By Ken Raggio
This article was first written in 1996 following my return from Israel and the first election of Benjamin Netanyahu. It is now updated to March, 2012.
It is truly shocking to contemplate the reality that such historical Biblical sites such as Bethelehem, Nazareth, Hebron, Jericho, and Galilee will be taken away from Israel with the declaration of a Palestinian state.
George Bush and Condoleezza Rice pushed as hard as possible for a Palestinian State and an imminent final status agreement for Jerusalem. Now, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are turning the heat up on Israel. This certainly will have a bearing on the future status of the Temple Mount, and the prospects for the Third Temple. More and more people believe that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will take East Jerusalem. But hopefully, for the religious Jews, when that happens, there will be negotiated trade-offs favoring Jewish rights to worship on the Temple Mount. We know from Bible prophecy that this absolutely must eventually happen.
Notwithstanding, one missile strike, one car bomb, or one election can radically reroute every one of these eventualities without notice, and in either political direction.
Christians have an interest in Jerusalem and Israel
Christians around the world are affected by events in Israel. How? For one thing, they are looking for signs pointing to the second return of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps one of the most significant signs they look for is the reconstruction of the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah (the Third Temple), and the re-instituting of Old Testament sacrifices. This would be followed, prophetically, by the appearance of Man of Sin (Antichrist) in the Temple to shut it all down again - to call an end to prayers and sacrifices. This is called the Abomination that makes desolate, or the Abomination of Desolation (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:2).
A great deal of interest has been stirred by the making ready of a qualified red heifer for the re-instituting of holy sacrifices on the Temple Mount. In my last trip to Israel, Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute mentioned that there was a red heifer named "Geula" being hidden. This may be the very calf that will be used to sanctify the Temple Mount for the Third Temple.
In the 1990s, Yitzak Rabin and Shimon Peres had just about "given away the store" (land give-aways) to achieve peace with their Arab neighbors led by Yasser Arafat. The likelihood of the Third Temple being built seemed to be diminishing, with Israel having less say, and United Nations having more say in the control of Jerusalem and its holy sites.
Now, with increasing pressure from just about every world power, Israel is being forced to fight for its real estate, and ultimately, its very existence. Shimon Peres, at 84, became the President of Israel. He has been one of the principal brokers of land for peace, and he may be the one who finally sits down with Abbas for an East Jerusalem (and by default, a Temple Mount) solution. I strongly suspect that we will see Tony Blair and Shimon Peres at a negotiating table eventually, if Peres survives long enough.
"Peres" is the Hebrew word for "divided." It is the word the Prophet Daniel saw in Belshazzar's court when his kingdom was divided. I suspect that Peres may be here for a prophetic role - permanently dividing Israel by declaring a Palestinian State. If not Peres and Blair, it will certainly be somebody eventually. Peres' legacy of division will certainly endure after he is gone.
Arafat vowed to have Jerusalem
The late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat vowed to make Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state, and never to relinquish control of the Temple Mount. Since Arafat's death, the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas has struggled with their opposition brethren in the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations. Abbas allowed Hamas to take full control of the Gaza Strip, and dissolve the unity government between Fatah and Hamas. This resulted in Fatah having what appears to be a better opportunity of taking full control over the West Bank.
As early as December 2007, Palestinian television newscasts began broadcasting maps of all of Palestine WITHOUT the State of Israel anywhere on the map. Negotiations attempted at Annapolis, Maryland, under the auspices of George Bush, were fruitless in producing any meaningful progress. Bush worked furiously to create a Palestinian state before his presidency ended, but failed. Now, Barack Hussein Obama shows the strongest anti-Israel sentiments ever seen in a United States President, and the outcome of that is likely to be to the strong advantage of the Palestinians. Only God knows when and how these developments will unfold.
In December of 2007, Olmert spoke openly of allowing the Palestinians to have parts of East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the radical extremists, Hamas, drafted a resolution and attempted to pass a law in the Palestinian Authority that would declare ANY COMPROMISE other than TOTAL CONTROL OF JERUSALEM an act of treason, punishable by (presumably) death. It is yet to be seen how far that resolution will go. It is, however, the rabid sentiment of the vast majority of Palestinians that Jerusalem SHOULD be the capital of Palestine.
