First Temple called: HaBeit HaRishon
Second Temple : HaBeit HaSheni
Third Temple : HaBeit HaShlishi alluded to in Dan 9:27 and mentioned in Rev. 11:1-2
Fourth Temple : Millennial Temple HaBeit HaRavi’I Eze. 40:1-48:35
In Matthew 24, Yahshua outlined the future of the Tribulation Period, and one of the elements He described was the destruction of the Temple. He prophesized that the destruction of the Holy Place would be like that which occurred in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. He said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand:” Matthew 24:15. Of course for a Temple to be destroyed during the Tribulation period there has to be one built in our day and time. Today, we can clearly see that the rebuilding of a Jewish Temple has every expectation of happening. Such has not always been the case.
Christian commentators in the 18th and 19th centuries said that Yahshua was prophesying in AD 30 about the future siege and destruction of the Holy City in AD 68-70. John Gill, a famous Baptist scholar using as his source, and authority an apocryphal source 1 Maccabees 1:54, and quoted that in AD 70 the Romans armies set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and built idol altars, throughout the cities of Judah on every side.” So to most of these older Christian commentators, Mathew 24, or most of it was fulfilled in AD 70. This goes hand in had with Church Replacement Theology for there would be no need for a modern state of Israel and no need for a rebuilt Temple with a “holy place.”
We find the same minds at work today, espousing clever doctrines to pervert the clear word of G-d. Men who try to outthink or outmaneuver G-d, to invent scenarios bolstering their own agenda. One of the clues to such men is in their reliance upon spurious sources where they find foundations upon which to build their ungodly doctrines. I have found that usually men resort to this type of subterfuge in an effort to mask their anti-Semitism, their jealousy of Jewish people, and the standing and blessings in which G-d’s word holds them..
Such were many of the earlier Christian Commentators. Instead of relying on G-d’s Scripture these men viewing Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 in a world where there was no State of Israel perverted G-d’s clear word into and agenda of their own. There are many who would be apologetic for these men who had a huge hand in demonizing the Jewish people, I feel we should not excuse them but should take cognizance of their work and issue a warning that much of what has been taught may be tainted because of their lack of faith, intentional or unintentional, in the word of G-d.
Since 1948 and the existence of the modern State of Israel G-d has laid the groundwork for the literal fulfillment of Matthew 24:15 to be possible. Now even the shortsighted may see that prophecy concerning a future Temple can be the literal sanctuary of a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
However, even today there are commentators who deny the necessity for a rebuilt Temple, and most do not apply sound scriptural interpretation, whatever their motives. The guiding hermeneutic principle that we should all apply to Scripture can be summed up in the maxim: “We interpret the Scriptures in their most natural, literal sense, unless there is a compelling, contextual reason to do otherwise.” Applying this principle saves us from grave errors. Dissenters like Amillennialists often spiritualize the Scriptures to the point of absurdity in order to make their theories palatable, and to give them some sense of credibility, but Premillennialists such as myself and hopefully you take scripture literally, and there is little doubt that the natural, literal sense of these predictions and terms used points to a literal Temple.
The dissenters claim that the Western Wall holy to Jews meets the terms of scripture and that is where the anti-Christ will set up the abomination of desolation and not in a rebuilt Temple that has sacrifices.. But I have one question, how can the anti-Christ put and end to sacrifice and offering if there is no Temple?
Part of the reason many Christians object to a rebuilt Temple is because they feel it would be sacrilegious to again establish the Mosaic sacrificial system because all the sacrifices and offerings have found their ultimate and eternal fulfillment in Yahshua HaMashiach. I can agree with the fact that Yahshua was the ultimate and fulfillment of the Temple sacrificial system, but that does not preclude G-d shall not demand such sacrifices in the future for whatever reason.
The bible says very clearly that sacrifices will be offered in the future Millennial Temple Ezekiel 40:1-48:35 with a reinstituted sacrificial system that includes burnt offerings and sin offerings (43:13-27). The offering most notably missing in the Millennium is the fellowship or peace offering. Which spoke of restoring fellowship between G-d and mankind thorough the redemption brought by Messiah Yahshua.
