An apocalyptic movement continues to blossom in Israel today. As most might expect, its focus is on the Temple Mount, the most hotly contested 15 acres in the world. Presently controlled by a Jordanian Arab trust board, the Temple Mount was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli sovereignty of the Temple Mount, however, has yet to occur; and neither has management of the site. If it had, the two religious structures on the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque, would most likely not be standing where they should not be (Mark 13:14). Israel has responsibility only for security at the site (wow, what a deal!). Visitors to the Temple Mount include both Muslims and non-Muslims, but not with the same rights and not without restrictions. Worship, of any kind, is prohibited unless you are a Muslim. You can imagine how this impacts Jews visiting the Temple Mount. They cannot pray or practice any aspect of their religion, all the while they observe Muslims not only worshiping but frequently mocking the Jews for what they cannot do. What will change this for the Jews? Until the Jews are given sovereignty over the Temple Mount, including the practice of their religion in some form, the situation is like a smoldering wick in a fire about to be set ablaze. What is happening at the Temple Mount these days makes us wonder if this might become a reality far sooner than most would envision. It is Passover season for Jews and if there ever was a time of the year when the Temple Mount becomes a volatile powder keg, it is now.
The Feast of Passover. Passover for the Jews began last Friday PM, April 22, 2016 (14th of Nissan, 5776, lunar calendar). This ancient festival was first occasioned by the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt some 4000+ years ago. On their last night as slaves in Egypt, and on the 10th and final plague sent by God upon the Egyptians, God commanded Moses that all Jews were to slay the Passover lamb and paint its blood upon the doorposts of every Israelite home as a “sign that God would pass over them during the plague of the Death of the Firstborn. The lamb would then be roasted and eaten that night, accompanied by bitter herbs and unleavened bread, called matzah. The Israelites were also commanded to perform this sacrifice every year thereafter, as a memorial of the exodus from Egypt.” Read more. (Exodus 12:13).
In the centuries that followed, Passover was celebrated by the Jews during their wilderness wanderings, and then in Jerusalem when the magnificent Temple was built by King Solomon. One modern author describes the process used in th Temple as hundreds of Jews brought their own lamb for slaughter (“Why Jews Stopped Sacrificing Lambs and Baby Goats for Passover And why some have started trying to perform it on the Temple Mount again” by Elon Gilad, Apr 24, 2016, 7:31 PM, Haaretz.com):
Each representative handed his goat or sheep to a priest who killed the animal, carefully collecting its blood into a bowl. Once the bowl was full, it was transferred to the priest beside him. From him it went to the one beside him, until, like a conveyor belt, it reached another priest who doused the altar with its bloody contents. After the blood has been completely collected, the priest handed the now-dead animal to the representative, who took it and hung it on a hook. Levites came over and removed the skin and innards, which were taken to the altar and burned. Once this was done, the representatives each took their dead goat or sheep and left the Temple compound to find their families. Then each family roasted the meat on a pomegranate branch and ate it in a festive night barbecue. (Read more)
Destruction of Herod’s Temple Ended the Passover lamb. Herod’s Temple, the reconstructed 2nd Temple, was completed in the time of Jesus. It was destroyed by the Romans seventy years later in 70 A.D. Since that time, annual Passover celebrations have occurred in the homes of Jewish families but without the sacrifice of the unblemished male lamb and without the sign — the painting of the blood as a reminder of God’s redemption of the Jewish people (Exodus 12:14). Read more. The reason for the absence of the lamb, of course, is that without the Temple there is no sacrificial altar upon which the lamb could be sacrificed, and consequently, purification is impossible for both instruments and priests in order to perform the ritual. The Temple Mount, the holy site upon which the Temple once rested is impure today. The Muslim sites, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are standing upon the Temple Mount; and, as I have written in my book, Islam, the Cloak of Antichrist, the Dome of the Rock stands as a blasphemy to both Jews and Christians, as well as the “abomination desolation” spoken of by Jesus in Mark 13:14. Ritual purity is impossible for Jews today because of the absence of the blood of the unblemished red heifer required to purify both priest and altar of sacrifice (Numbers 19:1-4). Many Jewish scholars believe that without it, the Temple cannot be rebuilt. Read more.
The Temple Institute Leads the Activist Way. A growing segment of orthodox Jews are ever more impatient for the appearance of their Messiah (not Jesus, Son of God) and his ushering in of the rebuilding of the 3rd Temple. The Temple Institute and activist leaders such as Rabbi Yehudah Glick lead such efforts. Read more. Recently, the Temple Institute went so far as to hold a “practice Passover sacrifice”:
Sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb Returns to Jerusalem After Millennia, By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, April 19, 2016 , 11:30 am
In preparation for the Passover holiday which begins Friday evening, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem conducted a “drill” Wednesday for the requisite sacrificial rite. Although the sacrifice requires that the altar be standing in its place on the Temple Mount, the practice exercise was conducted for educational purposes on International Temple Mount Awareness Day.
