- Third Temple
:"This article is about a potential but unbuilt future temple. For
Herod the Great's massive renovation of the Second Temple, see Herod's Temple."
Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, religious Jews have prayed that God will allow for the building of a Third Temple. This
prayerhas been a formal part of the traditional thrice daily Jewish prayer services. Though it remains unbuilt, the notion of and desire for a Third Temple is sacred in Judaism, particularly Orthodox Judaism, as an unrealized place of worship. The prophets in the Tanakhcalled for its construction, to be fulfilled in the Messianic era.
Unused ancient Jewish floor plans for a Temple exist in various sources, notably in Chapters 40-47 of
Ezekiel(Ezekiel's vision pre-dates the Second Temple) and in the Temple Scroll discovered at Qumranamong the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Role in Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism believes in the rebuilding of a Third Temple and the resumption of sacrificial worship, although there is disagreement about how rebuilding should take place or exactly what kind of worship will occur. Orthodox authorities generally believe that rebuilding should occur in the era of the
Jewish Messiahat the hand of Divine Providence, although a minority position, following the opinion of Maimonides, holds that Jews should endeavor to rebuild the temple themselves, whenever possible [http://rchaimqoton.blogspot.com/2007/07/building-third-holy-temple.html] . Orthodox authorities generally predict the resumption of the complete traditional system of sacrifices, but some authorities have disagreed. It has traditionally been assumed that some sort of animal sacrifices would be reinstituted, in accord with the rules in Leviticusand the Talmud. This belief is embedded in Orthodox liturgy. Every Orthodox prayer service contains prayers for the Temple's restoration and for sacrificial worship's resumption, and every day there is a recitation of the order of the day's sacrifices and the psalms the Leviteswould have sung that day.
The generally accepted position among Orthodox Jews is that the full order of the sacrifices will be resumed upon the building of the Temple. Although
Maimonideswrote in his early work "A Guide for the Perplexed" "that Goddeliberately has moved Jews away from sacrifices towards prayer, as prayer is a higher form of worship," his definitive book "The Mishneh Torah" - which is considered by some to have the force of law - states that animal sacrifices will take place in the third temple, and details how they will be carried out. Some attribute to Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief rabbi of the Jewish community in Palestine, the view that animal sacrifices will not be reinstituted. It should be noted that [http://www.geocities.com/m_yericho/ravkook/VAYIKRA58.htm Rav Kook's views on the Temple service] are sometimes misconstrued (for example, in "Olat Re'ayah", commenting on the prophecy of Malachi("Then the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to God as in the days of old and as in former years" [Malachi 3:4] ), he indicates that only grain offerings will be offered in the reinstated Temple service, while in a related essay from "Otzarot Hare'ayah" he suggests otherwise).
Role in prayer
Orthodox Jewishprayers include, in every prayer service, a prayer for the reconstruction of the Temple and resumption of sacrifices. The morning prayer service also includes a study session of the daily Temple ritual and offerings as a reminder, including detailed study of the animal sacrifices and incense offerings. The service also contains the daily and special-occasion psalms the Levites used to sing in the Temple. Following the weekday Torah readingthere is a prayer to "restore the House of our lives and to cause the Shekhinah(Divine Presence) to dwell among us", and the Amidahcontains prayers for acceptance of "the fire-offerings of Israel" and ends with a meditation for the restoration of the Temple. ("And may the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing, as in former days and ancient times" ( Malachi3:4). In addition, the theological and poetic language of Hebrew is filled with words with dual connotations, which are both literal references to elements of Temple architecture or ritual, and also have metaphorical theological and poetic meanings regarding the relationship between the worshipper and God. Translations and commentary on prayers with this language tend to discuss both meanings in Orthodox Judaism. (Examples of dual-meaning words: "deshen" refers to both the ashes left after a burnt-offering, and also means "acceptance with favor"; "kodesh" refers to "the Holy", i.e. the Sanctuary portion of the Temple, and also means "holy" generally; and "chatzrot" refers to the courtyards of the Temple, and also connotes nearness to God; "korban" means both "sacrifice" and "drawing near".