It is sad that so many believers and commentators avoid the problem of the Millennium Temple and its restored sacrifices and offerings. Most of these retreat into a symbolic or allegorical explanation claiming that the Temple and the sacrifices are not literal. Others try to foster the problem of sacrifices and future off by claiming it is a different dispensation. The problem here again is less than astute reading of the scriptures. The Apostle Sha’ul, Peter, James and all the noteworthy early Jewish believers still worshipped at and gave offerings and sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, as long as it remained. Not only is this testified to in Scripture in Acts 24:5, but by the church “fathers” as late as AD 248 when Origen wrote Jewish believers continued to observe Jewish customs. Apparently the early disciples of Yahshua saw nothing wrong or sacrilegious about continuing to worship in the Temple or in observing Jewish customs. Anti-Semitic forces have labeled HaShem’s feasts, observance of days and moons as anti-Christian. However, The Apostle Paul designated as the architect of the church was not opposed to the observance of YHVH’s festivals and he sometimes arranged his schedule so that he could be in Jerusalem during the High Holy Days (Acts 20:16). These same forces label these feasts, etc. as Jewish, but they should be careful for they are not the Feasts of Israel, nor they Jewish feasts; the bible calls them the Feasts of YHVH. As to the Sabbath in Apostolic times, believers met every day in the Temple, and in their homes for prayer, worship, fellowship, and instruction (Acts 2:46; 5:42). They also observed Shabbat, but not in a legalistic way as proposed by Oral Law (Acts 13:14; 27; 42-44)) These dissenters who preach against the feasts and Shabbat as Jewish and not valid to NT believers should also note that Sha’ul’s habit was to attend synagogue every Shabbat wherever he was (Acts 17:2; 18:4).
By the second century we see a movement in the Gentile Church to cleanse itself of anything Jewish. It is ironic that in Acts 15 a council was convened by the Messianic Jewish leaders to lay down the conditions for Gentile converts to be accepted into Messianic Judaism and here in the second century Gentile leaders were laying down conditions for Jewish people to be accepted into the now largely gentile church. This anti-Judaic sentiment in the early church blossomed into full-blown anti-Semitism and gave rise to church replacement theology and at the council of Nicea, Emperor Constantine made the following pronouncement:
“We ought not to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Savior has shown us another way. And consequently in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews. How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Savior, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence as their delusion may urge them? It would be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people as the Jews. It is our duty not to have anything in common with the murderers of our Lord. (The Nicean and Post-Nicean Fathers, P. 54)
It was no mere oversight that 20 or so Jewish bishops who served as overseers of churches in the Middle East were not invited to join the other 318 bishops in Nicea in AD 325 when bishops met from all over the world came to formulate church doctrine. By deliberating excluding the Jewish Bishops this gave Gentile church leaders a free hand as they sought to complete the process of transforming the institutional church into a thoroughly Gentile Roman entity.
One of the reasons Messianic believers were less than welcome is that the Messianic Jewish believers were Premillennialists in theology. They believed and looked forward to a literal Jewish Kingdom in which Yahshua would serve as King (Romans11: 26-27)
As centuries passed and as anti-Semitism rose the Gentile church began to formulate and refine their theology until the view arose that the Gentile Church had replaced Israel as the People of G-d and that Israel would never be restored. Origen one of the most well known Eastern Church Fathers wrote in AD 248:
“If there is one fact that proves that Jesus was something divine and sacred. It is this; the Jews have suffered severe calamities now for a lengthened time on His account. And we say with confidence that they will never be restored to their former condition. For they committed a crime of the most unholy kind.” This is the heart of the notion where Christians, whether they realize it or not believe it would be sacrilegious or blasphemous to worship in a rebuilt Temple or to observe a feast day because thinking like this has it roots in historic anti-Semitism. The church will welcome a Jewish convert who becomes a Christian in appearance but will not welcome a Jewish convert who maintains a Jewish identity.
