In the history of Israel, every period of the kingdom is associated with a temple in Jerusalem. The period of the kingdom from the institution of the monarchy to the carrying away into captivity in Babylon is referred to as the First Temple Period or simply the First Temple( 1080-586 BC). This period of the kingdom is associated with the temple built by King Solomon. This temple was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC.
After 70 years in exile in Babylon, the Jews were freed by the decree of Cyrus the Persian in 538 BC, according to the words of Jeremiah the prophet(Ezra 1:1-4; Jer.25:12, 29:10). Thus began the Second Temple Period or simply the Second Temple(538 BC-70 AD). By 515 BC, the returning exiles had completed the Second Temple. This temple, located on the same site as the first was extensively and lavishly refurbished by Herod the Great. It was this temple that was in existence during the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus The Christ. This temple was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD as prophesied by the prophet Daniel and reiterated by our Lord Jesus The Christ in His Olivet discourse, thus ending the second Temple Period(Dan. 9:27; Matt.24:1,2).
As we have pointed out earlier, each period of the kingdom corresponds to a temple. The modern state of Israel was established in 1948 following the end of the British Mandate in Palestine. Up to now, there is no Temple. Despite the absence of any Temple, the Jews refer to this period of the kingdom as Third Temple Period or simply the Third Temple(1948-end of the 70th, which corresponds with the death of the two witnesses of Rev.11). During the Yom Kippur War, when Israel was almost annihilated by her Arab neighbors, the then Defense Minister of Israel, the legendary one-eyed general Moshe Dayan said, ” The Third Temple is over.” up to now as at that time, there was no Temple. Yet this period of the kingdom without a king is referred to as the Third Temple.
”For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king ; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days”(Hos.6:4,5).
Today Israel is an independent state in the comity of nations, but it is without a king. There is no high priest with an ephod and teraphim, no umim and no thumim, and no sacrifice because there is no Temple. During the Day Of The Lord, the children of Israel shall return to the LORD their God, and David’s greater Son, our Lord Jesus the Christ shall be king over them, and the High Priest of God. He shall be a priest upon the throne(Zach.6:13).
The major events of the 70th week of Daniel are centred in and around the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.
”Let no one deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or worshipped: so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing that he is God”(2 These.2:3,4).
In order for the antiMessiah to make his debut at the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, where he unveils his identity as dead man come back to life, and displays himself as God, demanding worship of all mortals in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel, a temple must exist on the Temple Mount. Up to now, the Temple Mount is occupied by the Muslim Dome of the Rock, the Golden Dome and the Al-aqsa mosque.
Prior to the 70th seven or even within the first three and one half years of the 70th seven, the third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem must be rebuilt. This is probably one of the feats of politics the antiChrist will perform that will endear him to the Jewish people. However, it is most likely that after the covenant of Apostasy is made with the antiMessiah that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple, though we must remind ourselves, that the rebuilding of the temple is not mentioned as one of the major events in the first three and one-half years of the 70th seven of Daniel. The scriptures are not precise when the third Temple shall be rebuilt, but there ain’t too many options. It is either prior to the 70th seven of Daniel, or in the first three and one-half years; for a temple must be standing, and animal sacrifice and meal offering resumed prior to the midpoint of the 70th seven when the Man of Sin is revealed, and the sacrifice and oblation caused to cease.
The Temple Mount, is the most expensive piece of property on Earth today. As a matter of fact, it is not up for sale. Jews, Muslims, christians and the international community are interested in it. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this piece of real estate. When Israel wrestled control of Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, the then defense minister of Israel, Moshe Dayan returned the key to the temple Mount to the Muslim Waqf as gesture of good will. Unfortunately Jews are not even allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. Those who move their lips are arrested.
The real issue however is the location of Holy Of Holies of the temple. Studies by Asher Kaufman indicate that it is not under the Dome Of The Rock, but a little further northwest of the mosque, under the Dome of the Tablets, a location directly west of the Eastern or Golden Gate. It therefore means the Jews could rebuild their Temple on the site of Solomons Temple while the Dome of the Rock is still standing. If that is the case, the Muslim Dome of the Rock is in the outer court. This may be what is meant by the angel’s instruction to John the revelator, not to measure the outer court of the temple. ” And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for is given unto the Gentiles: and the Holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months “( Rev. 11:1,2).
In the light of this understanding, it may be possible for the Jews to rebuild their Temple at the shortest notice without tampering with Muslim Dome Of The Rock. All the materials for the rebuilding of the temple have been procured. Over $100 million dollars have been raised for the rebuilding of the temple. Priests of the family of Aaron and levites have been identified by DNA tests, trained, and are rehearsing and doing test runs, on the wings, waiting to resume Temple worship and animal sacrifice, grain offering and the pouring of libations(drink offering) at a moment’s notice. Vigorous search is being made for the red heifer. Several have been identified but disqualified by a few strands of black or white hair. Recently a pure red heifer was found. Crowd funding is being used to raise money for the cloning of red heifers. When this is successful, there will be no lack of red heifers.
It is possible that an entire Temple may not be built, but only a tabernacles like structure that could be erected quickly to provide a place for worship and animal sacrifice, not unlike the temporary structure called the tabernacle which Moses erected in the wilderness. Greek scholars tell us that the Greek word used to describe the temple the antiChtist will desecrate at the midpoint of the 70th seven permits such a view. At any rate, a place of sacrifice is not necessarily a precursor to the 70th seven of Daniel, and in reality may not be built until shortly before the midpoint of the 70th seven of Daniel.