The Word of God states that the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. This will be the third Temple and it will be located on a site that God has foreordained. Many faithful Jews are in advanced stages of planning for the rebuilding of the third Temple and strongly believe that the Temple will be rebuilt soon. The governance of the Temple Mount is now a matter of great debate and importance. The media is focused on the pivotal role of the governance of Jerusalem as the leaders of the world seek to establish peaceful relations between Israel and her neighbors.
There are disputes among all interested parties as to the exact location of Solomon’s Temple. There are at least three possibilities and each of them have supporters who persuasively argue their case. One group places the original temple site on the area now occupied by the AL Aqsa mosque. Another group supports a location alongside the Mosque, meaning the Temple could be rebuilt without tearing down the mosque. Another group believes the location is as far as a quarter mile away from the mosque site. In my opinion, it does not matter. The Scriptures say the temple will be rebuilt under peaceful circumstances and as a result of treaties.
As mentioned below, the one who negotiates the treaty, which will cover many more issues than the rebuilding of the Temple, will be greatly respected and heralded. That person, according to Scripture, is the anti-Christ and the victory of a rebuilt Temple will be short-lived. In 3 ½ years it will be torn down and the persecution will begin.
As of this writing, the primary issue is one of governance. The Palestinian’s are demanding sovereignty over all of the eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites. The United States has proposed complex sovereignty arrangements, including placing some areas under “divine sovereignty” to enable both sides to save face in accepting the compromise. The Pope has proposed ideas of shared governance.
At this time, both the rhetoric and the aggression have intensified. It appears that severe hostility may necessarily precede any formal resolution regarding the governance of the holy sites in Jerusalem. This ten year old December 2001 quote, from an Arutz-7 news report, characterizes what remains as the Arab position: Arafat… said the Palestinian Authority would hold steadfast to its goals for a Palestinian state that has Jerusalem as its capital. “We frankly want a Palestinian state … in the full sense of the word … with Jerusalem being its capital, alongside Israel,” he said. And subsequent to that remark, Arafat has died and trust levels have diminished even further. A storm may have to occur before the air clears. Hopefully it will not completely destroy Jerusalem and Scripture seems to point in that direction.
Scripture makes it clear that the placement of the foundation for the third Temple will be resolved through negotiations. Then he (the prince) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week. Covenants are generally preceded by disagreements and the decision to rebuild the third Temple will not be made unilaterally. There will be negotiations. The individual who plays the lead role in resolving this pivotal dispute between Muslims and Jews is of great significance. The treaties between Israel and her neighbors will necessarily allow Israel to rebuild the Temple in an air of compromise.
The following complex prophecy by Daniel is relied upon by many as a Messianic prophecy, with mysterious mathematical properties. Read “weeks,” as “years” and you will see why.
Daniel 9:24-27 (NKJ)
24 “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
Daniel said that “until Messiah the Prince” there will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks until the street and the wall (the Temple wall) is rebuilt. This is a designation of two “rebuildings.” The first was based on the decree of King Cyrus. His decree to rebuild is the starting point of the time line prophesied by Daniel. Understand that Daniel’s prophecy concerning the first rebuilding was fulfilled and that event set the calendar for the Messiah’s return and crucifixion. The flood mentioned is not one of water, but of sin, since God promised that no flood would ever destroy man again. “Then,” that is, after the flood of sin which led to the destruction of the 2nd Temple, he, the prince (Antichrist), will confirm a covenant for one week (read 7 years) and in the middle of that week (read 3½ years) he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
In order to consider Daniel’s prophecy more carefully, read of the event that Daniel is referring to in verse 25, above:
Ezra 6:1-15 (NKJ)
1 Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon.
2 And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus:
3 In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: “Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid, its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits,
4 with three rows of heavy stones and one row of new timber. Let theexpenses be paid from the king’s treasury.
5 Also let the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple which is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and taken back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; and deposit them in the house of God”–
6 Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there.
7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site.
8 Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered.
9 And whatever they need– young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem– let it be given them day by day without fail,
10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons.
11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.
12 And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.
13 Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent.
