“Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:31)
Despite the Muslim community working diligently to deny the very existence of an historic link between the modern Jewish state and ancient Judea, work continues toward a Third Temple, including the creation of Temple vessels and the training of the Levites, who are appointed for Temple service, and Kohanim (Priests).
In order to deny the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount, even the slightest evidence of the First and Second Holy Temple is routinely covered or destroyed by the Jerusalem Islamic Authority, the Waqf.
The Waqf, which is in control of administering the site, has dug up and dumped ancient and priceless remains of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) in a public land fill, with no concern for the millennia of artifacts they are destroying in the process.
Since the Israeli government gave control to the Waqf in 1967, the Waqf, in cooperation with Israeli police, has effectively barred Jews and Christians from worshiping on the Mount, sometimes even banning their access to it.
Even though the Israeli government allows the police to enforce this unjust practice, Jews pray daily, “May it be Your will that the temple be speedily rebuilt in our own time.” They have done so ever since the destruction of the last Jewish Temple by the Roman general Titus in AD 70.
In recent years, several organizations have married their prayer with action.
According to Chaim Richman, the director of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, whose headquarters is a short distance away from the Western Wall in the Old City, a “Temple in waiting” has essentially already been created.
“The Temple Institute is actively engaged in the research and preparation of the resumption of service in the Holy Temple to the extent of actually preparing operational blueprints for the construction of the Temple according to the most modern standards,” Richman told CBN News’ Chris Mitchell.
Indeed, the Institute has already created over 60 sacred Temple vessels that will be needed for worship in the coming rebuilt Temple.
The High Priest’s breastplate containing the 12 precious stones of the tribes of Israel, and the musical instruments of the Levitical choir are also ready. In addition, the Institute prepared the priestly garments.
These garments will adorn a new generation of Levitical Priests (Kohanim) who are already in training.
Kohen (literally Priest) is a status given only to Aaron (who was a Levite) and his descendants. Levitical priests, therefore, are those Jews who mark their ancestry back to the tribe of Levi and are descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Today, Cohen is a common Jewish last name and indicates a possible connection to the bloodline of Aaron.
While the Kohanim were charged with sacrificial duties, those Levites who were not descendants of Aaron were charged with caring for the Temple as well as its vessels and furnishings.
It has been close to 95 years since Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Kook was reported in a British publication to have established Torat Kohanim, a yeshiva (school for Orthodox rabbinic studies) designed for the training of Levites to serve in a rebuilt Temple.
Training in Kook’s school was said to include participation in Temple sacrifices as in the First and Second Temples.
When questioned by a Jerusalem Zionist executive, the Chief Rabbi responded that his was essentially a Torah academy, but he acknowledged that the recent establishment of a Palestinian mandate to give Jews a homeland in the ancient Land of Israel revealed a Divine providence that allowed the improbable to become probable.
In other words, it was now possible that the Temple would be rebuilt since the Jews were returning to their land.
Closing his response in a hopeful vein, the Chief Rabbi wrote, “So, too, the day will come when all nations will recognize the truth of our rights to the Temple area. All will know and recognize that the prophetic vision regarding this holy place—that ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations’—will only come to pass when ‘this great, holy house’ will be established there, in the hands of its original, eternal owners, the people of Israel, G-d’s people from time immemorial. They and no other.” (Third Temple Academy)
School for Training the Third Temple Priests
In keeping with the tradition established by Chief Rabbi Kook to view with expectation God’s speedy fulfillment of His prophecies regarding the Temple, the Temple Institute along with the Third Temple Academy has begun such preparations for the Third Temple.
In 2009, a field school was built in Mizpe Yericho to prepare Kohanim (priests) and Levites for service in the Third Temple.
In 2010, uncut stones were collected from the Dead Sea for the construction of the Temple altar. Such pristine stones are believed to fulfill the injunction that such building material be free from contact with metal tools. (Deuteronomy 27:5)
The Third Temple Academy in Mitzpe Yericho is about a 20-minute drive from Jerusalem on the road that leads to Jericho and the Jordan Valley.
