Since the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Romans in 70 AD there has been no Jewish Temple despite attempts to rebuild it. Since passages in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse and Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians clearly mention the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness, desolating the Holy Place of God, the Temple of God, how can that literally be if there is no Temple in Jerusalem for him to desolate? For centuries Christians were perplexed by Revelation prophesying events that would take place in Jerusalem where the Jewish people clearly lived and ruled. How could that be? The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE) led to the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple (see Part 1 of the series, Not One Stone Left upon Another). The Bar Kokhba revolt or Second Jewish–Roman War (132–136 CE) led to the Romans plowing Jerusalem with a yoke of oxen. Jews were sold into slavery and many were transported to Egypt. Judean settlements were not rebuilt. Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina and the Jews were forbidden to live there. They were permitted to enter only on the 9th of Av to mourn their losses in the revolt. Hadrian changed the country’s name from Judea to Syria Palestina. The Jewish people were dispersed throughout the Empire. Jewish history from this point would only be the history of the Diaspora as the Jews and their world view spread over Africa, Asia, and Europe. That is until 1948.
The state of Israel was proclaimed by the Jewish leader, David Ben Gurion, on May 14, 1948, and officially came into being on the 15th, after British Mandatory rule ended at midnight. For all those that doubted that God would keep His promise to the Jewish and for all those that doubted God literally meant what he asked His Prophets and Apostles to prophesy, they should have rethought how they doubted God’s determination and ability to literally bring about His will regarding the Jewish people and His prophesies.
Ezekiel 37:21-22 “Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.”
Yet doubt can still linger. Yes the Jewish people are in their homeland. And yes they are still returning because the Lord has said “He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven” (Mark 13:27). For when the time was right He brought His people home. When the time came, when their return was necessary for the fulfillment of Scripture, He brought them home. So there will be a time when the Third Temple will be rebuilt. Keep reading forward and review the others posts in this series. The site of the Temples is unoccupied and uncontested. The Temple will be rebuilt, the Antichrist will stand in it and He will profane it. All doubt will then be removed.
Signs of the End of the Age
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
The Abomination of Desolation
15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
The Coming of the Son of Man
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The Man of Lawlessness
“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. ”
The rebuilding of the Jewish Temple is integral in the literal fulfillment of the Last Days prophecies that Jesus gave in His Olivet Discourse. It is my opinion that until 1948 when the Jewish State of Israel was established many Christians could not understand references to the Jewish people being back in Israel in the Book of Revelation. Since the return of the Jews to Israel seemed to be impossible Revelation and other end time prophecies must be allegorical, spiritual, or non-literally in nature. The amazing act of the restoration of the Jews to their homeland by God shed light to many that the prophecies of Revelation will be literally fulfilled. Furthermore, in 1967 Jerusalem was reunified after the Six-Day War giving Israel control of what they believe to be the site of their Temples. In terms of Last Day prophecies if God hadn’t returned them to their homeland how could they rebuild their Temple and if there was no rebuilt Temple how could the Antichrist profane it? Only God could have directed the course of history to return them. And why did He choose to do so? It is because He had promised it. And He had promised their return because of His covenant with them. And He had returned them because in His Word He prophesied that they would be in their homeland in the Last Days. And because they were in their homeland, they could fulfill prophesy by rebuilding their Temple.
21 “Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. 22 And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
24 “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. 25 They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
This is perhaps one of the strongest sections in the Bible that speaks to how God will gather up the Jewish people, not because of any merit on their part, but because of the Lord’s grace and His faithfulness to His covenant. In this passage the Jewish people’s return to the Land is linked to their coming to their Messiah. “My servant David” is clearly a reference to the Son of David, Messiah Jesus.
As I write this, the objection to a literal rebuilding of the Third Temple is the Haram esh-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam. The Jewish people and most of Christianity believe this to be the site of the Jewish Temples. In light of the dual claims of both Judaism and Islam, it is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. Since the Crusades, the Muslim authorities of Jerusalem has controlled this site. The Temple Mount, aka Haram esh-Sharif, however, is within the Old City, which has been controlled by Israel since 1967. After the Six-Day War, Israel, inexplicably, handed administration of the site back to the Islamic control while maintaining Israeli security control over the site. It remains a major focal point of the Arab–Israeli conflict. In an attempt to keep the status quo, the Israeli government enforces a controversial ban on prayer by non-Muslims. Jews are not even permitted on the Haram, so how on earth can a Jewish Temple be rebuilt on this Muslim holy site? It is obvious that God is in control because this is not the site of the original Temples. God is in control because this is not the time He desires the Temple to be rebuilt. As I have written in the proceeding four posts on this subject the site of the Temples is south of the Haram. This site is currently unoccupied and there is no conflict between the Jews and the Arabs regarding building on this site.