Any estimated outcome would be purely conjecture at this point. Nevertheless, opportunities may present themselves in the near future for Abbas to negotiate with Netanyahu to finally bring about a Palestinian state in the West Bank, and ultimately define what will be done about East Jerusalem - settling the final status of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
Bible prophecies say that Jerusalem certainly WILL be divided.
"But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months," Revelation 11:2. This verse indicates that Israel will only control the Temple location specifically, while Gentiles (i.e., Muslims under UN supervision) retain control of the rest of the Temple Mount. It further suggests that Jerusalem itself will be divided for three and a half years.
On March 14, 1999, the European Community issued a statement asserting that Jerusalem is technically an "occupied territory," is NOT the capital of Israel, and does NOT even belong to Israel. This is a provocative statement. It leaves the door wide open for non-Jewish claims on Jerusalem. Increasingly, the EU is more empathic to the Muslim side, and more critical of Israel.
At that time, Former Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon responded by saying, "Our government (Israel) has no intention of making any concessions whatsoever regarding the status of Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish nation for 3000 years now, the capital of the State of Israel for 50 years, and will remain so for eternity."
I sat in the General Assembly in the United Nations in New York during the World Summit of September, 2005 and listened to Ariel Sharon declare to the world body that Jerusalem is the "eternal and undivided capital of Israel."
Only weeks later, Sharon was in a coma, and since that time, very few voices have echoed that sentiment to protect and preserve Jerusalem.
Shimon Peres accompanied Sharon at the UN, and his opposite "land-for-peace" influence has now replaced Sharon's more conservative, protective stance.
Sharon's successor, Ehud Olmert was perceived to be an ideological successor to Sharon for a while, but it did not take long for Olmert's polices to shift in a completely opposite stance. Olmert and Peres were closer to compromising Jerusalem than at any time in history.
The Jerusalem Issue is certain to flair up into a major conflict in the near future. Scripturally, we can expect Jerusalem to be increasingly embattled. Ultimately, Jerusalem will not fall to Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, or Syria. The New World Order will take control of Jerusalem, and the United Nations and the Roman Catholic Church will govern it. (See related article here)
The Temple Mount Faithful crusade for the Third Temple
Gershon Salomon, Chairman of the Temple Mount Faithful (the preeminent organization in Israel working for the rebuilding of the Third Temple) opined on the record saying that a Netanyahu government would be good news for the prospect of the rebuilding of the temple. In previous political campaigns, Netanyahu incorporated into the platform of his Likud Party, that if he was elected Prime Minister, they would press for the opening of the Temple Mount for Jewish worship.
New Government may help
Netanyahu's comeback is an positive development in the prospects for a new Temple. Several smaller religious factions also have more power, and the chance of a historic change on the Temple Mount is definitely possible. Of course, the prophecy guarantees the Temple will be built, regardless of the political difficulties, and with or without Netanyahu.
On July 12, 1997, the Ministry of Justice (similar to the Justice Department in the US) announced that it would initiate legal proceedings to open up the Temple Mount to Jews. On July 13, 1997 the Associated Press reported that the Israelis announced their intentions to close the Muslim office that administrates the Temple Mount. These initiatives went largely unnoticed and unfulfilled, however. If they were truly pressed to action, they would be developments of staggering potential.
As recent as February of 2012, rumors began circulating that the Israeli Government planned to divide the Temple Mount to allow for the freedom of worship for Jews and Christians. This, however, appeared to be a hoax perpertrated by the Al Aqsa Waqf (the Islamic group which manages the site) to provoke Muslim jihad.
The Temple Mount Faithful have the cornerstone ready to lay. I stood beside that cornerstone on my last trip to Israel and imagined what it will be like the day that stone is finally set on the Temple Mount.
In addition, the Temple Institute now has all the furniture and priestly garments ready for the Third Temple.
The Dome of the Rock will not prevent the Third Temple
The Temple Mount is now controlled by Muslims. The Dome of the Rock and the al Aqsa Mosque are the only places of worship on the Temple Mount. Jews and Christians may not pray, worship, or read the Bible aloud on the Temple Mount.
Professor Asher Kaufman of the Hebrew University claims that the Third Temple could be built next door to the Dome of the Rock without necessitating a change in that controversial Muslim landmark. The small cupola on the north side of the Temple Mount, called the Dome of the Spirit, is believed by many to be the actual place where the ancient Holy of Holies was located in ancient times.