By building a replica of the Temple, the school has been able to give the priestly students a hands-on experience of Temple sacrificial worship.
Kohanim are also being trained to perform the regular Temple duties or the daily Tamid service that is performed in the Holy Temple.
In August 2013, an evening was set aside for the grand opening of the school with a semi-dress rehearsal covering the complete daily service.
Participants, some dressed in full priestly adornments, carried out the service step by step as prescribed through the Torah (Five Books of Moses), the Mishnah (rabbinical interpretations of the Torah) and other rabbinical writings.
“Despite the limited space and all the typical pressure that accompany first time efforts, the overall effect was spell-binding, as we witnessed a sacred ceremony, first described in Torah four thousand years ago, yet not attended to for two thousand years of exile, suddenly come to life before our very eyes. All at once, ancient texts and descriptions took shape as today’s descendants of Aaron, the first high priest and father of all kohanim, worked diligently to perform their assigned tasks,” a Facebook post stated.
Resuming the Giving of Offerings
In a truly exciting development since then, this Pesach (Passover 2015), the Kohanim in training completed an accurate, authentic re-enactment of the Korban Pesach (Passover offering). It is the first time in 2,000 years that this offering has been witnessed.
The Temple Institute video of the re-enactment shows the Kohanim in their white uniforms using sacred vessels. The uniforms, vessels and re-enactment were the result of decades of research.
In the picturesque Samarian hills near Shiloh, a lamb was inspected and its blood was passed from one Kohanim to another in silver vessels called mizrak.
“It is unconscionable and untenable that the Jewish people are prevented from conducting their Biblically-mandated Korban Pesach on Har HaBayis [Temple Mount] as required by Halacha [religious laws derived from written and oral laws].
“The Korban Pesach is the very essence of not only the holiday but also of our Jewish identity. We hope this video connects Jews worldwide to the true meaning of Pesach,” Rabbi Chaim Richman explains.
“We call on all of Israel to study and discuss the Korban Pesach and make it the central theme of their Seder. The concept of the Korban Pesach is synonymous with Israel’s bold stand against all forms of idolatry. Only by understanding the true nature of the Passover experience can we hope to fulfill our Divine calling to be a light to the nations and celebrate yomtov [festival] properly in the rebuilt Jerusalem,” Richman adds.
On the second day of Pesach this year, yet another great stride was taken in bringing back the service of the Holy Temple—a practice run for the bringing of the omer (barley offering) to the Temple, as mandated in Leviticus 23:10.
In the Third Temple, a small amount of omer will be offered on the altar, and the rest will be eaten by the Kohanim serving in the Temple.
The omer marks the beginning of the countdown to Shavuot (Feast of Weeks or Pentecost).
Richman says, “We have enough in place now to resume divine service and to build the Temple,” adding, “But obviously, a lot of things have to happen in order for this to happen.” (CBN)
Preparing for Purification in the Third Temple: The Red Heifer
Although the Temple vessels have been created and the priests are in training, there are some serious issues that need to be resolved before construction on a new Temple can begin.
One key element missing at the moment is the finding of a ritually pure red heifer, which is necessary to fulfill the command to use a red heifer as a means of purifying the altar (Numbers 19).
Such specimens must be without blemish and not even two of their hairs may vary in color.
Previous red heifers have been disqualified, including a New Jersey red heifer that became ineligible this year when it gave birth to a black calf. Pregnancy and the subsequent birth disqualify the cow.
Rather than wait for one to appear randomly in a flock somewhere on earth, the Temple Institute has begun a special red heifer breeding program that includes the implanting of frozen Red Angus embryos into domestic Israeli cattle. A crowdfunding campaign is underway to help fund it. To date, approximately $31,000 has been raised for this effort.
