Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Third Temple And Zion

Could the Third Temple be constructed in an area other than the Temple Mount?

Before I share my thoughts on this subject, let me first lay some groundwork. It's safe to say that most Jews have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah (Mashiach), and because of that, they believe that there are two different outcomes in biblical prophecy concerning His arrival. In one scenario, scripture describes Him humbly entering Jerusalem on a donkey. In the second scenario, scripture describes Him arriving triumphantly in the sky on a cloud. In order to bring some sort of sense to what seems to them to be conflicting scripture, many Jews see these as two separate but linked prophecies. They believe that their Messiah will arrive in one of these two ways, but they don't know exactly which prophecy will be fulfilled. Many Jews believe that these two prophecies hinge on the status of the Third Temple (Third Bet-Hamikdash) at the time of the Messiah's arrival.

The Jews also have the same issue with the scriptures that describe the Third Temple as they do with the scriptures describing the arrival of the Messiah. To the Jews, there seems to be a conflict in scripture, and the way to reconcile that is for the Jews to believe that God will choose which prophecy will be fulfilled. Many Jews believe that if they build the Third Temple, then the Messiah will return triumphantly. If they do not build it before the Messiah's return, then the Messiah will return as a meek and gentle ruler on a donkey and, as Messiah, will order the Jewish nation to build the Third Temple. The Jews are so conditioned to understanding God's interaction with them through the physical Temple, that they don't recognize that these scriptures relate to a more personal relationship. An actual physical presence of the Messiah outside the confines of a man made temple. That is one of the reasons they rejected Yeshua as their Messiah. They either didn't understand the scriptures or they were so entrenched in tradition that they ignored scripture in favor of their own traditions, which they made equal with scripture, and completely missed who Jesus was.

There was a recent article published entitled, "Holy Alter Constructed For The Third Jewish Temple." This article explains that the alter of burnt offerings has been completed and that everything is ready for the rebuilding of the Third Temple right here and right now. There are just two obstacles preventing this, one of which is the right to free and unencumbered access to the Temple Mount. This is where we take a turn and head down another path.

I've just finished reading a book "Temple" by Robert Cornuke. It deals with old and new discoveries about the placement of the First and Second temples. The author discusses his belief that the First and Second Temples weren't constructed on the Temple Mount, but in the lower part of Jerusalem known as the City of David. Yes, that idea made my mind swim with questions and possibilities that I had never entertained before.  The author quotes scripture that describe where the First Temple (Solomon's Temple) was to be placed (hint: It wasn't built in the area commonly known as the Temple Mount). The Second Temple was then built upon the site where the First Temple had been. The Second Temple (Herod's Temple) was the one that was standing when Yeshua was here on earth. The Romans, in 70 AD, destroyed the Second Temple, leaving no visible traces of it behind. What were Jesus' prophetic words when discussing the Second Temple? 

"And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things?  verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24:2

I've underlined those words because they are very important... not one stone would be left upon another... they would all be thrown down. Certainly Jesus didn't mean there wouldn't be any stones left stacked one upon another, did He? Maybe just a few? Maybe 50? 20? 7? 2? If we take Yeshua's word as truth, there would be none. NONE! If that is the case, how do you explain the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem? How can it be part of the Second Temple if Jesus himself stated that "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down"? Either Jesus was a false Prophet, or the Western Wall isn't part of the Second Temple. That's when I began to understand that the Jews have been worshiping and preparing to build their Third Temple on the wrong plot of land!

How could they (and we) get it so wrong? Well, we need to remember that the Jews were absent from the land for hundreds of years (generations upon generations). The Romans had undertaken the destruction of the Second Temple and in doing so, utterly destroyed any visible trace of where it had been built. They had done such a thorough job of dismantling the Temple and using the raw materials for other building projects, that there was no trace above ground (hint) of where the Temples may have been located. Also add to that the ravages of time upon the land where wind, rain and overgrowth had stripped the land of any discernible signs of where the Temple had once stood, and we can understand why the Jews, upon their return to the land so many generations later, had difficulty pinpointing exactly where the Temples had once stood.  

After investigating the lay of the land, the Jews eventually arrived at a list of four possible areas where they believed the Temples may have been located. It was more of an educated guess and not based on scripture or physical evidence. Some time later, the words of one highly respected religious leader put the seal of approval on the Temple Mount. His word was so respected and his conviction so strong, that the Temple Mount officially became recognized as the place where the Temples had once stood, even though they had no proof to make that claim. It seemed the most "logical" choice at that time because they believed the large stone wall (the Western Wall or Wailing Wall) was so grand that it must have been part of the Second Temple. What they didn't (and still don't) realize was that the place they deemed holy was actually a place built by their oppressors. It is not part of the Second Temple. Not even close! When you find out what the "Wailing Wall" really is, your mind will be blown. I know mine was. Want to know what it is? Read the If I told you what it was, then I'd have to spend a long time explaining what the book seems to do so well.

I'm also not going to venture into a deep explanation of all the other scripture references and archaeological discoveries that have been made to support the idea that the First and Second Temples were actually located in the city of David, a name which is synonymous with Jerusalem. That would take up too much time, making this article far too long, and it would rob Robert Cornuke of the opportunity of sharing his discoveries through the book he worked on so diligently.