Since the establishment of the First Temple on the Temple Mount, it was forbidden to offer sacrifices at any other location. Thus, the Passover sacrifice has not been performed since the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Strictly speaking, however, Jewish law does not require that the Temple be standing, only that the altar be in its correct position. … This past Wednesday drill was carried out with the two main purposes: to document the event for an educational DVD which is in the works, and to rehearse in case the altar is permitted to be placed on the Temple Mount in time for Passover this year. Read more.
Following the “practice sacrifice,” on the Friday morning of Passover, April 22, seven were arrested as they made their way to the Temple Mount to perform the ritual sacrifice of the Passover lamb:
7 held for attempting Passover goat sacrifice in J’lem BY JUDAH ARI GROSS, April 22, 2016
Police detained seven Jewish men suspected of planning to sacrifice goats in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday in honor of the Passover holiday, which begins at sundown. … Two members of a group called “Return to the Temple Mount,” which advocates the construction of a Third Temple, have been barred from the city for the duration of the holiday. Members of the group had reportedly planned to carry out a ritual slaughter of a sacrificial animal at the site, as was customary on Passover in ancient times. Read more.
Perhaps the Jews from the Temple Institute are rushing it a bit? Before the rebuilding even begins, Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount must be obtained (not to mention the location of an unblemished red heifer which has yet to occur for the last 2000 years). Even if Israel had sovereignty of the Temple Mount right now, the nations of the world would never allow, in this age, the removal of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. Not going to happen– you know it and so do I. Let us even suppose that the Jewish activists were somehow able to deliver a bomb massive enough to level the two Muslim structures. What do you think would happen next? The world powers would ensure that these two structures were rebuilt, not the 3rd Temple, and they would do so by force if need be. America would lead the way, no doubt, regardless of who the next American president might be.
Many orthodox Jews believe the Temple cannot be rebuilt until the Jewish Messiah appears (Ezekiel 37:26-28). Our Jesus is not the Messiah for Jews, and for many (Romans 9:27), He will never be. Jews do not interpret the Messiah to be the great I AM (John 8:58), God, clothed in human flesh (John 1:1-4, 14). The Messiah for Jews is not deity, Son of God, who will return to earth the second time to conquer in the Great Tribulation and to reign in the Millennium. In Judaism, the Messiah is a blood descendant of David by the father’s side (Isaiah 11:1), a human being much like you or me. Jews do not believe their Messiah need be born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and free of the taint of original sin (Romans 5:18-19). To them, just as in Islam, this is a blasphemy to Jehovah God, who is One. In fact, the Muslim view of Messiah parallels the Jewish view except that in Islam, Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah; but he was only a prophet, not the Son of God, and was not crucified nor did He rise from the grave. Jews believe that their Messiah will gather all Jews to Jerusalem from all over the world (Isaiah 43:5-6), and bring peace to the world, including the streaming of all nations to Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4, Zechariah 14:9). Christians concur with these views but only upon the second coming of Jesus will they be fulfilled.
The Jews have failed to see that keeping the Law cannot make one holy, only “religious” (and arrogant) (Matthew 23:27-28). The Law cannot take away what has been broken. It can only teach us what we have broken. The Law cannot heal us. It can only condemn us and fill us with guilt that never washes away. The Jews have failed to understand the divine purpose behind God’s distinction between what is “clean” and “unclean,” between what is “holy” and “unholy” (Leviticus 10:10, 20:25-26). Humans are unholy before God and fall short of His holiness regardless of how well the Law is kept (Isaiah 6:5-7). We must have a savior; an atoning sacrifice who takes sin upon Himself and brings justice for a holy God. This holy God created us with free will, and only when we can freely chose to reject Him is our will truly free. So God provides the Lamb, the Passover lamb, that He might pass us over– for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The 3rd Temple will be rebuilt when Messiah comes – but it will be Jesus, the true Lamb of God, who will bring it to pass, and only in the next age, the Millennium. In this next age, satan is bound, unable to deceive or gather the nations to war (Revelation 20:10); and only when Jesus reigns from Jerusalem will the nations stream to her. How else can the prophecy of Isaiah 19:23-25 ever occur, if for no other reason than the hatred of Arabs of Jews (and vice versa). This hatred cannot be satisfied or even negotiated away through any two-state solution. This hatred can only be atoned for and forgiven by the blood of the Lamb:
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. 24 In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.” (Isa. 19:23-25 NAS)
Praise God. The true Lamb of God has already come. His blood has already been shed and will not be shed again (Hebrews 9:26-28). He has covered those who have placed their faith in Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1 John 3:5). His atoning death saves us from death (Romans 6:23) in much the same way that God saved the Jews in Egypt from physical death, so He now saves us from eternal death.
Jesus come quickly.