Such false notions, however, will not deter YHVH, for He clearly has told us through the prophet Ezekiel that He will build the Jerusalem Temple again someday. If we believe that G-d says what He means then we must conclude that, this is an incontrovertible fact regardless of how clever the argument against it.
Not only is Judah back in the land after almost two millennia, but she is also speaking her ancient language. The restoration of the Hebrew language is a miracle in its own right. We must also be cognizance of the many institutions in Israel today dedicated to rebuilding the Temple. These groups are even training priests and Levites and have woven the priestly garments according to the requirements of Jewish law. The Holy utensils have been made and are awaiting their use. Even the snail believed to have been extinct and which was used to dye the blue in priestly garments and the Shamash thread of the tzitzit has been recovered and used to make ritually acceptable garments. The Temple is central to end time prophecy and we need to be advised of the elements we should be looking for if we are to be aware of our position on the time line of history. Next week I will finish this message on the coming rebuilt Temple.
Har HaBeit Part 2
This week we are going to look at some of the symbols of the properties of the Temple. We learned last week that there has to be a rebuilt Temple and that will be one of the prominent bookmarks of our place in end time prophecy. Since the reestablishment of Israel and Judah being in the land, Christian commentators have had to take a second look at Church Replacement Theology, and the “churches’ placement in prophecy. Many are now coming to understand that G-d has not forsaken Israel and all the promises given to here shall literally be received by her and not by the “church.” Now, to the symbols.
We have discussed the Tekhelet, a blue dye, mentioned in Numbers 15:38 that comes from a snail like animal is an absolutely necessary ingredient if the Temple is too be a valid functioning entity. I have mentioned many times in the past that the Murex Trunculus was supposed to have been extinct, but recently it was again discovered. It has passed al the tests to prove its authenticity (Tekhelet.com web site). Today there is a non-profit organization called P’til Tekhelet in East Jerusalem, Israel set up to produce the ancient dye by using secretion of this snail as the main ingredient. The dye is expensive and sells for $250.00 an ounce. So, we see that this is one more element met in order to rebuild the Temple.
Now, lets explore the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant. We know that Titus took a number of Temple artifacts with him back to Rome after he destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE. His processional is preserved on the Arch of Titus in Rome, and it is easily discernible that the Temple Menorah is depicted as having been paraded through the streets of Rome by the imperial army. The Temple Institute in 2002 wrote a letter to the Vatican demanding that the Temple Menorah be returned. The Vatican denied they have it, but they also denied having a copy of the Book of Matthew in Hebrew in their vaults until a Vatican official confessed it was there and they were forced to produce it. However, one item absent from the engraving on the Arch of Titus is the Ark of the Covenant. The fact is that there was no Ark in the Second Temple. Jewish History tells us that King Josiah (Yoshiyahu) in the secular year 3316 BCE,because of his concern due to the numerous prophecies of the destruction of the Temple of Israel hid the ark and other holy utensils in an underground vault built by King Solomon decades earlier. King Solomon had constructed a complex system of water drainage systems and passageways beneath the Temple mount, and Jewish History informs us it was placed there. According to Jewish history and writings the Ark was never recovered from it hiding place beneath the Temple Mount.
Has anyone actually seen the Ark? In 1982, Rabbi Yehuda Getz was excavating an underground tunnel running under the Old City from the HaKotel, the Western Wall, then north toward the Fortress Antonia, seeking to reach the foundation stones of the Second Temple. As his workers were digging they noticed water leaking from yet an unknown cistern. The area was excavated and they found a large gate from ancient times. This led them into a deeper subterranean area where they detected a large chamber just off the main tunnel. They bored a hole large enough to admit a man’s fist and penetrated this chamber. They then rigged up a series of lights and mirrors so they could see the interior. Rabbi Getz and his associate Sholmo Goren both denied publicly that they had seen the Ark of the Covenant but privately they claimed to have seen something shaped like the Ark shrouded with a protective covering of animal skins, along with other items in this chamber underneath the Temple Mount. The Palestinians soon got wind of this discovery and sent young men doen to investigate. They found the rabbis and their workers digging a path to the chamber. A confrontation escalated that became a full-blown fistfight. The police intervened and sealed the part of the tunnel that led to the chamber. Today I believe the Ark is located behind six feet of steel reinforced concrete. The rest of the “rabbis tunnel” was opened in 1966 to tours.
