A study by
Gavin Finley MD
An artist's impression of the future (third) Jewish temple. Notice the temple aligning perfectly with the eastern gate.
Jerusalem has seen two temples built on the Temple Mount. The first was built by King Solomon close to 3,000 years ago. It was destroyed by the armies of Nebudchadnezzar in 586 B.C. The second temple was built under Zerubbabel during the years 520-516 B.C. This was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Since that time there has been a deep desire among many observant Jews both out in the Diaspora and back in Eretz Israel to see the temple rebuilt.
At the present time the construction of the Third Temple is quite impossible from a political perspective. The Temple Mount area is under rather strict Islamic control. But the prophetic scriptures indicate that the temple will indeed be rebuilt. We can only assume that those sad conditions we see and take for granted today will change quite dramatically in the future. At some point there will be a new peace on the Temple Mount. And in this peace the Third Temple will be constructed.
What power will have come onto the scene to change the status quo here? What national or international entity will have done this? Well at present we do not know. But one thing we can say with some assurance. At some future time the Temple Mount in Jerusalem will be secured. And Middle East peace will be guaranteed by some very significant power. And that power will most certainly not be an Islamic one.
BUILDING THE THIRD TEMPLE WILL REQUIRE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
AND THAT PEACE WILL PROBABLY ONLY COME AFTER A DESTRUCTIVE FUTURE WAR.
Just how will this Middle East peace be achieved? What will have happened to suddenly change the political equation and thus open the way to allow the temple to be rebuilt? A new "prince" will have come into power. But who will this man be? And in whose name will he come? Will he turn out to be the peacemaker or power broker spoken of by the prophet Daniel? Shall we come face to face with the long awaited peacemaker of Daniel 9:27, the one who is prophesied to "confirm the covenant with many" for a period of seven years?
These are awesome issues to consider. The prophecy we are considering here is extremely important. Daniel 9:27 is the most significant prophecy yet to unfold. It is the next big event to pop up on the calendar. This extraordinary future peace accord must be signed and ratified. When that happens the trumpets will be blowing, some in celebration, and some in warning. Some students of Bible prophecy believe that there is some good evidence that the peace covenant of Dan.9:27 will occur right on some future Jewish new year. And thus the Feast of Trumpets will come into its New Covenant fulfillment. It seems that the Day of Atonement seven years later marks out with total precision the 2550 days that will encompass Daniel's 70th Week. It is an exact fit!
Is this just a coincidence?
This epic future peace in the Middle East would certainly fit the "blowing of trumpets" scenario Moses spoke about in Leviticus 23. The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the Fall Feasts. These three are yet to be fulfilled in the New Covenant. They are also the final three feasts of the seven, (numbers 5, 6 and 7), of the Seven Feasts of Israel. In fact the feast characterized by Moses simply as "a blowing of trumpets", Rosh Hashanah, or the "head of the year", is the very next feast to come up to fulfillment. So we can be sure that this Jewish holy day in some future Jewish new year will certainly hatch out some epic blockbuster event into holy history. This future peace covenant will involve the sovereignty of Israel and western nations. So it will not just be some unobserved political wheeler dealing done in secret or some hidden diplomatic initiative such as we saw with the so called "Oslo accords". Nor will it merely be a photo-op with a handshake and something signed on a piece of paper such as we saw with the Camp David peace initiative between Israel's prime minister and the PLO leader. This coming seven year peace treaty, the "covenant with many" of Daniel 9:27, will not be just political theatrics or a hyped up event with no meaningful or lasting peace. We saw a demonstration of this sort of empty political showcasing with so called "PLO peace agreements" signed on the White House lawn. This was not worth the paper it was written on. The Oslo accords similarly failed to bring in the desired peace in the Middle East. In fact matters went from bad to worse.
This future seven year covenant will be different. The terminus of the "Road Map to Peace" will be on the front pages of our newspapers and on Fox and CNN cable news. This seven year peace deal will be the genuine article. The covenant will fire the starting gun on a seven year history spawning earthshaking political events of Biblical proportions. When this covenant is signed and confirmed there will be major international consequences. Great and awesome events will start to happen as the god of Israel resumes His determined covenant dealings with all the Judeo-Christian and heathen Gentile people in the nations. This is clearly laid out for us in Daniel 9:27.
