The significance of the plans being made to rebuild the Temple is of profound prophetic importance.
Chapters 40-48 of the Book of Ezekiel give us a description of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God which will stand in its midst during the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ. The following facts are revealed to us in these prophetic passages.
Chapter 40:2 tells us that the geographical place of this city of Jerusalem and the location of the Temple that Ezekiel saw in his vision were located in Israel.
Ezekiels vision was not of the Jerusalem in Heaven, which we are told of in Revelation 11:19 & 21:10-21.
This can be verified by reading verse 22 of Rev. 21 concerning the Heavenly Jerusalem that will descend down upon the new earth after the millennial reign. We are told by the Apostle John, but I saw no Temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple. The Jerusalem of Heaven has no Temple structure.
Our first fact then is that there is to be an earthly Temple located in Jerusalem, Israel.
Returning to Ezek. Ch. 40:5 and reading on through verse 20 of Ch. 42 we are given the dimensions of this future Temple of Israel. Neither of the two previous historical temples credited to Solomon and Herod matched these dimensions given in Ezekiel.
Our next fact to remember then is that this prophesied Temple has never been built.
Ezek. Chapters 40-46 tell us of the sacrifices which will be offered in this temple. Of the 14 times that the sin offering is mentioned in any fashion, only 1 reference speaks of atonement the rest are ordained for purification purposes.
The 1 reference to the sin offering for atonement is found in Ezek. 45:16-25. The offerings of atonement are to be given by the people of the land for a prince ruling in Israel and it is he who is to prepare the sin offering and all other offerings in order to make atonement for the house of Israel.
Jesus the Prince of Peace once came to Zerubbaels temple which was completed by Herod, but he was rejected. The future prince is representative of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ who offered Himself as a living sacrifice to make atonement for the sins of the world. The prince in Israel will prepare the sin offering for himself and offer it before the Lord who will then be ruling out of Jerusalem (Ezek. 45:22-23).
This Temple must therefore again be concluded to be a future Temple found in Israel after Jesus returns to the earth to rule for 1,000 years. This time Jesus will be recognized as the Prince of peace, the Lord of Lords and the absolute King of Kings. (Rev. 19:15-16 & 20:1-10).
Expectations and preparations for the construction of this earthly Temple in Jerusalem, Israel are in earnest. A red heifer previously born in Israel was to be of acceptable age to sacrifice by late 1998, thus making the purification of the Temple site possible by its ashes.
No mention is being made of this earlier red heifer. All attention for some reason is being focused on the newly born calf in April, 2002. The Jews believe the birth of a red heifer is a sign that points to the soon coming of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Temple. The newborn red heifer is too young to sacrifice. It would seem that the Israeli authorities want the older red heifer, which would make the immediate restoration of the Temple possible, forgotten.
In June of 1997, in a surprise decision, rabbis in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip began to encourage their congregations to seek to pray on the Temple Mount.
Rabbi Daniel Shilo, pointed out in an interview to the Hebrew newspaper Maariv that they had arrived at the decision only after extensive inspections of the Temple Mount.
These included measurements from architects and detailed drawings of the site, as well as air and satellite photographs. Up to that time, the vat majority of religious Jews refused to consider praying on the Temple Mount because of the possibility of desecrating the Holy of Holies.
Today it is evident where the location of the Temple is, explained Rabbi Shilo. There is no halachic reason to prevent any Jew from being on the rest of the Temple Mount site, which composes four times more land than the part which is forbidden to be on. (Carol Rushton, Jerusalem Post Editorial Dept.).
In the March/April 1983 article of the Biblical Archeology Review, Vol. IX no.2, Dr. Asher S. Kaufman in his article, Where the ancient Temple of Jerusalem stood: Extant Foundation Stone for the Ark of the Covenant is identified satisfactorily proved that the First and Second Temples sat exactly in line with the Golden Gate and the East Gate. This area sits 330 feet northwest of the Islamic Dome of the Rock.
