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Who Will Build the 3rd Temple?

by Rabbi Chaim Clorfene

www.moshiach.com

  

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Chanukah is the time of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple. The festival commemorates the Maccabees' restoring the Second Temple to its original sanctity after it had been ransacked and defiled (but not destroyed) by the Greeks. It is, therefore, worth dedicating a few minutes to consider how the Temple relates to us today. By this, we mean, of course, the Third Temple, whose re-building and long-awaited presence will usher in the Messianic Era.

Before we can delve into the intricacies of the Third Temple, how it will look and how it will ultimately be built, some sketchy background is necessary, particularly for those who know little or nothing about the Holy Temple. 
 

Three structures have borne the name Mikdash, or Holy Temple. The first was the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, built by Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai as atonement for the sin of the golden calf. It was portable and stood for an aggregate of 440 years. The second structure bearing the name Mikdash, was King Solomon's Temple. It was built on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, upon foundations laid by Solomon's father, King David. This is known as the First Temple. It stood for 410 years and was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, as prelude to the Babylonian Exile of the Jewish people. 70 years later, King Cyrus of Persia gave permission to the Jews to rebuild the Holy Temple, which was accomplished through the leadership of Ezra, the Scribe. This, the Second Temple, was later beautified by King Herod, and stood for a total of 420 years. Titus and the armies of the Rome destroyed Herod's Temple in the year 70 of the Common Era. Since then, the Holy Temple has stood in ruins. The Torah teaches that the Temple will again be rebuilt in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, and this Third Temple will stand forever. It is about this future Temple, that we now address ourselves.

Like it or not, the Third Temple is going to be built one day. So we may as well look at the question now.
We learn about the future Temple from the Book of Ezekial, chapters 40-42, wherein the prophet, a kohen (priest), is mystically transported from Babylon to Jerusalem, and shown every detail and measurement of the Holy Temple by an angel of G-d.

The Prophecy of Ezekial came during the Babylonian Exile, between the First and Second Temples. However, the sages who built the Second Temple, did not completely follow Ezekial's prophetic design, for they knew that the Second Temple would eventually be destroyed, and that Ezekial was prophesying about the future, eternal Temple.

We can now approach the primary question about the Third Temple. How will it be built? This is an issue that few people are willing to address because of obvious political implications. But, like it or not, the Third Temple is going to be built one day. So we may as well look at the question now.

There is an essential disagreement among authorities as to how the Third Temple will be built. According to the Rambam (Maimonides), in his work, the Jewish people are commanded to construct a House for G-d.1 The Rambam lists this as one of the 613 eternal commandments of the Torah, relevant and obligatory whenever the Temple is not standing. He derives this from the verse, "And they shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among them."2 According to the Rambam, the Jewish people must build the Third Temple any way they can, at any time they can accomplish the task. In the Laws of Kings, the Rambam states that the Messiah, an earthly, Jewish king, will build the Third Temple. And, in fact, he states that the only conclusive proof of the identity of the Messiah is that he will be the one to build the Temple.3

Footnotes

  • 1. Laws of the Chosen House, (chapter one, law number one),
  • 2. Exodus 25:8.
  • 3. Chapter eleven, law number four.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Messiah
Holidays » Chanukah » About

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Maimonides
Moses son of Maimon, born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Rashi
Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). Legendary French scholar who authored the fundemental and widely accepted "Rashi commentary" on the entire Bible and Talmud.
Ashkenazi
(pl. Ashkenazim). A Jew of Northern or Eastern European ancestry.
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Isaac
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
David
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Solomon
Son of King David, and succeeded him on the throne of Israel in the year 836 BCE. he was the wisest man to ever live. He built the first Holy Temple and authored several books of the Bible.
Ezra
1. A Hebrew priest and scribe, who, together with Nehemiah, revived Judaism in the 4th century BCE. He was instrumental in the building of the 2nd Temple. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which describes the events of Ezra's lifetime.
Rambam
Acronym for Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, widely known as Maimonides. Born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
Exodus
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.
Tabernacle
Mobile sanctuary which traveled with the Jews in the desert, containing the Ark with the Tablets, and the sacrificial altars. When the Jews entered Israel, it was erected in the city of Shiloh where it remained for more than 300 years. It was buried when the permanent Holy Temple was erected in Jerusalem.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
Arizal
Rabbi Isaac Luria, the 15th Century founder of Modern Kabbalah.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.
Maccabees
The Maccabees (Hebrew: Makabim) were a Jewish family who fought against the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty in the story of Chanukah. The Maccabees founded the Hasmonean royal line and established Jewish independence in the land of Israel for about 100 years.