Question... When is the new Jewish Temple to be built, and how will this be accomplished on the Temple Mount?
Answer.... The people of Israel are anxious to rebuild a new Temple, and many preparations have been made to that end already. Priests' vestments and vessels to be used in Temple services have been prepared, and priests are being trained. The main hindrance is the building site itself. The Temple Mount is home to several Islamic holy places: the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Whether the Temple can be constructed either next to, or in place of, these Islamic shrines awaits a determination of where the previous Jewish Temples stood.
Based on archaeological findings so far, there are three main theories of the location of the previous Temple, destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.
Tel Aviv architect Tuvia Sagiv claims that the Temple was at the south-western corner of the Temple Mount near where the Al Aqsa Mosque is today. He suggests radar and thermo graphic scans give evidence of vaults underground, such as would be expected beneath the Temple.
Hebrew University physicist Asher Kaufmann believes the Temple was built at the north-western corner of the Temple Mount, about 330 feet from the present Dome of the Rock. He bases this on an ancient artefact found at the site, believed to be the Foundation Stone of the Holy of Holies.
Several archaeologists believe the Temple stood at the exact place where the Dome of the Rock is today. This is based on existing remains found on the Temple Mount as well as clues in its eastern wall. It is also derived from the belief that the arrangement of the Temple's courts would be in the central part of the Mount.
The truth to this dilemma will obviously have to await further
excavations, which in turn are hampered by the political situation in
the area. Islamic excavations have endeavoured to destroy evidence of the
presence of past Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount. Israeli excavations
have been severely limited by the Muslims, who have control of the holy
sites on the Mount, being given that privilege by Israel following the
Israeli conquest of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967.
Even if the placement of the Jewish Temple does not interfere with the existing Islamic holy sites, its construction could prove problematic, given the antipathy between the Jews and the Muslims. In such a case, an international settlement would have to be negotiated, possibly by someone with the skills of the coming Antichrist. In fact, the construction of the new Temple may be a part of the peace treaty the Antichrist signs with Israel in Daniel 9:27.
Regardless of its proper location on the Temple Mount, the Temple could be built without regard for the Islamic shrines if those sites are destroyed in a war (such as that prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39); by an earthquake; or by terrorism. In any case, a new Temple must be constructed no later than the midpoint of the Tribulation, given that it is the location for the Antichrist making his boastful demand for worship as God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).