Where will the third Temple be built. According to rabbinic it has to be built over the sight of the Second Temple, which was built over the site of the First Temple. The traditional view is that the Dome of the Rock sits on the location of the Second Temple. There are two other theories:
1. One that Dr Asher Kaufman proposed about 20 years ago that the Temple was situated to the north of the Dome of the Rock.
2. Two, Tuvia Sagiv based on radar and infrared studies indicated that the ancient Temples were located south of the Dome of the Rock, near the El Kas fountain.
Gershon Salomon’s, founder of the Temple mount faithful concludes that the traditional view is the correct view and states that either the Dome on the Rock will have to be destroyed or moved. Salomon draws his evidence from Talmudic descriptions, the topography of the Temple Mount platform, accounts in the Talmud, Mishnah and the writings of Josephus describing the ancient gates and their juxtaposition to the Temple, and lastly the discovery of the previously unknown gate under the present Western Wall by Rabbi’s Goren and Getz in 1982. Salomon says that this discovery sealed the authenticity of the tradition al location of the Temple once and for all. .
And now the ever elusive Red Heifer or Para Adumah. IN Temple times the priests were required to undergo ritual purification before they could serve in the Temple. Also, anyone who touched a dead body was considered defiled until he was purified the same way. The purification process required a special solution of water mixed with hyssop, cedar, and the ashes of the Para Adumah (Num 19:6). Each time a red heifer was sacrificed the ashes were kept in special clay containers at three locations in the Temple compound. The ashes were used to make the watery solution already mentioned. Because they were used sparingly the ashes of one cow often lasted for more than a century. According to traditional Jewish sources there have been nine in Israel’s history (Mishnah, Seder Tararoth, Mas. Parah, Mishnah 5). Each successive animal had to be sacrificed while the ashes still remained from its predecessor, because the altar and the priests had to be purified before they could offer the Para Adumah. So, the situation here is not that a new red heifer is necessary unless the container of the ashes of a sacrificed red heifer can be found, and that may be concealed within the chamber housing the Ark as well.
The famous copper scroll from cave 3 at Qumran is significant because it tells of a vast treasure of gold, silver, coins and metal vessels that was hidden away for safe-keeping before the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. Many scholars believe it was the Temple Treasure. Vendyl Jones an archeologist states that the scrolls also mention that hidden with the treasure are special anointing oils and the ashes of the red heifer. There are dissenters to his argument based on the reading, but it makes sense, that if a vast treasure were hidden prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, the ashes of the red heifer would be among this treasure trove. We have to remember that since replenishing the supply of ashes the new ashes were mixed with the old and theoretically contained all the ashes from every Para Adumah all the way back to the time of Moshe and the wilderness Mishkan. This would be a compelling reason to take special care of the ashes. The rabbis conclude that the Messiah is coming soon, and just before that event, a pure red heifer will be found. Rabbi Salomon says that the developments in our generation are “a very clear sign and time is very short.” Messianic Jewish Believers, many Christians, and Orthodox Jews all believe that the Messianic era is nearly upon us and that is very persuasive that the Messiah is coming soon. We live in an era that will witness the drawing together of all the parts resulting in the building of the Third Temple that is one of the foremost bookmarks found in biblical prophecy relating to our position on the timeline of G-d’s history.
May YHVH Elohim give us wisdom and the ability to discern the signs of our times so that we will not be caught off guard when the last trumpet sounds 1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Shalom and Brachas.
I will be giving you a tract I wrote on the Para Adumah tonight to show you the significance of this ritual to Messianic Believers.