Preservation of Kohanim and Levi'im
Orthodox Judaismpreserves the Kohanim, descendants of the priestly family of Aaron, and Levi'im ( Levites), descendants of the tribe of Levi, intact for future service in a restored Temple. Kohanim and Levites are regarded as still being dedicated to Divine service and obligated to report for duty for service in the Temple, at any moment, should it be rebuilt. Kohanim are still subject to Biblical purity restrictions including a prohibition on marrying a divorcee or proselyte and restrictions on entering cemeteries.
Preservation of daily cycle
Orthodox Judaism's required daily prayers must be said at the times when corresponding sacrifices would have been offered in the Temple.
Preservation of rules of tumah
The Temple had elaborate rules of ritual purity forbidding entry to people with
Tumah, ritual impurity, arising from contact with the dead, seminal emissions and menstrual blood, contact with non- kosher(unclean) animals, certain diseases, and a number of other sources. While many of the original purification ceremonies involved (such as the Red Heiferceremony) became impossible in the absence of the Temple and its rites, Rabbinic Judaism, and later Orthodox Judaism, considered Jews obligated to observe such laws of ritual purity as are possible, and retained a large number of the rules as principles for ordinary life. The laws of "family purity" are directly based, in function and terminology, on the Temple rules. A number of other requirements, such as the practices of immersing in a mikvahbefore Yom Kippur, washing the hands in the morning, before meals, and after a funeral, derive from these principles. Many contemporary and seemingly unconnected rules for ordinary living are intimately linked with these Temple rituals and rules. For example, the Shema Yisraelprayer is said at the time of day when Kohanimwho were Tamei completed a portion of their purification ritual, and the kind of plant material that can be put on the roof of a contemporary Sukkahis the kind that is not susceptible to Tumah. In addition, authorities who permit Jews to ascend the Temple Mount require observance of a larger set of ritual purity rules than have been retained in daily life, such as a requirement of immersion following a seminal emission.
Role in Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaismbelieves in a Messiah and in a rebuilt Temple, but does not believe in the restoration of sacrifices. Accordingly, Conservative Judaism's Committee on Jewish Law and Standardshas modified the prayers. Conservative prayerbooks call for the restoration of Temple, but do not ask for resumption of sacrifices. The Orthodox study session on sacrifices in the daily morning service has been replaced with the Talmudic passages teaching that deeds of loving-kindness now atone for sin. In the daily Amidahprayer, the central prayer in Jewish services, the petitions to accept the "fire offerings of Israel" and "the grain-offering of Judah and Jerusalem" ( Malachi3:4) are removed. In the special Mussaf Amidahprayer said on Shabbatand Jewish holidays, the Hebrew phrase "na'ase ve'nakriv" (we will present and sacrifice) is modified to read to "asu ve'hikrivu" (they presented and sacrificed), implying that sacrifices are a thing of the past. The prayer for the restoration of "the House of our lives" and the Shekhinahto dwell "among us" in the weekday Torah readingservice is retained in Conservative prayer books, although not all Conservative services say it. In Conservative prayer books, words and phrases that have dual meaning, referring to both Temple features and theological or poetic concepts, are generally retained. However, translations and commentaries generally refer to the poetic or theological meanings only. Conservative Judaism also takes an intermediate position on Kohanim and Levites, preserving patrilineal tribal descent and some aspects of their roles, but lifting restrictions on who Kohanim are permitted to marry.
In 2006, the
Committee on Jewish Law and Standardsadapted a series of responsa on the subject of the role of Niddahin Conservative Judaism, in which it discussed Conservative Judaism's view of the role of Temple-related concepts of ritual purity in contemporary Judaism. One responsum adapted by a majority of the Committee held that concepts of ritual purity relevant to entry into the Temple are no longer applicable to contemporary Judaism and accepted a proposal to change the term "family purity" to "family holiness" and to explain the continuing observence of Niddahon a different basis from continuity with Temple practices. [ [http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/docs/Grossman-Niddah.pdf Rabbi Susan Grossman, MIKVEH AND THE SANCTITY OF BEING CREATED HUMAN, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, Rabbinical Assembly, December 6, 2006] ] [ [http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/docs/Berkowitz-Niddah.pdf Rabbi Miriam Berkowitz, RESHAPING THE LAWS OF FAMILY PURITY FOR THE MODERN WORLD, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, Rabbinical Assembly, December 6, 2006] ] Another responsum, also adapted by a majority of the Committee, called for retaining existing observances, terminology, and rationale, and held that these Temple-related observances and concepts continued to have contemporary impact and meaning. [ [http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/docs/Reisner-Niddah.pdf Rabbi Avram Reisner, OBSERVING NIDDAH IN OUR DAY: AN INQUIRY ON THE STATUS OF PURITY AND THE PROHIBITION OF SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITH A MENSTRUANT, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, Rabbinical Assembly, December 6, 2006] ] Thus, consistent with Conservative Judaism's philosphy of pluralism, both views of the continuing relevance of Temple-related concepts of ritual purity are permissable Conservative views.
Role in Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaismdo not believe in the rebuilding of a Temple or a restoration of Temple sacrifices or worship. They regard the Temple and sacrificial era as a period of a more primitive form of ritual which Judaism (in their view) has evolved out of and should not return to. They also believe a special role for Kohanim and Levites represents a castesystem incompatible with modern principles of egalitarianism, and do not preserve these roles. Furthermore, there is a Reform view that the shul or synagogue "is" a modern Temple; hence, "Temple" appears in numerous congregation names in Reform Judaism. Indeed, the re-christening of the synagogue as "temple" was one of the hallmarks of early Reform in 19th century Germany, when Berlin was declared the new Jerusalem, and Reform Jewry sought to demonstrate their staunch German nationalism. The Anti-Zionismthat characterized Reform Judaism throughout most of its history subsided somewhat with the Holocaustin Europe and the later successes of the modern state of Israel. As of yet, however, the belief in the return of the Jews to the Temple in Jerusalem is not part of mainstream Reform Judaism.
Ancient attempts at rebuilding
The Bar Kochba revolt
The forces of Shimon ben Kosba, more commonly known as Simon bar Kokhba, captured Jerusalem from the Romans in
132, and construction of a new temple began, as well as renewed temple services. The failure of this revolt led to the writing of the Mishna, as the religious leaders believed that the next attempt to rebuild the temple might be centuries away and memory of the practices and ceremonies would be lost otherwise.
Julian's Roman "Third Temple"
There was an aborted project by the Roman emperor Julian (
361- 363) to allow the Jews to build a "Third Temple", part of Julian's empire-wide program of restoring/strengthening local religious cults. Rabbi Hilkiyah, one of the leading rabbis of the time, spurned Julian's money, arguing that gentiles should play no part in the rebuilding of the temple. According to various sources of that time (including the pagan historian and close friend of Julian, Ammianus Marcellinus[See Britannica Deluxe 2002 and Stewart Henry Perowne] ) the project of rebuilding the temple was aborted because each time the workers were trying to build the temple, using the existing substructure, they were burned by terrible flames that were coming from inside the earth and an earthquake negated what work was made. Shortly thereafter, Julian was killed in battle, and the Christians reasserted control over the empire.
The Sassanid vassal state
610, Sassanid Empireof Iran drove the Byzantine Empireout of the Middle East with the help of the Jews of Babylonia, who were given governorship of Palestine. With Jewish control of Jerusalem, the church on the temple mount was torn down and construction began on a new temple, along with sacrificial services as set down in the Mishna.
Shortly before the Byzantines took the area back, the Persians gave control to the Christian population, who tore down the partly built edifice and turned it into a garbage dump, [cite book
title=Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?
publisher=Garnet & Ithaca Press
isbn=0863722261] which is what it was when the Caliph
Omartook the city in the 630s.
Nahmanideswrote a letter to his son. It contained the following references to the land and the Temple::What shall I say of this land . . . The more holy the place the greater the desolation. Jerusalem is the most desolate of all . . . There are about 2,000 inhabitants . . . but there are no Jews, "for after the arrival of the Tartars, the Jews fled, and some were killed by the sword. There are now only two brothers, dyers, who buy their dyes from the government. "At their place a quorum of worshippers meets on the Sabbath, and we encourage them, and found a ruined house, built on pillars, with a beautiful dome, and made it into a synagogue" . . . People regularly come to Jerusalem, men and women from Damascus and from Aleppo and from all parts of the country, to see the Temple and weep over it. And may He who deemed us worthy to see Jerusalem in her ruins, grant us to see her rebuilt and restored, and the honor of the Divine Presence returned.
