With the birth of the red heifer, one of the most important prerequisite of building the third temple is met. The Bible clearly teaches that a new temple, the Third Temple, will be built at some point in time so that a number of prophecies concerning the second coming of Christ would be fulfilled. The First Temple was the one that Solomon built and which was destroyed in 586 BC. The Second Temple (516 BC to 70 AD) was built after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. This temple site was expanded and renovated by King Herod around the first century BC and was subsequently destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. As sacrifices were not stopped during this renovation and expansion period, the new temple was still called The Second Temple.
The Bible states that the Third Temple will be there during the period of the Great Tribulation. The Prophet Daniel refers to this temple when he says that “the prince who is to come” (the Antichrist) will enter it and stop the sacrifices in the middle of the Tribulation:
“And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” (Daniel 9:27).
The Apostle Paul mentions it when he declares that the “man of lawlessness” will profane the temple by entering it and declaring himself to be God
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God”. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Jesus also spoke about this abomination of desolation at His second coming in the “Olivet discourse”, indicating that a Temple will at that time be destroyed:
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. ”. (Matthew 24:15-16, also Mark 13 and also Luke 21)
The Third Temple is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation when Apostle John is told to measure it:
“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months”. (Revelation 11:1-2).
So the question would be when the temple will be rebuilt? The Bible does not reveal the answer to this question. All it says for certain is that the temple will be in existence when the Antichrist reveals himself (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and that it will be there at the time of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27). Since this will be only three and a half years into the Tribulation, some have concluded that the temple will likely be rebuilt before the Tribulation begins, because of the unlikelihood of completing such a magnificent temple in such a short period of time.
On the other hand the “temple” can be “erected” quite rapidly because the Jews have proposed plans to simply first erect a tent temple like the Tabernacle of Moses. The Temple Institute has already made ready everything for this purpose and have been training priests from the Levitical line to prepare for this eventuality.
The other question is the “Where” question. The next temple can only be built where the two previous temples stood because the Holy of Holies must be on the exact same spot. But there are now much controversies as to where exactly was the last temple located on the Temple Mount. Or not even on the temple mount but north (or south) of it. Most scholars still have firm conviction that the old temples stood where the Dome of the Rock currently stands. This “belief” may be wrong, but apparently there is no way to prove the exact location without conducting archaeological excavations on the Temple Mount, something which is currently prohibited by the Muslims as well as the National laws! If the Third Temple is to be built where the Dome of the Rock now stands, then that Muslim structure must first of all be removed either by Man or by God. It could, of course be burned to the ground by a missile, or by an earthquake.
The majority of the average Jewish people at Jerusalem and nearby, who actually are largely secular, have much reservation about building a third temple. They know that any attempt to build a third temple would result in war with the Muslims. A growing group of more Orthodox Jews, as well as Christians who abides firmly by what is written in the Bible, nonetheless have a great passion for The Third Temple. The Temple Institute for example have made a large amount, if not all the preparations. Something could happen to create a surge of nationalistic pride that will demand a new temple. This catalytic event could be the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant! Or perhaps at a nearby excavation site. Or a political event that ensues.
There is the possibility that the ancient temples were not located where the Dome of the Rock currently sits. There is strong evidence that their location was to the north of the Dome and that the sacrificial altar inside the Dome was the one that Solomon built in “the middle of the court” to handle the thousands of special sacrifices which he offered to the Lord on the day The First Temple was dedicated (2 Chronicles 7:7). If that is so, then The Third Temple could be built north of the Dome of the Rock, putting the Dome in the Court of the Gentiles. This may well be the solution the Antichrist will come up with when he negotiates a peace between the Jews and the Arabs (Daniel 9:27)!
The birth of the new red heifer, which remains to be confirmed as a suitable candidate for sacrificial offering, fulfilled an important prerequisite for the construction of the Third Temple, which will definitely be there at the end times according to the Old and New Testaments. The Temple could be erected at the beginning of the Tribulation in the form of a tent temple, like the Tabernacle of Moses with a more permanent structure eventually built around and above it. The Antichrist will desecrate this temple in the middle of the Tribulation.
The third temple will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the fourth temple from which Jesus will reign over all the earth will appear. It is described in detail in Ezekiel 40-46.
The words of the Lord rings loud and true. A small detail and yet when carefully examined and harmonized, can ingrain a lot of significance, meaning and instructions to those who follows His word. Praise the Lord and may He come again real soon.
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