“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.” (Malachi 4:5)
The world is suddenly awash with talk of rebuilding the Jewish Temple. This is one of the last pieces of the jigsaw that yet needs to fall into place. It is another significant indication that we are right at the gates of the Tribulation period itself.
The second Temple of Jesus time was constructed over a period of thirty to forty years. If the Temple were to be constructed today it would be built in a fraction of that time. The Temple Institute in Israel have already made many of the sacred artifacts needed for use in the Temple itself.
The Temple Institute have prefabricated large sections of the Temple structure, as well as drawn up comprehensive and complete architectural plans, so that when the right time comes these pre-made sections can simply be taken to the site and built into the superstructure of the Temple itself. It is even possible to visit their website and view an in-depth three dimensional computer tour of what the newly built Temple will look like after its completion.
Other crucial pieces of the Temple, much more difficult to construct than the building itself, have also been completed and are now ready for use. Based in the Old City area of Jerusalem, the Temple Institute have concluded the reconstruction of the sacred Temple alter, to the specific and exacting standards prescribed in the Pentateuch. This absolutely essential piece of the jigsaw means that the Jewish nation now have the holy alter necessary to once again begin offering sacrifices. It is the alter itself which would make the sacrifices offered on it holy before God. Aside from the Holy of Holies, it is the lynchpin of the entire Temple. It is now ready for use.
It should not be underestimated how significant this development is. Building this alter has been quite an undertaking; approximately 5 meters (16 feet) tall and 16 meters (52.5 feet) wide, with four “horns” or raised corners, and a ramp. It is unique. Nothing like this alter has been seen on this earth in two thousand years.
To complete the preparations, the Temple Institute have also made all the priestly garments necessary for a priesthood to minister on this alter. Even going so far as to train priestly families in the conduct and expectations of a Priest who ministers inside a newly built Temple.
Passover sacrifices have been reenacted and practiced so that the mechanics of the process are understood and more closely adhere to the standards laid out by the Law of Moses. They have, in effect, carried out historically accurate trial runs in preparation for the real thing.
Understanding this process is in itself is also no small undertaking. The roots of the sacrifice are found in the Book of Exodus. Ahead of the last of the 10 plagues on Egypt, the death of the firstborns, God tells Moses to speak to the people of Israel and instruct each household to obtain a lamb on the 10th of Nisan. The lambs should be kept until the 14th, when the people of Israel should slaughter them at dusk. Later, they should take its blood and put it on their doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they are eating. The fire-roasted lambs flesh should then all be consumed that night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. This process has now been practiced a number of times.
Pure olive oil fit for use in the Menorah of the Temple has been produced in the last few months, the only time this has happened since the fall of the Second Temple. The production of four and a half litres of the precious olive oil this year was an extremely complex process due to the necessity of keeping it pure according to Jewish law. In addition, ceramic flasks to hold the oil also had to be made to conform to the standards of religious purity required for use in the Temple itself. The production of the olive oil required precise knowledge of an extremely specialized and complex area of Jewish law.
Oil of this quality has not been produced since the beginning of the diaspora of the Jews in 70AD. Literally nothing like this has been seen in Israel for two millennia.
The Temple Institute is well advanced in its efforts to produce a Red Heifer of such purity that it satisfies the exacting standards set forth in the book of Leviticus as being suitable to purify and re-dedicate the Temple itself, thus making it fit for worship and sacrifice once again.
A perfect Red Heifer or para aduma, a three-year-old female cow with totally red hair that is supposed to be able to restore a state of purity after ritual slaughter is exceptionally rare. Indeed, so rare are perfect Red Heifers that none have been seen for over two thousand years. They just have not been born. Jewish sages and Rabbis through the ages believed that perfect Red Heifers being born is itself a signal from God that the rebuilding of the Temple should begin in earnest.
Red Heifers are being born right now in 2015-16, and many believe they will meet the exacting standards of perfection set out by the Pentateuch. Rabbis within Israel therefore believe that the rebuilding of the Third Temple is an imminent event.
The Temple will ultimately be rebuilt in Jerusalem as it is crucial to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Beginning with Daniel, who had a vision of the Temple in Daniel 9:27, Jesus himself echoed Daniels warning about an abomination standing in the holy place in the last days in Matthew 24:15. Paul also mentioned it in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. The Temple Institute are making this future biblical prophecy a close approaching reality through their work and dedication.
The only thing that seems to be needed from this point on is the political will to move this process forward. All they seemingly need is the go ahead. All things humanly possible are being done to prepare for the rebuilding of the Third Temple.
However, there remains hugely significant problems which must be overcome before even a stone can be put down.
For political and safety reasons rebuilding a Temple would seem almost an impossibility at present. This is because Islam currently controls the Temple Mount and for Jews to destroy the Dome on the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosques so as to build the Jewish Temple would likely provoke an immediate world war.
Amazingly, these political and safety impediments on rebuilding the Temple are not the most significant problems.
The current focus of a raging debate within Judaism is exactly who has the authority to begin the rebuilding process of the Temple itself? Is it God, the Messiah or someone else? Nobody really knows and there is no consensus on this absolutely vital issue within Judaism.
Without resolution of who has the authority to rebuild there can be no Temple, and these are the reasons why.
The problem of who has the authority to begin the rebuilding process exists because nobody today really knows exactly where the Holy of Holies from the Second Temple is located on the Temple Mount. This is the reason why Jews are forbidden from entering the precise area where the second Temple was built, in case they inadvertently stand on the sacred and consecrated area which housed the Holy of Holies. To do so, even inadvertently, is punishable by death under Mosaic Law.