Editor's Note: I do not share Mr. Raggio's viewpoint in the next paragraph. Based on my study of the Bible, Christ's return at the sounding of the seventh trump marks the pouring out of the seven vials of God's wrath upon the unjust on earth, the resurrection and reward of the saints (God' people), the judgement of the nations and the battle of Armageddon, the final judgement and resurrection of damnation (the second death) for the 'rest of the dead' (those whose names are not written in the Book of Life), the utter destruction of the earth by fire and the creation of the new heaven and the new earth, the ushering in of eternity with the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, where "the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
When Jesus Christ returns, HE will build the Millennial Temple, different from the Third Temple. There will be NO Dome of the Rock in that day. The Dome of the Rock is inscribed in the Arabic language with this saying, "God has no son." Jesus will prove that to be a grave - fatal - error. The dome will have to go. And it will.
Priesthood being verified
On Sunday, April 4, 1999, at the semi-annual "Priestly Blessing" ceremony at the Western Wall, a booth was erected nearby for the genetic testing Kohanim (priests), to see if they have what is now called "Priestly gene." Subsequently, an American geneticist found that all Kohanim share a common gene, supporting the belief that they have one common ancestor (presumably Aaron the Priest).
Rabbi Nachman Kahane said at the time that 17 Kohanim had already been tested. Thirteen tested positive, one negative, and three cases were inconclusive. Now, the Temple Institute has offered all Jews by the name of Cohen to receive a priestly garment for the new temple.
The ancient Sanhedrin Revived
The ancient seventy elders of Israel, the Sanhedrin, has not existed since 358 AD. In October 2004, a group of rabbis in Tiberius came together in an alleged reforming of the Sanhedrin. Their validity has been controversial, but Arutz-7 published an article on October 13, 2004 announcing that the Sanhedrin had been launched by 71 rabbis - the main 70 plus one extra who would play the lead role, similar to the High Priest. They claimed legitimacy, based on the rules of the ancient sage, Maimonides.
The significance of this, pertaining to the Third Temple, is that we now have a hierarchy claiming legal jurisdiction over the official religious matters of Israel. The Sanhedrin could be the most powerful voice in behalf of the reconstruction of the Temple. Rabbi Chaim Richman is a member of the Sanhedrin, and may be considered by some as the new High Priest of Israel. As the International Director of the Temple Institute, he is the most forceful delegate in the world for the rebuilding of the Third Temple. With the force of the entire Sanhedrin behind him, we can expect the most serious efforts to be expended to that end.
Sacrifices begun at Western Wall
On Passover of 1998, Jewish rabbis conducted animal sacrifices at the Western Wall (the "wailing wall"), which may have been the first animal sacrifices conducted at the Temple site since 70 AD. It is difficult to assess the significance of this particular action. Gershon Salomon made his third unsuccessful attempt to conduct sacrifice on the Temple Mount itself on April 4, 1999. In 1998, it was made on a nearby hill called Givat Hananya. Another sacrifice has been performed since then in a different location.
News releases in April of 2008 state that rabbis are preparing now to conduct an animal sacrifice in the near future on the Temple Mount itself. This will be a very provocative act, and will probably trigger an earth-shattering Islamic jihad. It has the potential of escalating into the worst conflict ever inside Jerusalem, maybe even the whole world. I cannot imagine anything in the world being more antagonistic to radical Islam than a Jewish blood sacrifice in the shadow of the Dome of the Rock. The act itself, however, is probably a necessary precursor to any sanctified preparations for the Third Temple.
Many are now ready to build the Temple.
There are now champions for the cause within the government itself, more than have been in many years. That is good news for the Temple Mount Faithful, whose TWO CORNERSTONES for the Third Temple now sit in-waiting near Gershon Salomon's residence. The original cornerstone that had been prominently displayed in a busy traffic intersection downtown Jerusalem was stolen and never recovered.
The Temple Institute is Preparing
It is also good news for the Temple Institute, whose temple vessels and priestly robes are in storage, and whose young rabbis are presently in training for the offices of Temple priests.
Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute is readying architectural building plans, and says the building could be built in less than one year. I sat in a lecture with Rabbi Richman as he told that the Red Heifer has now been qualified for temple sacrifice. These truly are ominous times.
What does it mean to the Church?
