A New Temple in Jerusalem Coming Soon?

'Jerusalem -- In recent months, the issue of Jewish access to the Temple Mount for prayer has been aggressively renewed by the Orthodox group Hai V'kayam.

'Under a Palestinian State, Jews would again be subject to the Muslim ban of 1267 C.E. that forbids them to enter the Temple Mount or go beyond the seventh step to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Now, as the 1996 date for the later phase of negotiation over the city's status approaches, the issue of the Temple Mount and the aspirations of those in the Temple Movement to rebuild the Temple have again taken center stage.

'Several new excavations have catapulted the Temple issue into focus. First, the Israeli Antiquities Authority recently mounted one of their most ambitious undertakings at the southwestern wall of the Temple Mount. At its base, archaeologists have uncovered important remains of the Second Temple, including early inscriptions and a later prayer for rebuilding it. They also revealed the remains of a large 1,300-year-old Umayyad dynasty Islamic palace next to the site, which was constructed of stones from the destroyed Temple. At present, the Antiquities Authority is dismantling this palace to expose other Temple-related structures and the Herodian period street that lies beneath....

'...this spring Gershon Salomon, head of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement, issued a letter to supporters stating that excavations would soon begin in order to recover the Temple Treasures, which include the Ark of the Covenant, believed by the Orthodox to still remain hidden beneath the Muslim structures....

'A second excavation provoking controversy is on Mount Gerazim, at the foot of which lies the Islamic-occupied city Nablus (biblical Shechem). There, for the first time in history, an exact replica of the Temple in Jerusalem has been discovered by Israeli archaeologists. Guided by the record of the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, an excavation team under the direction of Yitzhak Magen, Israel's chief archaeologist for Judea and Samaria, unearthed the structure beneath the flooring of the Mary Theotokos church, a 5th-century C.E. Byzantine church first uncovered in the 1920s.

'According to Josephus, the replica temple was built by a Jerusalem high priest named Menashe, whose marriage to a Samaritan forced him to leave the Temple service and reside with the Samaritans. Menashe's Temple stood until 133 B.C.E. So far, the Temple's walls, northern gate, sacrificial altar, ritual remains and numerous inscriptions, have been uncovered. Like the Jerusalem excavations, this dig is being prepared for the increased tourism expected in 1996 with Jerusalem's [year] 3000 celebrations. The excavations are significant for Jews seeking to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple, since now an exact copy of the original Temple exists....

'In a related find, Temple researchers were excited by Shenkar Institute's discovery of a remnant of the priestly purple dye on a 2,000 year-old fabric from Masada. This color, though thought lost, was known to have been extracted from secretions of the murex snail. The presence of these secretions on the ancient fabric has provided scientific verification of the actual color, which those in the Temple Movement consider essential to the future restoration of the priestly service. Rabbi Ben Gershon, of the Temple Institute, said the find provides information necessary for reinstituting the sacred service.

'As a result of these excavations and their timely focus on the Temple Mount controversy, architects of the 'peace process' will be forced to first resolve the issue of the holy places in their 1996 negotiations' (The Messianic Times, summer 1995, article 'Temple dig ignites hostility,' Dr. Randall Price, p.1, 10.)

'The Temple was at the center of God's purposes with the Jewish people. As the place of God's Presence, it regulated the daily life of all Israel and was the focal point of its prayers. However, this changed in 70 C.E. when the Roman army destroyed the Second Temple. Thereafter, Jews in the Diaspora, and now in Eretz Yisrael, commemorate this day of sorrow by fasting and reading from 'Megillah 'Ecah' (the biblical book of Lamentations).

'Many Orthodox Jews look forward to a future celebration on this day with the physical rebuilding of the Third Temple. Gershon Salomon, leader of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement, has said that this Tisha B'Av (August 6) will be the last before the Temple is built and sackcloth will be exchanged for holy garments of joy...' (The Messianic Times, same issue, article 'The Temple Beyond Time,' Randall Price, p.11.)

Editor: The Bible makes it clear that all these efforts to build a Temple in Jerusalem prior to the return of the Messiah are in vain. In Zechariah 6:12-13 we read: "Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: Behold the MAN whose name is the Branch! From his place he shall branch out, and he shall BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and RULE ON HIS THRONE, so he shall be a PRIEST on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both [YEHOVAH God and the Messiah]."

The "Branch" here refered to by Zechariah is none other than the Messiah -- see Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Isaiah 11:1-2.

Every attempt to build a Temple in Jerusalem since A.D. 70, when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, has been twarted by YEHOVAH God. The only legitimate reason for building a Temple is to house the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God, and YEHOVAH will not descend to this earth until AFTER the Messiah has returned and commissioned the construction of a new Temple. For further information, read our article, The Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah.