Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Building the Third Temple
The fact that the walls of the Haram esh-Sharif still contain some 10,000 stones prove these were not the walls around the Temple. The Romans broke down every wall, and removed every stone, not only of the Temple, but also of its walls. The incentive for this destructive act was not just vengeance, but the greed for gold which had melted down into the cracks as the Temple burned down. The Romans had no reason to destroy their own city because they were occupying it!
by HOIM Staff
The so-called Temple Mount, Jerusalem: It is such a tiny piece of property when considered globally. Yet it is the most sought-after and controversial piece of real estate the world has ever known. It is the most holy place of the Jewish religion. Christians claim it as significant to their own. Today, it is controlled by the Muslim faith which declares this area the third most holy site of Islam. It is a piece of property where construction, destruction, rebuilding, and yet more destruction have been witnessed over a long history, some of it peaceful, some of it bloody. And some think it is a site on which the world will be witness to yet more building in the days ahead as modern construction cranes move in for the building of the Third Temple. But, incredible as it may seem, this was NOT the site of YEHOVAH's Temples, but the site of the Roman garrison!
Where, Exactly, Were the Temples?
Ironically, the very place everyone thinks the Temples were, Haram esh-Sharif, is the least likely location. In New Testament times, this place was a Roman fort and a military camp called Fort Antonia. Most modern sketches of the Haram of the first century shows this fort at the northwest corner of the Haram, with the Temple on the Haram itself. However ancient witnesses reveal that the Haram WAS the fort -- and it was a large enclosed military camp, some 36 acres in area. There were smaller camps for the Roman soldiers in other parts of Herod's Jerusalem, but this was the main one. It was a miniature Roman city with its own administration, living quarters and temple structures. The elevated central rock was used as a platform for public functions by the governor, and Pontius Pilate used it during his stay at Jerusalem during the Passover week of A.D. 31, and the Messiah appeared before him. That was why the Christians built a Church over it in Constantine's time.
The fact that the walls of this fort still contain some 10,000 stones dating back to the time of Herod prove these were not the walls around the Temple. The Romans broke down every wall, and removed every stone, not only of the Temple, but also of its walls. The incentive for this destructive act was not just vengeance, but the greed for gold which had melted down into the cracks as the Temple burned down. The Romans had no reason to destroy their own city because they were occupying it. In fact, the Roman legions left Jerusalem only in 289 A.D.!
Writes T. V. Oommen:
"The Old Testament and other sources reveal that underneath the Temple was a source of spring water from a natural spring nearby, the Gihon Spring (mentioned by this name in 2 Chron. 32:30, probably named after one of the four rivers flowing out of the Garden of Eden; the Temple itself was God's abode, like the Garden). The location of this Spring is seen on ancient maps of Jerusalem, and is shown below in relation to the Haram. It was over 1,000 ft south of the present Dome of the Rock. There is no other natural spring in a five mile radius of Jerusalem. King Hezekiah built a tunnel to bring the waters of the Spring to David's City (2 Chron. 32.30), and the waters exited at Siloam Pool. The Temple was built above the Spring so that the water could be drawn up for purification purposes. The Gihon spring is mentioned by other ancient writers such as Aristeas, Philo and Tacitus. Nehemiah's Water Gate (Neh. 12) was directly opposite to the Spring" (The Real Site of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem).
A Future Third Temple?
This being said, how do we know there will be a Third Temple reconstructed in the days ahead? Some people point to Daniel 9:27 believing that it says the Antichrist will sign a seven-year covenant with Israel during the end-times. They also believe that in the midst of this seven year period, "the week" known as the "Great Tribulation," the Antichrist "shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate..."
Then, in II Thessalonians 2:4, we are told that the Antichrist, "who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." This act of proclaiming his own divinity, they claim, is the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by the prophet Daniel, and by the Messiah in Matthew 24:15.
Many of those who speculate in Bible prophecy believe a Third Temple will be built prior to the Messiah's appearance, while others claim it will be built after the Messiah arrives. A number of these prophecy buffs point to Ezekiel 40 through 48 and emphatically state that sacrifices will once again take place in the restored Temple. What is the truth? When will the Third Temple be constructed in Jerusalem -- if at all? And what is the PURPOSE of having another Temple in the first place?
Those whose intense interest is attracted by the Temple chapters of Ezekiel, see in the establishment of the state of Israel the re-erection of the Temple, as described by Ezekiel, along with its appropriate Jewish system of worship and sacrifices. This is a standard view held by authors such as Hal Lindsay, Tim LaHay and other writers who hold to the Dispensational view promoted by the Schofield Reference Bible.
No More Sacrifices:
Writes Jory Steven Brooks --
"It is a foundational premise of modern Dispensational Futurism that at the end of this age the Muslim Mosque of Omar on the temple mount in Jerusalem will be torn down by the Jews, who will rebuild their temple and reinstate animal sacrifices. Why such a thing would be part of God's plan and purposes has been widely questioned by theologians, since the New Testament tells us that Christ is 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world' (Rev. 13:8). Animal sacrifices are no longer necessary ever again, and are a component of the Old Covenant that was replaced by the New Covenant in this Christian era. The Apostle Paul specified that 'He does away with the first in order to establish the second' (Heb. 10:9, Weymouth). This was signified symbolically by the rending of the curtain of the temple at the time of the crucifixion (Mt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). There is no further need of animal sacrifices ever again" (Ezekiel's Temple and Sacrifices: When???).
If Ezekiel 40-48 is a prophecy of the Millennial Age IT MAKES VOID THE SOLE PRIESTHOOD OF THE MESSIAH (Hebrews 5), and foretells the resumption of an earthly priesthood and an endless succession of blood sacrifices for all manner of purposes and occasions, to effect what the Messiah as High Priest offering himself must therefore have failed to effect! The LAST NINE CHAPTERS of Ezekiel are NOT to be regarded as a forecast of what is to be -- but only as a conditional outline of WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.
What Might Have Been:
Explains Jory Steven Brooks --
"Scholars believe that Ezekiel's temple and sacrifices will never actually be realized; it was an offer from heaven during the captivities of Israel and Judah (6th century, B.C.) of what God WOULD HAVE DONE for His people at that time if they had immediately repented and turned back to Him. God WOULD HAVE cut short their captivity, brought all of dispersed Israel and Judah back to Canaan, allowed the building of a wonderful and truly unique post-exile temple (unlike anything before or since), and all 12 tribes WOULD HAVE been re-established in Canaan in newly redesignated tribal lands. But God's people DID NOT REPENT AND ACCEPT THE OFFER. It was refused! We read these wondrous chapters of Ezekiel today and ponder what COULD HAVE BEEN...." (ibid.).
While chapters 40 through 48 of Ezekiel do NOT refer to a Millennial Temple but to a Temple that MIGHT HAVE BEEN if the House of Israel had repented of their national sins and returned to YEHOVAH God after they were taken into Assyrian captivity, the FACT remains that there WILL BE a Temple in Jerusalem during the Millennium! This Temple -- WITHOUT the sacrificial system and ritual will be erected -- but for what purpose?
Why, Then, a Third Temple?:
We find a clue to this mentioned in Zechariah 2 and in various other places throughout the Old Testament -- notice!
"Sing, Jerusalem, and rejoice! For I HAVE COME TO LIVE AMONG YOU, says the LORD [YEHOVAH]. At that time [of the end] many nations will be converted to the LORD, and they too shall be My people; I WILL LIVE AMONG THEM ALL. Then you will know it was the LORD of Hosts [YEHOVAH] who sent me [Zechariah] to you....Be silent, all mankind before the LORD; FOR HE HAS COME TO EARTH FROM HEAVEN, FROM HIS HOLY HOME" (Zechariah 2:10-13).
So if YEHOVAH God is returning to Jerusalem at the beginning of the Millennium -- WHERE will He reside? "'I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; MY HOUSE [Temple] shall be built in it,' says the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 1:16). The Millennial Temple is to be built and engineered by YESHUA THE MESSIAH -- notice!
"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 [YEHOVAH]; yes, he shall BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and RULE ON HIS [the Messiah's] 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]" (Zechariah 6:12-13, NKJV).
Who is the "Branch" that Zechariah refers to here? In Jeremiah 23:5 we read the following:
"'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness..."
This clearly is a reference to the Messiah -- notice, now, what Isaiah says:
"There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a BRANCH shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD" (Isaiah 11:1-2).
The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God can only be established when the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God fills the Holy Place in the Millennial Temple. The Millennium will witness the reception of the Messiah by the united nation of Israel, and it will also witness the RETURN of the Shekinah Glory to the Holy of holies!
But the main point is that the very presence of YEHOVAH God returning to Jerusalem to reside among his people Israel require that the Israel people be worshipping in a rebuilt Temple in the days ahead.
Reinstituting Temple Worship?
The Ashes of The Red Heifer:
As would be expected, therefore, since we are indeed approaching the end of the age, there should be a growing interest in things concerning the Third Temple and Temple worship. And this is indeed the case. In recent years there have been a few archeological digs taking place in the area of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The search is for the ashes of the red heifer referred to in Numbers 19, which were used in a cleansing ritual after the Jews came in contact with the dead.
It is still true today that the ashes of the red heifer are required for cleansing and purifying the people of Israel for Temple worship -- and will be needed to cleanse and purify a new Temple itself.
The recent most popular archaeological digs for the ashes of the red heifer were independently conducted by Dr. Gary Collett, and Vendyl Jones, a former Baptist preacher who has since renounced his Christian faith.
Each of these men feel that they will be the one to discover the ashes of the red heifer since Jewish tradition declares that it will be a gentile who will be responsible for their discovery.
Also, apparently, red heifers without blemish are being bred today that can be used in the ritual of Numbers 19.
Unfortunately, many today believe that the Temple also needs a priesthood to perform the Temple rituals. Preparation for this is being undertaken by religious Jewish organizations preparing for the building of the Third Temple. Rabbi Nahamn Kahane of the Institute for Talmudic Commentaries and head of the Young Israel Synagogue spent many years compiling a computerized list of candidates who fulfill the requirements of a Temple priest. The Temple Institute located in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem has been training rabbis for the priestly functions in the rebuilt Temple. And rabbinical students in Jerusalem have been training for the ancient Jewish rites of sacrifice.
All this is in vain since the restored Third Temple will house -- along with YEHOVAH God's Shekinah Glory -- our High Priest and savior, Yeshua the Messiah! The Temple priesthood became obsolete when the Temple veil was torn in two allowing us access to the Holy of Holies and YEHOVAH God Himself following the death of the Messiah!
The Hebrew Language:
Another prophetic fulfillment required for Temple worship is the revival of the Hebrew language since 1920. Zephaniah 3:9-10 says, "For then will I restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord."
The Temple Treasures:
Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem have also been, for the past number of years, making vessels necessary for Temple worship. The Temple Institute is one such group and has on display many of the vessels already made. But the Temple Institute has not constructed all of the vessels that were in the First Temple because it is assumed that these items will be found in the near future, including the most famous of all Temple treasures, the Ark of the Covenant. It is unclear what Temple vessels will be retained for Temple use. However, those items concerned with the sacrificial system are now obsolete and will not be used.
The Ark and The Third Temple
Perhaps the most treasured item of the Temple is the Ark of the Covenant. Many religious Jews today anticipate its reappearance for the Third Temple. Some religious Jews even claim to know of its secret location.
But will the Ark be present for the Third Temple? After all, some conclude, it wasn't present for the Second Temple. According to Randall Price in his book In Search of Temple Treasures:
"The reason the Ark could not have been returned to the Second Temple when it was constructed by Zerubabbel may be understood from a review of the historical and religious context in which this Temple existed. During the time of Zerubabbel, Judah was under the authority of Persia; under Herod it was occupied by Rome. During both periods the Temple was never free from that threat of attack. In fact, during the latter era the Roman eagle insignia had been placed above the eastern gate of the Temple and various attempts were made to set standards bearing images of the emperor in the Temple precincts. In addition, many Jewish sects felt that a non-Zadokite priesthood and the political corruption of the high priesthood had desecrated the Herodian Temple. There was even a popular opinion that the Second Temple would soon be destroyed to make room for God's final and purified Restoration Temple. Under these political conditions, no Levite who knew the secret location of the Ark would have revealed it, nor would he have considered returning the Ark to its Foundation Stone platform within the Holy of Holies" (p. 105).
And consider that the main reason for the existence of the Tabernacle and the First Temple was simply to house the Ark, which aim was to manifest YEHOVAH God on earth. The Great Light of YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory was always pictured as hovering over the Ark of the Covenant in the First Temple. It seems plausible that the Ark will be present in the Third Temple, seeing as the same political conditions during the time of the Second Temple simply will not exist during the Millennium!
But was the Ark indeed missing from the Second Temple?
In Search of the Lost Ark
This, of course, leads us to the question, "Where was the Ark during the Second Temple period? And why was the Second Temple built, if the purpose of the Temple is to house the Ark?"
In 965 B.C. King David passed on the plans for the First Temple and Temple treasures to his son Solomon. Having successfully completed the Temple Solomon installed the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle and Temple vessels in 950 B.C.
According to Randall Price (In Search of Temple Treasures; pg. 71),
"Solomon's construction of the Temple and the Ark's placement within it marked a new beginning in the relationship between God and His people. The dedication of the Temple by Solomon was the high point of his spiritual career and a major transition in Israel's history. For the first time, the nation was at peace on every side.
"Once the Ark was brought into the Temple it was to remain there and all prayer was to be directed toward it from every place on earth (I Kings 8:30, 41-43; 2 Chronicles 6:20)."
But as was the usual case in the relationship between Israel and her God, Israel began to backslide. Her eventual punishment for her backslidings was the destruction of this First Temple. Price continues:
"Israel's last major turn upon the hinge of the Ark comes during the great civil war that divided the kingdom between the north (Israel) and the south (Judah). King Solomon's compromise with the religions of his foreign wives started the nation on this path of spiritual defection and decline (I Kings 11:1-28).
"It wasn't long before the Assyrians exiled the Israelites, leaving only the southern kingdom of Judah and the Ark. After the demise of the north, apostasy returned to Judah to inflict a greater desecration than Israel had ever known. The apex of this apostasy came with the reign of King Manasseh, who renovated the Israelite sanctuary according to a pagan design. Apparently this was done by removing all the temple vessels and replacing them with pagan idols, referred to in the biblical text as the 'abominations of the nations' (2 Kings 21:2; 2 Chronicles 33:2). The text implies that in the place of the Ark he put an image of the Canaanite fertility goddess Asherah (2 Kings 21:7; 2 Chronicles 33:7)...
"Josiah [Manasseh's grandson] was a godly king who sought to make spiritual and political reforms based on the Bible. He began by renovating and purifying the Temple that Manasseh had desecrated (2 Chronicles 34:8-33). As part of this necessary reform, he ordered the Ark returned to the Temple by the faithful Levites, whose job was to transport it whenever it had to be moved (2 Chronicles 35:3). This verse records the last mention of the Ark in the Old Testament; there is nothing but silence concerning its location from this point onward" (ibid., pp. 71-73).
The Omission of the Ark:
Some just assume that these items were destroyed or looted when the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple. But in accounts of this destruction (II Kings 25:8-9 and II Chronicles 36:19) the Ark is not mentioned among the items that were looted or destroyed. According to Price, "The omission of the Ark from any list of spoils would constitute a great contradiction to biblical history. For example, a previous account of the Philistine capture of the Ark warranted two entire chapters (I Samuel 5-6). It seems inconsistent at best -- if not impossible -- that the Ark could have been captured or destroyed by the Babylonians without any mention of the fact in Scripture.
"Second, it is clear from the lists of vessels taken that all of these items were later returned by the Persians (Ezra 1:7-11). They had kept an accurate inventory of these items and provided them to the Israelites in Judah for rebuilding the Temple. Such a careful accounting in the scriptural texts would certainly have mentioned the most famous object of all, the Ark" (pg. 86).
So for the most part it is considered that the Ark is still out there somewhere just waiting to be revealed.
The Prophet Jeremiah:
Some believe that the prophet Jeremiah may have had a hand in the disappearance of the Temple treasures and the Ark of the Covenant until an appointed time. Betty Lynn writes in Pathways to Armageddon and Beyond, for example,
"...the possession of Jordan [an event prophesied for Israel that is still to be fulfilled] could play an active part in restoring temple worship in Israel! For almost two millennia Israel has not had a proper temple, or a priesthood that could perform the rituals ordained in the law. This could soon change!
"The Amos 9:11, 12 passage previously noted describes the restoration of the tabernacle. It is interesting that this same prophecy also mentions the possession of the portion of Jordan called Edom. In this prophetic reference from Amos, it sounds as if God is going to 'resurrect' David's tabernacle. How does this relate to Israel's possession of Jordan?
"There is a mountain in Jordan called Nebo. The original tabernacle, the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense may have been hidden by Jeremiah on Mount Nebo prior to the Babylonian looting of the temple. This event is described in the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees. Although the books of the Apocrypha are not part of the Jewish or Christian canon, they do provide valuable historical information. Second Maccabees 2:1-8 tells us that the exact location of the original tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, and the altar of incense on Mount Nebo would be hidden until the "gathering of the congregation of his people." Again, God's regathering of His people in the land of Israel is the 'date stamp' for this significant reference.
"If Israel possesses Jordan, it could result in the return of the lost tabernacle and temple treasures to Jerusalem after 2500 years! Would it not be just like our God to restore Israel's temple treasures using His judgment of their original oppressor, Babylon? Would it not be just like our God to restore temple worship using an act of judgment which He describes as 'vengeance for His temple' (Jeremiah 50:28; 51:11)" (pp. 182-183).
A Secret Room?:
There are still others who believe that some time after the death of Josiah, and before the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians, the Levites hid the Ark in a secret room beneath the Holy of Holies of the First Temple. And it is believed that it remained there throughout the Babylonian captivity, the time of the Second Temple, and it remains there today. Many religious Jews are sure that the Ark of the Covenant is today hidden under the "Temple Mount" which is, of course, controlled by the Muslims and is, as we have just seen, NOT the site of the First and Second Temples.
Was the Ark Present in Herod's Temple?
There is considerable evidence to conclude that YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory was residing in the Temple during the Messiah's life. If the Shekinah Glory was present the chances are that the Ark -- the portal or channel of YEHOVAH's power in the previous Temples -- was also present in the Temple at this time.
What Ezekiel Saw:
Ezekiel the prophet saw both the DEPARTURE of the "Shekinah" and the RETURN in two distinct visions separated in time by a number of years. The visions that he saw -- of events that happened after his own death -- describe exactly the same "Shekinah" which he saw first in chapter ten and then afterwards leave the Temple in chapter ten. As we shall note, at the beginning of chapter ten the "Shekinah" was still in the Temple --
"The glory of the LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house [Temple]; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory ['Cavod YHVH']".
However, YEHOVAH God was making preparations to REMOVE the "Shekinah" from the Temple and then from the very city itself:
"And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight; when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the EAST GATE of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above" (Ezekiel 10:19).
Then, in Ezekiel 11:23, we read of the actual DEPARTURE of YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" from the MOUNT OF OLIVES --
"And the glory of the LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] went up from the midst of the city, and stood on the mountain which is on the east side of the city [Mount of Olives]."
From the Mount of Olives the "Shekinah" departed from this earth to later return to the Temple that was rebuilt under Zerubbabel, but before the arrival of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Herod's Big Scare:
The "Shekinah" remained in the Temple from this time through the enlarging of the Temple complex by Herod, and his subsequent improvements. This is borne out by a little known but awe-inspiring incident that occurred when Herod tried to tap into the tremendous wealth of King David's tomb in order to finance his grandiose plans to rebuild the Temple.
Writes Gary Arvidson:
"So, how was Herod able to finance this and other projects? Toward the beginning of his great work 'all their sacred treasures were exhausted.' We are told in this same context that people around the world sent an abundance of money for the Temple project. But there were other funds to be raised. And Herod found ANOTHER SOURCE!" (In Search of King David's Tomb, part 1, p. 27).
Arvidson goes on to say:
"What we are going to find is that Herod tapped David's sepulcher as a major resource for his great works...and as a consequence gained access to David's sepulcher to finance and decorate his empire. What had been amassed for the First Temple and laid aside by Solomon, was finally used for the Second Temple period" (ibid.).
The first-century A.D. Jewish historian and priest Josephus, records that "at this time he [Herod] opened the sepulcher by night, and went into it, and endeavored that it should not be known in the city, but took only his faithful friends with him" (Antiquities 14.7.1).
Then begins the most unusual account of all. Herod was determined to explore the multi-room structure of David's tomb to the limits. Suddenly, a great miracle occurred --
"However, he [Herod] had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go further in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon; WHERE TWO OF HIS GUARDS WERE SLAIN BY A FLAME that burst out upon those that went in, as the report was. So he was terribly affrightened, and went out, and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in; and this of white stone, at the mouth of the sepulcher..." (Antiquities 14.7.1).
The physical "Shekinah" put the fear of God in Herod and his surviving men and, frankly, scared them half to death!
YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory:
YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" remained in the Temple all through the life and death of the Messiah. This is clearly indicated by the words of the Messiah as he was dying on the tree facing the Holy of Holies of YEHOVAH's Temple across the Kidron Valley. Crying out in Aramaic he said, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" -- "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). While some of those standing by thought he was calling to Elijah, he was, in fact, calling out to YEHOVAH's Presence in the Temple! Mark records the same words. YEHOVAH's Presence in the Temple turned away from the horror unfolding across the valley on the Mount of Olives because the Messiah had to atone for the sins of mankind alone on the tree and also, we believe, because YEHOVAH God was overcome with compassion for His soon-to-be first-born Son.
When the Messiah cried out in anguish at the moment of death "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split..." (Matthew 27:51). This was the hand of YEHOVAH God in the Temple. At that moment He opened the Holy of Holies to all of us who wish to enter in and have fellowship and a relationship with Him. On the 14th of Nisan, 31 A.D. -- at exactly 3 pm -- the Lamb of YEHOVAH God was sacrificed on the tree after being stoned by the onlookers and passers-by. Through the sprinkling of the Messiah's blood -- as prefigured by the red heifer -- the angel of death can no longer claim us and we are set free from our slavery to sin and thereby able to enter into the Holy of Holies and fellowship with YEHOVAH God.
The Departure of the Shekinah Glory:
In the year 66 A.D. the Shekinah Glory was seen leaving the Temple and alighting on the Mount of Olives. Notice!
"There is also another reason why Christians in the first century were very interested in the Mount of Olives. This is because it was believed that the Shekinah Glory of God which supposedly dwelt inside the Holy of Holies at the Temple left the sanctuary and went to the Mount of Olives and hovered over that spot at the time of the Roman/Jewish War which ended in A.D. 70. The fact that the Shekinah Glory left the old Temple and migrated to the top of the Mount of Olives was an important event to Eusebius [church historian and scholar A.D. 260?-340?]" (Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. 1988: ASK Publications, Alhambra, CA. p. 83).
In Eusebius' book Proof of the Gospel we find this passage --
"Believers in Christ congregate from all parts of the world, not as of old time because of the glory of Jerusalem, nor that they may worship in the ancient Temple at Jerusalem, but...that they may worship at the Mount of Olives opposite to the city, whither the glory [the Shekinah Glory] of the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] migrated when it left the former city" (Book VI, Chapter 18 (288)).
According to Eusebius the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives during "the siege of Jerusalem" (66 A.D. to 70). However, Eusebius was not the only observer who mentioned that the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple before the destruction of the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives. A Jewish rabbi named Jonathan -- who was an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem -- said the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and for three and a half years
"abode on the MOUNT OF OLIVES hoping that Israel would repent, but they did not; while a Bet Kol [a supernatural voice from heaven] issued forth announcing, Return, O backsliding children [Jeremiah 3:14]. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you [Malachi 3:7], when they did not repent, it said, I WILL RETURN TO MY PLACE [Hosea 5:15] (Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations 2:11)" (Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. p. 84).
The Record of Flavius Josephus:
There was yet another writer who recorded the fact of the "Shekinah" presence of YEHOVAH God moving from the Temple in Jerusalem just before the war with the Romans. Josephus mentioned that in the Spring of 66 A.D. some astonishing events took place within the Temple. He recorded three miracles associated with YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" and the Temple -- and each one showed clearly that the "Shekinah" was departing from the Holy of Holies. In War VI, 290 he stated "that a GREAT LIGHT shone over the altar for thirty minutes at 3 o'clock in the morning (a week before Passover in A.D. 66) and then it DEPARTED. He said the sacred scribes interpreted this sign as a bad omen for the Temple. It was like the Shekinah Glory moving away from the Tabernacle in the wilderness as a sign to disassemble the Tabernacle and transport it to another location" (ibid.).
Josephus goes on to say that "a few days later (during Passover itself) the enormous brass gates of Nicanor, requiring twenty men to open and close them, opened at midnight of their own accord" (War VI, 293-295). This was also interpreted as showing a desolation coming upon the Temple. And then, in the summer, on Pentecost, the final sign was given which definitely showed that the Shekinah Glory was departing the Temple as the other signs indicated:
"Moreover, at the festival which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering the inner court of the Temple at nightfall, as their custom was in accomplishment of their ministrations, stated that they first became aware of a commotion and a roar, and after that the voice of a great multitude saying 'We are departing hence'" (War VI, 299).
When we couple Josephus' information with that of Rabbi Jonathan (also an eyewitness) we can see that the "Shekinah" went directly to the Mount of Olives and remained over the top of the mountain for 3 and 1/2 years -- from the Summer in 66 A.D. to about December of 69 A.D. -- some eight months before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans. It then went back to heaven and had not returned to earth up to the time he wrote.
These miraculous events had much more significance to the early Christians than may meet the eye today. Eusebius, as we have just seen, mentioned the importance of this removal of the Shekinah glory. It was clearly a sign that YEHOVAH's physical presence had departed from the Temple on the western hill of Jerusalem and had retreated to the MOUNT OF OLIVES on the EAST as the new place of His divine residence. This event of the "Shekinah" glory leaving the Temple and residing on the Mount of Olives became highly significant to the early Christians because this is the mountain where YEHOVAH God's holy "Shekinah" will RETURN in the near future -- as outlined in Zechariah 14!
The Fate of the Ark:
Since YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory was always coupled with the Ark of the Covenant in the history of the Israelites, it is not difficult to believe that it was present in the Temple when the Shekinah Glory left in 66 A.D. If this was the case, the Ark was either destroyed when the Temple fell, was hid somewhere before the Romans reached the Temple, or was taken by the Romans and moved to Rome with the other Temple treasures. However, the fact that the Ark -- the most prized of all the Temple contents -- is NOT shown on the Arch of Titus in Rome with the other Temple treasures, leads one to believe that it was either destroyed along with the Temple or spirited away by the Jews and hidden in some location.
The fact that YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory hovered over the Mount of Olives for 3 1/2 years before returning to Heaven could be an indication that the Ark was hidden somewhere in the vicinity. However, this is just conjecture and we will have to wait for the Messiah to appear before the Ark's location can be revealed.
What About the Other Temple Treasures?
The Temple Menorah:
In 1996 Israel's Minister of Religious Affairs, Shimon Shetreet, asked for the Vatican's cooperation in locating the gold Menorah from the Second Temple that was brought to Rome by Titus in 70 A.D. Shetreet claimed that recent research at the University of Florence indicated that the Menorah might be found among the hidden treasures in the Vatican's storerooms. This request was evidently met with silence.
So is the Temple Menorah -- along with the other Temple treasures -- residing in a storeroom in the bowels of the Vatican? Can we actually trace the movement of these priceless artifacts after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D.? Notice what Steven Fine says:
"The best-known evidence for the Temple Menorah in Rome is, of course, the monumental victory arch of Titus. This arch, completed in 81 C.E. after Titus' death, was just one of the many triumphal arches and monuments that once graced the center of Rome...The interior of the arch is carved with bas reliefs of Titus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on one side, the parading of the SACRED VESSELS OF THE JERUSALEM TEMPLE into Rome on the other. These include the Table for the Showbread, trumpets and, most prominently, the seven-branched Menorah of the Temple" ("The Temple Menorah -- Where is It?," BAR July/August 2005, p. 21).
What Josephus Records:
However, the Arch of Titus isn't the earliest reference to the Temple vessels in Rome. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus describes, in his work Jewish War, how a certain Jewish priest named Phineas handed over to the Romans "some of the sacred treasures" -- notice!
"Two menorot similar to those deposited in the sanctuary, along with tables, bowls, and platters, all of solid gold and very massive. He further delivered up veils, the high-priests' vestments, including the precious stones, and many other articles for public worship and a mass of cinnamon and cassia and a multitude of other spices, which they mixed and burned daily as incense to God" (6, 387-391).
Josephus also described the Temple vessels in his account of Titus' return to Rome from his Judean campaign and his ensuing triumphal procession:
"The spoils in general were borne in promiscuous heaps; but conspicuous above all stood those CAPTURED IN THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM. These consisted of a golden table, many talents in weight, and a Menorah, likewise made of gold...After these, and last of all the spoils, was carried a copy of the Jewish Law...Behind them drove Vespasian, followed by Titus; while Domitian [Titus' brother and future emperor] rode beside them, in magnificent apparel and mounted on a steed that was in itself a sight" (ibid.).
The Temple of Peace:
Josephus goes on to write that the Temple treasures were displayed in Rome following the procession. According to him they were displayed in the magnificent Temple of Peace -- constructed between 71 and 75 A.D. This temple, built by Vespasian to commemorate the Roman defeat of Judea, was later rebuilt by his son Domitian.
Evidently the Temple vessels were deposited and kept on view within Vespasian's Temple of Peace during the latter part of the first century. There are a number of traditions that preserve accounts of sightings of the Temple treasures in the city of Rome. In one example a mid-second century rabbi claimed to have seen the veil that covered the Ark of the Covenant. In another tradition the same rabbi is said to have witnessed the priestly breastplate worn in the Temple. Still another rabbi claimed to have seen the Menorah itself.
Writes Steven Fine, "these sightings have a reasonable chance of recording reliable history. The items mentioned could well have been viewed in Rome by these second-century rabbis...the external evidence from Josephus and from the Arch of Titus lend strong support for their historicity" ("The Temple Menorah -- Where is It?," BAR July/August 2005, p. 25).
So, in light of this evidence, are the Temple treasures still in Rome? One would tend to think that, in this more ecumenical age, the Vatican would have these vessels on display just as they do with so many fine Jewish manuscripts and artifacts. Where, then, might these treasures be?
As we have just seen, it is well known from the Arch of Titus and the description of Josephus that Titus took the Temple treasures to Rome after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. After parading them through the streets, he housed them in the Temple of Peace built by his father.
The Vandals Capture the Temple Treasures:
According to Procopius (Byzantine historian born at Caesarea in Palestine towards the end of the 5th century A.D.) and Theophanes (Greek chronicler and saint, 758-818 A.D.) the Vandals took the Temple artifacts from Rome to Carthage in the fifth century. Writing in his 1200 page Chronographia, an epic history of the period 284-813 A.D., Theophanes states that Gaiseric the Vandal,
"with no one to stop him, entered Rome on the third day after the murder of Maximus [the Roman emperor], and taking all the money and the ornaments of the city, he loaded them on ships, among them the solid gold and bejeweled treasures of the Church and THE JEWISH VESSELS WHICH VESPASIAN'S SON TITUS HAD BROUGHT TO ROME AFTER THE CAPTURE OF JERUSALEM. Having also taken the empress Eudoxia and her daughters, HE SAILED BACK TO AFRICA."
Compelling, unequivocal evidence now places the Temple treasures on a ship to Carthage in 455 A.D.
Enter General Belisarius:
Then, in 533 A.D., the Byzantine empire -- under General Belisarius -- managed to retrieve the Temple treasures from the Vandals and return them to the "new" Rome. This was during the time of the emperor Justinian, and the "new" Rome was, of course, Constantinople, to which the Temple artifacts were transferred.
Temple Treasures in Constantinople:
The return to Constantinople of General Belisarius was met with great pomp and fanfare. North Africa was once again under Roman control and Justinian's court historian, Procopius, reveals the emperor's eagerness to mark this great occasion for posterity:
"Belisarius, upon reaching Byzantium with Gelimer and the [captured] Vandals, was counted worthy to receive such honors, as in former times was assigned to those generals of the Romans who had won the greatest and most noteworthy victories. And a period of about 600 years had now passed since anyone had attained these honors, except, indeed, Titus and Trajan, and such other emperors as had led armies against some barbarian nation and had been victorious. For he [Belisarius] DISPLAYED THE SPOILS and slaves from the war in the midst of the city and led a procession which the Romans call a 'triumph,' not, however, in the ancient manner, but going on foot from his own house to the hippodrome and then again from the barriers until he reached the place where the imperial throne is" (Wars, 4.9.1-3).
This took place in 534 A.D. Procopius goes on to elaborate --
"And there was booty -- first of all, whatever articles are wont to be set apart for the royal service -- thrones of gold and carriages in which it is customary for a king's consort to ride, and much jewelry made of precious stones, and golden drinking cups, and all other things which are useful for the royal table. And there was also silver weighing many thousands of talents and all the royal treasure amounting to an exceedingly great sum (for Gaiseric had despoiled the Palatium in Rome...), AND AMONG THESE WERE THE TREASURES OF THE JEWS, WHICH TITUS, THE SON OF VESPASIAN, together with certain others, HAD BROUGHT TO ROME AFTER THE CAPTURE OF JERUSALEM" (Wars, 4.9.4-6).
The Jewish Warning:
Theophanes would later confirm Procopius' report of the Temple treasures' presence in Constantinople. According to Joan Taylor "Procopius then tells a remarkable story. After the great triumphal procession through Constantinople in which THE TEMPLE TREASURES WERE EXHIBITED, a certain Jew approached one of the imperial retinue and warned that unless THE SACRED ITEMS were 'in the place where Solomon, the king of the Jews, formerly placed them,' terrible things would happen to the possessor, as had happened to the Romans, and subsequently to the Vandals. When Justinian heard this word of doom, 'He became afraid and quickly SENT EVERYTHING TO THE SANCTUARY OF THE CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM'" ("Temple Treasures Stored in Jerusalem," BAR January/February 2008, p. 54).
Temple Treasures Arrive Back in Jerusalem:
So where in Jerusalem did the Temple artifacts from the Second Temple finally end up? There are several possibilities. Sean Kingsley asks the same question -- and gives a possible answer! Notice!
"We left the Temple treasure with Justinian in sixth-century AD Constantinople. Procopius had revealed that an anonymous Jewish courtier had just spooked the Byzantine emperor with a worrying revelation: every civilization possessing the treasure since AD 70 had crumbled -- the Jews of Israel, Rome, and finally the Vandals. Justinian, a great student of the enduring life force of antiquity, dispatched the golden candelabrum, Table of the Divine Presence, and silver trumpets back to the sanctuaries of the Christians in Jerusalem. The treasure had come home, but when and where?" (God's Gold: A Quest for the Lost Temple Treasures of Jerusalem. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY 2007, p. 280).
Church of the Holy Sepulcher:
Kingsley goes on to say that the arrival of the Temple relics back in Jerusalem was not met with any fanfare. Evidently the repatriation of the Temple treasure to Jerusalem was a double-edged sword for the city's patriarchs -- which reflected a very real antagonism between Church and State. However, the patriarchs reluctantly adhered to Justinian's imperial prerogative and, in all likelihood, locked the Temple relics away in a deep recess of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
But there is another possibility!
The Nea Church:
In the article The Nea Church: Were the Temple Treasures Hidden Here? author Joan Taylor explains that "at first, it may seem like the fertile imagination of a novelist -- that the Temple treasures were hidden in a church. And I can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were. But the suggestion has plausibility, buttressed by some fascinating history and impressive archaeological remains" (BAR, January/February 2008, p. 51).
Continuing, Taylor relates that Procopius described a massive church built by emperor Justinian at the height of the Byzantine Empire in the sixth century A.D. Strangely, and unlike any other church in Jerusalem, it was NOT built on any site of Biblical significance. Justinian named it the "New Church of Mary, the Mother of God" -- commonly known as the NEA (Greek for "New").
Similarities to Solomon's Temple:
Then Taylor, in her article, outlines some fascinating similarities between Justinian's church and Solomon's Temple! Notice!
"Without a rationale for its existence as a commemorative site, the Nea itself is SOMEWHAT OF A MYSTERY. When it was consecrated on November 20, 543 C.E., it was the LARGEST Christian structure in the city and the center of an entire complex, including a hospital, hospice, library and monastery. Procopius describes its wonders in detail. The STONES, he says, were gigantic (as in another structure not far away, THE JERUSALEM TEMPLE, that the Romans had destroyed). In order to make room for the church, a MASSIVE ARTIFICIAL PLATFORM, or podium, was created, supported by huge vaults...
"The roof of the Nea, Procopius tells us, was built of incredibly TALL CEDARS, undoubtedly from Lebanon. Solomon, too, USED CEDARS FROM LEBANON TO BUILD HIS TEMPLE (1 Kings 5:8-11). And so did Herod.
"The Nea's GREAT AND NUMEROUS COLUMNS, Procopius says, were like flames of fire, perhaps like the HALL OF COLUMNS IN SOLOMON'S PALACE..." (ibid., p. 52).
Then, in her article, Taylor points out something decidedly odd -- "Then Procopius writes something odd: TWO OF THESE COLUMNS STAND BEFORE THE DOOR of the church, exceptionally large and second to no column in the whole world! It is impossible not to be reminded of the TWO COLUMNS at the entrance to Solomon's Temple, JACHIN and BOAZ (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Chronicles 3:17)."
Procopius also makes much ado about the approach to the Nea, stating that one first enters a narrow colonnaded stoa (a kind of narthex) followed by a court with columns on all four sides -- there being a clear division between this outer court and the inner sanctuary. "This sequence seems to reflect the entry to Solomon's Temple -- a portico ('ulam) with two columns (Jachin and Boaz), followed by a large hall (heikhal) and then the inner sanctuary (debir) (1 Kings 6)" (ibid.).
This structure -- 375 feet long and 185 feet wide -- was the largest church EVER built in the Holy Land and was seen as a kind of NEW TEMPLE! It is not surprising, therefore, that according to a Jerusalem lectionary (church lesson) from circa 700 A.D. the entire Old Testament Book of Kings -- which is concerned with royalty and Solomon's Temple -- was read aloud at the Nea every year on August 3.
Temple Treasures in the Nea Church?:
Could the Nea, then, have been built by Justinian as a NEW TEMPLE to house the Temple treasures taken to Constantinople after Justinian's Byzantine Empire vanquished the Vandals who had previously removed them from Rome? "If the Nea Church was so gigantic and spectacular and reminiscent of Solomon's Temple (as described by Procopius and confirmed by archaeology), it would surely have been a fitting place for the storage of the Temple treasure, at least until the Persians invaded Palestine and captured Jerusalem in 614" (Joan Taylor, "The Nea Church," BAR January/February 2008, p. 54).
When the Persians captured Jerusalem they -- and their Jewish allies -- targeted the Nea Church, destroying much of it and killing the clergy. Did they have advance intelligence that the treasures from the Second Temple were hidden there -- and did they find them? If not, the golden candelabrum, the Tables of the Divine Presence -- along with the silver trumpets and other vessels -- may still be resting in some secret location in the foundations of the Nea Church!