According to controversial figure Yisrayl Hawkins, the Temple dimensions given in Ezekiel fit perfectly in the available area Northwest of the Dome of the Rock. He believes that the rebuilding of the Temple, could be the biggest peace project ever ventured in the history of mankind, simply because of the magnitude of the war which all nations now face Yaweh shows us that we do not need to harm the Arabs; we do not need to fight over the Temple Mount! Yaweh is showing us that we can, and that we should build this Temple on the vacant land where the Temple stood before, and that we should build a dividing wall to separate the Arab worshippers from the Jewish worshippers.
Mr. Hawkins based his final remark about a dividing wall on Ezekiels Ch. 40:2 & 5 where the Scriptures tell of a future wall around the Temple and a structure (which he believes refers to the Dome of the Rock) standing to its south.
According to Mr. Hawkins, computations made at the Temple Mount and the specific measurements given in Ezekiel confirm that God has provided an area in the original Outer Court for the Dome of the Rock to remain standing with a dividing wall between it and the Temple.
He further pointed out that large walkway pavements were specified only for the North and East sides of the Temple in Ezek. 40:17-19. The Western area would not have the pavement as prophesied due to its positioning on the Mount, but why there is to be no walkway on the South side would remain a puzzle unless leaving the Dome of the Rock standing was taken into consideration.
The Temple will most certainly be rebuilt. Unfortunately for those such as Yisrayl Hawkins who believe the rebuilding of the Temple will bring peace, it will not.
The Scriptures tell of a Temple existing in Jerusalem during the terrifying Tribulation Period. It is there that the Anti-Christ will proclaim himself to be God (see II Thess.2:3-4).
It is highly likely that it will be by the Anti-Christs authority that the Temple will be built and the sacrifices restored (Dan. 9:27). Perhaps it will be for this reason that many Jews will at first believe him to be the promised Messiah.
After only 3 ½ years he will reveal himself to in actuality be the evil Roman prince of Dan. 9:26-27 who is prophesied to appear in Israel only after the true Messiah had been killed.
He is to strengthen a 7-year covenant with Israel (and many). He will then stop the Jewish Temple worship and put an end to the sacrifices halfway through the covenants proposed duration.
Weather any part of the tribulation Temple will meet the standards of Ezekiels vision and will remain standing until the return of Jesus Christ is unknown at present, but its defilement would surely seem to call for a renovation.
Revelation 11:1-3 does tell us that it will undergo close scrutiny by God during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period.
We do not believe its only a coincidence that a Gentile built Dome of the Rock located in the Temples Outer Court is deemed acceptable according to the parameters given by God in this prophetic passage. This is the very idea under consideration by those who want to rebuild the Temple. Quoting from Revelation 11:2 concerning the tribulation Temple we read of Gods foreknowledge and acceptance of this plan, But leave out the court which is outside the Temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months.
Ezekiel 43:1-2, 45:1-8 & 47:13 48:35 are just some of the renovations prophesied to happen at the Lords return, not only to the Temple and Jerusalem, but to the entire borders of Israel.
While these prophetic facts are fascinating and even awesome to consider, the picture given in Rev. 21 of the Heavenly Jerusalem and Gods abiding presence coming down to the new earth is breathtakingly glorious.
Keep in mind this is not the restored earth described in Ezek. 47:1-12 and in a great number of other Old Testament prophecies, but the new earth created after the 1,000 year reign of Christ (Rev. 21:1 & 5). God has declared that the earth is to abide forever (Ecc. 1:4). His Love for His creation is eternal.
Time is very short. Today is the day to believe in Jesus Christs atoning blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins. This very moment you can receive the promise of eternal life.
Dont put it off, the removal of Gods true believers to Heaven is near at hand. The final call going out for all aboard is a broadcast no one should ignore as believers look forward to the ages to come when God will demonstrate the exceeding riches of His grace and kindness (I Thess. 4:15-18 & Eph. 2:4-8).