“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6–7)
Laying the Cornerstone of the Third Temple
“In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” (1 Kings 6:7)
A group called “The Temple Mount Faithful,” led by Gershon Salomon, has actually prepared the cornerstones for a new Temple, using diamond rather than steel cutting tools, so as to conform with the Bible injunction that no metal tool be used in the construction of the Temple—an edifice of peace.
The six-ton stones have been consecrated with water drawn from the Biblical pool of Siloam. For the last several years, Salomon and his followers have attempted to place these cornerstones on the Temple Mount but each time they have been stopped by the Israeli police.
Noting that the Temple must be rebuilt on the Temple Mount, Salomon said, “Unfortunately, weakness of the Israeli leadership did not allow us to bring the cornerstones to the right place. The end-time Temple should be built on the same location as the First and the Second Temple.”
But of course, that is the crux of the problem.
What is Judaism’s most holy site is Islam’s third holiest site, following Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
A Hadith (sayings about Mohammed) describes Mohammed as having embarked in a dream to meet with the other prophets of the Bible at what is described as being “the farthest mosque.” This is interpreted to mean Jerusalem and by interpretation, the Temple Mount.
Here he was reportedly taken up into the second heaven where he spoke with the angel Gabriel, Isa (Jesus) and Yahya (John the Baptist). Next, it says, he went to the third heaven where he met Joseph, and on to the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh having met such luminaries as Aaron, Moses, Abraham and God Himself.
At the present time, the Temple Mount (which in Arabic is referred to as Haram al-Sharif or the “Noble Sanctuary”) is home to both the gold-covered Dome of the Rock, which supposedly encloses the rock from which Mohammed is believed to have ascended to heaven, and the Mosque of Omar or Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Muslim claim of ownership to the Temple Mount site seems to make any Jewish attempt to build a Third Temple futile.
Daniel Predicts the End-Time Temple
Why would Temple vessels be created and Temple priests be trained in the face of such obstacles?
The prophets Daniel and Ezekiel as well as the apostle Paul make it quite clear that another Temple will be built, so the preparation of a modern-day priesthood is an act of anticipation and faith.
Verses that describe the End-Time Temple prepare us for this eventuality.
Daniel 9:27 explains that a covenant of one “seven” (seven years) will be made between a man of desolation and the people—a kind of peace treaty that allows the Jewish People to resume sacrifices and offerings. But at the three and a half year mark, everything will change.
“He will make a firm covenant with the many for one week [seven years], but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.” (Daniel 9:27)
To put an end to offerings presumes a Temple is in place.
But still, how could anyone convince the Muslim Waqf to build a Temple on the site where Muslims deny all Jewish rights or claims?
The apostle Paul gives us a clue when he wrote to the Thessalonians: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day [the Day of the Lord] will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4)
The man doomed to destruction is often referred to as the anti-Messiah, a man whom billions of people will follow during the time of peace right into three and half years of Jacob’s trouble, often referred to as the Great Tribulation.
We cannot stop this man from appearing or from demanding to be worshiped as God in the rebuilt Temple.
We can, however, prepare ourselves to recognize the signs of his appearing and to build ourselves and others up in the faith so that we will persevere through the persecutions that will run rampant during that time, even unto possible death.
While many believe a rapture will save Believers from this time of trouble, the reality is that tribulation is already here for millions of Believers facing death and destruction at the hand of Muslim radicals.
As Ruth Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, wrote in 1975, “I would rather prepare myself to go through the tribulation and be happily surprised by an unexpected rapture, than expect to be raptured only to find myself going through the tribulation. Perhaps not very scholarly way of approaching the problem, but true none the less.”
We can prepare to overcome tribulation and recognize false messiahs through Yeshua HaMashiach and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).
Through the Ruach, we will experience peace, hope, joy, and righteousness and be victorious in the face of persecution until the great Day of the Lord puts a final end to all persecution and suffering everywhere.
“Come, Adon Yeshua.” (Revelation 22:20)