So just how will this future mega-dealer have managed to pull off this epic Middle East peace treaty? It seems that this "confirmation of the covenant" will in fact be the completion and ratification of the very same "Peace Process" we have been seeing develop in recent years. The peace will finally be nailed down.
How, and why, will this have happened?
Well this is an interesting question. It is entirely possible that this future prophesied peace treaty will be brokered in the aftermath of a major future Middle East conflict. This coming war may turn out to be be a very destructive one. And history demonstrates a recurring pattern. Great treaties do not happen in peacetime just by some monetary coaxing under the table by the superpower of the day. Real and significant peace treaties usually follow wars.
The future war that leads to this upcoming Middle East peace may surprise and shock us. It may even involve the unleashing of nuclear weapons.
This would then present a pivotal moment in history.
The international community would be screaming,
"Someone do something!"
Enter then the peacemaker and "prince" of Daniel 9:27
And the false messiah of John 5:43.
Who would be the players in this war? Israel has recently expressed concern that terrorist cells of Hamas and Hezbollah are holed up in Damascus. This is very close to Jerusalem. The city of Damascus is the oldest city in the world. And it has never been destroyed in all its history. But there is a prophecy awaiting fulfillment that involves this old city. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the city of Damascus becoming a "heap of rubble". (Isa.17) That being the case, we might do well to keep an eye on this developing situation with terrorist cells and WMD in this southern city of Syria right near the Israeli border.
One thing we can say with complete assurance. If the Third Temple is to be built then the balance of power will have had to have been changed in a dramatic way. Something big will have to happen to break the present Islamic hold on the Temple Mount and allow the foundations to be laid for the Third Temple. Because the present situation offers no hope at all. Without the political status quo being overturned there can be no construction of the Third Temple.
THE PLACEMENT OF THE FUTURE TEMPLE ON THE TEMPLE MOUNTAs we consider the rebuilding of the Temple there is one more important question that must be addressed. Just where on the Temple Mount will the foundations of the Third Temple be laid? Will the Third Temple rise up right in the middle of the Temple Mount as many suppose? This would necessitate the removal or destruction of the Dome of the Rock. Of course this would be an earthshaking turn of events. The Dome is a revered Islamic site.
But will the Dome of the Rock be destroyed? And is its removal even necessary?
Just where did the original temple stand? Was it really in the center? Or was it situated to the north of the present location of the Dome of the Rock? Some Jewish authorities on the subject, such as Asher Kaufmann are saying precisely this. and they have excellent archaeological evidence to support this.
This is very interesting. It opens up the very real possibility that the Third Jewish Temple will be constructed on the north side of the Temple Mount.
So this now presents another interesting possibility. Could the Temple be rebuilt next to the Islamic Dome of the Rock? Could the Third Temple peacefully coexist with the Dome right next door to it? This would be very politically favorable to the sort of world peace our international leaders and ecumenists are looking for. It would reflect their effort to bring the three big mono-theistic religions of the world together. If such a plan was acted upon then the Temple Mount would look something like we see in the picture up above.
As we have previously stated, it seems that the Third Temple can only be built under the covering of an all encompassing world peace. This peace will most certainly involve Israel and her neighbors. It is a peace that we have not seen yet. Quite obviously it is out there in the future. Because all attempts by the Jewish 'Temple Mount Faithful' to place a foundation stone for the temple on the temple mount have incited Islamic rioting. When Ariel Sharon decided to take a stroll on the Temple Mount some years ago the result was a huge hue and cry throughout the Islamic world. The principalities and powers and the heathen nations were set off raging. (Psalm 2) In fact it started off a wave of terrorism that came to be known as "the intifada".
SIGNIFICANT AND LASTING PEACE TREATIES DO NOT
GENERALLY COME THROUGH PEACETIME DIPLOMACY.
RATHER, THEY USUALLY FOLLOW WARS.
