2, 34; Exodus 30:10).
Today, there are numerous and varied individuals and organizations taking steps to bring about a new Temple in Jerusalem. While this cannot be deemed a unified effort because of the conflicting views underlying these endeavors, the net effect is giving rise to a movement with the common goal to reestablish a Temple along with sacrifices and formal Temple worship. Here are some highlights:
*SANHEDRIN: Although there have been several attempts to establish this traditional Jewish judicial and religious council (composed of 71 Jewish sages), recent developments seem more focused. This proposed council is considered a work in progress, and the new Sanhedrin will have significant influence if it regains its former role in Jewish life. This is pivotal, for this body was the one that appointed the High Priest during the administration of the Second Temple.
In addition, the genealogy of Levites has been preserved, and lists of living Levites exist who would be qualified to serve in that capacity at the Temple.
*PREPARATIONS: Education about Temple service has been established in Israel. This includes rabbinic schools dedicated to researching and developing the necessary training for service in the Temple. The thought among those engaged in this endeavor is that they must be prepared for what they consider to be a certainty—the rebuilding of the Temple! In addition, contributions and gold have been received from national and international sponsors for the building of the Temple, and replica of certain furnishings and utensils for the Temple have already been prepared–following the descriptions of the Old Testament Tabernacle in the Wilderness and Solomon’s Temple. The replica of those vessels and vestments include, among many other items, the golden lampstand, the table of showbread, the altar of incense, the ark of the covenant, and the crown and ephod for the High Priest
*RELIGION: Most of the descendants of Judah have rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah—both in His day and until this time. They expect a Messiah who will restore Israel and fight against their enemies. As a part of this expectation, devout Jews anticipate that a Temple will be in existence when their Messiah intervenes on behalf of Israel. This concept is proving to be a driving force among the more fervent holding to the faith of traditional Judaism.
*ENEMIES: At the present time, the Muslim Council, Wakf, a Vatican-like organization that rules holy places on the Temple Mount, rejects the claims of Jews that there ever was a Temple of God—neither that of Solomon or the Second Temple! Some Israelis believe that the Wakf Islamic trust is systematically destroying archeological evidence that would prove this existence. The Jewish holy site called the “Wailing Wall” is attributed to the Second Temple as a part of its original foundation. Constant danger and even bloodshed serve to accentuate the epic struggle between Jews and Muslims on the Temple Mount. The more extreme Jews are committed to driving out those they believe are desecrating the site of the Temple, and in addition, they are committed to building a new Temple.
*CHRISTIANS: Great fervor among evangelical Christians for a new Temple has added support—if not confusion—to the prospect of what might be in store for the Temple Mount! Numerous Christian publications, sermons and personal contacts promote the idea, which appears to be Biblically accurate, that another Temple is prophesied in both the Old and New Testament. This fervent attention does add weight to the international support that Israel enjoys, and, even more, it fuels the idea that the Israelis will soon begin to build on the Temple Mount.
While only rudimentary evidence of the former structures remains on the Temple Mount, the Bible has detailed documentation of the plans for both the historic Temples and that of a future Temple, which will exist in the Millennium. The Tabernacle in the Wilderness is described in great detail; Solomon’s work in building the Temple of God in Jerusalem provides extensive descriptions; and, the very intriguing “building plans” presented, beginning in Ezekiel 40, have inspired some to believe that they can effectively reconstruct the Temple prior to Christ’s Return.
For reasons that may well transcend the troubles of the moment that are confronting the tiny nation of Israel, world attention will focus on Jerusalem!
“‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it’” (Zechariah 12:2-3).
The Word of God reveals that in the approaching time described as the end of this age, another powerful religious presence will be established in Jerusalem—and IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD! (Please refer to the Editorial by Norbert Link in this Update (#317), titled, “A Temple In Jerusalem?”).
While many Christians understand that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah and that He is prophesied to return to this earth, the House of Judah does not!
Yet, for all of this, God will send Jesus Christ to save Judah; and the House of Israel; and a world on the verge of self-destruction!
When Christ returns (Compare Zechariah 14:4), He will go to a very specific place once He is on this earth (Compare Ezekiel 43:1-7). Then will be the ultimate fulfillment of Malachi 3:1: “‘And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple.’” Although this passage speaks primarily of Christ’s spiritual Temple–His true Church (compare 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16)–it might also refer to an existing literal Temple in Jerusalem.
Lead Writers: Dave Harris and Norbert Link