Perhaps the single best validation of the accuracy of the Biblical prophecies regarding the Last Days (besides the return of the Jews to Israel in 1948 and the coming Rapture of all believers), is the future building of the 3rd Jewish Temple. Why is this so important, perhaps even more so than the various wars to come (like the War of Gog and Magog); to earthquakes in diverse places; to famines; etc.? It can be argued that the Israelis have always been under attack and at war with their neighbors. There have always been earthquakes around the world. There have been famines since history began which have killed hundreds of millions of people. But, the rebuilding of the 3rd Temple is critical to prophetic fulfillment because it alone gives us a timeline TO THE EXACT DAY of Christ’s return!
But first, to put this all into a historical context, we need to better understand the role of the Jewish Holy Temple. There have previously been TWO Temples built and destroyed. It is NOW time for the THIRD and final Temple to be built.
- The first Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av in 586 BCE (see my previous post on the importance of the 9th of Av in Jewish history) by Nebuchadnezzar II and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It is believed that this Temple, the most ornate and grand facility, existed for approximately 410 years. It was originally constructed by Solomon, the son of King David, and it is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant (which held the 10 Commandments). Its location was on the Temple Mount (also known as Mount Zion and Mount Moriah) in Jerusalem, the exact site where Abraham bound his God promised son Isaac and attempted his sacrifice as instructed by God. It is probably regarded as the holiest site in the world, highly regarded by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
- The second Temple, also built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, was destroyed by Titus and the Roman Empire on the 9th of Av, 70 AD. Also known as Herod’s Temple, it did not quite match the majesty and construction of the original Temple and was built in 516 BCE when the Jews returned from their 70 year Babylonian captivity. As Jesus prophesied its coming destruction in Matthew 24:2: “And Jesus said unto them, ‘See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” approximately, 37 years BEFORE the Romans destroyed the Temple so that it would never be rebuilt, literally taking every stone off every other stone, Jesus Himself declared the destruction of the SECOND Temple!
The location of the Holy Temple is critical to the Jewish religion because it is the one place where daily sacrifices were made and once a year on Yom Kippur the high priest entered the holiest of holies (where the Ark of the Covenant resided) to ask God for forgiveness for the sins of the Jewish people. Without that temple ON THAT site, there could be no forgiveness. Therefore, as you can imagine, it is critical to the Orthodox Jewish community to rebuild the Temple so that their requests for forgiveness can resume. So why don’t they build it? There is one problem. Jewish law dictates it can only be rebuilt on the holy site of the previous two Temples. Today that site in East Jerusalem now houses the 3rd holiest site in Islam, the Dome of the Rock. Since the Jewish religion does not allow for desecration of another religion’s house of worship they can’t just tear it down. Even though Israel took control of Jerusalem in the 6 day war of 1967, for 50 years they have waited to be able to rebuild their Temple even with a majority of Israeli Jews wanting it rebuilt.
Without speculating what will cause the eventual destruction of the Dome of the Rock (it could be a war, earthquake or some other destructive force), the fact is the day is fast approaching when the site will be cleared and the Temple will be rebuilt there. Why do we even believe the Temple will need to be rebuilt in the Last days? Because to fulfill all Biblical prophecies, the Temple MUST exist during the Last Days in order for the sacrifices to be reinstated in the Temple so, according to prophesy, they will then again be stopped! Many believe that there will be a war (perhaps the war of Gog and Magog – see previous post) and this war will perhaps destroy the Dome of the Rock but more importantly, it will open the door for a global leader (the anti-Christ) to then write a 7 year peace covenant with Israel (aka the beginning of the Tribulation period), thus allowing Israel to go ahead and rebuild of the Temple and once again resume their daily sacrifices. This was prophesied by Daniel and indicates the Temple MUST exist in the last days for the other prophecies to be fulfilled:
“And he (the anti-Christ) shall make a firm covenant with many for one week (believed to be 7 years by most scholars): and in the midst of the week (3 1/2 years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one (the anti-Christ) that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.”
What we know is not only will the anti-Christ set up the peace covenant with Israel for 7 years (aka Tribulation period) which apparently allows for the rebuilding of the Temple and animal sacrifices to resume, but also mid-way through that 7 years (approximately 3 1/2 years) he will enter the Temple, desecrating it and demanding that he be worshipped as God, an act referred to in eschatology as the Abomination of Desolation.
“And forces shall stand on his (the anti-Christ) part, and they shall profane the sanctuary (Jewish Temple), even the fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt-offering, and they shall set up the abomination that maketh desolate.”
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea (Israel) flee to the mountains.”
When this occurs we can see through the Holy Bible that the Jews are told to flee “to the mountains.” Many believe through the remainder of the last half of the Tribulation period the Jews will be Divinely protected by God from the wrath of the anti-Christ in a location in today’s Jordan, perhaps the old town of Petra.
This all brings us to the main purpose of this post and that is the prophetic significance of the rebuilding of the Temple. We have seen it will be rebuilt in the last days; sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins will resume; it will then be desecrated by the anti-Christ demanding to be worshipped as God; that the Jews will flee Israel; but perhaps most significantly we are also told from THAT DAY when the anti-Christ enters the now rebuilt Jewish Temple and demands/commands that he be worshipped as God, EXACTLY 1,290 days are given to him. Since we also know Christ will return at His Second Coming at Armageddon and bind the anti-Christ for 1,000 years (the Millennium) we now know exactly the time period from the day of the Abomination of Desolation to the return of Christ!!!
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be A THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS (capitals mine).”
Fortunately, for believers in Christ, we WILL NOT see this occurrence or have to live through the remaining 3 1/2 years of hell on earth. Why? Because of the Rapture and the way He took Noah and Lot out of harm’s way BEFORE the destruction, God has promised us in1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
“”Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
It is because of this Promise by God and a firm personal believe in Jesus Christ that I will continue my efforts to “…comfort one another” with these words.