So how will the peace necessary to allow this rebuilding come? Will it come after a future war? Will the radical fundamentalist Islamic powers currently ruling the Temple Mount be defeated in this coming war by a combined Judeo-Christian (anti-terror) alliance?
During the 1967 Six Day War the Israelis fought their way into Jerusalem and came close to taking the Temple Mount. They made it as far as the Western Wall. And that is where they stopped.
This was a pivotal moment in holy history.
At that awesome moment they blew the shofar.
The Temple Mount was just a few meters away.
They were so close.
How about next time?
Will the Israelis make it all the way to the top?
Will Jewish forces end up capturing the Temple Mount?
If they do then another question arises. Just who will then step in as peacemaker? Who will see that the spoils are divided in a way that is considered equitable for that point in history?
Clearly the temple rebuilding project and the world at large is crying out for "peace and security". Will it come in by a peace treaty brokered by an emerging global peacemaker? If history does call for such a man to arise on the stage he will be a man of some stature and capability. He will have to be a convincing treaty broker and and a capable crisis manager. Will such a peacemaker arise in that future day? Who will be the one who picks up the pieces after that future war?
Of course there is more to the story. The jigsaw puzzle of Bible prophecy is coming together in many areas. Yes, early on a "prince" will appear on the stage of history. At the beginning he will take the spotlight in his 'peacemaker' or "Mr. Niceguy" role with a harlot religious consort. But this global power broker will not remain just as a peacemaker. He will have just secured for himself enormous international power. Perhaps sovereign power will be given him to disarm the world of weapons of mass destruction. The world desperately longs for this security.
But the plot thickens. And the Holy Scriptures are clear on the future actions of this "man of sin". He will go on later to break the covenant he has just made. Midway through the seven years he will commit abominations in the rebuilt temple and be revealed as someone less than benevolent. (See Dan.9:27 part B) He will turn out to be none other than the coming false Messiah or Antichrist. p Moses gave a warning of this. In the Song of Moses he spoke of a great latter day trial and tribulation for the covenant people of God. And Jesus Himself warned that His people would accept another "prince". This pretender will come not in the Father's name but "in his own name". (John 5:43)
A DIVIDED TEMPLE MOUNT?Let us look further at the details concerning the future placement of that Third Temple on the Temple Mount. We have good archaeological evidence that the former Jewish temple was built north of where the Dome of the Rock is presently situated. In fact the Dome of the Spirits, a small cupola, is said to be right over the location of the Holy of Holies. This is well to the north of the Dome.
BOTH A JEWISH TEMPLE AND AN ISLAMIC DOME SIDE BY SIDE?
And here is another important issue. The cupola is in direct alignment with the Eastern Gate. This fact along with some mounting archaeological evidence would seem to indicate that the former (second) Temple was situated not in the center of the temple mount at all but rather on the north side of temple mount. This is directly opposite the Eastern Gate.
This alignment of the Temple with the Eastern Gate would only be appropriate. If we think about it it has to be this way. The architectural layout of the temple would surely have been set up to allow the Messiah to come "straight up" through the eastern gate and into His Temple. He would enter the city and go straight into the temple without doing any turning left or "jigs" or "zig-zags" as he entered the temple mount on His way up into the temple.
Here is the issue. If the temple was in the center of the Temple Mount then Messiah would have to turn left upon entering the city. Turning left is a bad thing. It is just not good form for a returning King, let alone the Messiah of Israel. It simply would not do. It is, in fact, unthinkable. Surely Zerubbabel, (and Solomon before him), were mindful of this when the temple was designed. It was a magnificent Temple. And we can be sure that it was meticulously and tastefully laid out. YHVH God Himself was the true divine Architect. He guided King David as the king prepared for his son Solomon to build the temple. We can well assume that the former two temples were faithfully constructed by the builders according to the sacred blueprint of a holy and divine order. This would only be in keeping with the beauty and the centrality our Messiah most assuredly deserves.
As it happens, this northern site is being looked at by one of several Jewish groups who are working towards the rebuilding of the Hebrew Temple. The last temple, the second temple built by Zerubbabel, as later embellished by Herod. This second temple was destroyed by the Romans under Titus in 70 A.D..
