The Jewish Temple's Purpose and Meaning
A great deal of antagonism and conflict surrounds the apparent Jewish Temple Site in Jerusalem currently, between Muslims, Jews and Christians.
The apparent location of the 1st Temple built by Solomon in the 10th Century BC (BCE= BC; CE=AD; these symbols are used to avoid ref. to Christ’s birth date by various commentators); is now occupied by the Islamic “Dome of the Rock”, and the “Al-Aqsa Mosque’s”; these were started by order of Caliph Abd al-Malik, and completed by his successors; and have been on that Site since approx. BC 691. There have been various re-builds to both, especially after earthquakes.
Prior to that, the Site was occupied by a Roman Temple to Jupiter, built shortly after the Romans had razed to the ground the Jewish 2nd Temple, built by Ezra and Nehemiah in the BC 500s, upon their return from the 70 years Babylonian captivity.
The Crusaders from Europe captured Jerusalem in AD 1099, and The Dome of the Rock was used as a Church, and Al-Aqsa was used as a Palace during their occupation.
In AD 1187, Saladin regained control of Jerusalem, and the two buildings were returned to their Islamic function.
The 1st Temple (Solomon’s), was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in BC 587, the Jews were taken captive to Babylon and Babylonia, which lasted for 70 years, as per. the Prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer. 29:10).
The second Temple was built, apparently on the site of the 1st, by Ezra and Nehemiah, with the permission of Cyrus the Great of Persia (Ezra 1:1-4 & 2Chron. 36:22-23); and Darius the Great (Ezra 5). The dedication was approx. BC 517. It is conjectured that Esther was involved with this permission being granted, due to her position of eminence as the mother of Darius, and as Queen in Persia!
The second Temple was rebuilt by Herod the Great, and according to the Josephus Account was raised by approx. 20-30 feet. The then sloping base of the adjacent area was also raised to eliminate the slope by the building of a massive retaining wall, and then infilling. The account also mentions the adjacent Roman Antonino (Mark Antony) encampment Site, which Herod incorporated and merged into the Temple Site; with a linked bridge roadway. This re-build was with the approval of the Jewish leadership, according to Josephus.
The question must be asked as to why this Temple Site raises such anger and emotion in the above mentioned groups of people?
In the case of the Islamic people, it is revered because according to their tradition, Muhammed ascended into Heaven from that spot in Jerusalem, after his night journey there from Mecca, on the “steed Buraq” (the Prophet's steed) given to him by the angel Jibril (Gabriel).
In the case of the Jews; the background is lengthy and starts with Almighty God’s promises to the Jewish Patriarchs in the Old Testament (OT), which started with Abram! Gen. 15). See: Jehovah's dealings with Israel
In many places throughout the OT, Jehovah God stated that it is His wish to have a people who will relate to Him in truth; and in whom He can have confidence of their sincerity and fidelity to Him; and who would witness for Him; and to whom He could refer to as a “faithful wife”; and also would evangelise to the world the fact of His Deity, as the “One True God”! This purpose He initiated with Abram, and Sealed His Promises to Abram with the action/ceremonial (Gen. 15:7-21), Abram and observing Heavenly Creation knew was fixed Eternally (Eph. 3:10), see: "Israel; My Firstborn son"
Israel’s spectacular failure in the following centuries, led to their exile in Babylon; the destruction of their first Temple; and the destruction of their second Temple when they denied their long awaited Messiah; (Jesus The Christ), 70 years after the birth of Jesus! See: God's Only Begotten Son
Why is the focus of the world on this place called the “Temple Mount”; and why are emotions and actions so easily stirred in the participants? Those people that know Scripture are aware of the reasons; which is all predicated on the conflict that is reaching a peak between God Almighty and Satan! See: Satan's Contest with God
It is clearly stated in the OT Prophets, and the NT (New Testament) writings, that a Temple will be in existence when a very powerful personage will hold much sway and power in the world in the future; (probably close), and that he will even reach the stage of declaring himself to be God in that new Temple; (2Thess. 2:4)! This outrageous attempt by Satan to usurp Almighty God, is very close to the end of the 7 remaining years of Gabriel’s information given to the Prophet Daniel (Dan. 9:22-27). See: The 490 years Prophecy given to Daniel by Gabriel.
This Temple is referred to by Christ-Ones (True Christian’s), and Orthodox Jewry as the “third Temple”; and until it exists, much Prophecy cannot ensue! However; as we approach the 70th year of Israel’s existence since 1948, much activity is evident in Jerusalem and elsewhere regarding the next Temple; see below.