The second major stumbling block is that all Jews are currently ritually impure, which also prevents any Jews from entering the precise area where the Temple used to stand. In order to become ritually pure Jews would need the ashes of a Red Heifer which would need to be administered by a priest who could trace his family and ancestral lineage back far enough to validate his claim to priesthood. No such priest exists who can trace his lineage to this exacting standard. The reason is that when Israel and Judah were dispersed to the four corners of the world into Diaspora, all lineage records were lost.
This therefore means that under Mosaic Law there are no priests eligible to ever administer the ashes of a Red Heifer and therefore able to make Jews ritually pure enough to ever enter the Temple complex area. It is a terrible catch-22 situation.
The next major problem concerns the Altar of the Temple itself, specifically the location of the Altar. The Law of Moses is very precise about exactly where the Altar must be located. It cannot simply go anywhere, it needs to be in exactly the right place. When they built the Second Temple the Jews used reliable witnesses who could testify to the correct spot. In fact the prophets Haggai, Zephaniah and Malachi are believed within Judaism to have been the three witnesses used to verify the Altars correct location.
No such witnesses exist today. Even if a Temple could be built they could never offer sacrifice in it as they simply do not know where to locate the Altar. They have absolutely no idea where it should go, no idea whatsoever.
Assuming though that they were able to rebuild the Temple in exactly the right spot and then locate the Altar allowing for sacrifice, also in exactly the right spot, the Temple would still need Priests whose genealogy can be absolutely determined and verified. No such verification exists anymore. It would be a Temple with no priests.
The next major issue is the High Priest. There can be no functioning Temple without a functioning High Priest. To appoint a High Priest there needs to be a Sanhedrin, 70 – 71 ordained Rabbis acting as the Supreme Council of all Israel. There can currently be no Sanhedrin that satisfies Mosaic Law because each Rabbi must satisfy Mosaic Ordination, which was transmitted from Rabbi to Rabbi since the time of Moses. Mosaic Ordination ceased in 358 AD because of persecution. Although a re-established Sanhedrin was set up in 2004 it still lacks the religious and governmental authority needed to take the process forward. There can be no legitimate Sanhedrin and therefore no legitimate High Priest.
These problems are insurmountable. There is no human solution to them. On the face of things then, there can be no Temple.
Jewish tradition does provide an answer though, as does scripture. Scripture strongly suggests that the person who may well provide the necessary authority to begin the rebuilding process of the Third Temple will be the Prophet Elijah himself.
Jesus, in Matthews Gospel revealed that at the end Elijah, “…will restore all things…” (Matthew 17:11). According to Jewish tradition it will be Elijah who will reveal himself to the Jews before the advent of Messiah. In revealing himself he will also answer all questions and resolve all doubts. He will be the necessary authority to reveal the exact location of the Holy of Holies and the precise location of the Altar. It will be Elijah who will be able to reveal to the Priesthood their exact genealogies, it will be Elijah himself who will be able to reinstitute Mosaic Ordination for Rabbis, thus finally enabling the reestablishment of a legitimate Sanhedrin and High Priest.
And to further satisfy Mosaic Law, which prescribes the presence of Two Witnesses as being necessary for legal satisfaction (Deuteronomy 19:15) Elijah will also likely return with another great prophet of old, Moses, through whom the Law was delivered.
This is exactly the picture we see revealed in Revelation during the first half of the Tribulation period,
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.” (Revelation 11: 4-6)
In the book of Jude we come across the strange passage detailing Michael, the Archangel contesting with Satan over the body of Moses,
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, the Lord rebuke you (Jude 1:9)
In its original form this word ‘dispute’ or ‘contest’ can denote extreme violence. The Archangel Michael and Satan were engaged in combat over Moses’ body and the text insinuates it was extremely violent combat at that.
Perhaps the body of Moses would be needed once again at the end of this age so that he could accompany one of the only two people in history never to have died back to this earth to give a testimony to mankind from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This testimony would be during the first 42 months of the Tribulation Period and it would be a testimony for Jesus Christ against antichrist.
Is it also incidental that 1,260 days is 42 months exactly, the amount of time God gives for the first half of the Tribulation period? Is it also merely coincidence that the amount of time the Jewish priesthood would need to perform all the necessary purification rights and rituals prescribed in the Torah to purify and inaugurate the new Temple would also last exactly 42 months, from the initial ritual of purification to final one?
42 months of testimony, 42 months to compete purification, 42 months designated for the first half of the Tribulation.
Scripture tells us that at the midpoint of the Tribulation, after 42 months, the Temple will be desecrated by the antichrist.
Scripture suggests that Elijah will return soon to the Jewish people at the very beginning of the Tribulation period. He will then restore all things, (Matthew 17:11), reappoint the building work for the Temple, reinstitute the Rabbinical priesthood according to the Law of Moses defining who is eligible for priesthood and who is not, he will reform the Sanhedrin which will then oversee the appointment of a new High Priest. Elijah will guide the building of this Temple once it has been started until it reaches its conclusion at the Tribulations mid-point.
Scripture also tells us, ominously, one other important thing,
“If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.” (Revelation 11:5)
Elijah and his companion will actively defend the Temple and its rebuilding process. They would have to, because if the Temple were to be rebuilt today, the whole Muslim world would come against them.
The growing excitement and speculation over the potential rebuilding of the Temple is a huge indicator that the very end of this age is at hand.
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