As we look now at the present situation we see that the Dome of the Rock occupies the center of the Temple Mount. The future Third Temple could therefore be rebuilt to the north of the Dome and be on the same site as the former temple. There would be enough room to provide an acceptable easement between the two buildings. There would,in fact, be a clearance of 150 feet. This would allow the Dome to co-exist with the future Jewish Temple. It could be built to the north of the Dome of the Rock and straight opposite the Eastern Gate.
The good news, from a world peace perspective is that there is no necessity to destroy the Islamic holy place, the Dome of the Rock.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TEMPLE MOUNTIf we think about it for a moment the Temple of YHVH is not just based on Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. This act was a mirror of what God was doing on His side of the covenant. Abraham's willingness was indeed important. It was man's or Abraham's part of the Eternal Covenant. But it was not God's part of the Covenant. In the manner of covenants Abraham's part was an essential one. He showed a willingness to enter into a blood covenant with God. It was indeed essential for Abraham, as God's blood covenant partner, to be willing to sacrifice his son.
IN THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT.
But there would be a greater reality. YHVH/God was Abraham's covenant partner. And He was taking the initiative in the covenant. And there on the Temple Mount YHVH-God was making another divine promise. God would provide Himself a Lamb.
YHVH would do the same for the family of Abraham as Abraham had shown himself willing to do for YHVH-God. He would "provide a sacrifice". YHVH God would offer up His only son. This would happen at Calvary 2,000 years later. At that time another son, like Isaac, carried the wood for His own sacrifice up the hill. The Son of God, carried a wooden cross up the hill to Golgotha. That cross would be the altar upon which the final Sacrifice would be made for the sins of the world.
These issues of blood covenant are not well understood by modern Christians in the west today. Even evangelicals, for the most part, do not understand the necessity of blood covenant witness. They do not understand the consequences of blood covenant Christianity. They do not think that it relates to their own New Covenant. But they are deluded. This is the nature of the relationship they presently have with Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach. They are in a blood covenant two-way relationship with Him as a bride to the Bridegroom. That intimate union, until death do us part, is what the broken bread and the wine typifies. But they do not understand what this.
The binding of Isaac by our patriarch Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice His only true son was a blood covenant reflection and a witness of greater things that YHVH God was going to do for Israel and for all mankind in a future time. See Isaiah 49:6.
Our God is not slack concerning His promises. He Himself would provide a sacrifice. Yes Abraham saw the ram caught by his horns, even with the thorns binding his head. Abraham then released his son and turned to see the sacrifice lamb that God had provided. So right there, on the temple mount, in the divine typology, was a picture of a promised future Sacrifice Lamb, the Holy One of Israel, the Meshiach ben Joseph or 'Suffering Servant' Isaiah spoke about. (Isa.53)
If the Dome of the Rock covers the ground where Abraham offered up Isaac then it should be remembered. It should be honored. Abraham's sacrifice, on man's side of the covenant surely deserves a place of prominence on the Temple Mount.
And a future Jewish Temple ought be built beside it. It should be built upon a greater reality, even the sure promise of a Sacrifice Lamb. In fact this is the first thing that confronts the visitor to the Temple, or the Tabernacle that preceded it. They see the brazen altar. And they see the lamb of sacrifice upon that altar.
The promised and Expected One was to be lifted up and seen by all mankind. He comes to us from the heart of the Holy One of Israel. He will be a 'Light to the Gentiles'. (Isa.42:6, 49:6, & 60:3) Surely the Anointed One, the Messiah, is that Lamb. And our Messiah came first to fulfill His priestly role. This two phase pattern was laid out by YHVH-God in the Seven Feasts of Israel. He was the Suffering Servant Isaiah spoke about. This prophesied coming of Israel's Sacrifice Lamb provided the true basis and the spiritual foundation for the future Temple.
Because the Lord of Hosts has declared,"....I will shake all nations,
and the Desire of all nations shall come,
And I will fill this house with glory." (Hag.2:7)