The question arises, why is there so much resistance to the building of another Temple, particularly by the Arabs and the Palestinians? Part of the answer is in the fact of the rivalry between the countries that support the Muslim Sunni religion, and those that support the Shia teaching of Islam, which is fierce! However, they have complete unity when defending the location of the two Mosque’s; the ‘Dome of the Rock’, together with the adjacent Al-Aqsa Mosque; because the location is held by all Muslims as Islam’s 3rd most holy Site; to be defended to the death by all of Islam!
Furthermore, in the Bible (which is held by Christ-Ones (OT and NT) and religious Jew’s (OT only); as the True Word of God Almighty; there are Prophecies in both OT and NT, which give clear statements regarding happenings which will take place after the building of the 3rd Temple, which will release a flood of Prophetic fulfilment, which will entail much suffering for the peoples of the world, and particularly the people of the Middle-East, see: www.revelationsmessage.co.uk
It will also release the powerful activity of Satan, as he struggles to maintain his control of the populations of the world, through his various false religions; all of which have him as head; even though many people do not know this fact! See: Satan's Demise!
The further and critically important point is that Almighty God has declared in His Word, the Bible, that He will have “His Name” to dwell in Zion; (in Jerusalem); (Deut. 12:11; 12:21; 16:2; 16:6; 16:11; 26:2; Neh. 1:9 & Ezek. 48:35).
Satan, as the present god of this world (1John 5:19; 2Cor. 4:4; John 3:31; 14:30; 16:11 & Eph. 2:2) knows that he has to attempt to stop that happening, as he knows that is his demise!
Satan will therefore attempt to annihilate Israel; see: Jacob's Trouble as God has sworn that they will always exist (Jer. 31:35-37); and he will know this is his last chance to defeat God in their titanic struggle for supremacy; which God the Father has graciously allowed, since Satan’s rebellion, see: Satan's Origins; and Satan's Motivation:
So, we see in the history of Jacob/Israel (Gen. 32:24-30), that God has purpose in all He does; Jacob being the son of Isaac; who himself was the miracle son of Abraham and Sarah!
From those beginning events, we see the formation of the Nation of Israel, and for whom, God directly confronted Pharaoh of Egypt, to “let My people go, that they may serve Me” (Exodus 5 to 12).
After their release from Egyptian bondage, God gave Moses His standard of behaviour for them to live by, (the Ten Commandments: Deut. 5:6-21 & Ex. 20:2-17), and they were placed in a container called (The Ark of The Covenant), which was carried by the Levitical Priesthood only; when Israel was required to relocate by God’s “pillar of cloud” by day; or “pillar of fire” by night, (Ex. 13:21-22), God’s leading was absolute, and Israel’s faith in Him needed to be reciprocal.
When encamped, the Ark was deposited in a Tent structure, which was a precursor to the later Temple, (Ex. 35 to 40); and was intended to instil in the Israelites, God’s leading in their lives; and to show that when they adhered to His wishes, they had protection in all their activities, including their necessary warfare (Ex. 23:31) with the local tribes; many of whom were of Nephilim decent.
When Israel became established in their own land and King David had taken the stronghold of the Jebusites (2Sam. 5:7), which became the City of Jerusalem later; his son Solomon built the first Temple to Jehovah God, which was dedicated (1Kings 8) approx. mid-the 10th Century BC.
The first Temple was in use from approx. the mid-10th Century BC, to 589 BC, when it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The increasing sinfulness of the people and their leaders; and particularly after the division of the Kingdom after the death of Solomon, and the increasing neglect of the people of their earlier vows to God; the stage was reached where God’s Glorious Presence vacated the Temple (Ezek. 8 to 11)! At one stage the “backsliding” was so severe, that the Temple stopped being used, and the entrance was sealed, (2Chron. 28:24-25)!
It is notable that in the 2nd Temple, the “Glory of God” did not inhabit, as had been the case in the first! It is also notable that in the time span from the death of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews again backslid, to the degree that the Pharisaic Priesthood had sanctioned the changing and removal of certain references to the nature of the Prophesied Messiah, and that is now incorporated in their Scriptures; see: Jewish Scriptures: and Changes Made To The Old Testament.
These are important points, because they reflect the condition that Israel is now in, and they are looking forward to a totally human messiah, who fits the specification of the Pharisees; who are now called “Orthodox Jews”!
From the above comments, some would conclude that Israel are rejected by God due to their terrible record of unfaithfulness to their promises and their vows, and even to the point of treachery!
Whilst these are valid thoughts, they are only part of a whole, in the Plans of Almighty God; who, has more in mind than just Israel; valued as they are by Him!