Current efforts to rebuild the Temple
Although in mainstream Orthodox Judaism the rebuilding of the Temple is generally left to the coming of the
Jewish Messiahand to Divine Providence, a number of organizations, generally representing a small minority of even Orthodox Jews, have been formed with the objective of realizing the immediate construction of a Third Temple in present times. These organizations include:
Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movementstates that its goal is to build the Third Temple on the Temple Mount (Mount Moriah).
Temple Institutestates that its goal is to build the Third Temple on Mount Moriah. The Temple Institute has already made several items to be used in the Third Temple.
*Recently an organization known as [http://www.revava.org/ Revava] , ambitious to build the Third Temple, has planned numerous ascensions of the Temple Mount. Revava last held a rally at the
Western Wallon April 10, 2005 after it announced plans to bring 10,000 Jews to the Mount. This prompted counter-protests by Palestiniansin the West Bank, Gazaand on the Temple Mount, and by more than 100,000 Muslims in Indonesiaand several other Muslim countries. An estimated 200 Jewish protesters were allowed past intense security during the Revava rally, and they did not ascend the Mount.
Obstacles to realization
The most immediate and obvious obstacle to realization of these goals is the fact that two important Muslim structures, namely the
Al Aqsa Mosqueand the Dome of the Rock, are built on top of the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rockis regarded as occupying the actual space where the Temple once stood, and the State of Israelhas undertaken to preserve access to these buildings as part of international obligations. Any efforts to damage or reduce access to these sites, or to build Jewishstructures within, between, on, or instead of them, would probably lead to severe international conflicts, given the immense association of the Muslimworld with these holy places.
In addition, most Jewish-Orthodox scholars reject any attempts to build the Temple before the coming of Messiah. This is because there are many doubts as to the exact location in which it is required to be built. For example, while measurements are given in
cubits, there exists a controversy whether this unit of measurement equals approximately 1.5 feet or 2 feet. (For the most part, however, even those who advocate the 2-ft. interpretation do so only as a stringency, and accept the 1-1/2 ft. understanding as normative.) Without exact knowledge of the size of a cubit, the altarcould not be built. Indeed, the Talmudrecounts that the building of the second Temple was only possible under the direct prophetic guidance of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Without valid prophetic revelation, it would be impossible to rebuild the Temple, even if the mosques no longer occupy its location.
Status of Temple Mount
State of Israelcurrently restricts access by Jews to the Temple Mounton both religious and political grounds. Many religious authorities, including the Chief Rabbinate, interpret halakha(Jewish law) as prohibiting entering the area to prevent inadvertently entering and desecrating forbidden areas (such as the Kadosh Kadoshim), as the Temple area is regarded as still retaining its full sanctity and restrictions. Moreover, political authorities, concerned about past violent clashes at the Temple Mount including one which inaugurated the Palestinian Intifada, seek to reduce the likelihood of further violent confrontations between Jewish religious activists and Muslims worshipping at the mosques, which could further damage the area's delicate archeological and political fabric. [http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/09/28/jerusalem.violence.02/] .
Sukkotfestival in 2006 Uri Ariel, a member of the knessetfrom the National Union party ascended the mount [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/772340.html] and said that he is preparing a plan where a synagogue will be built on the mount. His suggested synagogue won't be built instead of the mosques but in a separate area in accordance with rulings of the prominent Rabbis. He said he believed that this will be correcting an historical injustice and that it is an opportunity for the Muslim world to prove that it is tolerant to all faiths.