So there you have it -- TWO possible choices for the whereabouts of the Temple treasures from the Second Temple. Once again, we will have to wait for the Messiah to reveal the true location of these artifacts.
Two monumental events took place in Israel in 1967 and in 1981 that dashed the hopes of religious Jews who were sure the messianic age was about to be ushered in. "For religious Jews concerned with the national and spiritual redemption of Israel," writes Price, "these two tragedies are enshrined in infamy. The first was the loss of control of the so-called Temple Mount in July of 1967, and the second was the loss of access to the underground Temple Mount Gate in July of 1981...
"In 1967, the feeling of tragedy was mixed with betrayal as Defense Minister Moshe Dayan removed control of Judaism's most holy site from Rabbi Shlomo Goren and returned it to the Wakf (the Islamic authority). The Temple Mount had been captured from the Jordanian forces only a month earlier during the final days of the Six-Days War...[Dayan] announced that it had been given back to the Muslims as a gesture of peace...
"In 1981, Rabbi Goren again felt betrayed by an Israeli government official. This time it was Joseph Berg, who allowed Muslim Arabs to force a conflict within Goren's secretly excavated tunnels beneath the Temple Mount. The ensuing melee resulted in the permanent closure of the dig, an excavation that Goren had proclaimed would lead to the greatest discovery of all time, the Ark of the Covenant" (In Search of Temple Treasures, p. 159).
The Warren's Gate Affair:
The discovery was at Warren's Gate. In July 1981 Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz, chief rabbi of the Western Wall was constructing a new synagogue behind the Wall that would face what they believed to be the Temple Mount. While the construction was going on, workers accidentally discovered Warren's Gate and an open area behind it that they believed to be from the First Temple period.
Rabbis Goren and Getz put together a clandestine crew of ten men for an unofficial dig under the Haram. Those involved claimed that they were maybe about one-and-a-half years away from reaching the surface of what they considered to be the Holy of Holies area and the Ark of the Covenant.
But word of the clandestine operation leaked somehow and a group of Arabs entered the tunnels in a rage.
In an effort to appease the Wakf the Israeli government sealed off Warren's Gate with steel and plaster, denying, according to religious Jews, access to where they thought the Ark was. Gershon Salomon was one of the ten men involved with the secret dig under the Haram. He is also the head of The Temple Mount Faithful which created a stone-throwing riot by the Muslims in 1990. One of the TMF's goals is to lay the cornerstone of the Third Temple which it was supposedly going to attempt to do in 1990. Gershon Salomon told This Week in Bible Prophecy in July 1993,
"We know very well that the underground floors of the Second Temple are still existing today under the ground of the Temple Mount. We know that the Ark of the Covenant from the First Temple, which was hidden by the priests before the destruction of this First Temple, is still under the ground of the Temple Mount in a secret place. We know where it is. It is the same case with the Menorah, the seven candles from the wilderness which was hidden also before the destruction of the First Temple."
Unfortunately, once again, since the so-called Temple Mount was NEVER the site of either the First or Second Temples the Ark, if still in existence, will NEVER be found at this location!
The Great Divide
There is no question that denying religious Jews access to the so-called Temple Mount has created a great rift between them and their government. According to the American-born founder of The Temple Mount Yeshiva, Rabbi Baruch Ben-Yosef
"The secular state has lost its legitimacy and its right to represent the Jewish people for denying us our natural rights to pray there, to serve God on the Temple Mount, and, of course, to rebuild the Temple...The Arabs have no rights to the Temple Mount and one day they will find themselves out with their mosques off the Temple Mount in Mecca or somewhere else" (as quoted by Adnan Husseini in an interview with Ulf Carmesund; Sept. 1991; Two Faces of the Expanding Jewish State: A Study on How Religious Motives Can Legitimate Two Jewish Groups Trying to Dominate Mount Moriah in Jerusalem; pg. 86).
Problems With the Peace Process:
This great divide has grown wider with the peace process. Gershon Salomon told This Week in Bible Prophecy that religious Jews have a big problem with the government giving away land for peace. "We believe that the Land of Israel was given to us by God forever. We are not allowed to divide it, to give parts of it to other nations. This country was given to us completely, and I believe that in the close future Israel will live in the borders which God painted for them in the Bible. This is the only Land in which God painted its borders. We are not allowed to change them. Because we shall break the Word of God."
Illegal Terrorist Groups?:
And perhaps the final clincher, cementing the acrimonious relationship between the national and spiritual elements of Israel came in the mid-1990s. Randall Price explains:
"In March 1994 an unprecedented closing of the Western Wall (the only remnant of the Temple Mount accessible to Jews) followed an Arab stoning at the wall. The latter event was in response to the Hebron mosque shooting that took place on Feb. 25, 1994. This closure was the first-ever attempt by the government to restrict the religious rights of all Israelis at the Temple Mount...
"After closing the wall, the government restricted the right of Jewish worshippers to carry arms. Perhaps the final blow came when the government later declared that all 'Arab-hating groups' were illegal and placed them on par with militant Islamic groups. These Jewish religious groups were branded as 'terrorists' because their objectives 'include the establishment of theocracy in the biblical Land of Israel and the violent expulsion of Arabs from that Land.' Under this definition, such groups as Kach, Kahane Chai, the Jewish Defense League, the Temple Mount Yeshiva, and the Temple Mount Faithful are now illegal terrorist organizations" (In Search of Temple Treasures, pp. 305-306).
Awaiting the Messiah
It is believed by some religious sects of Jewry that it will be the Messiah himself who reveals where the Ark and other Temple treasures are hidden, and that the construction of the Third Temple is paramount to the revelation of the Messiah and the Ark.
The Truth Will Be Revealed:
Such events would obviously have a profound effect on the world. First of all, the Jewish people -- and most of the rest of the world -- will be astonished to learn that the so-called Temple Mount in Jerusalem is, in fact, the site of Fort Antonio which housed the 6,000 troops of the Roman Tenth Legion, and that the actual Temple site is some 600 feet to the south in the City of David and over the Gihon Spring!
As a result, the Muslim world would no longer have any reason to protest Jewish access to the Haram since it would no longer have any importance to an enlightened people of Israel.
Secondly, it would be seen as the time of Israel's redemption. "In a paper entitled 'Waiting in the Wings,'" writes Price, "which was distributed all over Israel, the appeal was made to give the Messiah the signal to come. The article, in part read:
"'We must show him we want him with all our heart. He is ready. He is just waiting for the signal from us. Moshiach is waiting in the wings. He is ready. When he comes the curtain will rise on the most magnificent stage set we could imagine -- world peace and disarmament, glory and honor for the Jews, the end of strife and jealousy. We must show him through our good deeds, through our tangible anticipation, through our longing for him, that we are ready" (ibid., pp. 208-209).
