Preparing for the Third Temple
The Rapture of the church is the next main event on God’s timetable of prophetic activities. No prophecies have yet to be fulfilled before the Rapture can take place. It is imminent; it can happen at any moment. In fact, nothing but the long-suffering grace and mercy of God prevents it from occurring right now.
However, though there are no signs for the Rapture, there is at least one major indicator it is close at hand. That sign is the status of preparations for the next Jewish Temple to be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Nachman Kahane, 75, a leading rabbi in Jerusalem, believes a Temple will be built on the Temple Mount in his lifetime; and he says everything is ready to build that Temple today.
The world has known only two Jewish Temples: The first, built on the Temple Mount by King Solomon, stood for 390 years before the Babylonians destroyed it in 586 B.C. The second, built after the Babylonian Captivity on the same site (Ezra 2:68; 6:7), stood for 585 years before being destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. The end-times scenario in God’s prophetic Word calls for a Jewish Temple to be standing when the Antichrist rules the world.
Rabbi Kahane trained everyone who leads the effort to rebuild; and it was his students who started the Temple Institute in 1987 in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The Institute has trained men for Temple service and accumulated all the implements needed for a Temple, including the table of showbread, altar of incense, and golden menorah. The menorah, currently on display overlooking the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, is covered with 95 pounds of pure gold and reportedly is worth $2 million.
Many think the original menorah, a seven-branched candelabra, was carried off to Rome after the second Temple was destroyed because a carving on the Arch of Titus in Rome seems to display exactly that. The original menorah may still be in Rome. The Temple Institute has painstakingly reconstructed it.
In addition, the Temple Institute also believes it knows the location of the Ark of the Covenant, which was last seen in Solomon’s Temple. Two rabbis and a Jewish activist, all working toward building the third Temple, say they have been to the location. (See “Where Is the Ark of the Covenant?”)
Rabbi Yehuda Glick, chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, leads Jewish tours onto the Temple Mount to increase familiarity with this holiest of Jewish places before the next Temple is built. He recently lead an educational tour of 10 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) paratroopers in what marked the first time uniformed IDF troops have been on the Temple Mount in a decade. Paratroopers, said Rabbi Glick, have a “special relationship” to the Temple Mount. They took that hill for Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, which led to the reunification of Jerusalem.
Although the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, Jewish people are not allowed to pray there or go up in large groups because it is controlled by the Muslim Waqf. Israel gave the Waqf control as a gesture of goodwill after the city’s reunification in 1967.
Rabbi Glick is calling for Jewish people to unite and make every effort to visit this sacred location and focus on rebuilding the Temple. For a number of years, he directed the Temple Institute’s effort to get ready to rebuild.
Gershon Salomon’s Temple Mount Faithful have a cornerstone ready for when construction begins. It is said to have been consecrated with water from the biblical pool of Siloam and cut with diamonds.
Near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, a training center educates men who believe themselves to be from the tribe of Levi and the priestly family in how to serve in the next Temple. Over the past 25 years it has trained thousands from around the world.
Many of the priestly garments are prepared and in storage. Rabbi Kahane, who received the first set of priestly garments, has his hanging in his closet, ready to be put on in a moment’s notice. It took years of research to make these garments:
Special flaxen thread was imported from India and overseas travel was necessary to obtain the correct colors for the clothes, including to Istanbul, to purchase mountain worms from which the correct shade of crimson is derived. The secret of the correct shade of blue has been lost since the destruction of the Second Temple,…until the Ptil Tekhelet nonprofit organization identified it as the murex trunculus, aka hexaplex trunculus, the banded dye-murex found near the Mediterranean Sea.1
In addition, the 4,000 harps needed for the Levites to play the Temple music as called for by King David in 1 Chronicles 23:5 are close to being completed by the craftsmen at the House of Harrari.
Rabbi Yoel Keren believes the third Temple will be built following the details in Ezekiel 40—46; but first the Jewish people will construct a less extravagant structure, as they did when the second Temple was built 2,500 years ago.
What Lies Ahead
The end-times scenario in God’s prophetic Word calls for a Jewish Temple to be standing when the Antichrist rules the world. He will desecrate it, and the Jewish people will again be forced off the Temple Mount because they will remain faithful to God and refuse to worship the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27).
In His Olivet Discourse (Mt. 24—25), Jesus confirmed Daniel’s prophecy. He called the desecration the “abomination of desolation” and said it had not yet taken place (24:15). Someday Messiah Jesus will return to Jerusalem and build His Temple on this sacred piece of real estate (Zech. 1:16; 6:12); and from that Millennial Temple, He will rule the world (6:13).
That Temple is described in vivid, precise detail in Ezekiel 40—46. Nothing built so far fits Ezekiel’s description. Not the Tabernacle, not the first Temple built by King Solomon, not even the second Temple that was dedicated by Zerubbabel and magnificently refurbished by Herod the Great. Even the structure on the drawing board today will not be that Temple; rather, it will be the Tribulation Temple that must be operational at the midpoint of the seven-year period called the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7).
There is one major obstacle to building the third Temple: the gold-domed Muslim Dome of the Rock, which occupies the Temple Mount. This is not a mosque, but it is an Islamic building. Some people suggest a Jewish Temple could exist alongside it, both sharing the Temple Mount. But I’ve spoken to many leaders in the movement to rebuild who believe the Dome of the Rock must be removed. When I ask them how they plan to make that happen, they say they don’t. They plan to leave that detail to the Messiah, but they plan to be ready to start construction when He clears the way.
Are you prepared for the Rapture of the church? If you are, live purely and productively so that you will be filled with joy when you hear the glorious sound of the trumpet of God calling us home (1 Th. 4:15–17). I awake every morning with the expectation that today will be the day. In light of all that is happening to prepare for a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, we would do well to keep our ears open for the Lord’s shout, the archangel’s voice, and the trumpet call of God.
- Danielle Kubes, “Third Temple Preparations Begin with Priestly Garb,” The Jerusalem Post, July 1, 2008, cited by The Temple Institute <templeinstitute.org/archive/03-07-08.htm>.