Israel are the main “players” in the Biblical Record; but, as is shown repeatedly in OT and NT, they are “in play” for a greater purpose; “the Salvation of the world” (John 3:16), from the great enemy, Satan!
In Isaiah 49:6, there is profound confirmation that the Gentiles are to be salvaged/saved by the means of Israel; and that from them is a beacon/light raised for them to see! In the same Chapter, is confirmation that Israel “though Israel be not gathered yet” (v5); they are to be the means/ "God’s servants” (v3); “in whom I will be glorified”! This “light” is beautifully confirmed at the dedication of Jesus in Luke 2:29-32!
So; it is clear that God knew that Israel would fail (see summary in Malachi); and that He also wants Gentiles to be given a chance to be salvaged!
The clarity on this starts to show at the end of Acts, when Paul and his comrade’s had spent about 30 years working mainly with the Jewish people with the Gospel of Jesus. Paul had just visited the last of the Jewish Synagogue’s in Rome; but Jesus’ message and Paul’s explanation was rejected; prompting Paul to quote Isaiah 6:9-10; followed by Acts 28:28; “Be it known therefore unto you, that the Salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it”! At the same time as Paul’s pronouncement, the Jews became “Lo- Ammi” (not My people), and the Salvation of Christ Jesus was opened to Gentiles as a priority. See: Paul's Changing Mission! and The position of the Jews in Scripture, Old and New Testaments.
The Gentiles and Jews, who take Christ Jesus’ gift of Salvation in His shed blood, are called His Body (Rms. 12:5; 1Cor. 12-27; Eph. 3:6; 5:23; Col. 1:18 & 1:24). When the Body is complete, the time of the Gentiles will end, and the Jews will become first priority again with the Father; and their Lo-Ammi state will be reversed to “Ammi” (My people) (Hosea 1 and 2). See: The Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ:
The Body of Christ (and its component parts) are called “a Temple” (1Cor. 6:19; 3:16 & 2Cor. 6:16); and were called to be able “to worship/relate with God, in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24)! They are seen as spotless in Christ’s blood; and have the privileged position that was on offer to Israel Corporate!
The Jews however, have yet to come to their full potential in God’s Plan; which will be after the events of the 3rd Temple in Jerusalem and when they realise that he who they trusted as their messiah, is none other than Satan incarnate; and who proceeds to attempt to annihilate them as God’s chosen people (Deut. 7:6; Amos 3:2; 1Kgs. 3:8; 8:53; Psm. 105:43; Isa. 43:4 & 65:9, see: Satan's Motivation:
This is the stage when God in Christ Jesus will save His people Israel, and they will “look on Him who they pierced, and mourn Him as an only son” (Zech. 12:10). Not until that stage, will Israel realise what they did to their Messiah; and the mourning/ sorrowing will be very great! See: Israel - Prophecy - The Last Days.
The 4th Temple:
This 4th Temple is described in Ezek. 40 to 48, and is where the Jews take their prophesied position in the world “as a Kingdom of priests unto God” (Exod. 19:6; Rev. 1:6; 5:10 & 20:6)! They shall also rule upon the Earth with Christ Jesus for 1000 years; and the Nations will hold them in high regard, visiting The King (Christ Jesus and The Father) at least once every year; (Zech. 14:16-19).
It is also significant to note that the Glory of God, “the Shekinah”, also returns to Earth to take up position in and above the 4th Temple; (Ezk. 43:1-9 & Isa. 4:1-6).
In that day; “the Lord shall be King over all the Earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His Name One”!
It is clearly seen that Almighty God Chose His People through Abram; and that major Promises were made to him; which God will keep! It is also seen that He nurtured them into a Nation via Egypt, and contested with Pharaoh for their freedom.
From that time under Moses, they were tutored into God’s standards via the 10 Commandments; and the experiences that Satan instigated, and God countered; always using the free will of the people. The “Tabernacle” was initiated; which was the “heart” of their existence as God’s “Chosen People”!
The Tabernacle Principle was eventually the Temple Principle, which governed the lives of Israel, when they were in good standing before their Jehovah God; and their Hearts were correctly focused; God always allowing their free will to prevail; trusting in their vows they had given on many occasions!
Their eventual treachery to their vows and God, led to their captivity and exile in Babylon and Babylonia; their 1st Temple destruction, and their return to Jerusalem etc. 70 years later!
The 2nd Temple was built by Ezra and Nehemiah; who made great effort to return the people to their original vows to God; which they gave; and broke!