Time for the Third Temple:
And it is expected it would usher in a time in which Jerusalem will be the spiritual center for all the world. "We believe," says Gershon Salomon, "Jerusalem must become not only a capital of Israel, but an identical capital of Israel, and at the same time, the city of God, the spiritual city for the people of Israel and then for all the nations...
"This is the time, again, to build the Third Temple. Not only for us, but for all the nations, exactly as the prophet Isaiah said. My house will be a house of praying for all the nations."
And indeed, this was the vision for the Temple and the Ark since Solomon built the First Temple. I Kings 8:39-43 tells us:
"Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
"That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
"Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;
"(For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm:) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
"Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name."
New Age of the Antichrist?:
Some believe, however, that the descriptions of the messianic age given by many religious Jews today sound instead like the prophesied new age of the Antichrist! Indeed, many descriptions of the Messiah given by Messianic Jews, such as the Lubavitchers, seem to sound more like the Antichrist, not the Messiah as "Christians" know Him. Randall Price observes:
"The Lubavitcher promotion of a coming messiah who will be a strictly human, non-miracle-working Jewish leader has opened the field for many such messianic candidates. The Lubavitchers are preparing the Jewish world to accept as messiah whoever is instrumental in bringing about the erection of the Third Temple...
"Rabbi Manis Friedman, interviewed by University of Maryland professor Susan Handelman in the Hasidic journal Wellsprings, reveals the Lubavitcher opinion:
"'If he goes on to build the Temple and gather all Jews back to Israel, then we will know for sure that he is the Moshiach. Moshiach comes through his accomplishments and not through his pedigree. Maimonides says that once he builds the Temple and gathers the Jews back to Israel, then we will know for sure that he is Moshiach. He doesn't have to say anything. He will accept the role, but we will give it to him. He won't take it to himself. And his coming, the moment of his coming, in the literal sense, would mean the moment when the whole world recognizes him as Moshiach...that both Jew and non-Jew recognize that he is responsible for all the wonderful improvements in the world: an end to war, an end to hunger, an end to suffering, a change in attitude.'
"This new Jewish concept of the messiah, then, is that of a mortal man and a leader with sufficient charisma to capture and command the admiration of the world -- if not its devotion. He will be recognized not by his lineage (as the biblical Messiah -- a descendant of the Davidic dynasty), but by his acts of global significance" (In Search of Temple Treasures, pp. 209-211).
While this could be a reason for some concern, the fact is the Messiah was fully human -- born from human parents, Joseph and Mary -- not some pre-existent divine figure as some imagine!
The Lubavitchers are wrong, however, in not recognizing the Messiah's pedigree or lineage. In the Old Testament the Jews are given various clues as how to recognize their Messiah. One of these prophetic points is that he will be from the seed of David. The New Testament, while frowning upon the study of genealogies, gives great detail about the genealogy of the Messiah.
The Messiah did say to the Jews, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not" If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5:43)
The views of the Messiah vary amongst the different Jewish sects. However, they all seem to point to the false Messiah who is about to make his appearance in the world. The deception will be so great in the world at that time that the "Antichrist" will fit every one's expectations, for a while anyhow. The Antichrist will have something for everyone.
Something for Everyone
Removing the Veil:
It is difficult to know exactly how some things will come into being in the future. We can ponder and speculate how things will be, but our concepts may prove to be wrong when the actual biblical fulfillment takes place. For example, as things are right now, it would seem impossible for there to be a Third Temple constructed in Jerusalem when nobody knows the true location of the past Temples! But we do know from the prophetic Word that there will be a Third Temple. It appears that we will have to wait for the arrival of the Messiah to remove the veil that prevents the Israelites from knowing the truth.
As a result, many today believe that the existing Dome of The Rock and the Mosque al-Aksa will have to be moved in order to accommodate the Third Temple. Gershon Salomon, for example, told This Week in Bible Prophecy,
"I believe this is the will of God. It [The Dome of the Rock] must be moved. We must, you know, take it from the place. And today we have all the instruments to do it, stone by stone, very carefully, and then to put it in a package and mail it back to Mecca, the place from where it was brought. Those two buildings, the Mosque al-Aksa and The Dome of The Rock are symbols of Arab imperialistic occupation. Even if it was done before one thousand and three hundred years, it is still an imperialistic act against the will of God and the history of the most holy place of the Israeli people and other nations. It must be moved. You ask me how? I can answer very shortly. And even that answer must be long. God is together with Israel now. We must trust God. You know we trusted him in the short history of Israel, forty-five years, seven wars; a little minority against a big majority. People ask how can you do it. We did it. God did it. So as long as God is the general of the Israeli army, believe me, it will be very simple to move those two buildings. Together with God, we shall always be the majority."
Yes, YEHOVAH God is the general of the Israeli army but Salomon and others will have to wait until YEHOVAH God and the Messiah return to see their dream of a Third Temple realized. A description of the Temple is given in Revelation 11:1-2 --
"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 it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months" [three-and-a-half years].
A Channel for YEHOVAH's Power:
Somehow, as well, the Israelites will believe that the Ark of the Covenant fits the same bill as it did during the days of Moses and King David. It was a channel for YEHOVAH God's power and its aim was to manifest YEHOVAH's presence within Israel. "On earth," writes Randall Price in In Search of Temple Treasures, "the Ark was the place where God's glory was displayed as a pillar of fire by night; where Moses, Aaron, and Joshua heard God's voice; and which served as the symbol of God's power in warfare. If these divine deeds were associated with the Ark in Israel's early days, then perhaps the call to remember them in latter days when Israel once again becomes a nation may imply the Ark's reappearance at that time" (pg. 319).
Interestingly, the Ark displayed YEHOVAH's glory through a pillar of fire at night. Perhaps this is why, in an effort to duplicate the power of the true God, the False Prophet calls fire down from the heavens. In Revelation 13:13-14 we read of the False Prophet:
"And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
"And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and did live."
Events That Must Transpire
Before the Third Temple can be constructed in Jerusalem, a number of momentous events must unfold to make it possible:
1) The Messiah must first return to Jerusalem.
2) The true location of YEHOVAH's previous Temples must be revealed.
3) The great hoard of gold and silver buried with David and Solomon must be rediscovered and retrieved in order to finance the construction of the Third Temple.
4) The ashes of the previous red heifer must be uncovered so that the new Temple can be purified for the return of YEHOVAH God's Shekinah Glory.
5) The Ark of the Covenant must also be uncovered and placed in the Holy of Holies prior to YEHOVAH's return.
6) The Temple treasures relevant to the Third Temple will be discovered.
When these events occur -- and only when -- will a new Temple arise in Jerusalem to usher in the Millennial Sabbath.
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God Here On This Earth!
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