14 So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
This rebuilding of the Temple establishes the starting point of the 70 weeks mentioned in Daniel 9:25. The temple was rebuilt and Daniel’s prophecy says that 62 weeks would pass before the Messiah would be “cut off” (this prophecy says the Messiah will have been rejected and killed). If the 62 weeks represent one year periods, given the Roman calendar of 360 days in a year, the Messiah did come, triumphantly riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, right on schedule (173,380 days after the decree) and then was “cut off.”
Of course this 2nd Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Read verse 12 above and you will understand that those who alter or destroy the house of God and His Temple will be destroyed. Those who destroyed the 2nd Temple and those who will yet destroy the 3rd Temple will be dealt with very harshly.
The crucifixion of Jesus completed the first 62 “week” period. That would leave the completion of a one-week period (7 years) until the Messiah will return again. The prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) pointing to the “rebuilding of the Temple,” for the 3rd time, will, according to the beliefs of many, commence the final 7 year period. This event is clearly linked to the return of the Messiah.
When Daniel says “in the middle of the week” sacrifices and offerings will cease, they would, of course, had to have commenced. This prophecy is not about a time in the past, but it is focused on the future until Messiah the Prince. The Messiah will come and His millennium kingdom will be established and it will “follow the consummation,” which will be poured out on the desolate, the battle of Armageddon.
The rebuilding of the temple and the re-institution of sacrifices will be the preamble to the period of tribulation described in Daniel. There is not one prophecy yet to be fulfilled, in my opinion, more pivotal than this prophecy. Seven years is not a very long period of time and the events that are prophesied will shake the earth to its foundation, setting in motion the millennium
As I write this, the leadership of Israel and the world has become totally focused on the fate of Jerusalem and its Holy sites. You are witnessing the events leading to the rebuilding of the 3rd Temple. It will happen sooner or later and peace will appear to have come to Israel. But listen to Daniel: and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary….. in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
The prince referred to is going to deceive many. He shall even deceive some of the chosen people, the elect. Many will buy into the belief that peace and safety has come to Israel and for a brief time it will be true. But this very powerful and very attractive and very persuasive prince will, “in the middle of the week” destroy the Temple and assert that he is to be worshipped and followed. Obedience and cooperation will be required and you will agree to participate (accept the mark of the beast) or you will be persecuted.
For those of you doubting that Daniel’s prophecy of weeks should be interpreted as years, do the math that makes the decree of Cyrus accurate regarding the rebuilding of the 2nd Temple. I believe that you will agree that the destruction of the Temple is in the middle of a period of 7 years, in order for these prophecies to be consistent.
I have capitalized the Temple in Jerusalem as “The Temple,” although I want to say it is not capitalized in Scripture. I am treating it as a proper noun but I am not attributing Deification to the Temple. In New Jerusalem, heaven, there will be no temple. Referring to heaven the Scripture says:
Revelation 21:22 (NKJ)
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Our focus in our worship will be God, then, and should be now. We do not worship a temple built with human hands. We worship at such temples but our praise and our joy is directed to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not pillars nor statues or furnishings. We worship a true and living God and celebrate together His presence in such places as synagogues, churches and temples. The very ground we stand upon when communing with God is Holy ground. Listen:
Exodus 3:1-5 (NKJ)
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God
2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed
3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
Yes, the temple will be rebuilt, but let’s not ever forget what the temple is and what it is not. It is Holy ground because the Spirit of God is there but it is not a place in which we worship any item in it. We worship our Lord and Savior and our relationship is a personal one, with Him, whether in a temple or in a place where you have gone to be alone with Him. The worship of icons is an error, in my opinion. It was an error made by Aaron when he made the molded, golden calf and it is an error that persists in many quarters today. Listen to the admonition of our Lord.
Exodus 20:4-5 (NKJ)
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, …”
Yes, the temple will be rebuilt and it will be a time for joyous celebration because our Lord will be glorified. But, listen to the prophecy of Daniel stated above. It is a temple that will be destroyed in a short time. Do not let the events surrounding the construction and destruction of the temple confound you. Be ready. Turn and live. Get the “new heart” that Ezekiel told you to seek.
Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJ)
30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord GOD. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin
31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?
32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!”
God wants you to turn to Him as these calamitous events unfold. He will judge “each one” according to his ways.”