The Church of Jesus Christ will witness the Antichrist's stand in the Third Temple, according to 2 Thessalonians 2. That event will precipitate the final three-and-a-half years of Daniel's Seventieth Week. Why do I say that? Look at those verses from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4:
NOTICE CAREFULLY what is in those verses. Paul is addressing these subjects:
1. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Our gathering together unto Him (The Rapture and First Resurrection).
3. Called here, "the Day of Christ."
Paul says "THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME..." until
1. there comes a Great Falling Away
2. the Man of Sin is revealed, the Son of Perdition
3. he opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God
4. he, as God, sits in the THIRD TEMPLE, showing himself that he is God.
What do we learn from these statements?
1. The Rapture will NOT take place until there is a Great Falling Away.
2. The Rapture will NOT take place until the Man of Sin (Antichrist) is revealed.
3. The Rapture will NOT take place until the Antichrist sits in the Third Temple.
4. The Church WILL SEE the Antichrist.
5. The Church WILL SEE the Third Temple built.
6. The Church WILL SEE the Abomination of Desolation (see Daniel 9:27).
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
This gives us the MOST IMPORTANT CLUE about how much time we have left.
We will know that the LAST SEVEN YEARS have begun whenever we hear the news that a SEVEN-YEAR COVENANT has been Confirmed by parties under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church (the Roman Prince referred to in Daniel 9:27).
We should be watching very carefully the negotiations that are being conducted between the UN Quartet led by Tony Blair with the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, or any other multinational governmental authority, such as the Arab League or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Certainly, if we hear on the world news outlets that Israel is about to sign a SEVEN-YEAR AGREEMENT with any of these entities, we should become very alert to the possibility that this is the Confirmation of the Covenant spoken of by both Daniel the Prophet and Jesus Christ in Matthew 24.
If such an agreement is reached, we can be almost certain that within the following three-and-a-half years the THIRD TEMPLE WILL BE BUILT, and the Prince of Rome, operating through the Pope, will install the Man of Sin, the Assyrian Antichrist of Daniel 11 will appear in it!
We are certainly nearing the end. The clock of prophecy is ticking toward midnight! Time to prepare our souls for the final events leading the world to Armageddon.
You should also know this...
From ancient times, God said that He put His name in Jerusalem. Not only is the Hebrew "shin" inscribed in the landscape terrain of Jerusalem, but when Jesus returns, God's HIGHEST name, "Jesus" will be declared King of Kings in the Holy Mountains - Zion and Moriah.
Editor's Note: I do not believe in a millennium reign by Christ on this present earth, but I agree with Mr. Raggio on his other points. Of the Lord's kingdom, there is no end (Luke 1:33), and Jesus will never reign from a temple made from human hands (Acts 17:24). In eternity, there is no temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it (Revelation 21:22).
Jesus is going to retake Jerusalem, and at that time, it will be a distinctly Jewish city during the Millennium. According to Ezekiel 40-48, Israel will conduct many of the Old Testament rituals as a memorial and testimony of the truths revealed from ancient times. The Jews, however, will have been converted to Jesus Christ as their Messiah, when they "look upon me whom they have pierced," Zechariah 12:10.
All the saints of all the ages will witness Jesus Christ's victorious entrance through the newly conquered Eastern Gate of Jerusalem, (see photo) immediately following the great Battle of Armageddon.
I stood in the Kidron Valley and contemplated the glorious moment when Jesus Christ will at long-last enter into HIS CITY as the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS and millions upon millions of saints will worship and serve Him for a thousand glorious years on earth before entering the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
Christians who were resurrected at the rapture and resurrection will rule and reign with Jesus Christ throughout the Gentile nations of the earth, and all nations will flow into their divinely established Capital of Jerusalem. No more World Government in New York, Geneva, Brussels, Moscow, Washington D.C., London, Paris, or Rome.
Here are the determinate prophecies that no man or devil will prevent.
They describe the events that will occur in Jerusalem when Jesus Christ returns at Armageddon to save Israel and establish His kingdom, from Zechariah 12.
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.
5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
THIS IS A PROPHECY ABOUT ARMAGEDDON.
John saw more details, as found in Revelation 16. It occurs AFTER the first six vials of God's wrath at the end of the seven year period called "Daniel's Seventieth Week."
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Isaiah 2 gives even more details:
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 And he [Jesus Christ] shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Here is what Jesus Christ will do at that time: (From Zechariah 6).
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.