Israel was again oppressed for their infidelity by Jehovah, via the Roman’s, who 70 years after the birth of Jesus the Christ, destroyed their 2nd Temple (in which God had not taken residence); and was called by Jesus “the Temple of the Jews”!
The Apostle Paul was commissioned by the Risen Jesus to evangelise and explain what had happened to the Jews, and particularly the Sanhedrin level. They eventually rejected his efforts; and in the profound statement in Acts 28:25-28; took the message of Christ’s/God’s saving Grace to the Gentiles of the world!
Paul’s emphasis changed to incorporate the masses of the Gentiles; and his last seven Letters emphasise the requirements for the Church (The Body of Christ)! See: Paul's Changing Mission!
This “new Body” is described as a “Temple” to the Risen Christ Jesus; and as such “the holy spirit” has habitation upon the person becoming a Christ-One! This seems to be intended as the “spiritual” equivalent of the Jewish physical “Temple”, and highlights the principle as such by Almighty God who is "spirit"(John 4:24); which has its culmination/fulfilment at the Resurrection of the individual!
The Jewish 4th Temple, will be built after the end of “Jacob’s Trouble”; and at the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus/ Jehovah God on Earth in the early part of the 1000 years Reign; and all its dimension’s will be one seventh larger than Solomon’s Temple and God’s “Shekinah” glory will be in occupation!
As seen above, the Jews will mourn for Jesus (Zech. 12:10); and their hearts will be changed from that moment forward; and they will become the promised “Kingdom of Priests unto God”!
Note August 2017: There is increased activity between the Palestinians and Israel reference the location of the actual Site of the ancient Jewish Temple, both Solomon’s, and Herod’s. The Site of the current ‘Dome of the Rock’, is now thought to possibly be that of the large Roman occupational fortress of ‘Antonio’ (i.e. Mark Antony). Serious consideration is being given to this possibility, especially as a Roman coin was found underneath the lowest point of the so-called ‘Wailing Wall’; reputed (maybe wrongly) to be the foundation of the 1st Temple! Herod raised the Temple approx. 30’, to be on the same plane as the Roman Fort, and he may have moved it north, to make the work more convenient! This whole possibility has stirred up much activity in the local population; and may auger soon action regarding the 3rd Temple, which is the Temple of the “last days” (Matt. 24 & 2Tim. 3:1-17). This especially so, as 2018 is the 70th year of the existence of Modern Israel since 1948; and the number 70 has special meaning in God’s dealing with Israel!
(The first Jewish Temple (Solomon’s) is thought to have been built in the 10th Century BC (1Kings 5-9). This was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar approx. BC 586.
The Site of the Temple according to Scripture is that of the Threshing Floor of Moriah where the Patriarch Abraham took his son Isaac in obedience to Jehovah, who had requested his sacrifice (Gen. 22:14), to test the faith of Abraham. The same Site is referred to in the Bible as ‘Zion’, but that name is now associated in the public mind to the whole land of Israel.
The second Temple of Nehemiah and Ezra was begun after the Babylonian exile in approx. BC 538 and dedicated in approx. BC 515. This was a precursor of the re-built structure of Herod’s Temple.
The second Temple under Ezra and Nehemiah is referred to as the 2nd Temple, even after Herod upgraded the building and raised it to the same level as the Antonio Fort, with a connecting roadway. Whether Herod demolished Ezra’s Temple or modified and upgraded it as the description by Josephus implies, is unknown, but it is highly likely that Herod would not demolish Ezra’s Temple and move its location as the Jewish Priesthood would certainly have rebelled.
This point is very actively researched at the present time as the next Temple must be on the historically given location by Jehovah, according to the Orthodox Priesthood, although these same Priests were castigated by John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostle Paul; for their erroneous teaching and misuse of their power. This future Temple also is the Site of the Prophetic happenings of the so called ‘end days’; of Matt. 24 etc; and is forecast throughout Scripture.
Whether the next Temple will be a compromise to suit the Palestinians and the Pharisaic Priesthood, may be the case; as the “Anti-Christ” will claim his deity in it (2Thess. 2:4) at a certain critical stage for Israel.
Whatever the next Temple location; the “Temple of Ezekiel” which will be “the Kingdom of God on Earth Temple”; or as known by true “Christ-ones”; the Millennial Temple!, will be in exactly the right location, as it will be founded and located by Jehovah Zebaoth, (see Ezekiel 40 – 48); and for the first time since before the Babylonia exile; God will inhabit His Temple (Mal. 3:1)!
As that 70th year of the modern state of Israel is almost upon us ‘2018’ much activity can be expected on this subject; as mentioned above.
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