In the Bahá'í view the prophecy of the Third Temple was fulfilled with the writing of the Súriy-i-Haykal by
Bahá'u'lláhin pentacle form.cite book |author= Taherzadeh, Adib |authorlink= Adib Taherzadeh |year= 1984
title= The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 3: `Akka, The Early Years 1868-77 |publisher= George Ronald |location=Oxford, UK |id= ISBN 0-85398-144-2 | pages = pp. 133] The Súriy-i-Haykal or Tablet of the Temple, is a composite work which consists of a tablet followed by five messages addressed to world leaders; shortly after its completion, Bahá'u'lláh instructed the tablet be written in the form of a pentacle, symbolizing the human temple and added to it the conclusion:cite book |author=Universal House of Justice |authorlink=Universal House of Justice |year=2002 |chapter = Introduction |title=The Summons of the Lord of Hosts |publisher=Bahá'í World Centre |location=Haifa Israel |id=ISBN 0-85398-976-1 |url=http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/SLH/slh-3.html | pages=pp. 1]
Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, explained that this verse refers to the prophecy in the Hebrew Bible where Zechariah had promised the rebuilding of the Temple in the End Times as fulfilled in the return of the Manifestation of God, Bahá'u'lláh, in a human temple.cite book |first=Shoghi |last=Effendi |authorlink= Shoghi Effendi |year= 1996 |title= Promised Day is Come |publisher= Bahá'í Publishing Trust |location=Wilmette, Illinois, USA |id= ISBN 0-87743-244-9 |url= http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/PDC/pdc-12.html#gr6 |pages=pp.47-48] Throughout the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh addresses the Temple (himself) and explains the glory which is invested in it allowing all the nations of the world to find redemption.cite web | first = Cynthia C. | last = Shawamreh |title = Comparison of the Suriy-i-Haykal and the Prophecies of Zechariah | date= 1998-12 | accessdate = 2006-09-30 | publisher = bahai-library.org | url = http://bahai-library.com/?file=shawamreh_haykal_prophecies_zechariah] In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh states that the Manifestation of God is a pure mirror that reflects the sovereignty of God and manifests God's beauty and grandeur to mankind. In essence, Bahá'u'lláh explains that the Manifestation of God is a "Living Temple" and Bahá'u'lláh addresses the organs and limbs of the human body and bids each to focus on God and not the earthly world.
Fundamentalist Christian view
fundamentalistChristians believe that New Testament prophecies associated with the Jewish Temple, such as Matthew 24-25 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, were not completely fulfilled during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and that these prophecies refer to a future temple. This view is a core part of Dispensationalism, an interpretative framework of the Bible that stresses Biblical literalism and asserts that the Jews remain God's chosen people. According to Dispensationalist theologians, such as Hal Lindseyand Tim LaHaye, the Third Temple will be rebuilt when the Anti-Christ, often identified as the political leader of a trans-national alliance such as the European Union or the United Nations, secures a peace treaty between the modern nation of Israel and its Muslim neighbors following a war in which Russia and the United States are destroyed or crippled as the result of a nuclear war and/or the Rapture. The Anti-Christ later uses the temple as a venue for proclaiming himself as God and demanding worship from humanity. [For a summation of dispensationalist beliefs, see Prophecy News Watch, http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/. Like many dispensationalists, the authors of this site attempt to link modern political and ecological issues with Biblical prophecies.] Dispensationalism is rejected by Eastern Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic churches, as well as by many Evangelical pastors and theologians, but many fundamentalists insist it is the true interpretation of Bible prophecy.
Critics of Dispensationalism note that the theory makes the Third Temple a prerequisite for the
second comingof Christ, and that fundamentalists in the United States support arms sales and military aid to Israel in the belief that these actions will help Israel rebuild its temple and thus bring about the End Times. Critics say the actions of fundamentalist Christians in Israel and Palestine, which includes providing material support for Jewish settlers in formerly Palestinian lands, builds dangerous tension in the region. [For example, see "The Doomsday Code," available online at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6439295521791525424.]
Temple in Jerusalem
Book of EzekielChapters 40-48
Dead Sea ScrollsThe Temple Scroll
*Gorenberg, Gershom. "The End of Days : Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount". Free Press, 2000. ISBN 0-684-87179-3 (Journalist's view)
*Ha'Ivri, David. "Reclaiming the Temple Mount". HaMeir L'David, 2006. ISBN 965-90509-6-8 (Advocacy of immediate rebuilding of a Third Temple)
*Grant R. Jeffrey. "The New Temple and The Second Coming". WaterBrook Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4000-7107-4
* [http://www.thirdtempleworld.com THIRD TEMPLE WORLD Online Third Temple research and education center]
* [http://www.templemount.org/theories.html Location of Temples]
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