I know that some of you may be asking, "But isn't Zion Jerusalem?" Jerusalem and the City of David are synonymous. David captured Jerusalem by capturing it's seat of power ("the castle of Zion" 1Chronicles 11:5), which came to be known as the city of David. The Jerusalem that we know of today didn't exist at that time.  The city of David (or Jerusalem) expanded in the 8th century BC under the rule of King Hezekiah, making it necessary to build a protective wall around the area which expanded to the hill west of the city. This is the area we now call the Old City. The "city of David" and "Jerusalem" were one in the same. Time passed and the population shifted. Unfortunately, by medieval times, the original area known as the city of David was left abandoned while "Jerusalem" remained. This may be how it erroneously became known as two distinct cities, but that is historically and biblically inaccurate. "Jerusalem" is the city of David. Where does the bible state that Zion is located? Look here...

"And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land.  5 And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither.  Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David." 1Chronicles 11:4-5

"And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither; thinking, David cannot come hither.  7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David."  2 Samuel 5:6-7

"Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared unto David his father in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite." 2Chronicles 3:1

These scriptures can be confusing if you don't realize that the words "city of David" and "Jerusalem" are interchangeable.  They mean the same thing. So, where is Zion? Zion is within the original boundaries of the city of David. Zion is where the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite was. It was never within the boundaries of modern Jerusalem, it has always been and always will be within the original boundaries of the city of David. 

Because the location of Zion was lost to history, modern historians eventually started a new tradition that was going to become just as entrenched in the Jewish psyche as the Temple Mount would become. They moved Zion from the city of David, to the southern portion of the "Western Hill," which is called Zion to this day. They did this for no apparent scriptural or historical reason.

The Temple Mount has been burned into the minds and hearts of the Jewish nation as being the place where the Temples were built in the past. It is a religious tradition that is deeply ingrained, so much so that even the rest of the world has been convinced that it must be true. If the author of "Temple" is correct, as many Christians, scholars and archaeologists believe that he is, then the Third Temple should be built in the city of David, just below the heights of Jerusalem.

It seems impossible that the Jews would ever accept an alternate place to build the Third Temple, but then again we believe in biblical prophecy which states that the Third Temple will be built at the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation. With the tensions on the Temple Mount, how can this be accomplished? I don't believe that the Muslims will agree to allow the Jews to build on the Temple Mount (besides, it wouldn't technically fit there anyway). What I think will happen is that the Third Temple will be built where it belongs, in the city of David.  

Much needs to happen before the Jews would even consider such a thing. The Jews would have to be willing to let go of their long held belief that the Temple Mount was the site of the two previous Temples. They would have to be willing to look at the evidence unearthed by archaeologists in the city of David who have excavated much of the evidence needed to prove that the previous Temples were located on that very site (Again, you'll need to read the book to find out exactly what they've discovered). They would need to cede the fact that Zion is not where recent historical tradition says it is and would then need to re-designate the city of David as Zion in total agreement with scripture. I believe that once the Jewish people have grasped the truth and have come to terms with the error of their long held traditions concerning such matters, it will be only a matter of time before they abandon the Temple Mount in favor of the city of David and commence major work on excavating the site and begin actual construction of the Third Temple.  

It could happen at any time.  The Temple instruments, robes, high priest crown, menorah, trumpets, alters, etc... are ready to go once the Third Temple has been built. There are only two things standing in the way. 

The first is access to the Temple Mount. I believe that God has placed this stumbling block before them because this is not where He wants the Third Temple built. I believe that eventually the Jews will understand that the Third Temple needs to be constructed in the city of David.

The second is the the need for the ashes of a red heifer. The waters of purification need to be made from these ashes, and as far as I am aware, a red heifer has not been born that meets their strict requirements. We have seen in the past how archaeologists have discovered items pertaining to the Second Temple. I'm referring to the anointing oil (made from trees that no longer exist and an oil thought to be lost forever) and the blue dye used for the priest's robes. You can read about those amazing discoveries here. Could the ashes of the red heifer be hiding in a cave waiting for the Lord to direct someone there to discover them just as they discovered the anointing oil and the blue die? As the previous link proves, it can happen.

Zion, the city of David, the original place of the two previous Temples... who will bring this new revelation to the Jews in a way that will cause them to finally see the truth and change their minds? Could it be the one who is prophesied to enter the world stage at this critical time in earth history? Could it be the one who brokers a peace agreement with Israel and her neighbors? Could it be the one who born again believers know by the names "Antichrist" and "Beast?" It's possible. Satan knows where the previous temples were located. He could easily influence events and use the Antichrist to solve the most pressing problem in the Middle East today. Imagine being the "one" who brought peace to the Middle East by convincing the Jews to abandon their claim to the Temple Mount in favor of building the Third Temple in the city of David. The Muslims would have their Temple Mount and the Jews would have their Third Temple. Both would be indebted to such a man.

One thing is sure, God will allow the Jews to fulfill their desire to build the Temple. It must be there as end-time prophecy unfolds. It is the same Temple that the Antichrist will defile 3.5 years into the peace agreement, which will usher in another 3.5 years of what is known as the Great Tribulation.

That is a part of history that we will not be witnesses to when it happens. If you believe, as I do, in a pre-Tribulation Rapture, then we'll be gone before the building of the Temple even begins. That will be a story best told by those who are left behind and who live through such a time.

I know you have questions and you have your own personal ingrained beliefs that seem to be in direct conflict to what I am sharing. All I can ask is that you read the book. Get it from the library, borrow it from a friend or purchase a copy for yourself. Then pray and ask the Lord to open your mind and your heart to the possibility that the Temple Mount is not the area where the first two Temples were built. God bless!

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!

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